Heyo Hackers -amp; Tech Professionals!
Hacker Noon jut passed the halfway point of our equity crowdfunding campaign and we’re up to $704,000+ from 597 investors. We’ve been hard at work. We are making great strides on our new tech stack, have been pre-selling sponsorships for Hacker Noon 2.0 (contact [email protected] for more info), and have some great brands to announce soon.
Without Further Ado — Here’s 5 hours and 15 minutes worth of great tech stories:
🎧🎧 New HACKER NOON PODCASTS this week 🎧🎧
Blockchain and Future Tech from the Crow’s Nest with Daniel Jefferies: Listen on iTunes, or Watch on Youtube [45 min listen]
“We need to stop throwing the damn baby out with the bathwater, and assume that decentralized everything just works because it’s decentralized… These things that we have now, they are still in their earliest phase. We barely understand them. They are going to evolve into something so mind boggling different from what we have today.” — Daniel Jeffries
The VC Approach In Today’s Tech Markets with Steve Schlafman: Listen on iTunes, or Watch on Youtube [44 min read]
“I always ask myself, is this an entrepreneur who that is special, talented, tenacious, and on a mission?… Is this someone who can go and tell a great story, inspire potential employees, investors, partners. Is this someone who people are going to gravitate towards? In a competitive hiring environment, are they going to be able to build a World class team?” — Steve Schlafman
Here are This Week’s Top 27 Text Based Tech Stories:
Thoughts About Nothing at Stake by Lior Yaffe [5 min read]. The existence of an attack vector does not mean that this attack vector is practical. For example, to reverse a SHA256 hash all one needs to do is attempt on average ²²⁵⁵ hash operations. Theoretically doable — but practically impossible. In this article I attempted to convince you that the “Nothing at Stake” attack is mostly a theoretical toy used to discredit proof of stake coins. It is an attack that is nearly impossible to execute. Therefore, it is surely not a major concern when deciding between blockchain consensus protocols.
Why You Need To Know The Security Token Value Chain (aka Yet Another Stack) by Benjamin Ong [9 min read]. As the great cryptocurrency winter of 2018 extends its grip by yet another month, anecdotal evidence at various blockchain conferences worldwide has been rife that a security token wave is on the cusp of forming. This new breed of digital assets is one that seeks to comply with existing regulators, rather than to subvert. Security tokens are are programmatically designed to be compliant with relevant regulations. In the words of influential crypto podcaster and fund manager Anthony Pompliano:” If cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are considered “programmable money” then you can consider Security Tokens a version of “programmable ownership.”
Capital Formation — the killer app for blockchain? by Robb Miller [20 min read]. Democratized venture finance forms the basis of the next wave of ‘tokenized capital offerings,’ separate and clearly distinguishable from the ICO-craze that has all but completely burst. There is a whole new ecosystem of blockchain-startups promising the ability for any private company to raise capital with streamlined regulatory compliance, and the ability for the common citizen to invest and grow alternative asset classes in tokenized shares in private companies.
Building a Token Valuation Methodology From the Ground Up by Kary Bheemaiah [9 min read]. Our ultimate objective of determining the variables of valuation is to create a Modular Valuation Methodology. As tokens can possess different functions based on the type of service they provide, a “one-size-fits-all” valuation model is asinine. What is required is a modular valuation model along with an extensive variable list would give us the capability of selecting the right variables, with respect to the type of Token being considered, and build valuation models that best adheres to the token’s specifications. Rather than using a one-size-fits-all approach, we could build context-relevant valuation models, which would be the first step in establishing a standard taxonomy in the space.
Bird’s new Platform program and the rise of the “business in a box” by Justine and Olivia Moore [10 min read]. The “business in a box” model has taken many shapes over time, but has a long history — franchises (established in the 1800s), multi-level or “network” marketing (1940s), and more recently gig economy platforms. We are excited about the next generation of these companies, which we are calling “Internet franchises.” These platforms use software and other tech to scale the franchise model, giving operators the ability to run a business built on the product(s) and infrastructure of a parent company without the physical real estate and capital required for traditional franchises. Unlike gig economy platforms, Internet franchises allow operators to truly “own” their business and accumulate equity value over time.
Privileged salespeople — The true job of a Venture Capitalist. by Carl Fritjofsson [4 min read]. Like any other job description, time isn’t evenly distributed across the range of these activities. Many people with limited exposure to VC have a misguided perception of where the focus of the job really is. The reason for this is because VCs are fantastic content marketers (note: not referring to myself as fantastic rather “aspiring”…🤓). The vast majority of content created refers to one of two categories. Either it contains powerful ways to understand your business fundamentals, which could be categorized as investment due diligence. Or it contains valuable best practices around building your company, which can be labeled under portfolio support. Because of this many people believe VCs job start and end with doing deep analysis combined with telling founders how to run their companies. I say fake news!
Complexity, Bit by Bit by Terry Crowley [5 min read]. If you studied computer science in school, one thing that might not have appeared obvious as you first learned about sorted arrays or binary search trees, hash tables or any other interesting data structure is the striking absence of semantics from these descriptions. These data structures exist in isolation, independent of any real world meaning. It is only when you try to apply them to a particular real problem that you start having to deal with the messy issue of mapping semantics and deciding what these data structures really mean in the context of the actual real world problem you are trying to solve.
Adding Clarity, Simplicity and Cohesion with, Object-Oriented UX (OOUX) by John Donavan [3 min read]. Object-Oriented User Experience helps with the defining of the object that imitates the real model of your users, providing an arena for team communication. OOUX is all about defining certain objects in the problem domain you are solving for, before any sort of sketching, wireframing and most importantly and definitely before interaction design. Giving you a shared language, and with team cohesion, designing object-oriented can also be a help with.
Kinetic Typography UX — Principles, Patterns, and Getting Started by Justin Baker [7 min read]. Kinetic typography is the art of moving type. It is the application of motion design to tell stories and evoke emotion through typographic visuals. It is a form of temporal typography (letters/words that are presented over time) that is distinct from serial presentation (the sequential presentation of static typographical elements).
The Next Wave of Work Management Software by Michael Dubakov [11 min read]. Work management software is boring. Innovations are rare and you may think that no cool new vendors appeared in the last 5 years. Indeed, Asana is 10 years old, JIRA is everywhere and Trello was released in 2011. Are there any new tools coming? Can we expect a new paradigm shift? I believe it is happening right now. There are few promising vendors that trying to disrupt work management market 🌊.
The Life Extension Revolution — Part 1 by Shreya Amin [52 min read]. Everyone is aging. The process of aging has two major components: 1) how long an organism lives and 2) the physiological deterioration (known as senescence) that characterizes old age. And all aging eventually leads to death. Sooner or later the bomb self-destructs. The Ultimate Cliff always shows up. Always. It’s strange how we talk about aging, but most of us don’t really understand what aging is. We realize (sometimes) we’re getting older, but we don’t really know the processes that drive aging.
A CATCH 22
Only Technology Can Save Us from the Technological Revolution by Erik P.M. Vermeulen [6 mind read]. This is because digital technologies render obsolete the cumbersome and time-consuming procedures and processes that dominated “companies” for decades, even centuries. Moreover, these new communities disrupt hierarchies. We don’t need “middlemen” and intermediaries anymore to operate smoothly and guarantee reliability. New technologies increasingly provide the basis of, or replace the need for, trust.
How We Grew Our SEO To 70K+ Visitors A Month by Zain Manji [10 min read]. SEO is one of the few acquisition channels with true scale. If done correctly, it gives your website an immense amount of traffic for free, which you can then convert to users/customers. The only cost to develop SEO is engineering opportunity cost. Some of the best companies today rely heavily on SEO to grow and retain their user base: Pinterest, Amazon, Yelp, Trivago, GrubHub, Expedia, and more.
From Decision Maker to Decision Supporter by John Cutler [2 min read]. As a product manager, it is your responsibility to make sure that the best possible decisions get made…not to necessarily make those decisions. Sometimes you’ll have the best idea, especially when it comes to areas requiring deep domain knowledge. Most of the time, you won’t, nor will you necessarily be the best arbiter/judge of ideas. To elicit better ideas — to make better decisions — the talented people on the team (you included) will need context, data, space, opportunities to iterate on and improve ideas, tactics for reducing cognitive bias, and access to facilitation / decision-making frameworks. You may even be called on to break a tie occasionally, though it is better to establish an open-to-all framework that does that for you. The same with judging “success” — better to establish a model/framework vs. being the thumb-upper, thumb-downer.
5 Useful Non-Agile Rituals for Product Managers Working in Enterprises by Karen Ho [4 min read]. There are well documented rituals for agile product development — sprint planning, daily stand-up, iteration review, retrospective. When I started working in an enterprise, I found that these ware not enough. The complex stakeholder landscape and geographically diverse business units that exist in an enterprise meant that I needed an extended toolkit to succeed. Over the years, I have worked with teams to optimise a number of rituals that I have found useful for the enterprise workplace. I’m going to share them here and hopefully you might find them useful too.
Platforms vs. Networks: Decentralization Vectors in Security Tokens by Jesus Rodriguez [5 min read]. The subject of decentralization is at the forefront of some of the most passionate debates in the security token ecosystem. Whereas the security tokens movement was born as a result of the evolution of decentralized ledgers, the first generation of products in the space have shifted entirely towards centralized architectures. Several of the most revere thought leaders space have been vocal about the diminished role that decentralization should play in crypto-securities compared to the focus on areas such as regulation enforcement and just building better products. While nobody can argue with the value of regulation or better solutions, I think find that perspective a bit short sided. When comes to security tokens, decentralization matters. In fact, I would argue that decentralization is the single element that will determine whether security tokens evolve into a new asset class and financial ecosystem or stay as unsophisticated digital wrappers of existing forms of securities. A way to think pragmatically about decentralization is to answer what I consider the most important question in the security token space is: are we building products or are we building networks?
True or Not True?
The Biggest Myth in Blockchain: Transactions Per Second by James Halladay [4 mind read]. Transactions per second. Network speed. Scaling. Whatever guise it comes in, the crypto community seems obsessed with transaction speed — especially when it comes to Ethereum.* So much so, that some people think scaling ‘problems’ are to blame for Ether’s recent bear market.“PayPal, the global monolith, makes millions of transactions every day — but runs at an average of 193 per second.” But is our obsession with transaction speed shortsighted? Of course, speedy stable transactions are essential for the future of all but the most specialist projects. Yet in the wider world of FinTech, there’s no such obsession.
Stablecoins: the True Disruptor of the Payments Industry by BobTheGrownUp [4 min read]. Stablecoins are the big winner even amid the recent bearish trend of the cryptocurrency market. This is because of their functionality combined with the lack of interest from speculators. When Bitcoin was first released by the mysterious guy or group of people under the nickname Satoshi Nakamoto, supporters claimed that it would revolutionize several areas in the financial space, including payments. However, many things have changed since the 10,000 BTC pizza, with the oldest cryptocurrency becoming the main target of speculators. Hundreds of other virtual currencies came in, but most of them have been as highly volatile as Bitcoin.
Making a web voting app handling 245 million votes with $0.12 by Daniel Henrique [5 min read]. I always liked the emotion of 1x1 online voting duels like Big Brother Brasil and The Voice Battle. The way how it reaches millions of people is incredible. So, I decided to do a simple poll application able to deal with 1 day of voting, in a large country like Brazil and USA. With a challenge: I wanted do that, from scratch, in 2 hours, with some cents. As goal, I imagined a country of 300 million people, where 70% of population will vote. That is 210 million votes in one day, 8.75 million in one hour and approximately 2500 req/sec.
About the Youth and Their Monies
How Gen Z is Confronting Their Financial Fears by Brian Wallace [INFOGRAPHIC]. Gen Z approach their financial future carefully, taking a lesson from the sometimes extravagant habits of older generations. For millennials in particular, 40% have overspent or even gone into debt just to keep up with their social lives. This “fomo-tax” isn’t on the radar of Gen Z, as they take all purchases into consideration and think them through from groceries to universities. When asked, 72% of Gen Zers say that cost is the most important factor when shopping, and nearly 50% use their phones in-store to compare prices and reach out for advice from family and friends before swiping their cards. Small scale, this can appear frugal — but Gen Zers take the whole picture into consideration. Their spending and saving habits translate into a focus on financial responsibility, even at their young age.
Former Airbnb Blockchain Leader Focuses on Mainstreaming Crypto by Stellabelle [4 min read]. I recently had the opportunity to interview the founder of blockchain-based Partiko, Sida Wang, who you might be surprised to find out worked for Airbnb as a software engineer. Not only that, but Sida was also the founder of Airbnb’s blockchain community, Blockbnb. Sida Wang worked as a software engineer for Airbnb in San Francisco until fairly recently, when he decided to go full force with his blockchain-based startup, Partiko.
How to build an app like Airbnb? by Mayank Pratap [13 min read]. After looking at all the aspects and stages of development, we may say building an app is not an easy and swift task. However, if all the things are lined up in a proper manner, not only will it be super successful but also very affordable.
Build a Ruby based Lambda Function by Mohamed Labouardy [3 min read]. At AWS re:Invent 2018, it was announced that Ruby is now a supported language for AWS Lambda. In this post, I walk you through how to write your very first Ruby-based Lambda function from scratch, followed by how to configure, deploy, and test a Lambda function.
Creating Custom Operators in Swift ☕ by Andrew Scott [3 min read]. Swift’s decision to include custom operators enables you to create concise, readable code that is tailored to your needs. They can also be a lot of fun to explain to your fellow coders if someone happens upon a ☭ or ⛹ in your projects. 😉
Why You Should Use Class Delegation In Kotlin by Cody Engel [3 min read]. In most traditional programming languages code reuse typically comes in the form of inheritance. I’ve been on many projects where the innocent BaseThingy quickly turns into DoesEveryThingy in just a few short months because unfortunately inheritance wasn’t meant for code reuse in ways we often hope for. You see, well designed systems are often constructed from smaller objects that do one thing well and leave everything else to others. The problem is sometimes we have classes that require management of other smaller objects, we can call these classes Controllers as their job is to control other classes. It can be tempting to create a BaseController which will handle things like thread pool management, instantiating different views, injecting models, etc.
…And Think About the Year in Review
2018 in review: 8 most-talked about in tech by Andreas Sandre [16 min read]. Technology and Silicon Valley have been one of the main topics dominating the news this year and they were certainly one of the most polarizing on social media and in the public debate. From fake news and political elections around the world to artificial intelligence and blockchain, everybody was part of the conversation online and offline.
Until next time, don’t take the realities of the world for granted.
P.S. Why Support Independent Tech Media?, my answers to 3 Questions About Hacker Noon 2.0, or just cut to the chase and read the full story about why 597 people invested $704k+ in Hacker Noon.