In March: Print News, Silicon Valley’s Privacy & Christopher Wylie’s Story

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Just five article that I found worthwhile sharing for March, and – of course – one is about Cambridge Analytica, co-founded by whistleblower Christopher Wylie. Also: a timely but unrelated piece about Silicon Valley’s culture of sercecy, an op-ed about reading news (only) in print and more.

The Times’ tech writer Farhad Manjoo shares his experience, learnings and observations about getting news (only) from print press, rather than from the web and – purposely- from social. Like in the old days: “I turned off my digital news notifications [and] subscribed to home delivery of three print newspapers [plus] a weekly newsmagazine” he writes. His conclusion: “You don’t have to read a print newspaper to get a better relationship with the news. But, for goodness’ sake, please stop getting your news mainly from Twitter and Facebook.” And from my blog!

I chose the quote of my tweet purposely. In essence: Zuckerberg and his team (try to) organise transparent communication within the company (in the best possible ways). The article criticizes a “ruthless code of secrecy” at tech companies. But as a communication exec myself, tryintg to organize communication in- and out-side, I must say it’s a bit easy to take that stance. Every organizations needs control, and having tight rules doesn’t mean you are muzzling your employees. Transparency and participation is great and must be encouraged, but it must also be harnessed. “Colourful bicycles, ping-pong tables, beanbags and free food” doesn’t mean that everything should go out of control.

Probably the single most important piece of news this month. Investigative journalism as it should be: detailed, researched, clear, condensed, thought-provoking. In a series of interview, Canadian data engineer Wylie explains how he got to co-create Cambridge Analytica, what the company did (you may also want to read this article about Cambridge Analytica’s messiness) and why he is now speaking out against it. Great do understand the debates about privacy protection and data-driven business-models. And political marketing.

People use tools to get jobs done, and chatbots are no exception to this simple rule. Since I will soon start experimenting with – and building – chatbots, I found this short article very insightful. Written by the co-founder and CTO of one of the most used chatbots in France, it basically says: Cut the craze and help your customer / user get the job done.

This article was written in June 2012, but it appeared on my Twitter feed somehow and I really enjoyed its content. Ben Horowitz (businessman, investor, blogger, author and most notably co-founder of the VC firm Andreessen Horowitz) explains what makes a good product manager. He introduces the article by saying “This document [is] probably not relevant for today’s product managers” but it’s wrong. Do read.

Thanks for reading!

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