My Medium Drafts Folder

42 essays that never left the nest

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

When you press the “Write a story” button on Medium, it defaults to your Drafts folder, with your most recent draft on the top. This means I get a jolt every time I’m ready to write a story, because I wonder for a second “Oh gosh, did I accidentally post that?” So let’s announce them all here publicly and see what we find. It’ll be fun!

Apple Is Running Away With it

Who Can Catch Them?

Ungrateful New Zealanders

We’re not as united as you might think

30% and Good Design

Difficult Artists

If I Were Trump

How I’d get out of this hole he’s made for himself

Shadowbanning

What is shadow banning, and is it happening to some voices on Twitter?

Hello! Today I responded to your questions.

And what a great final question, gosh

Flattening the country

It was only supposed to be the curve that got flattened, not the whole country.

(Note: a right-wing politician in New Zealand wrote a screed against Jacinda Ardern and New Zealand’s handling of Covid, but it was PDF-only unless you paid him money. So I scraped it so I could publish it for everyone, which is what this is. As a follow-up, I was in the process of debunking everything page by page. For the record, I do not believe Jacinda Arden flattened New Zealand when she encouraged short term sacrifice in order to escape a public health disaster.)

Welcome to the Alphero Forecast

Sharing what’s on our radar

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An Open Letter to Those Who Request Innovative Breakthroughs

Dear Sir or Madam,

A Society Without News

A thought exercise

VR is Good At Showing You Things

What would you say if someone asked you about pragmatic uses of VR, the sorts of things you could pitch to a client? Right off the bat…

Editors

I had a surprising and wonderful thing happen to me a few months ago. One of my favourite ideas was written into a speculative…

Don’t Try To Be Different, Try To Be Good.

Today we’re going to design a company from scratch, starting from the software that runs it.

Spotify and Apple’s Spat, Summarised

A lot of people love Spotify, and a lot of people love Apple. That’s what leads to unproductive religious wars, so I’d like to jot down…

1. From the heart

I loved putting together the first issue of Near Future Field Notes

Design Explosions #1: Mapping on iOS

There’s a copy in my drafts folder, but the real thing ended up here.

I Have No Idea What I’m Talking About: Ageing

I Have No Idea What I’m Talking About: Loyalty

I’m in the middle of a series of essays by Ann Pachett called This Is A Happy Marriage. At one point she says her book Truth & Beauty…

I Have No Idea What I’m Talking About: Fashion

This is part of an ongoing series. Some topics such as race, feminism, and writing a musical are about topics that I genuinely…

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Here Is Where I Will Write

And here is a subhead

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Meet the Freedom Caucus

Dear Ev and Julien

[Note: This one is a great time capsule from 2015, so I’m going to post it]

Hi Ev and Julien!

Julien, good on you for the passion. Ev, it’s cool seeing you respond. And hurray for Medium where I can quickly jot a response ☺

Ev, I agree with your original post 100%. And Julien, I understand and relate to the “fight for an open internet!” angle. I’ve been doing this for a long time, and things like letting me export my data and open APIs and so forth are very important to me.

But something I think open source advocates sometimes miss (and I am one) is that the closed systems often work better. Not in every case, of course, but here’s an example:

I’ve hosted things on my own domain since 1997 and I had websites back in 1994 or 1995. But I’ve never been able to make something as beautiful and network effect-y as Medium. I doubt I eever will. And we need to factor that in too. Medium is quote-unquote closed since it’s a company, trying to make money, with a team of people working on features, holding onto my data in the cloud. And for me as a writer and a user, it’s better than hosting on my own, full stop.

Human beings have to be picky with where they spend their time. Learning Python for 3 hours is 3 hours you’re not spending writing. Spending several weeks getting the underlines just so on every browser that visits Medium is awesome, but only feasible if done by a specialized team who can make everyone’s experience better at once. Like the “bicycle for the mind” metaphor, it’s important to do work that can affect everyone positively rather than making everyone do it on their own.

So if fully open means “everyone does it themselves, meaning the quality bar is lower” and fully closed means “it’s impossible to do anything without a big business,” I’m pretty pleased with where we are. I can hack something together all by myself, and own it fully. Or I can lean on the work done by companies like Medium to save time and hit a higher quality bar.

I have a few things I’d love to see Medium do:

  • Let me host on my own domain
  • Let me charge for content. Build Patreon right in.

But in the meantime, I consider Medium a fantastic counter-example to the race to the bottom linkbait that’s existed for so many years. Every company needs to evolve and grow, but Medium should understand how important “not sucking” actually is. And on that front they should be very proud, even as they work to figure out the next thing.

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Your App Is Good And You Should Feel Good

Most people have a pretty visceral reaction to seeing a huge cockroach. Paul Rozin did a study where he took a sterilized

Those Who Would Tear You Down

Sometimes I like to imagine what would happen if the greats had company. What if everyone on the planet had written as much as

Salaries Cost Money

Ello is a new social network. Yesterday a friend asked what I thought about it and I said I like creative new things. The internet needs…

How I Love Medium

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I Have No Idea Who Hank Green Is

XOXO has a tabletop gaming night. I played lots of games this year, one of which is called These French Fries Are Terrible Hot Dogs by…

The Two Clubs

You know how some people can’t stand losing? It happens to all of us, and none of us like it, but some people take it really hard.

I’m Tired of the Number Games

Sighing About Android

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Android

Copies & Originals

On Mellowing

I love building things.

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