Tag: links

Friday flurries

It’s been a busy week, but I’ve still found time to unearth these gems…

  • The Dark Psychology of Social Networks (The Atlantic) — “The philosophers Justin Tosi and Brandon Warmke have proposed the useful phrase moral grandstanding to describe what happens when people use moral talk to enhance their prestige in a public forum. Like a succession of orators speaking to a skeptical audience, each person strives to outdo previous speakers, leading to some common patterns. Grandstanders tend to “trump up moral charges, pile on in cases of public shaming, announce that anyone who disagrees with them is obviously wrong, or exaggerate emotional displays.” Nuance and truth are casualties in this competition to gain the approval of the audience. Grandstanders scrutinize every word spoken by their opponents—and sometimes even their friends—for the potential to evoke public outrage. Context collapses. The speaker’s intent is ignored.”
  • Live Your Best Life—On and Off Your Phone—in 2020 (WIRED) — “It’s your devices versus your best life. Just in time for a new decade, though, several fresh books offer a more measured approach to living in the age of technology. These are not self-help books, or even books that confront our relationship with technology head-on. Instead, they examine the realities of a tech-saturated world and offer a few simple ideas for rewriting bad habits, reviewing the devices we actually need, and relearning how to listen amid all the noise.”
  • People Who Are Obsessed With Success and Prestige (Bennett Notes) — “What does it look like to be obsessed with success and prestige? It probably looks a lot like me at the moment. A guy who starts many endeavors and side projects just because he wants to be known as the creator of something. This a guy who wants to build another social app, not because he has an unique problem that’s unaddressed, but because he wants to be the cool tech entrepreneur who everyone admires and envies. This is a guy who probably doesn’t care for much of what he does, but continues to do so for the eventual social validation of society and his peers.”
  • The Lesson to Unlearn (Paul Graham) — “Merely talking explicitly about this phenomenon is likely to make things better, because much of its power comes from the fact that we take it for granted. After you’ve noticed it, it seems the elephant in the room, but it’s a pretty well camouflaged elephant. The phenomenon is so old, and so pervasive. And it’s simply the result of neglect. No one meant things to be this way. This is just what happens when you combine learning with grades, competition, and the naive assumption of unhackability.”
  • The End of the Beginning (Stratechery) — “[In consumer-focused startups] few companies are pure “tech” companies seeking to disrupt the dominant cloud and mobile players; rather, they take their presence as an assumption, and seek to transform society in ways that were previously impossible when computing was a destination, not a given. That is exactly what happened with the automobile: its existence stopped being interesting in its own right, while the implications of its existence changed everything.”
  • Populism Is Morphing in Insidious Ways (The Atlantic) — “If the 2010s were the years in which predominantly far-right, populist parties permeated the political mainstream, then the 2020s will be when voters “are going to see the consequences of that,” Daphne Halikiopoulou, an associate professor of comparative politics at the University of Reading, in England, told me.”
  • It’s the network, stupid: Study offers fresh insight into why we’re so divided (Ars Technica) — “There is no easy answer when it comes to implementing structural changes that encourage diversity, but today’s extreme polarization need not become a permanent characteristic of our cultural landscape. “I think we need to adopt new skills as we are transitioning into a more complex, more globalized, and more interconnected world, where each of us can affect far-away parts of the world with our actions,” said Galesic.”
  • Memorizing Lists of Cognitive Biases Won’t Help (Hapgood) — “But if you want to change your own behavior, memorizing long lists of biases isn’t going to help you. If anything it’s likely to just become another weapon in your motivated reasoning arsenal. You can literally read the list of biases to see why reading the list won’t work.”
  • How to get more done by doing less (Fast Company) — “Sometimes, the secret to doing more isn’t optimizing every minute, but finding the things you can cull from your schedule. That way, you not only reduce the time you spend on non-essential tasks, but you can also find more time for yourself.”

Image via xkcd

We’re back (with lots of new links!)

After a wonderful August, travelling with my family and taking time off from Thought Shrapnel, I’m back.

This is the 420th post here. I collect potential posts as drafts, which means I’ve currently got a backlog of 157 potential posts. Obviously, the vast majority of those are never going to see the light of day, so I thought I’d just link to them below.

Here’s a list of 10 articles from each of the first six months of 2018. They’re links that I never got around to writing about, but I think might interest you. Note that I’ve listed them in terms of when I discovered them, which is not necessarily when they were originally published.


  1. Fake News about the Future of Education
  2. Social Media Has Hijacked Our Brains and Threatens Global Democracy
  3. 10 New Principles Of Good Design
  4. Want to Change the World With Your Business? Grow Slow
  5. How children’s TV went from Blue Peter to YouTube’s wild west
  6. Autopsy of a Failed Holacracy: Lessons in Justice, Equity, and Self-Management
  7. The Great Attention Heist
  8. Android Users: To Avoid Malware, Try the F-Droid App Store
  9. Showing Off to the Universe: Beacons for the Afterlife of Our Civilization
  10. Will tech giants move on from the internet, now we’ve all been harvested?


  1. Your Pills Are Spying On You
  2. The Olympics are a mass propaganda tool for countries to assimilate their citizens
  3. Truly open education will require sweeping changes
  4. The media exaggerates negative news. This distortion has consequences
  5. Humanity’s Biggest Machines Will Be Built in Space
  6. The usefulness of dread
  7. The Internet Isn’t Forever
  8. Algorithmic Wilderness
  9. Are We Ready For a Post-Work World?
  10. If the elite ever cared about the have-nots, that didn’t last long


  1. Education in the (Dis)Information Age
  2. How Tiny Red Dots Took Over Your Life
  3. If you’re so smart, why aren’t you rich? Turns out it’s just chance.
  4. Twitter is not a public utility
  5. The Grim Conclusions of the Largest-Ever Study of Fake News
  6. Small, Regular Doses of Caffeine Offer the Biggest Mental Boost
  7. Bitcoin Is Ridiculous. Blockchain Is Dangerous.
  8. Beyond the Tree Octopus – Why we need a new view of k12 (digital) literacy in a Cambridge Analytica world
  9. I work therefore I am: why businesses are hiring philosophers
  10. Critical Thinking for Educators


  1. Researchers develop device that can ‘hear’ your internal voice
  2. 12 Things Everyone Should Understand About Tech
  3. What Comes After The Social Media Empires
  4. Coming up with a title
  5. Eminent Philosophers Name the 43 Most Important Philosophy Books Written Between 1950-2000: Wittgenstein, Foucault, Rawls & More
  6. An Open Education Reader
  7. Against metrics: how measuring performance by numbers backfires
  8. Say Goodbye To The Information Age: It’s All About Reputation Now
  9. Why co-operative education needs a rethink
  10. A Modest Guide to Productivity


  1. Alfie’s Army, misinformation and propaganda: The need for critical media literacy in a mediated world
  2. Hot Prospect: Designer Richard Holbrook’s Three-Year Quest to Understand the World’s Most Creative Companies
  3. Chromebooks are ready for your next coding project
  4. Tech firms can’t keep our data forever: we need a Digital Expiry Date
  5. How to achieve happiness and balance as a remote worker
  6. Create Kid Skills for Alexa
  7. Should Africa let Silicon Valley in?
  8. Autocrypt: convenient end-to-end encryption for email
  9. Scouts’ new visual identity designed to diversify membership
  10. A cartoon intro to DNS over HTTPS


  1. Do platforms work?
  2. Why read Aristotle today?
  3. The Uncertain Future of OER
  4. Chatbots were the next big thing: what happened?
  5. The Theology of Consensus
  6. Building a Cooperative Economy
  7. What’s right for your company? Decision making in 3 different organizational structures
  8. The ethics of ceding more power to machines
  9. UTC is Enough for Everyone… Right?
  10. It’s impossible to lead a totally ethical life—but it’s fun to try

Please consider supporting this work via Patreon. It’s the best way of demonstrating your appreciation for Doug’s time and effort, and ensures that Thought Shrapnel keeps going — not just for you, but for everyone. 👍

Some great links for Product Managers

As I’ve mentioned before, my new role at Moodle is essentially one of a product manager. I’ve done things which overlap the different elements of the role before but never had them in this combination:

Product managers are responsible for guiding the success of a product and leading the cross-functional team that is responsible for improving it. It is an important organizational role — especially in technology companies — that sets the strategy, roadmap, and feature definition for a product or product line. The position may also include marketing, forecasting, and profit and loss (P&L) responsibilities. In many ways, the role of a product manager is similar in concept to a brand manager at a consumer packaged goods company.

As a result, I found this list of resources from Product Manager HQ very useful. I reckon I’d come across about 50% of the tools and apps listed before, so I’m looking forward to exploring the other half!

Here’s a few that I hadn’t heard of before:

Mockingbird: Helps you you create and share clickable wireframes. Use it to make mockups of your website or application in minutes.

TinyPM: Lightweight and smart agile collaboration tool with product management, backlog, taskboard, user stories and wiki.

Roadmunk: Visual roadmap software for product management.

Sprint.ly: Agile project management software for your whole team.

UXCam: Allows you to eliminate customer struggle and improve user experience by capturing and visualizing screen video and user interaction data.

The definition at the top of this post comes from a whole guide put together for new Product Managers by Aha!

Sources: Aha! / Product Manager HQ