My thoughts on Twitter's acquisition of Posterous

By now you've no doubt heard that Posterous has been acquired by Twitter. It's been a great run. I've loved every minute of being around Posterous. Here are a few personal highlights:

  • Written over 2,000 posts on Posterous since I joined three years ago. I also run 15 sites on Posterous.
  • Built and released 34 themes to Posterous users, racking up over 100,000,000 visits amongst those sites; also built all of Posterous' self-branded themes and ported over Metalab's themes from Tumblr
  • Started selling premium themes at themes.posterous.com, proving there is actually a market for premium Posterous themes
  • Created themes for Alexis Ohanian, Jenn Van Grove, Dell, The Onion, Arnold Schwarzenegger, + plenty of business users and organizations
  • And of course, created plenty of internal Posterous sites like 2012 Social Media Resolutions, the Switch to Posterous campaign, the old Help site, the former College Ambassadors campaign that eventually led to the hiring of Ryan Brown, + more
  • Met a ton of great people who I talk to on a daily basis. The friendships I've built as a result of using Posterous are irreplaceable.

I have to say a big thanks to Garry and Sachin for letting me tag along and work with them on so many fun projects!

While this acquisition is exciting for the team, many users are concerned about the future of the platform. Posterous is being vague about what will happen in the future. Until then, I'm going to continue using Posterous the way I always have.

However if they do choose to shut down in the future, I have no doubt a suitable replacement will rise. Dustin Curtis has been hard at work at his own minimalistic blogging platform that he currently uses at dcurt.isGooley and I have been working on an idea for a while now, where a blogging platform is a large component. It has the potential to do everything that Posterous does and so much more. (The scope of our idea is much larger.) Sign up to find out what it's all about.

My point is, if you're thinking about leaving Posterous now, don't rush to do it quite yet. There will be suitable alternatives. There's a reason Posterous users aren't already using Wordpress or Tumblr, and should Twitter shut down Posterous, there will be a void in the marketplace.

Regardless, I'm looking forward to what the Posterous team builds as a part of Twitter. They're a brilliant team who will do great things to further evolve the way we communicate.

Why Facebook shouldn't replace the Wall with Timeline

The other day on Facebook, I was visiting a friend's new Timeline and came across an interesting comment:

"Timeline makes Facebook SO confusing. It takes me back to Myspace days."

I mulled over that comment for a few days and now I have some thoughts.

Timeline is a great retrospective, but not a great way to live in the now.
Timeline is visually attractive, but far less usable. It doesn't work for people who live out their daily lives on Facebook. Its focus is on summarizing the past, not living out the present. People use Facebook to interact with friends about what's happening right now, not to browse through what they did between 2006-2011. Timeline is too much like a yearbook to be useful for people who live out their active lives on the social networking site.

The Facebook Wall and Newsfeed differ from Timeline in one very important way: they were one column.
Timeline is far less scannable and takes a lot more work to parse information because of the two-column format. Facebook is trying to solve an issue that's existed as long as social profiles have been around: how to fit more information (specifically status updates) on a screen. Unfortunately, it's just not natural to move the eyes down the screen in sometimes diagonal, sometimes horizontal patterns. What's worse is that it takes mental processing to figure out what post to look at next. The reason the Wall was so successful (along with Newsfeed) were because you didn't have to move your eyes. You could consume information by effortlessly scrolling down the page.

People left Myspace for Facebook because it was cleaner and simpler to use.
Because of the customization Myspace allowed, profiles were messy and out of control. The comment above is worrisome because it sounds like the average internet user is starting to feel the same way about Timeline as we used to feel about Myspace profiles: too cluttered, too busy, and not useful enough to be worth it.

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Overall the look and feel of Timeline is nice, and its definitely the most visually stunning product Facebook has built. But Timeline should be relegated to a retrospective view - something that strictly summarizes your life, not something that tries to play out every minute of life as it happens.

Putting my life into perspective

Elon Musk is pushing the human race forward

I admire Elon Musk because he is not afraid of taking on the challenge of solving big problems. He has an impressive resume, but I want to focus on Tesla Motors and SpaceX, which are two companies he founded using much of his own money. Through these companies, Musk is developing technological advances that are pushing the human race forward.

The work of Elon Musk’s companies makes the accomplishments of the average tech startup look trivial. Reading about Musk makes a person reconsider whether or not they should be working on improving ad performance on the Internet when he or she could be helping to put a man on Mars.

murtza.org

I haven't been able to get this post out of my head since it made it on Hacker News a couple weeks ago. It continually makes me put my life into perspective. Sure, I'm building cool things, but am I doing anything that will make any lasting impression on society?

Most people will agree that we don't all need to do (nor are capable of doing) something on the scale of Elon Musk. But personally, I'm not satisfied with settling with the scale of work I'm doing now (nothing against it). I just want to do something much, much bigger. I want to make it into history books for doing something great.

Look out, world. Here I come.

The biggest iOS 5 bug you've never heard of

There is a huge bug when Group Messaging is disabled in iOS 5. I'm shocked Apple hasn't fixed this yet.

Today a friend sent out a text message blast, announcing they got a new phone number. Shortly after, I got text messages from three random people I don't know. I was confused how these people got my number, but then I realized they were replies intended for my friend who sent out the text blast.

If you've ever used the Group Messaging feature, it's supposed to thread messages sent to groups, showing the person's name above their reply. But in order to use this feature, you have to explicitly enable Group Messaging.

If you don't enable Group Messaging, messages from anyone who replies will be sent as text messages to everyone on the thread. But what's worse: your reply will, unbeknownst to you, be sent to everyone on the group message. The problem is that there is absolutely no indication your reply will be sent to anyone other than the person you're replying to. If you don't have Group Messaging enabled, it's pretty cut and dry: your reply should not be sent to the entire group.

I kind assume this is an Apple backward compatibility "feature," but I'm not the only person surprised by how this works. In this Apple Support thread, representatives from both Apple and cell phone companies were shocked to discover replies get sent to everybody on the thread.

Apple really screwed up on this one. If you have Group Messaging disabled, you shouldn't be getting replies from people you don't know. But more importantly, your reply shouldn't be sent to a group of people without your knowledge.

The biggest err on Apple's side is the lack of communication of how this feature works. You can't just change how text messaging works without informing people. There needs to be instructions around the Group Messaging feature that explains if you turn the feature off, your reply can get sent to a whole host of people without your knowledge or intent.

Good vs. Excellent

I have a friend who is currently job searching. He's extremely qualified but keeps getting turned down for positions because his salary requirements are too high. While the rejection can be disappointing, getting turned down by employers who don't want to pay for an employee of his caliber is actually for the best. Here's why:

There is a difference between working for an employer who is willing to pay for a good employee vs. an excellent employee. And if you're excellent at what you do, you shouldn't want to settle for a company who would only pay you for a good job.

There was a time where I found myself without a fulltime job for a couple months. I could have easily settled for a lower-paying job instantly, but the reason I didn't wasn't because I was greedy or because I thought I was "above" lower-paying jobs - it was because I wanted to work for a company who recognized my value.

I believe I provide a very specific, and specialized service in the web industry. As such, I wanted to work for a company who saw the value in hiring a person with specialized skills such as myself, rather than hiring an average, more general designer. I was fortunate enough to find a company who understood that a person of my skill came with a higher price tag.

It's rare to find a company who holds this higher standard, but if you can find a company like that, it's totally worth it. You're going to find more satisfaction in the work you do, not because of the salary, but because you know the company recognizes every bit of value in your work - because they're paying the premium for it.