Morning Tea #7: oops Facebook, Amazon’s weird UI, make (and lose) $1k in 5 days
I’ve been enjoying meeting some excellent people for some of our open roles. It’s energising to hear that they’re interested in what we’re working on and I’m looking forward to (hopefully!) having some of them on our growing team.
The transformation of carbon credits (through reforestation, sequestration, or otherwise) into tradeable commodities through the application of crypto looks like an important piece of the puzzle in decarbonising physical energy, the wider energy value chain, as well as other carbon-intensive industries. The programmable properties of blockchain assets, energy-efficient platforms like Solana, and the maturity of decentralised exchanges come together to open up a world of opportunity in this space.
Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and other constituents of the blob have been down for several hours at the time of writing. It’s strangely peaceful working at my computer knowing that the attention hole has been temporarily closed, but I’m not sure it’s worth the lack of WhatsApp.
Twitter is having a field day with Squid Game memes as all dopamine-starved Facebook users reactivate their dormant Twitter accounts with 3 followers and an egg display picture.
It appears to be a DNS thing resulting from a faulty routing update. Essentially, the facebook.com didn’t really lead anywhere. But now the problem appears to be organisational rather than technical — the people with physical data center access are not the same people with knowledge of how to fix it.
Apparently, it runs pretty deep — people are locked out of IoT-managed conference rooms, no emails, and certainly no Farmville. As one Twitter user eloquently put it “sounds like a million-dollar a second problem”.
Amazon’s weird UI
Amazon is a total behemoth of value creation, is one of the most valuable companies the world has ever seen, has upended commerce in a historically significant way, and employs 0.25% of the US population. It also has a bad UI.
In clothing, it is diabolical. I recently bought a pair of these (before you joke, yes they were actually cheaper than buying a matching pair) and, as a responsible, rational, price-sensitive consumer, I checked the price on Amazon. You can play along if you like — search ‘Nike Pegasus 38 men’. Here you are presented with 39 results, of which around 20 are slightly different listings for the same shoes. Some are from Amazon, some are not from Amazon, some include a few colours and sizes, some don’t, some are shipped from the other side of the world. Some are not actually for sale at all. Choose an item — ’10 UK’ and ‘size 10 UK’ are apparently not the same and are each available in different colours. Click a colour, and the size list has changed — now you may buy a size ‘9.5’, a ‘9.5 UK’, or a ‘size 44’.
You could argue that the UI is ugly, but it’s better than an overly responsive animated nightmare. It’s fairly lightweight so clicking around is speedy and if they just fixed the (substantially) awful bits it would be supremely functional.
UI matters. Kayak, a company that was eventually acquired by Priceline for $1.8bn, was built on UI. Their initial product was literally a nice UI on top of other travel search sites. I wonder how much Amazon is leaving on the table with the state of its UI, and whether it’s a calculated decision to capture some enormous amount of value elsewhere. Maybe, just maybe, a $1.6tn company doesn’t really care where I buy my trainers.
How to make (and lose) $1k in 5 days
Last week, I wondered how easy it would be to make $1k trading shitcoins. Quite easy apparently. Almost as easy as losing it all immediately.
I noticed a trend of re-basing tokens whose price is certain to increase with time. This is done by burning a portion of outstanding tokens every now and then. Of course, this has no effect on the value of your holdings, it just makes a nice looking graph. However, this trick sends the coin to the top of crypto listing websites — quite effective free marketing.
So, I put $100 in the latest copycat token to launch. A few hours later, $70. Fine — sell it, add it to the Bitcoin stash, and chalk it up to experience. However, before I got round to it, it doubled. Over the following 48 hours or so, it bounced around (significantly) before my stake hit a value of $1,100.
The next few days were a lesson in the slow and volatile death of an (ultimately worthless, if we’re honest) asset. My holdings fell all the way back down to $100. It was a fun ride.
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