August 22, 2021

Lessons from COVIDSafe

Dr Lesley Seebeck on fire in InnovationAus. She’s writing about government but this applies to all large bureaucratic organisations.

1. Technology isn’t just about technology

A fundamental lesson of running a technology shop is that most apparently technical faults aren’t technical in nature but organisational.

A technical failure’, for example, may expose how after a reorganisation, no-one had assumed responsibility for backing up key systems, or that a long-departed contractor had hard-coded passwords.

2. There’s a talent deficit

And the deficit is on the tech side and the policy side.

Twenty years of outsourcing, combined with a continued erosion of public service knowledge and rapid technological change” means that government is just bad at doing tech.

But more techies’ alone won’t help much. Technologists need to be exposed to the complexity of policy and delivery; policy and program managers need to understand the nature, opportunities, constraints, and weaknesses of technology.

Ministers, too, have a responsibility to be much more familiar with technology than they are now. They need to learn to avoid optimism bias, be wary of vendor promises, and be willing to listen to the practicalities of complex design and implementation.

3. There’s a governance deficit

Given the fusing of policy, programs and technology, government needs an appropriate means of oversight—one that has a good grasp of technology and the economic, societal, and national security implications in design, implementation, and operation.

August 22, 2021

Figma’s Mission

The mission today is simple: As Google Docs did for word processing and GitHub for code, so Figma is doing for design. The entire economy is going from physical to digital, and design is just the latest chapter,” Field says. And design is a team sport—it’s collaborative by nature.”

– Alex Konrad in Forbes: How Figma Became Design’s Hottest Startup, Valued At $10 Billion

Design” as a short-hand for UI design is always irritating, and this also ignores service design etc.

August 19, 2021

Four connected shifts

  1. Every application category is getting rebuilt as a SaaS product because it allows continuous development and deployment.
  2. Everything needs native collaboration, so the idea that there is one file that gets saved in one place is going away.
  3. Everyone is online now; everyone assumes every part of their life can be done with a smartphone.
  4. Tasks that weren’t done in software before are being shifted into software.

– Ben Evans, New Productivity

August 18, 2021

To be curious is to be empowered

And this is another way that Sudeikis and Ted Lasso are alike, because both are always learning and relearning this lesson, which is: Be curious. Both are philosophical men whose philosophies basically boil down to trying to live as decent a life as is possible. Not just for the sake of it but because to be curious—to find out something new about yourself or someone else—is to be empowered.

(via GQ)

August 18, 2021 jasonesky
August 16, 2021


A whole bunch of AI tools were developed to help” with Covid.

They were… less than good.

some AIs were found to be picking up on the text font that certain hospitals used to label the scans. As a result, fonts from hospitals with more serious caseloads became predictors of covid risk.