Photo Courtesy Haas School of Business, U.C. Berkeley

Berkeley had a problem. Cars coming off the I-80/580 interchange were overwhelming a narrow residential street, causing delays and accidents. A citizen petitioned the City Council to create a 4 way stop at Gilman St and Peralta Avenue. This was approved by the council, referred to the City staff, and then languished. The city was overwhelmed with requests from the council and constituents and requested that the council prioritize their concerns.

Photo by Michael Jasmund on Unsplash

It’s been raining a lot in Oakland recently, and somehow the keypad on the condo security panel shorted out and no longer works. This means that my old method of using Twilio to dial a passcode to let me into the building no longer works.

I can open a call to the Twilio number, but I can’t use dial tones — but what about voice? Surely there’s a solution for speech to text and then it can be like Sneakers!

Enter Twilio Autopilot. The quickstart is a great way to get up to speed. This article will give you…

Feature flags are an essential part of the modern web application. Decoupling the activation of features from deployment means there are fewer things to worry about at deploy time, teams can deliver features to customers, and segment features to specific audiences.

Client Side flags present a security problem — what if a user tries to see what feature flags another user has? A poorly named feature flag might describe unreleased features, or worse expose administrative elements to regular users.

At MediaMath, we use Launch Darkly for feature flagging. To address the client side flags issue the Launch Darkly Javascript SDK…

This article is a response to Clay Shentrup’s

The Purpose of Tax

Clay lists:

There are precisely two reasons for any tax or subsidy. They are:
1. To directly affect the welfare of the recipient.
2. To address an externality (Pigovian taxes/subsidies).

This is the foundation of the flaws in his argument against the Land Value Tax. Taxes do not exist to address externalities or affect the welfare of the recipient — they exist to raise money for the government. …

Kong is pretty cool. Auth0 is pretty cool. They should work together. This guide details the fastest way to get your APIs to validate JWT tokens issued by Auth0.


  • Create a Auth0 account. The account name is referred to “COMPANYNAME” for the sake of the guide.
  • Setup a Kong instance on your machine. This guide assumes a brand new blank instance.
  • Install httpie — a http command line utility built for humans (unlike curl).


  1. Create an API $ http POST :8001/apis name=example-api upstream_url=
  2. Add the JWT Plugin $ http POST :8001/apis/example-api/plugins name=jwt
  3. Download your Auth0 account certificate $ http…

Read the original here

Felix Sargent started his career as a developer and now works at Rackspace as a product manager

How did you become a product manager? During one development project, I was the person who ended up facilitating the discussions about what to build and the kind of work that entailed. I worked to create consensus and made sure everyone’s opinions were heard. Afterward, my manager asked me if I wanted to be the product manager. Strangely, I wanted to be a product manager since I was young. My brother, who is 11 years older, moved from England…

Your backlog is too long. You know it, your team knows it. There are things in there from two years ago, collecting dust, feeling neglected. Issues that may or may not have been fixed, long forgotten festering in the unprioritized dungeon of your backlog. Delete them.

“As a database, I would like to support Acme Standard ZXY 2.17–3"
No value, no stakeholder. What does ZXY 2.17–3 do? What does that even mean? Delete it.

Product Managers often use the Backlog as a notepad. A place to jot down tasks before they slip from consciousness into a vaguely nagging feeling of…

There’s nothing quite like a promotion to both stroke the ego and demolish one’s comfortable sense of security.

I had been a Python developer for a few years, but never felt as able as my team mates. I was always learning, but never felt as though I was playing towards my strengths. My manager pulls me in to a conference room. “Felix, we need a Technical Product Manager. Are you interested?” “… Sure!”

But the champagne celebration quickly turns into dry-mouthed realization: I have no idea what I am supposed to be doing.

I try remembering what the product managers…

Escape the Tech Bubble: Volunteer

I recently spent a week being a camp counselor for a group of 10- and 11-year-olds at Camp Okizu. The mission of Okizu is to provide peer support, respite, mentoring and recreational programs to meet the needs of all members of families affected by childhood cancer. Okizu offers week-long camps to children with cancer, as well as their siblings, in addition to weekend “family camps” that serve as occasions where parents can come together and share their experiences caring for a child with cancer.

I first heard about Okizu when I was working at Salesforce…

I live in a condo secured by incredibly expensive RFID Fobs. They cost ~$50 to replace, and ages to come. I have a tendency to leave my keys around, locking myself out. I would end up dialing my own door number, which would then ring my phone, to let myself in.

Instead, I wanted to have my doorbell require a password, and open if it passed. This way I could give the password to friends, who could let themselves in.

I needed to create a new telephone number, and hook that up to listen for a specific passcode. …

Felix Sargent

Chair @ Center for Election Science. Not really an antagonist.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store