I arrive in San Diego on Wednesday afternoon via a packed Pacific Surfliner. There’s a general air of weary anticipation onboard, as though we are already tired of something we actively signed up for. The crowd is wall-to-wall pop culture references, shirts and hats and bags, dotted with a handful of confused people I can only describe as Very Southern California: tan, breezy, and apparently unaware they booked a ticket on the train to Comic-Con.
This time last year, I was in crisis mode. I think a lot of us were. There was something paralyzing about the anticipation—and the uncertainty—of the shape of the year that would follow. In moments of personal crisis, I lose all sense of time and scale; it’s impossible for me to look past the present moment, to even abstractly conceive of the weeks, months, or years to come. There was a bit of that for me as 2016 came to a close. Intellectually you know you can’t stay in this unsustainable mental space forever—but you can’t begin to imagine how and when you’ll emerge from it.
Is Facebook a monopoly? This week Paul Ford and Rich Ziade tackle the 2-billion-user elephant in the room and go back and forth on two big questions: whether Facebook violates antitrust laws and should be broken up, and how the platform (or its regulators) can solve its rampant fake news problem. Topics covered include what “breaking up” Facebook would even look like, how the platform might verify news sources, separating news from satire, and the general public’s ambivalence about privacy and security.
Paul: This is the equivalent of a giant foreign entity, right? …
Paul Ford: Hi, you're listening to Track Changes, the podcast of Postlight, a digital product studio at 101 Fifth Avenue in New York City. My name is Paul Ford, and I'm the co-founder and co-host of Track Changes.
Rich Ziade: And I am Richard Ziade, the other co-founder.
Paul: Rich, tell the people what we do.
Rich: Postlight builds stuff, Paul. Um...
Paul: Stuff. What kind of stuff?
Rich: Stuff. Sophisticated, high-scale software. Web applications, mobile applications, and engines underneath that power them. …
From the front lines of the podcast boom: this week Paul Ford and Rich Ziade talk to Matt Lieber, co-founder of Gimlet Media, one of the most successful podcast studios in the industry. Topics covered include the company’s origin (and the podcast that chronicled its founding), how Gimlet recruits and trains its editors, the trajectory of the medium, why you shouldn’t play favorites amongst your employees, and how Matt has been re-cast as a sleazy door-to-door salesman in an upcoming ABC comedy produced, directed by, and starring Zach Braff.
Paul: My name is Paul Ford. I am…
Paul Ford: Hi, you’re listening to Track Changes, the podcast of Postlight, a digital product studio at 101 Fifth Avenue in New York City. My name is Paul Ford. I am the co-host of Track Changes and the co-founder of Postlight.
Matt Lieber: What is Postlight, Paul?
Paul: [laughter] Aw yes!
Rich Ziade: Damn, he came right in.
Paul: I know. Postlight is a digital product studio. That means that if you’re holding something in your hand, like an app, or you’re looking at a big platform, or doing something…
Is there a way to fix LinkedIn? This week Paul Ford and Rich Ziade return to one of their favorite hate-topics: LinkedIn is, in Paul’s words, “a remarkable affront to everything that we care about and believe in.” They discuss “human spam,” UX gripes with the platform, Paul’s methods for “killing the virus” to eliminate certain types of social connectors, resumes, and various suggestions for improving the product — including a $100 offer to anyone who can build a Chrome extension to implement their ideas.
Paul: Here’s the problem, at a party, somebody gives you their business…
Paul Ford: Hi, this is Track Changes, the official podcast of Postlight, a digital product studio at 101 Fifth Avenue in New York City. We build your apps, we build your web platforms, and your responsive web applications. We’re good at all of it. React, React Native, design —
Rich Ziade: And then some!
Paul: Oh my goodness. There’s my co-founder, Rich Ziade.
Rich: You didn’t say your name.
Paul: Everybody knows my name. I’m Paul Ford, the other co-founder
Rich: Buh-buh-buh-buh. [laughter] “Why wasn’t I consulted?” Uh…
Fan culture // books // etc. Editor: How We Get to Next. Digital projects: New Yorker. Co-host of Fansplaining & co-curator of The Rec Center.