My point in writing the post is essentially twofold. First, collectively as a citizenry we’ve gone the last decade signing off on any number of things that would earlier have been considered unthinkable in the interests of preventing terrorist attacks. Whatever your political persuasion or level of risk aversion, we’re collectively on the line for that. And it not only includes vast levels of expense and loss of life. It also involves a number of things that seem patently unconstitutional and a few others that probably count as war crimes. So having the pat-downs being the final straw is just comical at some level. Really, at a lot of levels. And that’s the case whether you think the earlier stuff was crazy already or if you think that this is just another thing we need to buck up and take.
Second, there’s an unmistakable pattern. At least in a political context, the folks getting the most ACLU-ey about this are the ones who were the most gung-ho about warrantless wiretaps, torture, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and (hopefully to them) Syria and Iran too. There’s an unmistakable element here of here of people getting much more bummed out about something that affects them directly, physically than someone that goes on half way around the world or to someone Muslim guy getting water-boarded. For these folks though there’s an even clearer distinction. This is something that is at least nominally authorized by a Democratic president, which makes all the difference in the world.
“The infant death rate in east central Edmonton is roughly on par with that of Thailand and Latvia; we rank a tiny bit better than Sri Lanka, but a little bit worse than Belarus.”— Edmonton Journal: Paula Simons
“Facebook is the new Google – as in, they are building up an army of the best damn software developers on the planet. But having great engineers is not enough. Microsoft, Google, and Facebook have each had a monopoly on great engineers for a period of time. But engineers want to solve hard problems – to build abstractions – to unify 3 different things that seem kinda similar. But this has nothing to do with solving real user problems, which is what Apple excels at.”—
I think another way to put this is that the traditional Silicon Valley recruiting arms race focuses on the wrong problem: it treats engineering talent as the pearl of great price, when in fact it’s actually taste. After a certain point, stockpiling “rockstar” engineers doesn’t help anymore, and in fact it can actually hurt by focusing the company’s priorities through an engineering, rather than product design, lens. Unfortunately, buying engineering talent is straightforward, while buying taste is almost impossible—as I’ve heard Adam Lisagor say, “taste is the most expensive thing there is.”