The Realities of Scaling and the Unintended Consequences of Habits


Slack_One Year Growth_Feb2015
Making Sense:

From learning to pay it, to trying to get it, attention has been the “it” concept of marketing and business. How will technology be the answer?

  • Attention: A Muscle to Strengthen. The Atlantic: Sood is a physician, a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic, no less. There he recently founded the Global Center for Resiliency and Wellbeing and is now taking to the Internet to teach people how to train their minds for a better life. One of the core elements of Sood’s practice is helping people to “create intentionality.” He describes the approach plainly: choosing where you deploy your attention and how you process information.
  • How consumer habits are subject to the law of unintended consequences. The Spectator: The conventional explanation for the decline of Tesco (beloved of accountants, city analysts and other members of the economic autisto-cracy) holds that cheap shops such as Lidl and Aldi undercut Tesco’s prices and so people deserted Tesco to save money (yawn). A more interesting explanation takes a complex view of human behaviour.

Making Do:

From scaling data in the physical world to scaling speed and effectiveness in product development, we are wrestling with the limitations of what we can do, and the constrains of what we know so far.

  • The Realities of Installing iBeacon to Scale. Brooklyn MuseumWe are using beacons from Estimote; we selected these units because the developer community is strong and we received consistently good customer service and communication from the Estimote team. Estimote has a standout SDK, too, which means we can develop tools to help us—the ability to create our own tools and fully integrate into ASK was critical.  In a market with many players, what we gained in these regards is unparalleled and we’d make the same choice today—both vendor and technology—even knowing the headaches we’ve been facing.
  • Lessons Learned from Scaling a Product Team. Intercom: We believe you achieve greatness in 1,000 small steps. Therefore we always optimise for shipping the fastest, smallest, simplest thing that will get us closer to our objective and help us learn what works. All our projects are scoped into small independent releases that add value to customers. Everyone should push everyone else to reduce scope and simplify, in order to move faster and not spend time on things that turn out not to be important.

Making It:

Blazing trails in digital is something we see in retrospect when we try new things – examples from going web-first with a show to identifying the three things your product is extremely good at doing.

  • How ‘The Daily Show with Jon Stewart’ conquered the social web. Mashable: By being forced to go digital when it did, Comedy Central was poised to benefit from another growing trend that was just starting to take off at this time: the modern age of social media. […] Within a few years, every major TV show — especially late-night entities — would take advantage of the social web. Videos started to get created with the web in mind. Share buttons got prominent placement in video players and brand and network accounts popped-up specifically to help the shows go viral and become discussed.
  • From 0 to $ 1B – Slack’s Founder Shares Their Epic Launch Strategy. First Round: Make Active Listening Your Core Competency As much information as Slack put out to customers, they learned even more themselves. Butterfield and his cofounders are voracious readers of user feedback, and they attribute much of the company’s rapid traction to this skill. From the get-go, Slack made sure that users could respond to every email they received, and approached every help ticket as an opportunity to solidify loyalty and improve the service. As they listened to their ever-growing flock of users, the Slack team iterated accordingly.

Conversation Agent – Valeria Maltoni


Teenage revenge porn is on the rise, and the consequences are dire



Some 24 percent of British teenagers have had nude images published online without their consent, according to a new study from the Ditch the Label anti-bullying group, which asked hundreds of young people about their experiences with cyber-bullying in the smartphone age.

The range of reactions among these people whose images were shared ran the expected gambit: 26 percent reported suicidal thoughts, 12 percent tried to kill themselves, and 5 percent left school or college. Some had positive reactions — a few reported feeling more attractive or confident after their images were shared — but the vast majority of them were distraught by the invasion of privacy.

The non-consensual publication of nude images has had similar effects in the United States. A 15-year-old girl from California committed suicide after she was sexually assaulted at a party and images taken during that assault were shared. Another from Steubenville, Ohio was harassed after images of her alleged rape were shared on a variety of social services, like Instagram.

But the images aren’t always taken without their subjects’ consent. Some are posted as what’s often labeled “revenge porn,” after the subject sent them deliberately to their significant other and later ended the relationship. The result of such privacy invasion is quite similar: the Huffington Post collected a series of (obviously unverified) stories about revenge porn’s ramifications posted to Reddit, and many of them aren’t “empowering” at all.

Some states have started criminalizing revenge porn. Ditch the Label recommends that the British government do the same, or at least make the laws concerning the non-consensual publication of someone’s nude photos more clear to young people, who are so devastatingly hurt when those images get passed around.  It also recommends that parents, schools, and universities educate young people on how to responsibly sext or how to handle these issues.

The problems aren’t confined to one country or another. They affect many of the people who use the Internet, and it’s clear that more needs to be done to protect young people from their former partners, hackers, and themselves. It’s also clear that this can’t all be blamed on teens deciding to take nude photographs; as the cases mentioned above show, the publication of nude images can lead to other assault. It’s not up to survivors to figure this out — it’s on society as a whole.

[illustration by Brad Jonas for Pando]