Links I liked (edition #1)

Hello.

I read a few hundred blogs. Mostly it’s pretty ephemeral stuff, but sometimes it’s worth sharing with a wider audience.  So in the style of Chris Blattman’s “Links I liked” and O’Reilly Radar’s “Four short links”, here are some things on the Internet that are worth reading.

Lots of people have written about how the Obama campaign used technology.  Very little of it is worth reading, apart from this interview with Daniel Ryan and this profile of Harper Reed and the Obama for America tech team.

Remember letter writing?  People wrote letters, this guy typed them in, and now you can read them on his website. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, etc.

The Indigo Trust is unusual among grant-giving charitable trusts.  They blog about what they fund and why they fund it.  More foundations and trusts should do this.

Steve Blank writes a lovely blog about his experiences starting and growing technology businesses in the USA – but it has plenty of wise words for non-US, non-tech entrepreneurs too. (Why read this guy and not the other 5,000,000 people who blog about entrepreneurship? Partly because he did it 7 or 8 times and made his investors and colleagues lots of money, and partly because he writes pretty well.) It’s well worth reading through the entire blog if you have a couple of hours to spare. Put very simply, he advises entrepreneurs to spend time with potential customers to work out what they actually need and what they will actually buy.  Then, and only then, invest significant amounts of time and/or money to develop the product and scale up the business. See also https://www.gov.uk/starting-up-a-business – a succinct, common sense approach in line with Steve Blank’s advice, and some UK-specific information on starting a company, registering your intellectual property, etc.

[Warning: This next link is very geeky!] My friend Adam works on web security at Google.  He gave a talk recently about a new way for website owners to reliably know about all the SSL certificates that have been issued by certificate authorities for a given Internet domain name (including certs that shouldn’t have been issued). If you understood any of that, read the transcript of the talk.

And finally, a slightly unfocused, meandering but nonetheless enjoyable article about the New Yorker magazine’s fact-checking process, and a chat with the editor, David Remnick.

(I’ll do another list in a few days, but this one is already getting quite long. Also, I didn’t note down where I first saw these links, so I can’t give the correct attribution. Sorry about that.)

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