The Lede

So, Elon Musk is buying Twitter and the Internet was full of hot takes nearly every day last week. In the spirit of the moment, let me offer my “wait-and-see” not-hot-take.

The two pieces I’ll lead with today highlight the dangers of the push for engagement as the top metric, grounded in history, research, and common sense. Twitter is broken - first, because they tried to bolt on a “tried-and-true” advertising model on top of a unique product, and, second, because engagement as a primary motivation fosters performative outrage and behavior.

So, as you read the hot takes, start with the premise that Twitter, the product, is fundamentally broken already. The problems that come with engagement-first models are rampant: bots, brigading, etc. The horrible people folks are worried Musk’s ownership will encourage are already there. Enjoying Twitter takes active curation and work. Musk just can’t make it that much worse in the short term.

IMHO - better products begin with utility first, the conceit of every product methodology out there - “as a user I’d like to…” I’m pretty sure most Twitter users don’t want to end up as the Internet’s main character of the day… unless you’re Elon Musk.

So, that’s my hot take: Does Musk have a product vision that’s worth $44 billion, or is being the Internet’s perpetual main character worth that much to him? His personal financial exposure and accomplishments make me hope he has some plan here that’s better for society.

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Maker & Home Automation

  • paperd.ink: I backed this project back when they tried to crowdfund it. I built something similar myself for a desktop dashboard a few months ago. This looks like it’s all in one package. A little pricey, but not a terrible deal if you want to get an all-in-one product that doesn’t need assembly. It has an ESP32 inside, and exposes the hardware/IO as a nice pin connector on the back. It looks pretty nice.