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Stephen Moore

Stephen Moore

1 year ago

A Meta-Reversal: Zuckerberg's $71 Billion Loss 

More on Technology

Sukhad Anand

Sukhad Anand

1 year ago

How Do Discord's Trillions Of Messages Get Indexed?

They depend heavily on open source..

Photo by Alexander Shatov on Unsplash

Discord users send billions of messages daily. Users wish to search these messages. How do we index these to search by message keywords?

Let’s find out.

  1. Discord utilizes Elasticsearch. Elasticsearch is a free, open search engine for textual, numerical, geographical, structured, and unstructured data. Apache Lucene powers Elasticsearch.

  2. How does elastic search store data? It stores it as numerous key-value pairs in JSON documents.

  3. How does elastic search index? Elastic search's index is inverted. An inverted index lists every unique word in every page and where it appears.

4. Elasticsearch indexes documents and generates an inverted index to make data searchable in near real-time. The index API adds or updates JSON documents in a given index.

  1. Let's examine how discord uses Elastic Search. Elasticsearch prefers bulk indexing. Discord couldn't index real-time messages. You can't search posted messages. You want outdated messages.

6. Let's check what bulk indexing requires.
1. A temporary queue for incoming communications.
2. Indexer workers that index messages into elastic search.

  1. Discord's queue is Celery. The queue is open-source. Elastic search won't run on a single server. It's clustered. Where should a message go? Where?

8. A shard allocator decides where to put the message. Nevertheless. Shattered? A shard combines elastic search and index on. So, these two form a shard which is used as a unit by discord. The elastic search itself has some shards. But this is different, so don’t get confused.

  1. Now, the final part is service discovery — to discover the elastic search clusters and the hosts within that cluster. This, they do with the help of etcd another open source tool.

A great thing to notice here is that discord relies heavily on open source systems and their base implementations which is very different from a lot of other products.

Tom Smykowski

Tom Smykowski

1 year ago

CSS Scroll-linked Animations Will Transform The Web's User Experience

We may never tap again in ten years.

I discussed styling websites and web apps on smartwatches in my earlier article on W3C standardization.

The Parallax Chronicles

Section containing examples and flying objects

Another intriguing Working Draft I found applies to all devices, including smartphones.

These pages may have something intriguing. Take your time. Return after scrolling:

What connects these three pages?

JustinWick at English Wikipedia • CC-BY-SA-3.0

Scroll-linked animation, commonly called parallax, is the effect.

WordPress theme developers' quick setup and low-code tools made the effect popular around 2014.

Parallax: Why Designers Love It

The chapter that your designer shouldn't read

Online video playback required searching, scrolling, and clicking ten years ago. Scroll and click four years ago.

Some video sites let you swipe to autoplay the next video from an endless list.

UI designers create scrollable pages and apps to accommodate the behavioral change.

Web interactivity used to be mouse-based. Clicking a button opened a help drawer, and hovering animated it.

However, a large page with more material requires fewer buttons and less interactiveness.

Designers choose scroll-based effects. Design and frontend developers must fight the trend but prepare for the worst.

How to Create Parallax

The component that you might want to show the designer

JavaScript-based effects track page scrolling and apply animations.

Javascript libraries like lax.js simplify it.

Using it needs a lot of human mathematical and physical computations.

Your asset library must also be prepared to display your website on a laptop, television, smartphone, tablet, foldable smartphone, and possibly even a microwave.

Overall, scroll-based animations can be solved better.

CSS Scroll-linked Animations

CSS makes sense since it's presentational. A Working Draft has been laying the groundwork for the next generation of interactiveness.

The new CSS property scroll-timeline powers the feature, which MDN describes well.

Before testing it, you should realize it is poorly supported:

Firefox 103 currently supports it.

There is also a polyfill, with some demo examples to explore.

Summary

Web design was a protracted process. Started with pages with static backdrop images and scrollable text. Artists and designers may use the scroll-based animation CSS API to completely revamp our web experience.

It's a promising frontier. This post may attract a future scrollable web designer.

Ps. I have created flashcards for HTML, Javascript etc. Check them out!

Will Lockett

Will Lockett

1 year ago

The World Will Change With MIT's New Battery

MIT’s new battery is made from only aluminium (left), sulphur (middle) and salt (left) — MIT

It's cheaper, faster charging, longer lasting, safer, and better for the environment.

Batteries are the future. Next-gen and planet-saving technology, including solar power and EVs, require batteries. As these smart technologies become more popular, we find that our batteries can't keep up. Lithium-ion batteries are expensive, slow to charge, big, fast to decay, flammable, and not environmentally friendly. MIT just created a new battery that eliminates all of these problems.  So, is this the battery of the future? Or is there a catch?

When I say entirely new, I mean it. This battery employs no currently available materials. Its electrodes are constructed of aluminium and pure sulfur instead of lithium-complicated ion's metals and graphite. Its electrolyte is formed of molten chloro-aluminate salts, not an organic solution with lithium salts like lithium-ion batteries.

How does this change in materials help?

Aluminum, sulfur, and chloro-aluminate salts are abundant, easy to acquire, and cheap. This battery might be six times cheaper than a lithium-ion battery and use less hazardous mining. The world and our wallets will benefit.

But don’t go thinking this means it lacks performance.

This battery charged in under a minute in tests. At 25 degrees Celsius, the battery will charge 25 times slower than at 110 degrees Celsius. This is because the salt, which has a very low melting point, is in an ideal state at 110 degrees and can carry a charge incredibly quickly. Unlike lithium-ion, this battery self-heats when charging and discharging, therefore no external heating is needed.

Anyone who's seen a lithium-ion battery burst might be surprised. Unlike lithium-ion batteries, none of the components in this new battery can catch fire. Thus, high-temperature charging and discharging speeds pose no concern.

These batteries are long-lasting. Lithium-ion batteries don't last long, as any iPhone owner can attest. During charging, metal forms a dendrite on the electrode. This metal spike will keep growing until it reaches the other end of the battery, short-circuiting it. This is why phone batteries only last a few years and why electric car range decreases over time. This new battery's molten salt slows deposition, extending its life. This helps the environment and our wallets.

These batteries are also energy dense. Some lithium-ion batteries have 270 Wh/kg energy density (volume and mass). Aluminum-sulfur batteries could have 1392 Wh/kg, according to calculations. They'd be 5x more energy dense. Tesla's Model 3 battery would weigh 96 kg instead of 480 kg if this battery were used. This would improve the car's efficiency and handling.

These calculations were for batteries without molten salt electrolyte. Because they don't reflect the exact battery chemistry, they aren't a surefire prediction.

This battery seems great. It will take years, maybe decades, before it reaches the market and makes a difference. Right?

Nope. The project's scientists founded Avanti to develop and market this technology.

So we'll soon be driving cheap, durable, eco-friendly, lightweight, and ultra-safe EVs? Nope.

This battery must be kept hot to keep the salt molten; otherwise, it won't work and will expand and contract, causing damage. This issue could be solved by packs that can rapidly pre-heat, but that project is far off.

Rapid and constant charge-discharge cycles make these batteries ideal for solar farms, homes, and EV charging stations. The battery is constantly being charged or discharged, allowing it to self-heat and maintain an ideal temperature.

These batteries aren't as sexy as those making EVs faster, more efficient, and cheaper. Grid batteries are crucial to our net-zero transition because they allow us to use more low-carbon energy. As we move away from fossil fuels, we'll need millions of these batteries, so the fact that they're cheap, safe, long-lasting, and environmentally friendly will be huge. Who knows, maybe EVs will use this technology one day. MIT has created another world-changing technology.

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Andy Raskin

Andy Raskin

1 year ago

I've Never Seen a Sales Deck This Good

Photo by Olu Eletu

It’s Zuora’s, and it’s brilliant. Here’s why.

My friend Tim got a sales position at a Series-C software company that garnered $60 million from A-list investors. He's one of the best salespeople I know, yet he emailed me after starting to struggle.

Tim has a few modest clients. “Big companies ignore my pitch”. Tim said.

I love helping teams write the strategic story that drives sales, marketing, and fundraising. Tim and I had lunch at Amber India on Market Street to evaluate his deck.

After a feast, I asked Tim when prospects tune out.

He said, “several slides in”.

Intent on maximizing dining ROI, Tim went back to the buffet for seconds. When he returned, I pulled out my laptop and launched into a Powerpoint presentation.

“What’s this?” Tim asked.

“This,” I said, “is the greatest sales deck I have ever seen.”

Five Essentials of a Great Sales Narrative

I showed Tim a sales slide from IPO-bound Zuora, which sells a SaaS platform for subscription billing. Zuora supports recurring payments (e.g. enterprise software).

Ex-Zuora salesman gave me the deck, saying it helped him close his largest business. (I don't know anyone who works at Zuora.) After reading this, a few Zuora employees contacted me.)

Tim abandoned his naan in a pool of goat curry and took notes while we discussed the Zuora deck.

We remarked how well the deck led prospects through five elements:

(The ex-Zuora salesperson begged me not to release the Zuora deck publicly.) All of the images below originate from Zuora's website and SlideShare channel.)

#1. Name a Significant Change in the World

Don't start a sales presentation with mentioning your product, headquarters, investors, clients, or yourself.

Name the world shift that raises enormous stakes and urgency for your prospect.

Every Zuora sales deck begins with this slide:

Zuora coined the term subscription economy to describe a new market where purchasers prefer regular service payments over outright purchases. Zuora then shows a slide with the change's history.

Most pitch recommendation advises starting with the problem. When you claim a problem, you put prospects on the defensive. They may be unaware of or uncomfortable admitting the situation.

When you highlight a global trend, prospects open up about how it affects them, worries them, and where they see opportunity. You capture their interest. Robert McKee says:

…what attracts human attention is change. …if the temperature around you changes, if the phone rings — that gets your attention. The way in which a story begins is a starting event that creates a moment of change.

#2. Show There’ll Be Winners and Losers

Loss aversion affects all prospects. They avoid a loss by sticking with the status quo rather than risking a gain by changing.

To fight loss aversion, show how the change will create winners and losers. You must show both

  1. that if the prospect can adjust to the modification you mentioned, the outcome will probably be quite favorable; and

  2. That failing to do so is likely to have an unacceptable negative impact on the prospect's future

Zuora shows a mass extinction among Fortune 500 firms.

…and then showing how the “winners” have shifted from product ownership to subscription services. Those include upstarts…

…as well as rejuvenated incumbents:

To illustrate, Zuora asks:

Winners utilize Zuora's subscription service models.

#3. Tease the Promised Land

It's tempting to get into product or service details now. Resist that urge.

Prospects won't understand why product/service details are crucial if you introduce them too soon, therefore they'll tune out.

Instead, providing a teaser image of the happily-ever-after your product/service will assist the prospect reach.

Your Promised Land should be appealing and hard to achieve without support. Otherwise, why does your company exist?

Zuora shows this Promised Land slide after explaining that the subscription economy will have winners and losers.

Not your product or service, but a new future state.

(I asked my friend Tim to describe his Promised Land, and he answered, "You’ll have the most innovative platform for ____." Nope: the Promised Land isn't possessing your technology, but living with it.)

Your Promised Land helps prospects market your solution to coworkers after your sales meeting. Your coworkers will wonder what you do without you. Your prospects are more likely to provide a persuasive answer with a captivating Promised Land.

#4. Present Features as “Mystic Gifts” for Overcoming Difficulties on the Road to the Promised Land

Successful sales decks follow the same format as epic films and fairy tales. Obi Wan gives Luke a lightsaber to help him destroy the Empire. You're Gandalf, helping Frodo destroy the ring. Your prospect is Cinderella, and you're her fairy godmother.

Position your product or service's skills as mystical gifts to aid your main character (prospect) achieve the Promised Land.

Zuora's client record slide is shown above. Without context, even the most technical prospect would be bored.

Positioned in the context of shifting from an “old” to a “new world”, it's the foundation for a compelling conversation with prospects—technical and otherwise—about why traditional solutions can't reach the Promised Land.

#5. Show Proof That You Can Make the Story True.

In this sense, you're promising possibilities that if they follow you, they'll reach the Promised Land.

The journey to the Promised Land is by definition rocky, so prospects are right to be cautious. The final part of the pitch is proof that you can make the story come true.

The most convincing proof is a success story about how you assisted someone comparable to the prospect. Zuora's sales people use a deck of customer success stories, but this one gets the essence.

I particularly appreciate this one from an NCR exec (a Zuora customer), which relates more strongly to Zuora's Promised Land:

Not enough successful customers? Product demos are the next best evidence, but features should always be presented in the context of helping a prospect achieve the Promised Land.

The best sales narrative is one that is told by everyone.

Success rarely comes from a fantastic deck alone. To be effective, salespeople need an organization-wide story about change, Promised Land, and Magic Gifts.

Zuora exemplifies this. If you hear a Zuora executive, including CEO Tien Tzuo, talk, you'll likely hear about the subscription economy and its winners and losers. This is the theme of the company's marketing communications, campaigns, and vision statement.

According to the ex-Zuora salesperson, company-wide story alignment made him successful.

The Zuora marketing folks ran campaigns and branding around this shift to the subscription economy, and [CEO] Tien [Tzuo] talked it up all the time. All of that was like air cover for my in-person sales ground attack. By the time I arrived, prospects were already convinced they had to act. It was the closest thing I’ve ever experienced to sales nirvana.

The largest deal ever

Tim contacted me three weeks after our lunch to tell me that prospects at large organizations were responding well to his new deck, which we modeled on Zuora's framework. First, prospects revealed their obstacles more quickly. The new pitch engages CFOs and other top gatekeepers better, he said.

A week later, Tim emailed that he'd signed his company's biggest agreement.

Next week, we’re headed back to Amber India to celebrate.

Aaron Dinin, PhD

Aaron Dinin, PhD

1 year ago

There Are Two Types of Entrepreneurs in the World Make sure you are aware of your type!

Know why it's important.

Photo by Brendan Church on Unsplash

The entrepreneur I was meeting with said, "I should be doing crypto, or maybe AI? Aren't those the hot spots? I should look there for a startup idea.”

I shook my head. Yes, they're exciting, but that doesn't mean they're best for you and your business.

“There are different types of entrepreneurs?” he asked.

I said "obviously." Two types, actually. Knowing what type of entrepreneur you are helps you build the right startup.

The two types of businesspeople

The best way for me to describe the two types of entrepreneurs is to start by telling you exactly the kinds of entrepreneurial opportunities I never get excited about: future opportunities.

In the early 1990s, my older brother showed me the World Wide Web and urged me to use it. Unimpressed, I returned to my Super Nintendo.

My roommate tried to get me to join Facebook as a senior in college. I remember thinking, This is dumb. Who'll use it?

In 2011, my best friend tried to convince me to buy bitcoin and I laughed.

Heck, a couple of years ago I had to buy a new car, and I never even considered buying something that didn’t require fossilized dinosaur bones.

I'm no visionary. I don't anticipate the future. I focus on the present.

This tendency makes me a problem-solving entrepreneur. I identify entrepreneurial opportunities by spotting flaws and/or inefficiencies in the world and devising solutions.

There are other ways to find business opportunities. Visionary entrepreneurs also exist. I don't mean visionary in the hyperbolic sense that implies world-changing impact. I mean visionary as an entrepreneur who identifies future technological shifts that will change how people work and live and create new markets.

Problem-solving and visionary entrepreneurs are equally good. But the two approaches to building companies are very different. Knowing the type of entrepreneur you are will help you build a startup that fits your worldview.

What is the distinction?

Let's use some simple hypotheticals to compare problem-solving and visionary entrepreneurship.

Imagine a city office building without nearby restaurants. Those office workers love to eat. Sometimes they'd rather eat out than pack a lunch. As an entrepreneur, you can solve the lack of nearby restaurants. You'd open a restaurant near that office, say a pizza parlor, and get customers because you solved the lack of nearby restaurants. Problem-solving entrepreneurship.

Imagine a new office building in a developing area with no residents or workers. In this scenario, a large office building is coming. The workers will need to eat then. As a visionary entrepreneur, you're excited about the new market and decide to open a pizzeria near the construction to meet demand.

Both possibilities involve the same product. You opened a pizzeria. How you launched that pizza restaurant and what will affect its success are different.

Why is the distinction important?

Let's say you opened a pizzeria near an office. You'll probably get customers. Because people are nearby and demand isn't being met, someone from a nearby building will stop in within the first few days of your pizzeria's grand opening. This makes solving the problem relatively risk-free. You'll get customers unless you're a fool.

The market you're targeting existed before you entered it, so you're not guaranteed success. This means people in that market solved the lack of nearby restaurants. Those office workers are used to bringing their own lunches. Why should your restaurant change their habits? Even when they eat out, they're used to traveling far. They've likely developed pizza preferences.

To be successful with your problem-solving startup, you must convince consumers to change their behavior, which is difficult.

Unlike opening a pizza restaurant near a construction site. Once the building opens, workers won't have many preferences or standardized food-getting practices. Your pizza restaurant can become the incumbent quickly. You'll be the first restaurant in the area, so you'll gain a devoted following that makes your food a routine.

Great, right? It's easier than changing people's behavior. The benefit comes with a risk. Opening a pizza restaurant near a construction site increases future risk. What if builders run out of money? No one moves in? What if the building's occupants are the National Association of Pizza Haters? Then you've opened a pizza restaurant next to pizza haters.

Which kind of businessperson are you?

This isn't to say one type of entrepreneur is better than another. Each type of entrepreneurship requires different skills.

As my simple examples show, a problem-solving entrepreneur must operate in markets with established behaviors and habits. To be successful, you must be able to teach a market a new way of doing things.

Conversely, the challenge of being a visionary entrepreneur is that you have to be good at predicting the future and getting in front of that future before other people.

Both are difficult in different ways. So, smart entrepreneurs don't just chase opportunities. Smart entrepreneurs pursue opportunities that match their skill sets.

Eric Esposito

1 year ago

$100M in NFT TV shows from Fox

Image

Fox executives will invest $100 million in NFT-based TV shows. Fox brought in "Rick and Morty" co-creator Dan Harmon to create "Krapopolis"

Fox's Blockchain Creative Labs (BCL) will develop these NFT TV shows with Bento Box Entertainment. BCL markets Fox's WWE "Moonsault" NFT.

Fox said it would use the $100 million to build a "creative community" and "brand ecosystem." The media giant mentioned using these funds for NFT "benefits."

"Krapopolis" will be a Greek-themed animated comedy, per Rarity Sniper. Initial reports said NFT buyers could collaborate on "character development" and get exclusive perks.

Fox Entertainment may drop "Krapopolis" NFTs on Ethereum, according to new reports. Fox says it will soon release more details on its NFT plans for "Krapopolis."

Media Giants Favor "NFT Storytelling"

"Krapopolis" is one of the largest "NFT storytelling" experiments due to Dan Harmon's popularity and Fox Entertainment's reach. Many celebrities have begun exploring Web3 for TV shows.

Mila Kunis' animated sitcom "The Gimmicks" lets fans direct the show. Any "Gimmick" NFT holder could contribute to episode plots.

"The Gimmicks" lets NFT holders write fan fiction about their avatars. If show producers like what they read, their NFT may appear in an episode.

Rob McElhenney recently launched "Adimverse," a Web3 writers' community. Anyone with a "Adimverse" NFT can collaborate on creative projects and share royalties.

Many blue-chip NFTs are appearing in movies and TV shows. Coinbase will release Bored Ape Yacht Club shorts at NFT. NYC. Reese Witherspoon is working on a World of Women NFT series.

PFP NFT collections have Hollywood media partners. Guy Oseary manages Madonna's World of Women and Bored Ape Yacht Club collections. The Doodles signed with Billboard's Julian Holguin and the Cool Cats with CAA.

Web3 and NFTs are changing how many filmmakers tell stories.