Eugene Wei Profile picture
Former product guy at Amazon, Hulu, Flipboard, Oculus. Blog at
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Oct 21, 2021 7 tweets 2 min read
Go see Dune this weekend. I would be shocked if the sequel didn't get greenlit, but why leave it to chance? I would be disappointed if we only got this film that only covers the first 60% of the book.… I've seen Dune twice now, and while many Dune stans will likely wish that it had been a miniseries like Game of Thrones (there's just so much worldbuilding to do), I think it makes a lot of sensible choices to fit it into what is still a long movie.
Sep 22, 2020 10 tweets 3 min read
Published the 2nd of my pieces on TikTok, "Seeing Like an Algorithm."

My last piece was about how the algorithm makes TikTok work, but this piece is almost the reverse, about how TikTok's design makes the algorithm work.… The framing is inspired by Scott's "Seeing Like a State."

In TikTok's case, what's interesting is how its design, operations, and processes help its FYP algorithm "see" its videos, users, and the sentiments of the users towards specific videos.
Aug 4, 2020 17 tweets 4 min read
New blog post, this the first of maybe a 3 part series on the company du jour, TikTok.

This first piece isn't about the possible ban or divestment or the security or geopolitical issues but about what makes it so unique and fascinating to me.… TikTok is remarkable as the first Chinese app I can think of to make real inroads in the U.S. market.

I had long thought the cultural barrier too significant to overcome, but it turns out that machine learning algorithms can now pierce the veil of cultural ignorance.
Jun 28, 2020 4 tweets 2 min read
This idea of finding some higher velocity for narrative is really interesting. How to minimize friction in your prose.… ImageImage The easiest way always seems to be to just highly compress your thought and thus your prose. But that comes with a downside of simplifying your thinking. At some level of compression it's all a lie (case in point, many tweets)
Jun 25, 2020 5 tweets 2 min read
The Uffizi Galleries official TikTok account slaps.… One example
Jun 24, 2020 5 tweets 2 min read
Years before The Mandalorian, the film Oblivion experimented with an early version of real-time VFX.

For the exteriors of the glass house in the sky, they used 21 projectors shooting on 42 ft high screens. It looked stunning. Image I saw it in a theater with a friend who was in VFX. He was like, "This is some of the best green screen I've ever seen!"

So he called the VFX supervisor of Oblivion to ask how they pulled it off, and it turns out it was projection!
May 12, 2020 4 tweets 2 min read
Excited to back the @withprimer team on this important mission.

Still a ton of greenfield building to do in the homeschooling space; the barebones infrastructure makes it much harder than it should be right now.… As substitute homeschooling teacher for my nieces the past few weeks (many parents going through the same thing for the first time this pandemic), I could have used many resources and lessons from the experiences of others.
Apr 17, 2020 12 tweets 4 min read
In 2018, a team at Johns Hopkins wrote a report titled "The Characteristics of Pandemic Pathogens."

It examined the question of what was most likely to cause the next global catastrophic biological risk (GCBR). 1/n… It concluded that the traits of the next pandemic would likely include high human-to-human transmissibility via respiration, asymptomatic spread, reasonably severe case fatality rate, absence of countermeasures, and a population without immunity.

Sounds familiar, no? 2/n
Mar 15, 2020 4 tweets 1 min read
Seeing people partying at bars across the country is really triggering right now. Hard to be calm with the “It’s no big deal, just the flu” crowd but I’m trying.

Maybe we need more stories of young, heroic healthy people dropping dead to change minds.… I’m normally against social shaming but we’re just killing people on a time delay right now. There are people out there who should be saying goodbye to their loved ones who don’t even know it yet, and it breaks my heart.
Mar 14, 2020 4 tweets 1 min read
My quarterly call with my investors: “As you all know demand has been soft because of the coronavirus. I’ve dipped heavily into my Twitter drafts folder which, let’s be clear, was the right thing to do. On the other hand, ‘days toilet paper on hand’ remains strong.” “The supply chain of beautiful food photos from nice restaurants has obviously been impacted, I expect some write downs on my Instagram business this year. On the other hand, I’m taking this time to examine shifting some production to TikTok where consumer demand remains strong.”
Mar 11, 2020 5 tweets 2 min read
May be time to revisit our views of this brave man in his N95 mask who ordered a quarantine of Manhattan over the objections of the public and whose primary foe was a man infected by a bat Image You either die a villain (from acute respiratory failure) or live long enough to see yourself become the hero.
Feb 25, 2020 6 tweets 2 min read
A long overdue issues of my newsletter went out last night:…

In it I discuss... ...the most popular multi-platform, multi-player game in the world, one that has already been seamlessly integrated into almost every social media platform in the world: identity politics.
Feb 6, 2020 5 tweets 2 min read
Nike has announced the Alphafly Next% shoe will be up for preorders end of this month (to Nike members, for $250).

This by @Scienceofsport is great on how that’s problematic for the sport of running.… There is some irony in Nike being perhaps the company that damages the meaning of running results since the company first made its mark in that sport.
Feb 1, 2020 4 tweets 1 min read
The bull case for Parasite edging out 1917 for Best Picture lies in the voting rules. First, everyone in the Academy gets to vote for Best Picture. The actors make up the largest voting bloc. At the SAG awards, Parasite didn't win any individual acting awards, usually a kiss of death for Best Picture winners. However, Parasite won the best ensemble cast. For an all Korean cast to beat out the powerhouse casts of The Irishman and OUATIH hints at the love for the film.
Jan 2, 2020 6 tweets 2 min read
My favorite annual “letter to shareholders” is my friend @danwwang’s. I hope for an end to the trade war so we can have more of his personal writing. My additional writing prompt for @danwwang is to hear his thoughts on Parasite and it’s diagnosis of the stagnation of the elites. It’s no coincidence that the father of the rich household is a VR executive.
Nov 16, 2019 7 tweets 2 min read
Now that I’ve tried AirPods Pro with the noise cancellation I want this even more. Sometimes augmenting reality merely means lowering the distractions.

Should be easy to build a UI for proximity based channel sharing/discovery Semi-related is this which sounds cool. Sports leagues trying to differentiate the experience of attending games should sit up and take notice. Some museums dabble in this already.…
Nov 15, 2019 4 tweets 2 min read
Just read Lili Anolik’s oral history of Bennington and wow, how did I miss this the first time around? I picked four random excerpts but the whole thing is like this.… ImageImageImageImage I just realized the online version has more than the print edition of this article in Esquire. Guess I will have to reread it now.
Nov 1, 2019 6 tweets 2 min read
Kuaishou launched a more direct Douyin (Chinese TikTok) competitor called Taizan “态赞” two days ago. Main feed looks like Douyin and is a single column of top curated videos from Kuaishou (no user uploads for now). ImageImageImageImage Like many other social networks, Kwai is trying to figure out how to broaden its brand beyond that if its earliest adopters, in their case lao tie culture. Think of lao tie like rural homeboys.
Oct 12, 2019 6 tweets 2 min read
Love this @kirkgoldsberry metaphor of the NBA three-point line as gerrymander.

Back in the early days of the web, while at Amazon, the most important line was the fold, marking the bottom most cutoff of the average computer browser window. Image For a while I inserted manual ref tags on every link on the Amazon video homepage so I could craft a spatial expected value heat map like this for that screen real estate.

I think I called that tool cutlet or ribeye or something after those maps of beef cuts on a cow. Image
Aug 24, 2019 4 tweets 1 min read
Werner Herzog: “What haunts me is that in Anakin’s face I saw no kinship, no mercy, only the overwhelming indifference of nature. His blank stare speaks only of a primal interest in affirmation and power. But for Obi-Wan, this boy was the Chosen One.” Image Some folks are like, “When did he say this?” and I think Herzog would love that.
Jul 22, 2019 7 tweets 2 min read
A few people have asked me about Instagram hiding likes (from a Status as a Service perspective).

I finally saw screenshots of the implementation from the tests being run in various markets, so here are some quick reactions. It appears to hide total likes that a post receives from other viewers, but the original poster can still see the total likes and who they're from if they click in.

So not quite as radical as I imagined when I first heard rumors they'd be hiding likes.