Steven Sinofsky Profile picture
ॐ • investing • advising • writing • with @a16z @boxhq @tanium @everlaw… • Writings @ https://t.co/8FpwYBVzPl • 📷•🧘🏻‍♂️• tweets kept for 3 months
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11 Jul 20
The patterns of decentralized v centralized execution are on full display with Covid response but this happens all the time in product organizations.

When you want to scale and be predictable, centralized execution always wins when the degrees of freedom are known. 1/
2/ There’s a myth the governors are presenting just as we see with teams in a large organization. The idea that local information and conditions matter so much that centralized is inherently wrong.
3/ This only matters if the solution can be highly variable. In the case of covid there’s really only one set of tools to execute.

Just like if a broad product line wants a consistent interface or data collection, then centralizing those work best.
Read 5 tweets
23 Jun 20
Amidst all the details, installing pre-release, and commentary (including my own) I want to take a moment to reflect on #WWDC putting it in context of the past two decades. Quite simply, what we're seeing is some of the most remarkable product engineering over time in history. 1/ Wikipedia list of apple OS releases from 1984. Almost exactl
2/ It is easy to get wrapped up in debates about specifics, excited by tweaks or surprises, even an occasional scandal, or to wonder about the quality (is this is a good beta?). Under the hood, is a team that over time has done more and executed better than any I can name, ever.
3/ Having walked in similar shoes for many years, and importantly starting from when Mac was a hammer smashing through a screen, through the lowest lows (fine, we'll keep doing Office), resurrection, and reinvention, it's wild for me to consider what makes it so amazing to me.
Read 27 tweets
23 Jun 20
Platforms State of the Union // Provides way more clarity. IMO after watching, one can see Big Sur is first step where a “Mac” is really iPadOS + Catalyst apps. Native AppKit, x86, kernel code, etc will quickly look/act old, likely obsoleted over time 1/2 developer.apple.com/videos/play/ww…
2/2 Until a Mac is only running Catalyst + full iPad apps (multiple windows, trackpad, etc) the full experience of macOS 11+Apple Silicon will be held back (performance, security, battery life, UX integration,…). Just as iPhone morphed OS X, iPadOS is morphing macOS to a new OS.
PS/ Swift remains an interesting choice to ponder. It is obviously maturing rapidly and nothing written with it will be obsolete at all. If an app is entirely new, it seems to be the preferred approach.
Read 3 tweets
20 Jun 20
Debate/discussion/rants about app stores (or perhaps The App Store) have rapidly polarized to the point where it seems difficult to have a rational discussion. Even trying to discuss is viewed as a defense. A discussion without defending. The situations are similar, really. 1/
2/ Mostly I want to talk about the problems app stores in general solve and how that relates to a rather precedent setting document, the Windows OEM Preinstallation Kit (OPK). OPK set forth the rules to be followed when a PC maker "bought" Windows. Cover of Windows 95 OEM Preinstallation Kit OPK
3/ Much of the DOJ v Microsoft antitrust case was perceived to be about browsers or even "bundling" but in fact it was really about the terms and conditions that came with selling a Windows PC. The regulation that followed was much more about that. C. Microsoft shall not restrict by agreement any OEM license
Read 41 tweets
9 Jun 20
1/ Newsflash: Apple going to bring ARM to chips to Mac. // What could this mean? Seems this must mean the best of all worlds. Is that how tech transitions happen? Thoughts, scars… tl;dr not so simple or obvious. Reminder: Think Different. bloomberg.com/news/articles/…
2/ First, I have no knowledge of any specific plans of course. I only know what I’ve read and much seems confusing and/or simplistic. While the transition from PPC to i86 seemed to go smoothly there’s much more that went on. History won’t repeat itself. This is a tech discussion.
Note/ For a long version of this logic, see the vintage, lengthy, post I wrote years ago when moving Windows to ARM. Some will say we made a huge mistake in disallowing Win32, but if you read the post you can see why that makes little sense then and now. docs.microsoft.com/en-us/archive/…
Read 39 tweets
30 May 20
[B]y the time SARS-CoV-2 was first detected in late 2019, it was already pre-adapted to human transmission…However, no precursors or branches of evolution stemming from a less human-adapted SARS-CoV-2-like virus have been detected. 🤔biorxiv.org/content/10.110…
Wuhan seafood market probably wasn't origin of coronavirus pandemic, Chinese scientists say [in a peer reviewed paper in Nature]. The simple view that this just jumped to people is seemingly far more complex. A lot of steps required. newsweek.com/wuhan-seafood-…
// no matter what there could not possibly have been a lab accident in China. 🤔 news.sky.com/story/coronavi…
Read 3 tweets
27 May 20
Free @zoom_us feature ideas:
• display meeting (countdown) clock for all to see
• key’ed lower-third overlay for company logo, name, talk title, etc.
• picture in picture for shared window+camera
• bokeh bkgnd
• speaker transition animation
• easily choose “n” panelists
more @zoom_us feature for free:
• walk-on music for meetings (from Spotify playlist)
• meeting soundtrack for yoga (from Spotify)
• color bars or still image for pre-meeting
• “emergency one click” still image for embarrassing demo fail
• graceful fade to black to end mtg
another free @zoom_us feature idea—from @Julie_LGreen:

• "sound-moji" In addition to wave and thumbs up, why not applause, sighs, oohs (for demos), and more. (Of course make sure to support universal design). Why not aggregate the sound to hear at once—aka round of applause?
Read 3 tweets
22 May 20
Microsoft: we were wrong about open source theverge.com/2020/5/18/2126… // it isn't fair to place this all on Steve. Microsoft was founded on the principle that software was intellectual property. Some of what I experienced… 1/
2/ Times were different when Microsoft started. There was no network distribution. In fact it cost money (COGS) to distribute software. But also, most all software came with expensive and proprietary (leased) hardware. If it didn't, it came w/ expensive consultants forever (IBM).
3/ Early in Microsoft's history hobbyists bought DiY hardware and thought that was all the money to spend. Software was the hobby. There was a need for a programming language (on bare metal). BASIC was created by Bill and Paul. Paper tape of 8K BASIC
Read 20 tweets
17 May 20
// Having grown up in Orlando, I know every small change at Disney is met w/ massive pushback. Masks are no different. 🤦‍♂️ usatoday.com/story/travel/n…

1/ STILL here’s a journey of personal protection/health changes I’ve seen in my lifetime each with puzzling/indescribable pushback.
2/ In the late 1960s just as I was entering school, states were passing mandatory vaccination laws. I remember going to Dr Newman to get a “shot” before day camp and school. I remember kids not being allowed in school “until they get their shots”. This was for polio and measles. Table from 1969 listing states and vaccine requirements laws
3/ In 1970s, when skateboarding saw its first mass commercial uptake at first no one wore helmets. Not even pros. As skateboard parks opened they were required. We wore CCM or Cooper hockey helmets to skate. Pros (skaters or hockey) were exempt until sponsors required. (That me) Pro skateboarder without helmetPro skateboarder with helmet@stevesi skating
Read 17 tweets
13 May 20
BayCHI Monthly Program: Remembering Larry Tesler: His Life and Work // An amazing tribute to historic figure in computer science and products. Panelists themselves all legends in their way. An example: Panelists
Bill Atkinson (Lisa project graphics, Tesler was his manager) discussing Tesler's dogma of "no modes" in UI. Even had a license plate with that.

But what to do about Draw and something like an oval? Do you extend out dancing ants and then click "oval"? Bill said seemed wrong...
But Larry was all about no modes. But after back and forth that is how the tool palette came to be.

Now going into whole history of one-way glass and trying things out on "real people" and watch.

Watch live or stream. Amazing. 🙏🙏

TIL: Tesler originated use of "application"!
Read 4 tweets
5 May 20
It is the 20th anniversary of the ILOVEYOU virus affectionately called “Love Bug.” That was a long time ago, but the lessons learned were timeless—lessons about managing ecosystems and platforms, what’s it like to become an “enterprise company”, and customer trust. 1 of 6 Headline from BBC News from May 2000 — Love Bug Bites UKHeadline from CNN May 5 2000, Love bug costs billionsEmail message with subject line ILOVEYOU
2/ The story is one of many fascinating stories I was (mostly) lucky enough to experience during my time at Microsoft (‘89-‘12). While I love sharing snippets on twitter and in blogs, (news) I have been working on a book project that brings together these stories in one place.
3/ The title of the draft is “Hardcore Software: Inside the Rise and Fall of the PC Revolution” and tells stories, from my perspective, through lenses of teams, culture, orgs, and products, of what I experienced. The title comes from the 1980s recruiting poster (a BillG classic). Advertisement to hire Software Design Engineers “Hardcore Software”
Read 8 tweets
3 May 20
@vaurorapub I've read plenty talking about sequencing as to why the sequence/samples released do not appear synthesized. That's the limit of what can be explained by virology. That doesn't go into what the two credible stories have reporting on first party sources about lab conduct.
@vaurorapub The consensus is also not 100% medium.com/@yurideigin/la…
@vaurorapub How deadly pathogens have escaped the lab — over and over again vox.com/future-perfect… via @voxdotcom
Read 3 tweets
30 Apr 20
Coronavirus antibody tests have "really terrible" accuracy, researcher says cnn.com/2020/04/28/hea… // There's no doubt FDA, CDC, NIH, FEMA all messed up in January/February. Fast tracking 100 "tests" created a worse situation as efforts weren't coordinated, focused, or reliable.
Detailed study testing the tests which showed among the poor results:
1 test > 15% false +
3 tests > 10% false +
5 tests ~ 5% false +
only 3 < 1% false +

(noting a 1% false + rate leads to a coin toss level reliability) dropbox.com/s/cd1628cau092…
The absence of regulation can create a situation where we are operating with a level of chaos and unreliability across a system that can take much longer to rectify than if efforts were corrected and managed. Yes that's an IF, but this chaos was not an "if" as it was certain too.
Read 4 tweets
28 Apr 20
A strength of a good product organization is sticking with product investments long enough to get them right and make them work. Too often in a "move fast" world, persistence of vision is something that has been lost. Most every Microsoft product you can name went through this…
Even (!) Microsoft Excel took three tries (aka "versions") before it was reviewed as a strong product (1.0 was only on Mac, 2.x was both Win and Mac, as was 3.0). Here's Esther Dyson, famed investor and writer, reviewing Excel 3.0 in April 1991.
Here's the full review. Worth reading just to learn about how artificial intelligence was viewed 30 years ago. Funny to think back to when double-clicking on a column to automatically size it was an invention and of course toolbars were new as well.
Read 4 tweets
24 Apr 20
Is this the right glass for prophylaxis?
This is the most amazing video of the Presidents unique contributions to battling infectious disease.
Maker of Lysol issued this statement. Don’t administer Lysol into the human body under any circumstances.
Read 16 tweets
18 Apr 20
Much is being said about the role of WHO and China in the pandemic (please don't say "who"…W H O). There's a misunderstanding of how WHO works. While there are challenges, in many ways some are structural and would put more burden on forces outside of WHO. Some thoughts… 1/ WHO logo
2/ I spent a lot of time with WHO over years both directly & indirectly. They're big consumers of tech. I'm no expert or diplomat but have direct experience.

I first worked with WHO early 2000s (!). I pulled up my trip report I wrote for Bill (just a couple years into vaccines.)
3/ I spent almost 3 days there. One system I learned about was "EMS" or Event Management System (long since gone I'm sure). It was a desktop database that tracked all the communication about an outbreak or other global health event.

Seems like an obvious and necessary component.
Read 16 tweets
16 Apr 20
States coming together for form "alliances" to address public health is fantastic and great science (C19 does not know about state/county boundaries).

Such action in the world of "organizational behavior" is called "middles integration."

Vintage Microsoft story follows… 1/
2/ Phase "middles integration" comes from the work of Barry Oshrey and Power and Systems Lab, decades ago.

The training firm offers a leadership workshop which is popular with government and big companies.

Made its way to Microsoft in the late 1990s.
3/ About 25 middle managers to VPs were invited to a mystery offsite. We only knew to fly to Boston. Upon arrival we split up to tiny little planes (think "Wings") and flew to an island. Upon arrival our luggage was taken and we were shuttled to a summer camp—cabins and dirt.
Read 21 tweets
10 Apr 20
Tomorrow will be my 30th attempt at a Jaques Pépin classic French omelette.
Goals (and as far as La Technique I would love to do this with 箸 🥢) Perfect omelette. Made in Japan.
Follow up An image of a French omelette with bacon and little tomatoes. It is pretty good. Not perfect by any stretch. But still ok.
Read 4 tweets
8 Apr 20
Throwing this out there because, well, wondering what I'm missing. 🤔

Testing for C19 IgA is an immediate goal for many policy makers.🎯

If we move to testing to verify people for employment then we're creating an opening for monitoring any community disease (for starters). 1/6
2/ During the 80's and rise of HIV/AIDS, of course the opposite took place. There was a strong desire to have people test but doing so required extremely strict rules on dissemination of information for fear of discrimination.

Why? Testing positive implied sexual orientation.
3/ Once these laws/regulations exist it is not hard to see them expanded to other diseases. In some places there are already minimal requirements (eg TB test at many camps/schools). That still seems like community good.

But once a mechanism is in place we know it can/will grow.
Read 7 tweets
7 Apr 20
Trade Adviser Warned White House in January of Risks of a Pandemic // This is all crazy craze stuff. BUT there is a valuable BigCo lesson. Leaders in any org are viewed through their "high order bits" no matter the issue. 1/9 nyti.ms/3aPtSZ5
2/ Over time everyone develops a "high order bit" for how they view any new development. In software/biz it might be specific tech principles, org philosophies, pricing, positioning, competitors, etc..

People react to new inputs calling on or context of high order bits.
3/ Challenges arise when trying to drive action in crisis (versus just new data). In crisis, an org's immediate reaction is almost always "what crisis?"

Until more people with different high order bits see a crisis, most view a single reaction as "oh that's just X again…"
Read 9 tweets
6 Apr 20
One for techlash trackers.

A technology critical to epidemiology is mapping that is ubiquitous and very low cost (to free). Good mapping facilitates info sharing.

Going back to SARS1 in '03/4, maps were expensive, proprietary, hard to access even for organizations like WHO.
One for techlash trackers.

A tech critical to epidemiology is connectivity and mobile compute. Tracking counts of people, symptoms, tests… benefits from mobile network.

SARS1 in 2003 was challenging due to lack of connect/compute. WHO used a satellite compute network for SARS. This is a big blue case filled with computer and solutions.
Curious what's in that giant box:
- Laptop as a server
- SAT phone w/ extensions
- WiFi AP, router
- Printer
- S/W on floppy, cd, usb, for partners to use
- Surge protectors, AC/DC converters, transformers
- Solar panels
- FMRS radios for communication
- Can be powered by 12v DC
Read 4 tweets