As I try to nail down Alt Screen’s basic architecture (who knew integrating a Like button could be so complicated?), I find myself endlessly distracted by the bells-and-whistles of uploadable functionality. Oh how I thrill to their quixotic promise of cooler interfaces to come!
It reminded me of this passage from last month’s Wired magazine about Google founder and current CEO Larry Page:
Still, even as CEO, Page’s nuttier instincts will be tempered by those around him. Indeed, Googlers have learned that the best way to counter some of his more problematic idiosyncrasies is not by having a frank discussion but through misdirection. For instance, Wesley Chan, a top product manager, fundamentally disagrees with Page’s ideas on product design. But he has learned that instead of arguing his case with Page, a better strategy is “giving him shiny objects to play with.” At the beginning of one Google Voice product review, for instance, he offered Page and Brin the opportunity to pick their own phone numbers for the new service. For the next hour, the two brainstormed sequences that embodied mathematical puns while the product sailed through the review.
The obvious differences here are that (a) I am something less than a visionary of the digital future, and (b) there are no task-oriented adults in this enterprise to keep us on target. But I did wake up before 10AM so, you know, give me my prize.