An Eulogy for EverythingMe

EverythingMe, where I worked before leaving for the US, closed down earlier this month, and even though I wasn’t there for the shut down, it brings a tear to my eye: not just because I hate seeing something I contributed to fail (I do,) but also because it was almost a model of a modern software company.

They didn’t get it all right: wrong decisions were made, some I was involved in.
But a lot of thing were done as they should, and what was done the best, and because of it, almost everything else, was staffing: the team was one of the best in Israel, if not in the northern hemisphere (lots of credit due to Micha Cohen).

I’ve learnt a lot from everybody on the team, most I’m proud not just to call colleagues, but also friends, and hope they think the same of me.

But every shattered dream is also a foundation to build from, and what I’m excited about, and you should too, is that they didn’t just flick the switch, but took an active step to go with a bang, and not a whimper, by leaving a legacy: about 120 open source repositories on GitHub, as well as a paper by Joseph Keshet et al. describing the core algorithm (a list is in Joey’s post).

Rami, Joey – Thanks for the ride, and good luck in the future.
Rest of the team – please make sure your new jobs require many trips to the bay area. I’d like to buy you all beers.

The Dutch Prime Minister’s Transportation

The following anecdote, told by MK Ofir Akunis, appears in the proceedings of the Knesset’s Economic Affairs committee (lousy translation mine):

In 1997, I was with PM Netanyahu in an official visit to The Netherlands. A tall man riding a bike was approaching the front gate of the Dutch Prime Minister’s office, and was then then barred entry by [the Israeli] security detail. Verifying his identity, it turned out he was the Dutch Prime Minister himself. Not wearing a bicycle helmet, as I recall. It’s a true story.

On Hubris

Every so often, I read an article or blog post where the author correctly asserts some problem (say, technical hiring,) is hard to solve, even harder to measure the correctness of the solution, and whats more, most are bad at either or both.
He then goes to show his perfect solution, which is just as faulty as ones he dismiss at the beginning of his post.

My thinking is that there are no trivial solution to problems which are known to be hard: having an open problem that is being tackled by many, yet remain unsolved, is probably a very good signal that there isn’t an obvious or simple solution for it. Especially not one that can be summarized in the narrow margins of a page, or a blog post.

(This post, of course, probably demonstrates the same deficiency)

A Change of Address

In a couple of weeks I’ll be leaving Tel-Aviv for Berkeley, California.

I’m too busy with the move to write anything remotely intelligent about it, yet feel compelled to post a notice of it.

Reading “Mein Kampf”

Apple could put the entire text of ‘Mein Kampf’ inside the iTunes User Agreement and you’d just click agree.
— John Oliver (source)

Hitler’s seven-hundred-page screed […] is so unreadable that, despite its ubiquity during the Third Reich—more than twelve million copies, often given as wedding presents, sometimes in gold-leaf editions, were sold—it is unlikely that most Germans actually cracked the book open.

— Sally McGrane, Diffusing ‘Mein Kampf’