2.20.2008

Two links that blow my mind

As part of my infatuation with scientific mysteries, I really dug this Nature News piece about how the number 10^122 keeps popping up in many seemingly-unrelated places in physics. Scott Funkhouser (what a name) from The Citadel identifies five of them- I'm sure this 'coincidence' would seem weirder if I knew more physics, but it seems pretty weird regardless. The basic implication is that the universe is a lot simpler than we think it is. An old, but surely good, theme in physics. With this sort of physics data mining getting easier and easier, the Large Hadron Collider coming online this year, and a growing institutional hunger to move beyond the Standard Model, the smell of new physics is in the air. Good things.

Secondly- and more importantly in my book- my favorite author is mulling running for congress. If you like what Lawrence Lessig writes about copyright, technology, corruption, and politics, I encourage you to check out his campaign at http://lessig08.org/ . I regret I don't live in his congressional district, because I literally can't think of a better person to send to congress.

2.19.2008

Quote: On First Versions

Paul Buchheit on The most important thing to understand about new products and startups:

For web based products at least, there's another very powerful technique: release early and iterate. The sooner you can start testing your ideas, the sooner you can start fixing them.

I wrote the first version of Gmail in one day. It was not very impressive. All I did was stuff my own email into the Google Groups (Usenet) indexing engine. I sent it out to a few people for feedback, and they said that it was somewhat useful, but it would be better if it searched over their email instead of mine. That was version two. After I released that people started wanting the ability to respond to email as well. That was version three. That process went on for a couple of years inside of Google before we released to the world.