Jomi Cubol

Software, media, & strategy.

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Looking at Technology and Society From a Decade Perspective

 We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction.

—Bill Gates, The Road Ahead (1996)

I made my first email account in 1998 with Yahoo! when I was in grade school in the Philippines. I made one using Internet Explorer on a school computer running Windows 98 that accessed the Internet through a dial-up connection. A full 20 years ago as of this writing.

2008 was the rise of the social revolution, 1.5 years after Facebook allowed everyone ages 13+ on the network, a year after Twitter was created. It was also a year after Steve Jobs unveiled the first iPhone. A full 10 years ago as of this writing.

Today, it’s 2018 and things on the come-up are: the blockchain and cryptocurrency, virtual and augmented reality, AI and machine learning, and CRISPR (gene...

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Design Has Never Been More Important

Even though traditionally design has been and continues to be in service of something’s “content”, I find it dubious that this dynamic will remain in its current balance so long as there’s something to communicate, whether it be information, stories, ideas, identities, products, or what have you.

I think the more abundant all of these things become, especially in the age of the internet, and then the age of mobile, and whichever next major platform wins next (AR, VR, even voice), that design—form in particular, meaning every single decision involved in something’s existence—is only going to matter more, not less. It will only become harder to identify which things to trust, which things we might gravitate towards, which things will have our consistent loyalty, and allegiance, and place of belonging, and source of self. There are more products today than ever before, whether tangible...

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Hunter S. Thompson on Choosing Your Purpose


Below is 22-year-old Hunter S. Thompson’s letter to a friend who asked him for some life advice. This was way before he would be known as one of the greatest writers of the 20th century, but he was already full of wit and wisdom.

I’ve read this a few times before, and each time, it strikes a different cord with me. I get to ask myself, “Am I merely adjusting to a set of pre-defined goals I think I have to do and achieve? Or am I acting out towards a life that I believe would be meaningful?” That’s a heavy question, but one that never fails to set me straight.

Often we’re bogged down with goals that deep down don’t really align with who we are. Goals we tend to chase merely for our own ego, for whatever short-lived accolades or pats on the back, or perceived rewards that don’t have much substance.

I’m not immune to this.

I could only hope I have the foresight to take time and...

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Great Products Aren’t Created in a Vacuum


Ben Thompson wrote a wonderful analysis titled “Apple’s Organizational Crossroads” that gets to the core of organizational structures and how they influence the quality of products they make. In this case, his example is Apple and their seemingly subpar performance in service categories, at least thus far..

His argument is that if Apple wants to become more of a services company, they can’t use their current organizational structure as a device company to support this layer because their needs and functions are vastly different. For example, in hardware, things can only be done once before its shipped. In software, things have to constantly be worked on, sometimes even multiple times a day to consistently make something better over and over again. While Apple is the best in the world at this sort of iteration on a hardware level, it’s quite different in the world of...

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SpaceX’s historic Falcon 9 landing of allows us to dream really REALLY big again.

Nick Stockton via Wired:

Today in space history, a rocket went to space. No big. But then it came back down and landed on a drone barge in the middle of the ocean.

The rocket was a Falcon 9, built by SpaceX, Elon Musk‘s commercial spaceflight company. On its own, the retropropulsion landing is a major technological accomplishment. But it means even more as a step toward reliably getting humans off of Earth—maybe even permanently. “In order for us to really open up access to space,” Musk said in a press conference shortly after the landing, “we need to achieve full and rapid reusability.”

Every time SpaceX tries to send a rocket to space and subsequently try to land it back down to earth, I want to catch it live. And I have the past few instances. It’s like watching the future of the human race unfold in front of my eyes. The past few times it sent cargo into space and tried to land...

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What Kobe Has Taught Me: Greatness is Achieved Through The Simple Things


Kobe Bryant is now entering the final 10 games of his storied career. Twenty years in professional basketball coming to a close.

Being one of the most prolific athletes of all-time known for his relentlessness and work ethic on and off the court, it’s not a big surprise he has amassed tons of wisdom when it comes to the game. And as most things, it’s not just about the game itself, but the approach to any craft in general. One recent interview perfectly encapsulates his perspective on what it takes to be really good at whatever it is you do:

 When he was asked if he was surprised by second-year player Julius Randle’s first career triple-double:

It’s just a matter of him getting a feel for the NBA game, and where he sees actions take place before they even take place. That just comes from experience and studying.

 When he was asked regarding rookie D'Angelo Russell’s basketball IQ:


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The Formula

If you’re looking for a formula for greatness, the closest we’ll ever get I think is this: consistency driven by a deep love of the work.

— Maria Popova

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Without self-belief nothing can be accomplished. With it, nothing is impossible. …With liberation comes the knowledge that nothing is really very important in the lives of men; nothing is as terrifying as the fear itself. And from that, paradoxically, comes self-belief—a belief that anything is possible.

— Felix Dennis

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From Nothing to a Working Autonomous Vehicle in 3.5 Months


Today, GM acquires self-driving startup Cruise Automation for a rumored more than $1 billion.

Dan Primack via Fortune:

Cruise Automation had raised over $18 million in venture capital funding, most recently at a post-money valuation of around $90 million. Investors include Spark Capital, Maven Ventures, Founder Collective, and Y Combinator.

The three-year old company is best known for having created an aftermarket “kit” that allows buyers to convert certain types of cars―namely Audi A4 and S4 models―into autonomous vehicles for highway driving. It But GM appears to be more interested in integrating Cruise’s technology into its original manufacturing process.

I was watching Justin Kan‘s Snapchat story and he was saying that Cruise’s founder, previous Justin.TV/SocialCam/Twitch co-founder Kyle Vogt, went from basically nothing to a working prototype in about 3.5 months with very...

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The Biggest Challenge in Product Design


I was listening to an interview with former Twitter VP of Design Mike Davidson on the Intercom podcast and it made me fire away a tweetstorm.

It had me thinking that the best products have no choice but to evolve over time, and having to navigate all the different obstacles comes with the territory. That can be a growth challenge, a revenue challenge, a competitor challenge, and often it’s actually a first principle “what does our product even do?” challenge.

So with these in mind, I wondered what I thought was the single biggest challenge when it comes to designing products of any kind. And what I came up with is actually pretty basic, and often times something that’s easily forgettable because it’s not the sexiest or even the most intuitive to ask.

Here’s my own take on it:

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