News robots

Philip Morgan

Recently I came across a Gizmodo article I think you'll find interesting.Michael Nunez, reporting for Gizmodo:

But if you really want to know what Facebook thinks of journalists and their craft, all you need to do is look at what happened when the company quietly assembled some to work on its secretive “trending news” project. The results aren’t pretty: According to five former members of Facebook’s trending news team — “news curators” as they’re known internally — Zuckerberg & Co. take a downright dim view of the industry and its talent. In interviews with Gizmodo, these former curators described grueling work conditions, humiliating treatment, and a secretive, imperious culture in which they were treated as disposable outsiders. After doing a tour in Facebook’s news trenches, almost all of them came to believe that they were there not to work, but to serve as training modules for Facebook’s algorithm. […]That said, many former employees suspect that Facebook’s eventual goal is to replace its human curators with a robotic one. The former curators Gizmodo interviewed started to feel like they were training a machine, one that would eventually take their jobs. Managers began referring to a “more streamlined process” in meetings. As one former contractor put it: “We felt like we were part of an experiment that, as the algorithm got better, there was a sense that at some point the humans would be replaced.”

If you're as concerned as I am that commoditization is eating away at the bottom of the software development market, then you need to become un-commoditizeable.Becoming un-commoditizeable is a process that works like this:

  1. Identify and validate a market position where you deliver value that's based on experience, insight, and judgement and can't be even crudely replaced with an algorithm, code library, or set of easily-implemented best practices.
  2. Market yourself or your business consistently and effectively based on this position.
  3. Cultivate and acquire the new skills and experience needed to dominate your desired market position.

This isn't a completely linear process. For example, item #3 often happens in parallel with the other 2.I can help with #1 through my book and mentoring program.Recently I've developed a bootcamp-style online event to help you get started with #2 without the missteps and analysis paralysis that I often see software developers making as they start to market their business in a more serious way.If you're at all interested in making progress on #2, head over to and sign up for the waiting list. I'm going to be starting another bootcamp soon and I want to make sure that--if the timing's right for you--you get first crack at a seat.Talk to you soon,-P