Issue #006 — Have I gone mad?

I am afraid so, you are entirely bonkers.. but I will tell you a secret… all the best people are.

Photo by gustavo centurion on Unsplash


Facebook Engineer Resignation Letter

In the first issue of Bennett’s Five Links I linked to this excellent resignation letter by a reporter at the New York Times. It’s cute then that the Washington Post (long-time rival to the New York Times) have received the scoop on another powerful resignation letter, this time written by a software engineer at Facebook. It’s a great read.

I've been told repeatedly "Facebook moves much faster than {company x}”. In my work, moving fast looks like bias to action: when presented with a problem, I execute towards a solution with haste. Sometimes this has meant learning about a bug in a meeting, and fixing it before the meeting is over. The contrast between that and our approach to hate on platform is astonishing.

and this powerful close:

PS: just in case it’s not clear, I do assume – as required by policy – best intent of all my coworkers including leadership. It’s just, I can’t point to facts that substantiate that assumption when looking at our repeated failures to confront the hate and violence occuring and being organized on platform.

Resignation letter from Facebook engineer

(via Abandoned Jerks)


Dreamhaven

For the gaming fans: one of the co-founders of Blizzard Entertainment, the company that produced various computer games that devoured my 20s, has gone out on his own to create a new game studio named Dreamhaven. It's particularly impressive as he's self-funding two separate studios working on different games simultaneously.

In his announcement about the launch of Dreamhaven, Morhaime said:

We’re almost trying to create a haven for creators who want an environment that is development friendly, values product, and player experience over short-term financial pressures

Gee - I wonder if this has anything to do with Blizzard having been swallowed up in a behemoth megamerger by a publicly listed entity.

Blizzard co-founder Mike Morhaime launches new gaming endeavor Dreamhaven


Say No More Often

I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest you need to say 'no' more often. Yes, you, anonymous newsletter subscriber. You're doing too much. You're juggling too many balls in the air and things are starting to slip. It's not your fault. Our society has lost its way and for some reason we're now seen as bad people for declining an invitation - any invitation - even though you just don't want to do the thing.

It's time to start saying no. Respectfully. And, better yet, get quick at it. Prepare templates! Fire off your pre-prepared response and forget about being asked in the first place. Go live your life already.

Here's something to get you started.

7 Email Templates That'll Help You Say "No" (Without Having to Overthink It)

(PS. The only thing you shouldn't be saying no to is my blatant request for you to forward this newsletter on to your friends. Totes do that. Say no to everything else.)

(via @awilkinson)


Swooping Season

Just a reminder for the Australian subscribers to be careful when leaving your house as we're in the thick of swoopin' season.

(via @peterwells)


Groundhog Day But With Push Notifications

I loved reading this utterly depressing outline of our lives today.

We know this. We know our phones suck. We even know the apps on them were engineered to be addictive. We know that the utopian promises of technology—to make work more efficient, to make connections stronger, to make photos better and more shareable, to make the news more accessible, to make communication easier—have in fact created more work, more responsibility, more opportunities to feel like a failure.

Part of the problem is that these digital technologies, from cell phones to Apple Watches, from Instagram to Slack, encourage our worst habits. They stymie our best-laid plans for self-preservation. They ransack our free time. They make it increasingly impossible to do the things that actually ground us. They turn a run in the woods into an opportunity for self-optimization. They are the neediest and most selfish entity in every interaction I have with others. They compel us to frame experiences, as we are experiencing them, with future captions, and to conceive of travel as worthwhile only when documented for public consumption. They steal joy and solitude and leave only exhaustion and regret. I hate them and resent them and find it increasingly difficult to live without them.

How Work Became an Inescapable Hellhole

(via Nisha Chittal)


Sponsored (not really) Post: Atomic Beer Project

Many of you will already know of my affinity for Gage Roads. It helps that I went to uni with ‘ol mate gate-builder Marcel Brandenburg, Gage Roads’ CFO, and it’s also at least partly to do with their ability to brew delicious beer. Over the past 5 years they have grown from an industrial plant that brews beer for Woolies to a house of trendy brands. And last week they took another significant step in that evolution by opening their Atomic Beer Project Brewpub, in Sydney.

It looks amazing. And I know how much effort has gone into making it a flagship experience for their customers because Marcel won’t shut up about it. Apparently they have reconsidered every detail of the dining process — ensuring their speakers are distributed evenly so that no person has to shout because the music is too loud at that end of the table. Detailed research on the ideal beer-tap-to-bar-surface-area distribution. Some bloke even mentioned making sure they provide the perfect light for today’s selfie generation - which seems almost a bit too trendy for mine.

Unfortunately - it’s on the wrong coast. But if you’re one of the three subscribers to this newsletter that’s based in Sydney, I urge you to check it out and let me know what you think.

(This post isn’t really sponsored. They’re not paying me anything for this and I’m no longer a shareholder even. I just wanted to play around with different formats and ideas for what sponsored posts might look like in the future. If you have a message you want to get out there via Bennett’s Five Links as one of these faux ‘sponsored’ posts — lost cat, new brewpub, whatever — feel free to reach out).


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Bennett.

Photo by gustavo centurion on Unsplash