Learning From History To Avoid Learning From Failure Is Good

“I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.” Was said by Edison after a reporter asked him How did it feel to fail 1,000 times [when inventing the lightbulb]?” I really think failure is needed to further knowledge. But not every failure pushes the limits of human understanding.

If you fail to bake a cake 1,000 times because you’re choosing not to follow a recipe or basic understanding of chemistry; you chose to fail 1,000 times. You could have at any point, made a cake by following directions written down by other people who successfully baked cakes in the past.

Saying “you win some you learn some” to justify choosing to fail over and over again, because you decided to ignore all prior knowledge is dumb. Think of all the things you could learn with the time you spent trying to figure out that sugar is sweet, and leaven makes bread rise.

Cakes are at least a fairly low-risk endeavor to waste time on. What happens if you try to rediscover how you avoid a bridge collapsing? It’s clearly preferable to learn from history whenever possible; this applies to everything.

Nearly everyone who learns to ride a bike will at some point fall off that bike before they can comfortably commute via bicycle. But it is, astoundingly unnecessary to learn by trial and error that you sit on the bike with the handlebars in front of you.

In Summary

Yes, failure is a part of success.

No, you are not awarded points for failing because you shrugged off expertise and prior knowledge.

Danger of Death By Failing” by AlmazUK is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Hey Elon Musk, Tinder Imperfectly Cracked Verification, So Can Twitter

If you were on the internet over the last week you probably heard that Elon Musk bought up stock in Twitter to the point he is now the largest single shareholder. Musk started Tweeting, like a college kid who decided to try the big Adderal for the first time, turned down a board seat, deleted some tweets, and got sued by other Twitter shareholders. A normal week for Musk.

One of Musk’s now-deleted Twitter threads was however on the right track. The idea of expanding verification.

Musk floated a few ways to do it, from charging a low monthly fee, to making everyone fork over IDs. I’ve been loudly arguing for expanding Twitter verification for years now. Giving out more blue checks has harms and advantages, but would certainly make the platform feel a little more human.

Something that is little discussed is how well Tinder has handled verification. If you’ve seen those blue stars on Tinder, you’ll know it just means someone took a few photos. To get verified on Tinder, users have to take a few photos, mimicking models’ facial expressions. Those photos are processed by a combination of AI and human review to decide if a person is a person.

Tinder’s approach to verification means little more than that an account is probably not a bot. This sidesteps the problems that come when verification is seen as an endorsement. Twitter paused verification back in 2017, after verifying someone associated with hate groups. The outrage was largely fueled because people felt the blue check was a measure of worth in the eyes of the company Twitter.

At the time I argued verification shouldn’t be seen as an endorsement, but I made the clumsy argument that Twitter should open the existing process to everyone. In the above linked VentureBeat article, I said “I got my verification back when the public could request it. I had to jump through a few hoops, filling out a form explaining why I deserve verification. […] I also had to submit photos of my ID and other documents to verify I was, indeed, myself.” 

But four years later, I now think Tinder is onto something, with a dramatically different approach to verification. Online bots are incredibly hard to spot, many real people, behave in ways that could be seen as bot-like. 

As Florian Gallwitz, Professor of computer science and media at Nuremberg Institute of Technology pointed out on Twitter, Botometer a tool academics often use to identify bots is highly inaccurate. In one example Gallwitz showed that Elon Musk himself with his blue check, 81 million followers, and nearly 10% ownership of the platform Twitter is possibly a bot according to Botometer.


So Mr. Musk, Elon if I may. If you’re serious about buying Twitter, may I suggest that you address the bot problem using the same, imperfect method Tinder has adopted?

Elon Musk and Chris Anderson at TED 2017” by jurvetson is marked with CC BY 2.0.

If you enjoyed this article, feel free to read my criticism of an LA Times article claiming Tesla used Twitter bots to push the stock price up, or watch the video.

The Metaverse Is Stupid, I Think

A few Tweets aside, I haven’t said much about the metaverse. This is entirely because I think the metaverse as currently advertised is incredibly stupid. Some see a sort of merger of the corporeal and virtual worlds, somehow different from Second Life. I see it as, at best, a gimmick and, at worst an ad-supported hellscape we are forced into by people who think it’s cool. 

It’s very hard to see the metaverse as proposed by Mark Zuckerberg as anything other than a new graphical interface for the same stuff we already do digitally. We have video calls, video games, chat programs, online banking, email, and other online tools that replace physical counterparts. I no longer need to go to an ATM to deposit a check. I don’t want to go to a virtual ATM in the metaverse to deposit a digital check.

Sure, it’s possible the metaverse could have a utility I don’t yet understand. It took a global pandemic for me to consider QR codes useful for general consumers. But the best applications I can think of are essentially digital screens, and a VR whiteboard in a VR room isn’t so different from a digital display. 

My Experience Working With Entrepreneur Sunil Paul

The full story about working with Sunil Paul is on Push ROI. But the highlights:

  • Spring Free EV approached my company Push ROI about providing marketing services.
  • Spring Free EV negotiated a contract, resulting in both written clarification of the terms and changes to the terms
  • Spring Free EV signed the contract, and I countersigned.
  • After signing Spring Free EV informed me they wouldn’t honor the contract until I signed an adhesion contract containing terms that altered our current agreement.
  • I said no.
  • Spring Free EV breached the contract.
  • Spring Free EV refused to pay the termination fees outlined in the contract.
  • Spring Free refused to negotiate a settlement.

Feel free to read the full story including screenshots and much more detail about the Spring Free EV contract breach.

Header image TechCrunch, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The 1xftrv9efs of Covid19 – Google Test

Hey all, as you may have experienced Google Search as gotten worse over time. It’s hard to find specific articles from smaller websites now even when you search for very unique titles. This post will serve as an example.

At the time of writing, most of the (seven) results for “The 1xftrv9efs of Covid19 – Google Test” this blog posts title are unsurprisingly pages from Google websites about Govid19. Not one of those results uses the word “1xftrv9efs”, meaning this blogs title is entirely unique.

As of 12:21 AM 3/11/22, this page is not yet indexed by Google. Google also shows no results for the word “1xftrv9efs”. Apart from my Tweet, this should be the only page on the internet with “1xftrv9efs” on the page.

Apart from Tweeting this article, I’ve done no link building. The post will have a link from the masonpelt.com home page. The stats of my little website in ahrefs are nothing incredible, but this is not a new domain name, and is not without some links.

Update 8:00AM 3/11/22 This page is now indexed, and while it ranks on the first page for its title, that is because Google only shows 8 results for “The 1xftrv9efs of Covid19 – Google Test” without quotes.

I realize, as other sites, Flipboard, MuckRack, and various thread reader websites create links to the blog post, it may rank #1 for its title. All it took for that to happen was an 11 character random combination that appears no other place online in the title.

It’s of note that as of 3:10PM on 3/11/22, this blog post doesn’t appear in the first 150 results of Google for the phrase “the Covid19 – Google Test” without quotes. Lots of sites use the words “Google”, “Covid-19” and “Test”, but still my site is the best content result for that nonsense phrase.

Obviously, I could do a bunch of SEO things and within a few weeks to months rank this blog post for all the nonsense variations of its current title. But why? Is using Google to search a partially remembered title of a blog post, published by a small website an edge use case for the search engine? Will every blogger need to start doing SEO to rank for, random meaningless titles?

Header: “Random search” by Arenamontanus is marked with CC BY 2.0.

Orwellian Goal

If George Orwell had one goal, and that goal was to write a book that people who hadn’t read it would bring up in conversation as if it was the only fictional work to comment on politics prior to televised animation, he completed his goal with more success than any other person.

1984 is also one of my all time favorite books. It deserves to be read, contemplated, and analyzed, as do many other books. But 1984’s commentary on the world was remarkably well defined with in the work, the historical context around it, and by all of Orwell’s other works.

Orwell wrote an essay about how he makes tea. If someone wished to, they could analyze that essay to the point that they turn it into a religion. But it’s literally just about tea. Putting the tea into the pot directly wasn’t a commentary on education.

It’s not like Orwell was known for being unclear, and unable to speak for himself. You’d struggle to find a professional writer who hasn’t read the Politics and the English Language essay. So when he writes a book that clearly contextualizes something, it wasn’t a mistake.

When people draw 1984 comparisons to current events that are contextually entirely outside of anything contained in the book. I assume that they didn’t read 1984. Bringing me full circle.

“1984 Book Covers” by colindunn is licensed under CC BY 2.0