Ben’s Story of Firefox OS

Like my good old colleague Ben Francis, I too have a lot to say about Firefox OS.

It’s been little over a year since my team and I moved away from Firefox OS and the ill-fated Connected Devices group. Over the course of last year, each time I think about the Firefox OS experience, I arrived at different conclusions and complicated, sometimes emotional, belives. I didn’t feel I am ready to take a snapshot of these thoughts and publish it permanently, so I didn’t write about it here. Frankly, I don’t even think I am ready now.

In his post, Ben has pointed out many of the turning points of the project. I agree with many of his portrayals, most importantly, lost of direction between being a product (which must ship fast and deliver whatever partners/consumers wanted and used to) and a research project (which involves engineering endeavors that answer questions asked in the original announcement). I, however, have not figured out what can be done instead (which Ben proposed in his post nicely).

Lastly, a final point: to you, this might as well be another story in the volatile tech industry, but to me, I felt the cost of people enormously whenever a change was announced during the “slow death” of Firefox OS.

People moves on and recovers, including me (which fortunately wasn’t nearly being hit the hardest). I can only extend my best wishes to those who had fought the good fight with.

When work cease to …… work

One of the downside being a middle manager in the office is the loss of focus on the big picture and focused on getting your team, your company, and your product to succeed. The article, F**k work” by James Livingston, asks for application of universal basic income, and what’s the shift of mindset the world would need to make that happen.

To me, it serves as a bloody reminder of what work is essentially about to individuals within the society, and what it has been unfulfilling for most of the people in the society (those who maybe ended up gave us Trump).

The broader issue covered by this post is how the economy can work without sank generations of creativity into just for bread and butter of their families. I have to admit that I immediately think of the Star Trek Federation society upon reaching this paragraph, where people work because of their aspirations and sense of achievement.

Incidentally, I have been reading The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work by Alain de Botton, and he too touches the meaning of work. Finland recently became the first country implementing universal basic income, but it applied as a tool for welfare reform, not a challenge to the meaning of work itself.

I don’t know what can be done to bring this kind of massive social change, something so fundamental, almost since the beginning of the human civilization. Nonetheless, we must remain helpful as that’s the only way to keep the dream alive.


這個部落格怎麼可能不寫川普 ….😝 無論川普能不能當好總統,從檢討川普為何當選,可以稍微理解一些人類心理最原始的本性。

到目前為止我聽到的最好的解釋是 Jonathan Haidt 在 Intelligence Squared 的這集 The Rise of Populism and the Backlash Against the Elites 所說的:

WVS Cultural Survey 2015

WVS Cultural Survey 2015 地圖,來自 World Cultural Survey

Haidt 舉了 World Values Survey 的社會文化發展圖指出,每個國家社會在開始發展民主與自由化經濟時,都會慢慢地從這張圖的左下角,也就是偏向傳統價值觀與專注在個人求生為主的經濟,往偏向世俗價值觀以及重視個人權利移動。但價值觀的分布是不平均的:只有居住在城市的人以及在大學城的人,會在發展的過程放鬆對國家信仰與單一民族文化的信念(大概就是約翰藍濃 Imagine 的歌詞……)。因此在往多元民族文化與全球化時,會驚嚇到具有「威權主義心理」的群眾(Haidt 在這邊用「威權主義」不是取它的貶意,而是重視既有的家庭、國家、上帝,還有倫理的群眾),讓他們做出排外、種族主義的舉動。而川普或是脫歐陣營,正是在兌現這樣的恐懼心理。

Haidt 認為,這個世界的左右派已經發展到幾乎可以對應到「國家主義」與「全球化」兩派。他批評全球化的信徒不理解一半以上群眾心目中的國家信仰與倫理的重要性,常常只會盲目的使用經濟效果來立論,以至於無法明白為什麼群眾會投票選擇對自己生計不利的選擇。

講到這邊就要引用 Jon Stewart 在川普當選之後受訪所說的一些觀點,他和 Haidt 一樣都提到了「部落主義(tribalism)」:

自然的人性跟隨的文明啟蒙之前的本性,追求穩定以及永遠為真的倫理、道德觀、上帝,相信維繫「部落」和諧為目標,「非我族類,其心必異」。自由派追求的進步,勢必要抵抗這樣的本性,才能成就崇尚多元與經濟自由的國家,而且不能把進步當作是不會回歸的常態(因為進步的狀態才是非自然的狀態)。Stewart 在訪問也明確的講出了 Haidt 所說的類似的盲點:自由派不能很扁平的,把川普的選民投票的動機全部看成是純粹的種族主義或沙文主義;扁平描述群眾的心理本身即違反了自由派對於人性多元的觀點,自己陷入了部落主義的本性。


強烈建議大家有空的話可以聽上述引用的對談與專訪。另外推薦 C. G. P GreyThis Video Will Make You Angry,他提到了憤怒作為傳播動機的不可預見的後果。