Where two congresswoman streamed video games with YouTube stars

A screenshot of Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez’s Twitch stream, where she is playing the online multiplayer game Among Us.
A screenshot of Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez’s Twitch stream, where she is playing the online multiplayer game Among Us.
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez plays Among Us with another Congresswoman and a cast of popular YouTube stars. Source: Twitch

TL;DR — Among Us succeeded out of nowhere because it had multiple low barriers to entry, and was a social experience over just a gameplay experience. Twitch streamers used this social element as their own flywheel, collaborating with other popular streamers to make each game its own massive event and spectacle.

Among Us, a low-budget murder-mystery style video game, was released in 2018. The gameplay is simple — finish tasks while trying to figure out which of your space crewmates is secretely a murder (the “impostor”). It never did amazing numbers, but with regular updates, it persisted, maintaining a few…


…and how will they survive?

An UberEats delivery-person on a bike.
An UberEats delivery-person on a bike.
Source: Observer

TL;DR — There’s mass consolidation happening in an oversaturated market. The pandemic means that meal delivery companies like DoorDash can raise more money and enjoy more engagement. This doesn’t solve the problems of not running a profitable business, though, and the companies will have to hike prices, expand their business model outside meals, or rely on cloud kitchens to turn the corner and sustain profits.

View this pandemic through the lens of what’s been selling out.

Where has the demand gone? First, back in March, every store was out of toilet paper, because...well, I still don’t fully understand that one. Then everyone bought the Nintendo Switch to pass the time with…


And how to lead by example

Cartoon from Airbnb showing hospitals on a map.
Cartoon from Airbnb showing hospitals on a map.
Source: Airbnb

I will be donating $0.10 for every view of this story to the Central Texas Food Bank, a nonprofit providing meals and groceries to those in need.

It feels like the entire entertainment economy disappeared overnight.

In 2019 the festival South by Southwest (SXSW) brought over a quarter of a billion dollars to the local Austin economy. All that money — local restaurant revenue, bar rentals, and Airbnb bookings — vanished when SXSW 2020 was cancelled by the City of Austin amid concerns over the novel corona-virus outbreak.

Sadly, it was the right call. As much fun as SXSW is…


Self-driving cars have to be part of both companies’ endgames

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Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Uber is currently an unprofitable business. Lyft is too. Both have aspirations to become profitable businesses in the next one–two years, but right now, they aren’t even close. How can they achieve profitability, and what impact would that have on your fare to get from the airport to your Airbnb?

There are a few estimates on how much Uber loses per ride. It’s enough that, up until its initial public offering, your Uber ride was substantially subsidized by Uber’s investors. …


A screenshot of the new Google search results page. It shows that an ad and a genuine organic result now look very similar.
A screenshot of the new Google search results page. It shows that an ad and a genuine organic result now look very similar.
I just want organic socks search results. Is that too much to ask?? Source: Google’s Search Results

You may have noticed a change in Google Search this week. Or, more likely, you didn’t notice it at all. Google made a subtle but meaningful change to their Google Search UI that makes ads a lot less noticeable. As you can see above, pretty much the only difference between an ad and an organic search result (read: a search result that someone didn’t pay to show you) is the small, tiny, unnoticeable icon on the left.

This is not a coincidence. Google, a company which derives its revenue primarily from ads, has discovered that ads get higher engagement when…


I’m having a fit over this.

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Source: My screenshot of Google.

TL;DR It’s ALL ABOUT FIT. Focus on finding clothes that fit your body well, and learn what that means before trying to buy a bunch of new interesting pieces of clothing. If you want to learn how to dress well, look for pictures of stylish people with body types similar to yours.

I get asked for advice on dressing well all the time. It’s what I spent all of my money and time on in college, instead of “attending class” or “making good use of my knowledge.”

Fashion, or at least improving your fashion, is not the rocket science most…


Measurably. With data.

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My writing an article about productivity is prevented by a cat. She will be in the “anti-productivity-but-pro-mental-health” 106-part series I’ll write.

TL;DR Here are the apps.

  1. Bear
  2. Google Tasks
  3. Google Calendar
  4. Medium / Safari bookmarks
  5. Inbox Zero
  6. Audible
  7. Apple Screen Time

Here’s the thing.

It’s insanely easy to write an article about productivity tools and apps, IMO. I am not adding reader value to Medium by writing an article about how great Gmail is for sending and receiving messages, or how great meditation apps are.

They’re broad generalizations, and don’t drill into specifics or how to measure productivity. …


In five short lessons.

An image of the company Google’s logo.
An image of the company Google’s logo.
So close, yet so much character built.

February 2019. I had just completed a completely solo backpacking trip around Europe, or, as I refer to it for Americans hoping to vacation there, “Off -by-one American culture.” I had just finished my undergrad in computer science at UW-Madison, and taken a bit of a gap before starting work in Austin, Texas: the queso capital of my heart.

I’d taken my last internship in summer of 2017. Interview season hadn’t gone quite as I had hoped. I had great interviews lined up, and made it to the final round at some top-notch companies, but for one reason or another…


…basically, explaining why I showed up to the interview in a suit.

A picture of me wearing a suit, next to my two brothers at my middle brother’s college graduation.
A picture of me wearing a suit, next to my two brothers at my middle brother’s college graduation.
This is back when I was a PM, and I wore this suit to work almost weekly. I loved it. Also, congrats to my brother for graduating.

TL;DR While I dressed a bit more formally as a PM, I changed my style to being more casual as a dev, as it fit the audience I interacted with. This set a tone for those working with me. I used both styles to leverage the situation I was in, and you should, too.

P.S. If you’re ever looking for free fashion advice, feel free to shoot me a message, and I would be happy to lend an eye.

It’s August in Austin, and despite it breaking triple-digits in temperature almost daily, I’ve decided to show up to work in…


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TL;DR: Facebook has all the information you’d expect, and some you might not. Outside of the photos you uploaded and the messages you sent, they collect advertiser information based on your interactions with the website, and use that to extrapolate categories you fall under. To sum it up, they have a lot of information about you.

I’m in the process of deactivating — and moving on from — Facebook, and I have my own reasons for that. That’s not exactly what this short article is about. …

Jameson Zaballos

Machine Learning Engineer, writing about the intersection of technology & fashion.

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