scattered notes on trust

Google Reader is an example of something we shouldn’t have trusted and should never have designed for.

GMail is the same only vastly more dangerous. (But the ecosystem of mail is still more robust because widely used, so maybe there’s hope?)

Don’t trust power. Don’t trust those with power, and don’t trust what acquiring power itself might do to you or those you care about. Don’t trust your relationship to power.

Cultivate your memory, but don’t trust it. You’ve been lying to yourself since before you knew words.

Centralization is powerful, necessary, and invariably dangerous.

Certain modes of redundancy are valuable. Leave the house with enough layers to get you through the whole day. Leave town with enough gear to get you through sleeping, eating, staying warm, hopping busses, etc. etc.

An individual should be careful of what they don’t own but rely on anyway.

The public:

  • should be wary of what it needs, doesn’t own, and can’t get from a diverse market.

  • should be wary of owning things badly.

Maintaining e-mail is terrible.

  • This hasn’t changed.

  • Is it terrible enough to justify the risk in letting someone else own it in exchange for the conveniences provided by their centralization?

  • Has the centralization of systems like e-mail made them easier to maintain in the general case, or harder?

Is it better to have to trust more entities?

Trust yourself, but don’t trust yourself: Be confident. Be in the world. Put yourself in situations to do hard things and good work. But don’t put yourself where you’ll fail and break what matters just because you think you ought to be strong enough in the moment. The decisions that matter just as often aren’t the ones in the moment. They’re the ones hours and days and weeks before the moment comes.

If you decided not to put on your seatbelt, if you left camp without water, if you wrote code to ignore the error case: You’re going to have a bad time.

p1k3 / 2014 / 12 / 29 / trust