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Man putting his vote in the ballot box for Election 2020 by Marco Verch. CC BY 2.0

Democracy is neat. Its selling point is that it creates the conditions for political change without violence, and in a methodical and measured manner. Which all sounds great — but the US isn’t a democracy, at least not at the federal level.

Undemocratic institutions like the Senate, the Electoral College, and the extensively gerrymandered districts of the House of Representatives mean that one side of the political spectrum needs many many more votes on its side to achieve the same degree of political success as the other side. …


A character with a megaphone overlays a flock of emails, some unread, flanked by open and closed envelopes.
A character with a megaphone overlays a flock of emails, some unread, flanked by open and closed envelopes.
Illustration courtesy of ManyPixels.

Software isn’t secure. This hurts everyone, but it places the most vulnerable at excessive risk. Journalists, activists, queer people, sex workers, union organizers… Everyone deserves safe tools, but the danger isn’t distributed evenly.

From time people decide to build secure software to help protect the most vulnerable in society. …


There are two aspects to product management: the product, and the management. An effective PM combines the mindset and skills needed to excel at each.

Long red hair streams behind a person leaping and bounding forward, supported by a phone which is also their staircase.
Long red hair streams behind a person leaping and bounding forward, supported by a phone which is also their staircase.

To make a great product, the chief demand is empathy, followed closely by curiosity. Empathy — and its cousin compassion — let you understand the needs and expectations of the people who use and rely on the things you build. …

About

Tom Lowenthal

Mostly abridged.

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