Just writing down some rough thoughts on Mission Impossible: Fallout, the movie for this week’s Dune Pod.

Overall, watching this movie — the sixth Mission Impossible movie — ended up feeling very meta. First, watching a huge Hollywood blockbuster during the pandemic makes me long for travel and for going to the movies. But also, the MI movies are less narrative films and more a series of impossible challenges the filmmakers gave themselves in a Brewster’s Millions style gambit to spend $170M.

For example, one of the set pieces of the film is a HALO jump where Tom Cruise and…

On the April 23rd episode of Pod Save America, Dan Pfeiffer asked me a question about how Vice President Joe Biden can overcome President Trump’s structural advantages online. We had a good discussion about the systemic advantages to outrage content but there was a separate point that I’ve been mulling over since.

I was reminded of this when reading this April 25th New York Times story about the Biden campaign during the pandemic. The authors write:

At times, Mr. Biden has appeared out of his comfort zone and he continues to express a kind of chuckling disbelief that his basement…

I originally published this on my blog on February 19, 2007. It was the end of my first week as Director of Product Strategy at Obvious. Obvious was the company Ev Williams had founded to both house the podcasting platform Odeo and also work on new products. I’d joined Obvious because I wanted to worked with Ev again (he was my boss at Google and Blogger.) And because I was in love with Obvious’s second product—Twitter—that had launched the previous year. …

A new role

My name is Jason Goldman. For the last few years I’ve mostly worked on building tools that give people a voice online. What I’m doing next is different. I’m going to go work at the White House as Chief Digital Officer. When I start on April 6, my job will be to help create more meaningful online engagement between government and American citizens.

There’s news out about this, but that’s not why I’m writing this post. I’m writing it because this place — the Internet — is where I’ve always turned to work things out. So I’m going to tell…


Despite building all kinds of “share” buttons into both apps and sites, people prefer to share by screenshot.

This is true for both private sharing where the screenshot is sent over text. As well as public sharing.

Examples of public sharing include: posting an article quote to Twitter, Instagramming text that is written on iOS Notes, posting a txt conversation to Facebook

People like the screenshot behavior because it is quick and intimate. It’s “here’s what I’m seeing.”

The shared screenshots are ugly. On mobile they often include browser cruft as well as Copy | Define tooltip.

Also if you…

Originally written December 17, 2010

Update (May 2020): I wanted to revisit this post since it’s been almost ten years since I wrote it and six years since I posted it on Medium. Some of the content holds up pretty well and other parts aged terribly. Most notably the first section on Content Policy does not match my current views and I wanted to include a note about that.

When working on Blogger, our stated product mission was to deliver “push button publishing to the people.” It’s hard to remember but in the early 2000s, the notion that the web could be used as a…

Here’s a weird thing about Black Mirror. I mean everything is kinda weird about it because it’s all Twilight Zone-y. But, of the first six episodes at least four are primarily about humiliation.

Whether it’s a politician, reality star, lover or criminal, the show is more often than not about how technology is used to humiliate (and often in a really baroque, drawn out way.)

What’s up with that?

Although my degree is in astronomy, my major was really college debate. Debate was easily the most valuable thing I learned at school. It teaches you how to create a well-structured argument, how to do so on the fly, and how to be comfortable in front of a crowd. It’s a pretty kickass business skill.

I have three points I would teach anyone looking to learn about debate: how to embrace structure and constraints, how to be a better listener, how to reframe an argument.

Structure and Constraints

When I said “I have three points” I was embracing structure. It’s forcing my argument…

I originally published this on February 20, 2007 on the Obvious (1.0) blog.

So, you’ve got a feature idea for your personal content product that’s going to make everything better for everyone. As a for instance, let’s say it automatically converts quotes (“) to smart quotes (“). You build, test and release it and eagerly await to receive praise from your users.

The first comment you see is from someone who says “I hate these ugly quote marks! Why did you screw with my text! I quit!”

So now you have a new feature to code called the “Disable Smart Quotes (Yes/No)” setting.

How much leeway do you have to change behavior without…

On Monday, as I was crossing Fifth Avenue, I had to stop myself from tweeting: “The Empire State Building is the most beautiful skyscraper in the world.” In other words, I’ve reached the treacly, sweet center of my love affair with New York City.

Just Another Freak in the Freak Kingdom

New York City just gets me. The things I’ve always thought of as my flaws, fit in here. I’m obsessive about travel logistics — get to the airport early, print boarding passes ahead of time, plan the best route. …

Jason Goldman

I like the work about the work. Places practiced include: Blogger, Google, Twitter, Obvious, Branch, Medium, San Francisco and New York.

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