“The second thing is that there’s almost no watchable esport for a normal person. The real issue is that no one has actually made [an esport] that people like to play, that is fun to play, that is also remotely tolerable to watch for a normal person. They’re all baffling. I dare anyone to turn on Overwatch in front of a person and even explain what’s going on to them. The closest we’ve gotten [to something watchable] is Rocket League, because it’s just soccer.”

“I think there’s a possibility that augmented reality and physical controllers could produce an interesting future direction for esports. Like if you look up contemporary Olympic fencing, it’s weirdly cool-looking. It looks like a future sport. The players are wired up, electronically connected. There is a sense in which Olympic fencing is already an esport of a kind.”


The JIRA team does not use JIRA and of course why would they if anybody gave them the choice. Also, JIRA is often not used for software engineering anymore but it fits the bill for large scale workflows and compliance trails.

I too did not realize how far we’ve come. It feels good to have been right about this trend of full permeation of games and play becoming a default mode five years ago with Hubbub.

This graphic about Western vs. Eastern conceptions of playing from ‘The Future of Ritual’

Risk appetites of different leaders

There are the leaders that — like samurai — embrace death. They see their role as protecting and empowering the people below them who do the real work and it’s an honor to serve the team’s interests even if things do not go well for them personally.

But some people don’t process risk in that way. Those leaders get drawn into trying to outrun death, which is as impossible metaphorically as it would be literally. You can’t avoid taking responsibility forever. Eventually there will be some disappointment or mistake that you will be called on to answer for.

The leaders who have a low tolerance for risk — and I say leaders instead of managers because on engineering teams these concepts also apply to Staff and Principal engineers — will respond to risk by either avoiding it outright or figuring out how to spin the situation so that it is Not Their Fault(TM)

These leaders ultimately become bureaucrats. The perfect job is the job with the glamorous title and the big paycheck where no decisions and no risks need to be taken. These leaders end up in startups more often than you might expect. That’s because continuing down a career where you’re running from death all the time does real damage to you psychologically. It’s important to understand that even though it seems like these people don’t care they are still human and they still have the same basic needs and feelings as anyone else. Fleeing death doesn’t just hurt the people they throw under the bus, it also hurts them. They want to be respected by their employees and often know they are not. They want to be admired and often know they are not. They also feel guilty screwing people over to survive.

It starts out weird but this is an amazing article about leaders’ appetites for risk and how that plays out within companies.


I think there was another study about psychopathy in high status car drivers but for now this is good enough.

The answers were unambiguous: self-centred men who are argumentative, stubborn, disagreeable and unempathetic are much more likely to own a high-status car such as an Audi, BMW or Mercedes.


Losing @firstname on Instagram

I have my first name as my user name in a bunch of places. I’ve had my Twitter account (Twitter.com/alper) for a very long time but my Instagram account (Instagram.com/alper) got a lot more attention after Instagram got really big. A couple of weeks ago I lost that account.

I didn’t suspect that this time it would be permanent. It happened before that Instagram would lock me out of my account because they claimed I had infringed a not-specified guideline. I would open a support request, they would have me jump through some hoops and then re-enable my account.

Not this time.

Now why does this happen in the first place? A first name account like mine is considered OG (see this episode of Reply All). Lots of people—mostly from Turkey—would really love to have it. I know this because I get messages from them all the time. I ignore these messages. I also get lots of password resets from people trying to break into my account. I have the account secured.

What they then most likely try is to claim that I’m impersonating somebody. I don’t think I can impersonate myself but let’s just go with it. Instagram does not do any due diligence and if they get the right kind or right amount of reports, they just suspend my account. I guess that is the first step in a process through which the attacker believes they can get me kicked off the account permanently and then maybe later acquire the username.

Normally support would give me back my account in a couple of days. This time all my support requests have been black holed.

Instagram support is very well hidden but if you search around you can find three web forms in the support portal for a situation such as this one. I filled those in multiple times. I got in touch with people who work at Instagram through various channels. This dude followed me so I asked him about my account (no reply). I even had people open Facebook internal support tickets which still remain open. A support agent replied to me once but then ghosted me.


If they would usually give me back my account, why don’t they do it this time?

One theory is that Instagram support is overwhelmed because of COVID. They seem to have difficulty even normally with the number of support requests so it could be possible that if things get worse, stuff just gets ignored. I don’t really buy this but it’s possible.

My theory is that somebody with some actual clout has put a hold on my username. People and agencies with access to Instagram sell services such as support or verified status illicitly. Maybe somebody is selling access to my username or they are using my username to trade for something more valuable. Facebook is under a lot of pressure to make advertising targets at the moment.


By now I don’t think I will get my account back anymore. I’m waiting to see if it gets recycled and who will be using it after me.

It’s a weird feeling losing something that other people think carries significant monetary value.

But it’s a lot more annoying to lose your identity and sense of place. I’ve started a new account but without access to the old one, getting it to the same place has been a very slow and arduous process. I’m still cut-off from several hundred people who I would communicate with over Instagram, for some of whom this was the only communication channel.

Of course I knew that none of this was mine to start with and it could be taken away with the press of a button. I just ignored it. Don’t make the same mistake I did.


I thought I would do a round of submissions of all the support forms again but it turns out they are broken. They request you to login to Instagram before you fill them in which is impossible if your account is suspended.

r/Instagram - How can I confirm it's me?

Let’s see how this develops but it looks like this is deliberate stonewalling.