- Brooklyn, USA
- Web Programmer
- Kensho - Frontend Engineer
Born in Boston, 26, cis white male, I’m a web programmer working on interfaces. At Bowdoin College I learned from people who are actually good at math, so I could take that to Businessweek and learn from people who are actually good at design, which I’m now taking to Kensho to learn from people who are actually good at programming. Eventually I hope to be actually good at the synthesis! In my dreams I continue this work for the rest of my life.
This little mobile-first chart game abuses the very chic aesthetic of the very serious Bloomberg Terminal to (1) waste time and (2) confront the vanity of expecting market-beating returns by assuming the future will look like the past. So the game has an unstated thesis, which it argues just by showing you your results, like what Ian Bogost calls “procedural rhetoric”: the ability of a game, or any system of interaction, to make a point.
What’s an exchange-traded fund (ETF), and how do people make money on it? For the big banks, the answer turns out to be, in a mathematically precise way: you get paid to balance a big see-saw of weights of various sizes, rolling up and down as prices move. That seems to make it easier to understand. A small child could do it. People go, “That’s it??”, and that feels like a triumph. People intuitively understand complex systems all around them all the time! You just need to code up a rigorous graphical-geometrical-mechanical metaphor.
“Plain text” is sometimes treated (especially by programmers!) like a solved problem. You have these letters, proportionally sized and spaced and kerned, and one comes after the next, and they wrap onto lines in some grid. If you want to get fancy maybe you have ligatures. Watching the designers at Businessweek – who can, like, do valley girl intonation in type — disabused me of that worldview. Lots of people are trying great things and of course it’s hard to compete with convention on a meaningful scale here, but I’ll try — nothing fancy with the fonts here per se, just some more dynamic setting.