I really liked that this quick history of Motown begins by describing the founder, Berry Gordy. He started out as a boxing fighter (!) and most importI really liked that this quick history of Motown begins by describing the founder, Berry Gordy. He started out as a boxing fighter (!) and most importantly as a humble worker at Ford, where he learned how the assembly line works. He then implemented the assembly line idea into Motown. Motown worked with a group of song writers, a core of "backup" musicians, and finally the stars / lead singers. Everyone was interchangeable, allowing Motown to steadily put out a ton of (great) music.
Quality was the most important thing. Songs needed to be so good that people would prefer spending their lunch money on the record rather than on food. (Which reminds me Marc Andreessen's — actually, Steve Martin's — “Be so good they can’t ignore you.”) They had reoccurring Friday meetings to decide if a song was awesome enough.
They weren’t immune of errors though. One of the songs that was initially rejected was What's Going On by Marvin Gaye... a song that Gordy reputed way too political. Only after pressure from other executives and Marvin Gaye himself was the song (and the following album) published — and then it became their best seller of all times.
Another good thing about this book is that it provides some (well, just a little bit of) context of the times. The civil rights movement, the racial tensions, the riots… good photos too. There’s an aerial photo during the 1967 riots where Detroit looks like a war-zone.
I think things started to slowly change when Gordy moved the HQ from the original house on West Grand to downtown Detroit in 1968, and then to LA in 1972. Up until that point Motown was deeply connected to the neighborhood, with kids hanging around for a job or an audition at Hitsville USA. How cool was that! Many stars started like that: Aretha Franklin, Martha Reeves, Stevie Wonder, Mary Wells…
I snubbed R&B for the longest time, I admit it. The sugar coating on top of these songs came off to me as insincere, and just turned me off. I was so wrong. The kids behind the Motown "school” (which btw included manners and choreography, beside the music) were taken from the streets just like the punk bands I grew up with: like them, they put a ton of passion into it and had a close network of other musicians to look up to. Differently from the punk-rockers, these guys also had somebody who looked after them. It’s this close-knit circuit (local roots, peers, talent, education, label) that allowed all the amazing stuff to happen....more
This is a 160+ pages book that could have been perfect as a 10 pages essay. Why do authors believe they need to cross the 100 page mark to give meaninThis is a 160+ pages book that could have been perfect as a 10 pages essay. Why do authors believe they need to cross the 100 page mark to give meaning to their work? I don't get it. 50 pages books are still books, guys. I think the long-windedness is particularly harmful to the cause of this immensely valuable practice, because it gives the false idea you need oh-so-much study to start being an effective code reviewer.
There were some good takeaways though: - code reviews are only good if they are effective at finding defects. So, studies cited here show that each code review session should be: (1) 1 hour max, (2) 400 lines max - simple strategy to avoid repeating mistakes: log every mistake you make and how many times. By just doing this, you'll soon anticipate the mistake and actually prevent it. They postulate this is true for any mistake, not just coding mistakes. Makes sense to me. - one of the big problems for code reviewers is finding what's not there. It's easy to spot a nil dereference crash, but can you spot that the developer forgot to call super in an override? Or that they called a method that's unavailable in a latest OS version? To approach this hard problem they suggest to use checklists. A reviewer would write their own list of things to check in every review, until they finally learn what to check. This is very pragmatic (not to mention pretty tedious) and I wonder if it can harmfully become the be-all-end-all of code reviewing. - look for one defect kind at a time throughout the whole code to be reviewed, then rescan the code looking for another kind of problem. This multiple pass system is kinda interesting, I should try it out.
The last chapter is a shameless plug for SmartBear code review tool. ...more
This is an amazing, one of a kind book. One of those treasures you imagined once but never thought its existence was possible. If it wasn't for GoodreThis is an amazing, one of a kind book. One of those treasures you imagined once but never thought its existence was possible. If it wasn't for Goodreads, i would have never found this book!
The great thing about this huge letter-size hard-cover book is its size, which makes the quality of the photos really shine. These drum machines all look amazing, beautiful objects you want to play with. Some of them are ridiculous .... A 8-track operated drum machine, really? Another one looks like a portable heater. It probably was, also, a heater.
Each one gets at least 2 pages, except the "stars" (808, 909, Linn, DMX, etc) who get 4-6 pages. The author even mentions some songs where these were featured. It's really a work of love. And so since I was listening to them as I was reading here's a playlist... It's chronological from 1975 to 1996, which is where the book stops. (Actually it's mostly focused on the 80s and earlier.)...more