Need someone to lead product management at your software company? I create software for people that create software and I'm looking for my next opportunity. Check out my resume and get in touch.

Rethinking Warchalking

Freshness Warning
This blog post is over 21 years old. It's possible that the information you read below isn't current and the links no longer work.

When the warchalking meme hit, I remember wondering what the big deal was. I understand the allure of wireless networking—I’ve been wireless in my home since the days of slow, proprietary systems—but I didn’t understand why warchalking would be useful. Sit down someplace, open up NetStumbler, and if there’s an open hotspot, you’re connected.

But today, walking through downtown Sacramento on a lunch break from jury duty, it dawned on me. I’ve been wondering if there are any Wi-Fi hotspots in the area, and so far, the only one’s I’ve found with NetStumbler are protected by WEP. (Even though WEP is almost trivial to crack, I figure that someone would only use WEP if they didn’t want random people connecting to the network, so I stay out.)

As I walked past a Starbucks with a T-Mobile sign in the window, I suddenly had a rush of understanding. Warchalks are just like that T-Mobile sign. They are advertising an available hotspot to anyone who wanders by. To find hotspots with NetStumber, I have to be wandering around, laptop in hand. That’s impractical at best, especially when walking in the rain.

Recently Written

Great prodct managers own the outcomes (May 14)
Being a product manager means never having to say, "that's not my job."
Too Big To Fail (Apr 9)
When a company piles resources on a new product idea, it doesn't have room to fail. That keeps it from succeeding.
Go small (Apr 4)
The strengths of a large organization are the opposite of what makes innovation work. Starting something new requires that you start with a small team.
Start with a Belief (Apr 1)
You can't use data to build products unless you start with a hypothesis.
Mastery doesn’t come from perfect planning (Dec 21)
In a ceramics class, one group focused on a single perfect dish, while another made many with no quality focus. The result? A lesson in the value of practice over perfection.
The Dark Side of Input Metrics (Nov 27)
Using input metrics in the wrong way can cause unexpected behaviors, stifled creativity, and micromanagement.
Reframe How You Think About Users of your Internal Platform (Nov 13)
Changing from "Customers" to "Partners" will give you a better perspective on internal product development.
Measuring Feature success (Oct 17)
You're building features to solve problems. If you don't know what success looks like, how did you decide on that feature at all?


What I'm Reading


Adam Kalsey

+1 916 600 2497


Public Key

© 1999-2024 Adam Kalsey.