Michael Aufreiter

@michael
Interested in what people really think and giving them a safe space to express it.
twitter.com/_mql
Joined on Apr 12, 2021
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What makes good visual design and how do we get more of it?

I had a really enjoyable exchange with Anthony Hobday, diving into visual design. This text is my attempt to distill our 3 hours of talking into a few key takeaways. I loved this conversation because we went meta a couple of times, digging into the philosophy of good visual design. We explored how v…

How to implement a web-based rich text editor in 2023?

Since 2011 I’ve been spending a great junk of my time taming web browsers to behave correctly and predictably when editing rich text. If you’ve ever tried to include a custom rich text editor in your web application, you know it’s a rather difficult problem to solve. I’d even predict that you’ll mos…

Michael Aufreiter in Code on Jan 14
Less is more in software?

To me, minimalism in software development is not just a desirable design goal but a survival strategy. I’ve seen too many projects fail, many I’ve been involved in myself, due to an explosion of features and a complex technical foundation that stands on shaky ground but was just too tempting to star…

Michael Aufreiter in Technology on Nov 7, 2022
Competition

For the past two years building Ken, I’ve been most worried about whether there is a real need for what I’m doing. Maybe it’s just what I need, while nobody else cares? A couple of weeks ago, I made a discovery that left me with a mix of excitement and discomfort — I’m not alone in this. Nicheless i…

Michael Aufreiter in Ken on Nov 2, 2022
Science beyond institutions?

For many years I worked with Open Access journals, helping them to improve scientific publishing. I came to the following conclusion: In its essence, scientific discovery is not made by a university or a publisher but by a network of individuals working together. The scientists in the lab, the journ…

Michael Aufreiter in Science on Oct 6, 2022
Every curious mind is a scientist?

“Every curious mind is a scientist.” If I read that statement, I’m conflicted. One part of me is alerted. If just anyone could call themself a scientist, people would come up with “woo-woo theories” that promote what’s in their interest. Dangerous! The other part of me is open to that idea. Do I nee…

Michael Aufreiter in Science on Sep 28, 2022
Marketing Ken?

“Where people leave an expression, not an impression.” That is how I want users to think of Ken. It leaves me with a challenge: I am not searching for many but the right people to join Ken in its early days. Who are the right people? People who want to share their minds with no agenda. I can only sp…

Michael Aufreiter in Ken on Sep 11, 2022
How to share my first story on Ken?

I’d like to share my experience with sharing my own stories on Ken. I hope you’ll find it helpful and inspiring. To find a new topic I usually take a couple of minutes to become aware of a question that’s been on my mind lately. Then I pick the question I’m most curious about. Sometimes not a questi…

Michael Aufreiter in Ken on Sep 5, 2022
Who are algorithms working for?

I joined Twitter in 2007. And I loved it. At that time there were around 5,000 tweets a day. On the entire platform! I followed a bunch of nerds that had more interesting things to say than my university professors. Back then, my Twitter timeline was easy to consume. There were about 5-20 new Tweets…

Michael Aufreiter in Ken on Sep 4, 2022
DJ software made progress while I was away

I learned to mix the old school way. As soon as I could afford it, I bought two Technics 1210 turntables and the Pioneer DJM 500 mixer. That’s been my setup since the early 2000s. I gave DJ software a try several times, but was never happy. I was frustrated with the crappy UX, and it wasn’t fun to c…

Michael Aufreiter in Music on Aug 31, 2022
A space to express, not impress?

A couple of weeks ago I talked with Valentin, who is supporting me while developing the next version of my writing platform. He asked me: “How do you measure success for Ken?” An excellent question, and one I’ve been pondering about in the past few weeks. While doing so, a more fundamental question …

Michael Aufreiter in Ken on Aug 28, 2022
Who am I writing for?

There’s always something on my mind. A question about life, an idea or a decision that is due. Lots of thoughts come with it. They are blurry, and they often confuse me. Writing things down, like I do right now, helps me seeing what’s beyond the clouds in my head. It forces me to articulate my thoug…

Michael Aufreiter in Writing on Jul 26, 2022
Owning my content?

When I talked with Marius a few days ago, he told me that he wouldn’t trust any platform to host his writing. Because he could never be sure that they didn’t change their terms one day, affecting his work. I definitely share this desire, which to me boils down to these points: What I publish must be…

Michael Aufreiter in Ken on Jun 28, 2022
If freedom is an illusion, what remains?

Is there free will? This is a question that philosophers have been asking for thousands of years and that remains unsolved. In this text I’d like to document a thought experiment of mine: Assuming it is true that I don’t have free will, what am I left with? To this point freedom has been a great val…

Michael Aufreiter in Philosophy on Apr 13, 2022
Infrastructure (not only) as code?

I’m more the visual type of guy. When it comes to deploying my app to the cloud, I prefer to “see” what’s happening. I want to change a setting, hit a button and see the changes be applied in seconds. But I know there are other types of engineers (one is sitting across from me in my office), who’d n…

Michael Aufreiter in Code on Feb 3, 2022
Should I take a vaccine?

For illustration, let’s assume there’s a pandemic of a new contagious disease, called Superflu. I love the peanut butter analogy from Sam Harris’ podcast episode “What we have learned from the pandemic?” It helps me to take out the emotions I have towards needles and drugs. Let’s assume this: A big …

Michael Aufreiter in Health on Jan 30, 2022
How to save my startup?

In mid 2020 I started pursuing a dream project of mine. I’ve always been fascinated by knowledge transfer through good writing. I’ve worked in academia for about a decade, but I was frustrated with how slow and bureaucratic the publishing process there was. As a small team we built Ken, an exchange …

Michael Aufreiter in Ken on Jan 23, 2022
Write without sounding bossy?

All online articles are opinions. Whether they are aware of it or not, authors present their view of a subject. Yet often they are trying to sell it as a truth, unconsciously. I’m guilty of having done that myself, many times. But who am I to claim a universal truth from my observations? And no, cit…

Michael Aufreiter in Writing on Jan 23, 2022
Online Plattform entwickeln?

Du hast eine vielversprechende Idee für ein Online-Business und möchtest schnell heraus finden, ob sie auch in der Praxis etwas taugt? Ich kann dir dabei helfen. Ich bin Michael, 37. Seit ich 15 bin entwickle ich Webseiten. Genauer gesagt komplette Online-Plattformen mit Datenbank und allem was sons…

Michael Aufreiter in Technology on Nov 5, 2021