Tracking Our Readers’ (Backhanded) Compliments

One benefit of having intelligent readers is hearing them talk back through social media. Of course, we hardly know anything about that. (Zing!) Here we’re tracking daily praise for Co.Labs–blind, batty, and backhanded–in the hopes of beating our code & content into something our users love. We like praise, but we love honesty. Let us know what you (really) think about what’s in the news, and what’s on our site, by tweeting @fastcolabs or talking to us on, Tumblr, Facebook or Google+.

Tracking Our Readers’ (Backhanded) Compliments

The most impressive thing about this list of tweets? Not a single one is from our moms–tame as they are, though a shout out goes to @bauskas for his rare frankness. We’re tracking this feedback because we want to hear what you really think about the beats we’re covering.


Should you get stuck trying to find synonyms for “suck,” why not tell us who you want covered? Or the undying technical questions that keep you up at night? We’re doing more Tracking stories like this, you know–with topics ranging from the death of the file system to the rise of Bitcoin to secrets that programmers know. These tracking stories behave like slow live-blogs of a story that we think will last for weeks or months–meaning you have the time and opportunity to influence the direction of the coverage. We have reporters and sources. We have telephones. We have coffee breath, but also gum. So if you’re wondering about a technical topic, chances are other people are too. This is the internet. Pony up and yell at us about something constructive.

We’re going to dive into the UX research that led to Facebook Home this week as part of an upcoming series on the UI vs. no UI debate.

Relevant, yes. Also complex. Check back today for two new updates to the story.


Our dual areas of expertise are software and feline-related media. To wit: Henri the existentialist cat.

If tagging is 21st century, what’s 22nd century? We’re betting it’s wearable computing. Look for another tracking story following this beat coming soon. For now, check out the inaugural reported piece on the topic here.

FastCompany has been home to innovative business thinkers since back in 1984, but then, engineers like @bauskas aren’t impressed with what the suits think. That’s why we build this site: to create a discussion hub for the creative half of the software industry.

If only focus was all that publicity required. Amazingly, we’ve continued to get product-centric pitches since this story ran, many appended with notes thanking us for the clear and concise advice. The rub seems to be impatience. We know you want to get love for the product you’re repping–what we can’t understand is why it has to be front and center in your pitch. How about you tell us a good story we can report to our readers, and let them start a (positive) discussion about the product?


Stop thinking logically indeed. This tweet reads like it was written by Google Translate set to convert English –> Drunk.

Behind-the-scenes are the three words that superintend almost any good technology story.

Yes, more of this please! We love hearing about software eating other industries.


Your stuff can’t read. It’s stuff. Try people. But thanks!

“Anyone looking to get a story out” should really be anyone with a technology product, nascent as it might be. The most successful projects we’ve seen over the last 7 years covering the tech space have been the ones that asked for feedback early, often and publicly.

Check out his work, starting with these two features about Foursquare’s maps genius and the company’s grand plans to rival Google Maps.


We had no idea our content showed up on the Washington Post, but great.

You handle the confidence. We’ll work on backing it up.

Dope is as dope does. And if you haven’t seen our launch video, you should.


Launching a site takes a lot of sleepless nights. Running it smartly requires at least a token amount of rest and reflection. We’re getting to the latter.

Kind of redundant, isn’t that?

[Image: Flickr user Robert Couse-Baker]

About the author

I've written about innovation, design, and technology for Fast Company since 2007. I was the co-founding editor of FastCoLabs.