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What I read in May–Nicholas Lovell

By on June 3, 2016

These were the articles and books that grabbed my interest over the last month. I would welcome feedback on the list, and how to make it more useful to you.


Internet and business

  • A Pyramid of Pivots, the five layers of possible pivot (customer, problem, solution, technology, growth) and how pivoting at different levels of the pyramid has far reaching consequences. This is probably my must-read this month. [500 Startups; Long read]
  • Mary Meeker’s annual internet trends deck is out, and is always worth a read, all 213 slides of it. [Long read]
    • For those of you who prefer a shorter version, here is Max Mottschwiller’s summary of the key points. He particularly notes that in all 213 pages, Mary does not mention Virtual Reality once.  [LinkedIn Pulse (!); Medium read]
  • An incredible useful reminder of how to run Scrum sprints, and how to stop the daily standup turning into a dreary yawnfest. [The Path Forward; Medium read]
    • The article also linked to an extremely useful introduction to Kanban and the differences between running sprints versus continuous deployment [Atlassian, Medium read]
  • How Giphy grew to 100 million MAUs, serves 25 billion GIFs each month and is valued at $300 million. [Wired; Long read]
  • The Seven Deadly Social Networks ‘ “Social networks do best when they tap into one of the seven deadly sins,” said Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIN, five year ago.. With half a decade of distance, we can declare that his obviously silly and ill-considered idea is also completely and undoubtedly true.’ [The Atlantic; Medium Read]


  • Rob Fahey’s excellent analysis of how Valve is letting Steam’s trolls and harassers run wild: Steam’s turned toxic, and Valve doesn’t care [; Short read]
  • A great post on friction in non-mobile games, and why it drives this particular gamer to mobile titles, even though he wants to experience great PC and console games. The section on EVE Online was a genuine laugh out loud for me. [Gamasutra; Medium read]
  • An excellent and detailed breakdown of Marvel’s Contest of Champions. It’s from December, but I’ve only just got round to reading it. A must-read for anyone designing F2P games, with a particular focus on how the different resources and gacha keep players engaged. [Deconstructor of Fun; Long read]
  • Excellent (and long) history of the recently defunct Lionhead from Eurogamer. Absolutely fascinating reading. [Eurogamer; Long read]
  • Followed by another long history of the cancellation of Square Enix’s Legacy of Kain after three years and over $10 million of development. [Eurogamer; Long read]
  • A disturbing analysis of the deeply troubling side of Fandom in the twenty-first century. Fandom is broken [Birth, Movies, Death; Long read]

Politics and psychology

  • Excellent post on cogent reasons why, despite its faults, we are better to Remain in the EU. [London School of Economics; Long read]
  • The Obama Doctrine is an excellent article on how Obama views America’s foreign policy and the limits on what sole remaining superpower can achieve. It is insightful and thought-provoking, although a little self indulgent from an author keen to show how well he knows the president. The Obama Doctrine [The Atlantic; Very long read]
  • Why you shouldn’t exercise to lose weight, explained with 60+ studies, a lengthy demolition of the “burn calories in exercise = eat pizza and ice cream for dinner” myth. It makes lots of good point about why exercise IS good for you, while demolishing the idea that it is good for losing weight. [Vox; Long read]

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve: