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  • Writer's pictureBryan Jun

Swipe to Unlock by Mehta, Detroja, and Agashe

This one's going to be a fairly short book review - I wouldn't even consider it a review, more of a recommendation, as this was (1) a very short read (2) and it's not really a book of depth. This is the book you read if you have almost no knowledge of the "technology" world. I know that encompasses basically the entire universe at this point, but Swipe to Unlock covers all you need to know to engage in some level of intellectual conversation with the general public about tech as a unifying infrastructure. I know for a fact if you have someone working for FAANG (if you don't know what that means, you definitely don't have anyone around you working for them because they would have mentioned it by now), there is dialogue that automatically goes over your head, not because you're uneducated but because your education was outdated or faulty. This is no one's fault - we just live in a continuously outpacing informational age that's supplemented by an education system from the middle ages. While we are learned how to think, question certain codes of ethics and even delve into learn how to use Excel, much of what we learn in our _____ school days are quite limited in terms of concrete knowledge and tools required to survive (yes this is dramatic) in this day and age.

I always considered myself to be rather tech-savvy, and this isn't a recent development because of my career immersion into tech. I distinctly recall always being ahead of my class (even in first grade) for things like Powerpoint and downloading MapleStory onto my Windows 1863 computer that broke down every two days. I do believe, as with most things, technology being second nature has to do with something you're born with - obviously there's no innate human nature literally tied to technology, but there's probably some part of the brain responsible for understanding how something that operates like a computer (binary, exactly what it tells you to do, etc.) that's developed in some and not in others. This book isn't necessarily an in depth guide into how system architecture works or which Big-O notation is the most efficient (I'm just using big words I remember from computer science class, please don't quote me), but rather a very layman's term explanation of how technology you hear about everyday (like API's) are about, how to talk about them properly and where technology is and will be in the future.

It's hard to go into the actual context of the book without essentially talking about the entire book as this book is structure more as a condensed textbook rather than a thorough read. Again, this isn't a review but more of a recommendation for those who are either going into tech or are so out of touch with today's day and age that you require a catch-me-up on what the Internet is. This book, as clearly noted by the authors' backgrounds and their rather extensive advertising of their services at the Appendix is definitely intended for those trying to enter tech as a product manager, but I actually think this is something everyone in 2021 should read. While it doesn't function as a master interview guide nor teach you how to "think like a tech person," it does give you a rather solid foundation to engage in conversations about tech and as the world grows at this rapid pace with technological innovation, an efficient source of insight into how to think about what's to come.

Even if you're pretty well-versed in tech and could write this book yourself, it'll serve as a good refresher to concepts you have been so numb to that you forgot they exist. There's also a couple fun anecdotes spread throughout the book that you definitely have never heard of unless you're on Engadget 24/7. I'm sure that if you're a follower of this blog, you're very well aware how companies like Facebook make money, what the Internet is about and why Amazon is going to take over the world, but I'd be surprised if you knew that the reason why Nordstrom offers free Wifi is because they want to use triangulation positioning to track your location within the mall so that they can continuously alter the layout of their merchandise for the highest chance of sales.

I told you at the start this will be a short one - I highly recommend this to those who are perhaps on the older end of life that feel like they're often outed at the dinner table as the kids are talking about being monetized on TikTok.

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