This website was archived on July 21, 2019. It is frozen in time on that date.

Sonya Mann's active website is Sonya, Supposedly.


I am releasing a handful of #YangGang designs into the public domain, using the license CC0 1.0 Universal. The art was originally intended for T-shirts, so the full-size files are large and high-resolution.

Because of the CC0 license, you can distribute the designs, edit them, remix them, use them in products, incorporate them into advertising… whatever you want. Attribution is not required, although it would be appreciated 😊

All of the third-party visual assets that I used were available with equivalent permissive licenses (on websites like Unsplash) or were created by me. (For example, I drew the portrait of Yang’s face.) My primary tool was Pixelmator, with a splash of PhotoMosh for flavor.

Full-size files, plus the Pixelmator versions, are available for download in a Dropbox folder. WordPress wouldn’t let me upload huge images, so the ones below are edited to be smaller.

"Secure the Bag" Andrew Yang 2020 #YangGang design, public domain
full size // Pixelmator file
"Neetbux Nation" Andrew Yang 2020 #YangGang design, public domain, variation 2
full size // Pixelmator file
"Neetbux Nation" Andrew Yang 2020 #YangGang design, public domain, variation 1
full size // Pixelmator file
"Neetbux Nation" Andrew Yang 2020 #YangGang design, public domain, variation 3
full size // Pixelmator file
"$1k Neetbux 2020" Andrew Yang #YangGang design, public domain, dark version
full size // Pixelmator file
"$1k Neetbux 2020" Andrew Yang #YangGang design, public domain, light version
full size // Pixelmator file

In case you’re wondering, I have no affiliation with presidential candidate Andrew Yang or his campaign. I don’t even support his agenda, which I consider to be woefully underspecified. The memes are what got me excited 😜

Granted, the other presidential wannabes don’t impress me either. It’s probably impossible to be a viable candidate while also living up to my standards. That said, I did donate like $5 to help Andrew Yang qualify for the primary debates, and I attended a rally that he held in San Francisco.

Bots Should Punch Up

I came across another delightful Creative Commons post! (The last one was “Just Your Typical Startup Acquisition Announcement”.) It’s called “Bots Should Punch Up”, written by Leonard Richardson, and Beau Gunderson is the person who linked me to it. I’m republishing the essay here, unedited except for one set of punctuation marks. My comments are in brackets. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Over the weekend I went up to Boston for Darius Kazemi’s “bot summit”. You can see the four-hour video if you’re inclined. I talked about @RealHumanPraise with Rob, and I also went on a long-winded rant that suggested a model of extreme bot self-reliance. If you take your bots seriously as works of art, you should be prepared to continue or at least preserve them once you’re inevitably shut off from your data sources and your platform.

We spent a fair amount of time discussing the ethical issues surrounding bot construction, but there was quite a bit of conflation of what’s “ethical” with what’s allowed by the Twitter platform in particular, and website Terms of Service in general. I agree you shouldn’t needlessly antagonize your data sources or your platform, but what’s “ethical” and what’s “allowed” can be very different things. However, I do have one big piece of ethical guidance that I had to learn gradually and through osmosis. Since bots are many hackers’ first foray into the creative arts, it might help if I spell it out explicitly. Continue reading “Bots Should Punch Up”

Just Your Typical Startup Acquisition Announcement

Today, for the first time, I encountered Creative Commons content on Medium: an article called “Startup Acquisition Announcement” by Petter Palander. Here’s the license summary. I decided to take advantage of this open-source opportunity and post a revised version of Palander’s article on my website, which is what you’re looking at now!

“We’re super excited that we’ve been acquired by [large company]  — rest assured, nothing will happen to the app you love!” How many times have I seen a note along these lines?

For example, here is the Sunrise founders’ letter to their users, posted on the day their app was acquired by Microsoft:

To our friends and Sunrise users:

Today, we’re excited to announce that Sunrise is joining Microsoft. For Sunrise, this is just the beginning.

Sunrise started two years ago with a simple idea that by combining beautiful design and great engineering, we could reimagine your calendar.

Sunrise will remain free and available for iPhone, iPad, Mac, Android and Desktop  — we’re not going anywhere.

And here are the acquisition notes from Microsoft:

Already downloaded by millions of users, the Sunrise app will remain in market and free after the acquisition.

Well. Wow. Nothing will happen. The app is not going anywhere! It will remain free! Amazing — and, of course, total bullshit.

Portrait of a sunrise by Susanne Nilsson.
Portrait of a sunrise by Susanne Nilsson.

Yesterday Microsoft announced that Sunrise will merge into Outlook. It took about eight months.

The Sunrise team is now officially a part of the broader Outlook product team […] All of this means Outlook will eventually replace the current Sunrise app. We will leave Sunrise in market until its features are fully integrated into Outlook.

Can anyone say “aquihire”? The Sunrise founders wrote a follow-up note:

Now here comes the sad news. As the entire team is completely focused on the Outlook for iOS and Android apps, we won’t be updating the Sunrise apps anymore.

Oops. Eight months between “Nothing will happen!” and “Forget we said that!” Are you surprised?

Unfortunately, this how most acquired startups behave. I get it: you don’t want to piss off the users who made it possible for you to be bought in the first place. Maybe the founders should have considered beforehand that one business model for startups  —  or at least one possible outcome  —  is to be acquired. Which is fine! Just don’t fool the users into believing nothing will change.

The founders, the buying company, and industry experts all know that business as usual won’t be the status quo for long. But most of a startup’s users don’t know that. They believe the company blog posts and keep on using the app based on how much they love it, as well as the founders’ reassuring statements. Until one day in the future when it just doesn’t work anymore.

Screenshot of Sunrise's website.
Screenshot of Sunrise’s website.

I loved, and still love, Sunrise. It’s by far the best mobile calendar app I’ve ever used. And I’m sure the team will do the best job they can to get the highlights of Sunrise into Outlook. But that’s not the point. What angers me is that users are deceived. Can we please just stop this bullshit and be honest to our users about what will happen post-acquisition?

Thanks to Aron Solomon and @bestham for the lightning-speed editing help.

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