Candles and colors
A rainbow of light
embracing apparent contradictions, diversity and change
Dancing in the darkness,
Your deepest desires …
Do you know why you’re here?
Do you think you have control?
– Lexicon Avenue, Why R U Here?
Hard to believe I’m back on the fast track in the Silicon Valley startup scene. Shipping! Hiring! Organizational issues! Interpersonal conflicts! Planning! Strategy! A third of my team is in Singapore, and if events had gone as planned I would have been there instead of at The Atrium last night. Alas, when I went to check in for my flight, they noticed that my passport expires in September — and Singapore (like many other countries these days) requires documents to be valid for at least six months. Sigh.
Control is an illusion.
Influence, however, is possible.
– dialog with Alayne Reesberg, 2004
But instead, after stressful times and long hours working down in the Bay Area, it was great to get back to Seattle Thursday night. After a relaxing Saturday I was soooooo ready to dance. And talk about perfect timing: a six-hour DJ Anomaly set at The Dark Before the Dawn at the Atrium! Yay!!!!!!
The west coast psytrance scene seems to be doing pretty well these days. I’ve been working so much that we’ve missed a lot of great shows, but I’ve still managed to see Cortex at Synchronize, Logic Bomb at Pulse, Full Power Friday at Retox. The Atrium’s smaller than any of those clubs, but it’s a lot more comfy, with two great chill areas and tasty food and drinks till late. DJ Anomaly had a lot of new tracks, and the vibe was great. By the time cinnamon rolls magically appeared at 4:30, we were both feeling happy and relaxed.
Jonathan Corbett’s video has over 800,000 views in the last couple days, despite YouTube censoring it for a while (possibly because the title has “nude” in it). The Travel Underground thread is the epicenter. The rough chronology:
Mike Masnick at TechDirt and Steven Frischling on Flying With Fish point out that there’s nothing new here: security experts have been talking about the scanners’ high error rate and vulnerabilities to exploitation for years. But video footage makes it very compelling. And the spread through the tech community highlights that the same kind of grassroots coalitions that mobilized against SOPA are possible on other civil liberties issues — like the TSA, for example, and the PATRIOT Act and FISA next time they come up for renewal.
There’s plenty of other learning too, so it’ll be interesting to watch things unfold. Stay tuned!
The sold-out Women 2.0 PITCH Conference’s opening keynote features Caterina Fake, co-founder of Flickr and Hunch,* on “Making and the True Path.” The rest of the sessions look great too: case studies by Robin Chase of Zipcar and Julia Hu of Lark, and the “$50 Million Panel” featuring Deena Varshavskaya of Wanelo, Leah Busque of TaskRabbit, and Sheila Lirio Marcelo of Care.com. There are a bunch of intriguing finalists for the pitch competition — including Tara Hunt’s Buyosphere! And the judges for the competitions are no slouches either: Aileen Lee of Kleiner Perkins, Dave McClure of 500 Startups, Naval Ravikant of AngelList, Sukhinder Singh Cassidy of JOYUS … looks like a #diversitywin to me, and some great networking too!
A couple of weeks ago I had coffee with Pemo Theodore, who’s interviewed dozens of investors and entrepreneurs for her excellent Why are Women Funded Less than Men?. We both had the same feeling: momentum has steadily built over the last couple years** and it feels like there’s a tidal wave in progress. The women-in-tech and women-near-tech communities are extraordinarily well networked. And the data is compelling. Here’s Vivek Wadhwa’s summary from his recent Inc article:
An analysis performed by the Kauffman Foundation showed that women are actually more capital-efficient than men. Babson’s Global Entrepreneurship Monitor found that women-led high-tech startups have lower failure rates than those led by men. Other research has shown that venture-backed companies run by women have annual revenues 12 percent higher than those run by men, and that organizations that are the most inclusive of women in top management positions achieve a 35% higher return on equity and 34% higher total return to shareholders.
So while there’s still a long way to go, the trend is in the right direction. Kudos to all the amazing women, the much smaller number of equally-amazing guys, and the outstanding organizations like Women 2.0, the Anita Borg Institute, Astia, Pipeline Fellowship, Women Who Tech, She’s Geeky, the Level Playing Field Institute, Geek Feminism and so many others how have worked so hard to make this happen!
Combine the momentum and community with great content and plenty of opportunity for networking, and it should be a great conference. I’ll be live-blogging it in comments — and feel free to jump in as well. Stay tuned!
** here on Liminal States threads like Guys talking to guys who talk about guys, A #diversitywin as an opportunity, Fretting, asking, and begging isn’t a plan, The third wave and the anatomy of awesome, and Changing the ratio have some of the highlights
To ensure your future, some freedoms must be surrendered …
We will save you
We will save you
We will save you
From your selves
– Robot Revolution (Say no to SOPA remix), Virtual Light vs. Wizack Twizack vs. ?,
San Francisco over the holidays was a lot of fun but by early January we were really glad to be back in Washington. We got there Thursday afternoon and spent the next few nights at The Atrium: psytrance Thursday, stompy darkwave on Friday, and then more psytrance on Saturday at Brightness. The next week it was a darkwave set Wednesday, psytrance Thursday … happy 2012!
Saturday, it was all night psytrance at Gibbous/Deadly Snow. The drinks were strong, the snacks were tasty, the place looked fantastic, and DJ Anomaly was on a roll. Monday night was stompy darkwave at Dead Snow … hey wait a second, I’m noticing a pattern here.
Today’s the anniversary or Roe v. Wade, and this year’s Blog for Choice Day topic is “What will you do to help elect pro-choice candidates in 2012?” Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but reproductive rights remain under assault. The Obama Administration’s hand-wringing before finally denying an religiously-affiliated hospitals an exemption from the requirement that they provide contraception, and the strident anti-choice rhetoric from all the Republican candidates, show just how far the window has shifted. It’s time to move things back.
Here’s what I’m doing:
What are you doing?
2011 wasn’t the year I expected it to be. But while it’s easy (and depressing) to look at what didn’t happen, one of my resolutions was to take a more asset-based thinking approach to life. If I look at what I — and we — accomplished this year, it’s pretty impressive.
In keeping with the goal I overachieved on the most in 2011 (”spend more time with family and friends”), we decided to spend a quiet New Years Eve at home hanging out with a few people … most of whom got sick and cancelled. So it was a very low-key wrap-up to 2011 and start to 2012, quite a contrast to the last couple years.
Which seems like a good thing to me.
Meanwhile even as I write this, the House is debating #SOPA.
Remember back in 2006-8 when the Bush Administration rammed through PATRIOT Act reauthorization and FISA? Obama was on the right side for a while — at least until July 2008, when he broke his promise to filibuster. Now, he’s continuing and building on Bush policies. Senator Chris Dodd was heroic on FISA; now, he’s working for the MPAA and using China’s internet policies as a blueprint for the US. And how about Patrick Leahy, bulwark of civil liberties — and co-sponsor of the Senate equivalent of SOPA?
It’s not that I think the Republicans are any better on the whole. Both parties have a few standouts on civil liberties — Wyden, Nadler, the Pauls. But on the whole, the political establishment continues to show itself remarkably unconcerned with Americans’ rights.
Here’s hoping that in 2012 we’ll start to do something about it.
End-of-year schedule overload led to an intense week, complete with meetings trickling over to the weekend. Sigh. But Friday afternoon was sunny, so I knocked off early and went for a walk in the woods. After dinner I took a short nap and a good thing too.
What leads to a pivot? You don’t just wake up one day and decide to do something entirely different. It’s a gradual process.
– Tara Hunt, The Pivot (or How to Learn Humility in 4 Steps), Inc.
The past few weeks have been pretty crazy for us here at Diaspora*. It is unbelievably painful to lose such a close friend and collaborator as Ilya, and we want to thank our countless community members, friends, family, and professional contacts for all of your support as we try to take care of ourselves and plot a course for Diaspora*’s future. We are forever grateful to the amazing community of people who have stepped up to help us get things back in order.
– Maxwell and Daniel, Diaspora * is Back in Action
Diaspora * co-founder Ilya Zhitomirskiy’s idealism, passion, and vision touched so many people — even those who like me who never had the pleasure of meeting him in person. So many moving tributes have been written that there isn’t much I can add. My heart goes out to his friends, family, and colleagues.
“There’s something deeper than making money off stuff,” he said. “Being part of creating stuff for the universe is awesome.”
It’s gratifying to see so many people in the community reaffirm their commitment to the vision in such difficult circumstances. Now that the core team is back in action, after a few weeks for grieving and replanning, it’s a natural time to step back and look at what’s next.
First, though, there’s something I want to get off my chest.
Ilya struggled with depression, and the stress of people like you constantly badgering him and pestering him and constantly making him feel like nothing he ever did was good enough certainly did not help his situation.
– Ilya’s roommate David Kettler, on Diaspora
Yeah really. DJ Anomaly keeps getting better and better, the crowd was totally into it, the lighting made everybody look good, and at 5 a.m. cinnamon rolls appeared as if by magic … epic indeed!
We had both spent most of the week sitting and working so had a lot of pent-up energy. D had hit her milestone and had that “I’ve earned it” feel. I had gotten a lot done as well, evaluating potential platforms for the next iteration of qweries, although wasn’t as thrilled with the results: most of the options have glaring problems like “doesn’t work on mobile phones or iPads”, “logging in via Twitter doesn’t work”, or “sends passwords in plain text through email”. Really? In 2011? Oh well, it is what it is; and by the time we got to the Atrium I wasn’t thinking about technology.
We spent almost a month on the road, starting with Sacramento for a privacy coalition meeting, and SF for Olli Wisdom at Space 550. We had juggled our plans to be at IllumiNation, and it was totally the right call. 550 Barneveld is a great venue, and we ran into plenty of familiar faces from back in 2003/2004 when we used to hang out there all the time. Musically, DJ Dragn’fly was great, and Olli was Olli — not as good as his legendary 2004 (((thump)) set, but still. One of our friends was at her first psytrance party. How cool is that?
The rest of the weekend was sunny in SF. We took it easy on Saturday, and I spent Sunday hanging out in Dolores park with a friend. Life is good.
Monday morning, it was on the train to DC. Well, more accurately, the train to Chicago, which got there eight hours late. So we missed our connection. So we wound up on an overnight thirteen-hour bus ride to DC. Fun! Well no, not actually. But still, we made it; and BORDC’s board retreat (the main reason we were there) was excellent. From there it was on to Charleston to see my Mom; very weird not celebrating Halloween, but it was great to see her. And then back to SF again, and finally home to Seattle. After sleeping at four different hotels, three residences, the train, and the bus (or at least trying to, on a 14-hour overnight trip from Chicago to DC) … can I just say how good it is to be home?