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“Diversity-Friendly Software”: a SXSW proposal!

Originally posted on the TapestryMaker blog

Update, October 10: the proposal was accepted.  Yay!  And, thanks!

Vote for my Panel Picker Idea!SXSW’s “Panel Picker” opened for voting today, so it’s a golden opportunity to check out the session Shireen Mitchell and I proposed on “Diversity-friendly software“.  Voting counts for 30% of the score on a proposal, so if you’re interested please vote for it – and pass it along!

Here’s the description:

It’s time for software to embrace differences (not just tolerate them), and see diversity as a strength. Most software today works best for people like the teams that create it, and embeds biases against women, African-Americans, Latinxs, LGBTAIQs, people with disabilities, and other marginalized groups – and it’s even worse at the intersections. So the industry is primed for change. This session discusses current examples, “best practices” that teams can immediately leverage, and emerging ideas from projects that have focused heavily on diversity. We also discuss the challenges and how to overcome them – and chart a path to the future.

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Notes from Underground: Tribal Convergence (New Year’s Weekend 2015/2016)

For the first time in years, we rang in the New Year at a psytrance party in SF — Tribal Convergence at the Gingerbread House!  Michael Liu, Witchdokta, and the Mendo Organized Chaos crew had done a great job putting the party together, and the place looked amazing.   We found a cab with no problem (just say no to surge pricing and exploitative business models!) and got there just as Galactic Illumination started their set … Continue Reading »

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Galactic: New Year’s Eve 2013/2014 at the Atrium

“It’s the happiest I’ve seen you since I can’t remember when …”

— more than one friend, to me, October-December 2013

DSC00233Indeed!

The last few months have been great: working on an exciting project, and (finally!) hanging out online at a positive, diverse, site with interesting people and great discussions.  And even though 2013 as a whole was difficult , there were plenty of good times; and excellent progress on my resolutions like spending more time with friends and family, meditating regularly, reducing stress and sleeping better.  So no wonder I’m happy!

DSC00605The first two-thirds of the year was pretty challenging. Things happen for a reason, though, and I certainly learned (and grew!) a lot. Even though it turned out not to be a great fit for me, the role of “Senior VP of Products” running an international engineering and product management organization was incredibly valuable experience – including areas like mobile and web service development that were new to me. DSC01141And while the family health crisis that cropped up just as I was leaving the job wasn’t a lot of fun, it was very fortunate that it happened at a time when I could prioritize what really mattered without feeling like I was letting people down at work … and even more fortunate that it resolved the way it did, with a full recovery!

After all the turmoil, it’s been really good for me to roll up my sleeves and do some programming again.  Of course there’s also the usual frustrations: learning a new platform, database, and programming environment, all of which have their share of quirks, and running into the same kind of annoying glitches that have always been a part of software development.

Still, what I’m building is attractive, usable on phones and tablets as well as laptops, and has a surprising amount of functionality … and it’s a great feeling that it’s already at the point where D and I and several friends are using it regularly. Oh yeah, that’s right, I *am* pretty good at this software engineering stuff 🙂

DSC01486As usual we’re kicking off the new year at a psytrance party — Galactic, with DJ Anomaly at the Atrium!  We shall see what 2014 holds, but as of now I’m quite optimistic. It feels like a very positive trajectory, in contrast to last year (when I didn’t even do a blog post) and even the year before (where I just couldn’t wait for 2011 to get over).

And it really is the happiest I’ve been in a long time!

 

 

DSC01232DSC01272DSC00791

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TSA Comments due *Monday*, 11:59 p.m. Eastern

If you’re tired of the TSA to electronically strip-searching us, abusing and humiliating people, making kids cry, and wasting billions of dollars on technology that doesn’t actually make us more secure, make sure to file your comments by Monday June 24 at 11:59 p.m.   You can theoretically  submit comments online via regulations.gov (although as I write this the site isn’t working), or by FAX or mail.   See the first reply to this post for more about how to file comments. Continue Reading »

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A Rainbow of Light: Replenishing at the Atrium

A rainbow of light

Candles and colors
Replenishing energy.
A rainbow of light

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Notes from Underground: The Dark Before the Dawn

IMG_3942

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?

IMG_3881What a week. What a month.

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.

I heart psytrance.

Escape with lights IMG_3943 IMG_3956

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A tidal wave in progress? I ♥ Innovation at the Women 2.0 PITCH Conference

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!

jon

* and strong pseudonymity advocate!

** 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

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Notes from Underground: Eclipse

5 candlesEnd-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.

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Notes from Underground: NanoEvolution

Tonight at The Atrium -- NanoEvolution! It's going to be an epic night of psytrance.  Lots of new tracks so come on out!

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!

IMG_3095We 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.
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Temporarily disabling comments …

I’m getting hit by a ton of spam so am turning off comments temporarily.

Carry on.

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Professional
social computing
Tales from the Net
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Top 15 Privacy Panels for SXSW — Don’t Delay! Vote Today! (UPDATED — deadline tomorrow!)

SXSW,March 9-18 2012We’re heading into the last few days of public voting for SXSW 2012 proposals. Votes and comments count for about 30% of the decision-making process, and so advocating for the panels you want to see is important.  The deadline is Friday, September 2.   So please vote, comment, and share this link with your friends!

There are quite a few interesting panels on privacy.  Here’s a selective list.  To start with, a few on pseudonymity — ripped from today’s nymwars headlines!

There’s another nymwars panel that doesn’t make my short list: Identity on the Web: Are Handles Dead? by two people from Google.   Unsurprisingly, most of the comments it’s getting so far are negative.

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