Friday Reading #11

Another week and another very unpleasant incident of misogyny in the tech world. Sarah Parmenter has spoken out about something she went through last year that I am unable to fully comprehend. You can read about it in her words in the article below. The bottom line is that the tech conference world (this includes banking conferences as well) is over run by white males of a certain age range. If female speakers are not invited, encouraged, celebrated etc. then all we will end up with is rooms full of Beavis & Butthead alikes and technical evolution that might follow suit and nobody wants that. So if you are an event organiser I highly recommend you check out the Articulate Network created by good people at Mudlark and Caper. Articulate aims to ‘raise the profile of women speakers in the technology and the creative industries by offering public speaking training, developing partnerships with event programmers, and giving better access to talented female speakers’. It is also worth reading this guide to making all speakers feel welcome and comfortable at your events. The fact that one of my other links of the week is one of the smartest thinkers on the web, Kathy Sierra,  is a woman that was effectively hounded off the web is a coincidence that I am not surehow I feel about. These weekly posts are available in multiple eBook formats for your favourite digital reading device. You can also subscribe by email to receive them in your inbox as soon as they are published.


Speaking Up

“It’s with great sadness I have to speak up about something. I’m not sad myself, nor am I particularly hurt – but being scared into silence is not an option. The reason I’m sad is that the person involved with what I’m about to speak up about, could be a member of our community. Infact at the moment,everything is pointing to the fact they are. They are currently feeding off the suppression of this topic, so I’m writing publicly about it.”


The problem with if you’re not paying you’re the product

“We understand that we’re the product, just not exactly sure that the way we were becoming the product was one we felt happy with. Instagram said themselves that they were planning on“experimenting with new advertising models”. Now I think that’s good, I like free stuff and I like businesses to be able to support their developers but personally I think I’ll wait until they’ve finished experimenting so that I can then decide once again if it’s a deal I want to make with them.”


Building The Minimum Badass User

“Now some of you may know I used to say words like “user awesome” or “user kicking ass” or “user passionate” I don’t really tend to use those words anymore because it’s really easy to misinterpret that as yet another “we made the customer feel good” or ‘he likes us.” It’s too easy to focus back on the company again. This isn’t about focusing on what the user thinks of you. It’s about what the user is able to do, and to be able to become badass.”


Too much testosterone, too much confidence: the psychology of banking

“The same trader explains modestly that the cappuccinos are “just to say thank you for your help in the past few weeks”. The corresponding submitter, having submitted, replies: “Done, for you big boy.” It brings a tear to the eye.”


Little Printer: A portrait in the nude

“Mary Poppins has an incredibly domestic set of superpowers. Her magic is all done with gestures. There are no spaceships or robots. It’s all about austerity, family. And although it’s an American movie, it’s set in a very British context. She works within the British class system and subverts it from within. She destroys the banking sector, reunites the family, but not in an anarchic way.”


Essay: On the smart city; Or, a ‘manifesto’ for smart citizens instead

“Of course, the basic model of crowd-funding currently limits the capital it might produce, even for dense neighbourhoods. Kickstarter can generate tens of millions of dollars at best, which is a lot for a watch but doesn’t get near the investment required for a light-rail system, say. And the average Kickstarter project raises under USD10k, on a global platform, often promoting global projects. Most urban projects are intrinsically not global, but highly local, limiting the size of the crowd that might fund, whilst asking the basic question of who decides what is best locally, when using a global platform.”

Leave a Reply