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robertogreco : stewartbutterfield   13

Processing — Race Condition — Medium
"I am sitting in the Library at Slack.

I plan to leave work today at 3pm because that’s when someone has the Library booked and I can’t be at work today unless I am in the Library.

The Library is my shelter and solace from the smiling, happy, faces of my coworkers. The Library protects me from their good cheer and protects them from the stew of negative emotions currently on a low boil inside me. The Library prevents them from stoking the flame.

Last night I learned that yet another black man was murdered by a police officer. There was video. I was unable to watch the video. I tried, but immediately broke down in tears when the police pinned Alton Sterling to the ground. I gathered bits and pieces from the endless tweets about it, from people close to me who had watched it, from the video of the store owner, Alton Sterling’s friend, who talked about it.

Alton Sterling was selling CD’s in front of his friend’s store. Somebody called the police. The police tackled him to the ground, held him there restrained, and then shot him point blank. They did not immediately call for medical assistance. Two 28 year old men, hiding behind the badges given to them by the city of Baton Rouge and the power given to them by the system that says white is right, murdered a black man, a husband, a father.


This morning on my way to work, I scrolled through Twitter while riding BART to work. I encountered a video of a press conference of Alton Sterling’s family. His 15 year old son was visibly and vocally destroyed. His father, doing nothing wrong, was suddenly ripped away from him. This young black man, who lives in this society where young black men are conditioned to be “hard” and “tough”, could not help but to bawl at the loss of his father. My heart broke. I closed the video and looked up at the ceiling in an attempt to hold my tears back.

I got to work and made a beeline for the Library. Headphones on, so I could pretend not to hear the cheerful greetings. Head down, so I would not make eye contact. I did not want to invite a discussion that would almost certainly include the sort of banter wherein I would be expected to be pleasant and smiling and say “Fine, how are you,” in response to a query about how I’m doing. In therapy I learned that I shouldn’t lie to people about how I’m feeling to protect them, but sometimes, I don’t want to deal with the emotional weight of having to explain my feelings to someone who couldn’t possibly understand them, no matter how hard they tried. This morning was one of those times.


Though many black folks joke about it, there is no such thing as “calling in black.” To call in black would be a radical act of self care, were it available to most black people. On the day after we have watched yet another black body be destroyed by modern day slave patrols, it would be helpful for us to be able to take a day away to process. To grieve. To hurt. To be angry. To try to once again come to grips with the fact that many people in this country, especially those in power, consider us disposable at best.

It would be equally helpful to be shielded from the smiling, happy, faces of those oblivious of what it is like to watch someone who could easily be your brother, cousin, auntie, or nephew be murdered in cold blood. To not have to force a smile when a coworker greets you with anything but grim remorse. To not have to think about the what it must be like to be so shielded, so protected, so blissfully unaware that you are able to utter the words “good morning” when the morning is anything but. To avoid the inevitable “Oh, I hadn’t heard,” belying that person’s “commitment to inclusion,” as to include me is to know that my people continue to be systemically marginalized and brutalized, to include me is to go out of your way to make yourself aware, to include me is to speak up about it. And today I don’t want to be reminded that I’m not really included.

But because most of us work in companies largely helmed by non-black people, there is nobody in a position of power who would even understand the need to “call in black” and so it does not exist, at least in my workplace.

And so I sit at work, in this Library, in my shelter, with my headphones on, as removed from anyone else as I can possibly be, while I process, and grieve.
Rest in Power Alton Sterling. You, like all those before you, did not deserve to be added to the list of hashtags.


Update: Yesterday after I published this, Stewart reached out to me to say this: “You, or anyone else, can call in Black any day.” Not 3 hours after that, I learned of yet another brutal and senseless shooting of a Black man by a police officer. I did not watch that video either. I cannot. I cannot continue to watch Black people die at the hands of police. And like yesterday, I am grieving, hurting, mourning, aching, worrying, angry, and scared. Unlike yesterday, I will do this in a safe space. Today I am calling in Black.

Today I will give myself the space to grieve for Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and every other Black person that has been executed and all those that will be executed by the police, until we finally say enough is enough and put an end to the terrorism that we call modern day policing. There has to be a better way. This way that criminalizes blackness is destroying families, communities, and cultures. So while I encourage Black folks to call in Black today, I am encouraging everyone else, especially White folks, to stop shaking your heads, and moaning about the tragedies. I am specifically asking you, White people, to police your police.

I am encouraging you to speak up, to rise up, to ask questions, to shine the same spotlight on your local police department that is shining on Baltimore, Ferguson, Baton Rouge, Minneapolis, and Oakland. I am encouraging you to educate and inform yourselves about the police force in your area. How frequently do they pull over and arrest black people? How often are officers put on leave with pay for excessive force? How many people have they killed? What are they saying on social media? Dig. Look into every record, into every background. Leave no stone unturned. I don’t want your thoughts and prayers. Your thoughts and prayers are clearly not helping. I want you to do something that will prevent another Black person from being summarily executed for merely existing."
ericajoy  self-care  2016  blacklivesmatter  policbrutality  altonsterling  philandocastile  racism  trauma  stewartbutterfield  slack  work  leadership  administration  callinginblack  mourning  safety 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Slack's Stewart Butterfield, in His Own Words |
"I'm going to end up with a lot more money than I feel like I'm entitled to given how hard I work. I see all kinds of people work hard all over the world, and some of them are barely making it. I don't just mean subsistence farmers. I mean people in the developed world who work multiple jobs, and because the cost of health care and child care eats up almost all of the living they make. To be clear, I don't have a better way in mind. I think the system we've developed, and the byproduct, of people who founded tech companies getting stupidly rich--I don't have a better alternative. It's something that can be addressed through tax policy. But I'm definitely very conscious of the role that luck and timing and race and gender play in all of this stuff. If I were a woman, it would be twice as hard to do what I do. If I were black in the U.S., it would probably be five times as hard. 

But also, there are early twentysomethings who work here--kids, from my perspective as a 41-year-old--who are going to make a couple million bucks. I think about the shitty jobs I had when I was 23. I worked as hard as they're working these days. There's something untoward, something incorrect--I'm not sure exactly what the word is. Wait, I know: unfair. There's something unfair in that."
stewartbutterfield  2014  startups  money  inequality  wealth  luck  capitalism  work  labor  fairness  unfairness  economics  poverty  race 
april 2015 by robertogreco
“Rules of Business” — Medium
"Pretend like you’re a human being
With the possible exception of artists and architects, no one is more full of shit than designers. We can find a way to justify anything. Blah blah blah. That means no matter what you end up with, you can come up with some reason why it’s a good design. The best advice I have for designers is to practice being not-designers: stop what you’re doing, close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and then look again like you’re just a regular person encountering this product/service/user interface/object/page/poster for the first time. Where do your eyes go? What do you think it is at first? How do you figure out what you are supposed to do?

Make it inevitable
There is some truth to that old Henry Ford aphorism “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t — you’re right.”. If you can’t believe it, it’s probably not going to happen. However, I like to take that one step further and ensure that every action we take is one that assumes the desired outcome is inevitable. Do not make actions that are out of alignment with that inevitability. Do not allow judgements which contradict it. The more evidence you have — and everyone else has — that things will come out as planned, the more likely it will be so.

Every job you do has your signature on it
When I was around 10 or 11 years old, my father offered me $10 to move a cord of recently-delivered firewood from the driveway into the garage and stack it up inside (I am old; $10 was a great deal of money back then). I managed to get all the firewood inside but rather than it being stacked against the wall, it was more or less evenly distributed across the floor of the garage. I expected my payment, but instead got some advice: “Every job you do has your signature on it — do you really want to sign that?” I always remembered that and if I am going to do something, I make every effort to do it right. (I also properly stacked the wood afterwards, even though it took forever, and I got paid in the end.)

Everyone should always be trying to make it easier for everyone
I used to play in a band. Other people might have played team sports, or worked in a well-functioning restaurant. There’s something about working deeply, in real-time, with other people that’s both incredibly satisfying and enormously more effective than working alone. You need to be open for the pass, you need to hear the subtle rhythm shifts, you need to spot when someone else’s table needs the check … everyone should be taking account of what everyone else is doing and constantly modifying their own behaviour to better serve the team.

Know why you’re doing it
If you are just out to make money, god bless: I hope you make some money. If you just want awards or recognition or for others to think highly of you, I hope you get that too. But I don’t think anyone is really satisfied by fame or fortune. I find it incredibly satisfying (and gratifying, rewarding and pleasant) to honestly have done the best job I could have done on something and I believe that works for everyone else too. Being skillful and exercising your mastery is what you’re here to do. Doing anything less undermines the whole point of being alive."
stewartbutterfield  business  advice  2015  design  humans  purpose  responsibility 
april 2015 by robertogreco
Startups and Self-Loathing at the 8th Annual Crunchies Awards | Re/code
"Outside, Stewart Butterfield, the co-founder of Slack and an award winner that evening, was having a cigarette. He said the Valley loved satire because it cuts to the core of the issue: Much of the work and money in the startup industry is absurd. It’s almost disturbing. Satire is a way to cope.

“Everyone here must know that everyone is making too much money, and that’s why we love satire,” he said. “If anyone is honest with themselves, they must think that the reward is disproportionate to the work.”"
stewartbutterfield  technology  startups  money  economics  inequality  work  pay  income  crunchies  2015 
february 2015 by robertogreco
The Most Fascinating Profile You’ll Ever Read About a Guy and His Boring Startup | Business | WIRED
"But these are sweatsock numbers. The kind of thing you toss in the hamper in an offhand fashion, but that only hints at your larger ambition and work. Slack wants to get huge. It wants to get to a place where it is the one application that everyone in your company runs all the time, no matter what else they are doing. It wants to end interoffice email. It wants to be the next Microsoft—not the current, cowed, pathetic company looking for a comeback. No, it doesn’t want to be Expendables Stallone-era Microsoft, it wants to be Rocky/Rambo Stallone-era Microsoft.

But—and this is a key but—Stewart wants Slack to be the Microsoft you want to use. The software itself is easy to understand. It does the things you expect it to do, as you expect it to do them, and holds your hand when it introduces new concepts. You can change the way it looks in subtle ways to make it your own, but even on a fresh install it’s just pretty to look at. Every time you fire it up, it greets you with whimsically twee inspirational messages. It says “Each day will be better than the last. Especially this one.” Or: “Please enjoy Slack responsibly.” Or Stewart’s favorite: “What good shall I do this day?”

Slack’s strategy is to insinuate itself into the workplace from the bottom up. The idea is that it will get so popular inside organizations that IT departments will have to embrace it. When you’ve got just a few people using the free version, it works well enough. But as it catches on in the workplace, features like unlimited message search and custom integrations with other software become increasingly vital. And to get those features you have to pay to upgrade. By now, you’re hooked. So you convince your CIO to pony up—or at least, that’s the hope. I mean, it’s working for Dropbox, right? Until now, Slack hasn’t even done any advertising. It has grown entirely (and phenomenally) by word of mouth."

"In 2004, photo sharing in the cloud was wild stuff. But Flickr was also groundbreaking in a number of other ways. The service pioneered a cocktail of features that we would come to associate with the Web 2.0 era—the transition period when the world moved from largely static web pages to ones that act more like interactive applications. Although was the first major service to introduce what came to be known as tagging, Flickr took it mainstream. Every time you tag someone in Facebook or add a hashtag on Twitter, you can thank Flickr. It also figured out the concept of “authing in.” You know how you can use Facebook or Google or Twitter to log in to a site, just by clicking a button, without actually having to surrender your username and password? Yeah, Flickr did it first. It was even at the forefront of social networking: A decade ago, it was letting people add friends and contacts with varying levels of permission. You could identify someone as a contact, a friend, family or all of the above, and vary what they saw based on the relationship. It also introduced the world to activity streams—the running tallies of what a user does on a site.

But its power move was something called an open API. To see just how far we’ve come, nobody who is anybody even uses the term “open API” anymore. It’s just API, now. But prior to Flickr, websites’ application programming interfaces—or the set of rules that govern how a program can interact with something in a database—were typically reserved as internal tools. Flickr threw open the doors and let anyone on the Internet prong into its API, the first big service for consumers to do so. It was a philosophical statement: Our data is better when we let other people do things with it. This is accepted gospel now, but at the time it was a new and radical notion.

It was precisely the kind of thing a philosophy major who spent his childhood on a commune without running water or electricity might come up with. “I related to the whole hippie, acid-test confluence of the early Internet,” Stewart says, looking up at the vast empty space overhead in the Slack office. “The idea that we should be open and interoperate with our data resonated with me.”

He pauses. His tone shifts. “It was also something people could get behind, and make them want to support us. You know? We didn’t think about Dvorak or Mossberg. We thought about Cory Doctorow.” That is, they didn’t care about the mainline tech press, the people writing about IBM and Apple and Adobe. They wanted the information-should-be-free set. The zealots, who would spread the gospel out on the open Web."
slack  tinyspeck  2014  stewartbutterfield  flickr  mathonan  glitch 
august 2014 by robertogreco
Third life: Flickr co-founder pulls unlikely success from gaming failure. Again | PandoDaily
"Butterfield’s story is one many entrepreneurs can identify with. It’s a tale of risk taking, passion, perseverance, and success. But it’s also one of fear, failure, and disappointment. It’s rare in Silicon Valley that a product could flop so hard — not once, but twice — and yet out of that failure could come — not one, but two — hits.

Butterfield is a strange choice for a two-time CEO of a gaming company. He’s no Mark Pincus — by his own admission, he’s not that into gaming. As a former philosophy student with a master’s from Cambridge, he was more interested in play as a framework for social interaction than play for play’s sake. “Infinite games are what we collectively do as a species for building culture,” Butterfield explains. “It’s fundamental for human beings, as deep a desire as hunger and thirst and sex.”

From an early age, he was intrigued with how online communities like IRC allowed people to experiment with their identities. His then-wife Caterina Fake found the topic compelling too.

“There are at least two kinds of games,” Butterfield says, paraphrasing a favorite scholar of his. ”The first type is played for the purpose of winning and the second type you play for the purpose of play.”

When they brainstormed a company to start, they settled on building “Game Neverending.” Butterfield and Fake spent a year and a half creating it."
stewartbutterfield  gne  flickr  glitch  tinyspeck  2014  games  gaming  play  identity  gameneverending  slack  socialinteraction  communication 
april 2014 by robertogreco
Gamasutra - News - Interview: 'Intuition' Led Keita Takahashi To Tiny Speck's Glitch
"…he decided to join Tiny Speck's team for one simple reason: "It was intuition. I just like Glitch!"

Butterfield added, "Keita told me that one of the reasons he wanted to work on Glitch was that there are no console developers, platform issues, & no publishers. There are fewer hoops to jump through;"…Takahashi confirmed.

As for Takahashi's role on Glitch, Butterfield said that even though the game has been in development for over a year, much of that time was spent on technology & platform development, & Takahashi joined just in time to add some of his own unusual flair to the game's design.

"Going forward, Keita will be a part of [Glitch's] core game design. We'll also start working on mobile apps which aren't Glitch itself, but which tie into it – mini-games that tie into the big game that help you progress. Also we'll have apps that are not quite games, but are more like toys, that have people doing creative stuff, like making art, that will tie back into the game."
glitch  tinyspeck  keitatakahashi  stewartbutterfield  2011 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Gamasutra - Features - Creating A Glitch In the Industry
"Q: This is like the unholy marriage of Animal Crossing & EVE Online.

SB: …That's actually a very good way [of describing it.] LittleBigPlanet is obviously an inspiration…in the aesthetics. I wish that we had a PS3 underneath this & that we're a lot better on 3D. But EVE, MOOs, & Animal Crossing have a cult following [here]

…I've never played EVE before…never got into it because it just seemed too hard to me. It's my favorite game to read about.

Q: Most games are boring to play & boring to read about. I'm not sure if EVE's boring to play; it's just an investment I don't want to make. But it's fascinating to read about.

SB: I've always imagined that while the fights can be exciting & it can be cool…to have victory in one of the fights, it's not really what it's about. I mean, people are playing the game to create the world. They're part of the corporations because they're buying into the agenda, even if it's roleplaying, against some other agenda. That's where the fun is."
stewartbutterfield  glitch  tinyspeck  games  eveonline  gaming  reading  cv  worldbuilding  2010  interviews  animalcrossing  littlebigplanet  gamedev  gamedesign  homoludens  play  facebookconnect  facebook  zynga  mmo  flickr  gne  wow  simcity  sims  everquest  muds  mushes  metaplace  secondlife  social  experience  thesims 
january 2011 by robertogreco
From philosophy class to millionaires' club
"I think if you have a good background in what it is to be human, an understanding of life, culture and society, it gives you a good perspective on starting a business, instead of an education purely in business," he said. "You can always pick up how to read a balance sheet and how to figure out profit and loss, but it's harder to pick up the other stuff on the fly."
stewartbutterfield  success  life  tcsnmy  education  learning  culture  society  deschooling  unschooling  philosophy  flickr 
july 2009 by robertogreco
Tiny Speck, Inc.
"Tiny Speck is small company building something enormous. We show up in the afterburst of highly charged particle collisions; we are the only-imagined baryon consisting of two charmed quarks and one strange. We will blow your minds.

Tiny Speck was founded in early 2009 by four of the original members of the Flickr team. We are now eight, plus assorted artists from all over the world. We are backed by ourselves, and some of the most clever and insightful investors around.

Our principal offices are in Vancouver and San Francisco, but we are global, from the Russian Steppes to The Big Apple. We are using every ounce of our craft to build bits to bytes and summon Glitch to life."

[via: AND later: ]
stewartbutterfield  flickr  gne  calhenderson  startup  vancouver  tinyspeck  gaming 
july 2009 by robertogreco
Transcendent Interactions: Collaborative Contexts and Relationship-based Computing - "Application-based --> Document-based --> Relationaship-based Computing"
"tools for playful interaction that are contexts to dip into. Quick & fluid mechanisms for reframing communication as improvisational play." "Fluid contexts for interactiona are where rich social systems arise."
ludicorp  gne  bencerveny  stewartbutterfield  ericcostello  networks  philosophy  play  presentation  relationships  gamechanging  collaboration  design  flow  games  via:preoccupations  classideas  schooldesign  gamedesign  architecture  2004 
july 2008 by robertogreco
Flickr founder: Creativity is human nature -
"I think there's a deep impulse in most humans to do creative stuff, whether that's music or art, photography or writing. Most people at some point in their life say they want to do something creative -- they want to be an actor, a director, a writer, a p
interviews  business  communication  creativity  flickr  design  photography  stewartbutterfield  web2.0  human  nature  community 
october 2007 by robertogreco

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