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robertogreco : xoxo   11

▶ Darius Kazemi, Tiny Subversions - XOXO Festival (2014) - YouTube
"Most people are lucky if they finish a couple side projects in a year. Last year, Darius Kazemi released 72, averaging one every five days. His projects fall under what he calls “weird internet stuff” — bots that generate random Amazon purchases, surreal metaphors, rap battle lyrics, pickup lines, and everything in between."
dariuskazemi  luck  creativity  xoxo  xoxo2014  2014  making  success 
october 2014 by robertogreco
Paul Ford, Ftrain - XOXO Festival (2014) - YouTube
"Paul Ford isn't easy to sum up, so we originally copped out and wrote the silly one-line bio we read before his talk. He's one of the most talented writers and programmers we know, frighteningly and frustratingly accomplished at both. He most recently created Tilde.club—a Unix server that is definitely not a social network—writes for The Message on Medium, and is working on a book about web pages for FSG while raising twins in Brooklyn, NY. He is a really great hugger."
paulford  internet  slow  time  notetaking  writing  depression  anxiety  2014  xoxo2014  xoxo  making  humility  harpers  quantifiedself  howwelearn  howwewrite 
october 2014 by robertogreco
What We Talk About When We Talk About What We Talk About When We Talk About Making | Quiet Babylon
"This is an era of networked wealth, going to scale, first mover advantage, positive feedback loops, virtuous cycles, high concentration, and high disparity. These are some of the intolerable conditions of the time we call (with subversive hope) Late Capitalism.

4
“We.”

5
I suspect that much of this essay will make very little sense unless you believe as I do that we are beset by wicked problems exacerbated by networks of sublime scale that have been built on top of millenia of injustice chaotically interacting with good works and hope.



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I do not think it is possible to feel empathy for 7 billion people. I know it is not possible to mourn the ~400,000 souls we lose to death every day on this planet earth. In a city like New York, it is not even reasonable to say Hi to everyone you pass on the street. Forget New York, it wasn’t reasonable to say Hi to everyone I passed at XOXO. There are too many humans. Boundaries must be drawn. Who are our friends, who is in the community, who gets to count. The boundaries can be drawn wider or narrower, and with more or less care. But the starting points of those boundaries are necessarily accidents of history, and history is pretty messed up.

Andy and Andy have been public about their struggles to redraw the boundaries of the community that takes part in XOXO. This year was better, they said, but still too male and still far too white. They are working to do better still if they ever do an XOXO again.

If they do, they will have to carefully consider who gets on stage and work with those people about what they have to say. Because people who make things is a broad remit. The mission of XOXO is an admirable one: to be a place where independent creators can find themselves amongst people like them; to give the participants the feeling that even though independence can be lonely, we are not alone.

But to be sat amongst a community who do not share your concerns is a terribly alienating experience, especially if the speakers on stage are claiming a we for the room that you do not feel. A greater diversity of speakers and a greater diversity of participants means by definition fewer common experiences and a more complicated we.

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Chinese factory workers are not welcome at XOXO. This is a profoundly uncomfortable thing to say because it feels like punching down, but it is true. Chinese factory workers are not independent creators. What inspiration would they find in hearing John Gruber talk about Google Reader’s impact on his business model? What advice would they pull from Anita Sarkeesian describing the conspiracy theories leveled against prominent women on the Internet? What series of completely patronizing assumptions did I make when I wrote those last two questions?

Marketers, brand managers, advertising agencies, and social media gurus are also not welcome at XOXO. This feels less uncomfortable to say because it feels like punching up. Harassers are completely unwelcome and Andy and Andy took public glee in sending them away.

Community design is a tricky thing and the debate about incremental improvement vs radical transformation is far from settled. Figuring out how to ethically exclude people, how to effectively include people, and which intolerable conditions of ambient injustice to accept as given is a wicked problem. Working through it requires care and nuance and vigilance against derailment.

Derailment is when discussion of one issue is diverted into another issue. For example: if someone were to say, We need to work hard to increase the non-white percentage of conference attendees, and someone else said, Yeah, but what about the Chinese workers who make your devices?

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Context collapse is an important way of making sure that marginalized people and issues aren’t allowed to disappear completely and an excellent derailing tactic. Arguing that an issue being raised is a derailment is an excellent derailing tactic.

11
A lot of the problems described by people on stage at XOXO would not have been problems if no one on earth should ever be at risk of starvation or lack medical care was not a radical idea. But it is a radical idea and it is not possible to mourn everyone. So boundaries are drawn and communities are constructed which help their members understand what’s possible and not everyone gets to count.

The inability to effectively address all of this is also one of the intolerable conditions of late capitalism."
timmaly  xoxo  latecapitalism  capitalism  supplychains  labor  timcook  apple  disclosure  context  contextcollapse  inclusing  exclusion  canon  derailment  conferences  complexity  boundaries  communitydesign  making  makers  scale  hope  dematerialization 
september 2014 by robertogreco
The Uncanny Valley of Earnestness — LadyBits on Medium — Medium
"No. Criticism is not negativity. Criticism is not saying you’re bad. Criticism is – it should be – a way of saying: I think you’re good. I know you can do better. I think you can figure out a way how.

I only saw about a third of the talks, but of those I did see, no one spoke of the value of criticism and iteration. It was beyond amazing to see people being honest and open about self-understanding and failure and feelings. Those of you who went there, and who I saw: Thank you.

But what about moving beyond that darkness and asking outside yourself for help? The hardest thing for me in all my darkest times has been knowing I am not alone, that people want to help me, that I am not a solitary soldier in a landscape of shit who will have to do it herself, over and over again, and the only way to celebrate this victory is to wait until I’m secure and have made it so I can reveal terrifying things for which I can finally be called a hero.

The Uncanny Valley of Earnestness is a place in between blindly shoring each other up and tearing each other down. This is the place where you give yourself the chance to be weirdly human and you try, with all your might, to give that chance to someone else. You will fail, on both an individual level and in big groups, and so will everyone else, but you will try again.

That space is where we teach each other, help one another to succeed, show each other where we’re failing and how we can do better — what we’re doing wrong and what the weak spots are — and turn amateurs into professionals and show professionals where they’ve let their fundamentals go weak."
leahreich  2013  xoxo  criticism  constructivecriticism  earnestness  community  conferences 
october 2013 by robertogreco
▶ Christina Xu, Breadpig - XOXO Festival (2013) - YouTube
"In many industries, publishers can sometimes hurt unknown artists more than they help. But a new model for publishing is emerging, and Breadpig is paving the way—helping independent artists find a wider audience without losing control over their work. In addition to her work running Breadpig, Christina Xu is co-founder of ROFLCon, the conference on Internet culture, and founding director of the Institute on Higher Awesome Studies, the nonprofit wing of the Awesome Foundation."

[Transcript:
http://breadpig.tumblr.com/post/62171738926/welcome-to-the-new-breadpig-blog-this-is-the ]

See also Frank Chimero:
http://frankchimero.com/blog/2013/09/the-inferno-of-independence/

and Anil Dash:
http://dashes.com/anil/2013/09/xoxo-and-reckoning-with-nice.html ]
christinaxu  breadpig  crowdfunding  xoxo  2013  trailblazing  support  creativity  logistics  supportservices  bootstrapping  independence  interdependence  supportstructures  kickstarter  structure  structurelessness  obsatacles  systemsthinking  darkmatter  norms  communities  meangirls  cliques  meritocracy  gatekeepers  disintermediation 
october 2013 by robertogreco
Thoreau 2.0 - XOXO Conference Talk
[video now here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eky5uKILXtM ]

"So what I had thought was a convenience [mobile phone and 24hr alerts] had actually been the foundation for a little pyramid of anxieties. It made me wonder what other stuff in my life was behaving that way."



"Surveying, at least, let him work outside and in the woods, but he was often working for people who wanted to cut down the forest he spent all his free time in.

There's a pernicious idea that comes out of startup culture called "fail fast". I've always been a big believer in failing slowly. When you're not in for the money, success doesn't come to you pre-labeled. It can look just like failure. Chasing money makes it easier, because then you can quantify success unambiguously. Otherwise, you may have a hard time telling the two apart.

You can work on a lot of projects, but you will only get a couple of opportunities to work on something long-term. So I would say pick those carefully, do things that are intrinsically rewarding, and be very loath to abandon them. And work that day job if you have to!"



"The best piece of advice Thoreau ever got was from Emerson, who told him to keep a journal. And Thoreau did, for decades, using it as a personal diary, a record of his botanical and scientific observations, and a kind of staging ground for his serious writing. He would go back and mine it years later for passages to use in his work.

I don't think everyone needs to keep a literary journal, but I think it's vital to keep a work diary, for three reasons:

First, because it's the only honest record of what you're thinking at the time. Your memory will lie to you, almost immediately, about what you thought was going to happen on any given day. The only way you can trust it is to write down your state of mind - what you're worried about, what you expect will happen. And then over time you can go back and look for patterns of thought that you might want to fix. Maybe you're always too optimistic, or maybe you choose to work with toxic people, or chronically underestimate what things will cost. Writing it down will help you understand your mental habits, and correct for them.

Second, a work diary helps you track what you're actually doing. It's easy to get lost in the weeds from day to day, but are you ever spending time working on the things you think are most important? Thoreau was mistrustful of trivia the same way he mistrusted complexity, its capacity to take over our lives and push out what we value. An honest work record will tell you what you actually did, and what you spent your time thinking about.

Finally, and most importantly, writing things down captures the details that you only glean from experience. The one thing separating me from the high-IQ theoreticians on a message board is the fact that I've actually been running a bookmarking site for four years. Experience is priceless, you can't get it except by doing it, so you want to be sure not to fritter any of it away, and document the details as they happen.

They can come in useful later in the most surprising circumstances."



"It's not our job, Thoreau argues, to fix the world. We may not have the time for that. But we can't cooperate with injustice. If the law compels us to do something wrong, we have to break that law.

This doctrine of non-cooperation with civil authority would have a powerful effect on Gandhi and Martin Luther King."



"I've come to believe that it's time for us to take a stand, and refuse to cooperate with this apparatus of secrecy. We've already seen Lavabit, in an act of great moral courage, throw away ten years of hard work rather than acquiesce to blanket monitoring of its users. But the fact that Lavar wasn't even able to give the reasons for shutting his project down, that we had to infer them from his silence, demonstrates the problem.

If anyone is going to refuse to cooperate, it is going to be small independent projects, not large corporations. "The rich man—not to make any invidious comparison—is always sold to the institution which makes him rich"."



"We should commit to giving legal, financial and moral support to anyone who refuses to obey gag order, or publishes a National Security Letter. The secrecy exists because the programs it cloaks can't withstand the light of day. One good, timely push will break them.

Whether or not you agree with me, I would urge you to read Thoreau's essay, and decide for yourself: where do you draw the line? What will it take to make you stop cooperating?"



"So Thoreau had all these people, mostly women, who silently enabled the life he thought he was heroically living for himself.

But a gentler, more generous way to look at it is this. If you live a life by your own lights, and follow your principles, maybe once in a while someone will come and bring you a basket of donuts. And it's okay to eat the donuts! They're delicious!

Thoreau said about his two years at Walden:
I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.

Thoreau wrote this never having tasted any of traditional forms of success. He was thinking of a different, more fundamental kind of success, one that I wish for myself, and earnestly wish for all of you."
maciejceglowski  2013  xoxo  pinboard  philosophy  life  resistance  failure  success  money  protest  nsa  prism  ethics  law  legal  thoreau  maciejcegłowski 
september 2013 by robertogreco
XOXO Talk Notes (Pinboard Blog)
"XOXO was an event full of establishment figures (myself included) preaching an alternative gospel. This led to some strangely dissonant moments, like an online billionaire exhorting us to build a better web, which he had presumably forgotten to do earlier. The audience was similarly packed with fossils from the the early Yahoo, antedeluvian Odeo, and pre-Cambrian blog eras.

There needs to be a web equivalent to the Salon des Refusés, where young punk kids with no money can come, make everything we've ever done look lame, and then roast us in our own food trucks.

XOXO has the right spirit for that, but the wrong butts in the seats. If it happens next year, maybe the selection rule can change to help the audience match the message.

I realize I risk sounding ungrateful saying so. But part of the strength of this conference, and why I hope it continues in future years, is the organizers' unusual willingness to listen, and their sincere commitment to making the event wonderful. It can be thankless work organizing an event of this size, but I sure do hope they keep it going."
pinboard  xoxo  maciejceglowski  2013  punk  failure  success  web  change  maciejcegłowski 
september 2013 by robertogreco
jeweled platypus · text · Leveling up conferences
"I’m in Portland for Community Leadership Summit this weekend, I’ll be at Defcon soon, and I’m going to XOXO in September, so I’ve been thinking about things AdaCamp did that I’d like to see more conference organizers consider. Of course I like the idea of making tech events better for women, but this stuff is especially interesting to me because worthwhile efforts to make a tech event more welcoming to women also make the event more welcoming to other non-majority types of people (for example, including women means not just including able-bodied women). It’s the magic of intersectionality! Some of these ideas are conveniently compiled on the page of resources for conference organizers on the Geek Feminism Wiki, but here’s my list too:

• If you have an application process, like AdaCamp and XOXO do, it’s great for the application to be as encouraging and inclusive as possible, with detail about how the conference is aiming for a crowd that is diverse in x and y and z ways. …

• Before the conference, providing a list of nearby low-cost hostels and hotels. …

• Giving people a choice of badge lanyards: green meaning “photographs always ok”, yellow meaning “ask before photographing”, and red meaning “photographs never ok”. …

• Laying blue tape on the floor to mark access paths where people shouldn’t stand or put chairs/bags; you can label them “walk and roll” (ha ha). …

• Being explicitly inclusive of people of all gender identities, including considering labeling all-gender bathrooms along with men-only bathrooms and women-only bathrooms. …

• Setting up a dedicated “quiet room” with a rule against talking in that room; people can use the space to nap or work/relax quietly. …

• Having a series of 90 second (1 slide) lightning talks - I thought 90 seconds sounded impossibly short compared to normal 5 minute lightning talks, but it turned out to be great.

• For evening meals: creating a spreadsheet on Google Docs with a list of nearby restaurants, and inviting people to type in their names to create small groups for dining out."
conferences  brittagustafson  howto  eventplanning  conferenceplanning  photography  2013  adacamp  xoxo  defcon  inclusiveness  impostorsyndrome  accessibility  crowds  quiet  diversity  gender  universaldesign  planning  events  inclusion  inclusivity  inlcusivity 
july 2013 by robertogreco
To Less Efficient Startups - Anil Dash
"Some of the most interesting startups (the NYC chauvinist in me must point out that these are all New York companies) are not optimizing for raw market efficiency, but instead for opportunity for a broader community. Some examples:

• Kickstarter is explicitly building an economy to support the work of artists and creators, disciplines that are often not favored by the attentions of the tech industry.

• 20×200 has a complete structure of support for promotion and payment for artists, as Jen Bekman outlined at the XOXO festival.

• Etsy perhaps illustrates this best of all; I talked about this a bit when recording Chad Dickerson's talk at XOXO, but his slides from that talk outline their commitment as a B Corporation to many of these principles of helping an entire community, not just preferred shareholders:"



"I'm not saying existing companies necessarily need to radically change; It's great that many have succeeded with the model so far. But I'm hoping that people who are building and funding companies can put some thought into what success can look like for future tech companies if they also value creating lots of middle-class jobs and lots of opportunities to help blue collar or non-technical workers thrive with meaningful long-time work as their companies take off.

We tend not to think it's cool that Microsoft or IBM have hundreds of thousands of employees. But there's something meaningful, and important, and essential to our society for enormously valuable companies to also provide enormous value in the form of lots of jobs for regular folks. I'll be rooting for the next wave of startups to tackle this problem that has, so far, been too difficult for our biggest web companies."
anildash  business  economics  inequality  class  2013  middleclass  etsy  kickstarter  20x200  xoxo  jenbekman  chaddickerson  society  incomedistribution 
july 2013 by robertogreco
The dream of the internet is alive in Portland: inside the XOXO Festival | The Verge
"Should XOXO happen yearly, or never again? Should current attendees have first dibs on future festivals, or be discouraged from returning to make room for new people and ideas? My friend Leonard Lin imagined an OLPC model, where those who can afford to attend help pay the way for new makers, to ensure that the next Julia Nunes or Super Meat Boy can have a better chance to blossom. I might like to see more hands-on activities, more attendee diversity, and more Q&A sessions. These are standard questions for exciting new events: How do you keep the energy going? How do you reach more people?

SUMMER CAMP ISN'T SUPPOSED TO SCALE

But maybe the usual questions miss the point of XOXO. You go to summer camp to see old friends, to make new ones, and —if you're in Portland — to eat locally sourced, organic s'mores. Summer camp isn't supposed to scale, and you don't always come away with merit badges or a clear plan of action. But you re-energize the best part of yourself. You share ideas, stay up late, find a new crush, eat pizza or poutine, and laugh. You depart PDX inspired, with a head full of ideas, a belly full of tacos, and a heart full of Twitter handles.

XOXO wasn't really a conference. It was a face-to-face reminder of what's possible, a Sex Pistols gig of legend for modern creative geeks. That's the internet we should all live in."
summercamp  doers  makers  internet  oregon  portland  glvo  openstudioproject  events  conferenceideas  conferences  lcproject  andybaio  2012  xoxo 
september 2012 by robertogreco
XOXO Festival by Andy Baio — Kickstarter
"Hey Kickstarter! We're organizing XOXO, an arts and technology festival in Portland, Oregon this September 13-16th.

XOXO is a celebration of disruptive creativity. We want to take all the independent artists using the Internet to make a living doing what they love — the makers, craftspeople, musicians, filmmakers, comic book artists, game designers, hardware hackers — and bring them together with the technologists building the platforms that make it possible. If you have an audience and a good idea, nothing’s standing in your way.

XOXO is in three parts:

Conference (Saturday – Sunday). Talks from artists and creative technologists around the country that are breaking new ground.
Market (Saturday – Sunday). A large marketplace with a tightly-curated list of the best of Portland's arts and tech scenes, sharing and selling their work, with food supplied by the best of our thriving food cart scene…"
via:caseygollan  togo  oregon  interdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  crosspollination  crossdisciplinary  technology  arts  collaboration  hackerspaces  hackers  hardware  design  2012  events  andybaio  kickstarter  disruption  disruptive  conferences  portland  xoxo 
may 2012 by robertogreco

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