Categories
Mindsets

How YOU want to show up today

Photo looking through glasses by Saketh Garuda on Unsplash
Photo by Saketh Garuda on Unsplash

One of my colleagues shared a terrific question she asks herself in the mornings if she’s not in an ideal mood when that alarm goes off.

It really appeals to me, and I thought I’d share it:

“How do you want to show up to the world today?”

I think this works pretty well for a variety of circumstances. Thanks Brezo!

Categories
Events and Life Mindsets Policy issues Politics and government Social Web

The greatest propaganda machine in history

Sacha Baron Cohen recently spoke about how social media services have become the “greatest propaganda machine in history”.

Much of the media’s focus, when reporting on his remarks, was on his attack on Facebook. While he certainly targeted Facebook, he also spoke about how Google, YouTube, and Twitter shape online discourse, and how they help spread lies, bigotry, and attacks on fact-based discussions.

Think about it.  Facebook, YouTube and Google, Twitter and others—they reach billions of people.  The algorithms these platforms depend on deliberately amplify the type of content that keeps users engaged—stories that appeal to our baser instincts and that trigger outrage and fear.  It’s why YouTube recommended videos by the conspiracist Alex Jones billions of times.  It’s why fake news outperforms real news, because studies show that lies spread faster than truth.  And it’s no surprise that the greatest propaganda machine in history has spread the oldest conspiracy theory in history—the lie that Jews are somehow dangerous.  As one headline put it, “Just Think What Goebbels Could Have Done with Facebook.”

Sacha Baron Cohen

As much as we embrace free expression, we find it difficult to draw a line when liars and bigots abuse their right to free expression because doing that feels like hypocrisy.

Free expression isn’t unlimited, though. And pushing back against channels that help propagate misinformation, abuse, and false statements that impact substantial segments of the population is becoming more important.

At the very least, it’s worth watching Cohen’s talk, or reading his remarks:

We should also think carefully about how much trust we place in services that profit from the social chaos we see around us.

Featured image by Miguel Henriques
Categories
Mindsets Spirituality

Sitting with difficult emotions

I noticed this quote on Tumblr. I’ve noticed on the few occasions I’m able to just sit with difficult emotions in a meditation, they tend not to be as monolithic as they otherwise seemed beforehand.

On a related note, it’s been a while since I read anything by Jack Kornfield. I really enjoyed his book “A Path with Heart: A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life” when I read it in 2006 during our honeymoon in the Drakensberg mountains.

In fact, I read the book here:

IMGP1843.JPG
Categories
Business and work Events and Life Mindsets Writing

In person kudos at the Automattic Grand Meetup

Appreciating our colleagues

We have an amazing culture at Automattic that includes giving each other kudos as one form of recognition for great work, whether that’s delivering happiness to a customer, or to each other.

Typically we use a Slack bot to share kudos, and that’s posted to an internal WordPress site dedicated to showcasing internal kudos.

At the Grand Meetup (which we attended in mid-September – I’ll probably share more from that soon), we also have the option of giving handwritten kudos to each other. I like the ease of giving digital kudos, and at the same time I really like being able to write a note to my colleagues to express my appreciation for their efforts.

Automattic kudos card
Kudos IRL

This year I was fortunate to receive a few cards from my colleagues, and really appreciate each of them.

I decided against sharing details of all of the cards I received as the messages can be pretty personal. At the same time, I’m grateful for each card.

Categories
Business and work Coding Mindsets Policy issues

New Automattic research on how to improve gender representation for technical roles

Our team has just released a white paper titled “Trust, Growth,Inclusion: A Study ofWomen Engineers’Job-Search Priorities” that explores what motivates women and non-binary technical professionals to join companies, and what helps retain them.

Better gender representation is a challenge. I’m proud of our team’s efforts to better understand this challenge, and how to meet it. It’s clearly not something that’s capable of a simple fix, but I’m glad that we seem to be moving in a good direction. Here are some links if you’re interested in reading further:


If you’re interested in joining Automattic, we’re hiring people for a number of roles, especially in Engineering!

Categories
Blogs and blogging Mindsets Semantic Web Social Web Web/Tech

Resisting closed platforms with the open Web

Simon commented on the state of the Web in a recent post:

Thanks to the open web it was possible to create massive platforms, which inevitably became closed.

He asks an important question:

Do we now abandon the open web or is it essential for keeping the closed platforms in check?

I think the only real answer to this question is not to abandon the open Web. The open Web remains essential, both in itself, and to offer a compelling alternative to closed platforms.

The open Web can offer a healthier, more sustainable alternative to closed platforms. What we need are services that are as good as, or better than, closed platforms. Perhaps more importantly, the open alternatives should be just as convenient to use. This is where open solutions seem to be lacking, for now at least.

unsplash-logoFeatured image by Tim Gouw
Categories
Mindsets Sports

Austrian Grand Prix Spoiler Alert Fail

I sat down to watch the pre-recorded Austrian Grand Prix after work. My son came up to me …

Son: Do you know who won the race?
Me: No, I haven’t looked. I just want to watch the race.

My son left the room, and returned a few minutes later.

Son: Can I show you something?
Me (thinking this has to do with a game he’s been playing lately): Ok.

He shows me the Formula 1 app on his phone, and gleefully shows me who won the race I just started watching. 😱

Me: Haven’t you heard of spoiler alerts?! 😭

🏎️

By the way, what a race! If you’re interested, here are some race highlights (🚨 SPOILER ALERT 🚨):

Categories
Mindsets Spirituality

We can be more considerate towards each other in prayer too

Shoshanna shared this tweet about her friend who went to shul to say Kaddish for a parent:

It’s a reminder that there’s always room to be more considerate towards each other, especially in prayer. I’m not particularly religious, but when something means so much to someone, we can slow down a bit, and be more compassionate.