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First POST: Sympathy for the Developer

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, March 18 2014

Sympathy for the Developer

  • Code for America's Catherine Bracy argues that the latest controversy over gender discrimination at a tech workplace (this time at GitHub) is connected to the naive belief in "holacracy"--or organizational structures without hierarchy. She writes:

    I’m starting to think all of the problems we’re seeing with Silicon Valley these days—the ineptitude at politics, the clumsiness with handling inequality in SF, the lack of gender and racial diversity in the industry—are actually rooted in a systemic failure to understand how power works. As we move to an era where tech is central to our culture and economy, smart founders and investors will come to realize that stacking their companies full of people who understand politics and can create healthy cultures is as important to success as having kick-ass engineers.

  • PC Magazine's lead mobile analyst Sascha Segan writes that he doesn't want his daughter to work in Silicon Valley, decrying a "toxic culture" that "has no empathy for the disrupted."

  • WhatsApp founder Jan Koum, who recently sold his company to Facebook for $19 billion, has put up a new blog post insisting that his company will continue to maintain maximum user privacy. Noting the he grew up in Ukraine and the USSR, he writes "respect for your privacy is coded into our DNA, and we built WhatsApp around the goal of knowing as little about you as possible."

  • The Intercept's Dan Froomkin points out that the Department of Homeland Security never needed its own license-plate tracking system, given that the private sector is already collecting "tens if not hundreds of millions of observations a month."

  • Australia's Attorney General wants the power to force people to hand over their private encryption keys, TechDirt's Mike Masnick reports.

  • Google has begun encrypting what its users search for in China.

  • Relaunching FivethirtyEight.com, Nate Silver takes a momentt to remind his readers just how wrong political pundits were in 2012. Also, he reveals (with a photo) that he sorts his library of 500 books by color, not title.

  • MySociety was hired by the British Parliament to review its online services, and the nonprofit's two simple recommendations have been embraced by the institution's management. Tom Steinberg, mySociety's director, can't resist tweaking his US counterparts.

  • Patrick Meier reports on how community activists in the Philippines are using expendable drones for disaster response efforts.

  • Felix Salmon uses NewsGenius to annotate Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto's statement denying Newsweek's report that he is the founder of Bitcoin. Pretty sweet.

  • The Seattle City Council has voted to cap the number of cars that transportation network companies like Lyft, Sidecar and UberX can have on the road at any time at 150.