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Preview: Anil Dash

Anil Dash



A Blog About Making Culture



Updated: 2017-02-02T20:53:52Z

 



It's me, Bike Dad!

2017-02-02T20:53:52Z

Until the Citibike bikeshare program launched here in New York City, I'd ridden a bike perhaps once in the prior twenty years. Since it launched,...

Until the Citibike bikeshare program launched here in New York City, I'd ridden a bike perhaps once in the prior twenty years. Since it launched, I ride almost daily.

Because of the massive improvements in quality of life in the city as walkability and cycling affordances were improved, I've become a strong advocate for commuting by bike, and I was excited to talk about my experiences with NY1.

While the Full NY1 series on new commuting trends is unfortunately still a little slanted toward favoring privately-owned, under-utilized automobiles, I think the tide is turning overall because, as I've noted before, our investment in making New York City accessible and safe for pedestrians and bikers has made this the golden era for public space in the entire 400-year history of the city.

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Design Matters

2017-02-02T20:45:14Z

I was delighted to get to speak with Debbie Millman for her venerable podcast, "Design Matters". If you have an hour to spare, please do...

I was delighted to get to speak with Debbie Millman for her venerable podcast, "Design Matters". If you have an hour to spare, please do check out the conversation — we touched on a ton of topics that are near and dear to my heart.

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On Being and Tech's Moral Reckoning

2017-01-15T20:18:05Z

Back in November, I got to sit down with the amazing Krista Tippett for a lengthy interview in front of an incredibly warm crowd in...

Back in November, I got to sit down with the amazing Krista Tippett for a lengthy interview in front of an incredibly warm crowd in Easton, MD. Now, that interview has been edited down and is available as the latest episode of Krista's hugely popular show, On Being.
I hope you'll take a listen — we cover the contemporary tech industry, the social impact of the major social networks, and even the bigger reckoning with how tech is changing our families and or kids and our relationships. I'm really proud of how this came out, and can't wait to hear what you think. And, of course, if you're interested in more on the topic, you can check out my Humane Tech series on Medium.

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If you are interested, there's also a full, 90-minute unedited version of the conversation. With Krista and her team coming from Minneapolis, the Prince mentions you might expect from me are in the uncut version.

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I'm at Fog Creek. And we're introducing Gomix!

2016-12-06T14:14:45Z

Okay, here’s the story: I’m the new CEO of Fog Creek Software! And we have an awesome new tool called Gomix that just launched today,... Okay, here’s the story: I’m the new CEO of Fog Creek Software! And we have an awesome new tool called Gomix that just launched today, and you should go try it out and build the app of your dreams in a few minutes. Want to know more? Okay, there’s more. If you know me, you might be familiar with Fog Creek Software. Cofounded by Joel Spolsky and Michael Pryor in 2000, it’s one of the most venerable and respected software companies in the world. I’ve known it from its earliest days, as both a customer and a fan, and have gotten to watch excitedly as they launched hugely influential tools like Trello (which Michael is now CEO of as an independent company) and Stack Overflow (also independent, and headed up by Joel as CEO). Fog Creek’s flagship product FogBugz has long been the best tool for helping teams make great software — I know because we used to use it to make Movable Type and TypePad back when I was helping get those products off the ground a decade ago. Built on Values But Fog Creek is a lot more to me than just a company that’s made a bunch of hugely popular applications. What first resonated for me was reading Joel’s words in his seminal posts on tech culture, like the Joel Test. Though some of the references to old Windows software are a little bit dated now, the insights in Joel’s writing are so essential and timeless that they’ve become part of the canon that almost every developer is expected to read. And what I found in these seminal documents of Fog Creek’s culture were a few simple statements of values that could be easily summarized: Workers matter, deeply. The things they create, the environment they work in, and the ideas they imagine are worth protecting, respecting and honoring. Technology and software are better when they’re accessible to more people. We need to build tools, platforms and organizations that prioritize the thoughtful dissemination of technical information, to stop coding from being an exclusionary priesthood for a small few. We can build our values into our software. We aspire to having a point of view and to being thoughtful, and we can build tools that encourage other creations of technology to do the same. What I found was that I had a chance not just to work with some of the most talented people in the world, but to do so in an environment that was actively countering the worst excesses and abuses of the tech industry. It’s no secret that I’ve become increasingly critical of the conventional tech world’s lack of focus on ethics, humanity, and inclusion. But at a personal level, I realized I couldn’t in good conscience just criticize from afar. If the best way to criticize software is to make software, then the best way to criticize tech companies is to make a better tech company. And it turns out that one already exists. Even more fortunate, its brilliant and thoughtful founders Michael and Joel were willing to trust me to be the CEO of the company that have so carefully shepherded all these years. And frankly, after challenges like shutting down ThinkUp earlier this year, I started reckoning a bit with how to be most effective in pushing the tech industry to be a little more thoughtful. This personal inflection point became clearer as the team at Activate released this year's Activate Outlook — seven years after we'd set out to create the leading strategy consulting company, I realized we'd not just succeeded, but done so to the degree where the team could now run effectively without me being involved day-to-day. Between stepping back to an advisory role at Activate and sharpening the focus of my work for the organizations whose boards I serve on, I was able to bring some clarity to the work in front of me. I realized that I wanted to fully[...]



Forget “Why?”, it’s time to get to work.

2016-12-06T14:27:45Z

There are going to be endless think-pieces and armchair analyses about why America elected Donald Trump as its next President. But you already know why.... There are going to be endless think-pieces and armchair analyses about why America elected Donald Trump as its next President. But you already know why. Don’t waste a single moment listening to the hand-wringing of the pundit class about Why This Happened, or people on TV talking about What This Means. The most important thing is that we focus on the work that needs to be done now. While so many have been doing what it takes to protect the marginalized and to make society more just, we must increase our urgency on those efforts, even while we grieve over this formidable defeat. It is completely understandable, and completely human, to be depressed, demoralized or overwhelmed by the enormity of this broad embrace of hateful rhetoric and divisive policy. These are battles that have always taken decades to fight, and progress has never been smooth and steady — we’ve always faced devastating setbacks. If you need to take time to mourn, then do. But it’s imperative that we use our anger, our despair, our disbelief to fuel an intense, focused and effective campaign to protect and support the marginalized. And it has to start now. There are concrete steps we can take immediately, which can set up habits that we can sustain for the years of struggle to come. 1. Show up, in your community. Whether it’s issues like marriage equality, fighting climate change, or welcoming refugees and other immigrants, much of the progress we see starts at the local level, in our neighborhoods and cities and states. We’ll need to support and grow the organizations doing the work, and commit our time and energy to helping them accomplish their goals — simply donating our money will not be enough. There are a few key things to remember: Organizations fighting for civil rights and social justice already exist in your community. Take the time, now, to research who is providing for essentials like food and water security, education, shelter, legal representation, and policy advocacy on behalf of people at risk. Commit to showing up to help. We all have an overwhelming number of obligations to our lives, our families, our friends and to our work and careers. It’s hard to give up the one night a week we might spend hanging out, watching Netflix, but if that’s the night of the City Council meeting, or when your local elected official has a public hearing, it’s time to show up. Building real, sustainable infrastructure to protect those in need is a job that can’t only be done virtually, or remotely. We’ve got to show up. Start fundraising, now. Once you’ve found the organizations doing the work in your community, commit what resources you can to supporting them, and begin helping them come up with ways to be sustainable over the long term. Local businesses are going to be key to providing necessary resources (whether that’s in-kind offerings or simply funding) and the time to capture their good intentions is right now while they’re still feeling the full weight of Trump’s win. If companies in your community say they want to do the right thing, give them the chance to. 2. Make stopping Trump a regular habit. There are a few key steps we’ll all need to follow to prevent the gradual acceptance of Trump’s extreme and dangerous rhetoric. Fight normalization in media. We’ll start to see the morning shows doing fluffy profiles of Melania and Ivanka almost immediately, along with “humanizing” articles and profiles of Trump following closely behind. These will be part of a concerted effort to make it seem as if Trump fits into a normal pattern of political practice in this country. We need to steadfastly, aggressively call out this threat by reminding[...]



On the Hunt

2016-04-07T19:05:14Z

There are lots of conversations that I have over and over, one-at-a-time on social media like Twitter that I wish was captured more definitively. Fortunately,...

There are lots of conversations that I have over and over, one-at-a-time on social media like Twitter that I wish was captured more definitively. Fortunately, I got the chance to do just that when I was asked to be on Product Hunt Live, the Q&A series for the Product Hunt community.

I really appreciated the chance to talk about some of these topics more specifically in a way that others can refer to in the future; I hope you'll give it a look and see what you think.

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