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: "Skilletron 2.0": Leonard is funding a different Kickstarter project every day this month, to celebrate his birthday.

I'll try to pick projects you'll find interesting because I really like the Kickstarter model and my goal is to get you into the idea of funding things that way as well. If nothing really grabs me on a given day, I'll make an investment more or less at random. Because it's July, mamajama, and weird things happen on this site in July.

Never seen "mamajama" in print before.

I was browing projects he's funded and wandered over to other requests.

"We've come to the Kickstarter community to ask for your help in funding our first run of cast iron cookware."

Pledge $1000 or more and you get a bunch of skillets, two bottle openers, possibly a trivet, your name on their furnace, plus "a special 'thank you' iron ingot."

"(please add $50 for international shipments)"

Three hours to go. Do you like ingots?

(1) : "Learn Tech Management" Essay/Notes: Final notes, including an audio recording and an edited & annotated transcript, for my standing-room-only talk "Learn Tech Management in 45 Minutes" from this year's Open Source Bridge.

Sumana (publicizing a different talk) at OSBridge 2011, photo by Reid Beels CC BY-NC-SA

And I wanna also tell you that I am gonna talk a little bit about kind of managing up and managing down, but really more of what I'm talking about is managing up, because I think a lot of us have had at least some experience of managing other people and helping them understand what to do, but managing up is where it gets all mysterious, and people wear suits, and they talk about terms we don't understand.

And I think of this as kind of harm reduction. This talk that I'm giving right now. It's a little bit of the gentle art of self defense. Because, you know, you might be an engineer who has to deal with management and fight for your project, or you might want to take leadership of your open source project, and you might want to write proposals for what people should do or why they should give you a grant. Or you might accidentally turn into a manager at your firm. It might be foisted upon you.

And so I hope that some of the stuff in this talk will take you from, like, 0th percentile up somewhere else, and give you a bunch of keywords that you can look up on Wikipedia, the world's free, open source encyclopedia.

Subheaders include "Why do projects fail?", "Evil list", "Suit-friendly presentations", "Lenses", and "Q&A about measuring intangibles".

Much thanks to Christie Koehler for getting me that audio, and to Mirabai Knight of StenoKnight CART Services for transcribing my talk. Thanks to Reid Beels for the CC BY-NC-SA photo.

Filed under:

(1) : Kyriarchy & Mr. Rogers: In late June, Kjerstin Johnson interviewed me for Bitch Media (makers of Bitch Magazine) about Wikimedia, feminism in open source, and related topics. You can listen to the half-hour interview via download from the Internet Archive, or read the transcript (4800 words, 67KB .doc file).

So open source means that anybody can modify the code; closed source means that no one else other than the people who basically sold it to you can modify it, and therefore you are disempowered, and you are under someone else's control. And as Mr. Rogers once said, "I am against the idea of anybody being programmed by anybody else."

The actual quote is: "Very frankly, I am opposed to people being programmed by others." I'm pretty sure I first ran into it in Seth Schoen's email signature.

Filed under:

: Intra- and Interpersonal Expectations In Open Source And the Tech Industry: That theme emerges in the three articles I've written for Geek Feminism this year.

  1. January: "On competence, confidence, pernicious socialization, recursion, and tricking yourself" (previously mentioned in Cogito, Ergo Sumana). I have to remind myself to take my own advice and take more risks -- if I succeed all the time, I'm not thinking big enough. Echoed in Sheryl Sandberg's Barnard commencement speech.
  2. July: "'Put up or shut up'." I wrote this to explain the double-edged sword of the do-ocratic norm, to describe how we sometimes use it to shut down uncomfortable conversations, and to remind us that the very people who need certain new policies, procedures and abstractions are least able and worst placed to implement them. There's a difference between "that's definitely an issue; could you file a bug?" and "stop talking about this unless you're prepared to implement it all by yourself."
  3. Also July: "Google, gossip, and gamification: comparing and contrasting technical learning styles" tells my tale of failure and return, then asks: how do you learn technical material and skills? I'm especially interested in hearing from women who now spend a lot of time in a technical domain, but whose first attempt at learning it went awry.

By the way, if there's something you wish I would write about, do let me know.

Filed under:

(1) : An (NCSA) Mosaic Of Colorful Little Bits: I looked at my past, like, eight blog entries and saw that they were pretty thinky pieces. When did my blog turn into Crooked Timber? So, a little miscellany.

Saturday I went to the beach! And now I am parti-colored. I got to see Gus, whose "How We Know What We Know: A personal explication" is riveting, and I wish every interesting thinker would write a similar intellectual memoir. I learned how to play the card game Guillotine, and led a couple of games of Once Upon A Time. When I'm the first player, I like to set up a named pair of characters, in a particular city or setting, with a clear problem. This seems to help when I'm playing with novices, as it gives them something to build on.

Yesterday I had a three-minute dispute with Leonard over whether his three-Sundays-in-a-row habit of ordering the chicken and waffles at the local brunch place meant that was now "his thing."

Leonard bought us a September 1945 issue of The American, a monthly general interest magazine, and we're reading it with Wikipedia or Wolfram Alpha at the ready. Reference material helps contextualize, say, propaganda about how well people can eat despite wartime rationing. "Wait, how does the population density of France in 1945 compare to that of the US?" (Way higher. Thank you, Wolfram Alpha!)

Another bit of reading: Ben Franklin discovering one General Loudoun's astonishing indecision. Loudoun's procrastination slows down the entire economy of the Colonies and keeps mail boats from carrying urgent information back to England. Franklin later writes in his autobiography:

On the whole I then wondered much how such a man came to be entrusted with so important a business as the conduct of a great army, but having since seen more of the great world, and its means of obtaining and motives for giving places, my wonder is diminished.

Punchline: "The Governor General Loudon was a mail steamer and excursion vessel..." Not sure about the namesake, especially because of the orthographical variance, but still mouth-twitchingly funny.

Filed under:

: CLS/OSCON: I'm in Portland, Oregon, for Community Leadership Summit and OSCON. If you are here, too, you will be able to recognize me because I will be the one who's very tired.


You can hire me through Changeset Consulting.

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