ArchiveJanuary 2013

Highlights from #hackharvard


The third annual #hackharvard brought together 17 teams collaborating over 10 days, attending 21 seminars, meeting with 24 mentors, and consuming an undisclosed and no doubt enormous amount of Red Bull and candy. Today’s demo day was the culmination, with a terrific keynote from Hugo Van Vuuren (serial Harvard alum and Experiment Fund partner) and deft panel moderation by Brent Grinna. But...

The inevitability of big data hacks


Geeks often talk about “layer 8.” When an IT operator sighs resignedly that it’s a layer 8 problem, she means it’s a human’s fault. It’s where humanity’s rubber meets technology’s road. And big data is interesting precisely because it’s the layer 8 protocol. It’s got great power, demands great responsibility, and portends great risk unless we do it right. And just like the layers beneath it, it’s...

Who gets to define geek culture?


…But I am suggesting that the mean-spiritedness of geek culture—a mean-spiritedness that is often, but by no means always, directed at women—is not an accident. A culture that values knowledge and access above all things is going to be a culture dedicated to hierarchy and to power—to defining who is in and who is out. Such defining involves, and is meant to involve, a good deal of...

Visualize your city with Foursquare checkins


Last week an analyst firm predicted that Foursquare will fail in 2013, citing (among other issues) low revenues despite 3 billion check-ins to date. As an early adopter, I agree that there’s a need to create value for the user, with more concrete benefit either in content (à la Yelp) or deals (for people other than Amex users). Other apps now make me more aware of others’ physical...

Shuffling deck chairs in European football


I follow Arsenal because I am a committed glutton for punishment. Agency Signal | Noise built this handy visualization to help you follow the rate and flow of players and money in European football. It’s helpful to see who’s accelerating the pace of cash out for talent — and vice versa.
h/t Information Aesthetics

Are effective school behaviors harming women in the workplace?


Do Women Need to Realize that Work Isn’t School? Whitney Johnson and Tara Mohr point out in HBR that behaviors that enable young women to excel in school may serve them less well in the workplace. Johnson and Mohr argue, and I agree, that all employees and particularly women need to become more comfortable with behaviors like questioning authority, embracing improvisation, and engaging in...

Survival traits for 2013: agility and adaptation


“I don’t believe in futurists that much anymore – they are usually wrong,” he [Ito] says, responding to a label that is often applied to him. “I’m calling myself a ‘nowist,’ and I’m trying to figure out how to build up the ability to react to anything. In other words, I want to create a certain agility. The biggest liability for companies now...

How are arts orgs wrangling digital?


How is the digital explosion affecting arts organizations? Last week, a Pew Internet report revealed the current digital focus of arts orgs, and what they identify as emerging opportunities and costs. Unsurprisingly, 99% have a web presence and many struggle with the time and expertise cost of social media. A few other findings that leapt out: a full 97% have a presence on social networks and 45%...

Context is everything: preview button


“The fact that we can even offer a ‘preview’ shows how tight the association is between content  management and delivery….The existence of a preview button reinforces the notion that the desktop website is the “real” website and mobile is a satellite, an afterthought.”
– Karen McGrane, in Content Strategy for Mobile

5 apps for self-improvement in 2013


Having survived the near-miss apocalypse, today we’re all turning our calendars over to 2013. Many are pausing for a natural moment of reflection and resolution — all those things we were yesterday will henceforth cease to be, and today we begin again as our newer, better selves. At least until we remember where we hid the cookies. Here are five apps useful to those looking to track...

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