the Week of March 17, 2014
Scattered computer keys.

We explore how startup culture fetishizes founders and male programmers, and discuss the role of early operations employees in tech companies. We deconstruct IT tropes and fallacies of software development, and discover the problem with “Feel Good” stories about marginalized and underrepresented people in tech. Later in the week, we cover tech hubs outside of Silicon Valley, how gendered stereotypes shape our careers, and the first Lesbians Who Tech conference in San Francisco – plus a new art startup, the genealogies of hashtags, unpopular opinions on the internet and more. CC-BY junctions, cropped and filtered.


A tweet showing a screenshot of Google image search results for the phrase 'asians' which displayed stereotypical images and mostly fake inspirational posters. The text of the tweet reads: This is what I get when I google 'asians'. So yes, we need to have a #NotYourAsianSidekick convo because we matter.

Hashtags as Decolonial Projects with Radical Origins

Twitter activism is not to be dismissed. Although Twitter exists to generate revenue off advertisements and corporations, it can also be used subversively - to go beyond imperial timelines.

The Oracle character in the matrix sits at a table in a kitchen. The Smiths, a group of men in suits, stand in a group, appearing to question her.

Data Scientists

And other made up titles...

The author of this piece, on stage. A giant movie screen is behind her.

The Lesbians Who Tech Summit is the First Of Its Kind

Start Somewhere founder Leanne Pittsford dreamed of being able to network openly with other queer women in the tech industry.

A group of five young men, posing awkwardly in front of a small backyard swimming pool. All are wearing collared shirts. One man wears a professor style blazer, with elbow patches, another has a Patagonia fleece vest.

The Startup Mythologies Trifecta

They work together in concert, and in practice, function to exclude and marginalize minorities in tech.

Dissent Unheard Of

Perhaps the scariest part of speaking out is seeing the subtle insinuation of consequence and veiled threats by those you speak against.

Early interface of Microsoft Paint, showing simple colors and large shapes being made.

There and Back Again

Or, how I quit programming and returned.

A black-and-white photo shows open, cupped hands cradling delicate flowers.

Towards an Afrofuturist Narrative: Tech, Mythology and the Africas

Behind-the-scenes with stealth startup Curatoric, and conversations with creators, historians and curators of African and Diasporic African art.

Downtown Chattanooga, showing the brick and glass Electric Power Building and the Tennessee Valley Authority, another regional power organization, in the background.

Chattanooga and Kansas City: New Tech Towns on the Gigabit Frontier

The emergence of tech industry in cities outside of Silicon Valley is an opportunity for conversation.

Portrait of the author.

Tech in Underserved Communities: Beyond Feel Good Stories

It’s hard not to miss the sentimental value in the stories of those whose lives were changed by tech’s opportunities. But something is missing.

Screenshot of the grid google image results for the phrase 'a software developer' - the results show mostly white men and almost all contain either a keyboard or someone drawing a schematic on glass.

The Making of Myths

Questioning claims that are widely accepted in the technology industry.

The Dating Ring startup's crowdtilt page for 'Cross-Country Love: Help Fly NYC Women to SF' attempting to fundraise $50k. The promo video below shows a woman smiling with her hands in a praying gesture.

Sex and the Startup: Men, Women, and Work

All of the efforts to get more women into tech will fail as long as the culture assumes that their labor is less valuable.

A woman standing behind a conference booth at SXSW, talking to a man.

The Myth of the Non-Technical Startup Employee

The indignities unwittingly foisted upon the early operations employee are many and varied.