Bookmarked The Rise, Lean, And Fall Of Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg by an author (BuzzFeed News)

The reality of Silicon Valley is that it’s commerce by any means necessary. And the reality of Sandberg is that she’s excellent at it.

Anne Helen Petersen looks at the legacy of Sheryl Sandberg. From her movement that encourages women to ‘lean in’ to her ability to make things happen, Peterson highlights the power and position held by Sandberg. What is becoming more clear though is the flaws in her armour of invincability and the limit to her aerobic instructor’s smile.


In Silicon Valley, the term “unicorn” is used to describe privately held startups that reach a valuation of over $1 billion. When the term was first popularized in 2013 by venture capitalist Aileen Lee, there were just 39 such companies, representing a vanishingly small fraction of all startups: 0.07%. At the time, Facebook was the only “super-unicorn” (worth more than $100 billion) to emerge from the preceding decade. It’s fitting, then, that Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg — the person largely responsible for the revenue behind that huge valuation — had been figured as a kind of super-unicorn herself: the rare woman capable of wielding power while preserving her likability.

At Harvard, she took a class from Larry Summers, which yielded a foundational story of the Sandberg myth: The entire semester, she didn’t say a word. Didn’t raise her hand, didn’t come to office hours, never outed herself as a know-it-all. But she turned in the best midterm exam in class, and the best final. Summers agreed to oversee her thesis; after graduation, he hired her to come work for him at the World Bank. “She always had … the ability to lead people down any path, and always for good,” one of her former professors told the Harvard Crimson. She was superwoman.

Many, many feminists begged to differ. Dozens of critics and researchers have underlined the flaws in Lean In, focusing especially on its narrow focus on women who are heterosexual and/or already occupy the upper echelons of the class hierarchy. But the overarching feminist critique of the text is straightforward: It doesn’t actually challenge the status quo, or patriarchal control of it. It just tells women how to better manipulate the existing system

By asking nicely, with an aerobic instructor’s smile on her face, for the mere semblance of equal treatment, Sandberg became a global celebrity — what cultural theorist Leo Lowenthal calls an “idol of production.” Zuckerberg was seen as an innovator, as was Steve Jobs — men who slotted into the long history of celebrated male entrepreneurs and inventors. But Sandberg’s primary skill was leadership. Getting things done. “For all her success, she’s nothing like a man,” Time magazine declared in 2013. “She may currently have thousands of people saying ‘Right!’ to her, but she’s refined her technique since elementary school. Now it blends an overwhelming amount of data with a weapons-grade ability to nurture and an exquisite organizational acumen.” If she couldn’t complete a task, she’d poach someone who could. She was “ruthlessly prioritizing,” as she likes to say, but not busting any balls along the way.

in blaming, or even hating, her — without situating her within the larger context of Silicon Valley, the demands of venture capital, and the logic of the stock market — she becomes something just as mythical as she was before: a supervillain.

Liked The Homeostatic Fallacy and Misinformation Literacy by mikecaulfield (Hapgood)

the goal of disinformation isn’t really around these individual transactions. The goal of disinformation is to, over time, change our psychological set-points. To the researcher looking at individuals at specific points in time, the homeostasis looks protective — fire up Mechanical Turk, see what people believe, give them information or disinformation, see what changes. What you’ll find is nothing changes — set-points are remarkably resilient.

But underneath that, from year to year, is drift. And its the drift that matters.

Bookmarked The Invisible Hit Parade: How Unofficial Recordings Have Flowered in the 21st Century by an author (WIRED)

Live-music tapers, data archivists, and media technologists are creating an authentic musical underground in a freemium world, a hideout where listening habits go unmonitored and unmonetized.

Jesse Jarnow explores the world of live recordings. He touches on the technology, habits and the role of the Grateful Dead. I remember growing up with Nirvana bootlegs bought at market stalls. It is interesting what this means in the digital age.


Tonight, Pier-Hocking is running a pair of MBHO KA100DK omnidirectional microphone capsules (via a 603A capsule attachment) into “a home-brewed” PFA phantom power adapter by way of a set of newfangled “active” cables, wired up by a colleague on a web forum for live-performance recording aficionados. (Most still refer to them as tapers.) Along with a feed from the venue’s soundboard, the microphone signal runs into Sound Devices MixPre-6, a digital multi-track recorder.

Sanctioning an official section in the audience for tapers in 1984, the Grateful Dead became known as the most taper-friendly band in the world. By then, Deadheads were already modding microphones, building their own preamps, experimenting with DATs, publishing phone book-length tape catalogs, and exploring internet-based distribution networks. More than anybody else, it was Deadheads who built the infrastructure on which the modern taping world operates. And, perhaps, it was the Grateful Dead’s enormous and resolutely nontraditional success—and critical rediscovery in the early 21st century—that provided one tipping point for taping’s new acceptance.

Others see the future of taping as going legit. Frank Zappa infamously re-bootlegged the bootleggers, and Pearl Jam has been releasing every show on CD since 2000. More recently, sites like Bandcamp have also allowed artists the flexibility to post live sets for sale as they see fit, as electronic artist Four Tet did this fall. For the past several years, Cafe Oto, the renowned London venue for jazz and experimental music, has sold selected live sets as part of its Otoroku series. Others have used live-streaming as a promotional tool, from bar bands with selfie-stick-mounted iPhones to global stars.

Replied to What do activism and power look like? (the édu flâneuse)

I have wondered before about activism and the forms it takes. Who can be an activist? Is it only those with secure, late-career jobs? Can the early career teacher or researcher really challenge the system in which they work when that can put them at risk of unemployment or further precarity and uncertainty? Does an activist have to look, act and speak a certain way? Can an activist use the apparatuses of power in order to undermine that power, or does she need different tools?

I feel that what is often missing in this discussion is not the point in the career, but the support around you? To stay the journey I feel that one needs authentic voices around them who help to maintain the vision of change in light of any pressure and pushback.

Also on: Read Write Collect

Replied to The More I Teach the Less I Preach (republished) by an author

I am very sensitive now about the connection between one person’s teaching philosophy, the restrictions the institution puts upon them for their courses, and the interactions in the actual classroom with the particular students they have — and how this all is influenced by the external environment outside the university walls altogether. My acute awareness of the complexity of all of this makes me question my role as faculty developer and how much I can help someone teach better without having insight into the full experience they have every week in class, and what goes on in their own head.

I really like your point about restictions and interactions Maha. I have found the Modern Learning Canvas useful for portraying this.
Bookmarked Top 5 Technology Trends of 2018 by an author (Array)

Every December going back to 2004, I’ve done an end-of-year review of the top Internet technology trends. As a source for this year’s review, I’m using the nearly fifty weekly columns I’ve written over the course of 2018. They’re a good indicator of what I’ve focused on during the year, and what has defined this year in terms of online technology.

Richard MacManus’ five points are:

  1. Privacy: turns out it’s important
  2. More social media hell; indie web offers hope
  3. Crypto crashes & blockchain stalls
  4. AI is now everywhere; so are the dangers
  5. The triumph of digital (except for VR & AR)
Bookmarked Planning to give 23andMe or AncestryDNA kits this Christmas? Read this first. by an author (

Are DNA test kits good presents? Genetic tests can give a lot of answers, but also raise serious questions.

It feels like DNA is just the next goldmine of ‘big data’ to be scrapped (see Spotify and culture). The world of things makes so much possible, but I wonder what happens when everyone has been mapped and we cannot take it back.


Consideration before wrapping up the kits as gifts: privacy concerns. 23andMe raised eyebrows earlier this year when pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline announced that it had invested $300 million in 23andMe as part of a collaboration aimed at developing new medications using 23andMe’s data. The companies plan to share in the proceeds from any new medications or treatments that come out of the partnership.

Liked And the word is?…. by an author

Rather than identify a lengthy list of goals or resolutions, I have, instead, chosen a word. Just one word.

Kath Murdoch puts forward the suggestion of focusing on a word, rather than a specific goal. As she elaborates:

My family and friends have a tradition of selecting a word to bring into the new year. Just one, single word. The word provides as a kind of ‘tincture’ to the year – its purpose being to regularly nudge you along a path of your choosing – a path that strengthens you in some way.

I have discussed my concern with goals elsewhere.

Replied to GCI Coaching Accreditation Program by Adrian Camm

Earlier this year I completed the GCI Coaching Accreditation Program. It was a culmination of a three year coaching journey, that started with the Introduction to Leadership Coaching program back in the beginning of 2015. The process of becoming a coach and developing a coaching way of being has greatly improved all aspects of my leadership.

Thank you Adrian for sharing this reflection. Having attended the introductory program, as well as the conference, it is useful to have this as a reflection of the whole process. I feel that although my work seems to have moved away from that of a coach that this course and accreditation maybe worth it in developing a coaching way of being.

Also on: Read Write Collect

Replied to ‘Tis done! by IaninSheffield

It’s now three days after my viva and I’ve almost managed to mentally process the outcome. I passed, with no corrections.
If you’re not familiar with how the doctoral examination process works, at least here in the UK, here’s a quick summary. An internal and external examiner are appointed; …

Well done Dr. Ian. When will it be (digitally) published?
Liked No talk of ‘broken f***ing arms’ as volume is turned up on Paine and Kohli’s conversations (ABC News)

The ICC’s decision to allow broadcasters the option of leaving the microphones on throughout play provides viewers with some memorable exchanges, helping bring viewers closer to the heart of the action.

Tim Paine’s sledge is up there with the best:

“I know he’s your captain, but you can’t seriously like him as a bloke.”

Replied to Too Long; Didn’t Read #178 by an author (W. Ian O’Byrne)

Everyone wants your data. Here’s how to protect it.

A VPN (virtual private network)
A privacy-focused web browser
An encrypted DNS (domain name system)
A secure messaging app
A password manager
An encrypted hard drive
A data destroyer

I am really intrigued by your ways to protect your data in light of the new laws pushed through by the Australian government.
Liked Opinion | The Writer Who Destroyed an Empire (

All this would give the writer great satisfaction. But though feted and exploited by questionable allies, Solzhenitsyn should be remembered for his role as a truth-teller. He risked his all to drive a stake through the heart of Soviet communism and did more than any other single human being to undermine its credibility and bring the Soviet state to its knees.

Replied to

After following your journey Ian, I must admit that this is one book that I am intrigued to dive into.
Bookmarked Australian Childhood Trauma Group | The ACT Group | ACT Group

Australian Childhood Trauma Group (The ACT Group) specialises in childhood trauma and attachment, providing support services to government agencies, non-government agencies and schools including secondary consultation, training, program review, counselling, assessment, referral, and research.

I attended a professional development session with Gregory Nicolau a few years ago. He provided so many questions that I had never really considered.
Listened DJ Shadow Talks with Clams Casino for the Talkhouse Music Podcast from Talkhouse

Representing two generations of game-changing hip hop production technique, DJ Shadow and Clams Casino recently caught up in New York City to tape an episode of the Talkhouse Music Podcast. They discussed their new records, Shadow’s Endtroducing….. remake, the ways that recording and sampling have changed over the years, and how it’s sometimes worth giving a great MC (like A$AP Rocky) a beat you were saving for your own record.

This conversation between DJ Shadow and Clams Casino provides an insight into the creation of electronic music. Both artists discuss hearing new possibilities in samples that then seed new tracks, as well as the evolution of technology used to produce and perform. One thing that really stood out was that being a ‘DJ’ is so much more than spinning discs, especially in an era when clearance is needed for each and every sample. I remember spending hours pressing the hold button on my Roland GR-700 and manipulating the sound on the Roland PG-200. Sadly, my tape recordings have log bitten the dust or else I could cut them up as Clams Casino discusses. I was also reminded of DJ Shadow’s analysis of Mutual Slump on the Song Exploder Podcast and the way the track was built around Bjork’s Possibly Maybe.
Bookmarked Big tech has your kid’s data — and you probably gave it to them (Vox)

A big culprit: “sharenting,” or parents willingly giving away their children’s information, like name and date of birth. Those Facebook birth announcements may be posted with innocent intentions, but they can come with serious consequences. According to security experts at Barclays consulted for the children’s commissioner report, this leaves the door open to identity theft. The experts cited criminal reports where kids’ data was stashed away until they turned 18, upon which fraudulent credit card and loans applications were created in their names.

I am always intrigued by what we share online and the implications this may have. One area that interests me is the consequence of inadvertantly sharing things like photographs. Do social media sites even care if we tag or not? Do they automatically tag? Is this attached to our shadow profile? As the New York Times highlights, the collation of tracking data by third parties is currently unregulated.
Replied to AI and Human Freedom by Cameron Paterson

Historian Yuval Noah Harari writes, “The algorithms are watching you right now.  They are watching where you go, what you buy, who you meet.  Soon they will monitor all your steps, all your breaths, all your heartbeats.  They are relying on Big Data and machine learning to get to know you bette…

This is useful provocation Cameron. In part it reminds me of James Bridle’s contribution to the rethinking of Human Rights for the 21st century. I think we are entering or in a challenging time when consuming (or prosuming) comes before being informed. Something I elaborated elsewhere. With AI do we know the consequence anymore and what does it mean to discuss this in the humanities not just the tech class?

Also on: Read Write Collect