As a young woman, Stephanie Shirley worked at the Dollis Hill Research Station building computers from scratch: but she told young admirers that she worked for the Post Office, hoping they would think she sold stamps. In the early 60s she changed her name to Steve and started selling computer programmes to companies who had no idea what they were or what they could do, employing only mothers who worked from home writing code by hand with pen and pencil and then posted it to her. By the mid-80s her software company employed eight thousand people, still mainly women with children. She made an absolute fortune but these days Stephanie thinks less about making money and much more about how best to give it away.
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Ursula Le Guin begins her lecture with Margaret Atwood by saying, “I emailed Margaret about six weeks or so ago and said, ‘What are we going to talk about?’ and she replied, ‘I expect we will talk about 1) What is fiction?; 2) What is science fiction?; 3) The ones who walk away from Omelas—where do they go?; 4) Is the human race doomed?; 5) Anything else that strikes our fancy.’” The two women proceed to examine these questions and talk through their answers. They delve into their writing processes and motives, creating many humorous analogies for the act of writing, whether they connect it to naked chickens, salted slugs, or dark boudoirs.
Margaret Atwood is a poet, novelist, short story writer, essayist, and environmental activist. She has written over 40 books and is best known for her fiction, including The Blind Assassin, which won the Man-Booker Prize in 2000. Atwood has used her public profile to advocate for human rights, the environment, and the welfare of writers. She has been president of PEN International and helped found the Writer’s Trust of Canada. As a public intellectual, Atwood is known as a brilliant thinker on a huge range of subjects who has a wry and ironic sense of humor and who is willing to call out platitudes and other forms of lazy thinking.
Ursula K. Le Guin sold her first story over 50 years ago and has been writing and publishing ever since. Tackling various modes, including realistic fiction, science fiction, high fantasy, children’s literature, screenplays, and essays, her work has challenged traditional understandings of gender roles, politics, race, and identity. She is best known for her fantasy series Earthsea and her science fiction novel The Left Hand of Darkness. She has influenced several generations of writers, including Junot Díaz, Kelly Link, David Mitchell, and Jonathan Lethem. Throughout her career, she has continuously met criticism with courage, causing one critic to note, “It’s been hard for reviewers to cope with Le Guin. She’s often seemed like a writer without a critical context. But that may just mean that the context is still to come.” Among her many honors, Le Guin has received a National Book Award and, most recently, The National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.
If we knew everything ahead of time, we wouldn’t write the book. It would be paint by numbers and there wouldn’t be any discoveries.” – Margaret Atwood
“Rereading a book is much better than reading it. A good book reread is better than a good book read.” – Ursula Le Guin
“All doors are doors to the future, if you go into them.” – Margaret Atwood
It’s the very first episode of No, You Go! Jenn, Katel, and Sara get together to talk about the itch to get out of a professional rut and start something new—whether that’s changing jobs, launching a company, building a side gig, or maybe even…idk….starting a podcast?
Fuck it, let’s just do it. Let’s be unapologetic women asking to do work, and to be paid fairly for it. —Becca Gurney, co-founder, Design Choice
Read on for more of what we covered, and read the full transcript for all the, like, verbatim quotes, you know?
First, we tell the story of how No, You Go got started:
- Sara has an idea, but forgets that Austin Kleon already wrote a book called Show Your Work and narrowly avoids totally ripping him off.
- Jenn shares what it’s like to trade a thousand side projects for some stability—and, oh yeah, one super-cool baby.
- Katel opens up about how working at home alone can get, well, lonely—and asks us to join her “awesome after-school kickass club.”
- We all fully embrace the athleisure lifestyle.
Next, we kick off the show—and 2018—by hearing how four women who made big changes last year knew it was time for something new:
- Becca Gurney, co-founder of Design Choice, tells us how the pay gap in the AIGA Design Census plus the 2016 election turned her from freelance designer to outspoken advocate for equality in design.
- Jenn Schiffer, community engineer for Fog Creek’s Glitch platform, shares how fear kept her stuck in a rut and not doing her best work—until an opportunity to build community for other engineers brought her life back.
- Lara Hogan, co-founder of Where With All, describes how meeting her now-business-partner led her away from managing engineering teams and toward building a consulting business.
- Mina Markham, senior front-end architect at Slack (and creator of the famed Pantsuit design system used by the Hillary Clinton campaign), describes trusting her gut to guide her through three new jobs and three cross-country moves in just three years.
Ellen De Vries, Content Strategist at Clearleft, and author of Collaborate: Bring people together around digital projects joins us to talk about collaboration.
Alla Kholmatova speaking at Patterns Day in Brighton on June 30, 2017.
A one-day event for web designers and developers on design systems, pattern libraries, style guides, and components.
Patterns Day is brought to you by Clearleft.
Cara chats with "What’s It Like in Space?" author Ariel Waldman about her incredible career improving accessibility of science and space exploration for anyone and everyone. They discuss her work on the council for NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts and her previous work at NASA’s Colab program, along with her two flagship initiatives, Spacehack.org and Science Hack Day. Follow Ariel: @arielwaldman.
In our continuing series about the people who make responsive designs happen, we talk with freelance front-end Web developer, Sara Soueidan.
Sara Soueidan is a Lebanese freelance front-end web developer working with companies across the globe, building clean, responsive front-ends for Web sites and applications focused on accessibility, progressive enhancement and performance. She also runs workshops on front-end development and writes technical articles on her blog and for various big publications. Sara wrote the Codrops CSS Reference, co-authored the Smashing Book 5, and has been voted the Developer of the Year in the 2015 net awards.
Installing Windows might take 5,000 years without the compiler, a remarkable innovation which made modern computing possible. Tim Harford tells a compelling story which has at its heart a pioneering woman called Grace Hopper who – along the way – single-handedly invented the idea of open source software too.
The compiler evolved into COBOL – one of the first computer languages – and led to the distinction between hardware and software.
It’s conference season and we’ve Una Kravets and Krystal Higgins from An Event Apart Seattle on to talk about how they got into their “things” – the stuff they talk about, why they picked that topic, what to do if other people hop on your thing, and ideas to start giving talks at conferences.
Jump to a discussion on…
9:10 Summary of Krystal’s talk “The Joy of Optimizing” talk at An Event Apart Seattle
14:10 How did Krystal learn about on-boarding and dive in to it?
17:20 Can a good app still survive even with bad on-boarding?
19:10 Dave walks into a bar and signs up for Snapchat.
22:01 How do you rate a good or bad on-boarding experience?
26:30 How do you get invited to talk at conferences?
33:40 How does Krystal’s involvement with Android Wear relate to on-boarding?
35:30 Chris tries on a HTC Vive
44:01 What happens if somebody starts treading on your thing?
47:40 If too many people have the same thing, does it create too much noise around it?
50:50 What if no one is interested in your thing?
52:07 3 things to look for in a conference talk.
55:05 Chris’ low-fi way to test out a talk idea.
Code for America was founded in 02009 by Jennifer Pahlka “to make government work better for the people and by the people in the 21st century.”
The organization started a movement to modernize government for a digital age which has now spread from cities to counties to states, and now, most visibly, to the federal government, where Jennifer served at the White House as US Deputy Chief Technology Officer. There she helped start the United States Digital Service, known as "Obama’s stealth startup."
Now that thousands of people from "metaphysical Silicon Valley" are working for and with government, what have we learned? Can government actually be fixed to serve citizens better—especially the neediest? Why does change in government happen so slowly?
Before founding Code for America, Jennifer Pahlka co-created the Web 2.0 and Gov. 2.0 conferences, building on her prior experience organizing computer game developer conferences. She continues to serve as executive director of Code for America, which is based in San Francisco.
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