to live in a world where tech companies get to decide what they publish

Just read Mark Zuckerburg’s comments on Holocaust Deniers. A direct quote:

I also don’t want to live in a world where tech companies get to decide who has the right to speech and get to police content in a way that is different from what our legal system dictates.

You ALREADY DO CENSOR***  RESTRICT WHAT WE CAN POST. YOU ALREADY RESTRICT OUR SPEECH based on your terms of service. And that is within your purview. The point of this post is that given only a government can “censor”, the capricious nature of what is allowed does not, in this author’s opinion, measure up the values of our country. ***

An obvious example would be #freethenipple. Because what is natural is bad according to FB and they have to put X’s over their nipples, the very ones that give us life?

Yet moronic thoughts of holocaust denial, a denial that ignores history, ignores evidence, and promotes hate, a denial that is factually untrue and is based on blatant falsehood – that is somehow OK? No. No those pages are not OK. And YES you can do something about it. 

Mark – as a leader, if you chose your path or not, it is your DUTY to approach it with respect for the power you have. Every hate speech site, especially including “deniers” and “supremacists” can and should be shut down. That is YOUR decision.

I run a tiny software company. TINY. And I make ethical decisions every day that aren’t profit motivated. I bring this up because it is beyond ridiculous that women’s rights are blocked by facebook but hate speech and idiot speech is not blocked. The dissonance is stunning. THINK ABOUT IT.

And yes, I do want to live in a world where companies act with dignity and that includes standing up against hate speech. Oh wait, I already do. You are just making poor decisions currently.

Think of it this way – company leaders get to dictate our health care. And they are ZERO knowledge of your needs. I know this. Because, as a CEO, I promise you, and you know this, there is no class we get sent to on how to pick a healthcare plan for people. In other words – we are absolutely UNQUALIFIED to make that decision.

Consider: I have personally made the decision that our company will not represent big tobacco. I’ve lost relatives and friends to lung cancer and I choose not to host sites that promote it.  Meanwhile I *absolutely* support an individual’s right to smoke. And I have smoked myself many times. I’m a hypocrite in that regard. I just know smoking tobacco is addicting and I choose to not host those sites. I choose. Because choice is part of being a leader.

Tendenci is open source so if someone else hosts a tobacco site using our software, well, that’s fine. I’m in NO WAY denying them access to our technology in any way. I’m in favor of OPEN.

Hell, I might have even made that decision while smoking a Lucky Strike debating Edward Bernays’. But ya, I made the call.

Zuck – do the right thing. Don’t hide behind the second amendment and allow people to spread hate, and in this case, completely ignorant speech. Then after that, tell Jack and Ev to do the same thing. It doesn’t matter if it’s the President of any country, we must not allow or tolerate utter bullshit.

PS – Zuck – I’ve never spoken to you directly, although also a speaker at SXSW back in the day I seem to recall my room was a bit smaller than the main stage.  I have spoken to Randi years ago on a joint proposal, and I understand you are playing at a different level (by far). Just if you see this post, consider my words or call me to discuss if you wish.

PPS – yes, I made the #freethenipple photo the featured image on this post, because I am choosing to censor OUT people who don’t know facts and history like deniers. That is my choice. I get to do that. I get to focus on the positive. You do to. So damnit man, exercise your own freedom of speech Zuck.  Do it.  

Edit: https://abcnews.go.com/Lifestyle/wireStory/rubens-facebook-fight-artistic-nudity-56889860

*** This text was edited on Friday August 10, 2018 based on reasonable and logical discourse in a thread on facebook. You can view that thread here. But the bottom line is only a government can technically “censor” and I agree with that point. Therefore there is an even lower bar for companies to make the decision to kick scumbags off of their sites.

Cindi Crigler – Celebrating the Life of a True Friend

Cindi Crigler is one of the most beautiful people I have ever known. Best friend to my wife, our families have been intertwined for 15 to 20 years, we aren’t even sure of the exact date of when we all connected. Cindi loves us so much she adopted our backyard chicken when we were looking for a home! I could go on, and have written three different tributes, and they all digressed into thoughts I can’t publish.

All I can say is that truly amazing people are still out there. They are humble and quiet and strong as hell. Because love conquers all. Cindi personified that. Words from her family are below the images. Please read them.

Cynthia Farlow Crigler
1958-2017

Cynthia Farlow Crigler,58, passed away peacefully at her home in Houston, surrounded by her loved ones on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017.

Born in Fort Worth, Texas to Frank and Clare Farlow, Cindi grew up in Houston with her siblings Julie, Allison, and Katherine. Cindi was a carefree spirit and a beautiful light that shone brightly on this earth. Her smile, laughter and gentle soul cannot be erased. Together with Michael Crigler, she had four children and 8 grandchildren. Her beautiful family was her greatest joy and proudest accomplishment. She had a love for all living things and always kept a menagerie of animals. Her life has been a tapestry that she has woven with different fabrics, full of vibrant colors.

She is survived by her parents Frank and Clare Farlow, her step-mother Jan Farlow, and her siblings: Julie Farlow Grote, Allison Farlow Simmons and Katherine Farlow Richardson. She is also survived by her children and grandchildren: Shannon and Mike Taylor and their children Zoe and Chloe; Jamie and Oliver Salgado and their children Vince and Lyla; Casey and Jeffrey Poche and their children Aidyn and Ali; and, Mikey and Taryn Crigler and their children Nate and October. Lastly, a special thanks to her loving partner Stephen Dean and all of her close friends who have supported her throughout her life.

A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, January 7th, 2017. In Lieu of Flowers, donations can be made in her name to TWRC Wildlife Center www.twrcwildlifecenter.org.

Published in Houston Chronicle on Jan. 6, 2017

See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/houstonchronicle/obituary.aspx?page=lifestory&pid=183374597#sthash.NESlitY8.dpuf

deep thoughts by a whale

Vegas with Night Lights
Alien Landing in Vegas

The Book:

It is important to note that suddenly, and against all probability, a Sperm Whale had been called into existence, several miles above the surface of an alien planet and since this is not a naturally tenable position for a whale, this innocent creature had very little time to come to terms with its identity.

This is what it thought, as it fell:

The Whale:

Ahhh! Woooh! What’s happening? Who am I? Why am I here? What’s my purpose in life? What do I mean by who am I?

Okay okay, calm down calm down get a grip now. Ooh, this is an interesting sensation. What is it? Its a sort of tingling in my… well I suppose I better start finding names for things. Let’s call it a… tail! Yeah! Tail! And hey, what’s this roaring sound, whooshing past what I’m suddenly gonna call my head? Wind! Is that a good name? It’ll do.

Yeah, this is really exciting. I’m dizzy with anticipation! Or is it the wind? There’s an awful lot of that now isn’t it? And what’s this thing coming toward me very fast? So big and flat and round, it needs a big wide sounding name like ‘Ow’, ‘Ownge’, ‘Round’, ‘Ground’! That’s it! Ground! Ha!

I wonder if it’ll be friends with me? Hello Ground!

[dies]

The “Other Side” Is Not Dumb

On openness and open minds. While you read “the facts,” who is to say that the author of the “facts” isn’t incorrect themselves given the “history is written by the victors”?  (Note  quote and article – via @SarahWorthy)

From “The Other Side is Not Dumb

I implore you to seek out your opposite. When you hear someone cite “facts” that don’t support your viewpoint don’t think “that can’t be true!” Instead consider, “Hm, maybe that person is right? I should look into this.”

Because refusing to truly understand those who disagree with you is intellectual laziness and worse, is usually worse than what you’re accusing the Other Side of doing.

and

high-culture

My take away from the article is similar to what I have always advocated (maybe it’s a meta-meta-meta loop and I’m being duped again?). Anyway, those principles in communication are:

  1. Be present.
  2. Listen first.
  3. Be open minded.

I believe I am qualified to speak on this subject for a few odd reasons.  Like the fact that it is hard for me to be present. Being open minded is always a challenge. And listening first is also a challenge. I’m qualified to venture an opinion because I have failed so many times. Sometimes failure teaches more than success.

Then, you get older. You listen more. You respect facts but question bias in statistics. You trust your gut. Your pattern recognition carries more weight than a persuasive graphic alone.

Mostly, in my opinion you learn to listen to other people deeply. You are “present” and you “hear” them. You learn to “see” people in a different way. You aren’t present because you have to, but because you desire the wisdom they are sharing even if you don’t agree. You listen because, maybe with their input, you might come to agree and learn from them! Your passion for wisdom and knowledge outweighs the biases and prejudices we all develop.

I had a friend describe working for me (I’m paraphrasing as it has been a while.)

“It’s hard to get your attention. But when you have your attention, its 100%. It can be a bit much.”

I may have gotten the wording wrong, but it was said by one of my true friends who has been there for me for over 20 years. I respect his opinion and I used his feedback to try to tone my presence down without turning down the attention with which I listen and speak.

Changes I made? Everything from changing my attire to be more casual even in business-suit-Houston and studying my own body posture when listening. Crossing my arms and looking down was my habit when listening deeply. It turns out not everyone interprets my posture for what it was; it came across as disapproving to some when it was in fact the exact opposite. So I changed. I learned to lean against a tree and nod my head, not always in agreement, but to acknowledge what they were saying. So when I say I took my friends feedback seriously, I mean it. I even read two more books on body language.

My reward for my changes? I get to learn more from more interesting people. I LOVE THAT!

Speaking and sharing knowledge

As they say, “the thing with introverts is that it is NOT that they don’t like to talk. It’s that they like to talk about things they are interested in.”

That of course is why we must listen first and learn about things we know nothing about without interrupting people, because that curiosity might uncover something new we are interested in. It is respectful to others. And learning is a lifelong endeavor – I have no intention to stop being curious or learning from others as long as I am breathing.

Avicii’s video for Wake Me Up really captures the loss if we fail to listen to our youth in particular (more after the jump).

2016. This is a unique time in history. Seriously.

Modern knowledge in the Internet age swirls around like a whirlpool, regardless of age, gender, nationality or some certificate on your wall. Degrees in my field for example are close to irrelevant. This amazing kindling of knowledge I am seeing is practically a cauldron  about to spill over for those not paying attention.

Example: you are likely to learn more from those younger than you this year than those older than you if you are over 40.

Youth of course has it’s own arrogance and may not want to learn from their elders because like EVERY generation they believe they know more. But they MUST have this arrogance or they won’t take risks, start companies, invent calculus,  and push our society forward. Still, they can learn from their elders. But only, only if they respect you first. And they are the future. So yes, if you are over 40, get off your high horse and earn THEIR respect even if when we were 20 it was our job to earn the respect of 40 year olds.

I have traditionally, and will continue to respectfully, listen to my elders by being fully present. To learn from their wisdom. Yet…..

I must observe that in the last six months in particular, I have learned more from carefully listening to people sometimes much younger than me. To give them the floor and listen deeply and respectfully.

If you listen, our youth from 5 to 20 are particularly generous with their knowledge. I am so grateful to my younger friends and acquaintances who “grok” that I am interested in what they are teaching me. That I am fully present and grateful to them for sharing their knowledge with me.

This respect is the same as how appreciative I am of my 70 or 80 year old friend who share with me. Tell me stories. It’s kind of awesome. People are people, we should not underestimate them regardless of age. 

The reward from these interchanges is truly priceless. Knowledge, respect, love, a human connection. Pay it forward in a time when knowledge is flying back and forth between all generations and cultures. It’s an exciting (and stressful) time to live. But definitely not boring, my friends!

For the curious ones out there, now is the time. Shut up and dance. Listen first. Be present. Be open minded.

Stories are the best way to share knowledge. Tell yours to those who are intently interested. And be interested in others and ask them to tell you their story. It’s a start. For example I know Alie will teach me to fire dance.

Fire dancing is something I will not do. But if asked, there is a possibility of zero that Alie would not share this knowledge with me. It is knowledge one question away from me. What a cool world we live in!

allie-fire-dancer-houston

Instead, I choose to photograph my friends, be present, listen to them, and learn what I can while wishing they would keep the fire farther away from me. (Even if my mantra is to move fast and break things.)

#peace

PS – Day job stuff. As the founder of Tendenci – The Open Source Membership Management Software project, these topics in sociology do apply very much to our vision. Systems of interaction can change behaviors (do you “like” or not click “like” on FB when a couple breaks up. It’s a serious question. Thus I value your feedback to make https://github.com/tendenci/tendneci/ even better for the open source community.)

To be the best in the world takes just a bit of obsessiveness

To be the best in the world takes just a bit of obsessiveness. I’m cool with that.

THE PAGANI HUAYRA IS THE FASTEST ROAD CAR EVER AT THE BBC TOP GEAR TEST TRACK

Mr. Horacio Pagani CEO and Chief Designer of Pagani Automobili:

“We are delighted by this result and it makes us proud. We knew the Huayra had a fair chance of being quick but the time scored was beyond our expectations and we give credit also to an amazing drive by the Stig. But, on top of that, we are delighted that the audience has appreciated our efforts in trying to make a car that conveys not only cutting edge technology and state-of-the-art engineering, but also the continued pursuit of making every single piece beautiful and functional at the same time. I would like to thank all our partners, without them it would have been impossible to achieve such an incredible result”.

I especially like the “thank all our partners, without them it would have been impossible to achieve such an incredible result” because that is so true. And yet frequently unspoken in the entrepreneurial community.

NOBODY does it alone. It takes lots of help, and friends, and family, and luck, and timing, and most especially – the stamina to work 80 hour weeks for 10+ years or more. Because if you love what you do, it isn’t work, it’s life. And life is meant to be full of meaning. And when you know that what you do is meaningful, from meaning you find happiness.

Mediocrity is lame. The definition of success is internal and it changes over time. For example….. (sorry, saving that for the next blog post….)