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Last active Dec 31, 2015
What would you like to do?
This is an attempt to start a public discussion about how technologists can do better to provide real value & change the world for the better.

I am co-opting a question Mathias Meyer asked on twitter. The question, from what I can tell, came after reading the latest on Silicon Valley Myopia/Self-Centeredness. We in the tech industry, myself included, seem to have traded opportunities to use technologies that we love to solve non-problems or create more in the process.

Mike Montiero, who is the author of one of the articles that Mathias links to, also did a fantastic talk at Webstock which I encourage everyone to watch. Though the title might make it sound specific to designers, what I took away from the talk was that everyone that is involved in the product design process should be the biggest advocate of the users. If what's best for the users diverges from what's best for the product or the company, then it's a good sign that you are not solving the right problem (& possibly might even be creating it for your users).

The frustrating part, as you can gather from Mathias' tweet & the conversation that follows is that there generally is not a good way to discover how is it that you can make a positive impact in other people's lives. And that's coming from Mathias, who works for Travis CI, which we can all agree has been a positive force in the (ruby) community, not just for their awesome service but for their other community engagements.

I hope you guys have some answers/opinions on the matter.


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@aral aral commented Dec 26, 2013

I’ve been doing quite a bit of thinking/talking on this. If you have some free time, see:


The way I see it, the way we can have the most impact at the moment is to (a) work on projects that realise the goal of indie data (to empower people to own their own data — a goal that we can only reach if we start creating experience-driven open products that can get mainstream consumer acceptance), (b) support open data, (c) support groups who are trying to help in the political space (e.g., the pirate parties).

You can find more of my thoughts on my blog — is a good start.

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