Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 


Webstock 2014 Offers Business Advice With Caveats

Webstock 2014 Offers Business Advice With Caveats

By Jamie Neikrie


This past week Wellington welcomed technology experts from across the world for the ninth annual Webstock conference.


As well as helping fuel Wellington’s tech surge, Webstock has been hailed as one of the premier technology conferences in the world, known for its diverse, dynamic speakers.


This years conference featured young upstarts like Hannah Donovan, tech industry rebels like Maciej Ceglowski, and veterans like graphic designer Paula Scher.


Webstock tends to focus more on the business and creative side of the industry than the technical aspects. You will never hear instructions for writing code or constructing complicated algorithms at Webstock, a style that has its detractors. At $1500 a ticket, some participants feel that they should come away with concrete information or training that would take months if they attempted to learn the material on their own.
Others feel that the tone and substance of the talks made the conference more accessible and universal to everyone in the tech industry, not just coders and programmers.


Within that framework, the conference hosted guests from across the tech spectrum, from graphic designers to music aficionados to social programmers. Scoop was lucky enough to attend the conference’s closing day, which featured out-of-the-box talks from South African electronic musician Spoek Mathambo and Tom Loosemore, who helped create the United Kingdom’s Government Digital Service, which will soon serve as the blueprint for New Zealand’s government websites.


While many of the talks featured uplifting tips like “Let actions create motivation,” or “Start with something shit,” there seemed to be a dark undertone to this year’s conference.


Many of the closing day’s guests, including Ceglowski and designer Sha Hwang used their platform to offer a warning to the sold-out crowd. With the recent revelations about the United States’ metadata collection program, they offered the sentiment that the tech industry has become corrupted and co-opted. Hwang described the feeling as “a loss of innocence.”


Cegloski, among others, focused on the dark underbelly of the tech industry’s business side. Waxing nostalgically for the days when the tech industry was a plucky upstart on the fringe of the business world, Cegloski told the story of Victor Theremin, whose inventions were repeatedly stolen and used by the Russian government to spy on their enemies. The message in short: we have created a dangerous tool.


Melodramatics aside, Ceglowski is right about the industry’s success. Apple is the most valuable company in the world. Google, behind dozens of highly publicized purchases of other tech companies, just passed Exxon Mobil as the second most valuable company. Webstock, for its part, recognizes that the tech industry offers a world of wealth and power. And it embraces that fact by focusing on business and creative processes.


In 2005, when Webstock began here in Wellington, the tech industry was the upstart Ceglowski described. Since then, as the industry has flourished, so has Wellington, behind companies like Xero. There is no question that technology is a slippery slope, and that we need better laws to regulate it, to protect it from corruption. But, given the choice, would any tech insider really want to turn back the clock on the industry’s progress. Sha put it best when he said, “We are no longer looking from the outside. We already won.”

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Also, Loan Interest: Productivity Commission On Tertiary Education

Key recommendations include better quality control; making it easier for students to transfer between courses; abolishing University Entrance; enabling tertiary institutions to own and control their assets; making it easier for new providers to enter the system; and facilitating more and faster innovation by tertiary education providers... More>>

ALSO:

Higher Payments: Wellington Regional Council Becomes A Living Wage Employer

Councillor Sue Kedgley said she was delighted that the Wellington Regional Council unanimously adopted her motion to become a Living Wage employer, making it the first regional council in New Zealand to do so. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Images:
Dame Patsy Reddy Sworn In As Governor-General

This morning Dame Patsy Reddy was sworn in as the New Zealand Realm’s 21st Governor-General. The ceremony began with a pōwhiri to welcome Dame Patsy and her husband Sir David Gascoigne to Parliament. More>>

ALSO:

Ruataniwha: DOC, Hawke's Bay Council Developer Take Supreme Court Appeal

The Department of Conservation and Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) are appealing to the Supreme Court over a conservation land swap which the Court of Appeal halted. More>>

ALSO:

With NZ's Marama Davidson: Women’s Flotilla Leaves Sicily – Heading For Gaza

Women representing 13 countries spanning five continents began their journey yesterday on Zaytouna-Oliva to the shores of Gaza, which has been under blockade since 2007. On board are a Nobel Peace Laureate, three parliamentarians, a decorated US diplomat, journalists, an Olympic athlete, and a physician. A list of the women with their background can be found here. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Key Style Of Crisis Management

At Monday’s post Cabinet press conference Key was in his finest wide- eyed “Problem? What problem?” mode. No, there wasn’t really a problem that top MPI officials had been at odds with each other over the meaning of the fisheries policy and how that policy should be pursued... More>>

ALSO:

Mt Roskill: Greens Will Not Stand In Likely Post-Goff By-Election

“The Green Party’s priority is changing the Government in 2017, and as part of that we’ve decided that we won’t stand a candidate in the probable Mt Roskill by-election... This decision shows the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Green Party is working." More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news