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

Gordon Campbell:
On War Crimes And The Afghan Insurgency

Truly, with friends like former defence Minster Wayne Mapp, the SAS does not need enemies. At the very least, the Hit and Run book has raised the possibility that the New Zealand SAS committed war crimes in the attack they led in Afghnistan upon the villages of Naik and Khak Khuday Dad...

Mapp’s attempted defence of the SAS on RNZ this morning unintentionally indicated that collective punishment was baked into the planning exercise for the raid, and also into how the raid proceeded on the ground. More>>

 

Biscuit Tin Of Democracy: World Heritage Site Protection, Ombudsman and Equal Pay Bills Drawn

On Thursday, 23 March 2017 three places are available on the Order Paper for the first reading of a Member’s bill. The ballot was held, and resulted in the following bills being drawn... More>>

ALSO:

Emissions Plan: NZ Needs More Science, More Trees, Fewer Beasts

A combination of technology breakthroughs, much more plantation forestry, and a big switch away from pastoral, particularly dairy farming, are identified as the key elements of any approach New Zealand takes to reducing its carbon emissions to a net zero level, according to a new report sponsored by the New Zealand chapter of GLOBE, a multi-party, global parliamentary grouping. More>>

ALSO:

"Backed To Win Seats": Labour Māori Seat MPs Won't Stand On List

The Labour Party is backing a request from its Māori seat MPs to stand as electorate MPs only, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. More>>

Productivity Commission: New Models Of Tertiary Education Are Coming

The report is a broad-ranging inquiry into how well New Zealand’s tertiary education system is set up to respond to emerging trends in technology and the internationalisation of education, and changes in the structure of the population, and the skills needed in the economy and society... More>>

ALSO:

PM's Press Conference: Water Everywhere

Monday's Post-Cabinet press conference focused on water, with the Prime Minister fielding questions about the possibility pricing water taken for export. Mr English said the government was directing their water allocation technical advisory group to include export water in considerations. More>>

ALSO:

Kim Workman: Reality Check Needed For Public Service Reoffending Target

Reducing the prison population results in a reduction in re-offending. Shortening sentences reduces reoffending... More>>

ALSO:

PSA: Minister Should Stop Dodging On Salisbury School

"The decision around the future of Salisbury School has been overdue for months, and the ambiguity is leaving parents, staff and students in limbo. It’s time the Minister stopped hiding, muddying the waters and being dishonest about her Ministry’s intentions," says Erin Polaczuk, PSA national secretary. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news