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

 

Local Governments To Decide: Easter Trading Bill Passes

The union representing working people in the retail industry is condemning the Government for whipping its MPs to pass the controversial Shop Trading Hours Amendment Bill. More>>c

ALSO:

Departure Speech: Governor-General’s State Farewell Luncheon

"...Unfortunately I was unable to get to the Antarctic, the Chatham Islands and the Kermadecs. A dicky heart thwarted our travel to the Antarctic; and even though I volunteered to parachute into the Kermadecs to join the Young Blake expedition, time, commitments and officials frustrated my plans to visit the Kermadecs and Chathams." More>>

ALSO:

New Research: Most Homeless People Working Or Studying

“The cost of housing has been rising without corresponding increases in income, whilst the number of state houses per capita has been in decline. Many low-income people are missing out on housing, whether we recognise them as ‘homeless’ or not. More>>

ALSO:

Post-Traynor: New Offender Info Sharing Plan

“This Bill delivers on that step-change by moving away from name-based records held by individual agencies to a shared, anchor identity based on unalterable information, such as fingerprints and facial recognition. It also gives agencies access to the drivers’ licence photo database and birth, death and marriages information." More>>

  • NZ Law Foundation - New $2M fund for research on information challenges
  • Littoral: New Ship To Deliver Enhanced Naval Capability

    Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee says the Government has approved a Ministry of Defence and New Zealand Defence Force recommendation to request tenders for a new naval ship to support littoral operations. More>>

    July:

    After King's Labour Snub: Māori Party And Kiingitanga To Work Together

    Māori Party Co-leaders Te Ururoa Flavell and Marama Fox met with Kiingitanga representatives in Wellington yesterday to discuss working together on key issues for the betterment of Māori. More>>

    ALSO:

    Waitangi Claim On Rehabilitation: The 'Justus' System For Māori Not Good Enough

    Closing statements at the Waitangi Tribunal case against Corrections called for immediate steps and a comprehensive review to address the high rate of Māori reoffending. More>>

    ALSO:

    Advice: PM Sets Rules For Ministers' Treatment Of Public Servants

    Prime Minister John Key has laid down the law about the way ministers and public servants should interact, saying ministers may not always like the advice they receive, but they must listen to it carefully, respectfully and professionally. More>>

    Gordon Campbell: On The Funding Changes In Special Needs Education, And Uber

    The plan to strip out the educational support for older “special needs” children in order to meet the existing shortfall in funding for special needs in early childhood education is so miserly and relentlessly stupid as to defy belief… More>>

    SPECIAL EDUCATION (& More):

    Online Learning Plans:

    Get More From Scoop

     

    LATEST HEADLINES

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Regional
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news