The day that I realised that my child had been written into my contract, I had to walk away.
I didn't have any business experience before I got the job of CEO of my own company
my last for-profit job before becomeing CEO was bagging groceries at a thriftway
I did this show for This American Life called The Giant Pool of Money on the economic crisis
The same tools we are using to tell stories about heartbreak and love we can talk about exotic financial derivatives
Planet Money became very successful - and showed that we could apply these skills across a range of stories
I thought "this podcast thing could work" - I thought I learned I was good at business through the t-shirt project
we made almost $600,000 and sold 25,000 t-shirts, so I thought "damn am I hot shit" - we're making money
I love NPR and public media, but they're not the best business people in the world. I thought I could do better
I thought the Startup podcast was going to be a publicity stunt, but it ended up as a suprisingly emotional journey
I went to pitch @sacca, which is like just learning to paint and asking Jeff Koons for help
why don't we use a foreign name, and we ended up in Esperanto - with 'Orello' - it's Ear in Esperanto
the startup narrative often gets told in hindsight with all the bad bits cut out - I wanted to leave them in
when you are deciding how to share out ownership, you have to pretend you have a big valuable company when you don't
every time we put out an episode I thought people would turn on me and they'll realise that I'm an awful person
but every time we did share the pain other people told us "I went through that too!"
we ended up raising $1.5M in seed money and it wasonly after the podcast went up we sealed the deal
I thought I could go on my track record, but nobody got it. When I did it and it got attention it became an example
I was explaining how I was going to make a narrative with pathos, and then I did it
You are never going to able to explain the thing as well as you can by showing the thing
Our revenue in the 1st year was $2m thanks to insanely high ad rates, but after @dooce's talk we need another stream
they kept coming up with new credits for Matt "Matt Lieber is a window in room where you didn't think there was one"
[plays the beginning of https://gimletmedia.com/episode/36-todays-the-day/ ] which is a great 4th wall breaking episode
the reason we're all trying to start things is to make a place where things we hadn't imagined can grow
our next speaker is a force in Indie comics - C Spike Trotman
you heard about million dollar podcasts and million follower mommy blogs, it's time to think small again
like a lot people, I say "I don't know what I'm doing" when I'm asked what i do, and people agree with me
the 1990s were the high water mark for comics, but all but one distributor collapsed
there was a boom in independent comics - independent is anything that isn't a guy in spandex with visible muscles
but the one remaining distributor raised the minimum order size and wiped out all the indie comics
but then webcomics happened, and the bar to entry went from very hight to really low
when webcomics took off we were seen as line-jumpers, dilletantes, ushering in the death of the newspaper
it felt kind of like trench warfare with webcomics and traditional publishing in separate lines
and after years of trench warfare Kickstarter showed up and I thought "this is going to be amazing"
I did a book a book called "poorcraft" based on how to get by when you are poor, 'cos with webcomics I knew about it
people said "anyone who can raise $13,000 on kickstarter shouldn't be using kickstarter"
I called it Iron Circus Comics because I already owned the domain, and it was better than Invincible Dachshund
If you search for me on the internet you'll find my women's erotic comics anthology, Smut Peddler
I thought "I like porn, I don't like any of the porn being made. Oh, I should make some porn"
to be in Smut Peddler your comic needs to stress consent and mutual willingness. You'd think that was a low bar, but…
to be in Smut Peddler there needs to be a woman involved - the writer, the artist or the colourist
I got so much pushback on the woman thing, though I also got lots of creepy letters about the consent thing too
Wow, I sure do sell a whole lot of stuff nobody wants.
Kickstarter then had the 'message the author' button right next to the "report this" one, so I got some odd messages
This started a lot on kickstarter - this opened up the floodgates for support for other things
I'm really into artists getting paid. You'd think that would be obvious, but not so
I want to put things out there that I don't see - that I'm told people don't want.
A New World is about your adventure being someone else's disaster
there is a group that think their TV and comics and games ae under threat from people not like them
there have always been black people and brown people and women and queers and trans in comics, we've always been here
this is not a fight. It's over. We're here, we've always been here. if you have a problem with it I don't really care
Comics was comfortable. Superhero stories in comic book shops and movies about men in tights is not all there is
the goalposts for unprofessional keep moving all the time "that will never work" becomes "that doesn't count"
You can sit on reddit or tumblr and say that my comics don't count, but you are literally, verifiably wrong
[standing ovation for @Iron_Spike] - I love it when that happens
Suck started 20 years ago, I found it early on and read it every day. These 5 have never been on stage before
Suck definitely skewered the dot com bubble and the hype of the time. They influenced Gawker and The Awl and more
This is the 1st time all 5 of us have been on stage together
all the questions that we are going to address today are not in panel format
we're not a panel we're on the couch
and when you are on the couch it's therapy
Heather asked "using the powers of your imagination, name one way that suck changed the world"
it's hard to tell if you are part of the wave or you created the wave - when everyone else is doing the same thing
from day one what Joey and Carl did was use the link as way to make a rhetorical joke
Now I write for regular newspapers where you have to write Barack Obama, the presidnet of the united states
Steven Johnson wrote an essay about how we used the link, he made a career out of explaining what otehr people do
now we're in the TLDR era, before it was the RTFM era. Now if you say RTFM they say TLDR
we put a lot of thought into what we were doing "this is supposed to be an inside joke, but everyone is in on it"
with the links, even though we were know-it-alls, you could follow them and know as much as we did
our insight that was right on the money and it helped no-one was that we should publish every single day
lets give credit to the beautiful backend that meant we could schedule posts months ahead, even though we never did
I don't know if anyone remembers hotwired, but they didn't give a crap about design
everything we did was centered with a centre tag, and there are probably theses written on how this is no way to read
is this a therapy session about how great we are? I never have therapy like this.
Who was owen thomas really? Did we ever know him
Owen Thomas could spell better than any of us. He was the copy editor and was hired after I was doing it.
Owen would stand by our desks and talk to us and we looked oddly at this as we only used email and never spoke
A gossip columnist should be hated
I used to make cartoons that portrayed them all as a bag of dicks and they were gleeful about it - pure sociopaths
the penetrating insight that Filler showed didn't match up with the dim person who sat next to me
this is my dipshit facade, my curtain
clickhole is the suck of today - I wish we had been as absurdist as they are now. we kept trying to make sense
at the time everyone was interested in web millionaires, and we were web thousandaires
I hired Ana off a listserv where she would argue with Steve Albini and those guys
I was in NY on $20k and you offered 2x the salary my dad said "2 men you've never met are flying you to SF to suck?"
Our next presenter is one of my favourite writers - a raw prolific talent with a surreal sense of humour
A huge hand for Mallory Ortberg
don't be too hard on yourself if you are currently being too hard on yourself
death is coming for all of us. you can laugh about it but it will still happen to everyone in this room
The internet is where we all live. The toast is my internet, if you want one you can get your own.
so many sites say they want to pay writers eventually; we decided to do it from the start, so we keep doing it
It turns out there is a lot of space on the internet for people who make stupid jokes about art in the public domain
if you were a time traveller from 1999 you'd be excited by technology's progress - flooz=bitcoin; VRML=Oculus
Aaron Swartz is known as an activist and a campaigner but he also built lots of little tech projects that we still use
there is a great site called folklore.org which sets out the history of the mac at apple
we have to tell each other's stories - you don't have to use makerbase, write it on a cocktail napkin but tell it
I thought Anil always started talks with a Prince song and ended with a Michael Jackson one but this was the 1st time
the speakers we've had are absolutely stunning -give them a round of applause. I never see talks before they're given
I love how our speakers make themselves vulnerable and honest
our next speaker, I played her game Depression Quest and it was new and interesting
after a year of harrasment, undeterred, she kept making new things to bring people into games
gaming is the intersection of art and technology which requires great skill
a huge round of applause for Zoë Quinn
I'm going to give you a lot of data, but I'm going to talk about some dark stuff too
If you live and work on line , this is about the way the internet is going
as far as I know, Crash Override is the only organisation that works with harrased people to unfuck their lives
every account that I had ever had anywhere was inundated with harassment, then hacked for people to target
The crappiest Baldwin, the human personification of your crazy uncle's mailing list gave it the name GamerGate
One of the GamerGaters got picked up on terrorist charges earlier today - not against me
I'm a game developer, I'm a systems thinker so I can see the patterns in behaviour
In highschool I was the nerdy kid who wore a trenchcoat that someone had to ask out when he lost a bet
I was in such a hurry to tell people in highschool that I wasn't like other girls - I was a "cool girls"
I used the term "attention whore" like telegrams used the word "stop"
if gamergate had happened several years ago and to someone else, I'd have been on the other side
I would have been one of those useful idiots who mkaes up hate mobs
Can we stop using the word Trolling it's Abuse. Trolling is a thing you can do to a friend, and still be friends
we end up playing a game of Schrödingers Murderer every time - is some hot topic kid or Dylan Roof?
Most people participating in online harassment think they're the good guys
they all have a secret conspiracy theory that you are secretly rich so they can still be the underdog
There are a lot of things to be found in a mob, but justice isn't one of them
I talked to 300 former trollsand asked why they stopped, they said someone they looked up to said it wasn't cool
Another thing that got the trolls backing off is humanising the target, not making them a caricature
when my phone would ring, I'd answer it and they would say "Is this Zoë Quinn?" "yes" "oh. I'm sorry"
It's not really about the target, it's about belonging to the group that si attacking
If you look over to where the comments are on this video you'll see "she is evil! Boobs!" (I paraphrase)
More people would rather tell people that they had committed a misdemeanor than to mental health treatment
my biggest harassers use their real names and build a brand to raise money for attacking me
We need tech platforms to step up here, we should be ahead of this
don't get mad at the toddler who crashed your car, but the adult that gave them the keys
I've admitted to a lot today.You have a picture of me in fedora now, m'lady
consider if you are criticising someone's actions or shitting on someone as a person
No single snowflake feels responsible for the avalanche that crashes down on people
Don't be a snowflake in someone else's avalanche.
Our final speaker of the day is an internationally reknowned expert in CSS and web standards, Eric Meyer
I think Andy and Andy deserve a round of applause right now for all their work
I started out on the web when it looked like this [screenshot of Mosaic browser]
this was the days of gopher, which was like a BBS on steroids
I wrote a tutorial on how to write HTML, and 4 million people learned from it, and I got no ad revenue for it
when CSS came out I made a support grid for the 2 browsers that implemented it, and were very different
back in the 1990s I started writing little notes on my homepage. We were bloggers once and young.
I used to write the HTMl by hand, but then I got smart and used custom XML and handmade XSLTscript
It was natural to me when my 5 year old daughter Rebecca was diagnosed with brain cancer, to write about it
I wanted anyone who came by later to understand what they weer going through
I kept up until I had to post her obituary 9 months later.
My web developer friends got a hashtag trending #663399Becca on the day of her funeral
There was a proposal to add a colour to CSS calling #663399 "Becca Purple" - I said use RebeccaPurple
there is now a memorial to my daughter in the CSS spec I work with all the time. I can't process this.
What pushed me to think about RebeccaPurple again was gamergate that blew up into many attacks on women
as a very part time gamer I felt like I was looking at this from the outside, and I stepped back to analyse it
I saw I was seeing something very similar to the #663399Becca campaign here
That same process was happening - a hashtag as a memetic hook as a way to organise a group to do something
we can look at this in terms of the bad input, but it not just that. It is also the medium this happens in
the medium is not neutral to it's uses - even a road is not neutral, as where it is built affects who uses it
roads are not free-for-alls - we set rules on how people use them and even license people to drive on them
I am not advocating licensing people to use the internet, tempting as that would be sometimes
what we do, what we value affects how the world works, how society changes over the next generations
what our children see online is what they will think is normal
software is eating the world, but we shape it. What we make easy shows what we value
to paraphrase Brillat-Saverin: show me what you build and I will show you what you are
League of Legends was known for having toxic communications - they tested the design to reduce this toxisicy
The game ECO is a planetary simulator where players battle pollution adn extinction by an asteroid
with our designs and with the things that we build there has not been much said about the values they encourage
if we build networks where it is easy to harass, that is how it becomes the expected norm
if networks make mounting those attacks more difficult, the ability to mute or block may be unnnecessary
as there is no truly meaningful distinction between online and offline, the online behaviour will determine the offline
we are building like crazy; we need to build wisely
I ask you to do this not in Rebecca's name, but in the name of her brother and sister who will have to live with it
the conference can get a little intense. Lets use the time between this talk and this evening to think about this.