Not Today v4.0

On Monday night, the 2012 Paycheck Fairness Act was shot down for the fourth time by the US Senate, in a vote drawn down party lines.

My color-commentary summarization of what the 2012 Paycheck Fairness Act would mean for both employers and employees, is below:

A favorite quote I found in the press on the matter: Kelly Ayotte, a Republican senator from New Hampshire, said that she voted against the law because she worried it would prohibit merit-based pay. Meritocracy inhibitor. Right. The employment policymaking equivalent to the dog ate my homework.

The complete text of the legislation, is here. The first page at that link—the legislation's summary—is what I screencap'd for the above JPG.

Dropbox issues its first Transparency Report

This is an excellent and exciting step in the right direction, for a major business to establish within its corporate governance a regularly scheduled public report on an area of public accountability interest. For Dropbox, that issue is of course data privacy/security. The report itself has lots of folks on my Twitterstream up in arms with fury, over its released statistics. It's also generating some media buzz along the same lines. But, guess what? We're not guessing. We know the real numbers. That's a big risk for Dropbox to be taking. We need to support and applaud that effort. 

The commitment to hold itself accountable to its customers—regardless of probable press responses and/or customer retaliation—is un-orthodox, carries with it a lot of risk for Dropbox, but is also a risk the Tech community is ready for. Parallel to their Transparency Report, Dropbox also has posted a plain-English, short-read page that outlines its Government Data Request Principles. Upon doing further research, I also uncovered their Privacy Policy and was very surprised to find it formatted... not in all-caps, not packed with legalese, and not a gazillion pages long. Its sections are broken-up into tabs, and it's—like—usable! What can I say: warm fuzzies abound for this UX'er, upon seeing just that.

Phlebotomists, Umpires, and Web Developers: Oh My!

I have no idea what a "Phlebotomist" is. None. So I thought it'd be fun to start this article off with that, and of course look it up later. 

As medical diagnosis have their own mind-numbing classification system of numbers—ICD9—so do occupations. Meet the US Federal SOC system, where Pathologists, Proctologists, and Veterinarians have a neat and ordered presence within the greater-whole of American employment occupations. Umpires are mentioned, too. Social Media Marketing specialists or Data Scientists? Nope. 

Grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic have their own code, and are clearly distinguished from 7920 51-4021 Extruding and drawing machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic. 

Shown in the image above, are Detroit factory workers hard at work grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing engine blocks, in Diego Rivera's epic Detroit Industry mural. Rivera painted the mural between 1932 and 1933, when dozens of classifications for machine operators of all varieties, mapped well to the occupational landscape in our country.

Reciprocity, participation, and building this thing. Together.

Watchdog websites are easy. They bore me, and that whole "making the world a better place, cuz we're out to get you if you're evil!" schtick tastes bitter. Life is short, why take the bitter path?

Seeding change through positive engagement among energized folks, just seems a whole lot funner. Looking at that critically, it also seems a more likely path to yield results that sustain. Sustainability is a good thing.

I also really appreciate the proactive distinction that a Code of Conduct has, from it's more restrictive and reactive counterpart The Policy. Rules via policies just... well, they just beg to be broken. By interesting people, at least. Policies by nature, establish that "Welcome to kindergarten, no running with scissors!" dynamic, whereas conduct codes set clear boundaries while also establishing a clear expectation of responsibility and accountability, on the part of the signor.

All of the above are values I'm bringing with me into this endeavor. They've all informed this early draft of the EqualTogether Pact, that I'm envisioning as a centerpoint in our evolving and unique business model.

Battle less, better more. Feedback: please, always!


When saving the photo-collage above, I named the image manshow.png

Yesterday’s 90min Apple Event did feature an abundance of women. Keeping with historic patterns of showcasing new products, almost every device-screen image in a demo, featured a beautiful woman. The game that was demoed, featured an (adorable) female character. The retail demo showing a credit card experience, featured women actors. None of the presenters of the products, however, were women. None of the celebrated makers behind the magic, were women. One product demo image of a panorama, even featured a model standing on a berm of rocks in the ocean, in a stark likeness to Botticelli’s Venus. (?!)

I would have just rolled my eyes, had the whole thing been a unilateral man show. The dichotomy between a +90% presence of beautiful, radiantly-feminine women as models in the product demo images, and the 100% presence of men as product owners demonstrating their brainchildren, instead just left a dark, empty-pit feeling in my stomach. It was a very personal feeling of disappointment, despite the tingling of my skin in ecstatic glee from the actual design & tech solutions themselves, presented as finessed, production-ready products I will be storefront-camping like a total dork, to be among the first to buy. 

On "Political Correctness"

How to have that "don't be a dick" dialog, w/o the teflon-response of "bah, political correctness—it was funny!" or "it's honest, quit avoiding the truth with political correctness". A very real problem I'd love to see tackled. A problem I predict seeing spin-up as a response to criticism of this morning's Fox & Friends conversation, depicted in the above photo.

Confronting real problems with frank dialog in the interest of devising solutions, and humor, both seem to be the most commonly cited reasons I've heard for defensive comebacks citing political correctness. Laziness in the pursuit of both problem solving and humor, I think it's fair to state, is the most obvious retort to those defenses. Beyond laziness though, how many jokes and solutions that cross boundaries defended as politically incorrect, have really been superior to alternatives pursued with higher standards of ethics? Arguably, none.

Room To Improve... A LOT!

Shown above, is LinkedIn’s EEO-1 filing from 2013. It’s what the data from their recent diversity numbers release was pulled from.

The numbers are current, to probably sometime in December of last year. They’re 6mos off. The design of the form is typical for government compliance filings—how they taxonomize race, is especially puzzling to me. Moreso, the segmentation of job types is mostly irrelevant to most industry sectors—as with Muzak, it's a "jack of all, master of none". 

We can do better than this. We NEED to do better, than this. Real-time reporting and benchmarking ourselves by numbers, is how our own industry sector rolls—Tech. We’re not going to change without data to measure our methods, because otherwise we're just shooting solutions into the dark. Likewise, speaking specifically to the Tech sector: if we can't even go for a jog or get on a scale w/o an app to track that we did it and how we did... I think today's Diversity efforts can be best likened to that gym membership everyone buys January 2nd of each year. 

As HumanAxis' first project, EqualTogether is ready to be that tool. Being real, there will never be any "there's an app for that" solution to solve for social woes as complex as workplace inequality. EqualTogether is not seeking to in and of itself, fix the inequality woes. Instead, we're seeking to put a measurement-platform in place as a first-step, through which all subsequent solutions can be measured from.

The latter, being most critical. EqualTogether’s program is multi-faceted, but the public-facing real-time reporting of HR data is a sweet-spot we’re excited about. If you’d like to contribute as an investor or technology partner, please—contact us!

Peer Support + Advocacy, In Action

Image ®2005 Sherman Mui ··  AFM turnworker behind the scenes at Sears Point Raceway

When I first started this project, I had some pretty clear ideas in my head about things I wanted to see in an EqualTogether app. I’m a techie, of course that’s how my mind works. The purpose of this endeavor though, is to get to the sweet-spot of why all existing diversity programs are so rife for SouthPark parodies… and what possibilities there might be for any kind of a system for re-education that could work.

How does the Bro Infection spread? What drives poor behavior? Peer modeling, of course! So, how about shooting for the opposite… but consciously?

Somewhere along the way, my brain recalled the Rider Rep program that was (and still is!) in place at The AFM, from that awesome blip in my 20s when I decided to become a professional motorcycle racer (didn’t last, but damn what fun!). What’s unique about that program, is that as factory union workers at the turn of the century were critical in getting workplace safety on the national radar… the racers themselves it turned out, are the best advocates of track safety and mitigators of conflict among fellow racers and the organization.