It’s dark, but you can make out Chris Pirillo’s face in the hospital room. He’s crying. “I’m a daddy,” he says to his video camera. And cut. Pirillo, one of the region’s earliest and best-known bloggers, has built a business out of sharing his geeky personality with hundreds of thousands of followers over dozens…More
“By the way, this is off the record, Monica.” The corporate director looked right at me, and I almost laughed. Is he serious? We were a small group of young Seattleites expecting to hear candid advice on leadership, not sensitive, newsworthy information. But that’s not what was funny. What was funny is that he said this only to…More
Priya May has been the voice of hundreds. “You have a customer using sign language contacting you with the Purple VRS system,” May, 31, spoke into a headset to the man who picked up at Seattle’s MOD Pizza. “I’ll be interpreting this call for you, OK?” “Sure,” the man said, kind of delighted, and from May’s…More
I saw the old man approach out of the corner of my eye. He looked at me, sitting in the middle of the sidewalk. Then at my phone, held to my ear. Then at the tree lining the sidewalk that my phone was plugged in to, a power outlet at its base gripping both my…More
One Sunday last month, Marie Montemayor cut back and forth through happy crowds at French Fest at Seattle Center. Not finding any place to charge her phone’s dead battery, she cried. Two days earlier, at 4:30 p.m., she had told her 13-year-old daughter on that phone that she was making spaghetti for dinner. She hadn’t…More
The office of the future might look a little funny. Peek over the rows of workstations in the marketing department of Tableau Software in Fremont, and you’ll see dozens of employees leaning into their screens. It’s a crisp, modern office setting that looks like any other. Except that a good fourth of the workers are standing…More
Maybe you’ve heard of the “digital divide.”
It’s a term coined in the ’90s to refer to the mostly socioeconomic gap between people who can access information technologies and those who can’t. The concept gave thinkers and policymakers a grasp on a new problem: For more people to prosper, the digital divide would need to be closed.
I’ve been thinking about digital divides a lot lately, but rarely in this traditional sense. Tech has come a long way in 20 years, and it’s raised all kinds of sticky new issues. It’s made me think: If we take a fresh look at what divides us in our use of tech, we might get a better grip on whether we’re headed somewhere we want to be.
So here goes: I think there are four digital divides that matter. As we consider them, ask yourself: Where am i on these divides? And do they all demand to be resolved, or in some ways, protected?More
“Fill in the blank with the biggest thing you feel is true,” I asked Hadi Partovi, reading off my notebook in a small downtown conference room. “ ‘Learning how to code is as important as learning … ’”
Partovi put his head in his hands and thought for a long moment.
“I would say it’s as important as learning the basics of science,” he said. “Anything you learn in sixth grade, learning to code is as important as that.”
Partovi, a Seattle investor and entrepreneur who’s sold companies to Microsoft and MySpace, is easily the strongest, most passionate advocate anywhere for the importance of learning how to code. In eight months his nonprofit, Code.org, has ignited a push from its small Second Avenue office to see coding taught in every American school. In China, students must learn code to graduate.
Here, 90 percent of schools don’t teach it. And in most states, taking a coding class doesn’t even count toward graduation.
But to me the most compelling argument for learning how to code is not about schools or even jobs, mighty as those motivators are, and should be. It’s about these basics. On Earth, atoms make things up, and gravity makes things fall. On digital, instructions code behaviors that build systems that every day run more and more of our lives. How we talk. How we move. How we exchange goods and services and information.
Code isn’t how a world works. It’s how the world works.More