Tech is still not evil, despite Uber, tax avoidance and Techno Jesus

Brad Stone’s The Upstarts, which follows Uber and Airbnb from their formations, is a riveting read with a couple of problems. The first is that the book was published a year ago, just before Uber founder and chief executive Travis Kalanick committed a series of disasters that led to him being pushed out of the company. Stone, with Eric Newcomer, has told that story here, and perhaps the paperback edition due out in April will include Kalanick’s fall.
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Socitm In Our View magazine now available to all

In Our View issue 13I edit the Society of IT Management’s magazine In Our View, which has previously been available to members and conference attendees. Starting with the issue published today, it is available to everyone to download.

This issue includes features on smart places, focusing on Manchester, Bristol and Lancaster, and local government IT in Germany. As usual for Socitm there is a question and answer article with a senior member, in this case Sandra Taylor, head of ICT services at Dudley Council.

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How to give well this Christmas: donate to super-efficient charities

Buying Christmas presents is always difficult. Tim Harford had some great advice in the Financial Times – his best tip was to “adopt a passive gift-buyer strategy”, by giving something you know the recipients can use, such as hard cash, along with time and attention.

There is another kind of Christmas giving where it makes sense to combine hard cash, time and attention: charitable donations. I wrote a piece for the Guardian in 2013 about charity evaluators and two British charities that they rated very highly, Against Malaria Foundation (AMF) and Schistosomiasis Control Initiative (SCI). Continue reading “How to give well this Christmas: donate to super-efficient charities”

First steps in freelancing training at the NUJ – now Friday 9 February

Update: the new date for this course is Friday 9 February.

I will be delivering First steps in freelancing, a new one-day training course, at the National Union of Journalists in London. It aims to provide those who are just about to or just have moved to freelance journalism with what they need to know to get started successfully. Continue reading “First steps in freelancing training at the NUJ – now Friday 9 February”

Tech is not evil, despite the tobacco stains

2017 has seen a severe denting of the technology industry’s reputation. The last month alone has seen the New York Times comparing it to Big Tobacco, in a piece titled ‘How evil is tech?’; Facebook founder Sean Parker boasting about how the company exploits “a vulnerability in human psychology” to snare its users; and the Pope telling the faithful to put down their smartphones (both discussed by Andrew Sullivan, second item). Continue reading “Tech is not evil, despite the tobacco stains”