A couple of weeks back, when we announced our 24-hour “Don’t Be Awful” event, I knew the even was a bit of a risk. That is, I had absolutely no idea if anyone would show up.
After all, it’s easy to list all the many, many problems facing (or caused by) the tech industry: inequality, discrimination and just plain bad (or inconsequential) ideas. What’s far harder is suggesting solutions to those problems.
It’s with as much surprise as delight, then, that I’m able to share some of the confirmed details of the event, including a long-and-growing list of some of the participants so far confirmed.
Amongst those joining the conversation will be Tim O’Reilly from O’Reilly Media, Journalist and filmmaker Jose Antonio Vargas, Rachel Sklar from TheLi.st, Jennifer Pahlka from Code for America, Poshmark’s Manish Chandra, August Capital’s David Hornick and Vegas Tech Fund’s Zach Ware. We’ll have discussions with Michael Devine, one of the plaintiffs in the Apple/Google wage-fixing case; Frank Pasquale, author of The Black Box Society: The Secret Algorithms Behind Money & Information; Amanda Bradford, founder and CEO of the League; Tim Redmond, former editor of the SF Bay Guardian… and many, many more.
And, of course, the Pando team will be in attendance for the full 24-hours, including your co-hosts, Sarah Lacy and… me.
What makes the event special, though, is not the names of the speakers, but the format of the conversation. This is a 24 hour, non-stop event, with every speaker given an equal half hour slot. Most of those slots have been taken, not by tech celebrity names or professional speakers, but by the people actually working in the tech trenches, or with people affected by the rise of Silicon Valley. One of my favorite early pitches was from Pando reader Richard Bottoms, whose session is entitled simply “Why am I the only black guy here?” (He isn’t — but his point stands.)
If you’d like to join the discussion, there are still a few slots left, especially in the “overnight” zone from around 11pm on Saturday 24th til 5am on the 25th. If you’re based outside of the West Coast of the US, that’s also a good time to Skype in. We already have callers scheduled from India, Thailand, Nigeria, Russia and London. If you’d like to grab a speaker slot, email [email protected]
24 hours is a long time, and so we’re aiming to do a lot more than just talk. We’re hoping that participants, whether in the room or via the livestream, will actually join forces to figure out solutions to the problems posed during the event. Call it an “ideas hackathon” if you must: There’ll be plenty of space to meet, plot and build in the venue if you don’t want to work at home, but there’ll also be plenty of opportunity to call in and tell us what you’re up to. Braintree is sponsoring $ 7500 in prizes for the best ideas hatched during the event, in person or remotely.
Finally, there’ll be plenty of fun stuff: Free yoga on Sunday morning, an “unhappy hour” on Saturday night for those who want to just rant, a midnight game of Werewolf and more. Apparently at 3am, Sarah Lacy and Nathaniel Mott are going to be playing a live tech founder version of “Which Disney villain are you?” Also, Braintree’s office has all kinds of arcade games and stuff, all of which we’re allowed to use if we (I swear they said this:) “ask people to be gentle.”
Please be gentle with Frogger.
If you’d like to join us in person in SF, you’ll need to register for your free ticket here. That same link also has the most recent list of confirmed speakers.
Registration gives you access to Don’t Be Awful HQ throughout the whole 24 hours. Annoyingly, because we’re serving alcohol at certain points of the event, the venue is only open to those 21 years old and over. You can participate remotely at any age, though.
See you next Saturday!