Great impact of Small Gatherings
Backchannel’s first breakfast restaurant was an intimate relationship – 30 people gathered around the table, chatting about technology and our lives.
Backchannel breakfast shop at the Ace Hotel in New York.Hello friends of Backchannel,
Last Friday, we gathered at our newly opened Backchannel breakfast restaurant: a group of 30 met at the Ace Hotel in New York to talk about our relationship with technology over coffee. , cakes and frittata. Steven, Jessi and I want to connect directly with our readers, not just through our online stories. We started with a conversation between Steven and an extraordinary man named Susan Lyne. They come back – she introduced Steven to the story that first turned him into a tech journalist, the same story that led to his blockbuster book, Hacker.
Breakfast didn’t work, so I’ll just recap by saying she blew me away.
On paper, Lyne had a glamorous life, starting as a magazine editor before becoming president of ABC Entertainment and debuting programs that included The housewives were desperate and Grey’s Anatomy; to the president of Gilt Groupe; for the founder and chairman of BBG Ventures (with many other popular stops in between). But I bet she will agree that the TV version of her life will be based on the drama’s moments, of emotional resonance. She did that in the stories she told during our breakfast. After she shared a painful episode in her life, I looked around the room and every fork fell, all eyes were fixed on her.
Steven Levy interviewed Susan Lyne at our breakfast. When we returned to the neighbors around the dining table, the atmosphere changed. Everyone is making eye contact. It was as if we had suddenly realized we could be as straightforward and open-minded as we were of Lyne’s. I had a conversation that morning, it felt like the beginning of a friendship. As the type of person who finds the internet as fun as washing clothes, I’m not saying that lightly.
Leadership comes in many forms. It involves setting the course for a group of collaborators, predicting where the future might take us, and of course, response deadlines. I want to add another item to the list. Leadership is also a quality that holds strangers together, building bridges that had not been air before.
So as we approach this day of turkey and cranberry, I want to thank the real leaders of our lives. They are not in charge of budgeting millions of dollars or sitting in corner offices. They are also the ones who see where the link between us and the people and the starters needs to be made.
#### Talking about the leaders …
In Backchannel, we examined the technology industry’s response to the President-elect:
Jared Kushner can now become our best hope for the world-class Internet. Technology policy expert Susan Crawford has discussed internet access issues with Kushner in the past. Kushner, she writes, “knows that where there is a market where there is no competition for data services, businesses suffer.”
How the tech industry can lead the way in the Trump era. Techonomy conference co-founder Simone Ross and UC Berkeley law professor Sonya Katal give five pragmatic ways technology companies can become a force for the good of society – if they choose.
Foreign Techies were in Limbo. Now they have Trump. It can take up to 70 years for a highly skilled Indian tech employee to live, work and pay taxes in the United States to obtain a green card. Not citizenship – green card. They also now have an anti-immigration White House to compete with.