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Anxiety Tech - Cultivating Compassionate Tech Communities - April Wensel

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If you contribute to open source, attend meetups, or just exist in the tech industry, you are likely a member of multiple tech communities. Our communities can be an incredible source of strength and comfort. They can support our personal and professional growth while satisfying a universal human need for belonging. However, in tech, many of our communities have become exclusionary clubs with unnecessary and unfair barriers to participation. These hostile, ego-driven communities create ingroups and outgroups, causing shame and stress in members and non-members alike.

Compassion is the key to creating more inclusive and supportive communities. Compassionate developer communities welcome newcomers, support the well-being of existing members, and contribute to positive change in society overall. As a tech community member, you’ll leave this talk equipped with practical tools for transforming your various communities in order to produce happier developers and ultimately, a more socially conscious tech industry.


April Wensel is the founder of Compassionate Coding. compassionatecoding.com

Presented at Anxiety Tech, San Francisco, July 27, 2018

http://www.anxietytech.com/

Published in: Technology

Anxiety Tech - Cultivating Compassionate Tech Communities - April Wensel

  1. 1. CULTIVATING COMPASSIONATE TECH COMMUNITIES COMPASSIONATE CODING @APRILWENSEL
  2. 2. @APRILWENSEL
  3. 3. TECH CULTURE IS @APRILWENSEL
  4. 4. “[TECH WORKERS] ARE NOT THE HAPPIEST BUNCH. THEY’RE ALL OVERWORKED AND UNDER PRESSURE.” –Christina Grant, Ph.D., Vegan Gourmet Dinner Meetup, Palo Alto, August 29, 2016
@APRILWENSEL
  5. 5. STRESS & ANXIETY @APRILWENSEL
  6. 6. @APRILWENSEL https://medium.com/compassionate-coding/only-you-can-prevent-tech- burnout-be3f0504c627
  7. 7. h"ps://www.wired.com/video/2017/06/techies-are-using-ketamine- to-fight-their-depression/ @APRILWENSEL
  8. 8. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/22/technology/uber-workplace- culture.html @APRILWENSEL
  9. 9. “WORKPLACE CULTURE DRIVES TURNOVER, SIGNIFICANTLY AFFECTING THE RETENTION OF UNDERREPRESENTED GROUPS, AND COSTING THE INDUSTRY MORE THAN $16 BILLION EACH YEAR.” @APRILWENSELhttps://www.kaporcenter.org/tech-leavers/
  10. 10. TECH CULTURE IS @APRILWENSEL
  11. 11. @APRILWENSEL LET’S FIX IT!
  12. 12. WHERE DOES CULTURE COME FROM? @APRILWENSEL
  13. 13. CULTURE @APRILWENSEL COMMUNITY
  14. 14. CULTURE @APRILWENSEL COMMUNITY
  15. 15. CULTURE @APRILWENSEL COMMUNITY
  16. 16. @APRILWENSEL “TECH” COMMUNITY
  17. 17. • COMPANIES • TEAMS • OPEN SOURCE PROJECTS • MEETUPS • CONFERENCES • REDDIT (/SUBREDDITS) • COLLEGE CLASSES • @APRILWENSEL • STACK OVERFLOW • HACKER NEWS • FACEBOOK GROUPS • TWITTER • SLACK GROUPS • MAILING LISTS • CODING SCHOOLS … “TECH” COMMUNITY
  18. 18. ‣ EGO ‣ ELITISM ‣ COMPETITION (HACKERRANK) ‣ BEING “SMART” ‣ BEING A “ROCKSTAR” @APRILWENSEL
  19. 19. EXAMPLE: STACK OVERFLOW @APRILWENSEL
  20. 20. “I’VE REALLY BEEN STRUGGLING…THIS WEEK. I’VE BEEN IN TEARS FOR MOST OF IT, AND NOW I JUST GOT A SNARKY RESPONSE ON STACKOVERFLOW TELLING ME HOW EASY THE SOLUTION IS AND THAT I NEED TO LEARN HOW TO DEBUG MY OWN CODE. I’M READY TO THROW THE TOWEL IN.” Post in a Facebook group for women in tech @APRILWENSEL
  21. 21. @APRILWENSEL
  22. 22. “…DEMANDING ENRON EMPLOYEES PROVE THAT THEY WERE SMARTER THAN EVERYONE ELSE INADVERTENTLY CONTRIBUTED TO A NARCISSISTIC CULTURE…EMPLOYEES …WERE BOTH INCREDIBLY SMUG AND DRIVEN BY DEEP INSECURITY TO KEEP SHOWING OFF. IT WAS A CULTURE THAT ENCOURAGED SHORT-TERM PERFORMANCE BUT DISCOURAGED LONG-TERM LEARNING AND GROWTH.” Angela Duckworth Grit @APRILWENSEL
  23. 23. “CONTEMPT CULTURE” https://blog.aurynn.com/2015/12/16-contempt-culture @APRILWENSEL —AURYNN SHAW
  24. 24. @APRILWENSELhttps://medium.com/compassionate-coding/confessions-of-a-recovering-jerk-programmer-b9d531a05ea9
  25. 25. “…IN A THREATENING ENVIRONMENT, THE HUMAN BRAIN BECOMES PERMANENTLY ORGANIZED FOR AGGRESSION.” Karen Armstrong Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life @APRILWENSEL
  26. 26. @APRILWENSEL
  27. 27. HOW DO WE IMPROVE OUR TECH COMMUNITIES? @APRILWENSEL
  28. 28. COMPASSION @APRILWENSEL
  29. 29. IS NOT BEING FAKE NICE @APRILWENSEL COMPASSION
  30. 30. IS NOT BEING “POLITE” @APRILWENSEL COMPASSION
  31. 31. IS NOT PITY @APRILWENSEL COMPASSION
  32. 32. COMPASSION: “THE FEELING THAT ARISES WHEN YOU ARE CONFRONTED WITH ANOTHER’S SUFFERING AND FEEL MOTIVATED TO RELIEVE THAT SUFFERING” https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/topic/compassion/definition @APRILWENSEL
  33. 33. @APRILWENSEL VEGANISM IS ABOUT HAVING COMPASSION FOR ALL LIVING BEINGS 1630 POWELL STREET
  34. 34. COMPASSIONATE CODING @APRILWENSEL
  35. 35. COMPASSIONATE CODING: A NEW APPROACH TO SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT THAT SEEKS TO MINIMIZE SUFFERING FOR EVERYONE INVOLVED @APRILWENSEL
  36. 36. @APRILWENSEL PHOTO: #WOCINTECHCHAT
  37. 37. "PEOPLE IN POSITIVE WORK ENVIRONMENTS OUTPERFORM THOSE WHO WORK IN NEGATIVE CLIMATES BY 10-30%. IN A POSITIVE WORK ENVIRONMENT, PEOPLE ARE MORE CONFIDENT ABOUT THEIR WORK. THEY ENJOY WORKING WITH ONE ANOTHER." Shawn Murphy The Optimistic Workplace @APRILWENSEL
  38. 38. WHAT IS A COMPASSIONATE TECH COMMUNITY? @APRILWENSEL
  39. 39. “IN A COMPASSIONATE COMMUNITY, THE NEEDS OF ALL THE [MEMBERS] OF THAT COMMUNITY ARE RECOGNIZED AND MET, THE WELL-BEING OF THE ENTIRE COMMUNITY IS A PRIORITY, AND ALL PEOPLE AND LIVING THINGS ARE TREATED WITH RESPECT.” https://charterforcompassion.org/communities @APRILWENSEL
  40. 40. A COMPASSIONATE TECH COMMUNITY ‣ HELPS US LEARN AND GROW ‣ OFFERS SUPPORT AND ENCOURAGEMENT ‣ PROVIDES A SENSE OF BELONGING @APRILWENSEL
  41. 41. ‣ EGO ‣ ELITISM ‣ COMPETITION ‣ BEING “SMART” ‣ BEING A “ROCKSTAR” @APRILWENSEL
  42. 42. ‣ EGO HUMILITY ‣ ELITISM INCLUSION ‣ COMPETITION COOPERATION ‣ BEING “SMART” BEING KIND ‣ BEING A “ROCKSTAR” BEING A MENTOR @APRILWENSEL
  43. 43. YOU ARE PART OF MANY COMMUNITIES @APRILWENSEL
  44. 44. YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE @APRILWENSEL
  45. 45. 3 STEPS TO CULTIVATING A COMPASSIONATE COMMUNITY @APRILWENSEL
  46. 46. http://www.businessinsider.com/programmers-debate- requirements-to-behave-respectfully-ccoc-2018-5 @APRILWENSEL
  47. 47. "I BELIEVE IT IS IN EVERYONE'S INTEREST THAT PEOPLE CHANGE, NOT IN ORDER TO AVOID PUNISHMENT, BUT BECAUSE THEY SEE THE CHANGE AS BENEFITING THEMSELVES." Marshall Rosenberg Nonviolent Communication @APRILWENSEL
  48. 48. ‣ JOY ‣ RESILIENCE ‣ PEACE OF MIND ‣ JOB SATISFACTION ‣ LOWER CHANCE OF BURNOUT @APRILWENSELhttps://greatergood.berkeley.edu/topic/compassion/definition#why-practice BENEFITS OF COMPASSION
  49. 49. OBSERVE 1 @APRILWENSEL
  50. 50. @APRILWENSEL
  51. 51. REMEMBER THAT YOU’RE DEALING WITH HUMAN BEINGS, NOT MACHINES @APRILWENSEL
  52. 52. ‣ WHAT IS VALUED IN THIS COMMUNITY? ‣ WHAT BEHAVIORS ARE REWARDED? ‣ WHO IS IN THIS COMMUNITY? ‣ ARE THERE GROUPS OF PEOPLE MISSING FROM THIS COMMUNITY? ‣ HOW ARE NEWCOMERS TREATED? ‣ HOW IS POWER DISTRIBUTED IN THIS COMMUNITY? @APRILWENSEL
  53. 53. WHO IS SUFFERING? @APRILWENSEL
  54. 54. HOW DO WE REDUCE SUFFERING? @APRILWENSEL
  55. 55. ACT 2 @APRILWENSEL
  56. 56. GROWTH MINDSET @APRILWENSEL
  57. 57. MODEL COMPASSION @APRILWENSEL
  58. 58. EXAMPLE: ANSWERING QUESTIONS KINDLY ON STACK OVERFLOW @APRILWENSEL
  59. 59. AVOID
 “YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG.” “WHY DON’T YOU JUST…” “THAT’S A TERRIBLE IDEA…” RTFM @APRILWENSEL
  60. 60. ASSUME POSITIVE INTENT @APRILWENSEL
  61. 61. PRACTICE NONVIOLENT COMMUNICATION @APRILWENSEL
  62. 62. NO BLAME NO SHAME @APRILWENSEL
  63. 63. AMPLIFY VOICES @APRILWENSEL
  64. 64. REACH OUT TO SOMEONE WHO’S STRUGGLING @APRILWENSEL
  65. 65. ENCOURAGE COMPASSION @APRILWENSEL
  66. 66. EXAMPLE: SHARE YOUR CONCERNS WHEN YOU SEE HOSTILE BEHAVIOR @APRILWENSEL
  67. 67. ASK COMMUNITY TO CLARIFY VALUES @APRILWENSEL
  68. 68. IMPROVE ONBOARDING OF NEWCOMERS @APRILWENSEL
  69. 69. REFLECT 3 @APRILWENSEL
  70. 70. RETROSPECTIVE @APRILWENSEL
  71. 71. PRACTICE SELF-COMPASSION @APRILWENSEL
  72. 72. "...SOMETIMES YOU WILL REMEMBER THAT...YOU HAVE BEHAVED UNKINDLY AND INCONSIDERATELY. AT THIS POINT...HAVE COMPASSION FOR YOURSELF, SMILE WRYLY AT YOUR OMISSION, AND RESOLVE TO DO BETTER TOMORROW." Karen Armstrong Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life @APRILWENSEL
  73. 73. AVOID COMPASSION FATIGUE @APRILWENSEL
  74. 74. ARE YOU SURE YOU STILL WANT TO BE PART OF THIS COMMUNITY? @APRILWENSEL
  75. 75. 1. OBSERVE 2. ACT 3. REFLECT @APRILWENSEL
  76. 76. @APRILWENSEL
  77. 77. @APRILWENSEL “TECH” COMMUNITY
  78. 78. @APRILWENSEL “TECH” COMMUNITY GLOBAL COMMUNITY
  79. 79. @APRILWENSEL http://www.encinitastemple.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/meditation-gardens-ocean-view.jpg
  80. 80. @APRILWENSEL http://www.encinitastemple.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/meditation-gardens-ocean-view.jpg “WHEN PEOPLE SPEAK OF ‘POLITICAL,’ ‘SOCIAL,’ OR ‘INTERNATIONAL’ PROBLEMS, THEY OFTEN DO NOT REALIZE THAT THESE CONDITIONS ARE NOTHING MORE THAN THE ACCUMULATED THOUGHTS AND ACTIONS OF MILLIONS OF INDIVIDUALS. AND THE ONLY WAY TO CHANGE WORLD CONDITIONS IS TO CHANGE OURSELVES.” —MEDITATION GARDENS BOOKLET

  81. 81. @APRILWENSEL http://www.encinitastemple.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/meditation-gardens-ocean-view.jpg A COMMUNITY IS NOTHING MORE THAN THE ACCUMULATED THOUGHTS AND ACTIONS OF INDIVIDUALS. AND THE ONLY WAY TO CHANGE OUR COMMUNITIES IS TO CHANGE OURSELVES. —INSPIRED BY MEDITATION GARDENS BOOKLET

  82. 82. @APRILWENSEL
  83. 83. BURNOUT PREVENTION COURSE COMING SOON! NEWSLETTER COMPASSIONATECODING.COM @COMPASSIONCODE @APRILWENSEL APRIL@COMPASSIONATECODING.COM THANK YOU!

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