I am a white Airbnb host. I reviewed 102 guest requests to assess my own racial bias

Peer-to-peer, short-term housing platform Airbnb is probably my favorite consumer web company. A traveling member since 2011, my wife SACM and I have been hosting travelers too for most of the last year. I’m a proud and happy user.

Yet I know that some of the loudest news about Airbnb in its last couple years of mainstream expansion has been controversial: first, about the company navigating municipal hotel taxes and, most recently, its central role in a conversation about racial bias in the sharing economy.

You know, #AirbnbWhileBlack.

So now that my wife and I have been hosting for nearly a year and have received more than 100 requests, I wanted review for our own selection bias.

Continue reading I am a white Airbnb host. I reviewed 102 guest requests to assess my own racial bias

I’m going to try publishing a curated monthly newsletter: join it

I’ve been writing here since 2007, and even earlier including a previous version of this site. For most of that time, anyone who preferred to check in here via email used an old Feedburner hack I made and received each post here sent to their inbox as an email.

Now I’m going to experiment with what has become a very popular move among lots of people I admire on the internet — a personally curated monthly newsletter on Tinyletter that I’m calling right now “Texts I didn’t send you.” (For now I’m going to keep the Feedburner in place but I will be transitioning the hundred or so of you there over to this replacement)

Subscribe to mine here.

I’ll be sending a newsletter monthly filled with links to interesting things I’ve been reading, my own writing and other fun thoughts, mostly around media, entrepreneurship and cities.

Like many internet-fans, I was devastated when Google Reader was sun-setted. I’m interested in whether old school email is back to being its replacement.

How I described what I do for a living to a classroom of first graders

If you can’t describe what you do to a child, you don’t actually know what you do.

Sure, in an era of disruption and distraction, we are changing and evolving roles and organizations and missions rapidly enough that to kids and even other adults outside our industries, the details can get fuzzy. But the idea here is that your core purpose has almost surely been seen before.

So can you describe what you do at its simplest form?

I got this challenge when I agreed to do a Career Day this month at Adaire, a public K-8 school in the Fishtown neighborhood of Philadelphia in which I live. (The school has a fun history dating to the 1890s, including the above-depicted first building and a more conventional one used today)

Continue reading How I described what I do for a living to a classroom of first graders

What made me proud about our sixth annual Philly Tech Week

You determine success by what goals you set. The mission of Philly Tech Week from the very start six years ago was to create an entry point for others to discover the community of technologists and entrepreneurs bubbling up in Philadelphia.

So this annual, community-supported calendar of events celebrating technology, entrepreneurship and innovation in Philadelphia will have a role for as long as those subjects warrant local on-boarding. Led by us at local tech news network Technical.ly, some 50 partners put together 150 events during a 10-day period ending this past weekend. And though we’re still collecting survey results and feedback from attendees, organizers and supporters, the early feedback I remains consistent with past years: (a) the collective calendar brings more people out to all our events and (b) the attendees include community-regulars and, just as important, people trying to better understand how to join in.

When that stops, that’s likely when PTW (and events like it) cease to matter. What does change each year is what stands out to me as particularly telling or representative from the calendar. That’s where I’m often most proud.

Continue reading What made me proud about our sixth annual Philly Tech Week

Cybersecurity is about to get a whole lot bigger

The cybersecurity community will need to widen its focus, both for talent attraction, collaborative defense and inclusion.

That was the basic premise of my keynote this morning at the inaugural Cybersecurity in Action, Research and Education conference. Since I am not a cybersecurity executive or academic, my goal was to simply share some interesting examples of the cyber conversations that our team at Technical.ly is dutifully reporting on.

Find my slides and links below.

Continue reading Cybersecurity is about to get a whole lot bigger

A few things I learned at a ‘Personal Finance Day’

The act of learning something I can use has maybe always been one of my favorite acts (that’s why I used to collect extra printouts from school printers). And the mysteries and vagaries of finance has perhaps intimidated me more than most — particularly as a business reporter.

It’s a system that benefits from its complication, making it easier to separate us from money. So I try to take as many opportunities as I can to learn and share to pick up and trade tips on personal finance. As a middle class kid, I had the privilege of being introduced to basic banking from an early age but the more complex instruments were ones I discovered as I pursued greater understanding through high school and college.

I’ve continued that learning and want to share some recent lessons here.

Continue reading A few things I learned at a ‘Personal Finance Day’

I had 3 terrible customer service experiences in the last six months. Here’s why they were different

In the last six months, I had three painful customer service experiences. I struggled with the whys of all three — afterward, I remain a customer of two and won’t ever buy from the third. Each taught me something.

Find overviews of the three experiences, how I attempted to solve them and the result (spoiler, all tried something to help but only two worked).

Continue reading I had 3 terrible customer service experiences in the last six months. Here’s why they were different

I made 143 email connections in the last three years

Coming off a Leadership class and with a growing interest tracking the impact of journalism, in January 2013 I started tagging each email connection I made between relevant people who I believed would get value in meeting each other.

You won’t be surprised to know that I charted the thing and want to share what I think I learned.

Continue reading I made 143 email connections in the last three years