Federal government studies Occupy Sandy movement

first_img Assistant/Associate Priest Scottsdale, AZ Episcopal Migration Ministries’ Virtual Prayer Vigil for World Refugee Day Facebook Live Prayer Vigil June 20 @ 7 p.m. ET Volunteers unload donated material at the Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew in Brooklyn, New York shortly after Hurricane Sandy. Photo: Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew[Episcopal News Service] The Occupy Sandy network that sprung up in the days after Hurricane Sandy devastated vast stretches of New York and New Jersey has caught the attention of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which says it is looking to broaden future disaster relief efforts.However, not everyone is taking that explanation at face value even though they say the report does a good job at outlining how well Occupy Sandy has worked.Occupy Sandy tapped into the organization and volunteer power of Occupy Wall Street which had led a multicity protest movement centered on economic inequality just more than a year before Sandy hit. The report, titled The Resilient Social Network, calls Occupy Wall Street a “planned social movement” while it characterizes Occupy Sandy as “neither planned nor expected.”The Episcopal Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, New York, in the Diocese of Long Island, quickly became the second major Occupy Sandy supply-distribution and volunteer-training hub. The activity at St. Luke and St. Matthew complemented the work begun a few days earlier at St. Jacobi Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn.“In the days, weeks, and months that followed, ‘Occupy Sandy’ became one of the leading humanitarian groups providing relief to survivors across New York City and New Jersey,” the report notes. “At its peak, it had grown to an estimated 60,000 volunteers – more than four times the number deployed by the American Red Cross.”“Unlike traditional disaster response organizations, there were no appointed leaders, no bureaucracy, no regulations to follow, no pre-defined mission, charter, or strategic plan.  There was just relief.”That relief effort out of St. Luke and St. Matthew continued even after an arson fire two days before Christmas 2012 caused major damage.“In the Diocese of Long Island, where this movement took physical root in several of our churches, we were fortunate to have a bishop who encouraged Occupy Sandy in every way possible,” the Rev. Michael Sniffen, rector of St. Luke and St. Matthew, told Episcopal News Service. “In places where our bishops and clergy gave in to fear and risk aversion in the aftermath of the storm, the work of well-intentioned, skilled neighbors was often thwarted by lack of staging and organizing space. Many of our churchyards, hallways and unused parish halls sat empty during a time when they were desperately needed.”Long Island Bishop Lawrence Provenzano said the diocese is “very proud of its involvement with Occupy Sandy and the results.”“This is what incarnate love looks like!,” says Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew in Brooklyn, New York on its Facebook page. The nave began being used as a distribution hub for supplies shortly after Hurricane Sandy stuck. Photo: Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew“From a religious standpoint, this was the church at its best, an example of the Gospel in action,” he said in an e-mail to ENS. “This report is really an acknowledgment of how a cooperative effort – between the church, government entities, the private sector, and the wider community – can improve disaster response in the future. It is also an acknowledgement that cooperative decision-making, planning, and execution can be a model for success; this model, in my mind, is as ancient as the church itself.”In addition, Sniffen said, the church communities “that truly opened themselves to aid neighbors by any means necessary also opened themselves to spiritual awakening.”Research for the report was conducted between June and August 2013. The report is dated Sept. 30, 2013 and was recently released by the Homeland Security Studies and Analysis Institute.In its introduction, the report notes that Occupy Sandy was a “difficult research subject for many of the same reasons it succeeded in helping so many communities in New York and New Jersey: its membership and infrastructure are fluid, it has no elected leaders, and it conducted autonomous relief activities across a large geographic area.” Occupy Sandy is called a “humanitarian offshoot of Occupy Wall Street” in the report, whose authors also describe it as “a social movement, not so much a tangible group.”The report at one point categorizes Occupy Sandy as an “emergent response group 2.0” of the kind that often spring up spontaneously after disaster strikes. These groups are different from “traditional response organizations,” the report notes, such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency or the Red Cross. The “2.0” refers to the fact that groups such as Occupy Sandy used social media to publicize, organize and coordinate its work.A small group of Occupy Wall Street began discussing the anticipated storm a week before it hit the East Coast over social media, the report says. When the storm hit on the night of Oct. 29, 2012, member of that group began share damage reports and discuss how to help and whether there was interest in beginning a relief effort.“Seemingly out of nowhere emerged a volunteer army of young, educated, tech-savvy individuals with time and a desire to help others,” the report says.However, the report also notes that Occupy Sandy’s “horizontal organizing structure” was not without its problems. While “there was no need to seek permission to do something” and thus people in need were served quickly, the report says “without leaders, there was less oversight” and less accountability. The accountability issue raised difficulties for some traditional response organizations in terms of their own accountability, according to the report.Purpose of the report questionedThe authors said their “primary purpose in conducting a case study on Occupy Sandy is to provide the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with a basic understanding of an emerging type of grassroots relief collective so that it might enable government to work in a unity of effort with such groups when the next disaster strikes.”However, the report also describes reluctance on the part of some Occupy Sandy participants to talk to a group connected with the Department of Homeland Security about their work. Most of the people and organizations the researchers contacted “were willing to speak quite candidly, but many respectfully declined our request,” according to the report. The report does not suggest the reason for that reluctance however, the Department of Homeland Security has acknowledged, by way of more than 200 pages of heavily redacted documents, that it joined other law enforcement agencies to monitor Occupy Wall Street.Sniffen echoed some of that concern, saying that “the DHS’s interest in the Occupy movement and Occupy Sandy in particular raises red flags regarding the freedom of communities to organize for good without being treated as suspicious.”“That being said, the findings of this report are encouraging,” he added. “The report is clear in its analysis that Occupy Sandy was effective where larger, more bureaucratic organizations were not. The movement’s significant role in helping communities recover is now undeniable. The analysis of the ability of horizontal ad hoc groups to be effective change agents in the world should be read, marked, learned and inwardly digested by The Episcopal Church as we continue our own conversation about internal restructuring.”The Rev. John Merz, the vicar of Church of the Ascension in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, who helped organize churches to open their facilities to respond to Sandy, also expressed concern about the DHS institute’s attention to Occupy Sandy. He noted that the organization’s website says it was created as a “dedicated, not-for-profit institute to provide the federal government with analytic capabilities to support effective counterterrorism-related decision-making and program execution.”The department has always regarded Occupy Wall Street “as a form of active domestic terrorism albeit in the early stages of gestation” and thus it took notice when some participants “reformed around relief work with such astounding capacity,” Merz said.Even though the study is what Merz called “appreciative,” it “is by nature defensive, given the mission of the institute and the larger mission of DHS” and is centered on the issue of “power and how it is exercised.”“I did not see anywhere in the report analysis of how many soup cans churches or civic groups managed to donate or how many people made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches … its concern with power in this case is that it was employed so effectively by a group that it has had under surveillance and was working for structural change and justice,” he wrote in an e-mail to ENS.While the report might be used to help non-governmental organizations and governmental aid agencies adopt new practices, Merz said, it is more likely that it will be used to “keep a thumb on social grassroots movements and networks.” He predicted that the department and the U.S. military “may use the report to incorporate some of the OWS and OS network practices into their own ‘counter terror’ practices if they would serve in curtailing the power of people to organize on a grassroots level.”That opinion, Merz acknowledged, “may put me in the minority in the Episcopal Church who seem to think Empire is only something to be ruminated on and preached about in relation to Jesus and the Romans.”Merz and Sniffen were both involved in Occupy Wall Street and were arrested Dec. 17, 2011 after they and retired Episcopal Bishop George Packard entered a fenced property – owned by Trinity Episcopal Church, Wall Street – in Duarte Square in Lower Manhattan as part of Occupy Wall Street’s “D17 Take Back the Commons” event to mark three months since the movement’s launch.The report says other traditional response organizations were initially guarded about coordinating their work with Occupy Sandy. For example, the report describes an invitation-only telephone conference call in early November 2012 “amid the fog of the response to Superstorm Sandy” during which participants heard someone identify themselves as “this is Occupy.”“Conversation stopped,” the report says and representatives of other relief agencies later told researchers that they wondered why Occupy Wall Street was present.The Occupy Sandy person, whose name is not disclosed, was asked to explain his or her presence and the person replied that Occupy Sandy was “part of Occupy Wall Street but not directly associated with it,” according to the report.“‘At that point, we all became very guarded in what we said,’ the official told us,” the report continues. “Personally, and here she said she could not speak for the group, she perceived that the uninvited caller was a protestor and remembers thinking ‘we know what we are doing here, they just do not get it.’”The report’s authors conclude that Occupy Sandy not only eventually convinced the unnamed official that its participants “get it”; it also convinced local communities, the mainstream media and those 60,000 people who signed on as volunteers.– The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is an editor/reporter for the Episcopal News Service. 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VanHook, II as Executive Director Episcopal Charities of the Diocese of New York Family Ministry Coordinator Baton Rouge, LA Curate Diocese of Nebraskalast_img read more

Latin America hits 70,000 pandemic deaths, daily record in Mexico

first_imgThe daily totals bring Mexico’s overall official count to 129,184 infections and 15,357 deaths.The World Health Organization has determined that Latin America is the new hotspot for the pandemic, which began around the beginning of the year in China and quickly spread to Europe and beyond.Governments across the globe acknowledge that the real number of infected people is significantly higher than the official counts.Latin American fatalities attributed to the highly-contagious Covid-19 respiratory illness caused by the virus stand at 70,972, while total infections are at 1.45 million.The outbreak has also spread rapidly in Peru, Chile and Columbia. Latin America’s coronavirus crisis reached a grim new milestone on Wednesday with total deaths exceeding 70,000, according to a Reuters count, as Mexico hit a daily record for confirmed infections.Brazil, with the largest economy in the region, remains Latin America’s most affected country as total fatalities are just shy of 40,000, the world’s third highest death toll after the United States and Britain.In the region’s second biggest country Mexico, a new daily record of 4,883 confirmed cases was reported by the health ministry, along with 708 additional fatalities. Topics :last_img read more

Waltham Forest PF becomes first LGPS fund to divest fossil fuels

first_imgThe Waltham Forest Pension Fund has become the first of the UK’s Local Government Pension Schemes (LGPS) to decide to divest from all fossil fuels.Simon Miller, chair of the pension fund committee, said: “Waltham Forest Pension Fund is proud to commit to divesting from fossil fuels.“Not only does this mean the fund will not be invested in stranded assets but will be actively investing in cleaner, greener investments to the benefit of our community, borough and environment.”The London pension fund has assets of £735m (€851m) and invests £23.9m in the oil and gas industries, according to US-registered climate campaign group 350. A recommendation at last night’s pension fund committee meeting in the north east London borough was approved, stating that the pension fund would “exclude fossil fuels from its strategy over the next five years”.Rob Platts of the local divestment campaign being run by Friends of the Earth Waltham Forest said: “With this decision, Waltham Forest has tonight shown true leadership.“By divesting from fossil fuels, the fund is not only taking necessary action to protect fund members’ pensions from risky investments, but it is also joining hundreds of public institutions worldwide in taking a stand against an industry that is causing climate chaos and endangering our future.”International divestment campaign group Fossil Free published data a year ago showing UK LGPS invest more than £14bn in the fossil fuel industry.In July 2015, the London Assembly recommended that the London Pensions Fund Authority (LPFA) change fossil fuel investments to more responsible positions.But, before now, no LGPS pension fund had actually committed to divesting from fossil fuel industries.In Edinburgh, the Lothian Pension Fund rejected calls from its council to divest from the sector, saying the cost of such action would be too high.In January this year, however, Haringey Local Government Pension Fund announced it would shift one-third of its equity funds – equating to about £200m – into the MSCI World Low Carbon Target Index Fund, run by LGIM.In June 2015, the Environment Agency Pension Fund committed £280m to the same fund.last_img read more

Freshman forwards show potential in 0-0 draw against Fordham

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Freshman Teri Jackson took off her yellow pinnie on the sidelines and handed it to Marisa Fischetti, who was exiting the field. Replacing the redshirt freshman in the 26th minute, Jackson took over operating the right wing of the Syracuse attack. Having spent less than a minute on the field, Jackson received the ball, picked up her head and found forward Meghan Root with a through-ball. Root’s shot trickled just wide of the post, but it was the first of many attacking moves that Jackson would be a part of on Sunday afternoon. With a roster crippled by injuries, the Orange (2-4-1) turned to Jackson and fellow freshman Alexandra Panaggio to spearhead the front-three in a 0-0 draw against Fordham (1-5-2) at SU Soccer Stadium. The two freshmen combined for nine shots, three of which were on target, and played the entirety of both overtime periods despite not starting. “Great for both of them to get in,” Root said. “And I thought in both games that they’ve played in, they both made a direct impact right away.” Panaggio’s afternoon started poorly when she sent a corner kick into the side netting about five minutes into her shift. Later in the first half, the forward went down from a challenge in the midfield holding her ankle but got up in a few seconds. She did not seem to feel any effects from the tackle the rest of the game aside from a few winces. Panaggio stayed quiet the rest of the first half, not featuring in any moves in the attacking box.Jackson, however, used her speed to get the better of the Fordham outside backs and gave another wide option for a Syracuse team looking to play more direct. After nearly assisting Root, Jackson fired the Orange’s only shot on goal in the first half when a blocked shot bounced to her. Fordham goalie Kelly LaMorte made the save comfortably.   AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBoth Jackson and Panaggio made their debuts against St. John’s on Thursday, but otherwise have not experienced college play. The faster pace of the college game has been difficult to adapt to, Panaggio said. And with Syracuse looking to play long balls, she was unable to showcase her technical ability until the second half when the Orange played shorter as they looked for a winner. “(I) Definitely (worked on) getting my head up and finishing,” Panaggio said. Eva Suppa | Digital Design EditorThough Panaggio has been practicing executing in the box, her skills are still developing. On Sunday, she was unable to make an impact on the scoresheet, though not for a lack of chances. Led by Panaggio and Root (5 shots apiece), Syracuse out-shot Fordham 23 to six. In practice, because of extensive injuries, SU hasn’t been able to scrimmage or simulate game-scenarios to work on tactical play, head coach Nicky Adams said. The coaches have had to step in and play with the girls at times, and the injured players have acted as “mannequins” to emulate opposition.It’s left a hole in player development regarding awareness and defensive positioning, Adams said, and not just with the freshmen. Fitness has also been a cause for concern even outside of the injuries. “There’s a lot of work we have to do but with limited players, tactically, there’s little we can do besides watching film,” Adams said. Early in the second half, Jackson created the best chance of the game to that point as her shot whistled past the crossbar and landed on top of the goal-netting. Then, as the rain started coming down, Panaggio looked to hold up play in the midfield to give time for her attacking options to get forward. At times, she would race down the left wing and look to take on the defenders one-on-one. She turned her defender on one occasion and was able to cut inside on her right foot, but with a slippery field because of rain and divots, she fell while attempting the shot. She would get a similar chance near the end of the second extra-time period, this time aiming for the top-left corner. Her looping effort would end in the safe hands of LaMorte, who didn’t have to dive and simply shuffled over for the stop.  Over the two extra-time periods, Panaggio added three shots and Jackson added two. On a couple of occasions, Panaggio was able to hold the ball up and try to find Jackson making a run in behind the defense. While neither put Jackson through on goal, they did lead to corners. “I think we were meshing well,” Panaggio said. “It’s just connecting. She’s making great runs and I’m trying to play her in.” Syracuse didn’t find the result it was looking for on the scoreboard and Adams admitted there was plenty of work to be done by the team. But in her first season at SU, she realizes there’s a long road ahead to turning around a team that hasn’t played the offensive style of soccer she wants in a long time. For now, Adams just wants “maximum effort,” she said. And that’s exactly what Jackson and Panaggio brought on Sunday afternoon. Comments Published on September 15, 2019 at 6:00 pm Contact Arabdho: [email protected] | @aromajumder last_img read more

At The Finish Line…Where only the truth matters

first_imgRobert Morris’ Kavon Stewart (3) makes a pass for an assist, after making a steal, during the second half of the Northeastern Conference championship NCAA college basketball game against Mount St. Mary’s on Tuesday, March 11, 2014, in Coraopolis, PA. Mt. Saint Mary won 88-71.(AP Photo/Don Wright)• It can be true that it’s hard to beat a team three times and Robert Morris Men’s Basketball Team proved that point big time after beating Mt. Saint Mary’s by eight, two times this season.  They hit the wall bad, but hats off to the campus and administration for a top shelf event.  The noise, student body, and overall campus atmosphere was second to none.  It should help make that whoopin and trip to NIT instead of the NCAA Tournament easier to swallow.Bill Neal• Duquesne University student body, you could and should take a lesson from the RMC kids and pump some life into your home games.  It can turn some losses into wins.  (I would say just ask the Pitt Zoo . . . but not lately!)• Here’s hoping that Kobe’s words hit home on the throne and the Laker management goes and gets Phil Jackson from New York before it’s too late.  And while you’re there, get Carmillo, keep Gasol, still Kiree Erving and let’s turn this thing around!• Ease up on the Ryan Clark hater list.  The man was a damn good player and a serious hard hitter.  He’s charted his own course now.• A reminder for the Salute to the Pittsburgh Steeler Super Bowl Legends, Saturday, March 29th, 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m., at the Rivers Casino.  Mel Blount, J.T. Thomas, Dwayne Woodruff, Louis Lipps, Randy Grossman, Robin Cole, Mike Wagner, and Andy Russell.  Free parking, free hors d’oeuvres, cash bar, autographs and photographs.  Call (412) 628-4856 for information.YOU HAVE NOW CROSSED OVER THE FINISH LINElast_img read more

JazzyBrand Combs attached XL Full/No Part Wig Cap : Worth the price!

first_img Posted on June 7, 2019Author Nathalie DuboisCategories WigsTags JazzyBrand Good product i wish it was available in smaller sizes. I never new how comfortable wearing a wig could be, once i had one that actually fit. I have a big head, and a lot of hair to hide, so i needed a big wig base to work from. I cannot recommend it enough, and if i end up making any more wigs this is where i’ll be coming to. Arrived as stated and very true to size and good quality. Happy with product and would also recommend this product. SummaryReviewer Nathalie DuboisReview Date2019-06-07 04:57:44Reviewed Item Combs attached XL Black Full/No Part Wig Cap with Adjustable Band and ear wings for a perfect fit. u part. upartRating 4.6 / 5  stars, based on  11  reviews Arrived on time and fits my head perfectly. I struggled to find the right wig cap. If you have a small head you can adjust the back with the clips. I have a big head none of the wig caps from hair and beauty shops fit me but this one fits perfectly. Great for making wig as well. The price put me off at first because i used to buy the 3 pound wig caps at the beauty supply store but they never fit my head and they tore easily. However this wig cap is very strong and durable and it is bigger than my head. (and trust me i have a big head. Perfect! Four Stars Very good Combs attached XL Black Full/No Part Wig Cap with Adjustable Band and ear wings for a perfect fit. u part. upartXL Black Full/No part wig cap with adjustable band and ear wings for a perfect fitExtra large 24 inch Black Wig Cap with combs and strapCombs and bands wig cap wig comb Black Wig Cap with combs and strap pointed wiglast_img read more

Members vote in favor of big merger of Ohio cooperatives

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Members of two of the largest cooperatives in Ohio approved the merger that will unify their businesses. Sunrise and Trupointe cooperative member votes were counted in a special meeting held yesterday, at each corporate office. Of the ballots returned, 64% of Sunrise membership and 73.9% of Trupointe membership were in favor of merging. Both numbers exceed the minimum requirements to move the merger forward.The member support of this merger shows that the cooperative vision for our future is aligned with that of our membership said Larry Hammond, president and CEO of Trupointe.“Our membership is the foundation of our cooperatives. We are excited to bring this new venture together, which we believe will create additional opportunity for increased member value,” he said.Through joining these cooperatives, a number of benefits to the membership are expected. These include:• Stronger equity — continued ability to return profits to membership as well as timelyequity redemption.• Asset investments — increased ability for greater investments in facilities and assets.• Marketplace momentum — access to key partnership and product supply chains,increasing opportunity and innovation availability.The new cooperative will begin operations September 1, 2016, under the leadership of George Secor (presiding CEO of Sunrise Cooperative). The first actions of the new Board of Directors will be to select the headquarters location and identify the cooperative’s name. Jointly, the cooperative will boast more than $900 million in sales.“This is a merger of equals and intention, not necessity. The fact that we were both able to select a partner who paralleled our strengths and vision for the future is one of the strongest ways to begin a new venture,” Secor said. “This merger really was and is about creating more for our members together than we could separately. As we move forward we will work hard to deliver on that promise for our members.”last_img read more

Is Jive Software Taking Steps Toward An IPO?

first_img3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Now Related Posts IT + Project Management: A Love Affair Tags:#enterprise#news#NYT If there is any doubt about the social Web moving into the enterprise, then the news today from Jive Software has to make even the hardest skeptics start to wonder.The Portland, Oregon company that has built its success on providing a social layer to the enterprise is pursuing a path that may lead it to a public offering.Fueled by venture capital, the company said today that it is looking for a new CEO.Current CEO Dave Hersh is stepping aside from his role to become chairman of the Jive board. The interim CEO will be Tony Zingale, a Jive board member.Hersh has lead the company since 2001. He will lead the search effort for a new CEO. Zingale is an experienced CEO. He most recently lead Mercury Interactive, a company acquired for $5 billion. He was also CEO of Clarify, a CRM company.In a phone interview today, company executives said an IPO is a possibility. It’s a move that makes sense. Jive is now competing with the largest technology companies in the market. For instance, Jive has a Sharepoint integration with Microsoft. But the reality is the two companies are vying for the same accounts. The issue is size. Companies like Microsoft have huge sales channels. Jive does not have that kind of reach. An IPO would give Jive the resources to compete more effectively with the giants of the tech world.It’s also a clear sign that the market is there for social software in the enterprise. Hersh said to us in an interview recently that there is a mad chase for all applications to be social.That’s quite true. And Jive’s dreams of an IPO are representative of that reality.center_img alex williams Massive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo… Cognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of…last_img read more

How Airbnb Manages Not To Manage Engineers

first_img7 Types of Video that will Make a Massive Impac… Related Posts owen thomas Mike Curtis, Airbnb’s vice president of engineering, tells me he was “shocked” by what he found when he joined the fast-growing marketplace for lodging a little over a year ago.Call it a pleasant frisson: Curtis tells me he found a culture that was largely self-organized and driven by Airbnb’s mission of making people feel at home anywhere in the world. What it lacked in structure, it made up for in passion. Engineers largely picked their own tasks and worked on them.With a million guests using Airbnb every month to book space from people renting out spare couches, rooms, apartments, and sometimes even treehouses, there’s no shortage of technical challenges, from searching available lodging to handling international payments between guests and hosts.Henry Cai (left) software engineer for Airbnb’s growth team, and Jason Bosinoff, engineering manager for the growth team, chat with Caroline Leung, a software engineer who works on the Android team. Members of Airbnb’s mobile team often embed themselves in other teams to work on projects.It would have been easy for Curtis, hired to professionalize a fast-growing team of some 50 engineers, to impose a bunch of rules and process from his years running large software teams at Facebook and Yahoo. Instead, he did something brave and figured out how to work with Airbnb’s existing culture.Curtis recently invited ReadWrite to Airbnb’s airy headquarters in San Francisco’s SoMa district, where we spoke to him and other employees and took photographs of Airbnb engineers, designers, and product managers at work. He’s also published a post outlining his thoughts on Airbnb’s engineering culture, a draft of which he shared with me as part of our discussion.From left to right: Engineers Josh Hull, Ben Hughes, and Jon Tai work with Mike Curtis, Airbnb’s vice president of Engineering.No Management Or New Management?The question of how to organize a fast-growing, technology-driven company like Airbnb is a crucial one. Doing it the wrong way can lead to stasis or chaos.Companies as diverse as GitHub, the social-coding company and clothing retailer and Zappos, have adopted a “no-management” structure called Holacracy, where decision-making is spread throughout the organization and people have roles rather than job titles.Holacracy has come under fire, though, for not providing enough structure and support for employees. The messy departure of prominent developer Julie Ann Horvath from GitHub is an oft-cited example of what can go wrong with such informal systems. Horvath alleged harassment by cofounder Tom Preston-Werner and his wife, and an investigation found that he’d made mistakes in handling her complaints, prompting him to resign. The company hired a more experienced human-resources executive earlier this year and CEO Chris Wanstrath promised to improve conditions.At the opposite extreme, engineers at large software companies like Google and Microsoft often complain about how their employers have grown ever more corporate. At Google, even the famous “20 percent time” program that lets engineers work on self-directed projects has come under pressure.Airbnb may have found a middle ground between top-down management and anything-goes self-organization. The company has engineering managers, but it defines their roles in a very different way than what you’d expect.See also: I Was An Airbnb Hotel Tenant“In a more traditional organization, goals, objectives, and even tasks flow down to individual contributors,” Curtis told me. “The way we think about it, managers are basically facilitators. Managers exist to get obstacles out of people’s way.”Those might be information obstacles—helping a technical employee see the bigger picture she’s working within so she can better solve a problem. Or it might be a career obstacle—helping an employee switch teams for an opportunity to grow professionally.What managers don’t do is give orders, set goals, and define processes. The expectation is that engineers, motivated by Airbnb’s mission and equipped with enough information by their managers, will figure those things out themselves.“It’s not your manager’s responsibility to tell you how to have impact,” says Curtis.For example, Ben Hughes, a site reliability engineer, says his role, “connects to the Airbnb mission because it creates a stable platform for guests and hosts.”Beau Haugh recounted how people from multiple teams came together a couple of weeks ago to upgrade Airbnb’s MySQL databases, voluntarily working on a Saturday night to get it ready ahead of an expected rush of bookings.Alvin Sng, an internal tools engineer, says his work on the site’s chat function improves communication between customer-service agents and guests. He loves how his work, “helps other employees do their jobs more effectively.”Surabhi Gupta, a software engineer who works on search and discovery, sees her work as “enabling trips that wouldn’t happen otherwise.” Here’s a recent presentation she gave at OpenAir, a technical conference Airbnb held in April.http://www.youtube.com/watch/e_7Kr7Al__IEven as a middle ground between extremes, this style of doing things isn’t for everyone. Some anonymous employee reviews on Glassdoor describe the environment as “disorganized chaos.” Others call it “inspiring” but acknowledge that employees must “take ownership” and solve problems rather than complain about them.Beau Haugh and Alvin Sng work on internal tools at Airbnb.A Hospitable Way Of Doing BusinessAirbnb tries to define both its product and its company around the idea of hospitality, which extends to how employees treat each other.“Being a host is about having empathy,” says Curtis. “Your guest can be a fellow employee. One of the things we value is that helping others takes priority.”See also: How Technology Simplified My Move To A Big CityCurtis acknowledges that there’s an apparent conflict between the values of “owning your own impact” and helping others first. After all, if you’re helping someone else, you’re by definition putting whatever task you’ve chosen for yourself on hold.The way Airbnb resolves that is by pointing out the long-term value to the company of lending a colleague a hand.“When you have an opportunity to help someone get unblocked, you take that, because that’s usually an opportunity to teach someone,” Curtis says.Software engineer Surabhi Gupta solves problems with product manager Eric Ruth. Gupta recently delivered a presentation on the complexities of marketplace search at Airbnb’s OpenAir conference.Setting The StandardAirbnb’s technical personnel work on 14 teams, generally less than 10 people apiece, with a mix of software engineers, product managers, designers, and data scientists. As with individual employees, these teams are largely self-governing. (Airbnb wouldn’t give exact numbers on the engineering team’s current size, but a LinkedIn search suggests that it now has more than a hundred members—more than double the size of the team Curtis inherited when he joined the company.)“We have a unit of autonomy around individuals,” says Curtis. “We also have a unit of autonomy around teams.”Where Airbnb has standardized around processes, it’s generally a bottom-up process, lightly steered by management. In meetings, Curtis and his engineering managers tell stories about successful practices, which then spread from team to team.“We have a unit of autonomy around individuals. We also have a unit of autonomy around teams.” —Airbnb’s Mike CurtisWhen Curtis arrived at Airbnb, individual engineers often pushed code to production without having someone else review it, which resulted in bugs that took time to fix and could have been avoided with an extra set of eyes. Curtis encouraged people to consider a process called “pull requests,” a lightweight way of having others review software before it goes into production. An Airbnb engineer even built a tool to speed up pull requests, making the new way of coding easier to adopt.Another example: When some engineers discovered that Hackpad made a better tool for documentation than an existing tool from GitHub, teams rapidly switched over. Rather than obeying a top-down mandate, they just followed each other’s example.“If you can introduce an idea and have that idea stand on its own merits and be organically adopted by the team, it’s the team’s decision,” says Curtis.He believes that this system for adopting processes allows Airbnb to make more radical improvements in productivity—what he calls “step functions,” after the mathematical term.“The impact of overly standardizing is that you get stuck in your ways,” says Curtis. “By introducing just a little bit of chaos, you can find those step-function improvements.”Airbnb engineers adopt new processes through observing what works for colleagues rather than by obeying management dictates.Airbnb needs to make those big steps to keep up with its marketplace’s runaway growth. It’s not clear if its current systems will keep up forever. Curtis isn’t dogmatic about the current way of doing things—he’s realistic that it will keep changing. I asked him if Airbnb had intentionally sought this middle ground between stasis and chaos, between top-down management and Holacracy.“I don’t think we ever consciously asked ourselves that philosophical question,” Curtis says. “The aim is to do what works best for us at this stage of our growth. Fundamentally we believe that engineers having more control over what they work on is more motivating and leads to higher-quality results.”Unlike a big hotel chain, Airbnb can’t dictate how its hosts set up bedrooms or welcome guests. That quirky individuality is part of the charm of staying at an Airbnb. And it’s become a part of the way the company does business, too.Photos and additional reporting by Stephanie Chan Why You Love Online Quizzescenter_img Growing Phone Scams: 5 Tips To Avoid Tags:#Airbnb#Alvin Sng#Beau Haugh#Ben Hughes#Engineering#engineering management#holacracy#Inside Tech#Management#Mike Curtis#Surabhi Gupta How to Write a Welcome Email to New Employees?last_img read more

Veteran fencers shine in Asian tilt

first_imgBSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight E.T. returns to earth, reunites with grown-up Elliott in new ad  Other winners were Myra Cruz (bronze 60 to 69 women’s epee), and Lenita Otadoy (bronze, 35-49 women’s saber).The ladies’ saber team also captured a dramatic gold medal after one member had to check out of the hospital to play in the event. The team was made up of past SEA games medalists Aurea Dioquino, Lenny Otadoy and Bevery Alarcon.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout LATEST STORIES Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president Reynaldo Navarro wins the gold. CONTRIBUTED PHOTOThe Philippines put up a strong stand in the recent Asian Veterans Fencing Championship in Thailand, with Reynaldo Navarro bagging a gold in the men’s 50 to 59 saber competition.Former Philippine Olympic Committee president Celso Dayrit won a bronze in the men’s 60 t0 69 epee while three-time Southeast Asian Games gold medalist Maria Leonor Estampador topped the 50 to 59 women’s foil.ADVERTISEMENT Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients  View comments LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City Rain or Shine continues chase for top 4, downs Blackwater World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games03:07PH billiards team upbeat about gold medal chances in SEA Games01:50Palace defends Duterte’s absences from Asean events01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. MOST READ Read Next Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasalast_img read more