Culture, Feature, Law

Letters to a Young Tech Attorney: Don’t Be an Asshole

January 10, 2017

If any of your relatives ever told you that you should go to law school because you like to argue, it didn’t mean that they thought you should go to law school. It was just a polite way of letting you know that you’re an asshole.

We’ll get back to this point later because I want to move on to telling you how to be a better technology attorney.

I’m an attorney, and I’m mostly not an asshole (at least, not while I’m being an attorney). Specifically, I’m an in-house attorney. I’ve been in technology law since the 1990’s. That was before the cloud. That was even before the cringe-inducing acronym “SaaS.” I’ve been in this space this whole time because I really really really like technology and love working with innovative products and the brilliant teams that develop them.

Now, technology companies tend to need other technology companies as vendors — that’s the nature of the industry. If you’re running a platform, your team is going to want to use various widgets, APIs, analytic whoseywhatsits, and a load of things that suddenly exist and will make your product even that much better. And for each vendor, a company has to execute a contract (except for the guy that delivers fruit every week — it’s not clear who pays him or if we even asked for the fruit). This is where the legal team comes in.

You know who enjoys negotiating vendor agreements? Nobody. Not the attorney at the customer of the vendor. Not the attorney at the vendor. Even the mother of an attorney on either side would say, “Meh. Vendor agreement. My kid netted to zero again.” Exactly zero people enjoy negotiating vendor agreements. Possibly fewer than zero.

Read the rest here on Medium.

[Photo credit: Josue Bieri]

Culture, Feature

10 Things I Learned while Watching the Minions Movie with My Son 57 Times

December 23, 2016

My four-year-old son recently made a sudden and unexpected swerve into the world of Minions, the movie that’s an offshoot of (and prequel to) the Despicable Me franchise.

We’re not complete media authoritarians at home, but our kids’ TV and movie universe largely consists of (in order of kid preference): Thomas & Friends, Pixar movies (mostly Toy StoryCars specifically excluded forever), Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, and whatever decent things Netflix has rolling through its original series stock (“Creature report! Creature report! (Creature report.)”).

So this Minions thing took us for a loop. I’m assuming some kid at school exposed our son to the idea of Minions, not unlike a cold virus, lice, or the concept of sarcasm. The only bigger recent video surprise was when a babysitter recently exposed our kids to Mickey Mouse, a falsettoed spaghetti-legged vermin our house had been fortunately to be free of until that point.

I’ve now accepted the breach of my family’s cultural firewall by Minions.

Read the rest here on Medium.

[Photo credit: enervaCC BY 2.0]

Culture

Shitting the Bed: Diapers, Time Travel, and Hugh Grant

December 16, 2016

Sitting in a circle on the floor of the local natural birthing resource center — by law in San Francisco, there must be one of these centers every 5 blocks — something came to me: I had never changed a diaper in my life. This was a few months before my first son was born.

This is an experience gap I should have considered in the ramp-up to conception. The birthing class teacher — a woman who passionately spoke of all things natural about childbirth and nursing and life in general — was pretty blunt on the diaper angle: Cloth, compostable, or disposable, you’re going to hate diapers.

[Sidenote: The idea of cloth diapers is revolting. Yes, they’ve been around for millennia, but so were rubella, horse-drawn carriages, and Larry King, and you don’t see those things around much anymore.]

So this earth mother woman who worked with us an hour a week for a few months who was passionate about everything childbirth — don’t wash the baby after birth, breast-feed immediately, skin-to-skin contact with both parents, so many things to do with that placenta — basically turned to one of the four things babies do (eat, sleep, cry, ruin diapers) and said, meh, nothing magical about that.

Read the rest here on Medium.

Culture

Natal-Gazing: The Socially Anxious Person’s Guide to Smiling at Babies

December 4, 2016

eyes

The Problem, Explained:

I’m used to it by now. You think I can’t see you spot me coming down the sidewalk? You think I don’t see you crossing the street to avoid me, or fixing your focus three feet ahead on the pavement? Life wasn’t always this way. I used to be viewed as safe most of the time. Someone you could pass on the street in broad daylight without a thought of social awkwardness.

But then I started walking around with a baby.

Read the rest here on Medium.

Podcast

Unwonk Podcast – Tea & Boilerplate

October 5, 2016

We’re back for a new season of the Unwonk Podcast, running through the end of the year!

Today’s Guest: Mr. Felix Salmon!

On today’s episode, we learn what intergalactic conflict has to to do with terminating a lease. And we talk to Felix Salmon, Senior Editor at Fusion, about the connection between a lemon ginger teabag and Alec Baldwin’s prized – and now un-prized – favorite painting. We also spend some time exploring the dark underbelly of the art world.

Listen to the episode here.