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Codemotion! C4P! -4 to go.

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Curtains down on FOSSDEM and a new show is already ready to go!

Yesterday I went to the first Codemotion Techmeetup @Luissenlabs, a centre of excellence as start-ups Accelerator in Rome.

After almost an year far from home, it has been a good opportunity to meet some old good friends, among others Paola  “wonderpaolastra”  Santoro, from GGD-Rome, to whom we talked about Women in tech.

Born from the experience of Javaday, Codemotion is the event open to all (open) languages and technologies. The Italian stage of international tour will be held in Rome, from 9 to 12 April… If you’ll be around it could be interesting come and say “Hello!”. I attended a couple of editions, and I had a talk about Ubuntu some times ago, but I think nowadays Mara Marzocchi and Chiara Russo, the founders couple, gave to the event a more business oriented perspective.

Networking, Gaming and Hackhaton for a conference sponsored by Google, Oracle, Microsoft, IBM, with the participation of international speakers and a huge space for Communities.

C4P is still open till 9 Febrary, and I’m wondering to submit. And you?

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Startups a confronto. #SMR6

Tornare da un evento come il Silicon Milk Roundabout nel cuore di Londra è decisamente interessante.

Mette a nudo, in poche parole, non solo le differenze tra la situazione italiana e quella di oltremanica, ma anche e soprattutto l’idea e le prospettive che differenziano due mercati così differenti.

Coopetition

La differenza più significativa è nel fatto che, nel confronto con l’Italia, in cui per la maggior parte le startups vedono al loro attivo un Team size ridotto all’osso, le startup presenti al #SMR6 avevano una media e una longevità ben più alta.

Definire Badoo una startup mi è sembrato forse davvero riduttivo – ma possiamo comunque considerarla come nome di richiamo dell’evento – ma in ogni caso Team size di 100 persone non erano così rare.

La seconda caratteristica di queste startups era la loro chiarezza in fatto di mission, brand e identità, business model. Pochissime volte mi è capitato di trovarmi di fronte a situazioni meno che ben struttuate, con una perfetta consapevolezza del target di riferimento. Niente startup ad altissimo (e fumoso) tasso tecnologico, insomma, ma progetti, obiettivi, strumenti.

E proprio per questo non avevano certo paura di collaborare e crescere insieme, dividendo spazi e costi.

Code first.

Il terzo elemento significtivo era il codice. L’idea che univa tutte queste realtà aziendali era il fatto di utilizzare gli strumenti informatici a supporto di un business model: questo era il modo di affrontare la sfida della scalabilità e della globalizzazione.

Ma prima di tutto c’era una idea, qualcosa da vendere, che fosse un servizio B2B, un dolcetto o dei contenuti top tailored: tanto arrosto e poco fumo, per dirla in breve.

Probabilmente anche per questo a fronte delle circa 60 startup presenti il primo giorno, dedicato all’UX design, al product management, al marketing, ce n’erano quasi il doppio il giorno successivo, in cui la ricerca era volta alle figure tecniche.

We’re hiring!

L’obiettivo del SMR era quello di mettere in contatto direttamente le aziende e i candidati, attraverso un processo di prima scrematura, e di seconda selezione (io sono stata selezionata top gold candidate) e tenendo ben alla larga i recruiters.

Questo significa che le aziende presenti erano ben interessate a investire in professionalità che creassero/sviluppassero o sostenessero il core business della startup, cercando però persone interessate alla condivisione di un progetto, che non appartiene, gelosamente custodito, ai fondatori, ma è come una onda che si deve propagare velocemente.

E proprio per questo sono disposti a spendere i circa 10000 pounds che costava lo stand per i due giorni.

Money everywhere

Image600 jobs filled, 950 vacancies, 7 milioni di pound risparmiati nella selezione del personale. Business cards, acqua, birra, vino, coca cola, caffè, cioccolato, cappuccini gratis. No, non gratis. Sponsorizzati. Occasione per farsi notare, per rimanere impressi. Offrire un servizio in cambio di visibilità, di qualcosa da portare con te. Un nome, un pensiero, un ricordo.

Certo non come Togethera, che ha portato un pitone vivo (lo vedete in braccio a me qui a destra), ma qui c’è una bella dfferenza tra investire e buttare via i soldi.

Perché every single penny matters.

p.s. A latere dell’evento mi piace segnalare alcune delle startup che hanno attirato la mia attenzione. Magari può essere un buono spunto.

Moo: eCommerce – http://uk.moo.com/

Graze: food – http://www.graze.com/uk/

Notinthehighstreet: eCommerce – http://www.notonthehighstreet.com/

Bossa studio: Social and mobile gaming – http://www.bossastudios.com/

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The taxidermist/ La Tassidermista

THE TAXIDERMIST

A short story

The very first time I went to London, will be remembered as the year of the invasion of the scorpions.

Every morning, just after the coffee, I took my Timberlands and I overturned them carefully upon the chimney, to be sure not to see if any were in my shoes one, two or many.

And every night my shoes gave hospitality to new upcoming families, twosomes looking for a bite of intimacy from the vacuum’s rumble.

No, I never looked into the bed, under the quilt. I would just put my hand in the shoe, a little ‘coy

But they have never bitten the sleeping me. Maybe they knew by instinct I never appreciated them. No, I don’t like scorpions. They haven’t any skin. No skin, no peel. I love cats. The skin of the cats cover muscles and sinews like a frock, but lightweight.

It doesn’t take much to leave. Cats are not pigs, which ask you to be there to cut and tear, slowly, carefully, because the skin of pigs is tough. Just like man’s, tenaciously bound till to bones.

Or I like playing with birds: take off feathers and recompose it, one by one, as they were a mosaic by air and keratin, mingling up with the smell of the glue, in a chemical embrace which preserves from death.

Of course, death. What else?

– It’s 5 to 8, time to give her some food.

– Yes, I see…

Actually I should give her a draught too. She hasn’t touch a single drop of water for a too long time, it’s not good for her. Now she isn’t even in the tub….

– You should really give her some food….

– Shut your beak, fucking fowl, or you want me to rip it up with my hands? Do you forget that’s my if you still have one?

Silence.

What were we talking about? Oh yes, death. Well sure, she has the deck and is the dealer, but I can anyway play my game.

Of course it’s easier if you own … I don’t know, a carapace. a carapace lasts thousand of years! But if you’re made of fur, skin or feathers, holy arsenic, holy borax!

Clean fur, fix horns, set eyes… but my favourite are birds. Feathers allows you lofty work, they perfectly hide the stitches, and the body, if you want… eat it.

I love my birds – my little cute birds – make me company …

– Mist is rising. Again. they’re coming back.

– They are singing!

-They’re looking for her! Can you hear them? Let her free, she have no feathers, she has only scales and teeth…

– And hair! Shut the fuck up! Shut up! Enough! You stick in my brain as the obsession slips in the space of my legs, stretching while my cunt becomes thinner!

I see! I see it every time I clean myself in front of the mirror! It is not like you! Mirror doesn’t lie!I see the web of veins on my thighs, and she increasingly dried, parched!

I see thin skin, like the skin of birds, feathers and hair melting, skin untouched, made by a virginity which never slipped between my legs…

I see my cunt, I see me!

Go hell false harmers, carriers of knives bitter like a dream, like an illusion, like the melodious song, which flowed from her lips too red and luscious not to taste.

Time to her to pay every bite, every whisper.

– 8 o’ clock! Give her some food!

8 o’ clock.

After 12 hours, which is hanging upside down, every drop of that translucent blood should be gone, by now.

And now, finally, I’ll stuff her tail.

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LA TASSIDERMISTA

Un racconto breve

La prima volta che ho messo piede a Londra verrà ricordato come l’anno dell’invasione degli scorpioni.

Ogni mattina, appena dopo il caffè, prendevo le mie Timberland e le rovesciavo accuratamente sopra il caminetto, per non vedere se nelle mie scarpe c’è ne fossero uno o due o molti.

E ogni notte le mie scarpe davano ospitalità a nuove famigliole in formazione, coppiette che cercavano un po’ di intimità dal rombo dell’aspirapolvere.

No. Non ho mai guardato dentro il letto, sotto il piumino. Mi limitavo a infilare la mano nella scarpa, un po’ ritrosa. Ma non mi hanno mai punto mentre dormivo. Forse sapevano d’istinto di non piacermi. No, non mi piacciono gli scorpioni. Non hanno pelle. È senza pelle non li puoi scuoiare. A me piacciono i gatti. La pelle dei gatti ricopre i muscoli e i tendini come un vestitino, su misura, ma leggero. Basta un niente e viene via. Mica come i maiali che devi stare lì a tagliare e staccare, piano piano, con attenzione, perché la pelle dei maiali è dura. Un po’ come quella degli uomini, attaccata fino all’osso.

Oppure mi piace giocare con gli uccelli: togliere le piume e ricomporle, ad una ad una, come fossero un mosaico di aria e cheratina, che si mischia con l’odore della colla, in un’amplesso chimico che preserva la morte.

Eccerto, la morte. Sempre lì si finisce no?

– Sono le 8 meno 5, devi darle da mangiare.

– Sì lo so…

In realtà dovrei darle anche da bere. È troppo tempo che non tocca una goccia d’acqua, non le fa bene. Ora non è più nemmeno nella vasca…

– Dovresti proprio darle da mangiare…

– Chiudi il becco uccellaccio della malora, o vuoi che te lo strappi con le mie mani? ti sei scordato che è merito mio se ancora ne hai uno?

Silenzio.

Dove eravamo rimasti? Ah sì, la morte. Beh certo, lei ha il mazzo e dà le carte, ma posso comunque giocare la mia partita. Certo è più facile se hai, non so, un carapace. Un carapace campa mill’anni! Ma sei sei fatto di peli, pelle o piume… santo arsenico, santo borace!

Pulire la pelliccia, aggiustare le corna, sistemare gli occhi… Ma i miei preferiti sono gli uccelli. Con le piume puoi fare dei lavori sublimi, nascondono perfettamente i punti di sutura e il corpo, se vuoi, te lo mangi.

Adoro i miei uccelli – i miei piccoli teneri uccellini – mi fanno compagnia…

– Si è alzata la foschia. Di nuovo. Stanno tornando.

– Stanno cantando.

– La stanno cercando. Le senti? Liberala, lei non ha piume, ha solo squame e denti!

– E capelli! Stai zitto, cazzo! Zitto! Basta! Ti infili nel mio cervello come l’ossessione si infila nello spazio delle mie gambe che si allarga, mente la figa si assottiglia.

Lo vedo! Lo vedo ogni volta che mi pulisco davanti allo specchio! E lui non è come te! Lo specchio non mente! Vedo la ragnatela delle vene sulle cosce e lei sempre più asciutta, seccata!

Vedo la pelle sottile, come la pelle degli uccelli, piume e peli che si mescolano, pelle intonsa, di una verginità che non mi è mai scivolata tra le gambe.

Vedo la mia figa, vedo me!

Al diavolo i falsi attentatori, portatori di coltelli amari come un sogno, come un’illusione, come il canto melodioso, che sgorgava dalle sue labbra troppo rosse e polpose per non volerle assaggiare.

Ma ora pagherà ogni morso, ogni sussurro.

– Sono le 8, devi darle da mangiare!

Sono le 8.

Dopo 12 ore che è appesa a testa in giù, ogni goccia di quel sangue traslucente dovrebbe essere oramai andata.

E ora, finalmente, le impaglierò la coda.

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Sunday stuff…

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Sunday afternoon…

Only some hours last before I take my flight to Prague to reach my first GUADEC and I’m very very excited!!!

My luggage is very far to be ready, my presentation is on its way (BTW, timetable has change, my talk about Outreaches will be on Thursday, August 1st, at 2:00 pm!!!) but meanwhile…

If you don’t know how spend your waiting time till Conference starts, and you didn’t already be aware of them, you can read what our great keynote speakers answered to my questions!!!

Let’s discover Ethan Lee and Cathy Malmrose!

Thank you very much to all marketing team to help me delivering these interviews at my best!

Enjoy!

Flavia 🙂

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The humble leader

Recently a company I know has chosen as a new leader of one of his most important project a very arrogant person.
I had the opportunity to work with him some times ago, and all the people that met him agree with me about his arrogance.
This man has indubitably a great know-how, he’s brilliant and talented for his work (but maybe less than others) but he is very able to increase his self-branding.
He built in times an image of solid professional, built not on his 20 years experience but on his bad temperament, on his arrogance, his language often remarkable when not openly rude.

The question is: he’s been chosen because or despite his bad temperament?

Some times ago I read an interesting story: a leader of a great company asked to a marketing guru if the fact his company wasn’t as big as Apple depended on he was an humble leader.
The answer was that Apple was a big company in spite of Jobs’ bad temperament.

In the highly controversial Good to Great book, the author, James C. Collins examines the performance over 40 years of 11 companies that became great.
The first of seven characteristics of companies that went “from good to great” is to have an inspired but humble leader.

Although many companies and many project have a strong leader, in my mind the my way or the highway approach is located just a step away from Godfather’s style.

I believe that a leader ought to be flexible, to be a good listener and not only a screaming monkey, he should be ready to learn from his mistakes, he should be aware to be not perfect, but perfectible.
In a nutshell, a good leader is charismatic and inspiring but refuses to be bossy.

A good example of charismatic humble leader is without doubt Mr. Barack Obama, a bossy leader is – unfortunately – Mr Silvio Berlusconi.

To be driven to do what’s best for the company, to be enthusiastic and crowd enchanter is quite different from state own authority with arrogance: in my humble opinion, a bad temperament often could hide skills and talents or – worse – cover a lack of them.

In reverse, an overweening attitude, very often shows an inner weakness and a intimate need to be reassured that immediately ceases when that leader lost his/her power.

That said, if mostly researches demonstrate that good-to-great leaders, it turns out, are humble, why so many bully leader there around?

Be inspiring. Don’t be overwhelming. Be a leader.

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Interview to William Jon McCann

I’m very proud to announce that my interview to William Jon McCann is finally out! Thanks Andreas Nilsson and Emily Gonyer for great support!

And thanks to Jon for his patience!

This is probably the more exciting task I’ve completed in my work at marketing team…

You can read it on http://www.gnome.org/news/2013/03/gnome-3-8-jon-mccann-talks-of-future-in-gnome/

GNOME 3.8 will be a great release, and plans for future are really stunning!

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Outreach survey report

Some days ago, I have had the opportunity to hang out with Kevin Carrillo, and talk with him about his extraordinary work on newcomers.
His work touched about 12 different FLOSS volunteers, who are involved from less then 3 years in a community and answered about their step-in.
Complete result of his survey is not published yet – it will be available under a ‘share-alike’ Open Data Commons Open Database License (ODbL) – , therefore the data he reported to me are to be considered as a general overview, but they show nevertheless some interesting reflections.

The final step to define an outreach successful is when newcomers begin acting themselves as a good community citizen: to reach this goal they need to proceed an identification with the community.

When they start referring to the community as “we” this goal is got.

Data which Kevin collected show that there are both human and technical needs to give a volunteer a welcoming feeling in a new community.

Human interaction

The interaction with the rest of the community is one of the most relevant issue for a successful outreach.
It’s up to community manager/leader to offer to newcomers a right, comfortable, human environment, which immediately makes them feel part of the community and accepted by other members.

Mentorship is very important, representing the human connection with community, but, unfortunately, despite of its importance, is probably less present than it should be.

Instant messaging and IRC Channel cover a key role in direct interacting with other community members.

Daily interaction is very useful to improve newcomer’s tasks and help them meet community’s standard and guideline.

The most a job will be close to community’s standard, the most newcomer will be considered as a good contributor by the rest of community, and mutual respect will grow easier.

Technical factors

A strong, structured community is the ground floor to offer the best approach to a volunteer.
In such a community, tasks should be organized in a progressive way, from easier to harder to let the volunteers improving their knowledge and avoiding the risk of fast-rising boredom.

Generally a good choice is to reserve some easy and short tasks to newcomers, task fit to learn community workflow and feel immediately involved.

The same kind of progression could be spent in bug reporting/ticketing system.

Most projects are used to organize tasks’ management though  bug reporting/ticketing systems, but differences among all bug reporting/ticketing systems used by FLOSS projects  could represent a bemusement issue for newcomers.

Organizing bug reporting/ticketing system progressively, and clearly explain bug reporting/ticketing system criteria, surely helps in make newcomers more comfortable in triage/bug triage/bug reporting process.

The Women factor

The Women-in-FLOSS issue is always an open question.
There’s no denying that the FLOSS community has many virtues, but gender equality doesn’t seem to be one of them.
The lack of female participation is a plague that hits about every FLOSS community.
Female participation in FLOSS is not so easily measurable, but generally it has considered in an average between 1% and 5%.
Well, the birth and the rapid grown of mentoring programs for women really demonstrated to be the leading way to increase women involvement.
All the communities involved in GNOME’s Outreach Program for Women have seen an effective, increasing participation of women and GUADEC 2012 has reached the awesome goal of 17% women attendees.

What happens in GNOME?

We could figure volunteers that wishes become GNOME contributors, access to gnome.org website and from there to Get involved page.

Then they have the opportunity to get in touch with team members via mailing list or IRC chat o start contributing by choosing a Bugzilla task.

In GNOME tasks reserved for newcomers are marked as gnome-love bug.

GNOME love

The heart of welcoming process in GNOME is represented by GNOME-love initiative.
GNOME love initiative offers, among others, a selected task list for coding and not coding contributors, a list of members willing to give advice to newcomers and serve as Mentors, and a dedicated IRC channel, #gnome-love.

During last days I’ve tried to figure what could have happened to me if I had decided to start contributing in GNOME by myself.

I found gnome-love bugs too technical for me, but I’ve been lucky in #gnome-love IRC channel where André Klapper has been so kind to explain how I could give my contribute in translation team (the team which I pretended to want join in).

My outreach in GNOME definitely could not be done without human factor.

Suggestions.

The following are only my suggestions to improve newcomers outreach.

Enhance GNOME love initiative.

I firmly believe GNOME love initiative is excellent, but, maybe it is not very advertised.
I suggest to slightly redesign the “Get involved” web page to focus the presence of a dedicated path for newcomers. A good project to lurk could be Wikipedia.

Moreover a stronger visibility of available tutorials for newcoming developers – http://developer.gnome.org/gnome-devel-demos/ – could be helpful to offer a nice, quick and effective overview of GNOME development kit.

Design Development & Documentation.

I know that designers and developers are something that could be reasonably compared with artists, and artists are generally driven by inspiration. But offer to a contributors, an exhaustive guideline and a rich documentation could be very useful to let them get the right perspective. A wiki page as Nautilus for instance, is not very supportive for a new arrived volunteer.

Maybe Documentation team could support designers and developers in providing accurate documentation.

Therefore I strongly suggest to increase the visibility of aforementioned gnome-devel-demos, which could be expanded with more tutorials and demos. Or, more generally, I suggest any initiative that could feature in a structured manner focused articles, short guides, and getting started content covering the core of GNOME development.
A good reference for an accurate and structured documentation for developers could be found at https://developer.apple.com/devcenter/mac/index.action (articles, getting started, guides, references, featured content…).

Mid-Long Term

Could be interesting to explore the possibility to gather the mid-long term planned tasks in order to integrate the effort of new contributors.

Wiki pages of single projects could list those info and help people (new and old too) to understand the direction a project is going to take and what will be needed of useful or important to do.

GNOME Open Day

Human touch is the key for success.
Sometimes newcomers find difficult to step-in the circle of trust of people that everyday work together and have the same vision of a project.
I believe a huge help could be offered by regular IRC open meetings, in which new contributors could run into developers/designers to debate projects which are interested in.

Keep an eye out other communities

FLOSS world is populated by many communities related to many different projects.

I don’t believe there is a standard way to welcome wannabe-volunteers – it depends on the basin in which each project draws, from technical and not-technical volunteers – but keep an eye out other communities could be always inspiring.

I do remember that data Kevin collected, regard only volunteers that are now structured contributors of each project, but don’t forget that there is a large amount of people who approaches a community or the FLOSS world and then leaves it.
We’re not able to measure the average of people who remains and who leaves, but every contributor, every contribute matters, and work to improve outreach process means work to avoid precious efforts be lost.