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December always feels like a weird place in-between. It is not completely in the past, and also not completely in the future. But it isn't in the moment either. It is the time to reflect on achievements and things that happened during the last year and it is also the time to look into the future. And in this void of time we come up with cool new ideas and projects to work on, to find out what we want to focus on and to figure out what we might want to learn during the next 12 months.
Then again, you could argue that time has lost its meaning during the pandemic anyway. We are getting ready to write "2022" into our calendars when in fact we haven't quite grasped the fact that March 2020 was not last month. And in fact: Haven't we lived in quite a fruitful void for nearly two years now? What creative ideas did we come up with that we have worked and will work on in the future?
For 2022 I did not set any goals. I "just" put the word Curiosity as the theme for my next 12 months. And I plan on fully emerging into everything my curiosity drives me towards. You have been the source for it. You are part of it. You will hear about it.
So here's to an interesting 2021 and a curious 2022! Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!

What we wrote

Dear Santa, ...

Dear Santa, ...
Welcome to the holiday season. Christmas songs are everywhere. The more modern ones like "All I want for Christmas is you" or "Last Christmas" (the earworms that were just incoming? You're welcome!) or the more ancient ones. What most christmas songs have in common though, is a sense of saviour being a part in them. Be it a romantic other who is all that is still missing to make the fest a good one or be it the actual saviour in the form of Christ. It's actually pretty hard to avoid making the holidays about anything else than saving.

This year and in that spirit let me remind you to include another saviour into your prayers. If you follow the debates about [fill in a global crisis of your choice here] there is a common element in all of these tales. Because yeah, it's bad, but we already have a cure-all! All hail the rise of technology.

But let's not forget that technology itself also needs a saviour. Big Tech rarely meets ethics concerns within new technologies and bringing the awareness into tech companies has proven to be a major chunk of work. And if technology is to solve the climate crisis how can we avoid it contributing to it by large? So in the spirit of the season, this time let's look at twelve ideas I wish we could include into our considerations. Let's make technology better to make the world better!

P.S. This wishlist is not weighted. No wish is more or less important than the other. Just one focus at a time.

On the first day of christmas, I wish for more media literacy training for digital media. We need offers to show how to judge news and information online just as much as we learned to separate and judge the news in different newspapers.

On the second day of christmas, I wish for more inclusive tech. Make it easy for as many people as possible to actually use it, profit from it and make their lives easier.

On the third day of christmas, I wish for the investment companies to critically investigate the over-estimation of tech companies. Use your money for something that actually helps people, not something that puts the word “AI” in their pitch presentation. Let WeWork, Theranos and TLT be the lessons to be learned.

On the fourth day of christmas, I wish for the insight, that offering the same feature as your competitor does not add to your revenue. We started from downloading movies somewhat legally to being willing to pay for Netflix, because we could stream many movies we wanted with one single subscription to being now asked again by every media outlet separately to buy a subscription with their respective service. Competition is good, too much competition harms everybody. Let’s cherish the ecosystem thought and cooperate on platforms rather than separating one and the same service.

On the fifth day of christmas, I wish for global tech companies to also offer a product that are designed from a global perspective and not just from a western-centric viewpoint.

On the sixth day of christmas, I wish for an end to the hero complex in tech management. There is not that one big brain that changes the world. It is many people, who work together. It’s always a team effort!

On the seventh day of christmas, I wish for more safe spaces for everyone on the internet. For the notion to build safe spaces by default.

On the eight day of christmas, I wish for tech companies to not just do something, because it is possible. I wish for them to consider their actions and implications. I wish them to decide what is decent to do!

On the ninth day of christmas, I wish for a change in the narrative who is a person in tech. Tech is not just for clever nerds. We need so many disciplines working together to create a good application. If you think you have something to say, you belong in tech, with or without an computer science degree.

On the tenth day of christmas, I wish for a more unbiased approach to the problems tech is solving. Consider your priviledges and consider your biases. And then keep them out of your product.

On the eleventh day of christmas, I wish for more understanding of the mechanisms of technology in politics. The internet is not something that will soon pass. Take it seriously. But don’t over-regulate it either to hinder developments for the sake of companies who are just too incapable to change their business model.

On the twelfth day of christmas, I wish for an end to the tale that tech alone will save all of our problems. It won't. It isn't supposed to. Some things we have to do for ourselves. Tech is just the tool to help us do that. But the impulse to do so has to come from within ourselves.

What others wrote

No text I ever write just comes out of my brain from some form of abyss. I am not that genius creative. I read a lot of stuff that forms my opinion. Not all of it makes it into my articles. Some things are just a brain tickler. So I will share good pieces with you, so maybe they also tickle your brain.
If data is the new oil, then maybe the antitrust rulebook written to regulate Big Oil at the beginning of the 20th century might be a good starting point to regulate Big Tech as well? The MIT Technology Review put together an analysis how this might affect the big tech players
(possibly paywall)
We invented space travel. We have the ability to physically leave earth. So why even preserve it? Why not just pack our bags and start anew somewhere else? Well, here are 11 reasons why!
No good Christmas celebration without somebody telling a story. So how do we become storytellers? This Medium article might have an idea for you - just let your body speak.

A word from...
Steven Pinker

"The book to read is not the one that thinks for you but the one which makes you think" - Harper Lee
This month I want to recommend you "Enlightenment Now" by Steven Pinker
Enlightenment now
We live in times that are as prosperous as none before have been for humankind. Yet one could get the impression that these times are the most tumultuous and doomed of humankind. Steven Pinker asks us to take a break, breathe deep and then have another look.
The means to see our progress are not new at all. If we follow the ideals of the Enlightenment - Reason, Science and Humanism - and adapt them for our times we have everything we need to lead us further into a prosperous future - whatever we decide that means!

The Good News

What was the last billboard that you saw? What was your feeling about it? For me, personally, I mostly don't see them anymore. I notice them, but I don't really see them. Why would I? Just another one of the same billboards that pave the city.
But cities are places for people and people want to see beautiful and inspiring things, right? This is why Adfree Cities wants to claim back the space taken up by advertising and give back the beauty to its citizens.

What's new?

I have a "Now" page. So everyone can see what is going on.
What is a Now page? It's "a page that tells you what this person is focused on at this point in their life. Think of what you’d tell a friend you hadn’t seen in a year." The idea was first brought into the world by Derek Sivers. So this is me sharing myself with you, just as I would do with friends I haven't seen in a year. Even if we have never met in person.
That's it for this month. This time that's also it for this year. Thanks for reading the seventh Edition and for your support over this first and exciting year. Please let me know what you think of the newsletter. All feedback welcome!
And on a last note, just to let you know: This newsletter, as any, was made by the loving support of snacks and the vastness of the internet.
We actively want to bring in colours, not just lighten the place up! We want to create the space, where ideas from other dimensions are included, where thoughts outside of the black and white realm find a touchpoint with the spectrum. We want to explore possibilities how our society can be a better one when we don’t fight the unknown but embrace it with open arms and a curious mind. It is an offer to think differently. It’s an offer for different views, opinions and insights so that the “One Size Fits All” story of technology becomes a range of various stories that show us the immense beauty of digitalization.
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