Flash Geek Diversity

Ok, so I?ve only had one class, and read one chapter (4 as far as my teacher is concerned as I?m still working on my homework?), but I?m really attempting to get as much as I can out of this class. That may sound like I?m straining and I am? I feel that I?m not racist, and try my damndest not to be stereotypical unless where applicable (most Flash apps are MVP, hehe), and generally try to meet and understand new people who are different than me.

The book I?ve read so far talks about managing diversity. They talk about hard evidence supporting monetary gains to upper management to show that adding & managing diversity is worthwhile to a company’s success. They clearly explain that a mis-managed, diverse group costs more than a mis-managed, similar one. However, the gains are much more both monetarily as well as increased problem solving abilities. Because of diverse views from skill sets, age, gender, race and different ethnic groups, many more perspectives are brought into play, and those ideas that are brought up affect the other ideas, as well as ideas being more thoroughly examined.

I can see the benefits, and difficulties in ?my reality? as my bosses? boss likes to say at work.

John Robinson and I are very similar; artists who love Flash, have no formal programming education (at least I don?t think he does, never told me), and we both want skinnable components. When working together, it?s pretty easy to identify and communicate our goals to each other.

Darron Schall and I are somewhat similar, too. Like John, he and I are about the same age (1 year difference), we?re both getting married soon, both like Flash, and like helping others through explanation. However, he has had formal education in computer science, whilst I am formerly trained in multimedia and art. He approaches projects, in my limited experience with him, from a planning perspective, is very organized, and his code is clean. I like to dive right in, and plan as I go, and as long as my code is blatant in bad practices, is readable, and runs well, then I?m happy, even if I have to use one compiler hack or 50. Communicating ideas are somewhat more challenged, because as we reexamine them, I get a better understanding of his motives, and he mine. The communication, although more drawn out, is a lot more rewarding sometimes because I learn from him most of the time, and one day back years ago, I think he learned from me. In the case of John, it?s rewarding because things go smoothly, project based communication wise, and we can generally be a step ahead of each other in our emails. However, I recognize the benefit of a skill set difference.

Melvyn Song Kian Guan is from Singapore, I believe, and English is like his 15th language. He?s up when I?m asleep, and asleep while I?m awake. He can communicate fine, but he is not exactly on the Flashcom list, where I originally met him, when I am. However, the nature of an email list allows us to have conversations nonetheless. He?s more than willing to help, and assisted in testing a Flashcom app I was messing with early last year?or was it 2002?it?s all a blur. Anyway, his perspective at being at a university has helped me understand some of the market reasons behind Flashcom in the scholastic realm. I think it was his app, or something he might have been directly related to during the SARS scare, where Singapore (I think) schools were attended by kids at home via Flashcom instead of venturing out. He was also the first person to implement the ?web sharing? component, where via a Flashcom sharedobject, he?d change the url he was looking at, and a getURL was triggered on everyone else?s end, and their browser would navigate there. It was a fantastic, and creative implementation of Flashcom. Had I not had the chance to communicate with someone like him, many of us wouldn?t have had the good discourse as well as ideas proposed back in the early days of Flashcom (not business early days, technology early days). He also showed me that peeps from Singapore (if I get the country right) are just like me, only not as loud mouthed & emotional as I tend to be.

They hired a chick for Statcom, the sister company that used to be next to my cube, but now most of it is on the 5th floor with Erik Bianchi, my Flash co-worker of sorts since he technically works for them. A long time ago, I used to joke in college about how chicks were better at HTML because they had that caring touch to make things work together, where as guys were better at lower-level languages because they could aggressively bang the crud together to work. It got less funny as I got real-world experience, learned that a female Navy Admiral invented COBOL, that a femme from Seattle created one of the most popular web destinations for Flashers, the one of my favorite Central apps, Blog Reader, was created by a woman, and my recent contract employer (who didn?t laugh at the joke, btw, vehemently scoffing that females are very good at coding, and those that are in engineering areas are extremely good at it)? and finally my mom learned Flash while I was learning it. This challenged a lot, easily dropped mind you, suppositions I had about women in technology. I wasn?t really thinking sexist, I just didn?t know any females that actually coded. I knew tons of female designers, but none that were like, ?Dude, I mutagated my threads last night? oh my god??. So, reading blogs like GalaxyGoo, and Bizznatch-who-kizz?er, Bitch Who Codes, some of the postings of Jessica from were-here, her majesty obviously, Vera?s, the Macromedia.com/into, the book I learned HTML from written by a woman, and bantering with some of the females on the Flashn00bz list, I can definitely see the benefits of females in Flash. We even questioned why not more awhile back. She who must be obeyed and I argued a few years back about why at DAX, my old design studio job, we didn?t even consider hiring a woman. I felt, back then, that a girl would not fit into our culture, nor did we as employees want to fit one into it? at least, that was what I felt was the general consensus. Now, though, I wish we had. Not that anything could have been done to save that poor, doomed ship, but even towards the end, my manager and I went to the woman from the sister company for mediation in disputes. The secretaries always brightened my day, and it was nice to talk about the ?hot VB chick? next door? she had cool friends at the company party, too. So, I?m glad they hired a woman Flash coder. Although I am not part of their dynamic nor company, I do help from time to time, and ask for help as well. I think that a female is a good, and valued addition to their dynamic? which was already somewhat dynamic to start with.

Finally age and maturity. I know they are not mutually exclusive, but people like Phillip Kerman, who aren?t that much older (before he beats my arse), yet still have a more mature, and experienced perspective. There are many others too on the Flashcom lists as well as people I?ve met, like Leif and Don, two professionals here in Atlanta as well as some of the people I work with. I?ve always felt that older people are always valuable, regardless of gender, race, etc. as I?ve always learned something from all of them. However, from people like Jonas Galvez who are what I would consider somewhat young, even though he?s an adult, his exuberance is a reminder of what I was like at that age are definite reality checks as well as perspective modifiers that help keep me realistic, but not arrogant (well, I try? seriously). I?m not that old, but from the young people I meet, they do help in ways that, at least now, are hard to articulate. Like, next week, I?m going to speak at that middle-school up in northern Georgia for Career day like I did last year. Last year, I learned they are learning a Director like program? IN FRIKIN? 6th GRADE! OMFG dude? could you imagine if you started Flash or Director in 6th grade? I think Jonas helps me see that potential, see that applied talent, and in talking to these kids, and getting those phat thank you cards, I realize not only how much harder I have to work, but how much more educated the world is becoming. By learning from the younger, I can better focus on my future.

My trip to Australia last year was pretty much all of those together; I met so many different people from so many different backgrounds, genders (plural because the hookers were cross-dressers), and countries. I think out of all life experiences where learning about diversity has enhanced my character, my trip to Australia had to be it.

Ok, I think I covered them all; age, gender, ethnic background (for now, I group this with race), and skill set. With the above, I can see why the Flash Community (plus with the influx of Web Designers and Cold Fusion ?esque peeps) is such a dynamic and thriving area with such diversity. I think some of the leaders that have emerged have managed it quite well. Jessica is pretty smart in her initiatives and preemptive actions over at were-here, Brandon Hall has remained pretty mature and calm through the many list dramas, Mike Chambers & JD have responded quite intelligently, and self-controlled to all the issues that arise from such diversity. All in all, I can see how these concepts are applicable to applying them to a business through a group of people that are diverse, and as long as those different behaviors and cultural behaviors are understood by all, and communication is continually massaged less and less, wonderful innovation and dynamics help the company succeed.

At least, that?s what I got out of Chapter 3.

8 Replies to “Flash Geek Diversity”

  1. I was coding HTML 5 years ago, NO PROPS FOR ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I admit I don’t want to be a hard core programmer, but I am a pretty good with front end code!

  2. Am I allowed to join in or is this private… :P

    I’m a french Canadian living in Montreal. I’m working as a Flash coder. Our office is comprised of 3 lebanese guys, one taiwanese guy, one guy from Toronto (or close to, he’s my cousin), one russian guy, 3 chinese girls, 2 corean girls, 1 palestinian girl, a japanese girl and me, the frog.

    The company is located in a 75% french city (Montreal), and yet I’m the only french-born in the office. Now, 2 of the lebanese guys and the guy from Toronto speak french also, but still… that’s how ‘United-Nation-esque’ our office is.

    Does that bring a different perspective on coding and interfacing? Definitely yes. Is it better or worse than an all (insert some cultural background) office? I think not. It’s just diferent.

    I think the only ‘problem’ we have at the office is that we have 4 diferent religions represented (plus me who’s an atheist), mixed with all those cultural diferences. It’s not a problem in the office per se, but the fact is that NOBODY (except my bloque of a cousin and me) are seeing each other outside of the office. There’s a certain lack of fraternity going on.

    We all like each other, but nobody would die for one of his cubicle neighbour. Is that a cultural/religious/racial problem? I think not. It’s just too many cultural clashes in an over-stressed environment. If the stress wasn’t there, we would probably all go out for a drink during the weekend. But since the stress is there, every single one of us is going the easy way: hanging w/ people of the same beliefs/race/whatever (or lack thereof) to easen the transition from stress to fun.

    And that was my 0.02$

  3. Diversity – such a great topic. Imagine looking at Director code that was done in ad-hoc Italian and trying to decipher it. Had that experience and it was interesting – because the language is different, but the words are the same if you get what i mean;)

    I’ve learned that age does not mean maturity all the time – I’ve worked with people younger than me who are wise beyond their young years( http://www.chewtinfoil.com) and have so much insight – insight typically acquired and developed through experience. Grant Skinner is another example of this – he’s young yet has such a solid view and grasp of the industry – not just coding but client relations & project management. Tony MacDonnell- young genius that he is – is probably the most patient person i know with such a passion for what he does – that you can’t help but be motivated. That dude has guided and inspired me 100%. He is always willing to help. No questions is ever a dumb one with him. When it comes to age – people have to remember that regardless of years, everyone has something to offer- even if its a different point of view.

    The female thing – dare i touch it? I have learned something from each person I have worked with regardless of gender. That is all i can ask -and all I can offer in return.

    Skill sets – we love to be challenged by those above us and have access to them to chat it up and get ideas and insight – and for those working at a lower level, i have to say , the flash community is one of the most accepting communites – embracing all skill levels. You won’t find that on Direct-L;)

    I have a couple email buddies – people that i bounce ideas off of, that i can shoot code to and say WTF – that I may be able to help in some perverse way. I have one buddy that I literally live for his emails – because I know its gonna be something about Flash that will make me think – that will get me going in directions and challenging me in ways I didn’t think I could bend.

    Diversity is why the Flash community is as tight and strong as it is.

  4. You are a very smart young guy, did I ever tell you that? I just read your 03/19 post & think you are a darn deep, thoughtful guy with a highway of personal greatness in the future for yourself. I hope my kids turn out like you…I mean the you now…heh heh! :) Same for Brandy…both of you…smart people, good hearts, great talent…your kids will be amazing too.

    – Ever both your fans, Grannie Kristina :-D

  5. I think that whole “we won’t hire her becuase she might not fit in with the guys” is a large part of why I never got a job ActionScripting for several years. It’s sad, and even comes from the ‘older and more mature’. But hey, no job so I’ll just continue to write coding books about what I tried to get work in, mostly bought by guys, some of whom email me for help with coding? Funny circle, dat.

    There’s a lot of prejudice and complete and utter blindness and stupidity in how chicks are treated still out there, I’ve really witnessed it in and around the community and at school. In other places, particularly by Macromedians, I have been treated with utter respect. But I’m glad to see some dudes finally see the light that gender really has nothing to do with Flash. Some of us girls can code circles around them guys! Some guys can code circles around girls. Yay equality.

    Good post!

  6. awe.. saw your comment in my blog. I miss you JUST as much as I miss toby (well maybe a wee bit more..) LUV YOU BABY! See you tommorow :) one way or the other!!

    I want to cuddle with my MAN!1!!!!!!!!!(*U@#(*!!

Comments are closed.