Djangocon: On privilege and moral duty - Maik Hoepfel

Tags: django, djangocon, python

(One of the summaries of a talk at the 2015 Djangocon EU conference).

Maik Hoepfel says we have superpowers. Just a few programmers can write a dating website that arranges thousands of relationships. We can write software that detects earthquake victims in an afternoon. We write software that make traffic lights safe.

We are in demand. We are privileged. Very privileged. We don’t have a dress code. We have flexible hours. Who else has this? We belong to the “1%”.

(Note that a commenter afterwards took issue with the 1%: we’re very privileged, but we’re not making the millions of Euros that would put us in the 1% in our countries.)

On the other hand, companies pay hefty sums to get us to work for us. But still we’re afraid to ask for things. Negotiating regular work hours instead of having to work 60 hours a week? Time for exercise and good sleep? Time for our families? We have the power to negotiate. Why don’t we do that?

We could use that extra time and money for other things. Teaching people. Being there for family. Maintaining open source projects.

Note also: much of our work has little impact. How much impact does a commenting site have? Or something to easily share cat photos? Much of it doesn’t make much impact.

Who’s going to fight the big privacy war? That’s a war that is raging on our own home turf. Who is going to fight it if we don’t do it?

There are plenty of things wrong with this world. Some of those things, we could help solve. We have the possibility. We have the moral duty.

So: negotiate more time/money to start a business/project/movement. Or to hack/teach/grow/help/enjoy with friends/family/initiatives/projects.

(His slides and notes are on

(Note: I found this related article in Maik’s twitter messages. Also a nice read.)

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About me

My name is Reinout van Rees and I work a lot with Python (programming language) and Django (website framework). I live in The Netherlands and I'm happily married to Annie van Rees-Kooiman.

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