Calm Technology on the Radical Therapist Podcast!

Ever since the NPR Ted Talks radio episode came out, I’ve been invited to be on a number of different podcasts. Podcasts are one of my favorite things to do, so I almost always say yet!

Two days ago, I was a guest of Chris Hoff on the The Radical Therapist podcast. The show explores the intersections of collaborative therapy, psychology, philosophy, art, and science & technology.

In this episode, Hoff interviews me about Cyborg Anthropology and the view that most of modern human life is a product of both human and non-human objects, and how we interact with machines and technology in many ways defines who we are.

We also talk about the principles of Calm Technology and the idea that technology should require the smallest amount of our attention.

You can listen to more interviews on the Radical Therapist website!

Invisible Design at Portland Design Museum’s Story Hour

invisible-design-talk-design-museum-portland On July 15th I gave a short talk on invisible design at Portland Design Museum’s Story Hour. Story Hour is a recurring live podcast series hosted at various locations around Portland, Oregon.

This week’s event was the second in the series. Story Hour opened to the design community on July 15, 2015 from 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm, and the rooftop deck at OnDeck Sports bar was completely packed with people!

Story Hour: Invisible Design Storytellers

  • Grace Andrews, Co-Founder of Lurébel
  • Matthew Bietz, Founder & Creative Director, Quarter Twenty
  • Amber Case, Cyborg Anthropologist,
  • Pete Cole, CEO, Gamblin Colors
  • Kristen Gallagher, Founder, Edify Education Design
  • Pinky Gonzalez, CEO, SightWorks
  • Nick Parish, President, Americas, Contagious
  • Melody Rowell, MFA Collaborative Design 2015, PNCA, Founder & CEO, Project COMIC
  • Ken Tomita, Founder & Sean Kelly, Product Designer, Grovemade
  • Kenneth Weigelt, Associate Creative Director, INDUSTRY
  • Jennifer Woodward, Founder, Pulp & Deckle


About Story Hour
Design Museum Portland’s Story Hour offers the opportunity to share tales of creativity and exploration, live and onstage. It begins with a theme and a group of storytellers, each story is unique, drawing from the tellers interpretation and experience. Whether it’s a student’s first forays or an established professional’s years of practice, their range of perspectives offer an audience inspiration, commonality, and good fun. Each Story Hour is crafted into a subsequent podcast where the stories live on.

Invisible Design
Design doesn’t just make things beautiful, it makes them usable. And successful design has often been described as, at its best, invisible, seamlessly weaving its way into our everyday lives.

Business Leader NW Speaker Highlight | Urban Anthropologist Jennifer James

Today was a conference called Business Leader NW. It occurred at the Portland Convention Center. One of the highlights of the day was a keynote by Urban Anthropologist Jennifer James.


It is always exciting to meet other anthropologists, and I was introduced to her before her speech. We exchanged a rapid amount of words back and forth. Of all the things spoken, I am able to report that she was very calm before her speech. Evidenced by a lot of practice speaking around the world.

In fact, her speech was pretty memorable. She talked about all of culture being a mythology. It’s a pretty epic look at the reality. I attempted to record the speech, the results of which are below. Apologizes for the clicking noises. I tried to type quietly.

About Jennifer

Jennifer James is an urban cultural anthropologist who was for 12 years a full time faculty member of the Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Department at the University of Washington. She left the University in 1982 to follow her interest in international business and community service.  She now lectures to audiences around the world.

Speech Highlights

“Why are all the newspapers failing? It’s because they don’t print the news. They’re not challenging anyone”.

“Let’s not teach evolution in schools — because it is only a theory. They’re right – but so is gravity. I invite someone to the roof of this convention center with me right now to prove me wrong”.

“What is adaptability? The ability to use your critical thinking skills”.

“We’re in the technological age and we still want to use mythology”.

“We’re choosing clients and consultants because we think we’re like them. Because we’ll get along with them. It’s often what we need is the opposite”.

“You must know your myths and the myths of the people you’re dealing with”.

“It’s amazing how much time we waste because we’ve ‘always done it that way’ – that’s what the comic strip Dilbert is about”.

“You have to consider what people need. It’s not just money that motivates, but a work/life balance”.

“In times of great stress/change leadership is no longer complete mastery”.

“You have to match tasks in an organization with those with the strength to do those tasks”.

“The best way to lead through times of great change is through influence — which is by telling a compelling story”.

A compelling story consists of the following things:
• A set of ideas that fit the future.
• Those ideas have to resonate to deeply held values
• The person telling the story has to be believable.

“Now you can go to Costco and buy a gallon jug of Mayonnaise that you’ll have to leave in your will — because you won’t use it”.

“Why do rich people buy seven houses? Because they can’t get over security”.

Your customers — they need a product that makes them feel that they’re moving up Maslow’s hierarchy while still feeling secure.

On the Concentration of Energy by Technology

“The minute you replace a steam engine with a microchip you have concentrated energy”.

“Economics is nothing more than the efficient use of the energy available”.

“Those who have a high amount of productivity in the workplace are those who are most trusted: it relaxes them. They can do more work. They can do better work”.

“We change the definition of intelligence — now you have intelligence retrieval”.

On the Census

“Why are polar bears white? So they can go to better schools? It is absurdity — these census categories. We can handle the economics or we’re going out of business. We understand that diversity opens our business and opens our minds. The last part is opening our systems”.

“If you offer people a business that gives them meaning — people are hungry for lives that have values — they will work harder and take less money”.

Three Parts to Civilization

• Increasing access to information
• Increasing inclusivity – the more we’re wiling to see leadership where it is, the more likely we’ll accept it
• Increasing non-violent alternatives to violence – learning to debate — learning to use soft power

The audience at this conference contained no laptops. Except for the blogging pavilion, I was the only technosocially connected one in the audience. This is one of the reasons I love business conferences. The people to talk to are not the ones that understand who you are and what you do — they’re those who are different. This situation maximizes the potential exchange of ideas between people.

More About Business Leader NW

There was a lot more to do and see than just this one speech. Want to know more about Business Leader NW? Check out the Business Leader NW conference site, or the BLNW blog. Tweets associated with #blnw are available as well. Thanks to Alex H. Williams – @podcasthotel for organizing the Blogger Pavillion which serviced people new to social media with advice on blogging, Twittering and digital marketing. Also check out the website of Jennifer James.

Hazelnut Tech Talk Episode 10 | A Dinner Discussion With Reid Beels And Chris Pitzer


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Hazelnut Tech Talk is a collaboration between Amber Case and Bram Pitoyo

This episode features Reid Beels and Chris Pitzer, wherein we talked about abandonware, search engines with unique algorithms, Cyber Surfari-adorned T-shirt, getting free meals for reading books, and a potential CyborgCamp session composed of scientifically extrapolating claims in science fiction stories of the past to predict the future.

And if you listen to the end of the podcast, Reid’s and Chris’ Twitter username is @reidab and @chrispitzer, respectively.

Hazelnut Tech Talk

Hazelnut Tech Talk Episode 9 | Steve Gehlen, Inverge, Banjos, and the Future of Portland

Steve Gehlen playing the Banjo at SOUK.

Hazelnut Tech Talk is a collaboration between Amber Case and Bram Pitoyo.

This episode features Steve Gehlen, Founder & Producer of Portland’s Inverge: The Interactive Convergence Conference that will occur on from 8Am-5Pm on September 4+5, 2008 at the Gerding Theater at the Armory (128 NW 11th Avenue), and Cre8Con,

Steve Gehlen had many great things to say about the future of Portland, the creative and tech community, and how he first got into technology. He mentioned MIT, convergence culture, and the importance of community. Then, as a surprise, he took out a banjo and played us as song, making this episode the first musical Hazelnut Tech Talk since Derrek Wayne’s brief interlude into HTT Episode 2).

Steve has had the unique position of pioneering the entrance of technology into enterprise businesses. He is also the president and founder of Portland’s Internet Strategy Forum.

If you happen to be attending Inverge, I (Amber Case) will be speaking at 1Pm on Friday, the 5th of September. The presentation title will be “From Telephone to Tweetup: an abbreviated history of technology and social exchange“.

Don’t Miss:

Scott Kveton, Chairman, OpenID Foundation, VP of Open Platforms, Vidoop.


Portland’s extremely talented Raven Zachary, Principal,, will also be speaking on iPhone intelligence.

You can still register for Inverge if you like.

Thanks to:

SOUK | Hot Desks | Meeting Rooms | Community

Hazelnut Tech Talk was recorded this weekend at SOUK, a coworking space for Portland freelancers, independent consultants and entrepreneurs.

SOUK offers hourly, daily and monthly work space and meeting rooms and is centrally located in Old Town Chinatown. It’s also very quiet, open, and full of comfortable chairs and desks. Contact. Website. (Shh…there’s also a summer special that gives you $250/month for a full time membership).

Hazelnut Tech Talk

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