January 18, 2014

Speaker Announcement: Dann Stayskal — A Digital Craftsman
Category: 2014 Event, Speaker Announcements

Dann Stayskal

Ask Dann Stayskal what he’d like to give a talk on and here are just some of the topics that he is both personally interested in and highly-qualified to talk about: computational meta-ethics (using computers to calculate the rightness or wrongness of directed actions); human rights (the topic of his first book); intellectual property (the topic of his second book); computational linguistics (using technology to help preserve dying languages); IED jamming technology (which he has designed, saving thousands of lives); hackerspaces and radical inclusion (making science and technology accessible to people without academic resources or economic means); cryptosystem development (designing and building systems for journalists and activists to communicate and store data securely); and mutant superpowers (he has one).

And we haven’t even mentioned the topic he’ll be speaking about on event day. But here’s a hint (that you could probably figure out based on the list above): it involves the use of technology to empower individuals and communities.

Dann came to Portland in 2010, the year he started working for Copious, an award-winning digital product agency. During his time with Copious, Dann built an engineering team and helped the company stay on Portland Business Journal’s fastest growing companies list for three years in a row. Currently Dann works remotely as an engineer for a digital startup based in New York City.

The remote nature of Dann’s work gives him the freedom to stay involved in a number of local organizations and communities, one of which is a Portland-based feminist hackerspace that he co-founded—Flux. We first heard about Dann from another member of Flux that happens to be a TEDxConcordiaUPortland (now known as TEDxMtHood) alum—Mathew Lippincott (the man who had the audacity to request that a toilet be brought on stage for his talk last year). Curious why these two men are part of a feminist hackerspace? Watch this video of Mathew addressing that issue at Flux’s grand opening—it’s just as entertaining and thought-provoking as his toilet-themed talk last year. Then go read this essay that Dann wrote about the code of conduct at Flux and how it addresses the issue of privilege head-on.

Dann’s approach to life is equal parts individual agency and community involvement. When asked what quickens his pulse, here was his response: “Helping people exercise their own agency over their lives, ambitions, and future. This includes intersubjectivity—that sense of interdependence that helps us go further in life together.”

Dann’s record has shown that he has no problem doing it himself, but that he also does what he does in support of the broader community. Find out more about his work and his interests on his website.  

Dann is a digital craftsman working for the betterment of humankind, and we’re excited to have him as a speaker on May 3rd. Join us on event day so that, together, we can all go further.

Doug Neill

Doug Neill is an illustrator, writer, and teacher who became involved with TEDxConcordiaUPortland because of a tweet. After a last-minute contribution to the 2013 event, he decided to join the planning team for 2014. He draws things, writes stories, and helps prep speakers to give a memorable performance on event day