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About the Author
Anthropologist, archaeologist, educator, podcaster, espresso addict, and comic book enthusiast with a restless mind.

Consulting, Big Data and Social Justice w/ Dr. Tricia Wang

Dr. Tricia Wang sees her work consulting as sitting at the crossroads of data and social justice. As a global tech ethnographer, Dr. Wang is obsessed with how technology and humans shape each other. In her own words, she wants to know, “How do the tools we use enable us to do more of what humans do, like socializing, emoting, and collaborating? And how do human perspectives shape the technology we build and how we use it?”

Said differently, Dr. Tricia Wang’s expertise inhabits a gray space between industry and the academy. A space where many social scientists do not find easy comfort. Yet, Dr. Wang’s very candid enthusiasm is enough to draw in even the most ardent skeptics. In her own words, Dr. Wang has “always been between worlds” seeing the best in both. Though academics tend to value known discovery methods, and excel, they are less likely to engineer new prototypes.

Watch Dr. Tricia Wang’s TED Talk

Dr. Wang is a global technology ethnographer. What this means is that she does deep work inside international corporations. But what is her reason for doing so? Dr. Wang believes that “we don’t truly understand how people make decisions” or actionable insights (to use a buzz word). To have an insight is to gain an accurate and deep intuitive understanding of a person or thing. Making an insight “actionable” means finding a purpose for the new knowledge.

One of the biggest insights Dr. Wang has is recognizing that every company is its own beautiful nation. Traditionally, anthropologists had gone off to faraway lands to study remote peoples. To find insight in culture one needed to experience a group that was different. Sometimes this difference has been referred to as otherness. For a while, it wasn’t accepted that anthropologists could study others if they stayed to close to home or even conducted research in their own country.

Dr. Wang is not saying work at home. What she recognizes is that the difference between corporations, their cultures, norms, and history are much more distinct than you might imagine on the surface. This is even true of corporations which might share in the same interests, markets, and products. These differences need to be understood, and not taken for granted, for someone to make a difference. Dr. Wang’s goals are about relationship building especially when major corporations don’t realize how different they are from their competitors. Here is where anthropological methods of coming to understand culture can become important in big ways.

Read: Why Big Data Needs Thick Data

The corporations Dr. Wang researches tend to work with big data. Big data is big business, and that makes it political. How corporations use it, what they preference or discard, and who has access are part of how political lines are drawn. Big data can easily be misused and can be hegemonic, holding power over different groups to the point of racism. This is because people’s data is being used with no context and without their permission.

Dr. Wang’s first big insight was that big data is not being misused, it is being abused. She discovered this during her dissertation research, seeing the problems with big data as being so severe that issues stemmed beyond personal infringements upon privacy. Instead, Dr. Wang recognized something more heinous, that even the notion of personhood was impacted.

With this critical insight, Dr. Wang has sought to first translate and promote awareness of abuses. In her own words, “I see my work inside corporations as an act of social justice. I fight hegemony.”

Discover more of Dr. Tricia Wang’s Insights on triciawang.com

Being an anthropologist at the nexus of industry and academic worlds, one must ask: how do you get there? Luckily, Dr. Wang is full of great advice! When you boil it down, Dr. Wang’s outlook is heavily influenced by her strong growth-oriented mentality. If at first you don’t succeed, keep developing your experience and learn to let go of your fear to try the unknown. Because, in Dr. Wang’s opinion, “You have to be a lateral learner, go to talks, enterprise UX; cross functional events.”

This is what Dr. Wang says to the undergrad seeking an industry job but can’t find one specifically called anthropologist. In some ways, as Dr. Wang suggests, an undergrad seeking an industry job needs to be open to unlearning. It feels like the sagely advice Yoda might offer a young Luke Skywalker. Recognizing that knowledge of an industry comes from experience not expectation. Following in this theme, Dr. Wang offered another piece of advice. “You have to ask what the higher order of my mission, what impact do I want to have on society?”

Think through your impact, and when you have a job ask if the company is a fit with your needs. Not everything valuable is measurable. And more than that, find a mentor. For Dr. Wang, this is how she measures her success, by following people who inspire, who are lateral thinkers and doers.

Learn more about Dr. Tricia Wang and Consulting from Women Talk Design

Dr. Tricia Wang’s work with Fortune 500 companies has been featured in Techcrunch, The Atlantic, Al Jazeera, Slate, Wired, The Guardian and Fast Company. She has dedicated her life’s work to advancing how organizations use technology to serve people. Additionally, Dr. Wang is a co-founder of the consulting practice Sudden Compass and her content and advisory firm on the Chinese consumer, Magpie Kingdom. She’s the proud companion of her internet famous dog #ellethedog.

 

Contact Us

Contact Adam and Ryan at thisanthrolife -at – gmail.com or individually at adam -at- thisanthrolife.com or ryan -at- thisanthrolife.com

Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram @thisanthrolife.

All of our content can be found on Apple Podcasts or on thisanthrolife.com. Be sure to leave us a review, let us know if you like the show. We love to hear from you.

This Anthro Life is an official collaborator with the American Anthropological Association, The Society for Applied Anthropology, SAPIENS, and EPIC. Be sure to check them out for more thought provoking anthropology content.

Patreon is a crowdfunding platform where you can directly support This Anthro Life. And we need your support. Patreon helps us keep going to pay for things like our website. We’ve brought you over 100 episodes so far to over 50,000 subscribers. Read more about TAL + Patreon here. We’re trying a first push to get 10% of our subscriber base to give a dollar or more a month to TAL. If you get something out of TAL, will you help put something back in? Think of TAL as your new favorite publicly funded media source.

Lessons on Social Difference from an Ancient Maya City | Ryan Collins | TEDxBrandeisUniversity

Hey Listeners, we wanted to share some news. As you have probably noticed, TAL has been slow to post as of late. Both Ryan and Adam have finished their dissertations (and Adam defends in one week!). But, TAL has remained busy behind the scenes developing and producing new content. In the meantime, we wanted to share that Ryan gave a TEDx Talk at Brandeis University in April. The talk is live on YouTube now! We’ve shared the video for you here, check it out.

TEDxBrandeisUniversity was great to let Ryan have this incredible opportunity. Sharing our passions and curiosity with public audiences is central to the goals of This Anthro Life. Ryan’s talk begins by asking what lessons we can learn from the ancient past on mediating social difference today. To answer this, Ryan defines social difference and how we recognize it in various forms. To balance social difference, Ryan also draws attention to the causes that bring communities together.

At the heart of this conversation are rituals of social solidarity – collective events which bring communities together under a common cause to express a core value. Today, such events are visible in the March for Science, the Women’s March, and other movements. Believe it or not, we see similar events having played out in the past as well. Studying such events, how rituals of social solidarity as well as communities changed, over long time scales can grant insight into how we can reflect on the causes which bring us together and inadvertently separate us.

If you enjoy this talk then you should also check out the other great talks from TEDxBrandeisUniversity which are all live now on the TEDx YouTube channel! This was an outstanding group and each of them deserve to be watched. Go check out the TEDx Youtube Chanel to show your support!

Contact Us

Contact Adam and Ryan at thisanthrolife -at – gmail.com or individually at adam -at- thisanthrolife.com or ryan -at- thisanthrolife.com

Find us @thisanthrolife on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

You can download and listen to all our content on Apple Podcasts or on thisanthrolife.com  and be sure to leave us a review.

This Anthro Life is an official collaborator with the American Anthropological Association, The Society for Applied Anthropology, SAPIENS, and EPIC. Be sure to check them each out for more insightful and thought provoking anthropology content.

Patreon is a crowdfunding platform where you can directly support This Anthro Life. And we need your support. Patreon helps us keep going to pay for things like our website. We’ve brought you over 100 episodes so far to over 40,000 subscribers. Read more about TAL + Patreon here. We’re trying a first push to get 10% of our subscriber base to give a dollar or more a month to TAL. If you get something out of TAL, will you help put something back in? Think of TAL as your new favorite publicly funded media source.

EPIC Innovation w/ Dr. Alexandra Mack

Welcome back listeners! Adam and Ryan have taken some time away as of late to finish and defend their dissertations. Now that Ryan is done, and Adam defends in just one week (so close!), TAL is getting back into gear with new content in the development and production stages. Now, another key detail, several episodes recorded earlier this spring are also on their way. Some of these are guest interviews (including a second interview with Hamilton Morris of HBO’s VICE and Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia) as well as the remainder of our Story Slamming Ethnography episodes (we haven’t forgotten about those). All that is to say, there is an extensive repertoire of content coming your way, including an upcoming collaboration with EPIC. Speaking of…

With this episode of This Anthro Life, we are joined by Dr. Alexandra Mack and collaborative guest host Matt Artz. Together we interview Alex and explore her story. What makes our discussion with Alex so distinct is her breadth of research and applications of anthropological thinking that has resulted in a unique narrative and career trajectory. Alex’s story is a good lesson for anyone who studies anthropology or is broadly interested in the social sciences, and the impact this kind of work can have across industries. One of the inspiring moments we explore in our conversation with Alex took place towards the end of her doctorate while at a AAA conference. A software and digital agency called E-lab had an open house and something clicked with her… We will leave you to explore the episode to find out more. But, what is captivating about Alex’s epiphany moment and career transformation was that she began with Near Eastern museum collections, went to archaeology, and explored pilgrimage before developing her current interests.

Today, Alex leads innovative problem solving and strategy development based on a deep understanding of the surrounding culture and activities. She has brought this combination of customer-centered design, innovation, market research, opportunity identification, and business planning to projects including health care, retail, software, and financial services. Additionally, Alex was a Senior Fellow in Pitney Bowes’s Strategic Technology and Innovation Center. Prior to her work with Pitney Bowes, Alex spent several years consulting in marketing, design, and strategic research. From 2011-2017 she served on the Executive Board of EPIC.

Learn More

Contact Us

Contact Adam and Ryan at thisanthrolife -at – gmail.com or individually at adam -at- thisanthrolife.com or ryan -at- thisanthrolife.com

Find us @thisanthrolife on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

You can download and listen to all our content on Apple Podcasts or on thisanthrolife.com  and be sure to leave us a review.

This Anthro Life is an official collaborator with the American Anthropological Association, The Society for Applied Anthropology, SAPIENS, and EPIC. Be sure to check them each out for more insightful and thought provoking anthropology content.

Patreon is a crowdfunding platform where you can directly support This Anthro Life. And we need your support. Patreon helps us keep going to pay for things like our website. We’ve brought you over 100 episodes so far to over 40,000 subscribers. Read more about TAL + Patreon here. We’re trying a first push to get 10% of our subscriber base to give a dollar or more a month to TAL. If you get something out of TAL, will you help put something back in? Think of TAL as your new favorite publicly funded media source.

Marching for Science w/Valorie Aquino

On this episode of This Anthro Life, hosts Ryan Collins and Adam Gamwell are joined by TAL correspondent and guest host Astrid Countee and by a very special guest, Valorie Aquino. They joined us to talk about the 2017 March for Science. Valorie is one of the key organizing 30’s something scientists who helped make the 2017 march a reality. As she conveys in this episode, doing so was no easy task. This required countless late nights, missed social occasions, hours of frustration, and unfortunately, the all to occasional naysayers. Yet, Valorie’s story is one complete perseverance, rooted in a deep passion for science that began at an early age (you can check out her TEDx talk where she explains more of her origin story and passion for science here).

Check out This Anthro Life on our new partner player Radio Public Just by listening on Radio Public, you are supporting TAL because the team behind the player believes in helping small podcasts become sustainable. You listen, they pay us a little bit per episode. The player is free and awesome, and all your favorite podcasts are available on there too! Check it out and let us know what you think! Here’s the Link again.

The March for Science

For those of you who may not know, the March for Science is an “organization [which] empowers a global community of science supporters for nonpartisan advocacy in service of equitable and effective science and science policy.” Like other marches in recent years, the March for Science was first held in 2017 and the main event was in Washington DC. However, several other science marches were held in major cities across the US in a nationwide march of social solidarity. Likewise, the March for Science is becoming an annual phenomenon with the 2018 event just days away from the release of this episode (see details below for information on how you can participate).

A take away from our discussion with Valorie in this episode is the need for scientists to be vocal. Many scientists, academic and industry based, end up in fairly insular positions. This is unsurprising. After all, having a PhD means years of strict dedication to a specific field of study and few are lucky enough to have the guidance to step beyond the scope of their fields and engage with different interested audiences. Furthermore, if you have or are on track to reach a tenured position, then you likely understand the stringent requirements necessary to achieve that goal. When every word counts in a publication, its easy to direct your conversation away from public interest.

#scicom

All too often scientists end up speaking with themselves. Movements like the March for Science show exactly how broad science is. Many disciplines share the scientific method and use in for different forms of testing. Science tends to be envisioned as relating to medicine, biology, technological development, and human evolution. But, it also impacts social policies, food security, energy efficiency, climate change, space exploration and much more. If you’re looking for outspoken scientists be sure to check out #scicom (science communication) as well as any public facing science programs like Star Talk. For good daily science news and discoveries check out a public facing blogs like IFL Science or get more raw material from site’s like Science Daily.

Support the March

If you want to participate in the March for Science, its never too late. The March for Science is happening in several cities across the country. To RSVP in a city near you, just type in March for Science + your city to get more details. If your local to Boston (TAL’s home town) RSVP over this link here. If you’re looking to get involved with the main DC event, looking to donate, or interested in getting involved in some other way then follow this link here.

Contact Us

Contact Adam and Ryan at thisanthrolife -at – gmail.com or individually at adam -at- thisanthrolife.com or ryan -at- thisanthrolife.com

Find us @thisanthrolife on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

You can download and listen to all our content on Apple Podcasts or on thisanthrolife.com  and be sure to leave us a review.

This Anthro Life is an official collaborator with the American Anthropological Association, The Society for Applied Anthropology, SAPIENS, and EPIC. Be sure to check them each out for more insightful and thought provoking anthropology content.

Patreon is a crowdfunding platform where you can directly support This Anthro Life. And we need your support. Patreon helps us keep going to pay for things like our website. We’ve brought you over 100 episodes so far to over 40,000 subscribers. Read more about TAL + Patreon here. We’re trying a first push to get 10% of our subscriber base to give a dollar or more a month to TAL. If you get something out of TAL, will you help put something back in? Think of TAL as your new favorite publicly funded media source.

 

On the Brink Podcast: Featuring This Anthro Life

Although TAL is just now getting back into the recording studio, you can catch up with Adam Gamwell and Ryan Collins on the latest episode, Episode 28, of On the Brink Podcast with corporate anthropologist Dr. Andi Simon. Listeners may remember that Dr. Simon was a guest on our podcast earlier this year. We were delighted to have been invited to her new podcast that promises to give you “a fresh lens to take your business and you to new heights.” Tune in with Dr. Simon and be sure to check out our earlier recording, here.

Be on the lookout for new content from This Anthro Life very soon! As always, TAL is brought to you in collaboration with the American Anthropological Association, the The SfAA Podcast Project, and SAPIENS.

If you like what you’re listening to be sure to check out our brand new Patreon page for our very fresh, unofficially announced, crowdfunding campaign. You can still be one of the first ten contributors if you act fast!

Fall for This Anthro Life: Back in Action, New Content, and our Patreon Campaign

Hey Listeners! Adam and Ryan are back from their brief summer hiatus (a time filled with fieldwork, dissertation writing, and travels abound) with new content, a fresh Patreon campaign, lined up interviews, an upcoming limited series on diversity in the university setting and much more! Read More

Anthropology + Science Journalism = A New Genre? w/ Daniel Salas of SAPIENS

Click here to check out the TAL + SM blog post

This Anthro Life has teamed up with Savage Minds to bring you a special 5-part podcast and blog crossover series. While thinking together as two anthropological productions that exist for multiple kinds of audiences and publics, we became inspired to have a series of conversations about why anthropology matters today. We’re sitting down with some of the folks behind Savage Minds, SAPIENS, the American Anthropological Association and the Society for American Archaeology to bring you conversations on anthropological thinking and its relevance through an innovative blend of audio and text.

In our third episode of the TAL + SM crossover series (blog post here), we explored SAPIENS’ approach to producing anthropological content for popular audiences. Ryan and Adam were joined by the digital editor of SAPIENS, Daniel Salas, to discuss the implications of using anthropology to engage the public through journalism. The episode focused on the questions How do you reconcile scientific and anthropological writing, and is this mixture a new genre? Is there a balance to be found between producing timeless “evergreen” stories versus current events focused content for audience engagement?

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Anthropology has Always been Out There w/ Ed Liebow and Leslie Walker of the AAA

In the second conversation of the TAL + SM crossover series, Ryan and Adam were joined by AAA Executive Director Ed Liebow and Program Manager for Educational Outreach Leslie Walker. They explored the work of the AAA, the changing natures of work and research today, and critically assessed anthropology in terms of scope and impact.

This Anthro Life has teamed up with Savage Minds to bring you a special 5-part podcast and blog crossover series. While thinking together as two anthropological productions that exist for multiple kinds of audiences and publics, we became inspired to have a series of conversations about why anthropology matters today. For this series we’re sitting down with some of the folks behind Savage Minds, SAPIENS, the American Anthropological Association and the Society for American Archaeology to bring you conversations on anthropological thinking and its relevance through an innovative blend of audio and text. That means each week for the month of June we’ll bring you two dialogues – one podcast and one blog post – with innovative anthropological thinkers and doers.

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Free Think 6 – Who Are the 13,000?

Matt Artz & Adam GamwellFreeThink 6 – Who Are the 13,000?

In this week’s Free Think, Adam and Ryan introduce a new member of our team, Matt Artz, who will be leading a new project to study and research you! We hit 13,000 subscribers in the past week which is a huge milestone for us. In order to keep This Anthro Life growing we would like to better integrate the desires of our listeners with how we market, produce, and choose our content. We want to get to know you! To do this we will be updating the What’s Your Story page with a space to submit your emails if you would like to be interviewed by one of the team. We will post more information in the coming weeks. We cannot wait to hear your thoughts on the podcast and ways we can make it better! NOTE: Since recording this episode less than a week ago, we are now over 14,100 subscribers! You all are amazing! Read More