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Manifesto Calls Tech Professionals to Rethink Priorities, Help the World


There’s a problem in the tech world. In the race to create the next superfluous billion-dollar sexting app or game saga, the tech community is failing to apply its workers’ prodigious skills for the betterment of society. Cole Peters, a Canadian designer, is pushing back. He’s created a manifesto, “First Things First 2014,” that urges designers, developers, technologists and communicators to refocus priorities “in favor of more lasting, democratic forms of communication.” Signatories agree to a “mind shift” away from the profit and corporations-over-people model to work toward “the exploration and production of humble, meaningful work, and beneficial cultural impact.”

50 years ago, graphic designer Ken Garland had viewed the advertising world as trivial and insignificant. Garland felt a higher calling for his industry and created “The First Things First Manifesto” to focus on forms of communication that would sustain through time. In that same spirit, Peters’ “First Things First 2014 Manifesto,” is a call to tech professionals to rethink priorities and re-engage with a people and planet that’s in desperate need of talented help. He laments the professional climate of the tech industry, including its “debilitating work-life imbalance” and its treatment of consumers’ personal information as “objects to be monetized instead of as personal property to be protected.” Peters concludes the manifesto with the hope of catalyzing a meaningful revolution in the tech industry and the world at large.

Source: Cat Johnson, “Manifesto Urges Techies to Prioritize Meaningful Work” Shareable, March 18, 2014,

Student Researcher: Taylor Crenshaw (San Francisco State University)

Faculty Evaluator: Kenn Burrows (San Francisco State University)

  • TR M October 10, 2014

    Hopefully some will heed the call and work on things that would make a huge difference for a few billion others like cheap sanitation and water purification.

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