“Code Kaputt” by Anna Wiener

Anna Wiener belongs to a generation that doesn’t know a world without the internet and Harry Potter. Perhaps that is why her book on Silicon Valley is full of Voldemorts, powerful and disembodied entities with powerful legal departments who are called in when their names are mentioned. For her, Microsoft is only the “extremely process-friendly software company” and Facebook is “the social network that everyone hated”.

When Facebook went public in 2012, Wiener was twenty-five years old and worked for a publishing company in New York. He too remains nameless, the heroine of “Code kaputt” will leave him in the first chapter, because the time when a college graduate could still pursue a career in the field of “Something with the media” was over: “ We had taste and we had integrity. We were nervous and we were broke. “

Without any unforgiving jargon

Wiener decides to switch to the internet industry, to a nameless New York start-up that is working on a subscription model for e-books. From there it should go on to San Francisco, to a nameless company that offers software for analyzing user actions on other websites, and finally to another nameless project that can easily be recognized as GitHub – a platform on which software developers carry out their projects be able to store, document and publish.

Anna Wiener: “Code Broken”. Power and decadence in Silicon Valley.

Image: Droemer Knaur Verlag

Wiener’s book is worth reading because it documents the résumé of one of those people without whom not much would function on the internet, but who for that very reason are never the focus of public attention. Wiener describes the power structures inside and outside the company, isolating certain patterns without falling into the irreconcilability jargon used in political activist Twitter: The public is always ready to cheer for supposed disruptors and innovators; the maintenance work – mostly done by women – is taken for granted at best. In spite of its rhetoric of disruption, the IT industry, according to Wiener, is by no means so different from the rest of society.


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