Hope everyone is enjoying the break and the holidays! My name is Charlie Power, and I’m excited for this class and the chance to get to know everybody over the course of the semester. I’ve heard great reviews from those who’ve done Tech Trek over the past couple years, and I’m really looking forward to it!
I’m from Winnetka, IL, a suburb on Chicago’s north side (I live about 10 minutes away from Northwestern if anyone knows the area). I’m the oldest of four kids, and I have two sisters and a brother. My sister who is a high school senior just got into BC a few weeks ago! I’m in the process of trying to convince her to come, so I’ll definitely be talking up cool opportunities like this class up and downplaying any hint of the forced-triple possibility. I also have a dog named Beau, and my mom is not shy about telling us he’s the favorite.
Growing up, I played lots of hockey. For a couple of years, my dad and I built a rink in our backyard, and I’ll always love skating outside. In the summers I spent virtually all my time at the golf course, where I worked and played. Even though my job involved washing golf carts and course maintenance, the perk of hitting as many range balls as I wanted more than made up for the minimum wages.
Currently at BC, I’m a sophomore in CSOM, concentrating in Economics and with a major in Theology. I’m really interested in public policy and economics, and I think Theology as a discipline does a nice job of raising ethical concerns sometimes overlooked by economists (and apparently tech companies too). I’m definitely a news-junkie, and I also really like podcasts (Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History and The Axe Files are two of my favorites).
On campus, I’m a part of the Student Organization Funding Committee (SOFC), which is a group that allocates the student activity fee to the different clubs on campus. I’ve also spent a lot of time working on The Heights, and I was one of the news editors over the past two semesters. While I won’t be working on The Heights this semester, it was an eye-opening experience and I enjoyed learning some journalism skills. This semester in addition to SOFC I’ll be working as a research assistant in the Economics department and working on getting ready for the Chicago Marathon in October (4 of my roommates are on the Track Team, so I have to keep up with them somehow!)
As 2018 draws to a close, two of the coolest things I did was staying in Boston for 6 weeks this summer and visiting Yellowstone National Park with my family. I’ve realized that it’s hard to take full-advantage of the city during the semester when there is so much happening on-campus, and so over the summer I really tried spend time in the different parts of the city, and it was a blast. Going out to Yellowstone was incredible, and we were able to do a bunch of great hikes (thankfully no bears).
In terms of my hopes for this class, I’m really interested in learning about how tech companies ‘run’ and if there common factors that companies (what factors are conducive to creating a culture of innovation?). I am also curious to find out how companies not considered ‘tech’ by the general public have adapted (or not) to the new tech-focused competitive landscape. Another idea I’m interested in exploring is the rise of the so-called ‘superstar cities,’ where tech talent and innovation continues to cluster in more concentrated areas. There has a been a lot of speculation about what this trend may be doing to the social fabric of this country (urban vs. rural, haves vs. have-nots, etc), and I’m interested in the implications of such ‘network effects’ and how (and to what extent) they will alter the nation’s economic geography. Finally, one other question I have about the technology industry in general is whether social networks and other entertainment companies (Netflix being the one that comes first to mind) are drawing us closer to together or exacerbating differences. We’ve seen the issues with fake news, and the other day I finished reading Bowling Alone which traces rise and fall of social and civic engagement over the 20th century. Some of the research blamed TV (since it sucks us in) and I’m wondering if social media/Netflix are functioning in similar ways, and what plans, if any, companies (in particular Facebook) have to address such concerns.
Finally, my meme. It’s hard to pinpoint which meme is exactly my favorite, so I’m going to include the first meme I saw when I joined the BC Meme group, which always gives me a good laugh.
Hope everyone enjoys New Years and the rest of the break!