6 months in Berkeley: post-hippies, blogs, apps and other contemporary conversations
If there is a place that represents the dilemmas of the contemporary times this is Berkeley in California, USA. In my 6 months of research visiting in Berkeley and the Bay Area (as Americans call the space from Stanford and San José, San Francisco and Berkeley) I had the chance to navigate between the reminiscence of the 60´s revolution turned now into consolidated organic food movement, the dominance of Asian immigration (around 70% of the students are Asian in Berkeley) and the most innovative and entrepreneur technicians that would only communicate through Twitter and talk in apps terms (apps=application in reference to the Mac Application new industry).
The first week of the autumn semester, Haas Dean Rich Lyons opening round table discussed about the dilemma shareholder-stakeholder view of the firm. The conversation was heated but nobody doubt to end the event recognizing BP, Levy´s and other big corporations for their contribution to the school in a strong round of applauses. This same night my friends Jo Mackness, Director of the Center for Responsible Business at Haas and Kellie McElhaney, Faculty Director of the same center had organized a “premiere” of the film `Inside Job´ where its Director Charles Ferguson, strongly criticized the role of the business schools in the financial crisis. He also received heated applauses.
In the seminars at lunch time Obama´s Advisor, Christina Romer professor at Berkeley will discuss with us about the Health Care Reform. In the afternoon, conversations in the social media meetings would turn around the legalization of Marijuana mixed with the `coolness´ of the new apps.
I made myself around trying to understand those contemporary conversations asking lots of people with the ´research excuse´. I started fascinated by Turner´s stories about the Burning Man Festival a festival in the desert where people build the most advanced and crazy artifacts. After long day interviews, I was amazed and a bit frighten by the call power of Yahoo!, McDonalds, Wal-Mart through social media. I was delighted with the energy of a group of intrapreneurs at eBay, energized by the interviews with companies such Method, Google and the environmental fighters of the Plastic Pollution Coalition. I started Twitting and Facebooking all that, just like the others do and, of course, preparing our next articles coming soon in …. http://responsiblebusiness.dk/
Assistant Professor Itziar Castello has been on a 6 month research visit to Berkeley University of California. This is her personal thoughts on the stay in California.
Read Professor Mette Morsing's thoughts on her stay at Stanford here.