Labor Day: Right to an API Key (Algorithmic Organizing)

Today is Labor Day which is meant to celebrate the workers movement (as an aside, in Germany and much of the rest of the world this is held on May 1). That might be a good time to think about what organizing labor might mean in the future.

One of the major economic trends we are currently seeing is the breakdown of traditional employment and the rise of labor marketplaces for free lancers, such as Uber, Task Rabbit and WorkMarket (to name just a few). The valuations for at least some of these companies suggest that investors expect them to be very profitable in the longrun. During the growth phase it is entirely possible to create value for both freelancers who participate in the marketplace and for the investors who own it but eventually there is a tradeoff where on the margin an extra dollar for investors means a dollar less for labor.

So what influences the bargaining power in the future that determines how these marginal dollars get split? I would suggest that it is information. To the extent that the marketplaces have a lot of information and each participant (e.g., driver) has only very limited information the bargaining will heavily favor the marketplaces. One might argue that there could be competition between marketplaces, but due to network effects there are likely to only be a couple of big ones that matter.

There is a simple and universal regulatory change that would dramatically shift the bargaining power: an individual right to an API Key. By this I mean a key that would give an enduser *full* read/write access to the system including every action or screen the enduser can take or see on the web site or application. Alternatively one could think of this as an individual right to be represented by an algorithm.

Such an algorithm in turn could be representing many users which one might think of as algorithmic organizing. In the extreme it would allow new competitive marketplaces to spring up. Just the threat alone of that happening will substantially curb the power of even the largest marketplaces. Incidentally, everything I have written here applies equally to social networks including Twitter and Facebook.


Selections from “Our Portraits, Our Families,” an exhibition at the Museum of Chinese in America about acceptance of LGBTQ family members in Asian and Pacific Islander families.

Ka-Man Tse, who identifies as a Chinese-American lesbian, photographed her own experience with her parents and her wife, Cheryl. Though her parents and her partner had always been in her work, Tse said, the photos she took for “Our Portraits, Our Families,” were the first she’s made with all of them in the same room. “I wanted the images to be about how my parents now can share a meal with my wife, and welcome her into their home—and that we exist together as family. In our household, making and sharing a meal is the ultimate expression of love, and so the images center around that idea of preparing and sharing a meal—seemingly mundane or everyday occurrences, but wonderfully huge victories and gestures in our family story of how my parents have evolved over the past 16 years to come to accept their gay daughter.”

(via Slate)

The protest demonstrations against The Mikado are over, but the work is not. I am relieved that I can take a break from hostile, misinformed, racist white folks.

Some of the comments said to us by audience members:

- I’m wrong.
- I shouldn’t be so sensitive.
- I’m too late. And I should have brought this to the attention of director and production staff.
- To go back to back to where I come from
- To get something better to do
- We support what you’re doing (but walk into theatre to watch show)
- Asked if I believe in diversity, because this is it.
- I’m an idiot.
- I need an education.
- You just don’t get British satire
- That I’m mispronouncing the name wrong. And we should learn how to spell.
- Yellowface isn’t racist. I’m fact, their faces aren’t painted yellow.
- I’m British. I should be offended, not you.

Seattle may seem liberal and progressive to white liberal progressives, but the struggle is real for people of color. While we stood there with our signs and flyers trying to share our perspective, hostility and disrespectful comments were hurled at us from fellow Seattleites.

Not everyone acted this way, but those who did, said their antagonizing comment and walked away. It was so hard to not engage back through anger.

Damn. I really love Seattle, but this is so not ok. Yellowface is not ok. And the negative and stereotypical portrayal of any community of color is wrong. Seattle is showing it’s true colors.

Join Community Leaders and Organizers Fighting for Justice in Asian American Communities.  

The National Fellowship Program for Asian American Organizing develops the leadership of a new generation of activists and organizers who are deeply invested in building the power of and improving the lives of working-class Asian immigrant communities.

During ten weeks of intensive training, ground work and reflection, Fellows will learn about and support struggles at their host sites in Boston, Long Beach, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco, work to connect the larger API Movement across the country and build lasting relationships with peers, mentors and community members.  The fellowship is coordinated by the Chinese Progressive Association in San Francisco.

Boston:  Chinese Progressive Association
Long Beach:  Khmer Girls in Action
Los Angeles:  Chinatown Community for Equitable Development
New York:  CAAAV – Organizing Asian Communities
San Francisco:  Filipino Community Center and Chinese Progressive Association

This is an intensive full-time, volunteer program for the summer. Applicants are also encouraged to seek additional and alternative funding sources (include campus work-study programs, scholarships and stipends).  All cost (including travel to host site cities and housing) will the responsibility of each Fellow.  A limited number of scholarships ranging from $500 – $2000 are available.

Applicants must be at least 18 years old. The applications are due March 10th, at 5:00pm EST.

Vimeo's new API is ready for everyone!

For nearly six months now, our brand-new API has been sitting patiently in beta, waiting for the day it’d be released to the world. Today, we’re thrilled to metaphorically pick up those giant scissors and cut that red tape. Now, everyone has access to the newly designed developer site, and the extra-fresh Vimeo API.

What’s changed? In short: everything. We’ve improved every single aspect of our documentation to some degree. We cleaned up the spec, and have ensured that our endpoint documentation is absolutely accurate. You might also notice return of the API Playground you once knew and loved. We completely overhauled the playground to make it fit the new API, and we whole-heartedly encourage you to spend recess exploring all of our API’s new features.

The API has been updated to version 3.2, and is available immediately. To learn more about our version system, check out the docs. Thanks to our beta testers, we have cleaned up our response formats and have squashed many bugs. Keep an eye open for the new “connections” and “pictures” formats.

The beta hasn’t just been about polishing our existing features — there were some features we wanted to make available on day one. Our two most requested features have always been Vimeo On Demand and thumbnail uploads, both of which are now a part of the API. In the coming weeks, we will write more about these features, but for now, you can read up on things in our endpoint documentation

These aren’t the last of the new additions — we still have so much more to come. Keep an eye on our roadmap to learn about all the awesome new features we’re working on.

One of the challenges for the Summer Intern skill is Make Something with the DIY API so we got together a few resources for getting started!

If you want to dive right in to some code examples you can check out this JSFiddle.

If you want a more thorough walkthrough this example repo should do the trick.

And as always the official API documentation can be found at

Finally we’re fielding questions about using the API on this project!

Happy coding!

Come check out Vimeo's new API!

Vimeo’s first API was launched on Mar 26, 2007. We’ve added tons of features since then, but have always been stuck with two APIs. The Simple API was super easy to use, but didn’t allow authentication. The Advanced API had tons of features, but was more difficult to implement. We always knew, deep down, we could build a better system. We dreamt of one API to rule them all — one API that a developer could get up and running in minutes, instead of days. After many months of research and development, we are proud to announce the start of the open beta for our brand new API.

This singular, unified API replaces both the Advanced and Simple APIs. Just like the Simple API, all features are accessible within an easy to understand URL structure. This URL structure follows many of REST’s best practices, and has been carefully considered in every step of development.

That shouldn’t actually matter, though, because we also provide this information to you as often as possible. We’ve created resources that provide URLs or URL templates to guide you through our data. Should you ever forget what features are available, start with “” and start following links. Watch out, though. It’s addictive.

Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll tell you more about some of the new features supported by the API. If you’d like to be notified when we post something new, join our Google group.

Questions? Bug reports or feature requests? Contact us through our Help Center.

And to see the new API in action, take a look at the Vimeo apps for iOS and Xbox, which already have it integrated (I mean, we said this was beta. Not alpha…).

Aaron Hedges heads up all things API at Vimeo. He’s worked tirelessly on the new API for the past year and has managed not to crack (yet).


Pacific Islanders are included within the API coalition, but oftentimes don’t get the space they need. To provide training and empowerment specifically for Pacific Islanders by Pacific Islanders, there is a community-based program my friends are a part of called PILOT (Pacific Islander Leaders of Tomorrow). They’re expanding their program this year and need help getting the word out!

The PILOT Institute is comprised of a five-day Institute, followed by monthly workshops in the subsequent semester. Through PILOT, 15-20 Pacific Islander undergraduate students will acquire the awareness, motivation, skills, network, and resources needed to become community advocates.

This year the program will run in BOTH Orange County and Los Angeles!
—Orange County: July 21 - July 25. Application Deadline: July 7th
—Los Angeles: August 11 - August 15. Application Deadline: July 28th