Thursday Speaker: Adriana Lukas

While Adriana would politely disclaim it, anyone who’s adopted the libertarian label in the last decade will have heard of Adriana Lukas through her presence on Samizdata; one of the oldest group blogs around and one which remains a top ranked website. In fact, it’s part of the first quarter of a million of websites ranked by traffic worldwide and in the top 90,000 in the US (out of 30 million), so I imagine it has drawn more than a few libertarians to the cause, myself included.

I wasn’t yet ready to notice in 2002, but that was when Adriana made her debut posting there with a defence of free speech that involved a nearly naked French girl with a gun (to get you started, it’s somewhere in the archive). Girls with guns are a theme on that blog, thanks to Perry de Havilland, and more often than not it is Adriana holding the rifle. Her last post in 2010 was, and there is no surprise here either, a posting about Google pulling out of China and apparently refusing to play ball with the Chinese love of censorship. A topic that obviously draws together a number of themes relevant to her talk.

I cannot help but make a connection between armed and dangerous Adriana and the moving postings on Samizdata and elsewhere about her experiences under Communism in her “native country” a phrase she uses as if to avoid mentioning it by name; as if she would rather forget all about it. It is safe to say that here is someone who’s interest in libertarian ideas is not just theoretical but practical and personal.

What isn’t written about on Samizdata though is an impressive career history. Her CV begins with her work in “a post-communist country” for an insurance company where she lead a major migration of desktop computing from Apple to Microsoft, which I notice she spells with a dollar sign. Her career continues in insurance for a while and then turns considerably more unconventional. While working as a new media consultant for major brands Adriana has been involved in several projects of her own; all with one central theme to them. She has been helping to build and evangelise consumer technology that rebalances the relationship between business and consumer, by putting the kind of advanced information processing corporations are now used to into the hands of everyone else. Her latest, the Mine!, has the potential to supplant Facebook. Perhaps we will hear a little more about how that is being done later.

Adriana will be speaking at the Rose and Crown tomorrow on heterarchy and hierarchy in systems of all kinds, and I hope the audience will learn enough to get them started on the road to building better systems themselves, be they IT enabled or otherwise.