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Vienna Event: "Twentytwenty" Recap

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As many of you who have been following us here on the blog, or on Facebook and Twitter, you know that FairPhone was recently a part of the TwentyTwenty event “Gadgets: Devices without a Conscience?” in Vienna last Wednesday. As the Community Manager, I was really happy to speak on behalf of FP and meet some inquisitive and supportive people there. We were lucky to have a lot of press to document our journey and that event in particular, which I’ll list at the bottom of the post. TwentyTwenty has its own recap here.

 The event was located at the Hub Vienna, an open collaborative workspace where 50 euro cents gets you a bio coffee. Bio! Organic! Fairtrade! It was everywhere in Vienna, even the cheaper, discount stores had bio as an option. This mindset served as a backdrop to the evening’s event where the issue of marketing was one of the main discussion points by the crowd – how can a “fair” phone be sold to the general public? what is the current demand? is “fair” just a fad?

 

There were about 80 people in attendance, and after my presentation, I was joined by three panelists for a discussion. There was:

While we were in quite some agreement on the need to raise awareness on the background of our (electronic) products, we each came from our own disciplines to make his/her case in regards to fair electronics. Johannes gave some personal testimony on how he came to work at WWF – the death of his grandfather from cancer as well as the health of his own children brought him to initiatives on natural resources and environmental treatment. Lale supported technology and products that were open and accessible – coming from a Maker’s background but also one that allows anyone to have the tools (both real and conceptual) to play around with one’s products. Finally, Daniela discussed smartphones as products with a perceived expiration date, and the intergenerational divide which, she believes, causes young people not to appreciate the value of their seemingly disposable electronics.

As I mentioned, Marketing was a large topic of the discussion – figuring out how the mission of a “fair” phone must work with the need to be smartly sold and presented to the crowd. One audience member even suggested, fair electronic makers could put “negative warning labels” on their products, just as cigarette cartons have pictures of cancer – quite the provocative idea.

Right now, my goal at FP is to share our story in producing the phone where we make supply chain interventions. I also want to make a space to use the potential of our talented and committed community

(just the other day, I was contacted by a volunteer from Germany who wants to write a musical jingle for us, awesome!!).

I was happy to get the FairPhone story out to our community in Vienna, and I welcome you all to continue to write us (info@fairphone.com) with ideas and feedback. Next week, some of the team will be heading to the Mobile World Congress, so you’ll be getting some updates from there. And stay tuned for posts from Bas, as he just returned from a trip to DR Congo!

 

Resources (in German):

“Blog Parade”: a series of blog entries organized around the TwentyTwenty event

Summary by audience member, Julian Ausserhofer, who was live blogging the event

Articles in ORFDie Presse, Kourier, and German on3 radio (with sound on loading).

Featured image by Florian Auer; other images by Joe Mier.

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