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Culture Hacking with Jim McCarthy

Important Update: Due to space scheduling problems, please note that we will be meeting at Bucketworks, 706 S. 5th St., instead of R.W. Baird.

Please Note: To accomodate our speaker's schedule, Milwaukee Agile will be meeting one week earlier, on Tuesday, May 7th, at our usual time.


Our era is increasingly characterized by an emergent software culture. Not only is software itself creating much of our global wealth, but the unique challenges of creating our software have demanded wholly new types of engineered corporate culture from us. Various high tech development disciplines have been articulated and “packaged up.” In response to the demands of software, we have created several seminal management “movements” (such as Agile, Scrum, XP, etc.). These movements represent the birth of culture engineering.

Culture hacking is a distinct kind of culture engineering. Culture hacks express a particular hacker ethos, an ethos originating in the world of software hacking. Good culture hacking will tend to promote freedom, extend openness, and embody rationality and design elegance. As our culture becomes increasingly and fruitfully hacked, we will grow in effectiveness and ambition and will bring more and more problems into scope. This will likely trigger an unprecedented Golden Era, an age of unparalleled magnificence.

Learn about and do a little Culture Hacking with Jim McCarthy.

Gain familiarity with the emerging fields of culture tech, culture design and culture engineering. All the while you will be amused, stimulated, provoked and inspired by a great talk, and by experiencing some designed culture. It’s all about extremely local cultures. A culture is the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that both describes and shapes a group.



Jim McCarthy
While leading projects at Bell Laboratories, The Whitewater Group, and Microsoft Jim McCarthy saw there was a better way to build products by focusing on the team. He led the creation one of the great Microsoft teams, the Visual C++ team. Much of Microsoft benefited from his ideas as articulated in the seminal book, Dynamics of Software Development from Microsoft Press (1995, 2006). His approach and observations formed the basis of Microsoft Solutions Framework and were a catalyst for and a progenitor of the Extreme and Agile programming movements.

Jim partners with his wife, Michele McCarthy, to run McCarthy Technologies, Inc., which provides technology, training and consulting that enables organizations and teams to consistently generate the greatest possible results. The key to these results is an innovative, proprietary technology called “The Core”. It encapsulates and makes accessible the best interpersonal collaboration technology currently available and has been thoroughly researched, tested, and applied over the past 15 years. Just as Jim’s earlier approaches contributed to Microsoft’s successful culture, and ultimately helped give rise to the XP and Agile movements, his current research into The Core is poised to help a new generation of organizations achieve their highest potential.

Milwaukee Agile is geared toward both experienced and brand new practitioners. The pizza and refreshments are free and sponsored by Robert W. Baird and Redpoint Technologies.


Special Bonus Event

Jim will be staying in town to offer a one-day workshop on Saturday giving people a chance to try out his Culture Hacking tools. Registration and more info at

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  • Andrew P.

    Many thanks to Jim and the event organizers. To me this was extremely inspirational and interesting. There is much additional (and "free") information on their website:
    The Core Protocols are defined and explained here (again, for "free"):

    I would be very interested in attending additional Meetups on this or similar topics.

    1 · May 8, 2013

  • Jason D.

    I'll be honest... This was a waste of an hour of my time. Jim talked in abstracts and at times was offensive. Very disappointed.

    May 8, 2013

  • Ryan C.

    This presentation felt like one big sales pitch devoid of any content. It was clear that Jim was passionate about software development but he wasn't very interested in sharing(for free) any of his secret sauce for creating teams with a "shared vision."

    I think he was right about working on great projects is easier than working on mediocre projects. I think he was correct when he said that the best way you get the business on board is to show positive results. I appreciated his passion around using software as a binding agent for people to solve big problems.

    Where I think the presentation missed was sharing anything tangible on how the previous positives are achieved. He mentioned his 11 protocols but never discussed any of them in depth. He talked about 17 years of research but never discussed any practical observations other than software is rooted in reason and diversity on a team is important.

    1 · May 8, 2013

  • James B.

    Great presentation!

    May 7, 2013

  • Sally W.

    sorry, won't be able to make it after all - going to Jim's talk on Wed instead

    May 7, 2013

  • Andrew P.

    Looking forward to the event, thanks!

    May 6, 2013

  • Sarah L.

    Will be there for the first 90 minutes

    May 6, 2013

  • susan s.

    Looking forward to it.

    April 19, 2013

53 went

Our Sponsors

  • Robert W. Baird

    Baird provides organization, a location, and refreshments for meetups.


    NVISIA provides food for the sessions and organization assistance.

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