Polyamory in the News!
. . . by Alan M.

January 25, 2015

CNN Money: Silicon Valley creatives are going poly, life-hacking love

The CNN Money site just put up a 6-minute webvideo report about poly becoming a big thing among Silicon Valley techies and entrepreneurs, the people who shape innovations in our culture:

Four partners, one love: It’s polyamory

Imagine being in a serious relationship with your husband, a boyfriend, a girlfriend and dating around on the side — that's polyamory. It's not new, but it’s infiltrating tech culture:

Here's the video's original location on the CNN Money site, where it's part of a series on innovative approaches to sex (as in poly) and drugs (LSD and smart drugs) among Silicon Valley creatives.

For instance I didn't know that Chris Messina, best known for inventing the Twitter hashtag, was a polyamory advocate. He says, regarding traditional marriage,

We're a very data-driven culture, so if you're trying to build a product — to draw an analogy — and it's failing 50% of the time, you might want to consider the design and think about ways of improving it.

Says Miju Han, a female engineer for a large tech company,

Han: People in Silicon Valley are always looking for ways to change norms that might be better for people... It's just more okay to be out about it in tech.

Interviewer: We've seen Silicon Valley hack transportation, and companies like Uber come out of that. Can you hack love, and the way traditional relationships work?

Han: In many ways we are hacking love. Polyamory is a form of optimization, in the sense that you make tradeoffs and take risks. In technology people have higher appetites for risk. Opening up your relationship is really risky, kind of in the way that starting a company is really risky.

The report also features Helen Fisher, one of the pioneer romantic-love researchers, scoffing at the whole poly concept because Theory of Human Nature. I posted the very first comment on the YouTube version, calling her out for putting theory over observation. Go join in.

The YouTube version of the video seems off to a slow start — I was viewer #24 when I posted my comment — but I see that local CNN stations are now adding the CNN version to their own websites.

Just up now: text article with the video (Jan. 25, 2015).

Jan. 26: The story and quotes from it are reported on the "Silicon Beat" blog of the San Jose Mercury News.

Jan. 27: The video has been picked up by MSN.com.

Jay Barmann, a writer for The SFist, takes a jaundiced view: CNN Explores The Druggy, Trippy, And Poly Side Of Silicon Valley Geekdom: "The Bay Area gets to let its freak flag fly really high for a national audience once again in this series, but this time with a twist: CNN's Laurie Segall isn't just talking to the usual suspects of San Francisco bohemia here...."


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Blogger Valerie Feria - Isacks said...

From a message I wrote a poly friend ...

I'm sorry but I have disagree with you. There's *nothing* Dr. Fisher said in the video which is incorrect from a purely biological-anthro view. It might be uncomfortable to think about it but most people really aren't geared towards our lifestyle (polyamory) and most people are meant to be in pair-bond relationships over the long haul. ... people try .. forms of non-monogamy ... and then eventually opt out, ... the majority statistically. Most people DO fail at poly ... currently.

We're the minority, the variant, there's nothing wrong with being that. What should be studied really at this point is what makes successful poly people different from those who drop out and those who didn't even bother to try it due to lack of desire. What's the difference in the brain/body/... versus those who succeed at it? What's the difference in defined success? These are things which really DO need to be looked at, though I don't think Dr. Fisher is the right anthropologist for the job either.

This thing is also very simplified editing wise which makes her seem more conservative ... She's also quoted elsewhere in stating the brain system for sexual drive isn't monogamous but the other two (romantic and attachment) drives are more selective. Per her (and others) actual brain scan studies the most one can love at a time is three people, and most people only love one. Also she defines monogamy very narrowly and there's lots of "poly" & "swingy" people (those with one primary and others they don't live with AND don't have close-friendships with) who'd fit under her definition of "monogamy."

Don't brush off Dr. Fisher just because you don't agree, politely look at her works and socratically debate them point by point.

January 26, 2015 9:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hear, hear! Let's not be guilty of glossing over some in depth research because of a sound bite. I too like the idea of poly, and think the book "Sex at Dawn" does a great job of researching the biological desire for multiple sexual partners, but that's different from the psychological and cultural ability to maintain a number of responsible romantic relationships.

January 28, 2015 1:09 PM  
Blogger Valerie Feria - Isacks said...


I also like what Han says here "In many ways we are hacking love. Polyamory is a form of optimization, in the sense that you make tradeoffs and take risks. In technology people have higher appetites for risk. Opening up your relationship is really risky, kind of in the way that starting a company is really risky." to which I would add some people shouldn't take that risk, some people aren't built for poly just like I think some people (myself included) aren't built for monogamy.

My hub works in tech and I've always been a try new things out kind of person. Some experiments turned out good ~ sushi at 6 years old WAY before it was mainstream; some were bad ~ HELLO scientology; and others were just meh ~ being an early iPhone user. Poly seems to be working pretty well for me but that might just be for now, maybe forever, idk I'll do it for as long as it's functional and desirable.

January 29, 2015 2:07 AM  

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