I’ve spent the last decade working on software and attempting to understand decentralization as a social phenomenon. I come to this community in search of understanding, opportunity and a desire to do something that matters.
My journey started a couple decades ago with the free software movement and the four freedoms. I learned then that my thinking is particularly oriented toward the user, or the person, and ultimately humanity. That led me to support lots of people with their computers and technology and later developing software since it scales so damn well.
After noticing the astronomical value users were creating for proprietary software developers, and seeing social networks as more of the same, I wondered how users could benefit from the value they were creating in the form of a user-owned social network. If it was going to happen, the system would need to handle money to pay for servers at least, and PayPal came to mind. It was at this time though that PayPal shut down Wikileaks. I went looking for other ways to send money online which could not be shutdown and found Bitcoin.
This took me on another important leg of the journey toward understanding decentralization, when it works, how it works, what are the tradeoffs, and how it can be fostered. Fast forward to today, I wish to spend my free time on something truly important and again I return to this orientation toward humanity.
Many of today’s problems have been developing for decades as corporate power grew consistently putting profits over people. It is my belief that the most effective tools for reasserting sovereignty in the future will come through open source software and decentralization which returns privacy and agency to the individual.
The last couple of weeks, I’ve been doing a deep dive on the fediverse, examining Mastodon and Diaspora code and the AP spec, thinking about how I can best help these and other federated free software platforms and networks.
I’m glad to be joining you all and looking forward to what we can all do together.