Open is 1️⃣ all over and 2️⃣ really interesting and yet 3️⃣ there’s not enough media that takes it seriously as a cultural phenomenon, growing out of software but now going well beyond that.
And so, announcement: I’m trying to fill that hole a little bit myself. Tidelift’s new Upstream podcast, which I’m hosting, will:
- Pull from across open, not just from software. That’s not because software is bad or uninteresting, but because it’s the best-covered and best-networked of the many opens. So I hope to help create some bridges with the podcast. Tech will definitely come up—but it’ll be in service to the people and communities building things.
- Bring interesting people together. I like interview-style podcasts with guests who have related but distinct interests—and the magic is their interaction. So that’s what we’ll be aiming for here. Personal goal: two guests who find each other so interesting that they schedule coffee after the recording. Happened once so far!
- Be, ultimately, optimistic. It’s very easy, especially for experienced open folks, to get cynical or burnt out. I hope that this podcast can talk frankly about those challenges—but also be a recharge for those who’ve forgotten why open can be so full of hope and joy for the future.
So far I’ve recorded on:
- The near past (crypto?) and near future (machine learning?) of open, with Molly White of Web 3 Is Going Great and Stefano Maffuli of the Open Source Initiative. Get it here! (Transcripts coming soon…)
- The joy of open. At Tidelift, we often focus on the frustrating parts of open, like maintainer burnout, so I wanted to refresh with a talk about how open can be fun. Guests are Annie Rauwerda of the amazing Depths of Wikipedia, and Sumana Harihareswara—who among many other things, has performed plays and done standup about open software. Will release this tomorrow!
- The impact of open on engineering culture, particularly at the intersection of our massively complex technology stacks, our tools, and our people. But we are often so focused on how culture impacts tech (the other way around) that we overlook this. I brought on Kellan Elliot-McCrea of Flickr, Etsy, and Adobe, and Adam Jacob of Chef and the forthcoming System Initiative to talk about those challenges—and opportunities.
- The relationship of open to climate and disasters. To talk about how open intersects with some of the most pressing challenges of our time, I talked with Monica Granados, who works on climate at Creative Commons, and Heather Leson, who does digital innovation — including open — at the IFRC’s Solferino Academy. I learned a ton from this one—so excited to share it out in a few weeks.
Future episodes are still in the works, but some topics I’m hoping to cover include:
- open and regulation: what is happening in Brussels and DC, anyway? Think of this as a follow-up to Tidelift’s posts on the Cyber Resilience Act.
- open and water: how does open’s thinking on the commons help us think about water, and vice-versa?
- open and ethics: if we’re not technolibertarians, what are we anyway?
I’m very open to suggestions! Let me know if there’s anyone interesting I should be talking to, or topics you want to learn more about.
We’ll be announcing future episodes through the normal Places Where You Get Your Podcasts and the Tidelift website.