Ian Forrester is a well known and likable character on the digital scene in the UK. Living in Manchester, UK where he works for the BBC’s R&D Future Experiences. He specialises in open innovation and new disruptive opportunities; by creating value via open engagement and collaborations with startups, universities, early adopters and hackers. His current research is into the area of future narrative and storytelling, with a technology he calls Perceptive Media. It’s a new approach to broadcasting; which pairs the best of broadcast with the best of internet technology; creating a experiences like sitting around a campfire telling stories.
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I’m wondering if you can start by tell me a little bit about your work?
To be fair, I have lots of things that I do. I work at BBC R&D. I’m having a really hard time explaining what I do, but I guess I’m looking at the future of storytelling in all forms.
I’m currently focused on Internet of Things, things that involve data, things that involve media, and I’m also interested in remixing and stuff like that. For Mozilla, I’ve been working on and exploring the Internet of Things — the physical space and the dilemmas that come with that.
In R&D, we’re also exploring some of the ethical considerations, how far you go, and when do you stop and stuff like that. That also ties directly into some of the work I’m doing around storytelling, which is about implicit actions for interactivity (Perceptive Media).
Can you give me an example of what you’ve just said?
I’ve tied it down to the art & craft of oral storytelling — so this is before broadcast and publishing. A more human-like way to pass memes around? I’m also quite into memetic theory too.
When I give you a book or some form of media, you watch exactly the same thing as I’ve seen — but that was never the case. Storytelling has always been about participation — “I’ll tell you a story right now, I’m aware that we’re in a crowded room, I’m aware that you’ve got to go at a certain time.”
I would tailor the story to reflect, or in consideration of our context. I’m also aware, I’m looking at your body language, and I’m making decisions about what I should say, what I shouldn’t say. How fast I should say things — it’s what humans do.
But literally, because of publishing and broadcast, we got into this one story idea; half an hour block, here it is, go read it or go watch it and that’s it. Well done, you saw the same thing. What I’m exploring is more oral stories where it can flex with time, flex with your knowledge, or your background, stuff like that. Adaptive stories.
I call it perceptive media, because it’s about perception. When you’re perceptive, then you understand, “That person’s actually really bored, so maybe I should skip onto the next bit.” Or, “They’re not scared enough. I need to make it sound more dramatic, by… putting…. in… dramatic…. pauses.”
To engage them.
Yeah, exactly, but to do that you need to understand — you need data or feedback to understand a bit about the person’s context, or their background to make those decisions. When you’re broadcasting, you’re playing the exact same content to all people — nothing changes from person to person.
The internet is two way, so you can get a bit of information about who they are, or where they are, and use that information to feed into the story. Of course this sounds terrifying to some, and we’re trying to do it in a more ethical way. In the digital world, advertising is the number one user of this stuff. Google adverts, for example, use your browser history to then tailor things to advertise at you. But if we use that information in storytelling, it can mean something entirely different — the beauty of storytelling is when to adapt and when to direct.
There’s a lot to work out in this area of perceptive media — the questions of what data, how does someone volunteer that data, can they change their mind, and what happens if they do?
Thanks for the example — it helps to illuminate more of what you’re talking about. I’m thinking about this work, or in your work more broadly, can you hone in and give me an example of a time when you really felt a sense of success, personally?
We created this radio play six years ago — it’s all web based. We could have easily created some proprietary thing that would only work using our system where you have to use our framework — but it was important to make it open and easy to use for everyone.
Six years ago, the web audio API was not in a great state. It worked, but only certain browsers supported it. We said, “We’re going to create this radio play, and we’re going to make it work on a browser. It’s going to completely use open web components. It’s going to be quite cutting edge.” We made that happen and it still exists. It still runs six years later at www.futurebroadcasts.com.
It’s a product that will localize to where you are. It’s mainly supported in the UK, but you can go there and it will still work. I guess that was a success, but the thing that really got me excited was, from that, we tested out a new product — the first perceptive radio and it worked.
We thought if it was an actual radio, then they would be more likely to listen to it, because it’s what they’re used to. Their paradigm is the radio plays these radio plays — rather than a laptop plays these radio plays. So we gave it to people who liked listening to radio plays. They were like, “Do I have to have a laptop to use this?”
You created the hardware?
I personally didn’t create the actual hardware, but I masterminded the whole thing and found the best people to work with to create it in collaboration. The Radio combines the Internet of Things and Perceptive storytelling — you could call it IOT storytelling. It also started to unlock our thinking into the area of the data ethics. Because there’s a microphone that’s listening, and it’s using that to then determine, if it should carry on playing, or not, and what it should play.
Depending on the sounds people make when they are listening?
The Mic only hears the level of sound. We weren’t doing sophisticated stuff with listening to what people were saying — like Alexa and Google Home. Of course there has been much discussion about things listening with a always on microphone.
So imagine when we listen to a play, and you are gripped and your phone rings. Normally you would have to physically turn off the radio or do something. Or with smart devices, your play might pause when you accept the phone call. Perceptive Radio is about more than just pausing — it’s clever enough to go, “OK, there’s a loud sound which is just peaking. I’m going to do more than just pause, I’m going to stop playing the narrative but keep the background music going — but at a lower level.” It’s not like it’s gone dead, which you get with pause. It’s still something is in the background, but it’s very low.
Think of it more like being a human. If a human was talking and your phone goes, they’re not always going to go into a state of pause. They’re going to go, “I’m going to be a little quieter to let you take that call. I’ll go do something else. When you’re back, then I can carry on where we left off.”
While the Perceptive Radio was more of a probe, it started a whole ton of research in the ethics of data.
How about flipping that? What’s an example of a challenge?
So many challenges. The biggest challenge I always have is trying to explain to people this whole area of what I do. It’s fascinating. I’m in awe of the stuff we’re doing with others, in particular making technology more human-like. It’s really hard to explain to people what the bigger vision of this is, because they’re so used to broadcast and a less participatory internet.
I still get people talking to me about adaptive media using the idea of branching narrative, which is slowly going away. I’ve spoken at three conferences over the last month and the feedback I keep getting is “you’re breaking the shared experience — how dare you!” Although, when questioned more deeply, they know the shared experience is already broken and somewhat trapped within silos.
The idea that everyone is watching or experiencing something at the same time. Live events do this really well, but in a networked world not always feasible. Not so long ago people would “tune in” around a live event, watch twitter at the same time, or “tune in” to watch Game of Thrones, Doctor Who, or the olympics. There’s this unspoken unity between those watchers — the shared experience, be it positive or negative, it was shared.
But the shared experience isn’t always what’s needed. When we tell each other stories, we don’t always tell it the same way to each person — it’s going to be slightly different. I’m not going to do word for word, same tone. I’m going to reflect on the fact that you know things that I don’t need to go over again, or rehash. It’s like telling a toddler a story, telling a teenager, and telling an adult. They’re different. It’s the same story arc however.
The key thing about the question that you were asking was, it’s a real challenge to get people out of the mindset of one single story.
You may have seen the exact same thing but your experience, context, etc changes it. We can now talk about it but it’s more interesting to talk about the differences. The differences are the fuzz and it’s what makes us human. It’s really important for the future of storytelling.
What are some of the ways you approach resolving that challenge? You mentioned speaking at conferences. Are there certain arguments you use, or other strategies to explain this type of work?
I speak at a lot of conferences because the biggest part of my work is getting the word out about what it is. Impact can be small and large, but talking at conferences helps greatly.
I do get similar questions and the two big ones are about the filter bubble (data ethics) and breaking the shared experience. I like to try different strategies; almost testing the water with my answers to see which ones connect with people instead of answering the same way each time. With the right kind of connection via a good answer, people are more likely to join me on the journey. The journey and emphasis on not having the perfect answer is important, as part of impact is getting people to consider where they might fit in the bigger picture and vision, and maybe convince them enough to take action or even collaborate.
Yeah, collaboration. We forget that this is what humans do really well. That’s the kind of stuff I do, but more practically, I’m very a big fan of Google docs — not because it’s Google, but because it’s a public thing. I can make it public quickly and easily. I can just go “OK, here’s all the details,” then moments later enable edit mode. Really moves people from consumers to collaborators.
I also like sharing my slides. When I do a talk, I can point to them to the slides right away, “Slides are up — here’s the link.” By giving people these reference points they can join us on the journey as we break new ground.
Another thing I’m really focused on right now is the idea of Hyperreality, because everyone is into virtual reality right? But now, everyone is into augmented reality, because it has the potential to make reality even better. Although it’s still one person’s view on what’s happening.
I want to solve the shared experience question. VR & AR are still very single person view and sharing it is still awkward at best. One of the things I’m thinking is Hyperreality; all the objects and devices around work together with the media to make this almost magical bi-directional experience. I can see how it can be done, but it feels very out there.
I’ve just been thinking about it and blogging about it. Because of that, I can gage peoples views on it. Every time I say it, I refine my thoughts on what it is again and how to explain it again.
And you like to blog to aid with collaboration?
Yes. It’s so sad — I’ve been reading about the death of blogging. I’ve been blogging for 14 years. I feel it’s important to have a space and share ideas, visions, the bigger picture. Maybe I’m just old school about the whole thing but then again there is the whole indieweb movement lighting a fire under this all again.
Yeah, scary the time I’ve been blogging. I blog my thoughts, I blog about work, I blog about my personal life, I blog about dating, I blog about everything, but it’s like a place where if people start to go, “OK, I want to dig into things a bit more.” Then I can go retrieve a public link to my thoughts on that thing.
It’s really important for those thoughts to be accessible from a public link. It shouldn’t be hidden, like on Facebook — somewhere where you have to go search and risk not finding it because Facebook’s business model has deemed that my blog should be hidden. Instead, it’s highly accessible under my own domain.
You find it important to have your own website or domain?
Yeah, even more now. I met a guy back in 2006 that talked about why everyone should have a website under their own control — a decentralised space. It was slightly laughable then, but he was right on the money! With all the stuff that has happened recently, I just keep thinking “Yeah, he was so right.” The thought of having your own space, under your own control is critical. It’s how you can develop your own identity. It’s where you can go and tell people, “Here’s the stuff I’ve been thinking about.” There is something fundamental about this, and I think it’s attached to identity. Without it, you are slightly lost and a facebook profile isn’t a substitute for this.
If you think about it, blogs are decentralised in nature, although I know there are networks pulling them together like Medium. I thought WordPress would do some kind of decentralised play, a bit like medium, but actually decentralised. Think Disqus comments like commenting and web ping but with loosely joined nodes/pieces.
Yeah yeah no, absolutely. Turning now to what I think of as the broadest issue in the Mozilla universe, keeping the web open and free, what for you is the open internet?
The open web is, for me, is a web without massive amounts of horrible paywalls and logins. It’s really interesting, because the BBC has never been a login system and now we’ve started to.
We’ve got a thing called myBBC, where if you log in then you’ll get additional stuff. You could see how that’s really nice, because you then know a bit about the person, you can deal with some of the experiences that we’re talking about.
Yet, as a public broadcaster, we need to provide for everyone — even those who don’t want to login for whatever reasons. This is quite different of an intention from a paywall, which blocks people from seeing the content. Our business model is very different from others, but I do think the rise of the public sector in the age of the internet is coming. The dominant online business model is currently under pressure.
The other one that really winds me up is Pinterest. It’s worse than Instagram, because it’s like, here’s what you wanted and here’s a massive ad over it, and you scroll down trying to pass the ad for it — then it goes, “Oh, no, no, you need to sign in to see the rest of this.”
Facebook does that, too, if you’re not signed in.
Yeah, the way they get you to sign up. This is why I find public events in Facebook a bit of head scratch. It winds me up. I always make a choice based on the sites data ethics — how much do I actually want this content? Sometimes Instagram, Whatsapp, Pintrest, etc. — I reject them and seek open alternatives, even if my friends are not there. I’m strong willed and won’t cave into social pressure too easily.
Luckily with the open web, you can always find other ways of getting the content, even as a cached copy through from someplace else. I feel like we’re starting to divide the web into horrible pieces, like, “Oh, you can’t be in this community because you haven’t got the right phone.” That’s not what the web is about.
I was watching a movie recently and they were talking about the dark web and I’m thinking, “Wait a minute, the dark web is just the web that’s not indexed by search engines.” If I type in the IP address from my own server, this is not the dark web! This is all the web. It’s that the web as dictated by a few, the five or six stack companies, that worries me.
It’s worrying that people have been conditioned to think that the web is only accessible through google and facebook. The idea that everything outside of those sites is the dark web is equally worrying.
Can you give me an example of how the open aspects of the Internet have been important for you?
Early on, I learned a lot by just viewing source — it helped me understand what was going on behind the scenes. An open Internet is built on open standards, so people can build on top of it. It means that you can see what’s there and you can snoop around — it’s not hidden.
You can find out how it works, which is powerful: “I understand a bit and now want to create, or remix in my own vision.” This is really important. Just being able to see the underlying stuff applies to a lot of things. For example, I was a big fan of SVG in early days because you could look at it and understand how it worked. But with Flash you were just presented with an opaque blob of data.
I want to dig into why creating and remixing important. Why is it important to understand what’s going on behind?
We’re looking at the web with the idea that it should be diverse and inclusive. The web is for everyone. The web is freedom.
Actually this reminds me of a funny story — when I was younger, a friend worked at an internet cafe and that I thought his job was pretty amazing. He told me, “Oh, it’s really boring.” I was shocked because I thought he could be doing anything he wanted on the internet when he wasn’t busy working — he could just browse the web. He could learn anything he wanted. When I told him this, he replied, “Yeah, but what do I look at?”
You can browse through Wikipedia — you find something interesting and dig in deeper. He had the opportunity to connect to the internet without having to worry about cost. He was getting paid to go and just be there. I thought was really powerful.
The web is force for people who are interested and curious. It’s really powerful. There are so many of these stories about people who grew up in really difficult areas or regimes and the internet helped them find their community or their calling through meeting other people. The web allows us to connect people and that’s something that’s really important. That cannot be underestimated.
The internet has to be open — it can’t be a siloed garden. Some people think everyone’s on Facebook, and that might be, but you have to agree to their terms and conditions and you have to act a certain way — maybe I don’t want to do that, maybe I can’t do that.
Another thing is the infrastructure — I’m a massive fan of distributed and decentralized methods. For example, I’ve been playing with a thing called zero net. I guess it’s technically a part of dark web, if you want to call it that. The idea that I can host anything, I can do all the stuff myself on a network that’s part of the web, but not viewable or searchable straight from Google — it’s quite powerful. It’s almost like the early days of the internet.
I’ve also heard about a protocol which allowed you to do video, and audio, and stuff like that, but in a more distributed manner — mesh networking. I think that’s the kind of stuff that’s really powerful. We might not use it in the Western world, but they’ve had a lot of use for it in Korea.
That’s the thing with open technology and the open web — anyone can use it. Everyone can do what they want to do and learn. It’s really powerful and really enabling for everybody
Getting more specific about Mozilla, how did you get involved with them, and what has that been like for you?
It’s funny because my history in Mozilla goes way back. Back in the day, Netscape Navigator was one of the first browsers I ever used on a PC. I liked the way that the modular route came about — it was more of a community app activity. It brought all the people together and just made it all work.
There were adverts in the New York Times using a crowdfunding model back when people didn’t believe this stuff would work. Now we take it for granted. I feel like Mozilla was there doing this stuff way before because they have this belief that community and the open web is really important.
I got more involved when I met Michelle Thorne who was at Creative Commons — I was a big Creative Commons fan. I was managing BBC Backstage, which is all about open data and open APIs for the BBC. I had heard about the Mozilla Drumbeat Festival, as it was called back then. It sounded amazing, but it was in Barcelona, and there was no way I could get to Barcelona. Anyway, when I was talking to Michelle about the DJ hackday thing I had been trying to do, she said I could do that sort of thing at the Mozilla festival — she was running the festival back then. And that’s how it all started.
I met some amazing people. There was a lot of continuous enthusiasm for new stuff, especially from Americans and Canadians — but I find it interesting and I stuck with it. I think there’s something about the enthusiasm. Even when things are not going that great the spirit is high, which is great and really inspiring from Mozilla. Even when the whole Brendan Eich thing happened. Yeah, exactly. I think in that case they probably could have been a little bit quicker to respond, but when the response came, it was good and powerful. They were very, “This is what’s happened. We’re not going to try to cover it up. We’re not going to do this. This is what we’re going to do as a community.” It was really powerful.
I appreciate that Mozilla runs the festival through Google Docs and GitHub — in the open. That’s stuff even I’m challenged by. It’s transparency to the tenth degree. That’s pretty powerful. I really appreciate that they’re trying this stuff, seeing where it goes, and kind of always in this constant cycle of, “Let’s try this, see how it goes. Let’s build on it or decide if it’s not for us.” Feedback is quick and used well.
You’re the third person I’ve spoken to from the UK who’s like, “That enthusiasm is a little difficult for us.” It’s really interesting how the cultural pieces come into play.
I used to be married to an American, so I sort of get it now. But when everything is so exciting all the time, it’s just like, whoa, can we tone down a little bit? Of course no one wants to rain on parades.
But at the same time it was attractive to you, so it was like a push and pull.
I think it’s more the philosophy behind it — you’re putting on a great face and trying your best. I think that does play out in a lot of the differences in culture.
For example, in the UK if you fail, then you’ve failed and you’re never going to be trusted again. Where in America, if you fail then it’s a stepping-stone towards greatness.
That is a big difference. I like the fact that Mozilla’s very much trying to go beyond the western world, and really trying to push hard into other sectors. I also like that they’re not like, “This is what’s worked in the West, so we’re basically going to put the same thing in Africa or the same thing in Japan.” They have unique things that happen in those places or those parts of the world. They understand the diversity or each place and work with it, instead of against it.
Can you tell me about a specific time where Mozilla’s had a real impact on your life or your work or your organization?
Going to the festival every year and running an actual space is a big deal. It has potential to becoming part of the big events that R&D does for the coming few years. Some of the research partnerships that we’re in with different UK universities see it as a good way to reach a tech savvy audience. Databox (Nottingham, Cambridge & Queen Mary) was one such group, “OK, so you want to reach out to a kind of more technical community? Right, there’s only one place to go, and that’s MozFest.”
That’s one of the big things — but it’s also the amount of people and the community. Even though the community’s loose, it’s really powerful. And it’s not just going to the Mozfest events, it’s much more than that — I’ve made good friends and colleagues. We even have a sort of private mailing list between the BBC and Mozilla where we can ask questions and they can ask questions, and we can work together in a more private way, because some of the things just need to be private. These kinds of things have a massive impact on our work and how we improve in the times.
If I’m understanding correctly, in terms of the BBC, the reason that they’re dedicating resources to an event like MozFest and spending time connecting with folks at Mozilla is because they have access to a technical community. Is it a matter of cutting-edge or shared values or both?
Yeah, I think it’s both. It’s about access to great people to share knowledge and about shared values — maybe even future collaborative partners?
To be fair, the bit of Mozilla that intrigues me is that they have a very similar values to the BBC and it’s easier to work with them. For example, if I talk to them about something, it’s not like I have to sign an NDA or go talk to such-and-such.
Instead it’s, “Let’s have a chat about this,” which is pretty powerful. The amount of times I’ve met companies who won’t talk to you without an NDA in place — it just kills a conversation, especially for someone like the BBC, we can’t just sign NDAs willy-nilly. An NDA is a big deal because there could be stuff in there that may influence us or something like that. With Mozilla it’s “let’s talk about it,” is such a great place to be.
When you say that going to the festival every year and running a space is a big deal, do you also mean it’s a big deal for you personally in terms of your personal development?
Yeah, it definitely is. The support from Mozilla, it’s really good, even though sometimes it can be a little bit frustrating. Again, that’s because we keep on pushing the envelope on trying to do things that are a little bit more different.
Two years ago, we did the extra cool ethical dilemma cafe that was an exhibit space — something completely different than the normal talk sessions. That changed things. People thought, “Oh, I get it. We could do something which is more experimental within the festival.” That’s pretty powerful.
Now, if we look at this year, we’ve got loads of exhibits opening up all over the place. Last year when we had the athena library space — a destination for people just to wander around rather than having to go there just for workshops. The cardboard box shelves and space was a destination. A big credit to Mozilla for supporting us when we said about we need 200+ cardboard boxes.
You’ve alluded to this with the frustration, but can you tell me about a time that Mozilla did not meet your expectations? Do you have some feedback?
I’ve given a little feedback to Sarah and Erica. The way things are run are a bit loose. But when they genuinely ask how I would do it, I don’t have a clear answer — relaxed with drive is about right I guess. Other people ask, “When is this happening? When is that happening?” I’m more like, “Well, they’ll work it out.” It’s a little loose. It suits me — but it doesn’t suit everybody.
OK, so some people have a hard time with the range of tools, and perhaps a more relaxed structure?
I think there’s definitely a frustration with a lot of people about why we’re not all on one Slack and just talking through there. Where is the email? Why is it there? Why is it GitHub? Why is it all Open? I think they just don’t quite get the open nature of Mozilla. It’s not just a sound bite — it’s real openness!
I think sometimes I feel like I’m defending Mozilla. I’m say, “No, no, this is the nature of, this is the values of Mozilla.” It’s hard when you’re trying to justify it, especially when managers ask, “why and when is this happening?” I’m honest and say, “Well, I don’t know, but sure it will emerge soon.”
That it’s emerging.
Yeah, exactly. I think that ultimately, all these things are bumps in the road — but the road that they’re going down is the right road and the right way of going about it. We’re not there yet. We’re still kind of tweaking as we go along this bumpy road. I think we’ll get there in the future and things will be nice and smooth — and of course much more distributed way of doing things, but we’re not there.
I think it’s sometimes hard for people who bring their old-fashioned model of how a conference or festival in run. They bring it to Mozfest, and it blows their mind. But there’s also a tension because Mozilla are also trying to trying to cater to different people. For example, the schedule. The schedule this year had to be done much earlier — the feedback from previous years suggested people wanted schedule stuff before they got there. The other side of it is that MozFest wants to be more experimental and emergent. That’s hard to do both at the same time.
You mentioned it’s hard to justify when your manager is asking about the amount of resources needed. You can’t really provide that information right away or in the time frame that he or she wants.
It’s the nature of the work we do — solid answers are difficult to be sure of. You can only give the best estimate and push to do better. Generally, managers have now understood the agile type methodology and that there will be some give or take on the estimate. This is also why collaborations need to have everyone on the same page — otherwise there is lots of room for misunderstandings.
Do you think it would be something that would be useful to think through the needs of managers in order to shift systems, or do you think that you do an OK job of mediating that?
Every year we’ve shown that there is a massive benefit to MozFest. Each year there is like, “Yes, this is really useful. It’s really good,” but it’s still not quite in the top five places that R&D will be at every year — but it’s getting there.
But, every year without a doubt we will be at IBC, the International Broadcasting Convention, with about 20 people from R&D go and set up demos. My personal feelings is that we need to try new places as part of our work.
MozFest is a little bit more effort — it’s not like you just turn up and show your wares. It’s much more detailed than that. It requires effort, time, planning, and thinking about what we’re going to do differently.
MozFest is easy for us to go as far as location is concerned, as it is in London.We’ve gone almost every year, and it’s been bigger and bigger and bigger. This year we had Nottingham University do quite a bit of the sessions. We also had UCL, and previously Lancaster University involved. There’s a great blog post about where things are with R&D, our partners, and how we can experiment.
If MozFest ever moves, we’re going to have cut our commitment upfront a bit more because we’re going to have to get a bit more organized about the planning, and who’s going to go. Usually, I can just say, “We need some more people to help out. I’ll just pay for your train fare, and you can sleep with friends.” That’s it. When it’s in another country, that’s a whole different game. If it does go that way, this will be the year where it really becomes, we’re deadly serious about our commitments.
You mentioned that there is a private mailing list where you collaborate throughout the year. Other than MozFest, are there other ways that you engage consistently with Mozilla?
There is the retreat, which I nicknamed Moztreat which is also once a year — but I don’t consider it a once a year thing. The retreat itself is obviously once a year, but it’s a continuing thing throughout the whole year. Also, I’ve been doing this adaptive narrative hack day. It’s one of the pre-week events alongside MozFest.
I meet too many people at Mozilla. That’s what I love about it. Cyberdees who works for MozCo. He used to be in BBC WorldService, so he understands a lot more about what we’re about — he’s a really big contact for us.
We’re doing lots of stuff around VR. I’ve been pushing BBC and R&D to take webVR very seriously — and we are. I’m not saying that I’m the only person who’s doing that, but there was a period of time when it was, “Should we use the Unreal engine? Should we use unity?” I was like, “No, no, no. We’ve done that whole thing with proprietary platforms before. I’m not going to be able to sit on that fence ever again.”
WebVR is getting better all the time. What I love is the people, that are working on this thing called A-Frame, are in Mozilla and much more accessible than the other proprietary technologies. A-Frame allows you to build your WebVR scenes. But being able to talk to the actual people that are actually working on it rather than, here’s this faceless entity, who are hidden behind somewhere in San Francisco somewhere is golden.
We’ve already got a bunch of research which is using WebVR too. Hopefully some of it will be useful to the development of WebVR.
We’re collecting these stories from people from all across the Mozilla networks. From open science, the Hive folks, and long-term volunteers. How might the stories that we’re collecting be useful to you, if at all?
I’ve actually got a blog post, How Can I Make You Wealthy, in my draft somewhere, which I keep meaning to finish writing. It isn’t about money, it’s about wealth. It’s about bringing value to you, communities around you, and the wider society.
What I feel that Mozilla can do to help is to have more of year-round initiatives and highlight some of the things that are going to be coming through the festival, or stuff that could be in the festival — highlighting some of the great things that the Space Wranglers are doing, year in, year out.
It’s so good that, for example, DJ Hackday came from MozFest. We did it at MozFest, we did an afternoon where people got together and now here it is again, it’s like it’s own event. It’s own fringe event. I think that’s the kind of thing that they’re starting to do more of but could do a lot more of.
Basically, giving props and a platform to the Space Wranglers and the community. That’s the key thing, I’d say.