Politics

Next Level Astroturfing

The for-profit appropriation of social movements is in full swing.

Obama’s election victories, the marriage equality victory, and the Net Neutrality victory have served as rapid incubators for internet-based activism. They’ve created an unprecedented level of talent, tools, and tactics that, so far, are pretty much undefeated. The allure of that record has caught the attention of the private sector.

The use of mission-driven rhetoric by Valley tech companies and start-ups – ‘But what we’re really trying to do is save the world.’ – is a truism at this point. It’s referenced in countless articles on how to recruit and retain millennial employees. It’s the central tenet in the cults of Jobs and Musk. (Though I’m an admitted fan of Musk.) And it’s the frequent object of ridicule.

But the for-profit appropriation of the tactics of social movements makes mission-driven tech rhetoric, greenwashing, and corporate social responsibility cause-related marketing seem harmless in comparison. It’s a real threat to those of us who wield those tools for good.

Overuse will blunt their impact. Misguided use will undermine public faith. And the private sector has more resources to throw at the innovation required to stay ahead of both these trends.

The Republican use of working class rhetoric to dismantle the labour movement demonstrates what can happen when organizing falls into the wrong hands.

Here’s hoping the Election Workers Class of ’16 stay true to their beliefs and resist the siren call of stock options.

Design

#149 – 1159 Dundas Street East

Those who know me well know I spend every free minute and dollar working on the design and construction of my home. It’s a passion I inherited from my mother, my frequent companion on adventures to salvage yards.

My family is moving to New York. I’ve been offered an amazing role, which I’ll post about shortly. But it means that my design project of the last 15 years is complete.

The good news is that if you like what you see it can be yours. We listed our home for sale this week, bringing an end to our time in Leslieville and Dundas Street East.

I designed everything in these photos, including the walls, floors, and layout of the loft. I’ve spent countless hours in workshops and at the wheels of rented vans reclaiming salvaged materials and re-purposing them into contemporary design.

I’ve loved every minute of it. Especially spending time with my friends – Alan, Gregor, Chris, Marty, and Martin – who’ve made the time to lift their side of things and my family – Powell, Catherine, Claire, Simon, D’Arcy, Nancy, David, Linda, Adelaide, and Audrey – who have helped and tolerated me in equal measure. Finally, a big thank you to Stephani Buchman,  Christopher Hazard, and Trevor Black for helping me document it all.

Wherever we land in New York, I’m looking forward to the next project.

Uncategorized

Ultimate Leslieville Food Guide

My wife and I have lived in Leslieville since 2001. We’ve seen the neighbourhood evolve and restaurants come and go. We’ve eaten pretty much everywhere. This post is to save you the hassle.

Best Coffee: Mercury. It was the first high end coffee place to open and remains the best.

Best Breakfast Sandwich: The Winter Warmer with a fried egg at Rashers. It’s all made fresh and the Sriracha gives it an amazing kick.

Best Breakfast: Is at Jim’s. Keep it simple and go for the basic fry-up. The Leslieville Diner is also a good bet.

Best Brunch: There is always a line at Lady Marmalade. We’re never really sure why. We much prefer the brunch at Lil’ Baci. The Eggs Benedetto is really good.

Best Lunch Sandwich: Brick Bakery makes the best tuna sandwich on the planet. Fresh bread and perfectly seasoned.

Best Bakery: Also Brick. The cinnamon roll, the blueberry cheese turnover, and the sourdough.

Best Ice Cream: Can’t go wrong with Ed’s Real Scoop.

Best Pizza: If you’re after traditional, cheesy, comfort food for movie night its Danforth Pizza House (get extra cheese). If you’re after a big, classic Italian pie go to Tommaso’s. And if you want hipster goodness go to North of Brooklyn. The delivery options are generally all poor.

Best Burger: I have to go with Great Burger Kitchen. The burgers are big, very well spiced, and made with fresh ingredients.

Best Chicken: Best roast chicken is at George’s Deli & BBQ at Sherbourne & Dundas. Best fried chicken is at Chick-N-Joy. Absolutely perfect.

Best Greek: Best kebobs are at Astoria. Best pastries are at Athens.

Best Vietnamese: It’s Pho House. Trust us. We eat here twice a week. My daughter’s favourite food in the world.

Best Indian: Is Makkah. The butter chicken has a smoky note to it. The samosas are amazing. But the best is the chili chicken.

Best Chinese: Kaka Lucky Seafood BBQ. Eat anything with the pork in it.

Best Thai: The original Sukhothai location on Parliament.

Best Date Night: It’s at Goods & Provisions. Run by a local couple, service is impeccable, cosy atmosphere, and amazing food. A true treasure.

Mozilla

Me+Next

mozillaI’ve let my long-time friend and Executive Director, Mark Surman, know that April 10th will be my last day as an employee of Mozilla.

The last 5 years have been an amazing ride. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished.

There are learning, fundraising, and advocacy programs where there weren’t before. We’re empowering hundreds of thousands of people to teach each other the web. We’ve built a $15M/y fundraising program from scratch. And we’ve helped Mozilla find its voice again, playing a lead role in the most significant grassroots policy victory in a generation and the largest ever in telecommunications: the battle for net neutrality.

I’m grateful to Mark and Mitchell Baker for the opportunity and trust to help build something great, to my colleagues for their focus and dedication, and to all of Mozilla for fighting the good fight.

While the 10th will be my last day as an employee, I’ll be around until the end of June as a consultant, helping with the transition of my portfolio to new leadership. I’ll announce my new home closer to that time.

For now, as always, once a Mozillian always a Mozillian.

Thanks again to all of you. I’m looking forward to seeing what we accomplish next.

Mozilla

Infographic: Contribution & Fundraising in 2014

2013 was an amazing year. Which is why I’m especially proud of what we accomplished in 2014.

We doubled our small dollar performance. We tripled our donor base. We met our target of 10,000 volunteer contributors. And we matched our exceptional grant performance.

We also launched our first, large-scale advocacy campaign, playing a key role in the Net Neutrality victory.

But best of all is that close to 100 Mozillians share the credit for pulling this off.

Here’s to 2015 and to Mozilla continuing to find its voice and identity as a dynamic non-profit.

A big thank you to everyone who volunteered, gave, and made it happen.

CLICK THE IMAGE TO MAKE IT LARGER

fundraising-infographic-2014

Mozilla

The Day After: Thoughtful, angry, and hopeful posts about Mozilla

The order they’re listed isn’t relevant. The posts are nuanced; I’ve just captured a small part. I encourage you to read them all and will keep adding throughout the day. And you can find more on Planet Mozilla.


“We fully support Mozilla, their mission, and trying to build back up the bridges that got torn down. We know many people are going to be upset by Eich stepping down, and some of them might send out a lot of hate. This has been a traumatic time for us, and we hope to never have to post anything about this again. We are software developers and we’d much rather spend our time building great software and helping people than being involved in a horrible mess like this.” – Hampton Catlin

“Our biggest problem is that the world does not know the story of Mozilla. Especially as a progressive at Mozilla, it was hard to watch as people who should know better pulled out the Chick-Fil-A playbook.” – Ben Moskowitz

“One of the parts that is hard about this situation for Mozilla is that we don’t know where to draw the line now. People are worried that this is now a slippery slope, or that anyone could be pushed out because of outside views. I think as a community we need to accept the truth that Brendan wasn’t a viable CEO and figure out where this leaves the lines.” – Kensie

“I’m a supporter of traditional marriage, and I work for Mozilla. … Many people who agree with me on this issue are very upset about what happened to Brendan Eich, our co-founder and, for two weeks, CEO of the Mozilla Corporation. … I am assured by sources I trust that Brendan decided to leave of his own accord – he was not forced out. My understanding is that the senior management of Mozilla (many of whom disagree with him on this issue) worked very hard to support him, even if I would not agree with all the actions they took in doing so. However, he eventually felt that it was impossible for him to focus on leading if he was spending all of his time dealing with the continued, relentless news and social media storm surrounding the donation he made. In other words, he wasn’t forced out from the inside – he was dragged out from the outside.” – Gervase Markham

“Brendan’s choice of what propositions and political parties to support do not match my personal choices and I’m sad when any restrictions affect only one group of people. But at the same time, in a democracy, people must be able to support and express their values. And hopefully, in the best of worlds, that leads to a good discussion and greater understanding.” – Robert Nyman

“Instead of addressing the issues at hand, he very clearly dodged them. I’m really not sure why and I’m at a loss to even speculate. Every one of my friends said that while they didn’t agree with his position, if he just apologized it could have been the end of it.” – TofuMatt

“On one hand, I disagree with Brendan’s personal views and think that his choice to step down is going to be ultimately good for us. … On the other hand, Brendan has always been a strong, (seemingly) just technical leader at Mozilla and I can’t help but feel that he was railroaded out, which isn’t right and also goes against what Mozilla stands for, in my eyes.” – Lizzilla

“Supporting Prop 8 is beyond the pale. But I don’t fully agree with the tactics that some of my friends have used in order to make that point. IMHO, rather than spending our energy attacking Brendan Eich and Firefox (which affected the entire Mozilla community) we should have devoted ourselves to supporting our friends within the Mozilla community as they grappled (many of them publicly) with the biggest crisis they’d ever encountered.” – Josh Levy

“Even as Brendan announced his departure, he provided next steps to advancing the mission by reaffirming Mozilla’s focus on users. The direction he provided could put the non-profit Mozilla as a users union leader to push back the bullying aspects of the Internet that prey on individuals (think of privacy policies or terms of services) and instead flip that around to be pro-user.” – edilee

“Wanted: New CEO for Mozilla. Qualifications: No history of being wrong, ever.” – Brandon Savage

“If we have to learn anything from the past 10 days, it is that we can only survive as a community if we interpret this mission only in its most narrow scope, where can and should find common ground. Attempting to read the Manifesto in the widest possible manner and presuming to find that all of our fellow Mozillians have done so in the same way is the road to failure as a group and a community. Our cultural differences are immense and things which we find self-evident can be unimaginable to other. We should group among the narrow set of goals that unites us, not among what divides us.” – Garf

What has Brendan done? Many things intrinsic to the open web; he helped shape technologies used by countless numbers of users, including to write and read this very post. Also, a hurtful and divisive thing based on a conviction now at odds with the law of the land, and at odds with my own conviction…” – aruner

“[Eich] did not understand that in order to be a CEO of a company, you have to renounce your heresy! There is only one permissible opinion at Mozilla, and all dissidents must be purged! Yep, that’s left-liberal tolerance in a nut-shell.” – Andrew Sullivan

“As a volunteer moderating the Facebook page, it was evident that we had many users complaining and very little supporters. Now that Brendan has resigned, everybody has all of a sudden come out from a shadow. Unexpectedly to say at the least, is that we’ve got users telling us that we were no longer protecting Freedom of speech and that rights are taken away. Where have these people been hiding?” – Andrew Truong

“It takes courage to face adversity in society, and that’s not a virtue I possess much of. Though I’ve come to value difference. Though at the same time, its important not to see valuing difference vs. valuing similarity as a dichotomy where you have to choose only one. We’re all similar in so many ways and sometimes, the difference is small.” – Chris Crews

“…what happened during the last days seems to be a negation of democracy. One should be able to express legal opinions without having to face a witch-hunt-like repression.” – Daniel Glazman

“Brendan Eich is one of the most inspiring humans that I have ever met. He is a true hero for many of us. He invented a programming language that is the heart and soul of the most open communications system the world has ever known… It’s important to remember that all heroes are also human. They struggle. And they often have flaws. Brendan’s biggest flaw, IMHO, was his inability to connect and empathize with people.” – Mark Surman

“If you tried, I don’t think you could engineer a situation that could throw the Mozilla community so thoroughly off-center. A lot of folks at Mozilla work here because we want to do what’s right. Doing the right thing can be hard, but overall we’re comfortable with taking on hardship to do the right thing.” – Dave Camp

“Follow the Mozilla mission on your own terms, because you know it’s the right thing to do. Do the right thing because it is the right thing.” – Ben Adida

“When the outrage was how a person with a different belief and – to me – very doubtful political action got made CEO people ganged up on Mozilla, my colleagues and friends and me how that could happen and how we can allow that. This was unfair.” – Christian Heilmann

“When suddenly the life my wife and I have built together seemed under any kind of threat, the monument of our public commitment to each other was the main thing to hold on to. Very often, critics of the notion of same-sex marriage seem to feel it can be reduced to something empty, as though symbolism carries no weight.  As though legal constructs around civil partnerships, common law marriages, tax codes, inheritance rights and so forth suffice.  All of that misses what’s important.” – Patrick Finch

“Because bringing diverse people with opposing views together, and asking them to fight for just what they agree on while looking past what they don’t, is how movements are built, and how they succeed. Period. Not how some of them succeed, it’s how all of them succeed.” – Ryan Merkley

“Soon, we were in the midst of a crisis, with the voices of reason so overwhelmed by outright nonsense that they couldn’t be heard. Several of us tried. We failed. Brendan, overwhelmed by the waves of negative press and outright hate mail he was getting, gave up and resigned. The mob won, and Mozilla lost its founding father.” – Sheppy

“One of the things that is most painful to me about this is the sheer volume of misinformation out there. We all know that people are wrong on the internet all the time. It is probably hopeless to fight that, but for the record, these are the facts as I understand them, along with my interpretation of those facts.” – David Flanagan