SeaGL speaker Q&A: Aaron Wolf
Aaron Wolf gives his talk titled, “Snowdrift.coop: 5 years of a work-in-progress” on Saturday afternoon.
Q: Could you please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your background?
A: My name is Aaron Wolf. I’m a musician and music teacher who got sidetracked by questions about the nature of cultural freedom, creativity, technology, and economic equity. In 2012, I pivoted from Apple to GNU and from the prospect of a musicology PhD to co-founding a funding cooperative for free/libre/open software and culture. Although I’ve found a place in the FLO world and tech community, I’m still not a tech enthusiast per se or a programmer. I focus on how technology can be empowering rather than exploitive and how economic foundations play into all this stuff.
Q: Without tipping your hand on the actual talk, can you give us an idea of what we might expect?
A: I always want to be modest and acknowledge that Snowdrift.coop is just a support project hoping to help the real projects that create primary value. But when I focus on the challenges and why we have taken so long to launch, I realize we just might be one of the most ambitious projects out there. We’re trying to fundamentally change economic and social structures all while living up to the highest standards of software freedom in our own development. Our mission involves everything any software project deals with plus handling money, cooperative governance, international issues…
My talk will be a race through an inside look at what happened over the last 5 years. I’ll share the details of politics, communication struggles, pivots and mission-creep, and where we are now. It will give everyone a good sense of what’s involved in a project like this.
Q: Is this your first visit to SeaGL? If so, what are your expectations? If not, can you give us your impressions of the event?
A: My past SeaGL experience felt like a wonderful volunteer-run event. Many things to learn and improve, but overall good. It had a local feel, and the shoestring budget was apparent, but it did what a good conference should do in connecting people and sharing ideas.