I help people play, learn and solve problems through art, technology and storytelling.
A multimedia innovator and social entrepreneur, I have led a wide range of projects in education, news and entertainment. We created popular games and digital media services at Apple and Macromedia — and developed collaborative software for online communities at Wikipedia. I also ran a TV production studio, a game development shop and a social news network. Our products and services have touched the lives of hundreds of millions around the world. I am now ‘semi-retired’, devoting my time to causes that can contribute to social change.
As a teacher, I give Maker Art classes for local school children — and at Tam Makers, our makerspace in Mill Valley. We help makers create their own miniature worlds, such as a city of the future, a haunted house or a robot world. We show them how to build animated characters and bring them to life with motion, lights, sounds and stories. In the process, they get deeply engaged and develop their creative, technical and social skills in playful ways.
As an artist, I lead community art projects like the Art Float for Social Change and the Bamboodu Theatre, to inspire more people to express themselves through art. I enjoy creating odd animated characters like the ones we made for the Balinese Cuckoo Clock, a magical wonderbox — and Ubu’s Dreams, our surreal puppet show. I am a founder and active member of art collective Pataphysical Studios, where surrealism meets the maker movement. Over the years, we created a variety of interactive art pieces, such as the Pataphysical Slot Machine, our poetic oracle. We are now building a Time Machine, coming soon to a time zone near you!
As an activist, I host Democracy Cafe, a series of free art, music and civic events for people of all ages and backgrounds. We invite participants to make art, sing songs, and discuss social issues such as gun violence or climate change. Through events like Earth Day, this program builds community and drives social change through creative expression and collective action.
As a multimedia creator, I produced a wide range of TV shows at Videowest, our independent TV studio — including Hackers, my acclaimed TV documentary about the heroes of the computer revolution. I have a more relaxed schedule these days, but still enjoy capturing the beauty in the world around me. Check out my photos on Flickr, where I have featured over 45,000 images over the years. You can also watch my videos on Vimeo, which tell a wide range of stories about our community projects.
Previously, I worked at the Wikimedia Foundation, from 2011 to 2015. In my first three years as product manager, I led the development of many new tools for Wikipedia: our Notifications help users stay informed; our Thanks feature lets them share positive feedback and grow a culture of kindness; and our Media Viewer provides a more immersive learning experience. In my last year, I served as movement communications manager and lead editor of the Wikimedia Blog, a global hub that connects our diverse communities and helps us communicate better as a movement (see my final report).
From 2005 to 2011, I ran NewsTrust, a nonprofit social news network which I founded to help people tell apart fact from fiction. We invited people to rate the news with our online tools, based on quality, rather than popularity. As a community, we helped each other find good journalism, develop our news literacy skills and get more engaged in civic life.
My previous ventures include:
• Handtap / GoComics, a multimedia content provider for mobile devices
• Shockwave.com, a web entertainment site we started at Macromedia
• Zenda Studio, award-winning multiplayer game developer
• Apple Computer’s Multimedia Lab, a research and development group
• Videowest, a producer of rock journalism and entertainment for young adults
Here are some of the strengths I bring to all my projects:
• Innovator with entrepreneurial spirit and passion for community media
• Experienced team leader, focused on agile collaborations
• Good communicator, building trust between stakeholders
• Extensive background in multimedia production and journalism
• Strong software development experience, with a focus on quality
I am grateful for the recognition that our work has received over the years: for example, I was elected an Ashoka Fellow for my contributions as social entrepreneur; and I have earned several patents for my interactive TV work at Apple. Our projects have been covered by a wide range of publications such as the BBC, the Guardian, Le Monde, Newsweek, the New York Times, Scientific American, Time, the Washington Post, Wired and many more.