Special Projects

SPECIAL PROJECTS is my independent, self-directed work: My writing, newsletter, advocacy, research & explorations. Also, experiments with other formats which might include podcasts, videos, interviews and other shenanigans.

It’s important to me to invest time in the aspects of my work that matter maybe most: Advocating for responsible technology, exploring the impact of emerging tech, helping others — like policy makers — understand the issues at hand.

I do these things through tons of research and writing, the occasional conference and other formats. I’m trying to be as explicit about my agenda as possible, so you know what you’ll get (in substance, if maybe not in format). Often, these special projects are meaningful in their own right; every now and then, they might be purely for delight and entertainment.

Current projects

Currently, the main focus of my SPECIAL PROJECTS is the Getting Tech Right research project that aims to offer accessible, pragmatic guidelines for how to approach decisions that involve technology, and to approach them with a focus on public interest, citizen empowerment and civil rights in mind. It’s aimed primarily at funders and policy makers in that space but is relevant to a much broader audience.

Getting Tech Right has two concrete outputs:

  1. A book(ish) project on responsible tech.
  2. And a podcast series of interviews exploring issues around how technology shapes our society and how to think about these issues better. You can find Getting Tech Right on Apple Podcasts, Transistor.fm, or wherever you listen to podcasts. (Here’s the RSS feed.)

Examples of projects so far

To give you an idea about the types of projects I’ve started in the past, here are a few:

  • ThingsCon is a conference-turned-non-profit that I co-founded in 2013/14 that explores responsible IoT.
  • Zephyr Berlin was the name of pants that travel extremely well and were built to last. (The pants are still going strong, we just don’t produce them anymore.) Successfully kickstarted and shipped.
  • The Good Home was a series of exhibitions exploring ideas for 21st century homes (with Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino).
  • Two (short, self-published) books include View Source: Shenzhen an exploration of the Shenzhen hardware ecosystem, and Understanding the Connected Home (with Michelle Thorne).
  • The Trustable Technology Mark is a ThingsCon initiative I led to create a consumer trust mark for connected products.

More projects than I can fit here are listed over on the Output page, and especially The Lab. But a lot of this also influences my work with partners and clients, so the ripple effects go beyond these artifacts. Concretely, many of these projects have significantly contributed to my work with foundations and policy makers around issues regarding tech policy, and civil/digital rights.