Joi Ito rallies the troops to a maker revolution at MozFest

I just finished attending the fantastic 2012 Mozilla Festival. I got inspired and wrote a blog post about it for work at and cross-posted below.

MozFest might be the first physical event that I’ve attended that used (I’ve seen it used for online events in the past.) It looks like about half of the 1,000 registrants (and all of the speakers) also signed up on the MozFest Lanyrd site, which makes it not the most efficent directory in terms of finding people.

But where Lanyard was truly essential was displaying a grid of the conference sessions. The MozFest site itself did list sessions, but simple as a textual list on one page which made it very difficult to understand the unusual “organic” schedule. Given that sessions were different lengths with a verity of starting and ending times and that there was no printed program available, the temporal grid was the only way to understand what was going on.

But now that the event is over, Lanyrd shines even more with a feature I hadn’t seen before. Any participant can contribute “coverage” of a session to the site in the form of notes, links, pictures, slides, videos and more. We were frequently reminded via Twitter to contribute, and the reult is this page chock-full of great reources with which to follow-up:

Joi Ito rallys fellow weirdos at MozFestIn that coverage, especially recommend checking out the brief and inspiring keynote by MIT Media Lab Director Joi Ito from Sunday morning, in which he reminded us that we’re all “a bunch of fucking weirdos” for wanting to be makers in any degree, but that makers are changing the world’s culture. He compared his own frustrating experience with formal education to his sister‘s success. Clearly they are both brilliant, but even among siblings great minds don’t always fit into neat academic boxes.

Citing a conversation with the great activist/thinker/lawyer Lawrence Lessig, Ito said “You don’t win by changing the world’s laws. You win by changing the world’s culture.” Whether you think of yourself an activist or not, “Understand that what you are doing is political. It will disrupt the system. Embrace it with your fist in the air” says Ito. Or, to put to put Joi Ito’s 21st century vision in 19th century verse, here’s Arthur O’Shaughnessy (by way of Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka, I’ll admit):

We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers
And sitting by desolate streams;—
World-losers and world-forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.

Photo credit: Paul Clarke

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