Ben’s 2013

Twenty thirteen: the year that electronic surveillance became a mainstream political concern, thanks to a smart, superempowered geek defector. Meanwhile, Twitter—our global hive mind—was the big IPO on Wall Street.

2013 has been very kind to me. I’ve had many blessings. I spent a lot of time with an exceptional person and we make açai bowls with granola every morning.

I made a big professional transition and joined Mozilla’s new strategy and fundraising team. This was a great decision, because I’ve had the opportunity to learn the craft of fundraising from a truly great mentor. It’s helped me see the world more clearly.

There was a lot of work this year. A lot of it was inherited from last year. I led several projects to completion, like the Mars explorer demonstration project with the Department of Energy, the OpenArt program with Eyebeam, and the week-long Storytelling Innovation Lab with the Tribeca Film Institute. My involvement in the US Ignite initiative is tapering; though I continue to sit on the US Ignite board, I’ll no longer be the principal investigator on Mozilla’s NSF project. I am proud to see that project in good hands as it evolves into the Mozilla Gigabit Community Fund.

In summer, I visited Brazil to scout opportunities to build mobile empowerment programs that leverage Firefox OS and Webmaker (I’ll spend a big part of 2014 lining up partners to bring our “learning and livelihood” ideas to market).

Over summer, I also played a small part in the formation of Stop Watching Us coalition (and unlocked a career achievement when it was lampooned on Taiwanese television).

I spent some creative energy on a few personal outlets. With some friends in San Francisco, I organized Human Warming, a musical parody startup weekend. I taught an interactive storytelling seminar at NYU ITP. I founded and directed the Drones & Aerial Robotics Conference with two of my best friends. It was a smashing success.

I got to see more of the world. I returned to China and managed to hold a 5 minute conversation in Mandarin for the first time (victory!). I rode the Shinkansen for the first time. I broke two ribs in two separate skateboarding incidents. I gave up skateboarding (and some other bad habits).

In any case, 2013 has been good to me—and I’m working to be a better person for it.

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