How would you describe your professional journey so far? What is your background, and what sparked your interest in currently working to support political innovation?
I started out in IT as a science fiction nerd that wanted to go into politics and diplomacy to help build the socio-political side of the kinds of utopian future depicted in shows like Star Trek. The actual journey from there to here has taken me all over. I worked in international development and with refugees for a few years. I spent 5 years in the Middle East studying shifting relationship networks during revolutions and qualifying what it meant to be a ‘sustainable democracy’. I conducted infrastructure development research in South Asia, built an organisation to help grass roots democratisation through cooperative formation and conducted workshops all over the place using liquid democracy as a team building exercise. Finally, I actually did become a diplomat for a few years, but then left to help co-found a mediatech startup fighting disinformation and distrust in journalism. Now I’m obsessed with the intersection of tech, democracy (and space). The tech and democracy stuff I get to do here. The space stuff I do in my off hours.
What’s something—big or small—that you’re really good at?
I think I’m pretty good at connecting with people and seeing solutions to complex problems. I also think I’m a half decent cook.
Which historical figure would you most like to meet? What would you ask them?
I think the further back you go, the more likely it is that meeting them would be a profoundly disappointing experience. That being said – Carl Sagan. I’d ask him if he wanted to grab a telescope and some beers and go hang out.
What’s one thing you’re learning now, and why is it important?
Not just now, but always. Getting better at managing more. More things to do. More obligations and aspirations. More perspectives and information. I think it’s important for all of us individually and collectively. There’s simply more to process and weave together into a coherent narrative or a balanced life. So when I say ‘managing’ I don’t just mean we have to somehow do it all or know it all. Managing also means prioritising. Knowing what’s important and what’s not.
What’s your favourite movie?
Either Interstellar, or The 5th Element, depending on my mood.