The Human Centered Design Podcast with Gerry Scullion

Scott Jenson 'From Apple, Symbian to Google - Exploring the World of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS)'

John Carter
November 29, 2022
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Scott Jenson 'From Apple, Symbian to Google - Exploring the World of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS)'

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Episode shownotes

I caught up Scott Jenson recently - Scott refers to himself as a battle scarred veteran of the software industry.

He has been doing user interface design and strategic planning for over 30 years. He worked at Apple on System 7, Newton, and the Apple Human Interface guidelines. He was UX director of Symbian, VP of product design for Cognima, managed mobile UX for Google and was a creative director at frog design in San Francisco.

Scott returned to Google in 2013 to lead the Physical Web project and research future Android UX concepts. In 2021, Scott left Google to explore life outside.

In this episode we drill into Scott’s focus at the moment, Design within FOSS (free and open source software). We plan on recording two episodes, so this is Part 1. Part 2 will follow in early 2023.

Episode Transcript

This transcript was created using the awesome, Descript. It may contain minor errors.
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[00:00:00] Scott Jenson: There's a certain kind of corrosive aspect that comes from focusing on money. I don't wanna go down that rabbit hole about saying capitalism is evil. I'm just saying is that as an e, e undergraduate, and you talk about externalities in economics, and I think that by having money be the only focus, the only efficiency, there's a lot of power in that.

[00:00:24] Gerry Scullion: Hello and welcome to this is h cd. My name is Gerry Scullion and I'm a designer educator, and the host of this is h cd based in the beautiful and the wonderful city of Dublin Ireland. Our goal here is to conversations that inspire and help move the dial forward for organizations to become more human centered in their approach to solving complex business and societal problems.

[00:00:45] Gerry Scullion: And I caught up at Scott Jenson recently as Scott refers to him. As a battle scarred veteran of the software industry, he's been doing user interface design and strategic planning for over 30 years, and he worked at Apple on System seven Newton and the Apple Human Interface [00:01:00] guidelines. He was director of user experience of syn, VP of product design for Kama and managed mobile UX for Google, and was creative director at Frog Design in San F.

[00:01:10] Gerry Scullion: Scott returned to Google in 2013 to lead the physical web project and research future Android UX concepts, and in 2021, Scott left Google to explore life outside. And it's kind of what we're discussing here a little bit more because in this episode we drill into Scott's focus at the moment. That is designed within fos, which is free and open source software.

[00:01:31] Gerry Scullion: We plan on recording two episodes, so this is part one and part two will follow early in 2023. Can you believe it, folks? But before we jump in though, if you like, what we're doing here at this is hd, it can help us out by leaving a review wherever you listen to the podcast. It only takes a couple of minutes and it really helps us out.

[00:01:47] Gerry Scullion: Or you can go on better by becoming a. You can go and get an ad free stream of the podcast for as little as one Euro 66 per month, and also get a shout out as thanks. And there's little plans there as well where you can get hoodies and [00:02:00] t-shirts and stuff if you wanna pay a little bit more. And all the money goes to editing, hosting, and maintaining our wonderful website, which is now repository for over 230 episodes of Humans Center Design.

[00:02:09] Gerry Scullion: Goodness. Anyway, let's jump straight into the episode. Scott is fantastic and I know you're gonna really enjoy this. Let's get. Scott Jansen a very warm welcome to This is Hate cd. How are you doing?

[00:02:22] Scott Jenson: I'm doing fine. Thanks for having me.

[00:02:24] Gerry Scullion: No, I'm delighted to have you here. As I've mentioned to you, uh, before when we were speaking the other day, um, We connected in passing way back in Sydney a long

[00:02:35] Scott Jenson: time ago,

[00:02:36] Gerry Scullion: 2012 or 2013 or something like that.

[00:02:39] Gerry Scullion: Um, web directions down in Sydney where you spoke about mobile and, um, design. I think, I can't

[00:02:46] Scott Jenson: remember what such a great

[00:02:47] Gerry Scullion: conference. Yeah, it was a great conference. I do remember that at that stage, cuz it was an interesting time for the web. In 2012, we were entering new kinda realms with interface design and stuff.

[00:02:58] Gerry Scullion: I think there was a couple of [00:03:00] talks there about no, no interface design, which gave people nosebleeds, including myself. But, um, anyway, we're here, we're, we're, we're, we're chatting now on the podcast, but maybe for people who don't know, uh, don't know about you, maybe start off by telling them a little bit about who you are and what you.

[00:03:17] Scott Jenson: Okay. Um, I started, uh, back in, in the eighties working as one of the very first UX designers at Apple Computer. Wow. Uh, they had, they had researchers, but they didn't have a production UX person, so I joined the system software team. Mm-hmm. , and was there for a number of years. I transferred into the Newton Group.

[00:03:36] Scott Jenson: And then as a programmer, cuz I have actually a computer science background. Um, and then I programmed and designed for the Newton for a number of years and shipped that. Was very excited by that product. Uh, left and did, um, consulting for a little while, then went to London, worked at Symbian. So for my UK listeners, they're, they're a lot more familiar with than say the American [00:04:00] listeners are.

[00:04:00] Scott Jenson: I was director of product design for Simian for a number of years and then came back, did more consulting, and then eventually around 2008, started at Google and was their first mobile UX designer. And then managed that team for a number of years. Um, left, became, uh, creative director at Frog Design, uh, San Francisco for a couple years.

[00:04:19] Scott Jenson: Did a couple of startups and then came back to Google, um, where I worked on the physical web project and. Then semi-retired, and now I'm, I'm back briefly for a little project for a little while, but I'm, I'm trying to,

[00:04:33] Gerry Scullion: Yeah, that's, it's a hell of a resume that you've just called out, that you've, you've literally seen the birth of the internet, mobile, everything that in, in my lifetime that I've probably used as a designer and a design educator you've been involved in.

[00:04:50] Scott Jenson: Well, I, I'd like to say that it's always a team sports. Yeah. And yeah, I, I was, it was really fun to be there. And I, uh, I definitely have, Uh, [00:05:00] seen lots of people do interesting things. Yeah,

[00:05:02] Gerry Scullion: absolutely. So which part of the, uh, of your career are you, are you most proud?

[00:05:09] Scott Jenson: Um, I think I'm probably most proud of the physical web project because that was the one that was really trying to push the boundaries to try to say, what does it mean to really get beyond the mobile phone?

[00:05:22] Scott Jenson: The physical web project was basically trying to discover, uh, interactivity around you in a new way so that your phone could be effectively a sensor to find things for you. Um, the project ended up getting canceled for reasons we can get into. Yeah. But I think it was. Start of an interesting direction that I think is going to continue.

[00:05:40] Scott Jenson: Yeah. When was that in some former Heather when you were there? Uh, it was around 2015. 2018. And um, and it was all about basically using URLs as the fundamental payload of information so that because webpages are instant and then you need, your phone was basically creating a discovery mechanism to find these Bluetooth URLs that were being [00:06:00] broadcasting in, in the area around you.

[00:06:01] Gerry Scullion: Can you give me a a use case for that? Like a scenario

[00:06:06] Scott Jenson: of, well, the idea would be is that you would be at a mall and you would just open up your phone and you would just see a little link at the top that says, oh, do you want a map of the mall? Okay. And then you would just get, because this came outta my work at Frog Design, where we were doing all this work for clients that said, we just need an app, design an app for us.

[00:06:21] Scott Jenson: And we would design an app and then they would say, nobody installs our. Because there's just so much friction and app and you just can't have an app for everything. And the superpower of the web is just interaction on demand. And so I was trying to connect the dots to say, how can you get to a webpage as fast as possible?

[00:06:36] Scott Jenson: And the obvious answer today is, of course, use a QR code. And I think that's actually a very reasonable solution. I used to be very negative on QR codes, but the intention though is that you just can't always. Find a QR code if I'm in the mall, where do I go to find the QR code? So it was, it was meant to be more situational.

[00:06:53] Scott Jenson: Yeah. Um, and I think that it's still a possibility. It's just there's some kinks we had to work out to, to make it [00:07:00] really work. Yeah. I had

[00:07:01] Gerry Scullion: that when I used to travel from Australia to to Europe quite a bit, and you'd get into an airport in the middle of the. I think it might have been Singapore. When you turn your phone on, it would give you the map of the airport and where things were and stuff.

[00:07:15] Gerry Scullion: And I was like, oh, this is insane. This is, uh, so that's the kinda the kind of technology that you were working that was at Google, wasn't it?

[00:07:22] Scott Jenson: That was at Google, yeah. In fact, when I, so I returned to Google to work on that for a number years. So I've actually left and come. I've, I've joined Google three times.

[00:07:31] Scott Jenson: Very good. So yeah, I don't, yeah, I think I, that. I don't, I don't think many people have done that, but yeah. Um, if you stick around long enough, you'll leave and you'll come back. pretty

[00:07:40] Gerry Scullion: much. Um, but today we wanna talk a little bit more about free and open, um, software, open source software. Yes. Um, it's a passion of yours that we, it's probably why we've connected because, um, there's, there's an awful lot of, obviously at the moment, what's happening at Twitter.

[00:07:57] Gerry Scullion: Um, people moving over to Macada. [00:08:00] Myself included, I'm over there for anyone listening. Um, but where does the desire to explore, um, FOSS in greater detail come from for you?

[00:08:12] Scott Jenson: It came from the fact that I just felt that. There's a certain kind of corrosive of, uh, aspect that comes from focusing on money. I, I don't wanna go down that rabbit hole about saying capitalism is evil.

[00:08:26] Scott Jenson: I'm just saying is that as an e e undergraduate and you talk about the externalities in economics, and I think that by having money be the only focus, the only efficiency, there's a lot of power in that, but it also tends to get you to simplify the world. And I felt that too many projects. Being corroded by focusing on money and not focusing on the right things and open source just opens up that door.

[00:08:53] Scott Jensonn: It opens up that door to say, we just don't need to worry about that at all. And it allows you to do things that [00:09:00] would be dumb if you were a corporate. You know, open, open file formats. You do things that actually break down the moat so that you don't care if the user is locked in. And it's that aspect of open source that I find very at.

[00:09:11] Gerry Scullion: For people who don't know about open source, I think I might wanna just take a little bit of a step back for a second. Give us a use case because there's, there's certain, um, alternatives to software there, um, from the, the big two, like Microsoft, Google, and Apple as well. The big three, should I say, um, say for text editing, if you don't wanna use Google Docs, there's um, was it micro or it's on the office os I think it was what I used to use.

[00:09:41] Gerry Scullion: There's,

[00:09:41] Scott Jenson: there's Ether Pad, there's Libra office, there's a, there's a ton. Yeah.

[00:09:45] Gerry Scullion: In my experience when I've used those, As cool as they are, the fact that I don't have to take my credit card out, the experience is always somewhat. Um, Not as good as the stuff from

[00:09:58] Scott Jenson: Oh, it's terrible. It's [00:10:00] terrible. Oh, good.

[00:10:01] Gerry Scullion: I'm trying to be kind to the designers on the os stuff.

[00:10:04] Scott Jenson: No, but, but it's, it's a well known critique now. Not all open source software, by the way, is that way. Yeah, it's just, uh, it's, it's the ones that I think try really hard to like replace office. I think Gimp Gimp is famous, is the Photoshop replacement. Uh, which I mean, in many ways, gimp has actually gotten a lot better over the years.

[00:10:25] Scott Jenson: Uh, it just has these edge cases where you're like, what? You know, and so there's, there's these moments and in fact, this is what got me. I, I got excited by, shall we say the. Structural potential open source. It's not beholden to these other forces. But there is exactly this concern that, um, there's a famous treatise on open source called the Cathedral and the Bizarre, which is kinda required reading if you're gonna be an open source, and it talks about the fact that the best user is the developer.

[00:10:56] Scott Jenson: And as a UX designer, you're like, no, don't [00:11:00] say that. Um, because the idea is that you want someone to just, you know, have a problem and fix it immediately. Like this warrior priest that has a problem and just does it and for certain types of things it, that actually does work. But as you become more and more commercial, this idea that you are the user is kind of a.

[00:11:19] Scott Jenson: To any good designer. And part of this road that I've been on for the last two years has been to say, let's improve open source software. And that's why I've given two talks. I'm hopefully gonna give a third one this summer. Mm-hmm. , uh, about what does it take to mature the open source ecosystem to have better design?

[00:11:38] Scott Jenson: Uh, it's,

[00:11:39] Gerry Scullion: it's, So important because as we're seeing at the moment, um, we've taken for granted, one of the, my greatest platforms for, for information Twitter over the last 15 years is just being slowly eroded and suddenly it's like rat fleeing a ship. We're like, where are we all going? Where are we going

[00:11:56] Scott Jenson: to?

[00:11:56] Scott Jenson: And the Shad Freud is strong . [00:12:00]

[00:12:00] Gerry Scullion: It's, it's a reality though that. That's happening. I remember, like, as I explained to you, I used to be at MySpace and um, there was a, yeah, we, we, we had this, we people jumping ship to Facebook because at the time, And it's historically known, MySpace didn't have a great interface or a great understanding of what experiences were.

[00:12:20] Gerry Scullion: Yeah. Um, and then Facebook was doing it much better. In this instance though, it's a little bit different, whereas Twitter does it really better. But it's just been, we're we're being challenged ethically and we're, we're migrating to a platform that doesn't have the same experience. It has a, has a lesser experience, uh, and our values are being called out.

[00:12:39] Gerry Scullion: Do you think there's a case, um, Of other products going down. They're the same road as Twitter at the moment. And if so, are you okay to talk about them?

[00:12:49] Scott Jenson: That's a really good question. Um, I think what you just said, it has, there's lots to unpack with what you just said. Yeah. Um, but, um, let me answer your direct question is, [00:13:00] um, I, I do think that there is this general concern about, um, how you're being monetized, how you are the product and this desire, this, this frustration with how things are being overly monetized.

[00:13:16] Scott Jenson: So I read a comment the other day that someone said, I just tried to find a, an alarm clock app on my phone and I couldn't find one that wasn't an annual subscription. Yeah. Um, and you know, that is, Odd, right? And that's just very, you know, so I, and then, and there's obviously the disaster that's happening with mobile gaming right now where everybody initially was just fine spending five or $10 on a game, and then a few developers realized that you charged nothing.

[00:13:43] Scott Jenson: You'd get a lot more installs than it created the whole freemium market, which then appealed to the digital whales. Have you heard that term? Digital whale? The digital whale is basically 0.1% of your users are willing to spend a hundred dollars to get crystals to beat the game. And so that's where all [00:14:00] your money comes from.

[00:14:00] Scott Jenson: So the game is not designed for you and me, it's designed for that whale and it's, it's entirely for them to spend the money and you're just, uh, a statistical significance. And so mobile gaming has been transformed. Gaming for mobile, for whales, digital whales. And it's ruined, it's ruined mobile gaming. So, so I think there's all sorts of ways we can talk about this kind of corrosive aspect of pricing and money and how frustrating.

[00:14:24] Gerry Scullion: It's, yeah, that's something I, I haven't been aware of. I'm not really into the mobile gaming thing at all, like, you know, um, but maybe we should just start talking a, a little bit more around, um, open source software and how we can actually. I wanna understand a little bit more how they start. Okay. Because, um, it seems to be like a, an answer to a problem that's out there, an alternative to the conversation.

[00:14:51] Gerry Scullion: And I believe that we're going through a point in time where suddenly more people other than the, the kinda sacred group of early adopters. [00:15:00] Are starting to call out these kind of alternatives as valid and viable options for us to move to. I mean, um, three or four or five years ago, I dunno when it was, when Adobe moved Creative Cloud, uh, to the full subscription model and I you did the basic maths on it and you realized actually, you know what?

[00:15:21] Gerry Scullion: I don't really need Creative Cloud so much, which was un unforgiving. Like, you know, 15, 20 years ago. I was like, I'm gonna go to Affinity. Okay. And Affinity have done remarkable work and their soft was actually Brendan, do you know Brendan? Brendan told me, yeah. Brendan was like, try it. Guarantee you won't go back.

[00:15:42] Gerry Scullion: And I'm like, okay, well I'll try it. And I saw it and I bought it for my iPad and I bought it, you know, for my Mac here as well. And it was insane because typically you couldn't get that kind of software and that same kind of experience on Mac Os. Whereas the Affinity had it and it was in many ways better than Adobe.

[00:15:59] Gerry Scullion: And it was [00:16:00] a one off payment and I loved them for it. Yeah. Um, but I wanna understand a little bit more around, um, Framing that early inception of the projects and the products. Um, who typically starts these off? Um, and how do they avoid the, the conflict, the, the dissonance of saying, well, you know what, we could charge something for it and we could have a business model here that allows us to sustain ourselves.

[00:16:29] Gerry Scullion: Giving it away for free. Does it always have to be

[00:16:31] Scott Jenson: free, basically? Right. Well, and that's the most common question I get when I explain open source software to family members, and they're like, Who pays, how do they pay, where does it, how There's this, like this, disbelief as to how it works. And I think it's important to understand that open source is a technique, not a destination.

[00:16:52] Scott Jenson: And there's many, many types of open source. So it started off as operating systems. And they were, [00:17:00] uh, building things for themselves. And then the web kind of showed how you could build almost the entire web on these tools that got used by other people. And then you started, you got the model where big companies were helping open source because they knew it needed to be open so everybody could use it.

[00:17:16] Scott Jenson: But you've got effectively big benefactors coming in and helping things out. So that's one model where you get effectively enlightened companies realizing that these core pieces need to be done in an open. Um, and then as you, the lovely thing about open source is it seems to kind of flow in between the cracks it goes where it's needed.

[00:17:34] Scott Jenson: So it started off as operating systems and it slowly became tools and utilities. Well, like, so for example, um, someone will say, well, they'll never be a triple A game that's ever open source. I'm like, No shit. Of course not. But what you're seeing is you're seeing, um, a lot of open source, a lot of games using open source tools like Blender, blender's, a 3D modeling software that's entirely open source.

[00:17:55] Scott Jenson: So you're, you're getting a factory open source creeping up. And it's kind of [00:18:00] getting, it's growing in ways that people weren't expecting, and it's this new slightly consumer refocused thing, at least. Firstly, you got tools that were very, very programmer focused and we're now starting to grow into these consumer facing tools, which is what's having, having the problem with open source, I mean with youth ux.

[00:18:17] Scott Jenson: So I, to me, what's fascinating is how open source just. Biting off bigger and bigger problems and it's going through that natural maturation phase. And, um, and so to your funding question, there's this new model called Open core where you build this product in a way that the core is completely open sourced and for everybody can use it.

[00:18:35] Scott Jenson: No, no problem. But then you use it in a way that is helpful, like you. Service, uh, uh, you run it on your server, you become effectively an instance of it. Um, the open, uh, sorry, home, home assistant, an excellent home controller for your smart home. Completely open source. Anybody can do it, but they sell a service in the cloud that connects you to other [00:19:00] services.

[00:19:01] Scott Jenson: Nabu Casa. And so that to me is this brilliance of the model is to say, you know what? We're built on a solid open source foundation that's completely free and clear. We're gonna add services on top. Red Hat did the same thing with Linux. So that's where the money comes in, is that you actually build in such a way where the core is, is completely open source and that you have services on the side.

[00:19:20] Scott Jenson: And that gives us sustainable model, uh, pen pot. By the way, the Figma replacement is doing the same thing.

[00:19:25] Gerry Scullion: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I checked that one out the other day. Um, so who's working? So I think that's where people are, and myself included, struggle with it a little bit. Is there a small group of people in terms of developers who have, I wouldn't say ownership of it, but in terms of they're involved in the creation and the update and the key, the upkeep of, of the, the interface and the backend.

[00:19:49] Scott Jenson: I'm, I'm not sure I will be able to give a complete answer because I've fully managed my open source project. I worked with open source, but I don't think I have quite the encyclopedic overview that you [00:20:00]need to answer it. But from my experience, um, you've got everything from small little projects. Like I just talked to someone the other day that's working on a tool for academics and it's using a markdown editor and just a couple of people that are just building this thing.

[00:20:14] Scott Jenson: They're scratching their own itch, right? It just happens to be that one of them is a programmer and one of them a designer, so they've actually got a good team together. And they're just trying to see if there's a market there that of, of people that like it. And apparently they've got a couple hundred thousand users.

[00:20:28] Scott Jenson: Yeah. And that's, that's the kind of the cool part about it is that it's exploratory. Um, my understanding is the vast majority of open source projects get no traffic at all. Yeah, people, people try it and then it happens. But frankly, that's no different than commercial software.

[00:20:44] Gerry Scullion: It's exactly the

[00:20:45] Scott Jenson: same.

[00:20:45] Scott Jenson: Exactly. So I don't think there's, there's a big difference here. It's just really the fact that they don't have to make money. Um, the, the, and a lot of projects, by the way, are entirely done through donations. They start off as Don. And, [00:21:00] and there is no open core, no side business. They are literally just trying to get started.

[00:21:05] Scott Jenson: Um, there's a lot of companies that are trying to get grants to do that. I think there's a million experiments that are happening right now. Uh, but they're all, I think the fundamental point though is that they just want to be motivated by this open core that is students, parents, and, and that's the part I think that's really exciting.

[00:21:22] Gerry Scullion: It's like a belief system really at its core, it's, it's a belief system that we want to talk about and share. And is that fair

[00:21:31] Scott Jenson: to say? I, well, I think, I think everybody has ethics and so at every level everything's a belief system. I just think that this is just taking it, that extra step, that extra saying is that, no, we need to build this in a way.

[00:21:48] Scott Jenson: Takes into account these externalities. I mean, people need portability. People don't want to be tracked people. Um, you want to have transparency. Um, there's all people want open file [00:22:00] formats. Um, these are things that are not necessarily. Encouraged by closed source software. Yeah. Um, and so there's this belief that software should be quote unquote built.

[00:22:10] Scott Jenson: Right? Yeah. And, um, and like, and as you point out to, it's not totally built right. It's, it's, it's possibly architected, right. But it's certainly not designed right. And that's where I was trying to come in.

[00:22:22] Gerry Scullion: Right. And there's a huge op opportunity for designers like yourself to. To advise, I guess, and just to put some more, um, rigor I guess in terms of like how they could improve.

[00:22:35] Gerry Scullion: Is that fair to say

[00:22:37] Scott Jenson: that that's it? And part of it is back to this maturity issue because I've talked to multiple UX centers who have tried and we all have the same experience. You go into an opensource project, you're like, Hey, I want to help. And they're like, oh, awesome. Can you fix our icon? Yeah, that's, it's like real, really, really that, that, that's what you want me for is your icons, because part of the issue is it's a little bit like 1984.[00:23:00]

[00:23:00] Scott Jenson: everything is done through Get and Get is the language. And the language of anything is through get. And so the only thing that you can do is check in files and the only files that designers can touch are icons. So you work your way and it's like that's the thing that you're able to do as opposed to what a UX designer wants to do is to.

[00:23:16] Scott Jenson: Talk to the stakeholders, prioritize your product roadmap. You know, it's like, where does that fit into gi? So you can't do that. So part of it is to, and that's why I'm excited by things like GitLab and their, uh, UX showcase. So there are, uh, open source platforms that are really trying to elevate UX uh, deliverables.

[00:23:35] Scott Jenson: And that's a good sign that things are.

[00:23:37] Gerry Scullion: So I'll put a link to a GitLab in the show notes for anyone who's, who's listening and is interested to, to tap into GitLab a little bit more because it focuses more on the processes, um, that allow designers to be, and I mean, true designers as opposed to like making things look pretty like the decoration.

[00:23:55] Gerry Scullion: It's

[00:23:55] Scott Jenson: a first step, but it's, it's a lot better to have that kind of ex exposure to [00:24:00] it. Yes.

[00:24:00] Gerry Scullion: Yeah, absolutely. Now, here's a question for you and. I'm assuming you may not be able to answer this one, um, but say looking at Macin at the moment where they've had I think a million subscribers in the last couple of weeks, um, onto various instances and stuff, what is it possible at some point that Macin could be commercialized in its current in compliment where you may.

[00:24:27] Gerry Scullion: A Elon Musk of sorts coming back over to MA and saying, okay, well we, we want to invest into this. We, we, there could be another corporation that wants to support its growth and it may be presented in an altruistic way. Um, but in reality it's no longer an open source project. It's been funded by big tech.

[00:24:50] Gerry Scullion: Is that a reality? Is that, or is that something that you don't think.

[00:24:55] Scott Jenson: Well, I certainly won't prescribe what will happen. I can just talk about [00:25:00] the forces in play. Yeah. Um, the common analogy that people make, uh, to Macon is, is email. Because email is an open protocol. Smtp Macon is based on an open protocol called Activity Pub.

[00:25:14] Scott Jenson: And so it's like, oh, you can go to Hotmail, you can go to Yahoo Mail, you can go to Gmail, and everybody can email everybody. Yeah, it's a weak analogy. There's, it's not always perfect, but it's, it's, so the intention is that's what's the power of ma on is there's thousands of instances. And so what is likely to happen or is what, what could happen is that someone is gonna create the world's best MA on instance.

[00:25:37] Scott Jenson: And um, and they just have all the servers they can handle, all the users, they make the onboarding, which is a problem with mass on right now. They can fix that all up. So you could get effectively a really good mass on server that becomes, Bad pun the elephant in the room. And, um, the, they become effectively the tail that wags the dog.

[00:25:58] Scott Jenson: Now I think what Mass Son is [00:26:00] trying really hard is to avoid that. Cause no one company, for example, could be the email. Killer. Yeah, so that's really the question is the size of the market versus the size of the, of the goodness. So what I think the mass community would hope is that, yes, please have a for-profit company come in and do an awesome job, but you get along with everybody else and I, I'm very hopeful that that's what'll happen.

[00:26:24] Gerry Scullion: So, The role. We have a large service design and user experience listener, uh, base on this is hate cd. There's gonna be people here who are, who are listening, kinda going, I'd like to get involved with some of these projects. Um, How do they do that? Like, you know, there's no contact form on MA's website to say, Hey, I'm, I'm happy to, to do some user research for you on certain features and stuff.

[00:26:52] Gerry Scullion: In your

[00:26:52] Scott Jenson: experience. Go ahead. I'm

[00:26:55] Gerry Scullion: sorry. I'm saying in your experience you've managed to tap into some of these, these [00:27:00] networks. Um, how do you go about it? Do you need to wear a black cape and, um, . At 11

[00:27:06] Scott Jenson: o'clock, 50 minutes. Well, now you know why I'm giving all these talks because, so I was at, at FOS back and, uh, uh, what was the other one?

[00:27:15] Scott Jenson: Uh, UX Europe. Um, I've gave given talks because I basically said I tried and I failed. I tried to come in and I got the, Hey, do icons or you, you get the take the table flip mentality of some of. Children, uh, that just, that are over drama queens. And you're like, what the hell have I walked into? Yeah. I, I literally made a proposal on one site and they said, if we do this, I'm gonna quit the project.

[00:27:38] Scott Jenson: And I'm like, can we just talk? You know? Yeah. And so there's there, there's just interesting cultural things that are happening. Oh. And everyone's like, oh, that's just Bill. You know, just don't mind Bill. And so I think that there are cultural things and there's, so I. I assumed naively that open source was going to save the world, and all I had to do was just show up and everything would be peachy.

[00:27:59] Scott Jensonn: And I [00:28:00] discovered quite the opposite, that there's huge cultural issues. Um, I'm a, you know, closed source person by training, so I had an awful lot to learn. I still have a lot to learn about how the community works. Um, there's a certain speed to things, there's a lot more consensus organization. It's just a different way of working.

[00:28:17] Scott Jenson: And so I, my first talk was, UX people are locked out. Help. And then my second talk was, what can you do as a maintainer to actually encourage UX designers? And I gave them three simple things that they could do. Um, and now I've moved on to, let's talk about what we really have to do. Let's talk about design maturity.

[00:28:37] Scott Jenson: Let's talk about the goals that you have to have, and let's talk about the companies like. Elementary and, um, jula and uh, pen pot that are like shining stars of, of UX and just say, Hey, these should be our apples, right? The, the Apple computer. These are the companies that are doing it, so let's just copy them so that [00:29:00] I just feel like I am trying to fix the problem that.

[00:29:03] Scott Jenson: Not fixed. I'm trying to bring light to the problem that you just called out and there is no obvious simple answer unfortunately.

[00:29:10] Gerry Scullion: So people are still listening to this. We're gonna be doing a two part series in this. Okay. Cuz this is such a great topic. Um, the second part we're, we're gonna be talking a little bit more around, um, you know, understanding a little bit more around design within these files projects, um, and also, you know, general unease within that.

[00:29:33] Gerry Scullion: Of FOS developers or creators or whoever in there at the moment. So we don't wanna go down too, too much into that road now, Scott, cause we we're, we're gonna talk about that in a little bit more detail in a couple of months. When you come back from your, your travels overseas. Um, are you okay to talk about your travels?

[00:29:51] Gerry Scullion: Sure, no problem. Yeah. Where are you going

[00:29:53] Scott Jenson: and after Christmas? We're going to India for two months and my wife and I try to mix [00:30:00] a combination of, uh, personal ex, you know, fun and also volunteer work. So we try to go to various, uh, we set up meetings, uh, with companies that need, uh, consulting work. And we do, my wife and I both do pro bono work when we do that, when we travel.

[00:30:17] Scott Jenson: That's

[00:30:17] Gerry Scullion: amazing. It's amazing to be able to do that at the, you know, the point where you're at in your career, like to be able to work with these, these organizations, especially in India where there's, there's a lot of great designers out there. I've done some free coaching for designers in India and there's so many amazing, um, people out there that are, that are gonna hopefully, You're gonna get to connect with some of them

[00:30:40] Scott Jenson: and far more sophisticated than you would expect.

[00:30:42] Scott Jenson: So we, we, yeah, LA last year we did it in East Africa and we went, you know, we had too much there as well and I was blown away by the quality of these organizations and the software they're producing. It's really, really inspiring. Yeah, absolutely.

[00:30:55] Gerry Scullion: Well look, um, we'll, we'll look forward to having the second part of this, this.[00:31:00]

[00:31:00] Gerry Scullion: This series. But, um, for people who want to learn more about open source, do you have any resources that you could maybe suggest to people, um, that we could maybe include in the show notes, uh, about more about open source? Is there any websites or any, um, books that you would recommend that they read?

[00:31:20] Scott Jenson: I mean, culturally, I'd say to search for the cathedral and the bizarre, that's kind of the document.

[00:31:26] Scott Jenson: Okay. Right. Um, and there isn't that much, I think written up about, um, uh, UX and open source. There are a couple of companies that are, uh, trying to do that. They're, they're, they're flowing up. There's the, um, open source design foundation, um, that is actually trying very hard to kind of create. Uh, a culture of ux.

[00:31:51] Scott Jenson: Uh, so just search for those, you can find them. Um, so it's a fledgling thing that's all getting started. I don't think I have any kind of burning thing to point to. Yeah. [00:32:00] Unfortunately, if I think of a few more, I'll send them to you and we can put them in the show notes.

[00:32:02] Gerry Scullion: Absolutely sense. Sounds good. Scott, if I don't speak to you before then, um, have a great time in your travels.

[00:32:08] Gerry Scullion: I'm looking forward to connecting you for episode two. Well, it was

[00:32:11] Scott Jenson: a pleasure talking to you. Thank.

[00:32:15] Gerry Scullion: And there you go folks. I hope you enjoyed that episode, and if you enjoyed it and want to listen to more, why not visit? This is hate where you can learn more about what we are up to and also explore our courses while you're there, thanks again for listening.

John Carter
Tech Vlogger & YouTuber

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