10 years

It’s been 10 years now since I stumbled into publishing. I started this journey after coming back from a residency in Antarctica.


On the boat back (the S.A Agulhas) I pondered what to do next.

My art career had taken me to Antarctica to build mobile autonomous bases for artist-scientist collaborations… what else could art do for me? Nothing! Time to do something else.

So, I started FLOSS Manuals – it’s still going today. A community to write free manuals about free software. It was my get rich quick scheme (hoho). From there I realised FLOSS Manuals needed more books fast and to do that I needed to come up with rapid production methodologies, production softwares, and learn how to manage and grow online communities real quick. Necessity being the mother of invention, these requirements led me to develop Book Sprints, plus innumerable book production softwares, as well as found interesting projects such as Booktype, Book.js, paged.js, pagedmedia.org, Workflow Sprints, the Cabbage Tree Method, and of course Coko (including PubSweet, XSweet, xPub, Editoria etc). As well as some interesting stops such as designing publishing systems for the UN and PLOS (Aperta) and (of course) picking up a Shuttleworth Fellowship along the way.

I didn’t make much money, but the little I did earn, I earned quick (hoho). Still… I feel pretty proud looking back. From complete novice outsider to where I am now in 10 years doesn’t feel too shoddy.

All open source too, by the way …which is also why you’ll never be able to acquire any of these technologies in the take-over sense. I slept on too many couches over the years to make this open source vision work! It ain’t for sale, but you can have it for free 🙂