Category Archives: Feature

Digital Tipping Point: The Raw Footage

Over four years ago now I got a call, out of the blue, from a guy called Christian Einfeldt. He says he’s making a documentary called Digital Tipping Point about free culture and thought I may be a good interview. He was most intrigued because I recently crossed the line from corporate culture (Microsoft, et. al.) into free cluture (Creative Commons) – really I think he was looking for dirt on Bill Gates lol.

The interesting thing to me was the way he was making the movie: completely open. He said he was shooting billions of tapes and was going to post them all online at archive.org and create this vast pool of footage and have the community pick up the work pieces and put it all together communally.

That’s cool (and pretty unheard of four years ago).

I hadn’t been in Berkeley for very long at that point so I was especially open to meeting new folks to see where things would lead. We had a few long and fun phone conversations, we met a few times, had a great meal or two and then got down to taping. I met him downtown San Francisco in an office building where his production partner setup a camera opposite me and Christian started firing questions. He kept asking questions (especially about Microsoft) and I kept telling my stories and tried to be amusing. Sure enough we burned through every tape they had on them, in the building, in the truck, probably in the city.

Fast forward four years and all of a sudden last week I get email from Christian saying he’s about to post the raw footage of my interview and to check out DTP’s page on the archive. They have about 80 hours of footage up there (out of 350 shot) and still it’s rolling in. He said “Watching our film will be like reading a Wikipedia page. Our video will be taggable and searchable. The library you see there will provide some of the links for expanded viewing of our documentary. ” Pretty wild. Just the fact that this guy is still at it (at such a furious pace) five years into it – I think this guy may be the most tenacious guy I’ve ever met.

For my part: there are 29 segments, about 4 minutes each up on the archive now. They are a pain the ass to watch at the archive so I embedded them in one page:

See my raw interview footage here

Again, this is raw, basically un-edited stuff. The segments are rendered from the tapes and often stop abruptly mid-sentence so that’s ok, just click the ‘next’ button to load the next segment.

I will say this: this is the least embarrassing public recording of me yet. I think it gives people a fairly good idea of what happens when you let me pontificate (it doesn’t take much) for a few hours. I had fun doing and it shows.

Because it was four years ago a few things worth noting has changed:

- I can no longer go a minute without glasses. I am blind without them.
- This was done before the emergence of WikiPedia, Ubuntu and Firefox all of which proved my point (I am a visionary) about the need for “grandma” apps in the open source world.
- I ramble on and on about the best way to sell an “album” (I am idiot)
- I have, ironically, become more “theological” about the abstract issues involved in free culture.
- This interview takes place about a minute and a half (relatively speaking) before I was introduced to the “mixlog” prototype at the CC offices (‘mixlog’ was the working title of what was to become ccMixter). For the people that care, this was exactly the head of philosophical steam I had going in to the project. I don’t know, I think it’s kind of neat seeing that moment captured.

Anyway, like I said, I had fun and I’m really, really grateful to Christian for convincing me this would be a good idea but more important: I’m awestruck by how important and cool a project this is and honored to be a part of it.

[update: corrected figures per Christian]

[update 2: Pieces of the my interview are starting to show up captioned in English and Romanian ;) thanks to Andrei Baciu]