Engineer, high tech entrepreneur and now social entrepreneur. Currently, founder and President of the nonprofit tech social enterprise, Benetech; founder of Palantir Corporation/Calera Recognition Systems (now part of Nuance) and RAF Technology, Inc.(leading maker of character recognition technology). MacArthur Fellow, Skoll Fellow, Caltech Distinguished Alum.
Great article. You captured the problem so well. I kept going yes, yes! I was so excited to find how you were going to solve this huge problem.
Then I reached the last section and the balloon deflated. The answer to the problem of why the itch-to-scatch model works so well for developers and not for regular humans is: the itch-to-scratch model! What? I went back trying to find if I missed the buried insight. And I still don't get it.
My organization develops/has developed open source solutions for people with disabilities, teachers, human rights activists, impoverished women and environmentalists. We do it relatively traditionally in terms of how proprietary software does it: we do user centered design, prototyping and using UX experts. It works reasonably well. Except, our open source community is really sparse, because there are few of our users who are developers who want to jump in and scratch an itch.
In your vision, what would we be doing differently? Assuming our target users are some of the people in society most in need of help.