Joining Filament

2016-01-04

It was 17 years ago (January 4, 1999) that my dear friend Jeremie Miller announced the Jabber open-source project, which in many ways laid the foundation for the messaging systems that billions of people use today (e.g., huge services like WhatsApp and Apple iMessage got their start using Jabber/XMPP, even if some of them migrated to special-purpose technologies later on). Although when I got involved with the Jabber project in November 1999 it felt like I was late to the party compared to folks like Temas Muldwowney (contributor #2), clearly I've found plenty to do in standardizing and extending XMPP over the last 16+ years.

Few people get a chance to change the world once, as we did with Jabber. Even fewer get a chance to change the world twice, but starting today I'm doing exactly that by joining Jeremie and Temas and the other great people at Filament, an Internet of Things startup that is revolutionizing communication and interaction for the trillions of devices that will be coming online in the near future.

Indeed, the combined hardware/software stack that the Filament team is creating is even more deeply inventive than Jabber, and really takes the original Jabber ethos to the next level by enabling devices to be fully autonomous (without the need for accounts at centralized or federated services in order to communicate with each other). Plus the Filament technology stack is about much more than just communication, because it combines secure, private communication with cutting-edge methods for smart contracts and blockchain transactions to enable the exchange of economic value, not just messages. I like to think of this as the extension of voluntary exchange from the level of millions of firms (microeconomics) and even beyond the level of billions of individual humans (nanoeconomics) to the level of trillions of devices (what we could call picoeconomics).

During discussions with members of my new team, the potential of what Filament is building has repeatedly boggled my mind - and I think big in the first place! Of course, potential doesn't pay the bills, so I'll be strongly focused on deploying real-world applications, forging long-term business relationships, and laying the foundation for lasting success.

The hardest part of joining Filament has been leaving my friends at &yet. Happily, I will maintain an affiliation with the "yetis" as an informal technical and business advisor, contributing to the company's overall strategy with a special focus on realtime collaboration. I will also continue to serve the Jabber/XMPP community in several capacities, continuing some of the initiatives that Jeremie, Temas, and many others started way back in 1999.

That said, my primary focus now is helping to nurture the seeds that the Filament team is planting, and to change the world yet again on an even larger scale. I could not be more excited!


Peter Saint-Andre > Journal