Whistler at a Tipping Point? Speaker Series Interview with Steve Andrews
Every good story needs an inciting incident, the act or event plunging the story’s main character into tension and forces them to change or die. The inciting incident is never what the story is actually about but it’s always about what get’s the story rolling. It’s a starting point, a tipping point maybe, and a real shit disturber that always – for the making of a good story – requires character transformation.
At the Whistler Museum this week on Wednesday, we’re going to be examining one of these inciting incidents. However, the story being told isn’t far away and somewhere else or in some novel but is actually a story being lived out right here and right now, in our world and right here in Whistler. The inciting incident we’ll explore has something to do with Open Source thinking, the inevitable change it is bringing to our communities, and the revolution waiting in it’s wings.
Part of the Whistler Museum Speaker Series, this month’s presenter is freelance writer, creative consultant, and storyteller Steve Andrews. If you’ve ever sat for coffee with Steve you know his mind is continually exploring and challenging the edges of conventional wisdom, he’s unafraid of chasing down questions that matter, and he actually cares about the things he believes in. I cornered Steve with a few questions to give us preview of what to expect Wednesday at the Museum; this is what he said:
1. I assume you’re a fan of open source technology. What is it, exactly?
Open Source is essentially the antithesis of control. It’s applications are limitless. For technology it refers to ‘opening’ the source code, which is basically an application’s DNA, to the masses. The previous model relied on secrecy and protection of intellectual property. A good comparison to make is between the Linux and Microsoft operating systems. Linux is better on so many levels, and is free. Microsoft is full of bugs and costs millions, probably billions, of dollars for a small team of people to develop.
2. Open source is so much bigger than tech, though. Can you give us a preview of how you think the open source paradigm is shifting the cultural landscape?
Open Source Ecology is a really cool project. People collaborate to engineer machines that can build whole neighbourhoods. Currently they have developed and tested a machine that turns ordinary mud into bricks, a tractor, a bulldozer, and a “powercube” which is a removable power device that can be removed and placed in any of the machines. All of the plans and materials list are available online, for free. The only costs are for the material and the time to put it together, which is usually around 10% the cost of it’s traditionally-produced equivalent.
3. Top-down leadership models have worked to varying degrees for a long time, why change it?
Just because something works does not mean that there is a better alternative. Our world is full of disharmony and suffering, and things do not have to be this way. Human creativity is limitless. If problem solving were opened to the entire population, we would be tapping into an infinite field of potential. There still exists a need for leadership and people who make the final say. But when the floodgates of control are released, the flow of ideas and solutions can develop at a much more rapid rate.
4. What are the most important elements of this conversation that Whistler needs to hear and who needs to hear it?
I would say that it is the fact that for the first time in our history, humanity is interconnected. The implications of this can boil down to our very own community, by tapping into the collective mind of the people to make decisions that affect us all. I think everyone needs to hear it, and especially understand what it means. Most of the younger generation gets it. But I’d say our parent’s generation is having trouble adapting, and understanding the significance of this idea’s merits.
5. I’m pretty curious as to why you want us to bring WIFI enabled devices to your presentation. What’s the deal?
Well, the open source concept is not about one person speaking to the masses. It’s about collaborating to collectively find a solution.
6. Finally, if you met Open Source at the bar, what drink would you buy it and why?
Probably a pomegranate juice. It helps you grow
When: Wednesday, February 20th; Doors at 6pm, show 7pm-9pm
Where: Whistler Museum
Cost: $7 regular price, $5 for museum members
To purchase tickets (seating is limited), call the Whistler Museum at 604.932.2019, or visit us at 4333 Main Street, just behind the library.
There will be a cash bar featuring the Whistler Brewing Company and Jackson Triggs Wines, as well as complimentary coffee served courtesy of the Whistler Roasting Company.
About Whistler Museum’s Speaker Series: More than mere repositories of old stuff, museums are institutions of ideas, venues where communities share, debate, and explore their thoughts on the world at large. To that end the Whistler Museum hosts regular Speaker Series events featuring presentations on a diversity of subjects: from the usual suspects of mountain culture and adventure travel, to the environment, design, current events, and beyond. These events are hosted on the third Wednesday of the month, October through April (minus December), and present the perfect opportunity for locals and visitors alike to encounter compelling stories in a relaxed and sociable atmosphere. All Speaker Series events have a cash bar and are 19+.