A Fond Farewell to Beaker
When I left Beaker four years ago (gosh dang time flies), I had no doubt it was left in good hands. There is no such thing as smooth waters in the business of running a decentralized web startup, but I knew Paul would steer the ship with integrity, passion, and good cheer. Paul is truly a class act, and a brilliant thinker to boot.
I'd also like to extend my gratitude to everyone Paul mentioned in his post. You all made Beaker possible. Thank you.
Get Your Jollies on the Peer-to-Peer Web
Beaker never found pRoDUct MArKeT FiT, and truth be told, that doesn't bother me much these days. In hindsight, Beaker was a financially futile business endeavor, but it was well worth the price.
Helping shape the Web toward its own vision of being an open and equitable platform was the opportunity of a lifetime. Doing it alongside a community of artists, archivists, scientists, and fellow Web enthusiasts was inspiring.
This comment from kickscondor.com captures why I consider our efforts building Beaker a resounding success.
I don’t care what kind of traction Beaker gains, I just want to use it for the sheer fun. (In olden times, the phrase was “get my jollies,” but I don’t know if that expression has taken a turn for the perverse.)
I have many cherished artifacts from my time working on Beaker—zines and art projects and notebook pages with half-baked scribbles. Pictured below is one of my favorites: when I met Ted Nelson at The Internet Archive and gave him a demo of Beaker, he exclaimed something excited like "Wahoo!" or "Golly!" then immediately launched into a brainstorming session to rename Beaker. I regret that we didn't think up something as deliciously deranged as Xanadu.
My time working on Beaker was transformative. We worked with a crazed intensity that I have yet to replicate, and if I somehow manage to harness that kind of passion again, I will be a lucky lady for the chance to experience it twice.
Beaker brought me across the globe and to beautiful corners of the Web that I couldn't have imagined existed. It gave me an audience that I'm not sure I had any business speaking to, including Tim Berners-Lee, the CEO of Mozilla, and thousands of people who watched me demo Beaker and wax sentimental about the Web on stage.
I made so many great friends and had so many wonderful experiences during those years, that when I look in the rearview mirror, my memories almost shimmer.
Best wishes to everyone still working to decentralize the Web, especially to Paul and the Bluesky crew.