jeffrey bw sz

by Maggie Hohle

“An artist who writes software. A visual language evangelist. Someone on a quest to change software development from the inside by bringing in right-brain thinking.”

It wasn’t very nice, but I asked coWORKer Jeff Ventrella to describe himself, because I was bamboozled by the variety and subject matters of the books he’s written [“Brain-filling Curves”, “Divisor Drips and Square Root Waves”, “Virtual Body Language”] but I felt like he MUST be approachable, even from a liberal arts background. He is.

Called “one of the world’s experts on avatars and 3D communications” by CEO Cory Ondrejka of Linden Lab [Second Life creators], he just started a business called Wiggle Planet, with self-animated characters, but makes no attempt to act like he knows what he’s doing. “I want to make money doing what I love.” He does point out that his family is full of entrepreneurs; all of his siblings are their own bosses, so it’s probably in the blood. Ventrella contends that the wrong people are running the software industry, which, as we all know, is running our lives, and he’s out to change it from the inside.

Recognizing that virtual worlds are not necessarily good for our society while living and breathing virtual space software as an intelligent (and intellectual) artist must be tough, but you gotta root for someone who wants to build a Petaluma-style company, a “geezer software startup,” as he calls it. Check out “The Case for Slow Programming” and other great blog posts. Urge him to write a book, grow his company, and help change things from the inside. He may be one of our last best hopes for a more humane, livable technologically advanced world.

P.S. You’re going to be hearing a lot more about Jeffrey over the next few months as we test out our new “WORKer in Residence” program and help him kick off his latest venture!  -Natasha and Matt