Focus Pocus

A field journal on openness and transparency

Open design & development can open doors. They can break down barriers of access to information. They can help educate, inspire, empower, and bring awareness to real world solutions to the many problems we face.

Melting barriers to art

Adaptability. Some say the technological age calls upon us to adapt at a much faster rate than ever. Our worlds are being shaped and reshaped by technology. Creativity flows more freely, easily, and with tremendous scalability. Human thought can make it unto a digital canvas at a moment's notice, and new breakthroughs are making the process more dynamic.

Photography was freed by the digital camera, though limited by know-how, place, time, and editing skills.

AI latent text-to-image technology is opening new doors for people to become art directors and curators of what they can imagine and then describe. We may be growing stronger in our language skills in the process.

Ethical concerns exist, a much deeper and complex rabbit hole than I'll dig into now.

Information has always been controlled in some way over the centuries, as they say, the winners of wars are the ones who wrote the history books. The darkest of times are the most silent, as information is more likely to be suppressed in conflictive and difficult times.

Controlling a story and making it one sided paints a flawed picture of reality. It can be used to place blame on others rather than on the real issue. It can be used to generate fear or anger. It can also be used to quiet opposing points of view. Control of information is often a clear lack of transparency. Murky waters no longer based on truth nor on perspective, nor on showing the complexity of a situation.

Embracing more tools of creative expression may offer us ways of reflecting both the creativity and the complexity of humanity. Could we learn to be more empathetic toward each other? Could we learn and adapt new solutions to our life's challenges? Can we remove part of the focus away from chaos, attention getting or fear and shift it toward releasing the creative side in each of us?

Massive creativity is harbored within each of us and it expands with the freedom that comes with being able to place our thoughts unto a digital canvas at a fraction of the time and cost.

Can we allow ourselves to bridge into unknown possibilities, expand our problem solving skills and reshape our creative processes?

If you're an artist, like me, you may be wondering what will happen to your future, your job, your livelihood. Art is becoming more open, public, and free. What will you do in a world of artists?

You will be you. Find your niche.

We may not be able to make a livelihood in the same way, but could this allow us to discover a different kind of freedom? Could a movement grow where people support artists for the stories they have to tell and the voice they carry within?

If you feel you do not have a creative bone in your body. Give it a try. What is something meaningful you wish you could put on paper? something inspiring? something funny? Be descriptive, or not.

Be you. Find your niche.

If you're just starting to dip your toes into this technology with tools like Stable Diffusion...

Do not be afraid to step outside the box. We tend to limit our thoughts to what we know, what seems familiar, and what we think is logical. Figure out ways to step outside those bounds. Research, try, learn, adapt, and do not forget to laugh when something weird and funny shows up as a result.

Experiment but focus. At first you may want to try every style that comes to your head, so many variations and possibilities. Hone them in. What would be helpful to shape your message right now?

What if there's a story or an idea you've been wanting to tell for a long time, but have been short on time, budget, or knowledge. Can you try it now?

Above all, Be You. Reflect and refer to your knowledge and life experience. Infuse a bit of you into what you describe.

The unexpected awaits.

A different kind of magic

Years ago, I heard a painter say that he never showed his creative process because he felt the magic would disappear. I used to agree with him, but I’ve discovered a different kind of magic.


Imagine if by showing his creative process, this painter could have helped nourish a community of painters who could learn and support one another, share old and new techniques, promote each other’s work, and appreciate the work that goes into painting.

What if learning was not just about painting, but about empathy toward each other’s personal stories, unique perspectives, and ways of addressing challenges. What if through this connection, they could be open to seeing the world through each other’s eyes.

Imagine this community included all levels of knowledge, open to anyone, not just master painters. What if by letting go of hierarchies it opened minds to other possibilities, allowing their unique journeys to shine, intertwine, and build on one another.

What if painting became less about the painter and more about each of their reasons for painting. What if their brushstrokes became the support to meaningful ideas, solutions, and causes. What if their paint became purpose before it even made it unto their canvases.


This kind of open and supportive creative process already exists, is growing and is constantly improving in Open Source Communities like bitcoin.

BUIDL like rain

“No matter how well you water plants, they can never quite grow like when it rains,” grandpa used to say, as he watered the garden late in the afternoon, awaiting the rainy season.

When we work on our own, outside of open-source teamwork, outside of opening resources for anyone in the world, it can often feel like waiting for rain.

Open-source has a way of gathering a unique mixture of creativity, coupled with caring about humanity, strengthened by a breath of freedom. It is as if it could rain on anyone and that rain could help buidl stronger solutions.

When you have a butterfly

As children, we often hear stories of butterflies. We are awed by how a caterpillar can become a winged creature, as if blessed with some kind of magic. It feels almost surreal to look at what seems like two different insects, and yet we know they are one and the same.

A caterpillar is the foundation to a butterfly. It carries its bands of colors like projects carry principles. The difference is in how it moves. A caterpillar is significantly slower, its vision is limited to what is in front of it, it cannot enjoy gliding in the wind.

When it comes to software, in order to become a butterfly, code must bridge with design.

Development is the behind the scenes framework that makes everything run well, design is what makes a person understand and use a product easily.

If you bridge development with design, the human connection with the product is smoother, like gliding in the wind. It is understandable, like having the vision of a landscape from higher up. It is enjoyable and familiar, like a butterfly that does not need to think that it’s flying.

When you are...

When you are free of worry from what happens when you click on the next button, because it tells you clearly where you’re headed,

When you are not afraid of making mistakes, because you can always find your way back to that home screen of safety,

When the error messages are a support system to give you the exact information you need to find a solution or make a choice,

When you have choices, like how much data to give, if any,

When you feel empowered by being able to do what you want to do,

When messages of encouragement (success) are there for you on those meaningful steps you take,

When you are notified of updates and tasks in a timely manner,

When you do not need to think about the journey, you just take it,

You are enjoying a butterfly.