SAFE Crossroads Podcast #54, From a UX Point of View, with Jim Collinson

This was a lot of fun and gives a very approachable insight to what SAFE is all about, I think.

It was a real pleasure @JimCollinson! Thanks.


My pleasure! Let’s do it again some time.


Really appreciate all the time and effort you put into producing these incredible podcasts, @fergish. This latest episode with @JimCollinson was particularly mind-blowing and easily one of the best I’ve heard. Should be a very powerful tool in educating the masses as to just some of the raw power of SAFE. Keep ‘em coming. Thanks and great job, guys.


Revealed: Maidsafe have Andy Murray moonlighting as UX designer, now we know. :joy:

This is a really super podcast. Sound quality is incredibly good, and super super content - and - if we didn’t know it already (we did :wink:) it shows the quality of people that are attracted to work for Maidsafe. I love good UX but am not good at it - so I know it’s hard and Jim has already shown he can - and that is really reinforced here in this chat. I get really excited to hearing this because it is so important to the success of this project.

So here I am with my lady enjoying the evening on the front of my boat enjoying John and Jim chatting about my favourite subject with cocktails, house martins and the odd beatle. [We’re very diverse here, yesterday I had to catch and release field vole stowaway]

I’m still listening, but thank you John and Jim. This is real must listen.


Agree! Here’s a transcript of my favourite bits.

34:00 It’s a change of mental model and it’s going to tale a bit of time, one for us as UX designers to find the right language to help people bridge that gap, and also for people to take some time to understand what this world will be like, how it’s different from the clearnet.

It’s like one massive hard drive, and I own a slice of that hard drive. That’s where all my data resides. When I want to use an app I am not signing up for it and putting data into that app, I’m just using that application as a window over the top of my data to help me manipulate that data. That app isn’t a corporation, it’s not another person looking at my data: it’s only me that can look at my data.

This forces people who design apps to put the utility of an application first and foremost. What it will do for people is the primary goal, not this weird secondary goal we have at the moment where the primary goal is how efficiently I can harvest people’s data, and where the real customer is actually an advertiser. It’s going to flip that round so they will have to focus on making really useful awesome software and that’s better for us. We get better products and designers get to do something amazing - helping humans meet human needs.

37.14 The Safe Network will hopefully be the beginning of the end for surveillance capitalism. We’re not the product anymore, we just get to use these amazing new tools.

39.00 [Cryptocurrencies] are so difficult to use! There’s still this bunch of middlemen there that can make it scary and intimidating … With the structure of SafeCoin, and with linked data and stuff like SafeIDs, if you’re comfortable sending an email or a message or using PayPal you’ll be able to use SafeCoin.


This discussion reminded me of an analogy by investor Chris Dixon (Medium), who argues that the tech giants have effectively privatised the whole of cyberspace, and that for the whole thing to work you need a healthy balance between public and private.

Imagine the way a well-functioning city works. I spent a lot of time in New York, so I think of New York. You have the streets that are publicly owned and then you have this interaction between public and private ownership. You can start a restaurant that’s privately owned. But the private ownership of the restaurant depends on the public ownership of the streets because of the foot traffic.

Today the internet is much more like Disneyland. If I’m building a restaurant in Disneyland and Disneyland thinks I’m making too much money, they may raise the rent or change the rules. That’s what building on Facebook or Google and Apple is right now. We live in this sort of Disneyland internet and I don’t think that’s good for a whole bunch of reasons.


This is absolutely key. It should never have happened in the first place. It also makes zero sense to have gone this way. I believe if people had realised what data was many years ago then the thought of handing it over to strangers would have been abhorrent. Only now we see that this realisation, but shrouded in all the technical geniuses telling us this is how it must be! The matrix has become reality for too many people.

It is super easy to see why this was not required and made no sense. The hard part is to undo the wrong thinking in peoples minds, kinda like stopping the slave trade or stop shoving children up chimneys. It will be clear as crystal looking back after we launch SAFE to say

  • Wow companies used to own and sell our own data?
  • They then manipulated what we read?
  • How did people escape the total control that system must have forced on them?

The answer to this hell is what all of us are doing right now.


I really love this idea. 5 years ago I’ve had courses in the commercial paper showing how the big Firms have the goal to understand our way of functionning and taking control of our desires and thoughts by directing them. It’s been scary to see this become more and more real. I really hope your project will break this pattern.


Its interesting that in the 80’s in Australia that we did realise the importance of keeping our data private and there were protests in the streets and media over the government wishing to make a government wide database on every Australian. So much so the then government trashed the so-called “Australia Card Legislation” and did a complete reversal and introduced legislation protecting the privacy and requiring the various governmental departments to build their own systems and NOT share any personal data of people between the departments. They did this because they could see the greatest defeat of any government if they proceeded with their data collection scheme. Mind you since 2000 these various governments have been chipping away and sharing data more and more, even sharing rego data with companies.

Now those protests in the streets were done mainly by the older generation. It takes people a couple of decades as adults usually to fully realise the importance of their private data and the reasons to keep it private. But with the advent of the internet and the apparent inability to keep their private data private the younger generation gave up and the older generation of the 80’s has mostly passed passed away.

But I am encouraged by my (adult) childrens and their circle of friend’s realisation that it is now important to regain their ability to control their data in this world, but feel powerless to do so. SAFE here will certainly be adopted as the major applications are developed for SAFE and gain acceptance.


Fantastic podcast! It made me think about all the things that attracted me to the project when I first heard about it. It will definitely help others capture the same vision!

I particularly like the shopping cart that travels with you as a concept. It makes perfect sense and will help to unlock the Amazon silo. Being able to just pay for a bunch of stuff from different places with safecoin is staggeringly good. Mind blown! :exploding_head:

These sort of dialogues are essential for getting people introduced to the network and what it will mean. These are entirely new flows and interactions that thoroughly empower individuals. Really great stuff!