Solving More Than #firstworldproblems

Presented at HOPE Number Nine (2012), July 13, 2012, 11 p.m. (60 minutes)

For the past two years, Geeks Without Bounds has been using technology to assist people in times of crisis and helping to build better tools to empower people to help themselves. Whether organizing Random Hacks of Kindness events, teaching app developers about data security, or helping humanitarian organizations engage with hacker communities, they’ve been bridging the chasm between technology and aid organizations. Johnny and Willow will present some real world challenges that have bubbled up to the surface and show how you can help us all solve more than #firstworldproblems.


  • Johnny Diggz
    Johnny Diggz is an entrepreneur, musician, filmmaker, and founder of Geeks Without Bounds. In 1995, he co-founded IRDG (Intergalactic Research and Development Group), which built the world’s first Internet-based unified messaging platform, iPost. In 1999, he co-founded Voxeo Corporation and serves as chief evangelist for Voxeo Labs’ flagship cloud communications platform, Tropo and its community of over 250,000 developers. He produced the indie feature film, The Karaoke King, a musical comedy that premiered in 2007 at the Cinema City International Film Festival. Johnny is also a professional dueling piano player and will perform at the slightest arm-twist.
  • Willow Brugh
    Willow Brugh is the director of Geeks Without Bounds, an accelerator for humanitarian projects. Previous endeavors include being co-founder of Seattle makerspace Jigsaw Renaissance, the hackerspace collaboration initiative Space Federation, and the response-development competition GameSave. Years of participation in the hacker and makerspace community have created purpose towards distributed systems, engaged citizens, and mutual aid. With heavy involvement in Maker Faire, Random Hacks of Kindness, and the SpaceApps Challenge, Willow’s main skill is “getting out of the way.”


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