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On his cell phone from San Francisco, Salzberg was nearly hyperventilating. “To be honest, the four of us are overwhelmed,” he told me, as he scurried down the street. “The website we’re using, GitHub, in less than 24 hours, we became the eleventh most-followed project. It’s surreal.” In 24 hours, their code was translated into approximately seven languages.

But a day later, Salzberg sounded calmer. It was after-hours, and all the older “Pivots” had left the office—the Diaspora* crew had the place to themselves. They just needed to take in the criticism, to stay positive, Salzberg explained. He felt confident that they were headed toward their ultimate goal. “I want to trick 20-year-old girls into using free software,” he said, and while maybe this wasn’t the best way of putting it, I knew what he meant: He wanted to make something that was so cool to use, it didn’t feel like something radical.

That was the kind of change the world needed, he argued—seemingly small changes with huge repercussions. “I like the way Ilya described it to me,” he said. “ ‘We want to move tectonic plates, not kick a rock across the universe.’ ”


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