This week, I joined Clever as VP Engineering. Clever makes K-12 education software vastly more efficient and effective by simplifying how students and teachers log in. It’s this simple: imagine if you could give teachers and students 10-15 minutes back in every single class. That’s 30-40% more time for actual teaching and learning. That’s what Clever does today, with much more in the works. I’m incredibly excited about this new adventure, and I want to gush a bit. Priorities My priorities in work are: people mission product People – strong contributors who know how to work in teams that accomplish … Continue reading ben@clever


In about a month, I’ll be starting at Square as a Tech Lead on a new project. I’m incredibly excited for a few key reasons: team: oodles of amazingly sharp people. The interview process was simply amazing, both in how much it forced me to demonstrate as an engineer and in how much I learned about the existing team. I know I’m going to learn a ton. It’s also really nice to see Square’s engineering team contributing significant open-source code. product: it’s hard to think of a more product-focused company. The Square products (Register, Wallet, Cash, Market) are amazing. The … Continue reading benadida@square


Today is my last day at Mozilla. It’s been an amazing ride, and I’m incredibly proud of the Identity Team and of the work we produced together, notably Persona. The team and project are now in the incredibly capable hands of my friend Lloyd Hilaiel. I expect to see continued fantastic work from this team, and I’ll miss everyone dearly. Mozilla is a special place, and I’m grateful I had the chance to experience it firsthand. I’ll be taking a break for a few weeks. You might see me on this blog and on Twitter from time to time, and … Continue reading benadida@vacation


I heard about Aaron Swartz in 2000, when he won the ArsDigita prize. I met him for the first time in early summer 2002, when my little open-source webdev company, OpenForce, joined the Creative Commons team to build the CC web site. That’s also when I met Matt Haughey, whose words helped trigger a bunch of memories in me about Aaron. Most hackers inevitably meet a younger, better, smarter version of themselves. For me, it happened probably earlier than for most, and it was the day I met Aaron. I was 25, an MIT graduate with a near-perfect GPA, leading … Continue reading Aaron

in praise of hands-on expertise

(I don’t usually share personal stories in public fora, but in this case, and with my wife’s permission, I’m making an exception.) “Shoulder Dystocia,” said the Obstetrician, as we neared the end of my wife’s otherwise-routine delivery of our son last week. This meant nothing to me. My wife, on the other hand, freaked out. She’s a physician and had understood something I’d missed. My child’s head, which had only just emerged, began to visibly turn blue. I froze and, not for the first time in these medical situations, felt utterly useless. What followed is best described as a highly … Continue reading in praise of hands-on expertise

BrowserID and me

A few weeks ago, I became Tech Lead on Identity and User Data at Mozilla. This is an awesome and challenging responsibility, and I’ve been busy. When I took on this new responsibility, BrowserID was already well under way, so we were able to launch it in my second week on the project (early July). It’s been a very fun ride. Here’s the BrowserID demo at the Mozilla All-Hands last week: Given my prior work on email-based authentication (EmID, Lightweight Email Signatures, BeamAuth), you might think BrowserID was my brainchild. In fact, it really wasn’t. And, in a testament to … Continue reading BrowserID and me

my 9.11

Maybe it’s silly to add yet another story to the list of “where I was on 9/11.” I suffered no direct loss, while some people I know did. Many other world events were far, far more awful. But as I did experience 9/11 in person, I feel the need to write down some thoughts, some memories. On the night of September 10th, 2001, I was having drinks with an old friend (I’m having trouble remembering which friend!) in Chelsea, about 3 miles north of the World Trade Center. We stayed up late. We talked about world politics, terrorism, the Middle … Continue reading my 9.11

with freedom comes responsibility: open publishing

As of a few months ago, I’m no longer on a publish-or-perish academic track. Mozilla gives me the freedom to publish, but no pressure. Coincidentally, the publishing world is at a bit of a crossroads. Some organizations, like USENIX, are increasingly open: all papers are published for the world to see, many talks are videotaped and available openly. Others, like IEEE, are increasingly closed, with tighter and tighter constraints on authors, more paywalls and obstacles to the dissemination of knowledge. I’ve got increased freedom, so I intend to use it. Starting today, I will not publish nor review papers destined … Continue reading with freedom comes responsibility: open publishing

2 months in at Mozilla

It’s been 2 months since I started at Mozilla. I’m working with fantastically talented and friendly people. I’m enjoying myself tremendously and I’m starting to get a sense of what makes Mozilla different from my previous experiences. Put simply, it’s teamwork. In his speech to Harvard Med School graduates last week (stick with me here, this is relevant), Atul Gawande (author of the Checklist Manifesto), laid out, in his clearest and most convincing argument yet, how the practice of medicine needs to change: The core structure of medicine emerged in an era when doctors could hold all the key information … Continue reading 2 months in at Mozilla


In a few days, I’ll be joining Mozilla. What started as a fun lunch with Sid and Alex quickly turned into passionate brainstorming with Mike, Pascal, and Lloyd on the Mozilla Labs team. I told them I wanted to deeply explore a few ideas I’ve written about and prototyped (here and here, for example) and more importantly to work on making the browser a true user agent working on behalf of the user. Mozilla folks are not only strongly aligned with that point of view, they’ve already done quite a bit to make it happen. Check out Mike Hanson’s post … Continue reading benadida@mozilla