Our NYC Mesh Community

I spend a lot of time thinking about flashy catchphrases for NYC Mesh. Every few days I stumble upon the new perfect slogan: “Become part of our community network and take back your internet connection” or “High-speed, low-cost, reliable internet run by your neighbors - not by Big Telecom.”

In our last blog post, Ehud described the power of NYC Mesh to build community. It’s a wonderful piece with a wonderful vision – I strongly recommend giving it a read if you haven’t already.

In this post, and in the series of posts to follow, we’re going to continue with this theme by sharing short interviews with our NYC Mesh community members. Who were those people that came by your apartment for an install? Who’s that tech-wiz that responded to your inquiry in #support?

Heck, let’s give this blog post series a slogan: “Connecting with your community so you can connect online.”

In 2019, we’re planning to bring more regular content on this blog about cybersecurity, privacy, international mesh communities, our infrastructure, or whatever catches an author’s fancy. (Follow us on Medium or join the #blog channel on Slack to participate as an author!) But this series will follow stories about the people behind the technology: your neighbors, our community.

Without further ado, let’s meet our volunteers!

Marie Name: Marie Lauder

How long have you been involved in NYC Mesh:

Since last June.

In a couple of sentences tell us about yourself:

I am Japanese American. I used to work in real estate, but I am not working at the moment. I don’t have a tech background, but I enjoy learning new things!

What brought you to NYC Mesh and why are you a part of this community:

I knew Brian personally. I went to a Monday meetup with him, which is how I got to know NYC Mesh.

After I learned about NYC Mesh, I had a strong interest in becoming more involved. I had actually been looking for volunteer groups, but I didn’t find any to which I wanted to devote my time and energy. My favorite part of NYC Mesh is that there is infrastructure, and that, most importantly, we are growing!!

What are your goals, hopes, or dreams for NYC Mesh in 2019:

I have led installs 4 or 5 times since last December, and this year I want to be a more reliable install leader! I would also like to work on things other than installing. For NYC Mesh, I hope for a big breakthrough and to have 2 or 3 Supernodes in Manhattan!!!

Adam Name: Adam Ibrahim

How long have you been involved in NYC Mesh:

I think I’ve been working intermittently with NYC mesh for a few months now, going on a few installs.

In a couple of sentences tell us about yourself:

I’m a recent computer science graduate from The City College of New York. I’m currently looking for work, somewhat lackadaisically. While I do need a job, I also need to take some time to take my head out the books and appreciate the rest of life. Explore some stuff that I haven’t done before. Volunteering is pretty new to me. Hell, reaching out to someone and saying, “I want to get involved,” is kinda new for me.

What brought you to NYC Mesh and why are you a part of this community:

The immediate reason for working with NYC mesh is to learn something new. It’s a lot easier to pick something up directly from people and through hands-on learning. But more generally, I’m trying to figure some things out, like what place I see for myself in the world. I’ve always gone along with what’s in front of me and I’ve never been happy with it. I’ve usually been a bit of a loner with the exception of some very close friends, and I don’t feel that I’ve really left a mark anywhere. None that I cared about, anyhow. You know, I basically just let life happen to me, hopping from one problem to the next.

Putting out fires is all I could do since I didn’t have any context, no knowledge of how we came to where we are today in the world. We don’t even know our own history as a people in the US. We study it from the point of view of generals, commanders, presidents and for the most part the middle class and up. Just a handful of actors on a stage and everyone else is the audience. I was fed a viewpoint of life that’s very far from where I am and didn’t make any sense for me; it’s no wonder I felt like I didn’t fit into it. It was kinda like trying to play a game where your character is just some tiny dot in the corner of the screen. I was lost and angry for many years.

Volunteering at NYC Mesh helps me adjust my perspective. I get to exercise some control on my environment by working together with people for mutual benefit, and by inviting people to learn, grow and participate rather than compete for individual gain alone.

What are your goals, hopes, or dreams for NYC Mesh in 2019:

I hope that NYC Mesh grows physically, in the sense that our network grows in number of nodes and area covered. But I also hope that the core ideas and motivation of a community-owned effort grow, too: this is our world. Mine, yours, everyone’s. When things suck, you can join with the people around you to govern yourselves and environment.

You can decide for yourselves what you want, though not without some difficulty and even resistance.

In the past, I saw myself as just renting, haha. I had my space in the world and in the time I was alive. I’d be here for a while and then… be gone. I didn’t have any actual ownership of anything around me. It wasn’t my place to do anything about the things I wanted changed. Sorta like how in an apartment, you’re just there and when things go wrong, you wait for a repairman to come and take care of it, if they do at all.