Be more human

Webstock’s gold sponsor SilverStripe have again put an impressive amount of thought and hard work into their presence at Webstock. It includes a fantastic booth, eyecatching material in the Webstock bag, and a website created specially to complement both of these. We caught up with SilverStripe CEO Brian Calhoun and talked about their imaginative contribution to Webstock this year.

1. Your booth and satchel content asks the question, “How do humans win?” Tell us more about that.

On the back of our business cards is our mantra: “Be more human” which we’ve had for a couple years now. It’s a reminder to us that we’re solving human communication problems first and foremost. For Webstock we wanted to do something interesting to us that tied in with our mantra. We think it’s a fun question: “How do humans win?” It can be interpreted lots of different ways and when we ran a trial run at our company, we had a huge variety of responses. So we thought it would be fun to have Webstock attendees think about what humans winning means to them. This is a longer-term effort by our company — Webstock is just the beginning. The ideas & responses will live on at

2. Every Webstock bag contains two postage-paid postcards from SilverStripe which feature stunning photographs. Why did you choose the images and where did you get them from?

We asked SilverStripe employees to submit pictures of humans winning. The only criteria was that it had to be a picture that the employee took. We then sifted through the responses and picked the ones we thought were great answers to the question “How do humans win?” We thought it would be fun to turn them into postcards and put postage on them so Webstock attendees could just write a note to someone, address it, then drop it in the post.

3. Why the grass?

The goats have to eat something! If they don’t eat grass, they’ll eat anything else they can find. In the end, the people at the venue didn’t much like the idea of goats, so now all we have is the grass.

4. This morning you launched a website, What’s that about and how does it relate to the physical wall in your booth?

We wanted people who aren’t at Webstock to be able to participate in the “How do humans win?” experiment. People who visit the site can upload a photo, they can add the “bemorehuman” tag to a Flickr image, they can Tweet with the #bemorehuman tag, or they can type in how they think humans win. SilverStripe staff in the booth will monitor the site throughout Webstock and print out compelling answers / tweets / pictures and place them on the wall in the booth. The website also has a snapshot of the wall taken every ten minutes so people on the site can see how the wall evolves over the course of Webstock. The site will live on beyond Webstock because humans winning is an important idea to us and we want others to keep on sharing their ideas too.

5. You’ve sponsored John Resig and Mark Pesce. How does this fit into your “Be more human” theme?

We have huge amounts of respect for both of these technology visionaries. At SilverStripe, we use John Resig’s JQuery extensively and our developers love it. JQuery is the first Javascript library our developers have responded to in this way. That’s saying a lot. With Mark Pesce, I’ve been following his work since his VRML days and even at that time I knew he was a visionary who helps others see what’s coming. Both Mark and John are inspiring to us and they both show how humans win by doing work that resonates deeply with other humans.

Thanks for you time Brian. We really appreciate the support that you’ve provided Webstock. Without organisations like SilverStripe, Webstock simply wouldn’t be the same!