My name is Ryan Boren. I am a retired software developerm, former lead developer of WordPress, and co-conspirator emeritus at Automattic. I live in Dripping Springs Texas at the Irie Smial Preserve amidst a familial motley of non-compliant, neurodivergent garage hobbits.

Check Twitter for my heartbeat. That’s where I hang out the most.

Where I’m at

Some things about me

  • autistic
  • atheist
  • vegan
  • progressive
  • skeptic

Heal our systems

Champion agency, transparency, and inclusion. Resist deficit ideologyand compliance culture. Humanize flow in the systems we inhabit. The following heuristics bring together ideas from neurodiversitythe social model of disability, student-directed learning, passion-based learning, progressive education reform, social justice education reform, critical pedagogy, critical instruction design, restorative practices, hacker ethosjust culture, and distributed work. Use them when building systems and culture:

Everyone should read


There are many ways to be human. We’re multiple traits in a color space.

Source: Understanding The Spectrum

Human cognitive diversity exists for a reason; our differences are the genius – and the conscience – of our species.

Source: A Thousand Rivers

Hacker Ethos

It’s a software-eaten world; get hip to STEAM and the hacker ethos.

The credentialist social order has been waning since peak centralization in the 1970s. Work and the world are shifting from credentialist to hacker modes of social organizationAgile teamsdistributed collaboration, and the hacker ethos of flexible improvisation and rapid iteration are useful cultural literacy. The ed-tech cronyism of the past 15 years–driven by greed, assessment, bad metrics, and algorithmic cruelty–is a culture ill-suited to collaboration. Software eats industries and networks eat geography, bringing collaborative hacker culture along with them. Education’s turn is now. Software matters. If you’re going to get eaten by software, choose indie ed-tech over corporatist ed-tech and deficit model greed. Engage with the digital commons, and educate for massive software-driven change. When navigating the society-transforming tidal wave of automation, fluency in the hacker ethos, distributed collaboration, and loosely coupled, tightly aligned teams is very helpful.

On education

Change the culture and user experience of schools. Culture doesn’t come from a box. It’s not proprietary and rented from a corporation. Culture doesn’t have someone else’s trademark on it. Culture must be made from within with grassroots involvement.

Create a culture of neurodiverse teams of project-based learners using technology and design thinking to communicate, collaborate, iterate, and launch to authentic audiences of fellow humans. Tech won’t find its place in education until project-based inclusion replaces the lecture and deficit models.

Agile teams, distributed collaboration, and the hacker ethos of flexible improvisation and rapid iteration are powerful artifacts of the disruptive rise of software. They are life and industry changing. When informed with neurodiversity and the social model of disability in an open by default culture, they are a future for education and work where we collaborate and iterate our way through massive software-driven change. We will navigate disruption with compassion, finding opportunity and inspiration in the diversity of our shared humanity. We are humans making things for and with other humans, helping each other cope with sentience and senescence on our pale blue dot. Communicate, collaborate, iterate, launch. With these tools we’ll make it through.

There is thoughtlessness all around us, in all human systems. In this thoughtlessness is opportunity. Engage project-based learners in designing for real life. Start by designing a shared, grassroots culture together with students.

Culture can be the foundation for all future innovation, or it can be the single biggest resistance to innovation. Don’t fuck up culture.

Communication is oxygen

Build  the infrastructure of collaboration and an open by default culture in our schools.