Meet the Team

Portrait of F. Randall Farmer
F. Randall "Randy" Farmer, Executive Director/COO

No one has been working to empower online communities longer than our Executive Director and COO - Randy Farmer; creating standards and platforms for more than 40 years - learning the power of collaboration and overcoming the challenges of connecting people to each other online.

Along the way, it was necessary for him to co-invent many of the foundational patterns and technologies we see deployed today, such as the JSON message protocol, social newsfeeds, virtual worlds, and avatars (see his more than two dozen now expired patents). He has founded several startups, in senior executive roles, for the last two decades - most recently as the CEO of a multiplayer mobile gaming company.

In 1995 Randy co-founded Electric Communities, which prototyped and proved the design of smart contracts, capabilities, and distributed objects. Much of Spritely's architecture is inspired by publications about Electric Communities Habitat; this led Christine and Randy to begin talking, leading to the decision to co-found Spritely Institute together.


Portrait of Christine Lemmer-Webber
Christine Lemmer-Webber, CTO

Christine has devoted her life to advancing user freedom. Realizing that the federated social web was fractured by a variety of incompatible protocols, she co-authored and shepherded ActivityPub's standardization. She has also contributed to many other free and open source projects, including co-founding MediaGoblin.

Christine established the open source Spritely Project to solve known problems in existing centralized and decentralized social media platforms and to re-imagine the way we build networked applications - work that now continues here at the institute under her guidance as CTO.


Portrait of David Thompson
David Thompson, Core Infrastructure Architect

David Thompson is a software engineer and free and open source software advocate who enjoys writing software at every level of the stack.

David is a former DevOps engineer and full-stack web developer for Vista Higher Learning where he worked on everything from product feature implementation to production infrastructure automation. He is also a former web developer for the Free Software Foundation, has made numerous contributions to free software projects such as Guile and Guix, and has built his own game development and web development tools in Scheme.


Portrait of Jessica Tallon
Jessica Tallon, Software Engineer

Jessica is co-author and co-editor of the ActivityPub specification as well as being an active contributor to MediaGoblin and many other open source software and open standards for the last decade, working on everything from decentralized social media architecture to compilers.

Through our ongoing support from NLNet/NGI Zero! she has been lead engineer working on our UI research into pet name systems - important in a world with no global identifiers - using Goblins Chat as our reference application.


Portrait of Briana Jacobs
Briana Jacobs, Operations Specialist

Briana runs the day-to-day for us, HR, administration, bookkeeping, the list goes on...


Interested in decentralizing trust, identity, and community for everyone? Join the team!

Board of Directors

Portrait of Karen Sandler
Karen Sandler, ED @ Software Freedom Conservancy

Karen M. Sandler is the executive director of the Software Freedom Conservancy. Karen is known as a cyborg lawyer for her advocacy for free software, particularly in relation to the software on medical devices. She was executive director of the GNOME Foundation and general counsel of the Software Freedom Law Center. Karen co-organizes Outreachy, the award-winning outreach program for women globally and for people of color who are underrepresented in US tech. Karen is a recipient of the O’Reilly Open Source Award and cohost of the oggcast Free as in Freedom.


Portrait of Deb Nicholson
Deb Nicholson, ED @ Python Software Foundation

Deb is an experienced non-profit professional and passionate open source community builder who has worked at the Open Source Initiative, Software Freedom Conservancy and the Open Invention Network. She is also a founding organizer of the Seattle GNU/Linux Conference, an annual event dedicated to surfacing new voices and welcoming new people to the free software community.


Portrait of Alex Handy
Alex Handy, Founder/Chairman The MADE

Alex Handy is Chairman of the Board for the Museum of Art and Digital Entertaingment (The MADE), which he founded 2010 after finding a parcel of unreleased Atari and Colecovision games. A veteran technology journalist, Alex started out covering the release of the first iMac. His writing has appeared in Wired, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Computer Gaming World, and many other publications.