Aaron Swartz Biography
Aaron Swartz was an American computer programmer, entrepreneur, writer, political organizer, and Internet hacktivist. He was involved in the development of the web feed format RSS and the Markdown publishing format, the organization
Creative Commons, and the website framework web.py, he was also the co-founder of the social news site Reddit.
Swartz’s work also focused on civic awareness and activism. He helped launch the Progressive Change Campaign Committee in 2009 to learn more about effective online activism. In 2010, he became a research fellow at Harvard University’s Safra Research Lab on Institutional Corruption, directed by Lawrence Lessig.
He founded the online group Demand Progress, known for its campaign against the Stop Online Piracy Act.Aaron Swartz’s photo
Aaron Swartz Height/Age
Aaron was born in the year 1986 November 8th but died at the age of 26 years with 11 months remaining for him to hit the age of 27 years old, he died in the year 2013 January 11th.
Aaron Swartz Family/Early Life
Swartz was born in Highland Park, Illinois, the eldest son of Jewish parents Susan and Robert Swartz and brother of Noah and Benjamin. His father had founded the software firm Mark Williams Company.
Swartz immersed himself in the study of computers, programming, the Internet, and Internet culture.
He attended North Shore Country Day School, a small private school near Chicago, until 9th grade. Swartz left high school in the 10th grade and enrolled in courses at a Chicago area college.
In 1999, when he was 13 years old he created the website Theinfo.org, a library where everyone was able to write and correct information. Theinfo.org made Swartz the winner of the ArsDigita Prize, given to young people who create “useful, educational, and collaborative” non-commercial websites.
At age 14, he became a member of the working group that authored the RSS 1.0 web syndication specification. Swartz attended Stanford University but dropped out after his first year
Aaron Swartz Career
During Swartz’s first year at Stanford, he applied to Y Combinator’s very first Summer Founders Program, proposing to work on a startup called Infogami, designed as a flexible content management system to allow the creation of rich and visually interesting websites or a form of a wiki for structured data.
After working on Infogami with co-founder Simon Carstensen over the summer of 2005, Aaron opted not to return to Stanford, choosing instead to continue to develop and seek funding for Infogami.
As part of his work on Infogami, Swartz created the web.py web application framework because he was unhappy with other available systems in the Python programming language. In early fall of 2005, Swartz worked with his fellow co-founders of another nascent Y-Combinator firm Reddit, to rewrite Reddit’s Lisp codebase using Python and web.py.
Although Infogami’s platform was abandoned after Not a Bug was acquired, Infogami’s software was used to support the Internet Archive’s Open Library project and the web.py web framework was used as the basis for many other projects by Swartz and many others.
When Infogami failed to find further funding, Y-Combinator organizers suggested that Infogami merges with Reddit, which it did in November 2005, resulting in the formation of a new firm, Not a Bug, devoted to promoting both products. As a result of this merger, Swartz was given the title of the co-founder of Reddit.
Although both projects initially struggled to gain traction, Reddit began to make large gains in popularity in 2005 and 2006.
In October 2006, based largely on the success of Reddit, Not a Bug was acquired by Condé Nast Publications, the owner of Wired magazine. Swartz moved with his company to San Francisco to work on Wired. Swartz found office life uncongenial, and he ultimately left the company.
In September 2007, Swartz joined with Infogami co-founder Simon Carstensen to launch a new firm, Jottit, in another attempt to create another markdown driven content management system in Python.
Aaron Swartz Death
On the evening of January 11, 2013, Swartz was found dead in his Brooklyn apartment by his partner, Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman. A spokeswoman for New York’s Medical Examiner reported that he had hanged himself. No suicide note was found.
Swartz’s family and his partner created a memorial website on which they issued a statement, saying: “He used his prodigious skills as a programmer and technologist not to enrich himself but to make the Internet and the world a fairer, better place.”
Days before Swartz’s funeral, Lawrence Lessig eulogized his friend and sometime-client in an essay, Prosecutor as Bully. He decried the disproportionality of Swartz’s prosecution and said, “The question this government needs to answer is why it was so necessary that Aaron Swartz is labelled a ‘felon’.
For in the 18 months of negotiations, that was what he was not willing to accept.”Cory Doctorow wrote, “Aaron had an unbeatable combination of political insight, technical skill, and intelligence about people and issues. I think he could have revolutionized American (and worldwide) politics. His legacy may still yet do so.
Funeral and memorial gatherings
Swartz’s funeral services were held on January 15, 2013, at Central Avenue Synagogue in Highland Park, Illinois. Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the World Wide Web, delivered a eulogy. The same day, The Wall Street Journal published a story based in part on an interview with Stinebrickner-Kauffman.
She told the Journal that Swartz lacked the money to pay for a trial and “it was too hard for him to make that part of his life go public” by asking for help. He was also distressed, she said, because two of his friends had just been subpoenaed and because he no longer believed that MIT would try to stop the prosecution.
Several memorials followed soon afterwards. On January 19, hundreds attended a memorial at the Cooper Union, speakers at which included Stinebrickner-Kauffman, open source advocate Doc Searls, Creative Commons’ Glenn Otis Brown, journalist Quinn Norton, Roy Singham of ThoughtWorks, and David Segal of Demand Progress.
On January 24, there was a memorial at the Internet Archive with speakers including Stinebrickner-Kauffman, Alex Stamos, Brewster Kahle, and Carl Malamud.
On February 4, a memorial was held in the Cannon House Office Building on Capitol Hill; speakers at this memorial included Senator Ron Wyden and Representatives Darrell Issa, Alan Grayson, and Jared Polis, and other lawmakers in attendance included Senator Elizabeth Warren and Representatives Zoe Lofgren and Jan Schakowsky.
A memorial also took place on March 12 at the MIT Media Lab. Swartz’s family recommended GiveWell for donations in his memory, an organization that Swartz admired, had collaborated with and was the sole beneficiary of his will.
Aaron Swartz Documentary
This film follows the story of programming prodigy and information activist Aaron Swartz. From Swartz’s help in the development of the basic internet protocol RSS to his co-founding of Reddit, his fingerprints are all over the internet.
But it was Swartz’s groundbreaking work in social justice and political organizing combined with his aggressive approach to information access that ensnared him in a two-year legal nightmare.
It was a battle that ended with the taking of his own life at the age of 26. Aaron’s story touched a nerve with people far beyond the online communities in which he was a celebrity. This film is a personal story about what we lose when we are tone deaf about technology and its relationship to our civil liberties.
Aaron Swartz Net Worth
His net worth was $1.3 million. Four years later that net worth grew to 400% to $8.5 million. Aaron Swartz, just 24 years old, was having an interesting life.
Aaron Swartz Quotes
“Be curious. Read widely. Try new things. What people call intelligence just boils down to curiosity.”
“People shouldn’t be forced to categorize themselves as “gay,” “straight,” or “bi.” People are just people. Maybe you’re mostly attracted to men. Maybe you’re mostly attracted to women. Maybe you’re attracted to everyone. These are historical claims, not future predictions.
If we truly want to expand the scope of human freedom, we should encourage people to date who they want; not just provide more categorical boxes for them to slot themselves into. A man who has mostly dated men should be just as welcome to date women as a woman who’s mostly dated men.
So that’s why I’m not gay. I hook up with people. I enjoy it. Sometimes they’re men, sometimes they’re women. I don’t see why it needs to be any more complicated than that.”
“Creativity comes from applying things you learn in other fields to the field you work in.”
“I think deeply about things and want others to do likewise. I work for ideas and learn from people. I don’t like excluding people. I’m a perfectionist, but I won’t let that get in the way of publication. Except for education and entertainment, I’m not going to waste my time on things that won’t have an impact. I try to be friends with everyone, but I hate it when you don’t take me seriously.
I don’t hold grudges, it’s not productive, but I learn from my experience. I want to make the world a better place.”
“Think deeply about things. Don’t just go along because that’s the way things are or that’s what your friends say. Consider the effects, consider the alternatives, but most importantly, just think.”
“Before I went to college I read two books. I read the book “Moral Mazes” by Robert Jackall which is a study of how corporations work, and it’s actually a fascinating book, this sociologist, he just picks a corporation at random and just goes and studies the middle managers, not the people who do any of the grunt work and not the big decision makers, just the people whose job is to make sure that things day to day get done, and he shows how even though they’re all perfectly reasonable people, perfectly nice people you’d be happy to meet any of them, all the things that they were accomplishing were just incredibly evil.
So you have these people in this average corporation, they were making decisions to blow out their worker’s eardrums in the factory, to poison the lakes and the lagoons nearby, to make these products that are filled with toxic chemicals that poisoned their customers, not because any of them were bad people and wanted to kill their workers and their neighbourhood and their customers, but just because that was the logic of the situation they were in.
Another book I read was a book “Understanding Power” by Noam Chomsky which kind of took the same sort of analysis but applied it to wider society which you know we’re in a situation where it may be filled with perfectly good people but they’re in these structures that cause them to continually do evil, to invade countries, to bomb people, to take money from poor people and give it to rich people, to do all these things that are wrong. These books really opened my eyes about just how bad the society we were living in really is.”
Aaron Swartz Movie
The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz is a 2014 American biographical documentary film about Aaron Swartz written, directed, and produced by Brian Knappenberger. The film premiered in the US Documentary Competition program category at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival on January 20, 2014.
After its premiere at Sundance, Participant Media and FilmBuff acquired distribution rights of the film. The film was released to theatres and VOD on June 27, 2014, in the United States. It will be followed by a broadcast television premiere on Participant’s network Pivot in late 2014.
The film also played at the 2014 SXSW on March 15, 2014. It served as the opening film at the 2014 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival on April 24, 2014.
The film’s UK premiere took place at Sheffield Doc/Fest in June 2014 and won the Sheffield Youth Jury Award that year. In August 2014, the film was screened at the Barbican Centre in London as part of Wikimania 2014. The BBC also aired the film in January 2015 as part of its Storyville documentary brand. It was also released on the Internet with a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 license.
Aaron Swartz Book
1. The Boy Who Could Change the World: The Writings of Aaron Swartz.
2. Guerilla Open Access Manifesto.
3. Raw Thought, Raw Nerve: Inside the Mind of Aaron Swartz: Not-For-Profit – Revised Fourth Edition.
4. Aaron Swartz’s The Programmable Web: An Unfinished Work.
5. Raw Thought, Raw Nerve: Inside the Mind of Aaron Swartz: Not-For-Profit – Revised Third Edition.