Pioneer Interview with Eric Doriean of Mass Mosaic

Mass Mosaic is a website that helps people exchange anything with their friends, groups and peers. In this interview, co-founder Eric Doriean explains how the platform uses exchange to connect and distribute abundance through community.

What inspired you to start Mass Mosaic?

Mass Mosaic began 10 years ago when Rob Jameson (co-founder, CEO) read and aligned with Buckminster Fuller’s life mission to “make the world work for 100% of humanity, in the shortest possible time, through spontaneous cooperation, without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone.” That line caused Rob to re-route his previous career choice as a film director and began immersing himself in technology, the gunpowder of the next generation of activist.

The initial idea was to focus on helping artists exclusively. So Mass Mosaic aimed to help artists collaborate in a new way and the system was designed to use the Creative Commons Plus license to allow multi-generational viewership and profit-sharing among artists who were collaborating.

The only problem was that Rob was an artist – not a developer. A few years later he met me (Eric Doriean is Mass Mosaic’s co-founder and Operations Chief) and I’d been working in IT for 10 years and realised we were both passionate about using networks to unlock the hidden abundance we saw all around us.

So we decided to redesign the platform to function like a holistic ecosystem, rather than like a targeted solution to the artist niche. The website was redesigned 20+ times until we eventually saw patterns that were simple enough to hold a vision this broad. Alison Gianotto also joined the team as Technology Chief and is responsible for all things technology related, from managing the development team, security and the server infrastructure. This is the beginning of what many users now know as Mass Mosaic.

How does Mass Mosaic allow users to match wants and haves with people in their local community?

Mass Mosaic works in 3 steps: Collect, Connect, and Exchange. First, users collect all the tiles that may be relevant to them. This can be from looking at the website like a portal into the wants and haves all around them and marking which ones they are interested in. It also may mean adding those tiles themselves.

Next is connecting. This involves filtering through the plentiful tiles the user has chosen or is being recommended by their peers or the platform. Once the best options are found, they make offers.

Finally, exchange involves having private conversations with one or many parties to get the deal you want.

Currently, matching is done through keywords, geographic proximity, exchange preferences, and follows. We also encourage users to find matches for others and then message them!


Your brand story talks about a world of plenty. How is Mass Mosaic enabling alternative experiences of scarcity and abundance?

The key to abundance is following your excitement. As long as your highest excitement is being acted on, you unlock hidden value for yourself. This abundance is the natural state of all life and doesn’t require a computer to experience.

We’ve worked hard (and excitedly) to help people who want to use technology to act on their excitement. Our product decisions are centered around people following this feeling… one of self-direction, of being listened to and supported by a community that embraces whatever criteria they choose.

Mass Mosaic focuses much closer to your heart. We believe that if we can teach you how to identify your value and clearly articulate what you want and have, that we’ve already done our job. Even with our limited technology, we can help you exchange this abundance.


How is Mass Mosaic different to other stuff sharing platforms like TuShare and OpenShed?

There is one main thing about Mass Mosaic that you won’t find anywhere else: completeness. Let’s unpack this:

We allow any kind of want and have (thing, skill, service, experience, recommendation, dream, project, idea, connection, etc), exchanged in any way (gift, share, buy, sell, borrow, trade, rent, collaborate, and more), with anyone. We don’t care what it is, or how you want to exchange it. We all have different criteria for determining what is relevant to us… so we don’t discriminate.

We are the most comprehensive exchange network on the planet in terms of breadth… so the difficulty is in doing everything well. To do this, we’ve begun the process of structuring ourselves more broadly as well.

We are designing a new model for our organization whose power is distributed to 1/3 commons, 1/3 community, and 1/3 triple-bottom line corporation. As we grow, we will be integrating this triad more deeply into everything we do.

What’s your favourite example of how Mass Mosaic is being used by your community members?

One favourite example was Amanda Palmer’s recent viral book gifting. Thousands of users added “wants” for the books in her mosaic in a few days, crashing our website and resulting in the largest community growth we’ve ever seen. The intention was to help the community gift the book… however numerous people felt the desire to give back more and spontaneously started to make art for their gift-givers and sending it all over the world. It was beautiful.

Another favourite story was in late December 2014, a community member posted that her father was ready to pass on and they couldn’t afford a Christmas tree (he was at their home on hospice). Within a few hours, our community raised more than five times the amount of money needed for the tree, and coordinated a local ambassador to buy a tree, a card, lights and a stand, and deliver it all with all the extra in cash to the family. We got to see a synchronistic experience happen. It all felt very close and really touched our hearts.

What’s coming up in terms of new releases or product updates?

We have a few very exciting releases coming up soon. They are top-secret but let’s just say we are going to be meeting our community where they currently hang out.

Also we’ve created a big step forward with matching that we believe will help people remember how powerful their friends are.

Finally, we’ve just partnered with one of the largest events in the world to power a collaboration with their massive army of volunteers. Sign up for our blog or follow us on Facebook and Twitter for when the official announcement comes out!



One thought on “Pioneer Interview with Eric Doriean of Mass Mosaic

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *