As you all know by now, Jonathon Mosen has joined Freedom Scientific as Vice President of Hardware Product Management. Since this became public, I have received a stack of emails, phone and Skype calls asking for BlindChristian or Gonz Blinko or any of my other alter-ego authors to write an article about this. For two days, I’ve thought hard about trying to come up with something satirical, amusing or even a harsh farce about the entire AT industry. Gonz and I talked last night and he said that he heard that his friend Moes Jonathonson had been hiding out somewhere in New Zealand but may have joined Freeman Scientology and, therefore, will no longer be a source for his writing.
My personal feeling about Jonathon, whom I’ve had a friendly, albeit distant, relationship with for many years now is that I’m happy to see him land on his feet in a challenging position working with some really talented people. My thoughts on FS are that I am happy to see that, for the first time since the merger, they have hired a blind person into a senior management role. In any AT business, it is always difficult to juggle qualifications and user experience in hiring decisions as, once again, we have a chicken and egg situation, if no blind executives exist, where do you find one with the skills to take on such a job?
Reading various items from Humanware people being passed around the usual emailing gossip circles shows me everything from graceful farewells to some normal nastiness to some sour grapes. I just hope that HW does not try to take any legal action against Jonathon on issues regarding non-compete, non-disclosure or trade secrets. I don’t know New Zealand law and I don’t know if FS has indemnified Jonathon but living under the threat of harassing lawsuits is truly horrible. Also, I hope Humanware, even if they have such agreements in place, choose to waive litigation as doing so will do nothing more than publicly quiet the voice of a very bright and talented blind person and possibly keep his ideas out of the hands of the consumers who pay all of the salaries at all of the AT companies.
A number of years back, the NFB officially made a statement deploring restrictive covenants between blind people and their employers in the AT biz, as, if enforced, they deeply restrict the job possibilities for blind people, an objective to which NFB and AT companies both claim to promote.
I’m sorry to see Jonathon’s blog go away as I often found it both entertaining and informative (when he wasn’t trying to subject me to listening to he and his kids washing dishes or going on endlessly about his soul mate) but there are lots of other good blogs written by and for blinks out there (look above for links) but Mosen has a certain journalistic style that is both professional and concise which I will definitely miss.
So, congratulations to Jonathon Mosen on landing a seat at the table with some of the highest powered people in the biz, I’m sure he’ll learn a lot very quickly. Also, applause to FS for putting a blink in a high profile role for the first time since the merger. I wish all of you well and, to my readers disappointed at my approach to this topic, I’ll do something funny soon but felt this subject, as it effect real people’s careers and lives felt a little to close to home to satirize too heavily.
Thus, the kinder, gentler BlindChristian shows his face.