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Aesthetics Internet Culture

Day 391 and Breath

Daily overstimulation is starting to rub the pressure sores of America’s downer induced depression into a full blown mental health crisis. Like, even more than usual. War with Russia in the imagination, inflation and market volatility coaxing a recession, culture war skirmishes over every basic fact in the pandemic, along with generalized anxiety are fucking us up focus wise. And every propaganda outlet and publicist on the planet is having a field day.

I’m listing to The Prodigy’s Breath and mumbling lyrics like pyschosomatic insane. So I guess, come play my game?

I try not to listen too much music as it overstimulates my nervous system to be honest so its kind of rare for me to have Spotify playing. I’ve got a finely tuned propaganda radar that benefits from sensing subtle shifts in tone and extremely online discourse. I can’t do that if I’m too worked up from the rough stimulus that comes from pop music. I mostly use it to run my portfolio and investing but sometimes I think I should really be used in the service of some autocrat or multi-national. I’m the doubt factory

I guess it is nice I can make a buck during the end of the empire. I’m one of those post structuralism, post-capitalism babies. A regular Bane “born to the darkness” of hyper objects like markets and climate change. So I guess I’d better be molded to being the kind of villain that survives a world of agitprop and meme warfare. Thanks Adbusters!

Frankly I’m having a fucking blast. Sure I’m scared I don’t have my homestead property all shored up for civilization hiccups, but I’m of the mind that the crumbles is going to take a while so might as well enjoy the gains that come from a massive upheaval. I guess its true venture capitalists are ghouls. I mean at least we aren’t private equity carrion birds but it is wild that the system rewards a class of people that invest in creative destruction.

But even as I want to paint myself as bad, I do stereotypically think what venture capital does is often good. We can’t predict second order effects. Chaos theory doesn’t let us see all the future paths. But stochastic as shit power laws are just math so we’ve got a shot at accidentally making things better. So while the agitprop tries to sway your opinions might I recommend you just Breath? That is my professional advice.

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Internet Culture

Day 386 and Pressure

I have been feeling a little disconnected the past couple days. The rising feeling that the zeitgeist isn’t coalescing around a shared narrative has been unsettling.

I usually feel a strong sense of narrative. Maybe because I’m a veteran of the internet’s propaganda class. I was a mercenary in the marketing and media space for the formative years of the social web. If anyone has natural immunity to disinformation it’s the people who manufacture it for a living.

But I can’t tease out who is placing what stories right now. I can’t even get a read on what stories are common knowledge right now. It’s like nothing is winning. There is no story capturing all our imagination at the moment. At least nothing beyond West Elm Caleb. We can agree that Tik Tok is toxic but we aren’t sure where the pandemic is headed, what politics will prevails, or where the markets are headed.

You’ve got to be careful in a toxic information climate like this. You can easily get suckered into attention holes. The more we fixate on the story of the moment the more anxiety you will feel. The zeitgeist isn’t legible. The only way you can protect yourself is to anchor what you know in core beliefs. Don’t let any one stop dictate your mood or shift your focus. Center yourself and you will be less affected.

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Internet Culture

Day 382 and Your Truth

I’ve always hated when people say shit like “well that’s my truth” as it gives credence to all kinds of elaborate personal fantasies that make living in civilization almost impossible. But also perception is reality. So while it gets frustrating when people insist on their own set of facts, I can’t really blame anyone for relying on their personal feelings.

I’ve often been afraid to share my personal truths. I’m afraid I’ll be judged for my feelings. I’ve got a number of feelings that are easy to dismiss if you happen to be a fan of many traditional systems of morality.

For instance, I don’t think marriage needs to be about nuclear families. I’m perfectly fine with it being for political or financial power. I think people should start dynasties by combining resources. Which if you go back to really traditional systems of human civilization this take wouldn’t be super shocking. But it certainly sounds shocking to my family and friends that I’m all for multiple spouses. Do I think this works for most people? No, I think paired coupled monogamy is probably right for most normies. But I’m all for people trying shit that isn’t normal if it meets their life goals. Go start your empire king!

Now I’m not saying I’m living this way. Obviously I am a married white woman from the upper class. But I’d be lying if I said my marriage was all about the romance. I do want to build something with my husband!But I think it’s perfectly fine to say different people can live in truthful ways that are different from me. I’m not remotely trad. I’ve got different values than people who marry their high school sweetheart and raise kids. But explaining that makes it sounds like I’m so terminally online normies can’t ever relate. I’m conservative but not trad. Which if that is legible to you I’m glad we are friends. If it’s not then whatever. I hope it’s ok that my truths might be different than yours. Don’t worry I’m a libertarian so I won’t impose it on anyone but myself.

Categories
Finance Internet Culture

Day 371 and Never Work A Day In Your Life

I had almost nothing on my calendar today I didn’t want to do. I had small administrative things that took up maybe two hours and that’s excessive by my standards. It’s rare I ever have more than half an hour of genuine obligations. Mostly I just go where I feel like on any given day. I lay in bed on my phone and I move the world with strangers on the internet.

I’m not sure how I optimized for this kind of idyllic work life. I certainly didn’t used to live this way. When I was a founder I was constantly at the mercy of meetings I didn’t want and obligations I wanted to shirk. I always felt put upon. I never felt more like hustle culture owned my life than during my founding years. I was constantly optimizing and I felt like I never had any relief.

Maybe it’s the pandemic. Once we stopped with offices and workdays and all their attendant events and activities, life got a lot better. Everyone kind of settled into routines that made space for what mattered most to them. We no longer had cocktail parties or conferences. Thought leadership stopped being keynote speeches and started being shitposts on Twitter.

I don’t know what the fuck I did it exactly to free myself from that over scheduled fate. I’m so much happier and more efficient. I get shit done and I am less stressed and working fewer unnecessary hours.

Maybe part of it is that I might be a better investor than I was a founder. I could spend the whole day skipping through direct messages and sharing insights in Telegram group chats or having product breaksdowns in Notion. I’m actually good at what I do now. I bring more value and I do it more quickly. Maybe this is what real optimized work is like. You are so good it’s easy.

I’m so fucking happy right now. Over the last hour I’ve done more to advance my deals, connect my community and dig into shit that I genuinely passionately love than I thought I could do in an week. It’s like winning the lottery. I cannot believe I make money doing this.

I basically gossip all day with super smart people and then trade a bunch of densely coded social signals. Those all translate into money. I plot elaborate stories with fellow degenerates with deep aesthetics and then we send it into media zeitgeist. It’s like I work in fashion but the pay is much much better. So I guess it is true what they say. Do what you love and you never work a day I’m your life.

Categories
Aesthetics Internet Culture

Day 369 and Reeeee!!!

Maybe it’s human nature to be a bit catastrophic. We are so self centered we thought the sun revolved around us. Took centuries of science for someone to propose another framework. Completely revolutionized science by thinking hey what if what we think is true isn’t?

Narcissistic thinking is our vibe. But also Jesus fuck it feels like the world is going to hell. What if I am living in uniquely bad times? Maybe this is just old person thinking and I need to accept I can’t see reality with sparkling clarity. Or at least the most optimistic permutations of reality. Time isn’t linear and all.

I’m simultaneously planning for an incredibly positive future while I’m also freaking the fuck out. It’s straight up Dickensian. Best of times worse of times. On the one hand I have never been more excited about where technology is headed. Web 3 really might move forward a freer more open market capitalism for everyone. But also my county is on fire and a thousand homes were destroyed in a fire brought on by drought and heat and bad land use.

It’s just extremely jarring to be living a positive optimistic life where I’m excited to buy a home and invest in new founders while also incorporating risk from climate change and political instability. And I won’t even get into whether we need to give a fuck about the pandemic anymore

Pepe frog in a rage in red background

It’s enough to make you go REEEEEEE. Which is a meme that I think should freak me out a little as it bubbled up in kek rare pepe memes on 4chan. Which have filtered into some safe uses but are still tightly wound to meme magic alt-right. But that’s part of why everything is so scary today! Am I a Nazi fascist for using this meme? Who knows! Reeeeeee!! Cancel me daddy!

Categories
Finance Internet Culture

Day 359 and SOS

A few days ago I wondered what project or cultural artifact was going to grab our mutual cultural attention during the Christmas vacation week? Something always does. One year it was fucking Quora if you can believe it. This year I’m ready to call it for $SOS at least if you are into Web3 and crypto economics.

On fucking Christmas Day these degenerates drop a contract to let anyone claim tokens who has ever purchased an NFT on the OpenSea marketplace. And people went ape shit. Suddenly someone had taken all the visible contributions from OpenSea and manifested them in a token and said this is ours. Fuck corporate dominance of profit your users hold the real value. I’ve never seen anything so ballsy. Last year when Wall Street Bets decided to taken on hedge funds I felt like we had entered a new era of community behavior.

An emergent community has swum up from the sea and eaten the lunch of a supposedly greedy centralized platform. Web3 just attacked what we didn’t even realize was Web2. A crypto darling turned parable for centralization in the space of a few years. $SOS seemed to say community owned this value all along. The airdrop showed us the balance of power in a web3 community if we all work together. I’m so impressed by the sheer cultural force of the statement. It could all go horribly awry but god damn if it isn’t utopian.

I’ve got not fucking clue if this is a legitimate contract or not. I’m not going to FUD. But from a first principles, we are building a new internet where the incentives of the users align with the technology statement, then this is quite a shot across the bow. Also I’m pretty sure this makes it harder for OpenSea to IPO if their user base is in open rebellion against who gets rewarded.

The thing is I believe Devin to be a well meaning and genuinely forward thinking guy. He’s a terrific communicator that set out with the utopian intentions that we all do. But we are moving so fast with breaking cultural norms and acceptable societal level rewards for contributions to an economy that I think we might have just spiraled up to some kind of cultural singularity. Crypto might just be moving that fast. Whatever happens this is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen from a startup. Score one for the anonymous degens.

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Finance Internet Culture Startups

Day 353 and Wagmi

Gaming is what finally pilled me on crypto. When I took a medical leave a few years ago I felt isolated. I picked up a number of social games as a way to feel connected to other people. What started as fucking off ultimately transformed my perspective on investing. I didn’t know it yet but it was setting the stage for my fascination with web3.

I made friends. Real friendships despite none of us ever spending time together IRL. I made friends all over the world in completely different places, from wildly different social and economic classes, and we all easily collaborated to win together.

And while this sounds obvious I learned just how much talent and intelligence is evenly distributed to my fellow humans. The only difference between me and many of my fellow gamers was that I was born with a good passport. While everyone had the same access to internet as me, what they didn’t have was the same access to to global markets as I did. We could play together but we couldn’t invest together.

Their ambitions were cut short because of geopolitical decisions that had nothing to do with their ability to contribute and accumulate meaningful value. I had always known this intellectually, but never before had I been so deeply emotionally connected to so much human diversity as I was through gaming online.

Frankly it radicalized the fuck out of me. People in the West have no idea how good they’ve got it. And it’s a crime that we are not all actively working for all of our species to have equal access to markets. It’s just fucking time to drop the colonialism and the exceptionalism and combine our ambitions. We’ve got big problems to solve.

For me wagmi is some powerful solidarity shit. And I’m basically a foot soldier to the plutocracy. I am at the top of the food chain. I’ve get every reason to want to rent seek and act a protectionist to preserve my place. But thanks to something so simple as playing with others got me back to the golden rule. Do unto others.

Web3 offers a radical cultural position that everyone should own their work and everyone should compete with the same rules. When we say “we are all gonna make it” it’s an optimism about the kind of future we can build together. Sure the wealth is good. We need those incentives to come together. Markets operate on self interest. So let’s use that slay the beasts of collaboration and make stuff together. Wagmi.

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Biohacking Finance Internet Culture Medical Startups

Day 350 and Web3 Healthcare

Imagine you’ve got a disease with a clear biomarker. I’ve got an autoimmune condition called ankylosing spondylitis. One of the ways to spot it on a blood test is to look for an elevated CRP or sed rate.

Maybe I want to find a way to connect with other patients. I provide proof of biomarker to join an autoimmune discord just like you provide proof of ownership of an NFT like they do in the Bored Ape Yacht Club. Maybe I want to join a group of other patients who are pooling their medical data so they can stop being in an N of 1 and have a chance to participate in new research for my own disease. I could join AutoimmuneDAO and contribute to funding, meme-ing, and researching my condition. If we discover a treatment protocol or drug through our DAO we’d have ownership in it. Imagine a token for your own patient DAO. This isn’t as crazy as it sounds. VitaDAO is doing this for longevity research. This is the future that web3 can bring to healthcare.

Quantified self and biohacking have improved my health significantly. But on its own my personal health data has little value. You would maybe pay me a few cents for my biometrics. The real value of that data is in the aggregate. That’s why I pay Whoop to manage my HRV data and why they won’t offer data interoperability.

The value is in the algorithm. But without me and without my data it wouldn’t be worth anything. They have a product and an algorithm because of my biometrics. And yet we’ve found no way to meaningfully integrate ownership and interoperability in healthcare yet.

Let me give an an example. There are multiple companies that make their money by recruiting clinical trial candidates. Why? Because you need aggregate data to run a study. Those companies have the same basic data analytic team as a marketing team at a direct to consumer product company. They know how much a patient (or customer) is worth and the cost to acquire them. You are worth a lot because you represent a demographic that has value in its totality. And yet most clinical trials fail to recruit people because patients just don’t see a benefit to participating. You’ve got no ownership or upside and the costs are significant. So science suffers.

But what if instead of being valuable to marketing and recruiters you could own a portion of the aggregate? Being a token holding biomarker “proof of disease” validated member of a patient research DAO flips the incentives. A breakthrough on a disease that treats you and you’d also own some of the proceeds of it’s intellectual property. Whoever brings web3 to healthcare is going to be doing a significant good for humanity. Web3 can improve diseases, move forward science and get us all paid.

Categories
Internet Culture Politics

Day 326 and The Long Now

A culture lacking optimism is a culture without a future. Even before the pandemic, American youth had plenty of reasons to temper their optimism. Inequality, corporate dominance, rising debt particularly for school, unaffordable housing, lack of social support for family, the changing climate and the frequency of natural disasters all tend to weigh on you.

I’m a optimistic person so I always presumed I’d find a way around things. And I largely did. I got an education. I started my own company. I sold it. I found I had developed a valuable skill set. I met a man through one of my best friends and we got married. All was well in my American dream for many years.

But cracks had always been there. Little details that made me question common cultural, social and political assumptions. I discovered the limits of modern medicine with a chronic disease. I saw the disaster that financialization could wreck on families with a bankruptcy. I wasn’t naive about our systems and their inequalities.

But the knowledge that the future could be worse than today wears on you. Once you start living in a liminal state it gets worse. The pandemic made it harder for me to believe in the future because the present became a holding pattern. Ben Hunt at Epsilon Theory calls this The Long Now.

The more we put off investing in a future the more the long now stretches on. We borrow against all the things that could build us a better tomorrow. And we fall back. We put off doing things that would make our future better because it’s rational to do so. What if things get worse?

I’m tired of living in the long now. I’m investing in myself. I have been investing in my body and my health. And I’m ready to invest in a home. Not because I particularly want to own property but because I want to stop the long now and believe that my future is something I can build.

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Chronicle Internet Culture Startups

Day 321 and Distracted

I was so excited for today. For the first day in weeks I didn’t have a single appointment on my calendar. I had finally run the gauntlet of bullshit obligations that has been chopping up my focus and my days.

I went to bed last night sure that’s I’d finally send out all the emails to folks I wanted as limited partners in my fund, follow up with a bunch of founders, and organize all the various materials and research just waiting to be published. I was going to make progress! I was going to pull the future forward with my own willpower.

But what did I do instead today? I sat in on DAO governance calls in Discord. I accepted an invite to a new working group for a stateless crypto project that is being rebooted for its second round. I listened to token and ecosystem rooms on Twitter for projects I’m invested in. I watched some bitcoin maxis fight against some side chain projects. And I read a bunch of newsletters and financial papers. Which all sounds productive but is basically me just fucking off.

The future arrives whether I pull it in on my force or will or not. Distraction probably has no meaning. But I did finally find a house in Colorado that I could see myself buying. So the only appointment on the calendar tomorrow is visiting the property. So perhaps that’s as much progress as was necessary.