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Startups

Day 1257 and Other People’s Labor

I am laying prone in bed hopped up on DayQuil and the good codeine cough medication. I have Covid and apparently this bout will be no picnic.

Being sick can feel vulnerable. I imagine to most eyes I am economically and socially unproductive in this condition. I am not able to labor.

When I am sick I am grateful I get to be capital. I feel capitalism should appeal anyone with a disability (as I do) simply because comparative advantage allows us to exist without being at of the mercy of the state. Illness being disabling doesn’t mean low productivity.

My ability to be capital relies on the comparative advantage of specializing in startup kinda of startups. Practically it means I got to play a part in helping further the labor of others looking build a company.

Today was a big day on that front for me. One of my investments (humble brag I was their first commitment) Squads announced their Series A today.

They have come a long way since when I wrote about them on day 301 to where they are today on day 1257. A lot happened between fall of 2021 and Summer 2024. Now they are the market leading multi-sig wallet on Solana thanks to their Squads protocol.

They began with a vision of DAO tooling and ended up simply dominating code Solana primitives. They are doing the work of developing smart account technology and products that make it easier for businesses and individuals to securely manage and own digital assets. And they continue to make crucial tooling like Fuse.

For all the mania of meme coins and tokens, we can forget it’s real companies making real infrastructure.

These things have to be built for grander vision to exist in crypto and Squads has clearly been the team to do it. They have worked relentlessly shipping tools people want to use and build with.

When first met their CEO Stepan in Twitter DMs I had the privilege of seeing their early days upfront. There was never a moment that they were not listening to the market and adapting. I spent much of the summer of 2021 on DAOs because of their influence.

Everyone on the team practically wanted to do the work of building out what was needed for us to transact and govern in a trustless environment as individuals and as groups. I was inspired by their commitment to execution.

I am just a small part of their journey. But being able to provide the kind of specialized capital that could understand what they wanted to build from the start is a huge source of pride for me. Without early stage oddity investors like me it would take just a little longer for the entrepreneurs like Stepan, Deni and Sean to get to market. And the market deserves a company like Squads. Their hard labor built something of value.

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Startups

Day 1255 and Venture Nurture

I sometimes wonder why venture capital hasn’t coded more feminine. The cynic in me say because it makes money and money accords status. Where there is status there are men competing for it. Which is a good thing in my book.

I just happen to find the kind of investing I do to be so feminine in character. I’d never really thought of my gender when I got into startups simply because I was a founder with a problem and technology solved it for me. I was a nerd about a few very specific things and the market agreed with me.

But now as the wider world has forced me reconsider gender and how my identity gets used by others in how I do business. And I do see that I approach my investing in traditionally feminine terms. I wasn’t that kind of founder. But I am that kind of investor. 

I nurture. I love finding a weirdo working on something in a weird corner of the internet. Nothing makes me happier than telegraphing out that I am weird and getting back other weirdos. I like to listen. I like to learn. I don’t mind unpolished or outlandish or even absolutely crazy. My best deals all started in DMs

Nerds aren’t a polished people. They may lack all kinds of social graces. They will often not care about anything but the thing they are obsessing over. And I happen to find this to be a good thing.

Not everyone agrees that we should work with their lack of graces. Ruxandra Teslo discussed how weird nerds are being pushed from institutions like academia.

Weird Nerds are being driven out of academia by the so-called Failed Corporatist phenotype”

Ruxandra Teslo

I am just absolutely here for the weird nerds. They are my tribe and I see it as part of my path to help bring more of them up behind me. To nurture is a feminine virtue. I am happy to bring it to my founders. They should all feel safe coming to me because they know that I am one of them and my goal is to see them thrive.

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Startups

Day 1254 and Zipppp

I hadn’t expected to have a busy day. I’m really not enjoying having Covid. It’s an inconvenience and it sucks.

But suddenly I was getting all good news from all sides. A startup with a round. Another founder preparing to go out for an enviable raise with exceptional traction. An SPV for a round everyone wants in on. A colleague who had been thinking of taking action on a thesis is going to run an experiment. It’s just all very much my investments and my ecosystem thriving.

I felt like I was in William Gibson’s Jackpot. Incredible things are happening across so many industries and the world is an absolutely chaotic mess. It’s nothing but wars, gerontocracy and resource constraints out there. But here we are working.

Chaos pulls acceleration out of us because we must solve the problems in front of us. War and geopolitical turmoil and climate change require us to shoulder more.

We have real engineering challenges in compute, nuclear, decentralized systems, artificial intelligence and open source to solve to get to meaningful breakthroughs.

The problems are not easy. But our tools are getting better and the compounding effect of this renaissance in intelligence is that we might be able to build for bigger things.

Doomerism wants to focus on how bad things are. And I am the last person to disabuse you of a realistic model of what we are up against. I live off grid in Montana, I own crypto and I like my freedoms.

Humans are resourceful. Given ingenuity and incentive incredible talent has the will to say that I will take on this piece of the future for all of us.

It’s such a privilege to be woven into the ecosystem that is getting us through the Jackpot. And dare I say maybe the application of our ingenuity gets a better result and we can improve on Gibson.

The fictional “jackpot” described in the novels is an “androgenic, systemic, multiplex” cluster of environmental, medical and economic crises that begins to emerge in the present day and eventually reduces world population by 80 percent over the second half of the 21st century

The Jackpot Trilogy.

Maybe we can improve on these numbers. We’ve got the doomer version in our imaginations so now we can find a solution. Life, as Jeff Goldblum reminds us in Jurassic Park, finds a way.

Categories
Politics Preparedness

Day 1247 and For The Uncertain

If you have concerns about the instabilities abroad and at home in America, I am here to be of service. Being a Cassandra is a curse but when the moment arrives you are at least well prepared.

And so if you’d like to chat about things like moving to Montana, being prepared for disasters natural or man-made, or otherwise how to invest in adaptability at venture scale I am your woman.

I’ve been discussing my concerns in prestige glossies and serious news media for years. I see venture friends throwing apocalypse themed parties and I can’t help but feel like the hour is late.

I call this kind of mass awakening to reality the Thursday Styles Problem. By the time something is cool it’s already past time for you the regular person to benefit much from the knowledge of what’s coming.

Categories
Startups Travel

Day 1244 and Twenty Four Hours To Go

Discussing travel mishaps has become something of a national pastime for Americans.

Memorial Day Weekend is the official kick off to summer and I had the good fortune of doing a transcontinental flight. And by and large it went smoothly and enjoyably. It was a record breaking day for travel.

I was on a route I’d never done before flying Munich to Houston. I was on my way to my favorite crypto convention Consensus.

Despite the record breaking number of travelers, I had a pleasant United flight. The westward flights can be tricky for sleep as it’s not an overnight.

The logistics of this worked out as I slept 6 hours before a 4am wake up for the positioning flight and then on my flat lay got nearly a very decent four plus hours.

Munich to Houston is 10 hours & I slept well

My RHR was pretty high from the stress of flying but I was quite impressed that I got restorative sleep and REM. Those flat lays on Polaris really are worth it.

Once I landed in Houston I had a short layover where I was lucky enough to enjoy a sit down meal in the Polaris Lounge. I only wish I’d had more time to enjoy it but clearing customs, going back through security and rechecking luggage takes time.

After all this incredibly pleasant travel there has to be something right? I had a half mile walk to the E gates for my Austin flight. Americans don’t queue well so I arrived at the beginning of boarding. The entire plane boarded only for us to realize we had a serious mechanical issue.

We then deplaned and walked from the end of E gates to the very end of the C gates (about 22 minutes as the New Yorker walks and a mile and a half) to get to the new plane.

The crew was in danger of timing out while catering needed to do a supply for a down line flight. Someone’s executive decision worked in our favor as we got into the air without getting ice for whoever had the airplane next.

What is a two hour drive turned into a five hour ordeal but I made it in one piece and passed out much later than I intended after a full twenty four hours in transit.

Finally asleep at my hotel in Austin after a 4 hour mechanical failure & airplane change for a 30 minute fly time

If you are in Austin and interested in discussing the intersection of crypto and artificial intelligence I’d love to hear from you. I might need a bit more sleep first though.

A 10,000 step day is pretty good when most of it is sitting on airplanes.
Categories
Startups Travel

1241 and Catching My Breath

Next week I’ll be flying to Austin for what’s become an annual crypto pilgrimage to Consensus. I am excited as it’s like summer camp.

I’ll be participating in a few private sessions but I’ll be a speaker in public town hall forums as well. If you will be in Texas for the event (or are simply in the city) drop me a note on Twitter and perhaps we can overlap.

Given the intensity of the travel I have ahead of me I’m trying to take it easy today and tomorrow. I’ve been doing laundry and organizing myself.

I am not a hot weather person so I worry about events in hot climates in the summer. Heck, I worry about hot climates even in mild seasons. Last year I found myself struggling with Frankfurt in May so summer in Texas isn’t exactly my easy season.

Categories
Culture Emotional Work Uncategorized

Day 1232 and Crab Bucket

As I age from maiden into crone (many millennials missed mother) I find myself uncovering emotions I missed during the forced march through corporate feminism & Girlbossism. The meritocracy takes its pound of flesh.

I climbed the chaos ladder & am grateful for my perch but I did not understand what I sacrificed to participate in this climb. I doubt your average person does.

American Millennials intuited that we had an opportunity to class jump through the meritocracy of institutional human capital games & were encouraged to do so if we showed capacity. Largely that meant raw intelligence & affinity for playing by unwritten social rules. If you could get out you were told to do so. Social mobility is one of America’s great strengths.

It is not without costs. I sacrificed family & place. To climb above the station of my origin & “achieve” the American dream of education & assets you leave behind a lot. To go from the lower rungs to prosperity and security we leave behind parts of ourselves.

I do not regret this. Many millennials come from dysfunctional families. Boomer can read as slur to some because future shock & greed hurt so many of that generation. The narcissism of the new age experimentation with new cultures and expectations gave us divorce & rootlessness. Those insecure circumstances bred flexible performative children who adapted to incentives.

If I had not leapt onto the ladder of meritocracy I’d be struggling like many in my cohort and I’d still be without a people. The Millennial wealth gap is tearing social fabric because the divergence between our outcomes is so clear. Atomizing is part of assimilating.

I am now in a position in which I inhabit the lower rungs of the very top of the ladder. I have access & assets & a reputation for work in the infinite game of playing for leverage. There is security here to be had. But a Damocles blade hangs over us all.

American success isn’t cheap. And you may not always understand the costs at the outset.

If you’d like to read more about the millennial wealth gap I’d encourage you to look. I am lucky to be one of the “self made” in my cohort in that I picked work that ended up being well remunerated. I started from a decent place but we were poor for portions of my childhood. Startup life isn’t a smooth ride and Silicon Valley produces very uneven outcomes.

I will not however be a millennial heir. I’ll inherit debt. The great wealth transfer will not be coming my way. I’m grateful to have helped my family but equally grateful when they manage to take care of themselves. I am so sad so many of our elders spent so much that their heirs felt the best option was a race to climb out of the crab bucket of the meritocracy. I am glad I made it. But it hurt.

Categories
Travel

Day 1224 and Sliced Bread

I am going to enjoy myself a little and complain. I hope this kvetching provides you with some amusement. I hate the following idiom.

It’s the best thing since sliced bread.

According to linked Perplexity search above this phrase has come to represent good & useful innovation.

This is wrong. Sliced bread is not a good innovation. It’s barely a useful one

Sliced bread is bad. Increasing the surface increases the pace at which bread goes stale. Any convenience brought about by having a slice on hand and saving a minute or two of time is undermined quickly by having an entire life of bread go bad more quickly.

When bread is baked, the starch molecules in the dough undergo a process called gelatinization where they absorb water and swell up. As the bread cools, these starch molecules start to recrystallize and firm up again, causing the bread to become stale and hard. Exposure to air speeds up this recrystallization of the starch. An unsliced loaf has just the two end surfaces exposed to air, acting as a protective barrier. But when you slice the loaf, you create many more exposed interior surfaces that allow air to penetrate and cause faster staling.

Does slicing bread make it go stale faster?

Maybe Americans are so accustomed to dough softeners and preservatives in our store bought packaged loaves that we’ve come to expect our slices to remain as soft and pliable as within the hour of its baking. If you are baking fresh bread without any of these miracles of foos science you can expect those slices to be stale by the end of the day.

I’ll grant you can expect a fresh loaf to go stale within a day or so. But if let the loaf remain intact you rather than committing to slicing at the bakery you could get another meal or two of slicing.

Slicing reveals the soft crumb within that has been protected somewhat from the light and oxygen of the outside word. I’d like to put off the time for French Toast and croutons personally. I can’t eat an entire loaf in a day.

If bread is sliced at the bakery you’ve committed yourself to eating the entire loaf more quickly than it goes stale. At the end of the day you’ve got bread for for nothing but toasting or soaking.

So please stop using this stupid idiom. We have so many useful innovations at this glorious moment in our species history. Why compare the advent of artificial intelligence or the rapid advancements in medicine, materials science and engineering with an objectively innovation. Sliced bread is a good thing on one or two axis of improvevent at most (time and mess) and a distinctly bad development in all other crucial aspects.

If you must know this rant was prompted by me ordering a loaf of bread from a bakery which sliced it without asking. Neither photo nor written description indicated they would do this to my bread. It was not preference. I wouldn’t have bought it if I knew they’d mangle its future use. Also what kind of bakery slices a ciabatta? Civilization is lost on the continent.

Categories
Politics

Day 1219 and Right To Cause Chaos

There is a lot of noise at the moment. But occasionally a single event is so loud you can’t help but overhear it. America’s President Joe Biden caught my attention with this rather singular statement.

“There’s the right to protest, but not the right to cause chaos”

I am not well informed on this current situation as the last week or so I’ve been outside of the American news media bubble. I am not so sure I wanted to become well informed given that is what has reached me.

Chaos is more appealing in the abstract than the particulars. I say this as someone who views the word with more positive valence than is probably accurate to its general meaning and certainly than current public perception.

I believe chaos is increasing and rather than accept its effects as inevitable we must actively investment in our capacity to adapt to it. Building resilience has proven to be a very good investment thesis.

I don’t endorse causing chaos deliberately. Friction its place in the world. So does disruption. I’ll even advocate for creative destruction. But being destructive deliberately has been rightfully called an agitator.

Do we much we need additional agitation in a world already filled with chaos? I don’t get to make that decision on my own but I personally think it’s better to build fixes to the chaos we’ve already got. I don’t need to give entropy any help.

Categories
Community Emotional Work

Day 1214 and Hectic

Things are hectic. For all my boosterism about leaning into acceleration I don’t personally live that fast. So I feel it when things are hectic.

I was raised in some of the pushback from various future shock worriers so I’m a fan of living at a human pace. Because as I said (and I’ll continue to repeat it), things are hectic.

A friend of mine and I were comparing notes on what kept her busy. I had hectic things about abstractions. A family friend had paused away this week. My friend had similarly weighty concerns. We both saw a tragedy occur on the periphery of our social circles.

We didn’t have the luxury to feel all the things in our lives. Things are hectic. It is a Sunday so I did some shopping for coming week. I had errands to be done so I could be focused for the week. Mountains must be moved but the things under your control are mostly simple.