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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.

Categories
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
Emotional Work

Day 1236 and Artists All Around

I was listening to Joe Hudson’s Art of Accomplishment Master Class preparation series today.

I’d previously remarked how I found the name “Art of Accomplishment” to be a bit off putting even as I was very impressed with the results of the work.

I’ve perhaps found essence of truth on the name that wasn’t available to me earlier. In listening to this particular conversation I heard the personal meaning instead of the cultural projection. The meaning is literally finding the artistry of doing things with meaning in your own life.


“When you’re self-aware, it means there is a full expression of you happening. It’s why with the great artists, you see their full expression. And they can only get to that self-expression, they can only get to that level of ease, by having more and more self-awareness.”

Art of Accomplishment

To have an art of an accomplishment you believe there is an art inherent. An artist makes. Accomplishing things is a byproduct of the flow of doing things. To make and to build m, or otherwise enable the process of accomplishing, is itself its own art. “To do” is an art.

I’ve come to love the work of startups and building companies as they are for me a team sport of accomplishing together. Artisans of all kinds are coming together to build a thing or a tool that serves someone else. It is a beautiful process for me

I feel my own flow in the competencies in which I have my own most clear artisanal pride. I do these things for the love of the work and the outcomes of them are simply a byproduct of doing them. I have several areas where the love of the craft is its own motive.

There are artists everywhere. You may well have many areas where you apply an artist’s mindset. Your self awareness gives you a vision of what you want to accomplish. You can be a mechanic or a publicist and still practice an art. Making a salad, fixing the hydraulics, or orchestrating a magazine cover are all accomplishments.

Categories
Startups

Day 1230 and Alignment is Consensus

Over the last decade I’ve gone deeper into a set of values that guide my relationship to what we should be building and for whom.

Consensus and alignment will be the twin sisters of our shared reality.

We achieve consensus through open networked & decentralized systems of governance and value. A trustless system reaches consensus we all agree upon through the mathematical verification of compute. Decentralized collaborative approaches are the path to alignment.

The further we get from truth as a set of shared experience we agree upon as humans, the more crucial a trustless future becomes.

AI and crypto offer us transparent solutions to agreement. Machine intelligence needs machine money and machine governance.

Humans beings are not truth seeking animals. We are social animals. We decide the boundaries of culture together. Rationality is an aspiration resting atop faulty sensors and emotional baggage.

But we can reach a consensus. Mathematics gives us the tools to differentiate between thing and not thing. We can encode quite a bit into binary.

We can seek to know things impartially. From there we share our experience with others. We measure and compare. Trial and error is collaborative. To be able to come to an agreement on a shared truth is the whole goal.

To be able to collaborate widely and through shared and mutually agreed upon standards remains the ambition of civilization. Coordination unlocks progress.

With artificial intelligence we can extend out the realm of what we know. Networking together all our emotionally faulty sensors, conflicting pieces of cultural & emotional knowledge together reveals bigger things.

If, from that networked reality, we are then able to scale the abstract business of solving specific and concrete problems all the better.

Building within reality requires us to agree on an acceptable consensus. We can verify positions and align incentives together. The alignment is all of us coming to a consensus on how we allocate our attention, willpower, and resources.

We reach for technological progress through alignment which is organized through the network consensus layers of governance and value.

The freedom to compute is essential to alignment. In a trustless world, we are able to reach consensus we can all verify.

Categories
Culture

Day 1212 and Being One of Many

Quick. Without overthinking it, pick one.

Words or Numbers.

I can’t predict your choice, but I’ll admit my “rational” conscience mind desperately wants me to pick numbers.

Alas my emotional subconscious intelligence quickly goes intuitive, lurching my feelings to a grabby place with “words.” That the right answer. I’d be hard pressed to correct my gut.

Humans love a good story. Even a single word can contain centuries of meaning. Just ask someone to define “woman” if you don’t believe me.

In the battle between numeracy and literacy, the bell has long ago been rung on the fight. Cave paintings transitioned to runes. Runes became alphabets. Literacy won before numbers got beyond accounting for the treasures of a king.

Priesthoods may have hated man understanding “the Word” but human minds were already on board with incantations of auspicious words before we got formal symbolic systems.

Probably understandably attempts to introduce topics like algebra were was a bit of stretch. Even simple arithmetic proved to be a contentious abstraction for many humans.

Ideas like property are a not a long haul from understanding “mine” and “yours” but it’s quite a leap to understand “how much” and “in what ways across different time and organizational schemas” which gets humans upset over specific collection of things.

Look at your hands and you understand that base ten allows you to calculate simple transactions for resources within your life.

Beyond that good luck. Got an abacus? Understanding that zero and one can communicate a universe’s worth of information is an even further leap. Attention wanders quickly without a computer.

And yet, as I enjoy the aesthetics of my own numeric symmetry in my 1212 days of consecutive writing, I know it’s my private counting mechanism.

“The need for numeracy today is enormous. Business requires people who have grasped the principles of reducing chaos of information to some kind of order.”

The Economist 1966

The narrative overlay of what numbers mean matters more than the numbers. So I’ll ask again. Which would you pick? Words or numbers?

Categories
Culture Finance

Day 1211 and Price of Civilization

Whenever I travel I am reminded of just how good a life I have be virtue of being born American.

I’m kept alive, fed, clothed and connected by a vast web of abstractions undergirding modern civilization thanks to the value of my passport and the exorbitant privilege of the dollar.

Constructs like private property have given rise to elaborate norms of obligation, honors, debts and expectations that enable coordination mechanisms like markets. This seems like a good thing from

All of this feels so astonishingly fragile. We listen when our bankers fret about “rules based western civilization” being under siege because we know those rules are what enables the niceties of our lives.

All it takes are a few assholes breaking the rules and the fabric frays a little more. Blessedly capitalism has its own immune system that is happy to attack all types of hostility.

If you are not integrated into the body politic of the dominant civilization you generally know it. I’ve found those outside of it generally wish they could be assimilated from simple envy. If you want these benefits be prepared to be assimilated to the rules and values of civilization.

Your alternative is struggle to hold yourself apart by your own rules and cultural values and insist others abide by them. This has generally required coercion, violence or shame in the past.

You can say “no” to civilizational benefits simply by opting out. To be left alone is to accept your status and stay outside of the great game of civilization. But to accept the benefits is to in some sense accept to accept that there are rules. You can’t break rules if you don’t know their importance. If you know the rules and break them however you can’t be surprised when it’s viewed as a thread.

Categories
Internet Culture Reading

Day 1208 and 16 Years

I don’t recall exactly when I first began using WordPress. If memory serves, it was a friend James in the philosophy department at my university who set up and hosted my first blog sometime around 2003. Eventually I went out on my own.

While I’ve only been writing on JFredrickson.com for 1208 days (ha only) the current account I’ve been using since 2008 has an anniversary today.

Happy Anniversary with WordPress.com! You registered on WordPress.com 16 years ago. Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging.

I’m delighted to be a long time user of the service. I believe in the value of open source software and the stewardship of Matt Mullenweg. While there are plenty of other social media platforms where I can reach an audience no one has earned my trust like WordPress. II use many other content management systems, social media accounts and the like but for my own identity under my own control nothing else compares.

Categories
Culture Internet Culture

Day 1202 and Dazed and Confused

Bayes and I chat

only a few people seem to be thinking clearly about the powerful ai future. if your world model is built entirely off of samples from this app you are going to end up confused. if it’s built with zero samples from this app, you will also be confused

Bayeslord

I was raised by a good hippie so I couldn’t help but reach for a little LED Zeppelin joke about green text training our desires and fears. .

Been dazed and confused for so long it’s not true, wanting AI never bargained for you. Lots of people talk but few of them know the soul of the green text was created below”

Julie who should have asked chatGPT

I’ve got Dazed and Confused playing in my Spotify while I wonder how we remix our way to understanding if we’ve got a clear path through the dark forest.

There are many nodes and each signal you toss to the algorithmic winds sails to exact audience you are calling. Scream loud. Run the solo that shows you are a live one. Act on the systems. Reach out and take it.

Categories
Emotional Work Startups

Day 1193 And Peak Performance

I was really struggling yesterday so I didn’t expect to jump right onto a flow state today. I went into town to eat a hamburger.

“You may not like it but eating a burger in the back of a casino in a strip mall in Montana while reading an economics lecture by Deidre McCloskey is actually female peak performance”

Maybe it was the positive effect of a bunch of fat and protein but I was in the zone afterwards. I was able to pull together a bunch of disparate connections on a specialty niche where I’ve had some very promising investments.

I, for a brief shining moment, realized I was almost certainly one of the most expert and well connected people on the planet for something.

So much of not getting eaten by change is simply accepting that you feel absolutely bonkers an enormous amount of time. Learning to live with it isn’t as easy as it looks

If you are lucky and smart and open minded a straight line can appear through what was other completely disparate things. It’s funny that we call putting a line through things regression right? Simplifying things is funny like that.

Learning to act when you see a through line is almost all of the battle. “Noticing things” is only useful insofar as it something you take action on.

I felt as if I had no clear path at all yesterday on anything and then today I did. I didn’t see some kind of perfect Delphic vision of the future. I just realized that work I’d set in motion three or four years ago has yielded results and if I was able to keep going with other people who saw it too then I had done what I could.

Categories
Chronic Disease Emotional Work

Day 1192 and Stasis

I am not feeling well today and used all the capacity I had to simply push at the edges of my universe and scream a bit into the abyss.

Screaming into the abyss is my pet name for being on the internet. Mostly Twitter. I know it sounds stupid.

Sometimes there are actual people on there still which is a small comfort. Just telegraphing into the universe that you are a “live one” is half the battle of bringing the future into the present.

I know it sounds like a stupid way to bring in resources and deals and alliances but it works. Make of that what you will. I’ll get on a phone call now and again if you are really compelling and intelligent. I spent some time on the phone with one of my favorite people and it was more energy than I would have anticipated.

Sometimes that’s just how it goes. There is only so much you can do when your time horizons for results are measured in a ten year cycle anyway.

It’s occasionally embarrassing to admit there are days I don’t have the energy to manage what what I eat, how much I exercise, whether I bath or do farm chores or otherwise manage the work of physical reality.

A few days of the month I do the absolute minimum to manage stasis and I honestly even that was a stretch. But like the classic Monty Python sketch of another era “I’m not dead yet!”