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Emotional Work Homesteading Startups

Day 1191 and 90 Day Horizon

I feel like I’ve got a decent grip on the directions that have captivated markets and where the next decade of opportunities will emerge. My long term confidence on managing through chaos remains the same. Focus on resilience and adaptability.

I feel as if repeat myself constantly in the ways that I live this through my revealed preferences.

In more local “place” resilience we live on land we own land in Montana with our own well, water rights, and powering our energy needs off a large solar grid.

In broader macroeconomics terms, I invest in decentralized ecosystems like Bitcoin, open source software projects and compute exchanges. Hell, I was even the first check into a nuclear energy company last year. Energy and networks matter.

Yet I have no idea what I intend to do with my next couple of months or where I should even spend my time except “keep doing what you are already doing!”

I’ve come to some crossroads on my attention and the decisions I need to make in the short term feel challenging. I’ve never had more opportunities in front of me and it’s exhilarating. But I also don’t feel like it’s clear how to best allocate my attention in the very near short term.

But I also don’t have high confidence on what I should be cutting out or bringing to the forefront in the next 90 days or so. There is simply so much happening (and those effects are potentially existential) that it’s a struggle for me to say “fuck it we ball” to what’s in front of me. What ball? What am I saying fuck it to? Is it a fuck no or a fuck yes?

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Emotional Work

1189 and The Expense of Choice

One of my most American traits is how much I prioritize making my own choices. I am not contrarian for its own sake, but I prefer to freely align myself with what I value. I don’t make a secret of my revealed preferences and I am not afraid to associate with people who have different values.

We’ve had a lot more freedom of choice introduced into our lives during the Great Dislocation. Past narratives around family and work are beginning to feel more options. Paul Millard’s Pathless Path took off as work from home introduced significantly more flexibility into professional life.

Internet take-have Matthew Yglesia’s framed the problem of too much freedom around work as a Dostoevsky’s Grand Inquisitor situation. Having a job that structures your life is a benevolent authoritarianism that people aren’t brave enough to admit they prefer.

I think this is a kind of snobbery that elites like to pretend is subversive. I’ve met many types of people from all kinds of classes, backgrounds, and competencies who thrive with more agency.

I am being exposed more often to people now who struggle to self regulate and take responsibility for their life but mostly I spend time with competent people.

This isn’t to say that structure is unimportant nor that work doesn’t provide some of it. I personally value routines and rhythms in my personal life because I’ve chosen to do more independent work outside of larger organizations. My work has to be held on course by my choices.

I won’t say it’s easy as none of my day to day choices matters in the same way that making the big yearly calls right does. I know I have to take the time to invest in myself so I can make those calls. I don’t have a wider organization setting the direction of my life or my day. So the only benevolent authoritarian is myself.

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Emotional Work

Day 1188 and Existential Stability

I’d like you to consider that our current culture of safetyism is not trying to provide you with any actual safety but rather a pantomime of one. Security theater. And this is why we see whole generations of existentially insecure “adults” trapped looking for more signs of stability.

People aren’t really looking to be economically stable before they start families; they’re looking to be existentially stable.

Luke Burgis

Luke Burgis rightly reminds us that the only existential stability that exists is one in which you make decisions and take responsibility for the consequences.

Yes, sometimes consequences can be quite dire. No, you cannot put off making decisions until you have 100% certainty though I hear the restaurant at the end of the universe has a great drinks menu. Try the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster.

Douglas Adams “The Restaurant at the End of the Universe” the sequel to The Hitchhikers’s Guide to The Galaxy.
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Finance

Day 1180 and Renting Picks and Shovels by The Hour

The board needs to see that we are doing “something” and so management consultants have done a lot of paddling aggressively. Everyone is making money of artificial intelligence right? Well, wrong.

My belief is that this is a result of not having adequate developer tools at the enterprise level so no processes are repeatable or simple yet. Not for lack of trying in a frenzy of weird media panics around whether chat bots are gods or just malign spirits. Which like lol.

This isn’t something that gets solved overnight. Value accrues in strange ways to very particular forms of automation. Whether that gets bought up in bidding wars over core technologies over time or in simple breakout solutions isn’t actually as predictable as you’d imagine it. It’s very much about people who build things that other people want in reasonably reliable ways.

But right now a lot of software is being built in silly and not terribly repeatable ways. It reminds me a little bit of having been at a specialty retailer trying to figure out ecommerce and making a bunch of mistakes. Eventually the market solves it and then it demands a return on investment.

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Homesteading

Day 1178 and Be Labor

Much of my work is very abstracted from the real world as I am a network state Silicon Disapora type. But I grew up with much more concrete labor in the real world. And I see how people can fear picking up skills if they haven’t had so much as a shop class.

We keep some of those skills fresh living on our own land in Montana. It’s never as much as I hope but everything from hydroponics lettuce to pickling your own vegetables open source home automation and Bitcoin mining off our solar grid is on the table when you want a project.

It’s good to tinker. Even skilled labor like electrician work and plumbing can become a hobby with help from friends and the wealth of instruction on YouTube and Reddit. And you will have opportunities to pass it along to others which builds up your community and skills.

It has become harder and harder find people who are hands on with tradecraft. A friend is building a new outbuilding on his property and an electrician quoted him $7,000 to run 30’ to a new 60a subpanel and a few circuits.

Fortunately, Montana is a state that allows homeowners to pull their own permits and do their own electrical work. So for an $80 permit fee and with some help from Alex, he can do the entire job himself for the cost of materials, about $1,500.

And isn’t that a wonderful pro-social way to learn, build and make things with others? Be the labor you want to see in the world.

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Internet Culture Politics

Day 1177 and Binge Monomyths

I spent the day on binging a monomyth in service of focusing some attention on where we might be going if this is in fact a Cambrian explosion era. If you need a synopsis I’ll extract it from Twitter if I can find the toolsets. If you know the toolset please share them.

The fellowship of the ring will not doom the hobbits to torment and death

My assumption that property rights underlined some of this still stands. If you’ve been holed up in Middle Earth (me too nice place unclear though unclear if I’m a Hobbit or an elf or a dwarf or a wizard or an orc Or Tom Bombadil) everyone thinks Mordor somehow their pet theory or sin. It is industrialism or fascism or some combination of horrors because history becomes legend and legend becomes myth. I don’t know. Ask an autist.

Hug a hippie. Be kind to a hipster. But fight to the death for the hackers. Or pick a princess who likes trade disputes in the galactic empire. I can’t translate all the monomyths in one day.

Categories
Emotional Work

Day 1167 and Good Faith

Do you want something for nothing? Maybe that’s human nature. I try not to be too cynical.

But then I am occasionally presented with information in which I must confront that some people are in fact fine with getting something for nothing.

“We live in a society!” I scream into the abyss. Maybe I’m the idiot and we haven’t actually agreed to fair dealings. Maybe I’m actually the rube.

I don’t want to give up on my high trust ways. I am not optimizing for the best possible outcome for myself. I care quite a bit about the greater good. Maybe I’m an idiot for doing so.

But I’d rather be an idiot and optimistic than a a brilliant cynic. It makes me unhappy to consider how many people are simply happy to be presented with something for nothing and never have to contend with its costs.

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Emotional Work

Day 1166 and Consistency

I have a strange gap between my self image and my reality. I don’t think of myself as a “consistent” person. And yet the data on myself I have collected over the years disagrees with this self image.

I don’t know if I’ve always seen myself this way, but certainly since my early adulthood I’ve seen myself as all over the place. I am not sure it’s even an opinion I should hold about myself but it seems well entrenched so has to come from childhood.

I have a self imagine in which I see myself as physically inconsistent with almost no capacity to predict what one day to the next will bring. I take this to a bad place fast. If i I am inconsistent then I am unreliable. I can rationalize that to myself but I don’t think it’s actually true.

There are multiple indicators that suggest I am wrong in my self assessment. I am very consistent across a number of critical areas. This blog is a very public demonstration of consistency. I reliably put something up every single day.

Am I proving something to myself or am I simply refusing to see myself as I am? If I am consistent then I reliable in that it can be predicted with high confidence what I will do.

If I do in fact have high consistency and high reliability then why do not see it? Is it even important that I am predictable? Businesses like predictably. So do markets. Civilization runs on consistency. But do I run on consistency too? And what incentive do I have to see myself in one way and not the other?

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Finance Media

Day 1157 and Maybe Things Are Good

I remember learning about economic malaise, inflation and oil wars in the seventies at school.

The grand narrative I was raised on was that deregulation led to the go-go eighties as Reagan leaned into free markets as the mood of America changed.

I’ve read a lot of takes in the financial news and on Twitter that suggest we are in a similar period. I tend to land more towards Kyla Scanlan’s position that the Vibecession may be over. And yet we cannot agree on if things are getting any better. We are confused.

So we have this number that no one knows where it’s coming from, yet we are using it to make informed decisions on headline text which informs what is happening in the economy – but also informs how people should feel about what is happening in the economy. No wonder the sentiment is off! No wonder people are confused! It’s hard to understand what’s happening, and that makes all of this so much harder

Kyla Scanlon “Why We Don’t Trust Each Other Anymore” on Epsilon Theory.

I’ve got lots of reason to be optimistic. I see the shock and confusion and culture wars and I still see people who are optimistic.

I’ve taken to joking around about decisions by saying “fuck it, e/acc!” I am extremely online and it’s a contagious cultural meme to root for the future. And so maybe things are getting better.

There is a same shit different day quality to the long now. But I see more and more people committing to build things. Gold rushes are a patten humanity seems to follow at every changing of the generations. Maybe we’ve got reason to think we can come out of this moment better. Or at least work to make it so.

Categories
Community Finance Travel

Day 1155 and On The Ground

It’s come as a bit of surprise to me that I’ve done so much on the ground work in the last two years. Not so long ago I was basically bed ridden and stuck inside for the extended run of the Pandemic. Now I spend half my time on the road again.

Once I was settled comfortably on our homestead in Montana and had an acceptable level of resiliency planning done, I hit the road to pursue my particular brand of weirdo off the beaten path ground work investing.

I cultivate movements, memes, degenerates, eccentrics and engineers. I’ve made many trips to far flung corners of the European continent including extended stays in the Baltics and the Balkans.

You have to experience problems first hand if you are serious about investing in the people whose ideas can have a large enough impact at country, continental or global scale. It’s easy to be bamboozled at the edges so it’s best to be clear eyed about human nature and how technology can improve or harm a given incentive set.

It’s my hope that I’ll put in some face time in other interesting geographically interesting regional hubs. I’ve got Argentina on my agenda but I’ll likely make trips to the Middle East and Singapore as well. If you are in an interesting hub with a desire to pursue ambitious ideas let me know. Maybe I’ll swing by and we can meet.

The emerging network states of culture, affinity and intellect are far flung. The type of free market capitalism preferring decentralized resiliency minded crypto- libertarians are welcomed in as many corners as we are shunned. Either way you will find me on the ground looking for ways to make our incentives improve upon our human natures