Categories
Community Startups

Day 1145 and Vitality

The most gratifying part of early stage startup investing is the vitality. When you are in the mindset of optimism, all things are possible.

I first met Isaiah Taylor about a year ago. We found each other on Twitter. I cold DM’s him with “you seem interesting.” We’d hop on the phone and go through what he was working on in long strategy talks.

I think in our first conversation we spent half an hour just discussing origin stories. We’d both had strongly American west families and we were neighbors in the upper Rocky Mountains. We shared a Christian faith. I liked his style.

Those early rambling sessions when a founder is discovering their market and their unique talents is a precious time. I knew I wanted to invest in him long before Valar Atomics had come into focus.

Ambition and vision are honed over time as you broaden your horizons. It’s the most fascinating tension. The bigger you dream the more you must see your path clearly and pursue it relentlessly. Vitality begins with knowing where to apply your will.

I feel the optimism that Isiah has brought. And I admire how he has taken it to a bigger community. Watching the El Segundo community self-mythologize in real time during this weekend hackathon has been an exercise in collective application of will. Like its cousin in techno-optimism e/acc , the American dynamism “new vitalism” egregore values building for the future.

@ADoricko and @isaiah_p_taylor opening up the Gundo Defense Tech Hackathon via Rasmus

Categories
Startups

Day 1125 and Planting Seeds

I like to get to know founders over time. It’s a canonical piece of advice passed down over venture lore that one should invest in lines not dots. Consider the messenger of course.

I’m sure to founders it can feel a bit self serving of investors to want to see a lot of traction before a commitment. That’s not what I’m talking about. I think as an investor, we have an obligation get to know a founder’s character and their approach to problem solving. Especially if you believe their opportunity to be enormous.

At the earliest stage our responsibility is to assess your capacity to overcome obstacles and to improve your skill sets to match. We need to know you will grow and flourish.

Nurturing a seed is the entire metaphor behind early stage investing. A seed round is such an optimistic name. If we must extend the metaphor that we are planting seeds then the work starts before anything goes in the ground. Good soil, good weather conditions, and the right timing matter a lot.

The anxiety inducing part of this is that my approach years I take time to cultivate potential founders for years. I never quite know when someone will go up for a fundraise. I have to wait and see.

But when it does happen. It’s such a miracle. No finer feeling in the world than having cultivated the right conditions for something to grow.

Categories
Media Startups

Day 1110 and Somatic

I’m upset. I feel it in my body. Soma apparently means “body” in Latin, somatic is “of the body” so to have a response in your body is a somatic response. I’m having a somatic response.

I’ve been surprised at the emotional campaigns that have been waged against technology in the general, and artificial intelligence in the specific, as of late. But I am starting to feel the emotional weight of the collective fear and emotion in my own body. Futureshock is here and the fear mongers are here to tell you and I that we should be afraid.

This weekend there was op-ed was published in IEEE entitled Open Source Artificial Intelligence is Uniquely Dangerous.”

The o-ed was written by David Evan Harris who is a chancellor’s public scholar at UC Berkeley. He used to work a Meta on ethical AI. Now this not the opinion of IEEE which is calls itself “the world’s largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity.”

You’d think that sort of mission would be a little more on board with new technologies. But maybe David is just an extreme voice. Op-Ed’s are meant to represent a variety of opinions after all.

But how should I feel about the benefits of technology when it’s presented to me like this? They used a skull to really get across the visceral fear. No friendly face to make a concession to our silly human anthropomorphic desires. Let’s scare the stupid hairless apes.

Don’t worry the government and regulations will save us from this psychedelic skull

I have an inherent skepticism when someone wants to sell me on the dangers of regular people having access to something new and potentially transformative. Why must we always default to the precautionary principle? Why is fear always our default?

I don’t want to let this sort of thing get to me. But I can see the narrative campaign being waged against artificial intelligence and the sheer volume and tenor of coverage leads me to believe that everyone is aware of its potential.

Claiming artificial intelligence is only for the knowledgeable few chosen by committee of expert sounds so sensible. But I think my body knows better. I should be upset by this.

Categories
Media Reading

Day 1106 and Happy Birthday Matt

I love to write. I love to read. I read, and then I write, and then I do all over again. That simple cycle repeating itself powers my life. It’s how I learn. It’s how a lot of people learn.

Being literate allows me to reach beyond the bounds of circumstances to anyone else who can also read and write. The word has been the protocol that connects us.

That we can share information amongst ourselves is a triumph of generations overcoming the desire to control the word.

I can share what I write with you because of a man named Matt Mullenweg. Maybe you know who he is and maybe you don’t. But if you are reading this post it’s because of him.

It is his 40th birthday today. I want wish him a Happy Birthday with this post. Happy Birthday Matt.

You gave our generation the tools to be heard and you have shepherded those tools well over many years. I value your efforts. I value it with my loyalty. I have for almost twenty years. And I have always felt that loyalty was respected by WordPress through the commitment to protocols we agree upon because they work.

The software that powers this blog has done so reliably for 1106 days in a row. And it’s not even my first blog. I started blogging in college using WordPress. I launched an entire career because I published my writing not in books or magazines or newspaper but on the internet.

In the intervening decades, I’ve used lots of software and many types of media. I’ve committed to many kinds of technology and adopted any number of platforms, systems and even new languages. But the home I’ve trusted most on the internet has been WordPress. Thank you.

My parents are both readers. That’s what I inherited from them. The true richness of my childhood was not in any material resources (which varied) but in its prioritizing access to information. In my lifetime that went from libraries to the internet.

Now I get to be both a reader and a writer. And that’s how I know things have improved. Thanks for being a part of building those improvements Matt. Happy Birthday. I hope I get to write you another happy birthday wish here again when you turn fifty.

Categories
Emotional Work

Day 1105 and Other Writing

For as much fluidity as my daily writing habit has achieved, I can still get caught up in a synopsis. I have relieved any pressure to make a daily dispatch (which took some effort) but a quarterly or yearly one can get me to glitch. I like to add more information to my modeling like any self respecting nerd. As much as information integration looks effortless it is actually a laborious process. I read tens of thousands of words every single day.

Now I do work from a strategy. Which means I only adjust my tactics on a weekly or quarterly basis. And I will not be sped up on assessing the character of individuals or the caliber of their ideas if I can help it. When I need to move fast I have to do it within the guardrails of what I believe to be right.

And it’s important to remember that heuristics some heuristics don’t need regular updating. Moral codes shouldn’t need much updating. Maybe you believed the wrong layer of abstraction and have to change your priors to align with your moral code. That’s totally fine.

But you shouldn’t be changing around your code of ethics. That’s how you get criminals. Arbitrage is never permanent. Criminals can have a stronger moral compass than business people or religious institutions. This fucks with everyone. I cannot account for all sinners nor most demands for purity. I can however hold myself to my own standards and so should you.

I do what I can to telegraph my own belief systems and where I derived them. There are lots of signifiers I leave in my wake. I am a Christian. I am a capitalist. I am a Protestant. I believe in markets and judicial review. I believe some things are beyond market but all things are subject to forces beyond our control. That’s how I ended up picking Calvinism as a sect but it’s pretty niche.

I’ve believe luck is just opportunity meeting preparation and you can do a lot to increase opportunities and even more to increase preparation. I don’t like rentiers but I do like the bourgeoisie. Property rights are good and regulations are only as good as the people that make them. That’s why we I’d prefer we have fewer laws. We must act deference to our own failings as human but never so much that it harms our capacity to organize.

Categories
Media Startups

Day 1051 and Wild Speculation

My timeline got absolutely imploded by the news that Sam Altman has been fired by the board of OpenAI. I’ve got so many priors and biases and you probably can guess at some of them. Others I hope I’ve played a little closer to the chest. I do not know what happened.

Everyone in Silicon Valley is going Matthew McConaughey paranoid smoking conspiracies

I do think we’d know more about what the fuck was going if we had the kind of reporting that was a little more shoot from the hip and a little less tsk tsk regime. I’ve never missed Valleywag more.

I do think it’s been an impossibly weird week and everyone is as reactive as it is possible to be. Silicon Valley has always had factions and drama and the Federal government breathing down its neck. So this feels like a little bit of the same cycle of power and drama that we’ve always had. No one is ever an angel and the devils are often unexpected. It’s best not to make a martyr out of mercenaries. Just don’t be too sure you know what army you’ve been drafted into.

Categories
Biohacking Startups

Day 1039 and Can’t Wait for Monday

Maybe this is my second wind finally kicking in but I cannot wait to start my week tomorrow.

I am pleased that this is how I feel at 5pm Mountain Time. I woke up at 3am thanks to my comical jet lag from having been on GMT +8 for several weeks. I don’t recommend flying a transcontinental flight the day before daylight savings incidentally. I proceeded to feel like absolute shit all day.

But as the Sunday scaries kick in for the rest of the timeline, I am absolutely pumped for my work week. My workload is just super exciting.

The Network State conference left me pumped. The mutuals I spent time with in Amsterdam for other engagements also got me pumped. A founder I’ve been working with for almost a year is hitting his first visible traction moment and I am pumped to strategize with him. Another builder friend is interested in pursuing some funding and asked me to weigh in. The communications work I do for founders has led me to a particularly interesting challenge I want to help them solve.

I am just overall really excited for my work. I can only hope my body is up for it. I will have to carefully manage rest and recovery as this workload is worth the annoyance of treating my body with utmost care.

Categories
Internet Culture Startups

Day 1036 and The Right Direction

I’ve been in Europe for the last month. My itinerary included Tallinn, Helsinki and Amsterdam. It was a personal trip with work overlayed on top as the digital nomad as become a regular part of my life.

I have said it before but I don’t take as much pleasure as you might imagine from these trips. Much of the reason I spend so much time outside of America is simply that the State department won’t let in the kind of rare weirdo digital grey tribe talent from the portions of the world the United States has labeled as “bad passports.”

I’ve written about it extensively if you are interested. We’ve reached a crisis point in the dysfunction of our immigration and travel visa system in America and it weighed heavily on me and mine. It’s the most concrete evidence I have that America simply isn’t serious about being competitive in the global economy.

As I head back home to the states, I want to be sure I’m heading in the right direction with my priorities. I’ve been committed to crypto for close to a decade now. I’ve added in more focus as it’s become clearer we can’t rely on fiat and the dollar system. I’ve become part of the artificial intelligence explosion over the last two years. Now that the Network State concept is more formalized and we have rallying movements like e/acc, I feel as if some optimism is cautiously warranted. All it will take is twenty or thirty years of work and surviving the geopolitical tumult. No big deal right?

Categories
Travel

Day 1027 and Fuck It We Ball

One of my founder friends Anton (his startup Chroma is a chaotic.capital portfolio company) has a slogan I find myself referencing in times of indecision.

Fuck it we ball

I’m struggling a little in Tallinn and was considering upending my last week or two on the road here by heading to Amsterdam to attend Balaji’s Network State Conference.

It required some intensive travel logistics but as the timing overlapped a few other conferences in Amsterdam I thought “fuck it we ball!”

And I’m glad I did as with a little help from my masterful travel agent (my husband) I was able to reroute myself to Amsterdam from October 29 through November 3rd. If you are in town for various events like the Urbit or Solana conferences let me know. I’d love to see you!

Categories
Finance Internet Culture

Day 1001 and Circumstances Change, People Do Not

“The last sustainable edge in markets is arbitraging human nature.”

I had the good fortune to spend an hour and a half with an iconic Wall Street investor last week. I was invited to be a guest on Jim O’Shaughessy’s podcast Infinite Loops. I felt like the luckiest woman in the world.

I’m blessed to have Jim as one of my “Twitter mutuals” where I’ve come to appreciate his endless curiosity, deep empathy and kind friendship for the players of the “infinite game” of life. Plus he’s got the strongest gif game in the business. You should follow him if you don’t already.

I’ve been privileged to work with Jim and the OSV team as one of my LPs in chaotic.capital. Being entrusted with capital from some of finest minds in investing has been as intimidating as it is inspiring.

My fund is an early stage pre-seed venture fund that backs weirdos. Our thesis is simple. The world is increasingly complex, chaotic if you will, and only the most agile will win. We look for those that have the agency to adapt to the one true constant; change. Circumstances changed by the moment but humans remain reassuringly the same.

Obviously it’s hard to imagine a better LP than OSV for chaotic.capital. We are deeply aligned in our thinking on agency, agility, and adaptability. As much as I’d love to prattle on here, I’d recommend you check out the very wide ranging conversations between Jim and I. We cover a lot of ground practically and philosophically. I hope you enjoy it.