Community Finance Startups

Day 1070 and Allocating Personal Capital

As part the part of Twitter called TPOT comes into its own power the topic of resource allocation and how to route projects to sources of capital game up with Brooke Bowman of VibeCamp. It is a key question for Network State like entities that will need to navigate social ties.

I want to share how I do it as I’ve rooted some amount of capital across very different communities. I do it with some sets of intuitions I’ve gained from existing in a very powerful network of interests that are “The Silicon Diaspora” which is a syncretic coalition.

Much of it comes down to very specific context of what others are looking for in terms of outcomes. Investors with a specific thesis are much easier to work with for this reason. I try to express mine clearly at and express myself actively through revealed preferences. I assume nothing is personal & everyone is working with some amount of emotional reactivity as it’s a human business.

A lot of it comes down to knowing who is a node in your network that can redirect it to someone who believes their resources can see a good return on their goals that are varying levels of abstract and personal. Skills and passions vary and this is good. It’s a mix of social capital, actual capital, and attention and it’s a giant game of inference

Some folks very good nodes and quite open to a range of different types of projects. Sometimes it’s just as simple as asking if they know someone who knows someone. I see a lot that isn’t in my own thesis but it’s in my own interest to pass it to others for whom it might be. The ecosystem approach has maximum strength when it’s played as a multi-agent pro-social game.

Also you almost never know someone’s full history so taking any reaction super personally is something I find to be too much for my own emotions. And I know a lot of history so if I can’t do it I try to make the presumption others can’t either. Be kind but clear.

That helps avoid a lot of accidental feuds that otherwise can ignite if you try to be delicate. I find transparent assessments of my own incentives goes a long way if I express it as part of my own reason for aligning. This is how I’ve worked with communities as diverse as back to the land doomers and crypto futurists to effective acceleration.

This is a fancy way of saying I don’t think “gossip” aka information sharing is actually bad but part of the empathy process of understanding what people want to work on and pay attention to in how they marshal their capital. You intake the values of your coalition and find shared ground. You keep their confidences by expressing collective goals. I try not to overweight my goals in that process. You have to do what’s right knowing outcomes are uncertain.

Showing you understand their context, their fears and their reputations concerns helps you. An act we denigrate in popular culture actually helps you to deepen the relationships as each signifier breaks down space between two people and builds trust. So don’t knock gossip. It has evolutionary, societal and individual benefit. Just remember the ultimate outcome is about bringing people closer.

Day 146 Gossip

I believe we are in an era where individuals can exercise significantly more agency because of the high leverage nature of the tools available to us. We owe much of this to information access and that is a wide coalition of people who are exercising basic freedoms to self determine because of this march of technology.

It’s my belief that freedom to compute is freedom of speech and these digital communities represent what I hope is more effective self governance through decentralization. We must build up the social trust amongst each other by showing we value each other’s interests. I believe this to be the right thing to do for each other. It’s the human thing too.

Aesthetics Community Internet Culture Startups

Day 1066 and Behind The Scenes of Thousand Scenes Flourishing

We are living in an era of competing totalizing narratives. We assign Jungian archetypes and monomyths to complicated people and complex situations with many variables.

We ship relationships and stan fandoms even as the meme message is that we should be shipping code and forming bonds with other people with agency.

Remember that hyperstition is about bringing a reality into being. We have agency to impact the world we live in. We have more control than ever and anyone can get leverage.

I’m so inspired to see how many communities are facing an uncertain future head on. Sure we’ve had schisms and it’s easy to judge someone else’s sincere revivalism with crass cynicism.

I prefer an optimism about what we can all accomplish when we compete to serve a need better than anyone else. I like specialization as the more knowledgeable that is dispersed widely beyond a priest cast the better we seem to do as a species. A whole world of people is calling to you to own more of the future personally.

You may wonder what you can contribute. And sure some actors are massively more agentic. I never thought I’d be in that rare class and yet I can contribute meaningful to dozens of aligned projects. It’s important to avoid dickriding. Don’t make up stories about your betters. Or at least try not to believe them.

You can be personally better yourself. You can accelerate. Now is the time to arm yourself with leverage as the world shifts. Be wary of messiahs and mercenaries but also know action is expensive.

Strong organizations have healthy value memetics. “Just Do It” frames a broader truth that humans take in a context of millions of other agents. Action is disproportionally powerful when people just play their role.

I fight nihilism. I’m not eager for the end of humanity or our civilizations. I want our flourishing. But neither am I attached to a static vision of my humanity or yours. In the image of God gives quite a bit of latitude for our species’ evolution.

Internet Culture Startups

Day 1062 and Just Go

I’m writing this as I wait to board an airplane from Bozeman to San Francisco International. In the spirit of taking more actions I am applying more acceleration to my own daily life. If you’d like to discuss e/acc #FreedomToCompute I’ll be around in the city and you can expect to see me at some events.

It feels unusual just hopping on an airplane. It was a behavior that I took for granted in pre-pandemic life. The golden age for the early adopter consumer internet and the low interest rate phenomenon of the post Global Financial Crisis meant I could hop a flight from NYC to SFO and arrange an Airbnb or HotelTonight while in the security line.

It’s a little more challenging now if you don’t come out of the last cycle with a few wins. And judging by the fullness of the flight and its demographics others are seeing San Francisco as the center of a lot of activity in making sure they win the future.

Leaning into the future coming fast is a consensus view. Everyone is contesting space and the virtual world of the global internet is a powerful constituency. It’s just important to remember that even as we’ve mediated a lot with these tools sometimes you have to validate in person. Humans are just wired that way.

Internet Culture Politics Startups

Day 1058 and Battle Plans

The sense of anger, frustration and disappointment in Silicon Valley startup circles over the current regulatory mess around artificial intelligence and compute limits is intense. #FreedomToCompute is resonating.

As with any new technology there are invested interests, naysayers, panicking and paranoia. Which would be enough to make us remember past battles over encryption and privacy. This time we’ve got the cherry on top of existential risk.

While I agree that artificial intelligence is a technology that will have many risks, I tend to think of them as of the more quotidian types like algorithmic bias. We cannot allow incumbent powers to centralize a new technology that can and should benefit us all.

Math and computing power are as essential as speech. In today’s world, they ARE speech. We may speak in natural language, but the way we extend ourselves, build things, and grow as a species is through our tools. Computation is a tool.

We oppose all attempts to restrict computational power and envision a world where we all have the right to build whatever we can dream.

#FreedomtoCompute Julie Fredrickson

Internet Culture Politics

Day 1056 and Freedom to Compute

We must start a #FreedomtoCompute movement based on the idea that access to computing power is a fundamental right.

Math and computing power are as essential as speech. In today’s world, they ARE speech. We may speak in natural language, but the way we extend ourselves, build things, and grow as a species is through our tools. Computation is a tool.

We oppose all attempts to restrict computational power and envision a world where we all have the right to build whatever we can dream.

The incumbent power is always going to try and keep disruptive and democratizing power out of the hands of the populace

Math & computer power are as essential as speech. Imagine if the first amendment had been frozen in time at the printing press and didn’t protect the internet.

We cannot accept permanently lowered standards of fundamental rights


Day 1055 and Shipping

All of startup world has spent the last few days wrapped up in the drama of OpenAI and why the board fired Sam Altman.

A theory I’d like to float (seriously but not literally) is that we are in the middle of a massive scissor statement war between “acceleration” and “deceleration” and we’ve assigned Jungian archetype champions & simple “just so” stories to the players.

There is very little nuance when you seek to find meaning in a situation by narrative alone. Recall that divide and conquer is an effective control technique and Silicon Valley is finding it must choose sides. Perhaps this is by design.

Everyone is overthinking this whole OpenAI debacle. The real explanation has been staring is the face for weeks.

Be concerned, be very very concerned.

Bojan Tunguz
I expect AI to be capable of superhuman persuasion well before it is superhuman at general intelligence, which may lead to some very strange outcomes

I think the “super” human part is how super stupid we are as a species when it comes to smoothing narratives and hero worship. We are easily persuaded by stories we recognize. This meme summed it up nicely.

Memes are just 21st century Jungian archetypes.

If you had an artificial intelligence trained on every single biography, history & public relations campaign in written history (let’s entertain the notion Altman did) wouldn’t this hijacking of narratives & assigning of fables be what it would do?

The vibes of Silicon Valley were checked. To make a joke about all the fan fiction we’ve collectively co-written on social media, we shipped the marriage of e/acc and Sam Altman. We shipped Altman and Brockman as loyal cofounder technology brothers in arms fighting for acceleration.

We told stories and made heroes and villains of the two narratives. Even though many of the factions in e/acc absolutely had criticized the regulatory capture approach of OpenAI. But once it was a choice between acceleration and deceleration sides were chosen.

When it was presented as a binary choice most chose a side on this easily. Acceleration is better on average than deceleration. I believe that too.

I have a lot of caveats and nuance in that choice, as I bet most people who work in artificial intelligence and Silicon Valley probably do. Yes change is hard and no change is without risk. Time marches on.

If it’s one or the other, sometimes people get irreparably split off entirely by the scissor. Be skeptical of this. Don’t separate yourself from people you know to be of good faith and conscience.

The only way we achieve anything is by doing the other kind of shipping. Ship your code, ship your product, make things and get feedback from people. Hero worship and archetypal battles don’t matter as much as taking action in your own life. Build things for yourself and for other people. That’s a human goal.

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.


Day 1047 and Risking Resets

Apparently the last year has been an “annus horribilus” for startups. Kate Clarke writes in The Information.

If 2022 was a year of shock and denial for tech founders and investors as stocks collapsed, 2023 was a year of acceptance of their harsh new reality.

Kate Clarke “Startups’ Annus Horribilis—and What Comes Next”

Maybe I never got over my skis, but I don’t feel like I went through shock or denial as capital markets tightened. I remember a world before interest rates were low. I remember bad times. I have memories of bankruptcies and struggles to raise capital.

I was a teenager watching my father when tech crashed the first time. I was living in San Francisco working for a venture backed company that had acquired my startup when Sequoia said RIP good times and the global financial crisis unfolded.

Maybe the elder millennial timing of my life wasn’t as shitty as we thought. The constant crises were the norm. Unlike Gen Xers I never had a fear of selling out. I was much more interested in finding a way to survive. And I was disappointed to learn that the institutions didn’t really offer that anymore.

When I had good luck I didn’t think my accomplishments were my own. I mostly thought of them as accidents of survival. Praying for exits was less of a joke and more of a bitter reality. And when they did come it was a surprise.

I have made my peace with the risk of resetting the chess board. My optimism has always been tempered by expectations of crisis and chaos. I might even believe it’s for the best.

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?

Startups Travel

Day 1024 and Rate of Change

I had to slow down for two weeks to balance out my work, my circumstances, world events and my emotions. I always find myself disappointed at slowing down. There is a certain mood taking a hold in my circles. A certain “extropian enthusiasm” has taken root.

And I find myself looking to go faster. I see the need for momentum. I struggle to stumble at the pace I keep now. My heart variability chart, which shows a kind of adaptability stress, is jerky with dips and rises. But I am also certain I’m managing better.

Have you ever felt like it was easier to lean into more? That sometimes things feel smoother when they are faster. Control remains an illusion so why not let it go.

I am thinking of going to Amsterdam for the Network State conference at the end of the month. The flight from Tallinn isn’t too bad and I’m a believer in the need to build systems. I owe much to supranational connections of shared values. And I’d like to us to pursue financial and contractual systems that connect us globally. The state should not be a limiting factor for progress.

And so I am thinking of my own rate of change. What can I sustain in my own daily life and circumstances and how does it stack against the increased rate of change of a future that is arriving fast? I like to think I’ll meet the moment but I’m certain I’ll be humbled by its arrival.