Categories
Emotional Work Travel

Day 1123 and Drawing In

I spent some time packing today as I’ll be on the road a little more frequently in the coming months. The joys of the cozy Montana winter have had their comfort and I sincerely wish I’d never have to give them up. But there is work to be done.

I find travel to be a bit stressful but crucial to keeping a good read on reality. The more chaotic the narrative the more I think I prefer to do a bit of on the ground work.

I am feeling the urge to keep some of this close to my chest. I don’t know if that’s temporary as I am tired or if I think it might be beneficial to pull back as I know the road is going to be hard this year.

The uncertainty is palpable. I’ve had an interesting influx of people seeking out my opinion. I’ve got a reputation for being the woman you call when shit is chaotic. I’ll be busy so my introversion may increase as I lay ground work. We sit at a number of crossroads and it seems everyone knows it.

Categories
Emotional Work

Day 1119 and Capacity for Presence

I trust my ability to be present now. I wish I was less present in some ways. I’ve learned to be present to the ways of the internet in particular as part of my general capacity with the signs and signals of those who communicate with words. I try not to show up in person too much anymore except for my own neighbors.

My capacity to be present waxes and wanes with the attention that I give to the margin. And I like to be present for the weirdos. I am not as detailed as some with effortful thought pieces but I pay very close attention. I diligently note and revise bigger trends here in public. It’s not my job to endlessly footnote it for everyone. That’s thankfully now in the hands of artificial intelligence.

I trust that I notice things when they need to be noticed and that I will curb my attention away from those who do not use me well. I will so rarely take it personally when someone tells me I do not serve them. The favor is usually returned when I say a hard no but I rarely have to give it. The average isn’t that persistent.

I do not wish to be become significantly more scaled than I am now in terms of presence with people. I am picky and I cultivate my taste and I believe I’ve built trust with the people who intend to build things. I will continue to be as widely available to them as possible if they do even a modicum of homework. My experience is not free but I do not horde it.

I believe I’ve shown my capacity to pick not through momentum or hype but early presence. It’s a long road and I’ve got the patience to walk it for decades more.

I leave you with a thing I noticed today from someone who is very effortful and has been for much longer than me. How we distribute our attention matters even in the most intimate of settings.

Attention without feeling, I began to learn, is only a report. An openness — an empathy — was necessary if the attention was to matter

Mary Oliver on Molly Malone Cook in “Our World via Maria Popova at Marginalia

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
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
Internet Culture

Day 1098 and We’re Back

I wish I hadn’t had insomnia last night as clearly ever came back to work today. It was electric in the hive minds of Twitter today. I am revisiting all kinds of priors as the timelines of different subcultures return back online.

I don’t know if anything I saw will stick but it’s clear that influencing public opinion is on everyone’s agenda. Elon Musk may have absolutely no zero intuition for how his narratives will play and maybe he doesn’t care.

I don’t think he means ill for what is still the only really unsupervised place for elite opinion influence and people are running wild with it. I’m almost sympathetic to Russian troll farms. It’s got to require enormous compute to keep on top of billions of malleable propaganda ready minds.

WhatsApp having trouble with “gm” tweets overloading the application has to be an urban legend but you can almost see it being true. Can you imagine every timeline across every cosmopolitan center pinging online and interacting with all the pieces of content that came before it? It’s a glorious perpetual process and I need to step off the wheel to rest. But I’m glad we are so back.

Categories
Community

Day 1085 and Openness

I make a living pricing risk. I do that through investment but also a few highly specialized skills I deploy on behalf of founders of startups.

The shortest articulation is that I am very good at spotting subcultures and helping them come into the mainstream and find a market that will pay them.

Not all markets are liquid and lots of arbitrage happens between types of capital. Sometimes a culture doesn’t survive contact with the mainstream. Sometimes that’s not a bad thing if the culture can’t self police.

There have been three core subcultures that make up my world and have been core to the history of the American west. Hippies, hackers and hipsters. I contain bits of each. I made an early career in prestige industries like media, fashion, and cosmetics (hipster) but I was born into a Silicon Valley family (hackers) and raised by a counterculture mother (hippies).

I’ve got that particular syncretic experience that so typifies “Grey Tribe” as our values have often been at odds with institutional power but we are perfectly fine with wider coordination mechanisms being chosen at different levels of abstraction. This is fancy speak for we like markets but don’t seek them for every problem as trust is a personal choice.

I am feeling as if the openness of my tribes is under attack because signaling mechanisms are breaking down. Seeing bad behavior is always upsetting. Lots of groups are seeing enemies on all sides and sociopaths seeking power. It’s a bit depressing. All of the nodes of our network need to do a better job at signaling that some risks are unacceptable. You need to maintain openness but not so open your capacity to judge risk is affected.

Categories
Chronicle Media

Day 1075 and Behind The Scenes

I am a firm believer in doing as much journaling in public as I can as it’s a forcing function for myself as a thinker but also because it allows others to locate me in the vast expanse of an increasingly fractured virtual landscape.

But sometimes I have to do work that I can’t make immediately public. A lot of what I do never gets put public and I have to find ways to remind myself what I was doing without being glaringly obvious about it when I must keep someone’s trust.

Also because most people are mostly concerned with themselves vague poasting can do a lot of the work. Everyone will assume it’s about them. Cue Carly Simon “you’re so vain!” But most people won’t bother to ask.

A fair number of people rightfully don’t feel like they are public figures even as increasingly we all live some version of our lives in public. So a lot of social cues go into protecting trust.

Internet native people like myself have come to accept that there is no privacy. The divide between generations is probably less clear than you’d expect. But if you grew up online you know you can’t always control where your content and identity goes. Controlling it is like controlling the weather. Only conspiracy theories believe it can be done and they probably agree on who does it. Sorry there’s a joke about how the internet is filled with Nazis.

Security online has mostly come by through obscurity. But that’s not an absolute defense as anyone with a little bit of forum skills can absolutely fuck your life. This will only get worse as artificial intelligence helps us sort through things.

The Zoomers are particularly good at this and they grew up with things like swarming, catfishing and other hostile virtual low trust behaviors in anonymous environments. Honestly internet hygiene is for shit but basic common sense can do most of the work. So stay safe out there and remember some people live on attention. Be careful how much you give them.

Categories
Culture

Day 1071 and Easier Than You Think

I’ve got an intuition about performance and prestige. I believe all things being equal, if you are talented it is easier to get ahead in a prestige industry than a performance driven one.

My theory is that when it’s all performance your competition is stiff. When the workforce isn’t compelled to perform, it’s easier for you to win if you are good at what is valuable.

My intuition comes from having worked in several prestige logic areas including media, fashion and cosmetics. Some of the workforce in those industries do it only for prestige so compete merely on metric. If you can the level that makes the business make money or achieves the goal of the organization you out level those driven by only prestige as you perform.

Many industries compete on social capital and prestige which are different simply from doing the job well.

So I’ll say this probably applies to approaching anything considered valuable. Attractive women, the very famous, and similar dynamics. People assume they can’t compete.

But if you have the native skills for what is actually valued you can probably hack it by taking a shot. It might be easier than you think.

Categories
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 chaotic.capital 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.

Categories
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.