0xE407
November 8th, 2021
0xE407
November 4th, 2021

In the days of COVID and social unrest, many of us look for deeper connections. If before we could mix online relationships with offline communities, enjoying the affordability of the physical environment, and socially dancing with spaces, ideas, and people, the current situation can feel frustrating and limiting. Hours online can yield little in the way of creativity and meaningful connections.

As we move deeper into a new phase, I suspect that more networks, institutions, and conferences will keep building up their online gatherings and communities to satisfy frustrated global networkers.

As I meditated on in How to Build a Meta-Community, the solution might come from the nature of conversation itself rather than from any technological solution or editorial angle.

0xE407
November 4th, 2021

Back in February of 2020, in what seems like a different universe, I decided to embark on an experiment. After years of running dinners, salons, and a few Slack groups, I wanted to develop an intentional community. A place where people don’t brush off each other but engage. A metaspace where people can show up with a seed of an idea and know that it will be respected and given a space, not put on a shipping line. A place where value is generated, and not only passed around, where members can show up as a process and not a product.

Having run gatherings, salons, and more recently dinners, I grew to appreciate the transformational value of light facilitation (credit due to Priya Parker for opening my eyes to that space).

Out of all these formats, the smaller dinners were the most semantic. People showed up open and vulnerable, with an idea of how they thought, able to navigate different backgrounds and opinions around the table in a way that resulted in value, new thinking, new tools, and new concepts. Those took place for a year, but I realized they didn’t have accumulative value, and that there was onboarding that needed to happen every time. There was little overlap in guests, but by large people were new to each dinner. It made me think about starting a closer-knit circle, a group that commits to creating a space to act on their creative surplus, and looking for people who do the same. By design, I came up with the idea of setting a core principle. Members pay $50 a month, and need to do 10 hours of work. That work is either on themselves or someone else. The logic was more than creating accountability, as is the case in writing groups. It was to create what Shafir and Mullainathan (Scarcity, The New Science of Having Less and How It Defines Our Lives) call slack in a system.

The idea that when systems are packed tightly, they become less adaptive. Think of traffic of road leading to traffic jams;

0xE407
November 4th, 2021

Generous design is unknown.

It does not need authority, No need to climb to the top of a tower.

There are too many towers to climb, and by the time you got to the top of one, there is a taller one built right next to it. Generous design understands that in a world of AI, cause and effect thinking is not enough.

Fully wrapping our arms around a system is a luxury we no longer have. The interconnectedness of our lives makes order impossible. So rather than writing up maps, we should carry a compass. So much of our lives is about navigating the unknown.