Relational Highlights: Week of August 15

Last week, the six-person Relational team assembled in Austin, TX for a week of brainstorming, tacos, and slow walks in the humid heat. Building on our morning shared journaling practice, we began an experiment using Discord as an rlog prototype. Each member has a personal channel to use as a research log (rlog) and everyone else is welcome to read and tag messages with the 🦤 emoji to send them to a shared stream.

From the shared stream, we bubbled up some highlights to publish as a way to capture our thinking at a point in time. In Dave’s words, “self-organized journalism as a practice.” This is our very first edition and we’re going for minimal editing, sharing our thinking in more-or-less the same form as it was posted to Discord.

We’re looking forward to evolving this practice over time, and excited to have you as part of our journey!

Meatspace x digital space - somehow we managed to NOT take a team photo during our entire time together. Poor form! So here's our most professional work set-up, we took over a conference room and it felt like Jordan was truly *with* us. 🙃
Meatspace x digital space - somehow we managed to NOT take a team photo during our entire time together. Poor form! So here's our most professional work set-up, we took over a conference room and it felt like Jordan was truly *with* us. 🙃

What is Relational?

Seems like as good a place as any to start. After spending almost two weeks together IRL, we’re the closest we’ve ever been to finding a way of describing the work we’re doing. While this might not be the “official” Relational vision, it feels pretty darn good to consolidate our collective work over the last couple of years into a handful of sentences.

Very amped about feeling into the core nugget of Relational values. "Community = verb" feels like it could be the thing everything stems from. - Tony

The long term vision of Relational is a decentralized human communication layer build on the architecture of blockchain compute environments. Taking advantage of the natively networked, naturally interconnected data environment to allow for communication to flow democratically. This vision is built piece by piece through the iterative enactment of communities of practice. These communities are only as strong as their ability to be self-sufficient. The Relational vision seeks to push agency down to the members of communities, allowing local design via componentized systems. - Dave

Publishing on blockchain: immutability x emerging social norms

The implications of publishing on blockchain are starting to settle in. What do we gain and what do we lose when publishing is more permanent?

… i'm starting to understand in a deeper way how the discomfort of publishing to a more permanent medium (albeit with low discoverability) it's a great lever for better interactions. The option of rescinding a public thought is also a permission slip to act like a dick. The missing half is how to enable good faith by the reader, going to keep my eye out for this.” - Jordan

“… some people are anti web3 because of the immutability, the lack of ability to delete - it feels like a feature not a bug to me... exactly because of what [Jordan is] saying!

if data is immutable, being more honest with yourself and posting in a "civil" way is a positive - and if you do step in it, there's room to show growth by responding to an original post and talking about how your thinking there was flawed

i suppose there's a line to walk here - which is the concentric circles of "publishing" becoming more and more public - so you're less self-conscious in the inner rings of publishing - what i'm trying to say is, if you're censoring yourself BECAUSE of immutability and not being honest, thats not great. - Kristen

The democratic medium of the EVM

The reason Ethereum is a great place to build decentralized communication protocols and tooling is the democratic nature of the ecosystem.

The blockchain as a media. The blockchain as a surface. The compute environment of Ethereum. Comms systems which build on the shared compute environment of EVMs. Everything is connected natively.

The EVM is a democratic computer. Democratic systems of communication are premised on two fundamentals: 1) Anyone can talk to anyone and 2) Anyone can say anything to anyone. The media of the blockchain has this as its basic architecture, making it an ideal environment to build democratic comms protocols and clients.

Add into this the concepts of permissionless participation, commonly held, self-sustaining architecture, and you have a media environment ripe for innovation. New means of publishing, coordination, and collaboration are on offer but are gatekept by complexity. - Dave

Capturing meta-experience

The team is reflecting on what it’s like to use the rlog prototype, and thinking about future iterations of the tool as we grow it. There will be growing pains, and we know it! Sharing these thoughts early and often is part of the practice. As is embracing the future potential of what the tool can become. All thoughts are fair game in rlog.

Quick thoughts on the bubbling experiment so far:

  • I’m organically reallocating twitter time to team feed time, it’s absolutely engaging
  • I’m actually having a hard time dealing with the amount of thought needed to process everyone’s feeds. I seem to take on only 1 or 2 per day and really need serious time to internalize it. I think this is what is practice is for, I’m still catching up and expect my capacity to increase
  • Per Tony’s question about the lack of dodo’ing - I’m struggling with when to assign value as the impact of ideas change over time. Some things seemed dodo at first glance, and were, other things were vaguely interesting and as time went on became very dodo. I think that’s probably fine as a system but my current comfort level looks like at least a day or 2 to feel confident enough. This might be a tempo thing and practice should affect that intuition - Jordan

it'll be interesting to use rlog-ios app with inability to see other's writing in it, holding a space for only creating. - Jon

Good work, you made it to the end of our very first Relational highlight reel! 🏆

See ya next week!

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