September 8th, 2022

What seems like years ago (and is, in CT time) I wrote the first set of ideas around a framework for a multi-pronged, cross-industry collective. And while my skepticism of the term and concept of a DAO (which is seldom decentralized, autonomous, or organized) has grown, my affection for the term as a type of suffix has only grown. Similarly, so has my interest in an interdisciplinary organization that can simultaneously or concurrently tackle projects and problems in ways that other organizations could not. Part of this is by incorporating services or skillsets that typically are hard-pressed to be viable on their own -- niche services like emergency comms, internal HR, one-off design, etc -- enabling the collectivization of individuals that specialize in these fields to work as part of a profitable whole.

At its most fundamental level, the Zaibatsu-DAO is a freelancer guild that brings together talented individuals behind a united front to better leverage outreach, business development, and professional matchmaking. We source jobs, bid on projects, seek out grants, and enable skilled guild members to have a smooth, consistent pipeline of work, without the hurdles of negotiation, invoicing, and staffing. We also drive a focus on adding on services, offering clients the ability to tackle needs simultaneously -- why just hire a dev when you can also get a branding refresh or technical writing or sound mixing all at the same shop?

Starting today I am happy to announce that Zaibatsu-DAO is open for business --albeit on a small scale and with a smaller-still stable of Guild Members. I am honored to be joined in this by the great social matchmaker of our time, 0xCarnation, as we begin actively sourcing and bidding on projects. Like true anime fixers, no job is too big or too small, as we try and create a Guild capable of tackling any project.

If you are an individual with skills -- and each skill is valuable -- please reach out to us on Twitter or at zaibatsudao@proton.me. We would love to help you showcase your talents and join in our collective.

February 28th, 2022

While I have previously indicated an unwillingness to explore the actual concept of leadership in my writing, as always conversations with smarter friends have made me start thinking -- and so here we are.

Leadership is a tricky subject to nail down. I’m not going to rely on some dictionary definitions or even strong historical examples (of which there are many). Going down a road of strict definition often ends up with people defending genocidal dictators in an effort to be purely rhetorical and logical. The fact of the matter is that leadership, like governance, is something that humanity is still far from perfecting -- and that our goalposts of what is “effective” or “good” continue to move and change, as they should. Leadership, however, has the appeals that governance doesn’t. We are wired, in our modern age, to focus on the individualistic, the idealistic, the heroic (in a technical sense). Nevermind that the government is comprised of thousands of unelected, lifelong bureaucrats largely performing incrementally significant actions across a wide span of time and niche -- people only really care when the primary elected figurehead is up for debate. We desire, deeply, to have a connection to a central, authoritative (not necessarily, however, authoritarian) figure -- something which often leads us as humans into tricky and toxic situations across many sections of verticals of our existence.

Practical guides on leadership are similarly flawed. While there is true wisdom in the Prince and in the Art of War, when we separate these messages and ideals from historical connotations, we often arrive at incorrect conclusions. For all of the alpha-mentality mumbo jumbo that many (predominantly male) motivational speakers made their bread with, we are rarely in a truly analogous position to Sun Tzu (and, worth noting, the man beheaded two concubines to make a point about command and fear) -- and even if we were, our modern lens would change the way we perceptive the morality and effectiveness of this leader’s actions.

January 26th, 2022

After writing my previous article I ended up talking a lot with giga-brained friend 0xcarnation. Carn asked, as always, an incredibly prescient question that cut to the heart of my thought process: “So what do you want to do?” Meaning, ok you’re thinking about DAOs and governance, you’ve created a model that is too centralized for many use-cases, and each concept we threw around didn’t fit your desires. So what did I want?

What I want, personally, is to be able to leverage my own abilities to serve an organization. I’m good at structure, planning, administration -- I can make budgets and flow charts until the cows come home. Like so many non-technical people, that has made it genuinely difficult to find meaningful ways to contribute. However, it also showed me a weakness in existing structures and made me consider actually useful applications of this system.

This, not that

Let me outline a few use-cases:

January 23rd, 2022

In the wake of the SushiSwap leadership crisis and my own place in the corporate financial world, I started thinking more and more about the actual structure of governance. There are a wealth of self-help and philosophical texts on the more abstract idea of what being a leader means -- go read the Art of War, Kill Six Billion Demons, the Prince, whatever. I have always been drawn to these scholarly writing on the nature of leadership and governance. Invariably when power coalesces – be it in the state, in business, in war – there will be those who comment on it and attempt to codify and analyze the concept of “leadership” itself -- and while those are excellent for a view of the individual as leader, it was more interesting for me to consider governance. Governance, in my estimation, is byword for prudent, ethical leadership that aspires to, at the end of the day, do more right things than wrong things, while maximizing the benefits of one’s own state/organization/unit. I wondered at how we might iterate on our notions of governance in the new world of DAOs, particularly given the failures of both the traditional systems and this newest one. As always, I try to seek the middle path in all things.

My own experience in management and organizational structure stems from a long life in traditional businesses and corporate structures – I have led large teams, seen many failures of governance, learned how fragile and precarious these entities can be. Of course, as we enter not only the age of decentralized finance, but decentralized organization, we find ourselves addressing the necessity of a traditional leadership/management structure.

Under most organizations of capitalist businesses, the widening gap between the compensation of executive-level stakeholders and the rank and file has ballooned to such a degree as to almost seem preposterous. Indeed, one of the great failing of our oligarchy is that the worker has become disenfranchised of the products of their labor – while being held hostage by the repercussions of failures that are beyond their individual control (market conditions, supply chain issues, material shortages, the tastes and whims of the consumer).

By contrast, traditional leadership is increasingly immune from these conditions, by way of governmental subsidies or bailouts, generous compensation packages in the event of severance, and the ability to sacrifice those below them. Even in applications of alternative systems, we see different but pressing problems – the Soviet Union’s “hypernormalization” (a term coined by Alexei Yurchak, referring to a period in which “everyone in the Soviet Union knew the system was failing, but no one could imagine an alternative to the status quo, and politicians and citizens alike were resigned to maintaining the pretense of a functioning society. Over time, this delusion became a self-fulfilling prophecy and the fakeness was accepted by everyone as real”). Part of this was the state overproducing material consumer goods in a way that was agnostic of real demand, a misallocation of resources due to the lack of direction and working group oversight.

December 10th, 2021

Just as a diversion, I wanted to apply the teachings of Miyamoto Musashi to our space and ecosystem. There is much to be said of the endless repetition of inspirational or pseudo-philosophical quotes (of this, I must bow to Zhu Su, who remains the undisputed master of this art form). However, without delving into the toxic realms of the grindset and the sigma mentality (complete with images of Peaky Blinders and Wolf of Wall Street), I think there is a great value in reading the classic texts of personal growth and philosophy. We must remember that Musashi is not merely a swordsman, but a master painter and calligrapher -- that knowledge is passed down for its inherent ability to be applied to many disciplines. In this way, while one can generally read a text and comprehend it, it is also beneficial to apply a directed focus while reading -- which is to say, visualizing and contextualizing the information.

In my previous life, I spent a decade in a craft, eighteen months of it in a difficult apprenticeship. It was not until I recontextualized my practice that it made sense -- and then grew as I applied seemingly disparate lessons to it. We are not generals, but we may all derive some value from The Art of War. I am not a martial artist, but the writings of Ueshiba Morihei have dictated mindfulness and spatial awareness in my daily life. We may not lord over a city-state, but The Prince teaches us the marks of rulership.

These are not my in-depth scholarly thoughts, nor is it picking apart translation choices from Japanese. Nor is this some absolute guide representing my trading ability or my supposed knowledge. I am an inveterate larper, with no real notable successes of the magnitude others have crested. I simply like poetry and old philosophy and enjoy the connections from the wisdom and messages of the then to the world of the now. These are just my own thoughts about a long-dead samurai’s book of war, intended to sound smart on the Internet, for the praise of other anime pfp nerds.

From our title quote, Mushashi implores us to understand that there is no fixed path to the height of mastery (or enlightenment, or absolute prowess, or success, or or or or). There are of course manifold paths – do not become so focused on one (either because others have used it before or because you believe it to be singular) that you ignore your many routes. Practically, it means you don’t have to trade or leverage or farm. You don’t have to chart or understand clouds or be able to trade quantitatively. There are many ways, there are many paths to success. Do not be deterred. We’re all going to make it, just not along the same path. Besides, isn’t it more satisfying to reach the top of the mountain under the strength of your own legs?

December 7th, 2021

“夏草や 兵どもが 夢の跡

Natsu kusa ya/ Tsuwamono domo ga/ Yume no ato

The summer grasses.

All that remains

Of warriors’ dreams.”

Basho speaks here in 1689 of the ruin of Hiraizumi, after the defeat of the Fujiwara in 1189, elaborating:

“In the space of a dream, three glorious generations of Fujiwara vanished; two miles in the distance are the remains of the Great Gate. Hidehira’s headquarters have turned into rice paddies and wild fields. Only Kinkeizan, the Golden Fowl Hill, remains as it once was.”

While Basho has the luxury of 500 years of post-fact comprehension -- of the distance afforded by time to draw a lesson and arrive at a conclusion -- the technological gap between these two events is vastly smaller than the technological acceleration that has occurred in the last decade-plus of cryptocurrency. We do not need 500 years to contemplate the passage of time -- we can see a our great ruins with as much clarity as the Great Gate of Yoshitsune.

December 7th, 2021

I’m Kitsune.

In my day job, I work for a crypto company in strategy, but for our purposes I’m shitposting anime pfp trash. I’ll occasionally be writing macro opinions, narrative theses, guides, and conversations with friends in the space. I’ll also be writing about haiku, renga, and tanka in relation to crypto.