My experience thus far with V One

All of my ideas for tech development have been shelved into the indefinite future because I haven't been in a position to invest a lump sum of money into an idea and then bankroll the next few years of my life into making that idea hit the ground running.

I wasn't sure how I would ever make these ideas happen, but I kept talking about my hopes and desires when it would come up in conversation and I was introduced to Jeremy Redman, the founder of V One (yourvone.com). I think he's set up his company in an incredible way that could revolutionize indie tech development. Instead of having every client pay up front for development, he begins the process piecemeal, charging a reasonable monthly fee until the cost of the development is recouped. This can allow you to see a basic version of your app in stores in thirty days for $197/mo. Not having seen his work, but knowing he was recommended by a trusted friend gave me the courage to take a leap of faith on working with him. True to his word, he delivered a beta of Hanglight before the 30 day window, and it's currently in limited Beta test int he stores. In the launch process he was communicative, responsive and optimistic.  Since the app has hit the stores there seem to be a few critical bugs in the code that makes it essentially functionless. I've tried to communicate to him and he started getting a little slower to respond, ultimately referring me to a ticket submission form on his website which was bugged. Not particularly inspiring when you're relying on a relatively green dev to help you work through your bugs hahahaha!

I believe in Jeremy and I think his company can be something very special. I want to keep working with V One as they develop and ultimately I want to spread the word about them so that more people can start realizing their own ideas. I have a worthy idea, have put in a lot of work and thought into it, and have continued projects to develop with V One, so I suppose I was hoping for premium care - but ultimately you have to remember that in the startup hustle every is working on their own recipe, everyone is trying to stay above water, and they are trying to do good work. Patience is a virtue, and a month ago I wouldn't even have dreamed that I would be a few small fixes away from my useful tool positively affecting the lives of those around me. Ultimately I'm going to use this as an exercise in grace and patience, and I feel lucky to even be in this position.

How to avoid a coup?

It's the most common story in tech. Leader with a vision, executes, grows into an untenable situation, get ousted/controlled by corporate maneuvering - everything falls apart.

My guess is that, in a scramble to scale some important details are overlooked. Some fatal concessions are made. My basic thought is that opening yourself up to typical funding invited the corporate business model into what is essentially a spiritual quest. If to scale your business necessarily means you'll lose the spirit of your idea, then scaling is a false economy.  I believe that a baker who bakes bread without imagining that it is bread that his family would eat is spiritually poisoning the bread, if you remove the authority of the baker via corporate positioning you have tech that is the equivalent of poisoned bread. It's my goal to avoid this at all costs.

I'm planning on organizing Midwest of Eden as an indie tech startup, based on a 501c3 with a philanthropic bent to its main objective. In order to accomplish this first and foremost there needs to be a demand for a product I create (ha!) and it needs to have the type of community support that nonprofits enjoy. That would require some expertise in how to set up a unique organization that had some of the flexibility of a typical corporation, but that ultimately operated with a philanthropic bent. There would need to be a marketing aspect to the project to help spread the truth about the nature of the development.

In short I will need help. I have to rely on the universe to bring me the right pieces of the puzzle as needed. I'm not worried because this seems to be the universe's forte.


What we've surrendered

I was around the 500th user on Facebook.  I liked it as another way to potentially meet girls and to get the word out about my band, though I thought it was so niche that my nerdy friends and I would be the only ones who would use it. The thing I liked about it is that it was an augment to my real day. I would come home after a day of classes and see if anyone I knew had signed up, I could check out their info (because at the time it was just a profile picture, no news feed/baby status updates - can you imagine??) but it felt like an extra connection.

After the technology jumped into the handheld universe the gossamer connection offered by the website started to slowly siphon the significance away from the actual, real world relationships I had. Maybe those were imaginary in themselves, but something about social life since the adoption of smartphones feels akin to someone turning down the color on your vision a half percent a day. You wouldn't notice immediately, and wouldn't have any frame of reference, but everything would just start feeling more bleak and drab. A feeling of hopelessness and fear would appear... sound familiar?

I think it's good for a society to have deference for the first movers, the big creators - but granting them perpetual monopoly over concepts like curiosity and social connections is a major folly. Some of the richest men in history were formed out of the dawning of the industrial era in America. They happened to be the guys int he right place who happened to continue to place bets that worked. For every Andrew Carnegie there is a Dale Schtump who invested in Horse Hotels because he didn't happen to run across the guy selling improved steam engines. If we had collectively decided there was some mantle of divine providence on Carnegie/Carnegie/Rockefeller/Vanderbilt and given them carte blanche to own our infrastructure whole hog, how do you think that would have turned out?

I think that the FAANG companies (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google) deserve to have a healthy share of their respective markets, but they have proven time and again to be keenly aware of the lack of market forces on their businesses, and they act accordingly. 

In the industrial revolution a few small investors would pool their money to create corporations who could match the buying and spending power of powerful individuals, while I think that was an overall positive for allowing the development of a free market, the residual is that the lumbering oaf of a concept that is fiduciary duty. 

In my opinion we are on the precipice of a new era that could reshape the face of collective effort. A corporation was a concept designed to be so simplistic in its intent that it could unify investors from every walk of life, and to do that they needed to find the lowest rung on the ideal ladder: avarice. 

Today as communication is becoming easier, Ideas are easier to spread and people that share more nuanced ideas can be unified. The sad example is neo-Nazis - once teetering on the edge of fairy tale this concept has roared back into popularity. I think this is the case because hatred doesn't need a call to action, whereas constructive collective ideals do.  

If all of the silent bystanders of this era, which I think of as the death throes of primitive internet, could come together to forge a better use of modern technology I believe we could be on the verge of another Enlightenment. A new wave in human culture and understanding. But first we have to understand what we've surrendered to get where we are today. Users can no longer sit idly by and accept the easiest/cheapest technological solution, because those solutions have proven themselves to be death by a slow poison. 


What is it about crypto that tastes so good?

There is something fundamental about cryptocurrency that feels like the perfect model of development for all future software.

  • free
  • open source
  • making a real world concept more sophisticated
  • empowering new types of commerce
  • eliminating unnecessary middlemen/profiteers
  • anonymous
  • decentralized
  • rewriting antiquated borders
My current musing is if the lending of computer power for coins could be simplified into a farming out of the centralized server system required to run a major network. So for users to access the network there is a set server cost which they can purchase coins for, and coins are created by subdividing the functionality of social networks to various computers in exchange for fractions of coins. 



Why Does Everything Suck Right Now?

...We have the smartest thinkers in the world with unlimited budgets whose sole stated goal is to make good, useful technology. To me that must mean that there is an unstated goal of silicon valley that is an inhibiting force to making useful, elegant technology that enriches lives.

If you substitute the morality of an entity for a human you're trading in an elaborate multi-faceted miracle for a simulacrum. They've boiled the primary goal of a corporation down to the sole goal of creating more values for its shareholders. Maybe this is good for a physical item with several competitors in the marketplace (though this is only for argument's sake, I believe this system to be an abject failure) if a corporate entity is put in charge of an ongoing service - especially one who by nature of its structure is nearly impossible to create competition for, it is an abomination.

If you have a coffee shop and your product is good enough to maintain a following, you do everything you can to maintain and expand your relationship with your customers. If you don't nurture the relationship your customers may find a new coffee shop... or switch to tea. Currently there aren't sufficient market forces to create fair competition in the highest levels of tech.  When you create a product in this environment your goal is to create a product good enough to indoctrinate a fanbase and then to find every way to warp the relationship in the favor of your bottom line.

I think this is the universal reason that all good tech begins simple and transparent and evolves incessantly into a confusing array of unnecessary features and diminishing functionality. It's alarming but not surprising to find that these companies are directly responsible for genocides, political turmoil and human strife... The core principle driving the companies has no relationship to the laws of physics. Infinite growth of anything isn't sustainable in our closed ecosystems and yet those in the positions to do the most are operating as if it were possible.

Magna Carta 2.0

We believe these rights to be self-evident in all worlds digital and physical:

  • A person has a naturally imbued right to have ownership over their information
  • A person has a naturally imbued right to connect to others unencumbered
  •  A developer has a duty to make Ethical Software (ES) that is supportive and affirming of its users 
  •  A user has a duty to support their equitable share of development of the ES that they employ
  • Ideal ES is open-source 
  • ES's end is functionality and not the massive enrichment of the creator(s)
  • ES is not be self-referential as part of its functionality (eyeball gravity)
  • ES strictly enhances human connections 
  • Users have the right to be notified of and opt-in to any behavior modification 
  • An Ethical coder has a servant's heart
  • Ethical coding should be transparent in its goals 
  • Ideal ES does not adopt traditional for-profit economic structure 
  • Users should take an active/constructive role in the improvement of functionality of ES

Why has intellectual software development been the model?

To develop infrastructure that can interface the entire world you need vast capital. Most of the people who are trying to get an idea off the ground are so interested in pursuing a specific idea that they hadn't had time to consider the foundational soundness of the existing investment models for software development.

Angel investing and crowd sourcing have been possible, but by and large the most impactful new companies of the last twenty years have been subjected to the ownership of a corporate entity and subsequently, fiduciary duty to its shareholders.

By the natural standards that a reasonable person would apply to the world, a piece of software has a finite value to humanity - but if you apply the need for infinitely expanding profits, and then apply the minds of the best and brightest thinkers in the country, you create an institutional poison to be inevitably and nearly imperceptibly administered to all users.

From my experience it's the birdsong of everyone that hears a great idea "you'd better patent it", "you'd better beat other people to it". Covetousness. Avarice. These are the motivations that can make someone sign a pact with the devil.

I believe the answer to this systemic failure to create software that is subservient to the human condition is to enumerate and codify the rights of users in relationship to technology, and allow developers to voluntarily adhere to this new technological bill of rights. There could also be a central authority - a tech version of the SPLC per se - that acts as the authority of which pieces of software were in compliance with these basic rights.  

An organic rating for software.

The upshot of Intelligent software not requiring human momentum is that the software should all be immediately supportive and affirmative of human life, thereby not requiring the typical critical mass that VC-backed technology requires. It all has the ability to grow at its own rate and the right to reach its natural peak of usefulness to users, meaning that it can start humbly.

I believe it will rely heavily on crowdfunding, crowd promoting, angel investment, and subscription support similar to podcasts, NPR etc...

Intelligent software vs Intellectual Software

The properties of Intelligent Software:
  • Open source
  • Finite cost
  • Not harvesting data for its own ends
  • Constantly growing the means of the users
  • Strengthening/reinforcing existing relationships and ideas
  • Anonymous 
  • Free form
  • Open ended
  • Boundary free
  • non-centralized
What flourishes on Intelligent Software:
  • Music
  • Cinema
  • Food
  • Humor
  • Honesty
  • Community
  • Trust
  • Understanding
  • Age/Maturity 
  • Commerce
  • Freedom
  • Panopolies
The properties of Intellectual Software:
  • Proprietary
  • Constant and evolving costs
  • Constant surveillance/data harvest
  • Constantly growing means of the owners
  • Undermining existing communities and relationships
  • Nostic
  • Closely guarded development/functionality
  • Shrinking boundaries
  • Centralized
What flourishes on Intellectual Software:
  • Jealousy
  • Fear
  • Misinformation
  • Tragedy
  • Anger
  • Isolation
  • False youth
  • User disenfranchisement
  • Control
  • Politics
  • Religion
  • War
  • Pornography
  • Entitlement
  • Monopolies/Duopolies

The Architecture of Generative Software

Since the beginning of the age of networked computers there has been a growing divergence in the nature of the software available. While adding functionality to some that affirmed life and added depth and meaning to the human experience, an entire class of software has emerged that enslaves everyone in the chain of its existence.

The owners of this software are enslaved by the need to remain number one, and that need sends a chain of decisions that indoctrinate micro-slaveries throughout the architecture of the software. The best examples of this are Google, Instagram and the also-ran Facebook.

These all consistently run off of human momentum, and in harnessing human momentum the software is highly interested in keeping people engaged and subjected as much as possible. They almost all appear to be free on the onset, but have ever-growing costs in the form of robbing you of personal information and freedom, as well as rewiring your brain to the overall detriment of you life.  Ironically these technologies share the same recruiting architecture as a cult (or religion).

They are intellectual, science based, and reductive of its subjects - attempting to concentrate the human experience into the parts most valuable to the software's respective business model.

The upside they espouse is a connection to all human knowledge as well as to every person with a connected device in the world. Since that is far too large of a proposition, it forces developers to pare you down to your core elements, a fraction of your core self, to give you access to the information and people it believes you will value the most. This makes sense for a business model but is disastrous for human community/empathy/diversity of thought/openness to new ideas.

There is already a working model for software that is affirmative of life, can work with the whole of a person, and can use inter-connectivity to act as a tempering force on the underlying structures of humanity as they have existed for thousands of years.  If the underlying tenants of these pieces of software can be understood and used as a foundation for future endeavors, I believe we can use the internet as a constructive force to the future of humanity. As a way to develop a better brighter future than has come before.

I think of these as intelligent software - different than intellectual software, because they have the ability to regard the whole of a person or an idea and to sharpen and define that idea. This is the software that is used in the creation of music, poetry, humor and cinema. Examples are Ableton Live, Final Cut Pro, Photoshop, Word Processing, Spotify and cryptocurrency.

Humanity already has a social network, and if we can build a platform that follows the rules of intelligent software, I believe we can rehabilitate the ailing fabric of connectivity that has been subjected to the relative inarticulate systems currently in place to support this vital task.