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Slowcore Nerd Notes: On Value Flows

Early Sketches Toward a "Slowcore" Business Model for Writing as an Art Form

Welcome to a new series: Slowcore Nerd Notes.

For the uninitiated, "slowcore" is a term I made up to express distaste for hustle culture. When this concept found its way into the fertile soil of the Farcaster scenius, it spawned a low-key slow-culture movement. GM Farcaster called it a trend.

As fellow caster Tom Beck wrote in a fun inversion of the Zuckerberg "move fast and break things" ethos, the slowcore TL;DR is "move slow and preserve things." (Thanks, Tom. This is my new motto).

Recently, Farcaster channels began an exciting process of decentralization. It's a major nerd-snipe, because it opens such a huge economic and social design space to explore. Some of the more adventurous Farcaster nerds are blazing trails and documenting their learnings for the rest of us.

With that in mind, I'd like to continue exploring the notion of a "slowcore business model" for long-form writing as an art form. Could Farcaster channels facilitate such a business model, or otherwise open unforeseen paths toward a sustainable living for writers?

What I'm imagining as a "slowcore business model" is a novel concept that hasn't even been possible before crypto. I have no idea if it'll be viable. But as a founder and owner of the Slowcore-HQ channel, this fascinating design space is top-of-mind for me. I've been wishing for something like this for 20+ years, and honestly I'm amazed that channel decentralization is even happening at all. What a time to be alive.

So for this first edition of Slowcore Nerd Notes, I'll just begin with a basic inquiry into this design space and get my rough sketch out there with minimal context, so it can incubate in public. (It's time to stop allowing these nerd notes to sit in my drafts folder for months while I tweak them. They may be half-baked, or I may arrange them into "word collages," but as Farcaster often reminds me, done is better than perfect).

Let's start with value flows.

What is "Slowcore" Value?

What are some elements that might help unlock or facilitate "slowcore" value for writing as an art form?

A few ideas:

  • Quality and depth of care, thinking, and attention that informs the writing process.

  • Aesthetic quality and timelessness of design elements (blogs, websites, book covers, etc.)

  • Sustainable ways for writers to work out of intrinsic motivation and make optimal use of their gifts with full creative freedom and integrity.

  • Well-maintained spaces for discovery of new and old work through pertinent social, cultural, and artistic context (e.g., Elle Griffin's idea of blog posts organized into "writer playlists").

  • Skilled curation by trustworthy and respected literary taste-makers.

  • Unimpeded access for readers through non-coercive means.

  • Thriving arts networks and interdependent collectives (literary "scenes") optimized for patterns of gift culture, economic reciprocity for writers, and respect for creative labor (i.e., the antithesis of chokepoint capitalism).

  • Recognizing and respecting the inherent limits of human time and attention (e.g., aligning with Ethereum's philosophy of subtraction).

  • Generously "retro-rewarding" work that's already been done, but for which writers haven't captured much value (e.g., writers' back-catalogues of published work).

  • Built-in ways to reduce existing cognitive burdens and attention labor for writers, readers, and publishers.

  • Open-sourcing: releasing work in positive-sum ways that help reverse enclosure patterns.

Whether or not you relate to slow culture and the "slowcore" moniker, perhaps you'll find something worth pondering in this list.

May a thousand slowcore patterns bloom.

(Image: O. Von Corven, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

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