A Lesson for Communities from OpenAI
Yesterday, I reflected on the recent staff rebellion at OpenAI, trying to figure out what DAOs and any type of community could learn from it. What's happened since then? Pretty much everyone's decided to follow Sam out the door. OpenAI, once teeming with about 700 employees, is technically down to a skeleton crew of about a dozen people.
In 2023 we're getting a crash course in the power of sticking together. SAG-AFTRA, the Writer's Guild, and now OpenAI are all showing us how being united can really shake things up.
These stories aren't just about how to make demands; they're big, blinking signs pointing to the how to organize communities. Each situation, at the heart, is about people standing up for what they believe and changing the game — and that's something every organization, decentralized or not, should be paying attention to.
The takeaway is clear: these organizations are "nothing without its people."
Luna // Seven Months, 28 Days
A few months ago, Kristine and I found ourselves at a crossroads with Luna's sleep. Since her birth, the rhythm of our lives had been dictated by a strict nocturnal ritual: Every night, without fail, Luna would wake up at 3am and need to be fed, changed, and soothed. One of us would then groggily get up and start a routine that involved a diaper change, a bottle, and lots of back pats.
Our world was a blur of interrupted sleep followed by extremely early mornings.
The prospect of breaking this cycle was both a source of exhilaration and apprehension. Letting Luna 'cry it out', an integral part of the sleep training process, seemed counterintuitive to our parental instincts. Yet, our situation was undeniably unsustainable. Fragmented sleep was eroding our well-being, affecting our ability to function and our mood. Kristine's conversations with other parents and some research into sleep training's (lack of a) impact on development reassured us that we should, at the very least, give it a try.
The day that sleep training was to begin, we spent the entire afternoon strategizing, outlining a comprehensive plan for every conceivable scenario that might unfold during the night. We laid out a detailed strategy, a step-by-step guide to reassure ourselves that we were prepared for any eventuality
We did all this. We put her in her crib. She cried for about fifteen minutes. She fell asleep. She slept for 12 hours straight.
This new dynamic significantly altered our evening routine. Kristine and I suddenly found ourselves with a newfound freedom from 7pm to 7am, a luxury we hadn't experienced in months.
Until just a few nights ago!
After months of peaceful nights, our beloved routine was disrupted when we woke up to the sound of Luna crying. Kristine instinctively knew something was amiss. Upon entering Luna's nursery, she discovered the cause: A stomach bug, evidenced by a leaking diaper.
We changed her, gave her some time to calm down, and comforted her until she finally fell asleep in Kristine's arms around 6am.
The stomach bug is now fully cleared, but I know there will be more sleepless nights and unforeseen circumstances in my future. In these early months with Luna, every experience, be it a peaceful night’s sleep or a sickness, is a reminder of the depth and complexity of what it means to be a parent. This won't be my last time waking up in the middle of the night, not by a long shot. Each of these moments is a building block for something that's to come.
What I Watched:
I inadvertently watched two movies about loners this week.
The Killer is about the life of an assassin, not as a glamorized series of action-packed sequences, but as a careful, extremely tedious existence revolved around intricate planning and precise execution.
What I loved most about it is that Fassbender's character is kind of a dork! He provides narration that feels plucked straight out of a mindfulness Instagram page, nestled between quotes from stoic philosophers like Marcus Aurelius and Seneca. This lends an almost surreal, philosophical depth to the film. His character is not just a skilled assassin; he's a solitary thinker, contemplating the existential challenges of the life he lives. This introspection is contrasted with the banality of his day-to-day activities as he manipulates the ordinary nature of life, using vacant office spaces, Amazon packages, temporary gym memberships, and oblivious Postmates workers to his advantage as he makes his way closer and closer to those he intends to do harm.
The film's cinematography is particularly striking, capturing moments of unexpected vulnerability through the lens of a character who is always a step away from violence. Worth watching, if only to appreciate a meticulous director at work. David Fincher knows the tools of his trade so well that each scene feels both familiar and refreshingly new.
The Postman is a curious artifact of 90s idealism, directed by and starring Kevin Costner. There's an undeniable charm in this post-apocalyptic epic, not dissimilar to something like "The West Wing" with its earnest belief in the inherent good of people and the power of symbols.
Costner plays a happy but isolated wanderer who gets caught up in a lie before becoming the mask. Will Patton, as the antagonist General Bethlehem, is a delightful tyrant, a man shaped by circumstance and happy to be living in a fallen world that's given him the opportunity to reinvent himself and grab power.
Unfortunately, this all gets choked up by an overwhelmingly long run time. Clocking in at three hours, this film may have worked better as a mini-series in today's streaming era. Each hour would likely function better as an episode than a segment of a movie. Regardless, I had fun watching it.
Spotify's introduction of audiobooks has been transformative for me. Unlike Audible's rigid structure of buying books via 'credits', or Libby's often frustrating wait times and brief loan periods, Spotify offers a seamless 15 hours of audiobook listening per month across a diverse library. I love it.
Simon Sarris recently wrote a post in praise of audiobooks, expressing surprise at their under-appreciation:
We possess a pocket oration of the world’s greatest texts if we want them. And that is so compelling that I’m always a little shocked when people malign audiobooks. I think they are typically snubbed because the act of putting on an audiobook feels almost too easy. And maybe it is too easy, in the sense that it is easy to press play and listen without giving it the proper attention.
The critique of audiobooks as being "too easy" likely stems from the view that reading is an active, effortful process. In contrast, audiobooks offer the flexibility to be enjoyed alongside other tasks, like driving or working out, making them feel weirdly less legitimate.
This is precisely their appeal! The ability to immerse oneself in a book while doing something else is optimal for many books — and I certainly prefer it to podcasts, which rarely leave a lasting impression.
Have any audiobook recommendations? Please send them my way!
That's all for now.
From the present moment,
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