Today is day 1️⃣8️⃣ of my 30 day writing challenge.
Not gonna lie, I just got back to the hotel (around 10 pm) and am exhausted after a full day of sightseeing, but I really don't want to give up on the writing 💪 This post is most definitely not my best in terms of quality of writing, but this month is all about consistency and showing up.
The Banff trip has been incredible so far - it's so beautiful and the air actually feels fresh. We're to canoe on Lake Louise tomorrow so I'm pretty excited for that 🛶
Yesterday, I wrote a post about the Bell Labs Mafia, Traitorous Eight, and asked some top of mind questions about tech mafias and how they originate. If anyone thinks they know a company (or a DAO!) that you think will be the next PayPal mafia, comment below! Curious to see what everyone's answer is.
Check out the full post here: "Picture yourself as one of the Traitorous Eight"
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Don't stress about small problems and let them hinder your growth
Build hard things and be resilient
Most importantly...be optimistic
Today, I found a theme across multiple articles I've read in the past few months that were saved in my readwise. And the core message was: ignore the pessimists, stay optimistic.
One thing that I forget as someone who has been super active in the tech space is that most people outside of the bubble of startups/venture capital/tech twitter don't actually care about or understand what we're doing behind the scenes. The only times our work matters is when....it works 😂 Not just TestFlight or a Twitter product update kind of work. But more like hitting that magical product market fit when you start seeing messages from family members and friends about a piece of tech that went mainstream.
Most recently, I'd say the closest example I've seen is ChatGPT. This was a text from one of my friends who is a chemical engineer:
However, what I'm starting to realize is that the minute things may even start clicking on the mainstream level, there's no such thing as an instant societal shift. It's just not realistic. Suspicions will arise. Attacks from mainstream media will go into turbo mode. And there will be a shift in narrative because of the next thing that happens.
Crypto sees this all the time. In the bull market, everyone seems to get it. But the story line quickly starts changing once sentiment reaches the "overzealous" state and before you know it, the whole market comes crashing down. This cycle of hype and disappointment isn't unique to crypto. It's indicative of a broader trend where the public follows whichever narrative is currently dominating the mainstream.
Most people don't know what the heck is going on and are simply tagging along to the mainstream narrative that has the most horsepower behind it at any given time.
We're seeing something similar in the AI space right now. The last 6 months, since the launch of ChatGPT, has been a period of extreme hype and fervor for the future of AI. Don't get me wrong, there has been a dramatic breakthrough in the field - there's no question about that. But it's also obvious that a ton of ideas getting funded will die in the short term and people's attention span for AI related news will get shorter and eventually fizzle out.
Okay, so what's my point?
So if that's the case...then isn't it our (technologists) job to keep the storyline positive, exciting, and welcoming? If we're just building like a bunch of nerds without trying to keep people pumped about our mission, then are we really doing our jobs? I don't think so.
I think it's essential that people in the tech space facilitate as storytellers that lure in the rest of society into what we're building.
Narratives we construct about technology and its potential can have a profound impact on how it's developed, utilized, and perceived by society at large.
So what's an example of a project/person that's taking massive efforts to change the tech narrative for the mainstream audience?
In my opinion, what Cameron Wiese is doing with WorldsFairCo is pretty freaking bold and amazing to see. I have no idea how successful it's actually going to be, but I think it's worth noting that it's a fun approach to talk about unlike most other things we see.
Back when live-streaming didn't exist
I didn't really know this until recently, but the world fairs used to be a really big deal in the early to mid 1900s! It was crazy to me how influential they were for tech progress and bringing the world up to date with all the
cool miraculous things happening. Here's a quick history of some of the most notable fairs:
The Great Exhibition (1851): The first World's Fair, held in London. The main attraction was the Crystal Palace, a massive structure made of iron and glass.
Chicago World's Fair (1893): This World's Fair marked the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus's arrival in the New World. It introduced the Ferris wheel to the world and had a significant impact on architecture, sanitation, and the arts in the United States.
New York World's Fair (1939-1940): This World's Fair was introduced television to the masses. The theme was "The World of Tomorrow".
Seattle World's Fair (1962): This fair unveiled the iconic Space Needle and the monorail. The focus was on space (note the decade) as well as the introduction of the "atomic age".
However, by the late 70s, as the shift to news intake started dramatically shifting over to television, the hype around the world fair started to take a big hit. Finally, in 1984, the fair hosted in New Orleans turned out to be a failure and the event went bankrupt.
This event marked not just the end of an era for World's Fairs in the United States, but also a shift in who was controlling the narrative around technological progress and societal change. It marked a transition from a shared public spectacle to a narrative more heavily influenced by governments, corporations, and mainstream media.
Since the mid 80s, the primary global conferences that have taken place are expos such as the one in Dubai in 2020. The critique tech enthusiasts have with the expos are that they're less about the wonders of tech and more about giving a chance for countries to flex on each other and attract key partnerships.
Will the real World Fair please stand up
Cameron Weise is looking to bring the real world fair back! The expos haven't been cutting it and he wants to organize an event that will bring that same sparkle in people's eyes back when they saw the first ferris wheel make a loop.
You can check out the website here if you're interested.
Cameron recently did an interview and I wanted to share a section that perfectly tied in with this post. I know it's a bit long, so in case you don't read the whole highlighted section, just read this one line below:
How do we translate theses ideas that are niche to our world and communicate them to the broader public in a way that's compelling and understandable?
Cameron is doing his part to bring optimism for the tech world. I want to slowly gain a better grasp of how I play my part as well. That may be through my blog. Or maybe my podcast. Heck, maybe I start a conference of my own. Who know what ends up happening. All I know is that I'm excited to find my own way to tell good stories and communicate the wonders of technology and futurism to the people who don't naturally care.
I'm early into the journey, but I'm starting to realize the importance of measuring your success in terms of what you did to inspire others about a topic you truly cared about.
That's all for today's post!
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