Friday Sabbatical

Whatever this Friday brings you, whatever you’re spending your time on these days, I invite you to take a breath, and for a moment to not do that at all.

Here are five things that stuck with me this week:

1. Please please please sign up for this Super PAC, which enables you to pledge between 1-cent and 10-cents per tweet to The Justice Fund (a group of black led political orgs with the goal of keeping Trump out of the White House in 2021). Donations are capped at $45/mo.

If they get 1m people to donate $0.02 per tweet, in order to say the toxic shit he says on Twitter, Trump contributes $18mm per month to organizations working to elect the other guy. I love that idea. I just signed up for 5-cents per tweet. This is, in my opinion, the best that the Silicon Valley crowd has to offer.

2. This, on the other hand, is a satire of the worst the Silicon Valley crowd has to offer. A group created an app called “EyeMouthEye”, and told nobody what it did. No description, just that it was going to be amazing, and that people must wait in line to get access to a private beta. The exclusivity alone was too much for the status-hungry SV elite to bear, and they ended up spending over $200,000 in small chunks that were paid for the right to jump the line and gain early access (think a Fast Pass at Disneyworld).

Gross, right? Characature-ish, right? Yes, but there’s a silver lining. The app didn’t really exist. It was made up all along, and all the money went to #BlackLivesMatter charities when the creators came clean that there was no app.

I like the way that this experiment showed us our greed and covetousness, made us pay for it, literally, and then transformed it into a benefit to society.

3. Both of those to say, it is possible to do something about society’s ills in very creative ways. You can protest, you can talk, you can post on Facebook or on your blog, but the reality is that that won’t mean a hill of beans if you don’t act. If you don’t vote. If you don’t support causes you believe in with your time or money. I’ve been following Brad Feld for a while, and he pointed out this week that talking is the easiest way to make yourself feel less guilty, and the way least likely to actually affect change. So don’t settle for talking. Act with your time and money.

3. This political environment portrays the fight as between Democrats and Republicans. Liberals and Conservatives. But the reality is that those are made up terms for a hodge-podge of beliefs that may or may not be internally consistent, never mind the most accurate representation of reality. I stumbled upon this very different analysis (part 1 and part 2) of the fight America is in, put forth by Naval Ravikant, which makes a strong case for the Populists vs the Elites, or stated more inflammatorily a true Democracy vs a “Meritocratic Republic.”

The case for this being the real war (not D vs R or L vs C) is compelling, and while I entered into the article assuming that of course I wanted a democracy, now I’m not so sure.

4. Exhibit A supporting that framework: income inequality. This can seem amorphous and hard to care about for those privileged to be above the poverty line, but it becomes clearer via the allegory of playing Monopoly against someone who starts the game owning hotels on the whole right side of the board. In other words, generational wealth. In other words, compound interest. If you are the one with the hotels, great. But if not, how long would you play that game?

What if you couldn’t get out of it? How long till you flipped over the board and scattered all the hotels across the living room floor?

5. The world we’re in feels important, right now. Like we’re at the beginning of true change. Like we’re finally hurting enough, or will be shortly, to be willing to take the drastic steps needed to create a better world. And just when I begin to feel that way, I think it’s important to remind myself just how unimportant I am, and all this is, in the scheme of things. This photo of a tree eating a tombstone reliably does the trick.

As always, please let me know what you think in the comments. What did you like? What do you want to see more of? What cool things did I miss? Thanks for reading.

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