Cybernetic Drives Towards Referential Objects

"Issue": 051

I sit down at church. Staring up at the cross. Knowing my salvation is fully tied to this act. We hoist this reference to a physical vantage point of awe. I must tilt my head up each time I look for the cross, creating a natural position of reverence. From my vantage point I understand my worth, what I must do in reflection and dialogue with the cross.

In consuming this, I am told what is required of me. My actions can be measured, adjusted, confirmed. I sin, I repent, I press onward. Faith is fully knowing. And therefore, I am fully aware of my destination and the path defined by the word.

I am pulled by the cross, this referential object, towards a guiding set of actions that will close the distance between me and the medium.

I believe we can look at this relationship, between referential objects and the subsequent cybernetic drive, across many structures of design.

3D Tadao Ando - Church Of Light | CGTrader

At the beginning of the month I jokingly tweeted this below, then realized I fully meme’d myself to a T.

Quickly, to make sure we are sharing a language. When I speak of a “referential object” — I am referring to a central and identifiable artifact that orients any system. In the case of the church, the referential object is always the cross. In which the crucifixion is the overarching message of salvation. To illuminate an everyday example for some of you, look at what may exist at the core of one of your group-chats. Why and how is everyone there? The referential object here might be twitter, shared college experience, previously being co-workers. This is what the group, whether explicit or implicit, is revolving around. Many times as the referential object goes, or we distance ourselves from it, so goes the revolving system…

When I speak of “cybernetics” or a “cybernetic pull/drive” — at the core it comes back to a reinforcing loop that has a sense of direction, in which your inputs are receiving feedback and thus you are adjusting them consistently towards some end point. Cybernetics is incredibly cross disciplinary, spanning developmental psychology to architecture to governance.

Why is this relationship important to think about?

As I’ve written about before, all design is birthed out of a need to embody a set of values. We can hold two chairs side by side and build an understanding of desired posture. If it affords the room for two people to cuddle closely. If I can throw my legs over the arm. These all bring up questions and structured responses to how this chair is now guiding me, the sitter.

This is ever more true in a product like Twitter, GPT-3, or Robinhood.

What drives us within these systems — both in the act of constructing them, as product designers + interacting with them, as active consumers — is the conscious choice of developing the referential object. In which the entire system is then geared towards. Both within and without.

10 Iconic Tadao Ando Buildings You Should Visit

Design Around The Referential Object Sets The Culture

I would like to start simple. The culture of Twitter. What is the referential object that we gear ourselves towards? Resonance.

Perhaps not in the macro-network sense, but always seeking a resonance with the niche of Twitter we’ve landed in. Our actions are measured in likes and retweets. I would argue that the first widely understood quantified self, rests in our social networks. This quantified self however, being the display of identity over the biological reading that the term suggests now. The cybernetic feedback loop within our networks is the exact point of it’s existence, a measure of input towards future interaction… in perpetuity.

But this design continually collapses in on itself, and Twitter actively benefits from this contextual collapse as it maintains the referential object of resonance.

As LM points out, the very design of commentary on commentary on commentary. Quote tweet on quote tweet on quote tweet. Is we stray farther from the original act that was seeking the referential object. But in doing so, can still trigger resonance within our structured audience.

This should beg questions regarding the culture of the system itself. Which is what I believe we are seeing with Twitter’s new prompts of “reading before retweeting” but also at the same time defaulting to quote tweeting, thus lending itself towards this commentary collapse. This tends to be the dominant culture of Twitter: commentary collapse within a socially quantified self.

This isn’t surprising given Twitter’s product development history, but it either shows a complete lack of understanding their own referential object or a darker answer of knowing that in the context collapse we reach a different sort of resonance.

If you’re wondering, well what are other networks referential objects? Some are incredibly obvious — Snapchat relied on streaks as a symbol of sustained relationship, but some (like I would argue for Twitter) are a bit more subtle than raw “virality” or “status”.

The Royale’s Finite Perfection

A finite game is played for the purpose of winning, an infinite game for the purpose of continuing the play.

— James P. Carse, Finite and Infinite Games

Battle Royale games are probably the perfect example of cybernetic drives towards referential objects. I want the crown at the end. To get there, I must find the golden chests, to shoot people better… before they shoot me.

It’s the cleanest finite loop. One person stands alone, crowned. And then we replay. Each previous loop I participated in, guiding my actions in present play. The feeling of a well earned crowned, sustaining my desire for more. While the despair of getting knocked incredibly early in a round, fires me up to prove it was just a fluke.

When the finite loop is that strong, we can manipulate the variance of the experience through… narrative expression and expansion. In royale’s we see this all the time. The Marvel story line within Fortnite, creating new tools within the game itself and thus changing potential paths to the referential object. Or the medieval knockout within Fall Guys. Which is structured in a similar way. A maintenance of the core cybernetic drive, but impressing a narrative variance.

The equivalent within a social network would be a new meme format to riff on or audio to strip from a TikTok video. The variance comes through the unlocking of a new narrative expression. And all networks to date have relied on the audience to produce this very variation…

Tadao Ando (1941-) - Architectural Review

Technology’s Lack Of Narrative Expression… "Progress Without Direction

Go to Open AI, you’ll be met with “Discovering and enacting the path to safe artificial general intelligence. Our first-of-its-kind API can be applied to any language task, and currently serves millions of production requests each day.”

Yesterday morning, I was thinking about GPT-3 in the shower. What was it really coming back to? To me it just feels so obviously religious. An interface of perfect response, and at times cryptic message. Our obsession with agi can be boiled down to our search for a god that responds to our liking.

This being evidently clear to me, I had to go to the Open AI website. To my disappointment, finding their self description so incredibly rote.

In the search of universal scale and influence, technologists have made incredible strides to make themselves invisible. From Mark’s grey t-shirt to any other faceless techno-billionaire. It reverberates down to the toothless policy that governs these same interfaces.

We are left with an incredible lack of direction outside of the capitalistic directive of “bigger”. This is the referential object for most of technology today. It’s inherently tied to an understanding of distribution is king. But we lose so much when we choose to accept that strong distribution with a shitty product, beats the beautiful product still figuring out distribution. I don’t want this to come off as a complaint within a hyper-competitive market, but rather an observation that our cybernetic pulls are simple being built around a narrative of achieving scale. But rooted in what values… well Coinbase would pay and argue for: none.

This is perhaps why I think the small group of tech twitter that participates with an equally willing media side in beefing so interesting. One side doesn’t tell their story well at all, while the other’s entire job is to produce narrative. Both resonating within the Twitter drive to their respective audience… and this can go on forever unfortunately.

What is genuinely exciting are narrative generative programs like Stripe Press. This being a very literal (and literate) translation of narrative expression… but it is a start. And it’s a start that holds an incredible through line of shared values to hold up as referential objects for others.

Closing Thought

What I believe the next phase of products and the internet at large holds for all of us, is a deeper understanding of the referential objects we use to embody our values. And the subsequent systems that exist to participate within. Not chrome, devoid of opinion and belief. But rich narrative that is both crafted from within and generated through participation.

Tadao Ando Architect & Associates reveal their design for China's He Art  Museum

This piece is an expression of many conversations I’ve had while in Maine for the entire month of October with truly incredible peers. If you’ve seen my Twitter at all this past month, I’m sure you can piece together those that have influenced me deeply recently.

All images are from the work of Tadao Ando, a Japanese Architect.

I don’t do edits really, so excuse typos and things that don’t make sense.

Thanks so much for giving me your attention. I hope it was worth it, if not… unsubscribing will not hurt my feelings, and will give you back time you literally cannot have back.

Much love.

The Meme Template is the Medium

"Issue": 050

co-written with Aaron Lewis

I don’t do edits really, so excuse typos and things that don’t make sense.

Thanks so much for giving me your attention. I hope it was worth it, if not… unsubscribing will not hurt my feelings, and will give you back time you literally cannot have back.

Much love.

Windows Of Attention

"Issue": 049

For some reason, lately I haven’t been able to finish books. I’ll read half-way through, or 100 pages. Have a bunch of annotations. Then I just can’t pick it up again…

I don’t know what that’s about. But instead of fighting my body, I’m just trying to listen. So I pick up something else from the shelf and start fresh. Eventually something will break me out of it.

The recent pick up, in which I’m still in the introduction, is “Life On The Screen” by my bae Sherry Turkle. I truly love this woman.

Don't Feel Sorry for Vincent van Gogh | by Courtney Abruzzo | The Artist's  Mindset | Medium

In the course of a day, players move in and out of the active game space. As they do so, some experience their lives as a “cycling through” between the real world, RL, and a series of virtual worlds. I say a series because people are frequently connected to several MUDs at a time. In an MIT computer cluster at 2am, an eighteen-year-old freshman sits at a networked machine and points to the four boxed off areas on his vibrantly colored computer screen…

This kind of cycling through MUDs and RL is made possible by the existence of those boxed-off areas on the screen, commonly called windows. Windows provide a way for a computer to place you in several contexts at the same time. As a user, you are attentive to only one of the windows on your screen at any given moments, but in a sense you are a presence in all of them at all times.

— Sherry Turkle, Life On The Screen

Thirteen pages into the book, and this stretch of text made me pause. Despite being well aware of the 15 tabs I have open on Chrome at any one moment in time… it was this realization of my never ending multi-presence despite my attention never being more than one place. And yet, a reminder that my attention and the awareness of my other presences are two different things.

My fractured sense of awareness, pulling my attention in circles. Traveling between my Slack, Twitter, Notion, Gmail, texts, back to Twitter, back to Slack, back to email, pulling up the article I meant to read last weekend, to Insta dms…

If “The Second Self” described the relationship formed between man and the uniqueness that is the computer as machine, and the effects on the self. “Life On The Screen” extends this towards the self and its transformation through, at the time, a newly networked arena. Mediated by the same machine she (Sherry Turkle), previously examined.

What the quote above brought to the forefront, was the schizophrenic nature of a networked life. I’m not ~here~. I’m anywhere someone might choose to reach me. My profile sits as a reminder of my in-and-out of these virtual spaces. The algorithm allows my yesterday, to be your morning coffee read. I have no control over this…

The reverse is also true. Where landscapes of the screen imprints itself on the visualizations of my mind. The glow of a golden chest full of items in Fortnite. The explosion of a goal in Rocket League. The floating crown we reach for in Fall Guys. The best games know how to create objects of desire to chase, with the same lure as a potentially viral Tweet or TikTok.

I think what Sherry would be, and probably is currently, concerned with… is when we treat our bodily present reality as extendable and shiftable as our cooly held digital realities. In which my multi-presence deeply effects the bodily presence being perceived by those around us. Off the cuff, this sounds like some Boomer-ass-why-are-you-always-on-your-phone insight. But it’s less about being on your phone and more about our ever expanding realities of choice. Which is incredible when we think about expanding freedoms for any one person. But has the potential for deeper extraction we haven’t put into words towards.

This would begin to dive into my working belief of Silicon Valley’s primary aesthetic formed around “knowing” and how this plays out in social technologies. But I’m writing a much larger piece on this thought… so back to the nature of attention and presence.

I played around, before writing this piece, whether a browser that only allowed for one window at a time was useful. Or what would happen if I put all my apps in a single folder. So the vending machine nature of this pocket crystal would have a little less glimmer. But these trails didn’t lead anywhere too interesting. The medium is the message, and the message of this medium is clear. The web was meant to do just what it is doing now. Fracture. Pull the subconscious forward into networked space I could pour over, encode and press upon the mind, and return to. Have others return to…

It’s no wonder why the screen exhausts us. It’s a spiritual vehicle. In which my identity, speech, and body are on a never ending highway as I turn off exits towards these new windows. Moving at the speed of light I take on the form of a young technologists with all my thoughts aligned and the next window over an anonymous Tumblr poet. This shift happens everyday, well over a hundred times.

People often wonder what it would be like to be famous. Well, we’ve done it to ourselves. It is the nature of being stopped by others, through the acknowledgement of who you are. Except it’s not a unified me. It’s an ever shifting, fully aware of the self I’ve made for ~this~ space, me.

At the end of the day, the cause is so incredibly, and ordinarily… human.

We all want to be seen and acknowledged. We want to be touch. We want to touch others. And we’ll open as many windows as necessary to do that.

I don’t do edits really, so excuse typos and things that don’t make sense.

Thanks so much for giving me your attention. I hope it was worth it, if not… unsubscribing will not hurt my feelings, and will give you back time you literally cannot have back.

Much love.

Niantic: The Next Disney & AR Resorts

"Issue": 048

It’s the Summer before my senior year at Penn. I’m smoking weed on the roof of my friend’s building in Bushwick. Pokemon Go launches. It crashes a couple times, but then I walk all the way to my apartment in South Williamsburg catching Pokemon the entire way there. Every corner I pass, others are doing the same. Parents with their kids out at Midnight to other young twenty-somethings, that I assumed at the time, were equally high as me. Brooklyn.

For the entirety of that first month, one would think that racism was completely solved. Kind of like early American Idol when the country voted for their first Black president, Ruben Studdard.

Churches, converted to Gyms, became community outposts again. You would hear from down the block a cheer as a group caught a rare Pokemon. The mystical world, saved for my Gameboy Advance screen. Had transcended into the real world. Perhaps, in probably the largest global LARP’ing event ever, we were all Pokemon Trainers together.

How to play Pokémon Go when everyone's stuck inside | Ars Technica

When I think of Disney, I think of the immersion of a world. I walk through the gates, and suddenly what was once held on the living room screen or relegated to my imagination… has become the same warmth and tangibility of a hug. The same could be said for the Pokemon Center in Times Square.

This isn’t about comparing character IP (or partnering around IP in Niantic’s case) for me, as much as it is to think about the future of immersion in both tomorrow’s technological and cultural landscape.

Growing up in the Poconos, very much feels like any Pokemon region. A grouping of small towns both near and seemingly far. Playfully scenic landscapes. And incredibly accessible. You can come here for a couple of reasons, but nothing seems to beat the extended resort stays, all of your friends working across the various mountains. This is what started me on this question of the future of Niantic.

Today I started a South Korean sci-fi series “Memories of the Alhambra”, where the premise is the CEO of an AR contact lens company is trying to buy a new AR game from a cryptic, young engineer. In the game, the sleepy city of Granada is transformed by this new digital layer. A bar’s bathroom becomes the spawning point for a starter weapon… and it was here that I was reminded of something I wrote a long time ago about Pokemon Go and “trans-reality gaming”.

Without a certain density of play, the competition within trans-reality gaming shifts from the other participants —> to the obstruction of the non-player. New York’s landscape, that makes it so enticing for a massive AR game, also becomes the very thing that makes it so unfeasible.

Shared immersion is one of the most intensely human things we search for. It is the nature of work, university, religion, and sport. Both the finite and infinite game. An understanding of roles and centerpieces. However, what we also know is that the nature of the crowd is also the longing for release. The crowd must have release in order to reconvene in search of the same sensation. This is the other unnatural piece of trans-reality gaming. There are few formal mechanisms to the start and end of experience. I feel no dispersion, without density I feel no crowd, and the idea of returning becomes ever more abstract without my increasing participation of imagination.

It’s the top of August. The kids go back to school in September. Work is at the Summer slow down. There’s three more weeks left to the season. The kids are about to be juniors and seniors in high school, and they are too old for Disney. If you’re being honest with yourself, you’re too old for Disney too. Where do you want to go?

Enter: The AR Resort

The resort as an entertainment mechanism is incredibly similar to gaming. It has cultural cache and revolves around 3 primaries: disconnect, play, socialize.

Continuing the analogous nature of the two, we build associations across separate properties as long as they are by the same parent. “Oh this is a Wynn resort, we like those.” “Oh this is by the same creators as Journey, we’ll like this.” The overarching brand is a guarantee towards the quality of future and repeated experience. And so we go back to The Atlantis for the third time, knowing we can let the kids go crazy in the water park for the entire day and they’ll make their way back for our next family meal.

Niantic has this groundwork built. Following Pokemon Go with Harry Potter. Not diving deep into the metrics based performance of each game, but instead the understanding that “Oh, the same people that built this AR Harry Potter game also built Pokemon Go” — starts to build the experiential association of who is delivering these experiences… in short, the Disney magic.

Is it crazy to think that the shift of play at a resort could move from snowboarding or water rides —> an immersive, persistent, AR world game? I don’t think so. If anything, it’s far more powerful of an idea.

  • Each season could be properly new… compare that to building a new water ride at Atlantis or a new ski trail on the mountain.

  • Any NPC presents itself as the best job a high schooler can have. “What did you do over the summer?” “Oh I was the 7th gym boss.” “Shit… that’s tight.”

  • Even beyond high schoolers, it opens up the cosplay influencer’s economy even wider.

  • Local economies create more variety than the season they are known for.

  • The immersion formula of (play density of the location) x (technology) substantially improves & has a focused path forward — improving the technology. With the density of play already improving one of the core problem of trans-reality gaming in my opinion.

This last point, the path of improving the technology. Well, luckily I tweeted that I would write this newsletter and that caught the one and only Matthew Ball’s attention…

Matt’s question is half of the technological question to ask Niantic.

For the sake of me not extending this piece to absurd lengths, let’s all agree that we will have base AR glasses in 2-3 years & actual decent/fun ones in 5.

People who are really serious about software should make their own hardware.

— Alan Kay

What genuinely worries me for the Niantic story is the conflicting reports around their consumer AR glasses ambitions. We have the 2019 Venture Beat story around collaborations with Qualcomm on AR glasses butttttt then Megan Quinn said in a recent Protocol Interview that Niantic won’t be be building its own hardware. Which I suppose is not to say that they wouldn’t collaborate? not sure…

There are plenty of serious software companies that don’t produce their own hardware, but I do feel everyone serious about the AR future is at least willing to fail at building their own hardware.

Apple. Snap. Facebook. Microsoft. Google (are they trying again?). And plenty others.

I don’t have an answer to Matt’s question. I think that our knee-jerk reaction is to hope they are closer to Epic’s Unreal than Pixar’s RenderMan. However, this also hinges on the framing and what they provide to the overall ecosystem.

Is it terrible to end up the AR games Pixar? Collaborating with other huge partners like Pokemon and Harry Potter to bring these experiences to Apple Glasses & other providers? Not at all…

I think, what we can all see, is that Niantic could have a larger future than that. And it would be incredibly exciting for Real World to be Unreal + a headset that matches those software ambitions.

According to their website, they have plans to open their platform for other AR creators throughout this year, including a fund to support them. So I’m sure we will have more answers here soon.

AR's Future is Glasses, Not Phones, Says Niantic CEO - WSJ

Some closing thoughts, other than the fact that John Hanke looks eerily similar to Peter Gregory from Silicon Valley…

  • I’m not going to be too prescriptive on the form that AR Resorts might take. They could be Niantic owned, they could be franchises. I don’t really care about the business logistics, as much as the form factor that reduces some of the burden around trans-reality gaming.

  • Perhaps Disney is the wrong abstraction. While writing this piece I started to feel that any game, with enough player density, and a proper digital currency component — could make any small town a sort of Vegas. Again the primary goal is a sense of coming into this location to play.

  • Let’s say Niantic actually doesn’t want to build hardware, then what? Well… someone who does should buy them. Assuming their Real World Platform is leaning towards Unreal… pushing the capabilities of the software with the capabilities of the hardware is what will make breakthrough experiences. Who should buy them? If you want a more diverse corporate AR landscape… Snap.

  • The one thing I did not touch in this newsletter is the massive identity play/experimentation that comes with this subject. I think resorts play well into this… a space to be a little more free, where you create your own backstory as you enter the space… the nature of the disconnect for some.

Even as I’m stopping myself from writing more, I realize the pandora’s box that I just opened. There are many things to challenge in this piece, but at the core I felt that the narrative around the next Disney was being sooooooo owned by Epic and Roblox. I wanted to extend the conversation, that I wasn’t seeing, toward the question of what happens when it’s structured as more of a resort or the entire economy of a small town… this I think was compelling for me as I think about reinvigorating local economies.

In “What Technology Wants”, Kevin Kelly talks about technology reducing & redistributing mass. So often this redistribution takes place through the supporting infrastructure and not the primary interaction, which remains digital. This idea, and I think one of the promises of highly experiential AR, is perhaps redistributing mass towards our interactions with each other enabled by breakthrough technologies.

I don’t do edits really, so excuse typos and things that don’t make sense.

Thanks so much for giving me your attention. I hope it was worth it, if not… unsubscribing will not hurt my feelings, and will give you back time you literally cannot have back.

Much love.

Of Equal Sense

“Issue”: 047

Take a moment to be present. Right now. How would you do that?

I think most of us would start, quite simply, by closing our eyes.

What we are saying is that the human eye appears to be the father of linear logic. It’s very nature encourages reasoning by exclusion: something is either in that space or it isn’t.

— Marshall McLuhan

Yesterday I was thinking about when any heightened sensory experience ever became “too much” for me. It was never tied to the fact that what I was witnessing was too much to turn my gaze. But always, that in the space I was inhabiting, there was a sound that I could not place. And in the panicky moment of not finding the source, I was overcome.

Wondering if my senses had begun to betray me. If the source of the audio I thought I was experiencing, was not even in the space with me, but beyond in the extended environment that I could not place. Or even more frightening, inward, so that I was self producing that which I thought was external.

It is this exploration, through sound and the building perception of the world around me, that is far more complete than my mono-directional sight could ever produce in the moment.

Each of these modalities is a sensory preference of the culture. For the society that accepts it, that modality, whether acoustic of visual, is the foundation on which it recognizes its own perception of sanity.

— Marshall McLuhan

I remember when AirPods came out, everyone rushed their takes to state AirPods were the next big platform to build on. Perhaps a false inflection point? (be sure to read Michael Dempsey’s latest)

In the excitement of a truly great product, people failed to recognize two key things.

1 - Our behaviors are predominantly shaped by our environment.

2 - Americans are, primarily, visually led reasoners.

Our dominant sense, dictates how we collectively reason, which is how we construct the mechanics of life. For most, that which is not seen, which cannot be brought into focus, simply does not exist. At least not within that individual’s reality — despite at times having fervent opinions on the very thing.

We step out of our apartments, put our AirPods in and lower our heads. It is not an act of letting in the many varied sources of our surroundings, but instead a shutting out. In doing so we take what is naturally rich, 360, acoustic space — and turn it into a singular stream. Not tied to time or place, but demand and choice. Which allows our dominant sense, to regain complete control.

I would argue this behavior isn’t new. It is far less tied to AirPods as a form factor as it is tied to streaming as a form factor/business model. What a Twitter feed is to our thumbs and eyes, Spotify playlists are to our ears. In its massive singularity, it creates an entirely new environment. Pushing our present behaviors.

Perhaps the most important part of this environment is its predictable response. That which is framed, and selected, and neat, and flowing.

Our technological visual culture reinforces this. Text is kept to 280 characters. Instagram posts are kept neatly in frame. Three images per row for every profile. Never an end or bottom to reach, never enough to see.

What happens when we finally “see enough”? In short— change.

What happened when we actually saw war? The country couldn’t handle the video of Vietnam. It was very different than reading the heroes of WWII. The true environment around the artifact of war had shifted from structured text narrative, to raw pixel reality in our living room.

I think we are witnessing a similar effect today on social media and civil rights. Everyone equipped with a camera and mass broadcast network… There is a difference in reading a statistic to form an opinion and seeing a man shot in the back seven times. However, at the same time, the nature of flow and fractured narratives also allow for the emboldened counter story. This is a dynamic that could take us towards one of my more frightening beliefs, which is that Q-Anon will be a modern successful 3rd political party. But that’s getting us off track.

We just talked a lot about seeing.

What service does audio play here? To reinforce the visual flow.

Tying together McLuhan’s two points — by living in a visual culture, we set the course towards linear reasoning. In contrast of an acoustic culture that would not be bound by similar frames or limited inputs.

The path towards building stronger audio / voice technologies is inextricably linked to strengthening American acoustic culture.

This also sets out a beautiful future, in helping us advance past linear reasoning.

Some loose closing thoughts around audio and voice… and a request for product???

I’ve been thinking about how binary the interactions are for voice and audio. I’m in a live room with people chatting, someone sends me a voice note, I compile a bunch of voice notes…. etc.

So it’s either a phone call with a different interface and joining mechanism. Or extremely singular and isolating, living in my space where the context around it returns to visual reasoning. Again, the problem here is that audio (in our culture) tends to return to strengthening the visual narrative of our culture. Not existing to progress acoustic sensory and our relationship to it.

Inspired by a mind-expanding LSD journey in 1985, I designed the HyperCard authoring system that enabled non-programmers to make their own interactive media. HyperCard used a metaphor of stacks of cards containing graphics, text, buttons, and links that could take you to another card. The HyperTalk scripting language implemented by Dan Winkler was a gentle introduction to event-based programming. Steve Jobs wanted me to leave Apple and join him at Next, but I chose to stay with Apple to finish HyperCard. Apple published HyperCard in 1987, six years before Mosaic, the first web browser. 

— Bill Atkinson

The best audio/voice app right now? TikTok

TikTok treats each element of a video as it’s own HyperCard — allowing you to trail off into the creator, audio being used by other creators, the filter effect, dueting, etc. It’s the ultimate jumping off point if you have the propensity to create.

And so what we have on TikTok is potentially the largest reusable audio library for any sort of video you’d like to create. This is incredibly powerful, but still serves to progress a linear visual understanding.

A product I’d love to see.

Thinking of an audio file as a HyperCard that, similar to commenting in the middle of a SoundCloud track, I can bridge off of a friend and record something new. And this can fan out forever.

A literal audio galaxy.

I don’t do edits really, so excuse typos and things that don’t make sense.

Thanks so much for giving me your attention. I hope it was worth it, if not… unsubscribing will not hurt my feelings, and will give you back time you literally cannot have back.

Much love.

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