If we are going to write about ourselves...
We are as gods and might as well get good at it…
— Stewart Brand
I haven’t left my apartment in a few days, and I suppose I’m getting decently antsy considering how close I’m writing this since my last post.
Scrolling around the internet, flipping back and forth between Twitter and TikTok to keep my thumbs and eyes busy despite my mind needing rest… I can’t help but open and scroll through writings within our “community”. And I also can’t help but be disappointed.
My friend Nikita has such a great phrase for whenever I’m feeling this way: over production of elites. There is both too much of everything and not enough of what I need some how…
I’m not sure we’ve fully taken into account what the global village has done to our ego. It’s not enough to recognize that we will continually be connected and intersect in each other’s production. McLuhan laid this part out well.
The global village is a world in which, you don’t necessarily have harmony, you’ll have extreme concern with everybody else’s business. And much involvement with everybody else’s life.
— Marshall McLuhan
McLuhan talks about the electric man returning to the nature of the tribal man. Seeking resonance of the crowd, and the self becoming less of the classical term we previously thought of ourselves through the lens of our individual uniqueness.
Instead we can articulate the crowds that we weave in and out of. From tech twitter to cottage core tiktok… it’s the “X as a personality”. We wear our memes now, like clothing, an extension of our skin.
It’s in the reconfiguration that our systems of measurement haven’t caught up to the reality of our global village, and I think it’s produced an interesting layer of distortion.
The one I’ve been focused on for the last couple of days, turning over in my head. Is the nature of how we write about ourselves. “We” being the online tech twitter crowd.
In classic tech fashion, our nature of commercializing our hobbies and in turn finding community and personality through the meme of it… it feels as though we produce an extraordinary amount of public writing about ourselves and actions.
Most of what we tend to write is the categorization of our daily actions from individual participation of how to be the best PM you can be — to derivative HBR style analysis of strategies. Of course a healthy dose of forecasting and post-event reflective thought makes its way throughout the media mix as well. All of this writing creates a healthy size substack class within the ecosystem. Production in search of community.
It seems to me, however, what we’ve lost is our appetite of critique. And when we get it from the outside, and the mix of quality that can come from those not intimately tied to the complex processes of building technologies… we seem not too pleased with that either.
So if we are going to write about ourselves constantly… can we please get better at it.
I think there’s a lot of reasons that internally, we are not the best at live critique about the technologies we are actively creating and living with. But the primary culprit is simply: fear.
We are part of an industry that moves incredibly fast, which means the players that may be important tomorrow are equally shifting. And so we run into the polite-isms of “you never know who you might be working with/for.”
This is equally reflective of the breakdown of tribal man —> the identifiable profile. Production tied to the self, when not received well, often returns with critique not of the piece but of the producer. Perhaps this is the root of our collective fear of holding an opinion out for consumption.
My only answer to this is that — there is no progress without narrative. Our lack of self-critique shows in the baselessness of so many products. There’s just no there, there.
Every object we interact with daily, has the ability to enhance our lives. To make it useful, delightful, comforting. With the noise of the world, I truly believe that products have the ability to help ground us. Forge stronger connection. And at times, when we really do it right… elevate us.
That’s all that I want to do. I believe that’s what many of us would like to do.
Make things people love using daily.
But without active critique. Without being able to elbow our peers in a better direction… we are producing on sinking sand.
I often wonder, if more tech beefs would be beneficial. Clear articulations of what things should look like, and a willingness to fight over the future. We’ve probably lost this tolerance as well.
I don’t know… I think we can be so much more.
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.