💖 Incentives of a Decaying Monoculture

Farcaster mania rises, impact continues

Happy weekend friends 💖 

Welcome to Create Your Rainbow - a newsletter created to understand the role of community, culture, and meaning at the edges of technology. 🌈

I bring you insights, teachings, and inspiration for your adventures.

Time to read - 5 minutes

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 💖 This week in tech:

This is the 50th issue of Create Your Rainbow 🥳 

  • Farcaster usage skyrocketed this week, with Feb 3 marking 38k Daily Active Users and hitting 10k Hourly Active Users for the first time. This is in large part due to multiple notable Crypto Twitter accounts finally hopping on board, telling their audience to come along. Plus, a number of Farcaster-native, community-led memecoins taking off…and we know how CT loves degens.

    • This is only a week after the launch of Frames, interactive mini-apps in-feed that now have text input for additional functionality. Giving Frames the ability to utilize AI with text input from GPT and Stable Diffusion. Total Frames bounties for builders have now increased to $55k on Bountycaster.

    • Due to growth, Warpcast, the app built by the Farcaster team, has gone down several times this weekend. Yet, because of the decentralized nature of the protocol, other apps like Supercast have largely been able to keep up with demand.

    • Still holding out on joining Farcaster? Here’s an invite

  • Headed to Spatial Computing Island - many Apple Vision Pro users are experiencing “spatial computing” for the first time this weekend. The world of tech has yet again fundamentally shifted, as this is the iPhone 1 moment for Apple’s VR solution (just don’t let Apple catch you calling it VR).

🚨 I will be at ETHDenver at the end of this month from Feb 27- March 3

Want to meet up? Have an event you want me to attend and write on? There’s so much going on that week. Why not have me cover it so your team can enjoy the event and know you’re in good hands?

I nearly didn’t write a newsletter this week, but it’s the best time of the week I let myself unload a little creativity into an editor. However difficult it was to focus or even form coherent thoughts due to everything going on, finding meaningful topics below to form opinions on has been worthwhile.

So, this week I’ll cover:

  • The “creator economy” & creativity in crypto

  • Frustrations with consumer crypto

  • Incentives vs Impact

  • Social structures and human engineering

Impact, Incentives, and Alignment for Creators

“We are all one—and if we don't know it, we will learn it the hard way”

Bayard Rustin

We are all aware of how broken, gross, and extractive the creator economy and social media are, and yet we participate in them by scrolling infinite feeds. All this despite the harms that social media, particularly Meta, have done to child safety as seen at a hearing this week.

Efforts have repeatedly sought to correct these horrendous problems we’ve witnessed over the years as Facebook turns 20 this weekend. It’s been made abundantly clear the collective must take action against these companies rooted in our brains, feeding our addictions.

I don’t know about you, but I feel it. After a day of scrolling through Twitter, IG, and Warpcast, or, god forbid, the hustle toxicity of LinkedIn, I feel the impact these apps have on our minds.

The infinite need to know what’s going on, to stay on trend, to create more, to consume more, to share more. That’s all we are, consumers of nonsense, and I’ll be the first and last to tell you that bleeds right into the harm of “consumer crypto” and the VCs that feed the fat onchain pig with games like Crypto The Game, everyone’s fixation of the week.

Crypto The Game sorts people into tribes, just like Survivor, with contestants forking over $200 worth of crypto to participate in various games, form alliances, and vote others off.

What does this do but provide a full-time nihilistic distraction?

Maybe our tiny corner of the internet deserves a little distraction. Maybe crypto nerds find it fun to solve puzzles and play games against each other. Either way, is this the best use of our bright minds?

Listening to GenZ, I see a generation tired of working mindless jobs. Tired of working a 9-5 that doesn’t pay their worth, doesn’t provide stability. We, Millenials included, don’t all want to be famous or go viral. We simply want to make a living doing something that we enjoy, and for a lot of people, that means being creative. Not necessarily a “content” creator. Yet, the endless cycle of social media requires an always-on, always-in-demand creator.

A more human-centered regenerative model of living economics can, with some finesse, combine these values of creation and adaptation with mechanistic economies. A both-and situation.

Living Economics views an economy as an open, dynamic living system whose natural and ongoing outcome — given the proper conditions and the absence of barriers — is transcendence (that is to say: creation, adaptation, innovation, evolution and regeneration).

What we’re seeing today is an influx of activities that take us away from finding meaning, vision, and creativity in a world that needs those things more now than ever.

We need less dystopian crypto games and more impact for real people fighting for a breath to take.

When we talk about the impact onchain communities create, often this is measured by how much blockspace, or blockchain demand, they create.

Impact is a necessary metric for proving value given to others but not all value is monetary. What of the newsletter writers, podcast hosts, or zines providing public goods? How do they measure impact beyond subscribers, open rate, and click rate? Take a look at the Optimism RetroPGF Metrics Garden, for example; many of the metrics are based on uptime and transactions or deploying code.

In the coming weeks and months, I’m working to refine how impact is measured for the non-technical projects and communities that fill our space so they can be fairly rewarded for their efforts in future RetroPGF rounds.

I was also accepted to the 3-week Gitcoin/Optimism RetroPGF Training cohort starting Feb 6 to learn how to execute RetroPGF rounds of my own and educate others. I’ll report back on my progress here and in a separate, longer essay on the process.

I believe RetroPGF and Quadratic Funding are immensely critical to the future of funding innovation. There are many things I’d like to fix with the process, which is why I’m dedicating time and energy to navigating the issues that plague non-technical and creative projects first.

I’ll also continue to meet with LauNaMu, who has been such a champion for the OP Stack, creating an impact methodology for RetroPGF Round 3, and is the self-proclaimed Impact Evaluator.

Social structures that create viable impact should also be taken into account. This week I could not stop thinking about how we can alter the way we view our economic models.

The way we design our social systems and human engineering as community professionals could be the answer to both the creator economy, creativity, and impact itself.

Is this sustainable for the majority in our current economic model? No, but as Aristotle said, 'Man is by nature a social animal; he must satisfy certain natural basic needs in order to survive.’ These social needs feed into a requirement to design better systems that combat economic inequality.

This blends into how creatives, developers, and artists have the power to shift our collective into a more robust, impactful, sustainable future. As we are social animals, we must provide long-term solutions rather than seeking short-term games meant solely to appease the individual.

Imagine a Public Builder Library where instead of checking out books, onchain library-goers check out a single person or team of builders for a day or a few hours at a time. Yes, we have infinite knowledge due to AI, but we have a finite number of people with creative brains of their own who have unique abilities.

Each builder could create a social graph with attestations for feedback just as you’d leave your name on the card stuck in the front of a book at a physical library.

In that same vein, media literacy, digital literacy, and onchain literacy need to be taught as vital skills available for all.

We are a web of social beings tracing lines in the sand of the internet over and over one another, littered with memes and trolls fueled by likes, laughs, and shares.

This is something I, until recently, had a slightly difficult time grasping when working on Take Up Space. The idea of slow media and slow but intentional creativity. We all grew into adulthood with the idea of going as fast as possible to put out “content” force-fed to our fellow “consumers” in order to receive our precious virality.

We’ve become nothing more than individual content mills, and that must change to enable deeper collaborative, collective creativity. We must allow ourselves to take breaks, to rest, to breathe in order to facilitate sustainable creations.

Maybe we could all take a few notes from boygenius and go on hiatus. Take it slow and come back with more hits.

In reality, it all boils down to alignment. How do we align ourselves with our best efforts and still remain our most authentic, genuine creators?

When you take a step back and really dig deep, consider what will be best not for the individual but for those you have yet to meet, those you have yet to impact.

I believe this is the promise of Chris Dixon’s new book Read, Write, Own and the onchain movement. I believe this is the promise we must make to ourselves each day when we move to cultivate community with others.

Fewer airdrop farmers and more care farmers.

A revolution of values.

Hunting and Gathering 🔗 

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