The Internet Is Noisy

Play status games, win status prizes

I’m finding it exceedingly frustrating for the average person to build.

On the software side, everything is fucked. We went from having cutesie Ruby on Rails apps deployed instantly on Heroku. Now, it’s “Build scale into your app from Day 1” and “Bake sharding keys into your app with our automated schema tooling engine”

Why people need to learn about Docker/Ansible/k8s, frankly at all, but definitely before they deploy their app, is criminal to me, but I’m working on it.

In comparison to what’s described next, building environments for automagic dev/deployment seems trivial. It’s not, but what follows is frankly impossible, because we’re dealing with humans and not computers.

Welcome To The Status Arms Race

The internet is really noisy. I’m talking, fucked up levels of noise. And not just in a “Wow everyones on TikTok/Twitter/etc”. Everyone is online, particularly those who seek status.

I miss the recesses of the internet where magic happened. I remember spending late nights back in 2011 hardware hacking with men 3-4x my age, over IRC and videochat (Can’t happen now, parents are way too cautious). It was fun, but it was calm. Every day after school I’d log into this magic world where people just built shit, for fun.

I don’t know if it was childhood innocence, or the industry transformed, but now everyone who seems to seek status comes to tech, and San Francisco. Those people who tinker, and build, are overshadowed by the Stanford Grad VC Scouts who come here for the prestige.

These people are better at schmoozing, they’re more charismatic, and they’ll bubble up to the top, because management and likability have better multiples than sitting in a room, fiddling and hacking. The only hope the builders have is to either:

  1. Play the games at a disadvantage

  2. Double down on building

There’s a third option: Get so exceedingly good at both you make them look like amateurs in either domain, but that one’s a little harder

Point is: we need more builders, and the incentives are stacked against them. We need more people who, given a pile of money + status and a pile of toys + time, will choose the latter any god damn day of the week.

These are the people I’m interested in hanging out with.

The tinkerers, the people who desire to bring magic into the world. Not the people who schmooze and enjoy a $1000 bottle of wine. I’ve done it, it’s cool, but it’s like dreaming of owning a fast car; I’d really hope you’d grow out of it, or realize the magic in it it comes from it’s scarcity.

So I ask: where do you find those people? I’ve had this discussion with almost every person new I come into contact with, and we never came to a good conclusion.

I suspect it’ll be somewhere in biohacking forums; I suspect it takes a full outcasting from conventional society, like I was for modding old consoles, to create these nice little magic pockets.

However, these magic pockets are sadly poetic, in the sense that, they can’t exist at scale, because the status seekers, the one’s who are in it for the money, come and ruin the actual party with a party of their own.

If you find one of these, cherish the magic moments while they last. If you’re so inclined, send them my way. I promise to never perpetuate the murder of that magic.