My Insights

Building the Fire

Building the Fire

On a clear, warm night about 20 years ago, in a lake cove in Maine, my friend and I put in the canoe he had crafted by hand. We knew where we were on the map and under the stars, and where our camp site accordingly should be.

We paddled for minutes or hours in the silky darkness, and eventually hit the sandy shore where we made camp.

I've never been so mesmerized by fire as I was that night. Surrounded in all directions by darkness, it was both terrifying and incredibly provocative to stare into the unknown. Extremes are instinctually appealing. Like going between a sauna and icy water, glancing between the fire and darkness stirred something in me.

Staring into the void, wondering if or when we'll be at the bottom - our recent flirtation with "l'appel du vide" (h/t Kristen for the name of this phenomena) feels similar.

As coins and exchanges imploded, with the 20/20 hindsight that we are increasingly gaining, it is understandable that we have this urge to stare over the edge and try to learn from where we came and what just happened. I have listened to hours of Laura Shin's pod for just this reason. But, we can only stare over the edge for so long before it beckons too dangerously.

NFT NYC was a perfectly timed break, and a reminder of what matters and how to do it.

Four cohorts in, Seed Club is still *just* getting started, but we have grown considerably in the eight months since November 2021's NFT NYC. Last week, our alumni projects' blanketed the city. From early to late, it was possible to spend all week attending their events, and still not make it to all of them. I was fortunate to visit many and bump into even more network friends: regenerative food and wine Thirsty Thirsty, underground culture COLORS, basketball hype Krause House and running into FWB Mayor Zhang on a street corner.

Wandering between them, the simultaneous interdependence and distinctness of each micro-biome we've fostered is striking. Each node exists on its own, with its own culture and call to adventure. And yet, they, we, all need each other.

At the lunch hosted by Thirsty Thirsty and Cabin, we were treated to a lesson on kombucha's symbiotic scoby. The relationship that bacteria and fungi create, and which facilitates kombucha, is both extremely interdependent and reflective of its surrounding ambience, and interestingly, exclusive and sometimes even inhospitable to neighboring cultures.

From an outsider's perspective, if one didn't know that web3 was the common unifier between these gatherings across, it would have been understandable to assume that there was no common ecosystem. That the Thirsty Thirsty luncheon, Krause tournament, Mochi picnic, Serif garden party and Refraction art show were completely unrelated. Web3, generally, and Seed Club, especially, is the sense-making protocol layer for these nodes. We are the hypernetwork.

While I'm certainly not suggesting that our nodes across the greater hypernetwork should be inhospitable or competitive (we are, after all, all gonna make it), there is something to be said for recognizing our boundaries and knowing how to focus our culture-building inward.

That wondrous night in Maine when our canoe hit shore, we gathered sticks from the edge of the woods, and turned away from the darkness to build our fire. Right now, this feels like the important work. These are a few ways that  work well for me:

Right down what I know. Then go do it.
Having a shared understanding of the "egg yolk".
Trying on leadership.
Positive dissatisfaction.

This is how I build a fire and turn away from the darkness. We may not know how the night is going to end, or what lies on the other side of the wildness, but we know enough to get to the next spot.