5L Issue #033

Where’s my mind..

Pretty words..

I put a call out on Twitter recently asking for good fiction recommendations. I had finished the series that had kept me busy the past 12 months or so on Audible and wanted something good to read.

But then that lead me to this and now I realise that by listening to my books I miss out on the clever-book-cover-experience.

The 25 Most Iconic Book Covers in History

The fine line between faking it till you make it..

… and just making up stuff.

Some of you may have been following the Court drama playing out regarding Elizabeth Holmes of the Theranos debacle. And also a similar story regarding Media Company ‘Ozy’. Both essentially the age-old story of ‘gee whizz we’re not doing so well, better act casual until the money clears’.

Sometimes-excellent-sometimes-wanky Scott Galloway made what I thought was a good point, in that many of today’s tech titans likely came very close to their own Theranos moments. But somehow, perhaps through clawing and scraping and sailing very close to the wind in the early days for just long enough for their thesis to play out, they made it through to the other side.

But are we really comfortable with that winner take all environment? Is it incentivising the right behaviours or are we asking to be lied to?

Ed Zitron says we go too far in giving ‘close to the wind’ entrepreneurs a pass so long as they last long enough to be successful. He makes the point well - when did we stop expecting entrepreneurs and founders to be honest?

The issue with both of them - and this entire situation that Burneko is discussing - is that they were both rewarded not for being great businessmen or working hard but by some combination of luck and deceit. Galloway’s ideas around “50,000 shades of grey when you’re talking about the differences between being a visionary or fraud” is accurate, but also remarkably forgiving of the elite - it intimates that there is the existence of innocent lies, framing the visionary as a dreamer that, through their naivety and capacity to hope, misleads investors and customers. This must be a nice way to look at the world - claiming that “it’s the SEC’s job with mandatory disclosures to bring the shades of grey into sharper focus” rather than it being the job of the person who is lying, for example - where the blame is taken away from the beautiful startup founders and put on the shoulders of those taking a chance on them, which is fair in the sense of venture capital but not fair on those taking jobs with them, writing about them or buying their services.

Ed Zitron's Where's Your Ed At
Faking It, Making It, And The Lie of the Meritocracy
Today, Albert Burneko of Defector had an excellent piece about media startup fraud Ozy and the larger ecosystem of pontificators and their tolerance of fraud within their industry. One particularly upsetting quote he selects is from career pontificator, Scott Galloway…
Read more

This morning got away from us..

Though not as funny as the faux-interview of the guy who brought all the shopping into the house in one trip, I quite liked this faux-press conference of the guy explaining how the day just got away from him.

Like I said, the plan was to start at 9:00. I can’t speak to all the whys or wherefores of that. What I can tell you — what I’ve already told you, but which I’m happy to repeat again because, like I said, we’re interested in complete transparency — is that somewhere in between “waking up on time,” “not going back to sleep,” and “getting started at 9:00,” something else happened.


Yes, this morning got away from us. We weren’t out of bed at 9:00. If I were to guess — I don’t like to guess, I’d rather wait until more of the numbers came in, but if we’re just talking about a back-of-the-envelope sketch, I’d say that when we realized it was 9:00 all of a sudden, even though we’d woken up on time at 8:15 and hadn’t done anything since 8:15, so how can you suddenly tell me it’s 45 minutes later when nothing has happened? If you wake up at 8:15 and then nothing happens and suddenly it’s 9:12, what are you supposed to do with that? How are you supposed to develop any sort of meaningful relationship between time and effect, between external and internal signifiers of timeliness — seasonableness — between will and action, between the body and the world the body moves through? You tell me. You tell me that, okay. You go tell those kids in the locker room who just put everything out on the line that actually no time has passed at all, because sometimes you don’t do anything and time passes, and sometimes you do as much as you can and time doesn’t pass, and you go explain that to them.

The Chatner
A Press Conference About What Happened To This Morning Where I Was Going To Get So Much Done
The Chatner’s lovely new logo is the work of John Leavitt, who once made a beautiful watercolor portrait of Dr. Zoidberg for a Toast piece I’m going to retroactively declare had “strong transmasculine resonance.” Good morning. Thank you all for coming on such short notice. Let’s g— you’re right, of course. My mistake. I do apologize. …
Read more

The Web3 Era..

Ok. I’m getting a bit exhausted with all this ‘going to change the game forever’ talk.

Remember when people were so pleased talking about ‘Web 2.0’ and patting themselves on the back over how clever they were allowing users to engage directly with other users and even creating content for their platforms to monetise? Remember? The people? In the meetings? Saying ‘Web 2.0’ and then sitting back and looking all smug over how cutting edge they were?

Ugh. Well, now some bastard says we’re approaching ‘Web3’ and I’m over it.

The short version is as follows:

Web1 (roughly 1990-2005) was about open protocols that were decentralized and community-governed. Most of the value accrued to the edges of the network — users and builders.

Web2 (roughly 2005-2020) was about siloed, centralized services run by corporations. Most of the value accrued to a handful of companies like Google, Apple, Amazon, and Facebook.

We are now at the beginning of the web3 era, which combines the decentralized, community-governed ethos of web1 with the advanced, modern functionality of web2.

Web3 is the internet owned by the builders and users, orchestrated with tokens. 

Yep. Fucking tokens. Reckons life’s gonna be powered by meme-tokens and blockchain-verified pointlessness. The kids gonna stop bringing home artwork for the fridge and just point to their NFT available for auction.

So gross.

The idea is that you might commit to a platform to try to earn as many of that platform’s tokens as you can, and to build up value in the ecosystem, and so the tokens you hold appreciate as the platform becomes more popular.

It’s like these VC folk have never played an MMO with in-game currency or collectibles.

It’s hype, baby. And I call bullshit.

Why Web3 Matters

If you enjoyed any of these links, the best way you can help me is by forwarding this email on to a friend. They can browse past issues and subscribe at this link

- Bennett


Cover Photo by Luis Alfonso Orellana on Unsplash