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Means of Creation

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Means of Creation

Li Jin and Nathan Baschez

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Work is changing. The old structures that dominated the 20th century are gradually being replaced by platforms and cultures that have grown up on the internet that aim to help people do what they love for a living. Li and Nathan unpack this new passion economy in a weekly conversation with guests at the forefront of this change.
 
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show series
 
This week, Dan and Nathan talk about Lex, the new word processor that Nathan has been working on. It's like Google Docs, but it has an AI baked in that helps you get unstuck, generate title ideas, and more. Sign up at https://lex.page We'll be rolling out beta invites over the coming weeks, to get early access become a paid subscriber to Every! htt…
 
This week we've got something special! Loyal listeners may recall an episode we recorded a few weeks ago where we discussed Nathan's review of a new bestselling book called Slouching Towards Utopia. If you liked that, you're in luck, because this week we talk to the author himself, Brad DeLong!! This was a super wide-ranging conversation, which sho…
 
Three topics: Productivity is Emotion Regulation. Dan has been tweeting "____ is emotion regulation" a lot lately. What does that mean? It means a lot of the things we do are actually ineffectual, indirect attempts at regulating an emotion. Also, it means doing that thing well is only possible when our emotions are under control. Speaking of which.…
 
This week we've got a mind-expanding conversation with Dr. Emily Anhalt. Emily is a psychologist and co-founder of Coa, a gym for your mental health. She's spent years studying the psychology of entrepreneurs (and is a founder herself) so we spent the episode diving deep into: - The pros and pitfalls of the entrepreneurial psychology - What defense…
 
Three topics: Figma! It's not every day a company gets bought for $20 billion. Dan shares a story of how he actually met the Figma co-founder and CEO back in the day at an... interesting... retreat. And then we talk about why Figma succeeded, and why Adobe wanted them so bad they were willing to pay 10% of their market cap. How to find your next th…
 
Three topics: Is Apple Stuck? The Apple event this week was full of sustaining innovations—nothing revolutionary. It feels like radical new products are a thing of the distant past. Why? Creative Extravagance. Some people say focus is key, that you can't do anything great unless you ruthlessly say no. But what if that's just not true? Dan's latest …
 
Three topics: Are AI image generators ethical? There are three main arguments against: that they were trained on artist’s works without permission, that they could put artists out of work en masse, and that they could be use for abuse and deepfakes. Dan and Nathan dive into the issues and emerge with a better understanding than they had before. Int…
 
This week we’ve got an interview that blew my mind, a truly mind-expanding conversation with Michael Mignano. Mike co-founded Anchor in 2015 and grew it into the world’s largest podcast hosting platform, it was acquired by Spotify in 2019 and he went on to become Head of Talk at Spotify. Recently he left and has been angel investing and is on a tea…
 
Three topics: Controversy! How hard should we work? This week a startup with a cute soup dumpling logo tweeted a tweet that got them in trouble, about how you have to work hard if you want to work there. We discuss why people didn’t like it, and finally for once and all end the debate about how hard people should work. (Ha!) Crying CEO gets NYT tre…
 
Three topics this week: The new Clubhouse. It's been a couple years since Clubhouse came out and attracted astronomical hype (which Nathan was a part of) and since then things seem to have died down a bit. But Clubhouse is releasing a new version of the app that seems pretty interesting. Dan and Nathan talk about why we and many others stopped usin…
 
Four topics this week: The crying CEO meme. What went wrong there? Why would someone post something like that? The answers are deeper and more interesting than you might think. The unreasonable effectiveness of 1:1 learning. You might not think it's worth the time, money, or effort to get a private tutor. You might think nobody tutors people for th…
 
Amanda Natividad is a marketer that grew her Twitter audience from 0 to 100k in just two years. In that same span of time Nathan grew his Twitter following from like 12k to 37k. (Cue sad trombone wah-wah sound.) In this special interview episode of Ordinary Astronauts, Nathan learns everything he can from Amanda about how to grow an audience, and t…
 
Three topics this week: Is Social Media Dying? Last week we published an essay by Michael Mignano that made waves, predicting The End of Social Media. The theory is that algorithmic feeds are going to outcompete friend/follow graphs. The question is why, and the answer is that we're generally more interested in people who are professionally interes…
 
Three topics this week: Instagram's Existential Bet — why do they think they need to become more like TikTok? Why isn't it working that well so far, compared to when they copied Snapchat Stories? The answer has to do with the purpose and structure of TikTok's network, and why it's less compatible with Instagram than Snapchat was. Also, an interesti…
 
Nathan and Logan talk about: What’s going on in markets right now? Public markets haven’t found a bottom yet—what is the effect on VC rounds? Why tech investors aren’t conspiring to bring down deal prices How the shifting capital markets might affect decisions that founders make about what types of businesses they want to build What caused him to s…
 
Welcome to the first episode of Ordinary Astronauts! Every week Dan and Nathan will talk about whatever is interesting to them within the world of tech, product building, and the psychology of work. This week: Medium. How are they doing? What's going on in the broader market for writing on the internet? Read more here. How to Analyze a Market. Ther…
 
Historically, humans have organized themselves in a variety of ways: from tribes and councils, to LLCs, and C-Corps. But these forms of organization tend to be centralized in nature, and feel slightly out of place today. With so much of our personal and professional lives taking place online now, the real question is: what does an internet-native w…
 
How we portray ourselves online has become almost as relevant as how we portray ourselves IRL: Bored Apes and CryptoPunks are the new tailored suits and designer handbags. In years past, digital status-signaling was largely restricted to gaming communities but the post-COVID world has created a vibrant digital fashion scene with major fashion house…
 
In this episode of our web3 explainer series, we take on an ambitious task: explaining Ethereum from the ground up. We unpack what Ethereum is, how it works, and why it matters. We spoke to Preethi Kasireddy, founder of DappCamp, which introduce students to the Ethereum ecosystem and helps them build their first web3 product in just three weeks. Pr…
 
In this second episode of our new web3 explainer series we ask an important, and hard to answer question: is crypto *actually* destroying the planet? Over the last year, crypto has witnessed mainstream adoption, with billions of dollars of value exchanged across different blockchains. But this shift has created a pressing problem: the current proce…
 
For the next few episodes of Means of Creation, we are piloting a series of web3 explainers—unpacking some of the fundamental concepts of web3, from first principles. The goal is to explore various topics, trends, and projects that people want to learn more about but find confusing! Essentially, to ask the questions we’ve been too afraid to ask in …
 
Pinterest is often written off as a digital mood board used to inspire purchases and future plans—a place for its 444 million monthly users to share recipes, DIY craft projects, home décor ideas, beauty tutorials, fashion, or just about anything else. But in reality, Pinterest is a dark horse in the creator economy. Many of those users have become …
 
Hey friends! It's been awhile! We figured, what better way to come back than with a conversation with Dan and Nathan's actual therapist: Dan Tarplin. Every Wednesday for almost two years we've been seeing Dan to work on our relationship with each other and with the business, and it's been one of the best investments we've ever made. In this convers…
 
A recurring theme on this show has been creator and user empowerment—more specifically, how founders can build scalable businesses that don’t just extract value from their users, but instead, allow them to directly benefit from the value they help create. In the past, web2 gig economy marketplaces have had to be extractive—imposing higher take-rate…
 
In this episode, we were joined by Erik Forman, the co-founder of The Drivers Cooperative, a driver-owned alternative to Uber and Lyft. Erik spoke about how he got interested in the labor movement, his experience organising workers, what it means to be a socialist entrepreneur, and what a modern labor movement could look like in today’s platform-do…
 
Nathan interviewed Li in this special episode of Means of Creation, where she talks about the $110M fund she recently raised with Jesse Walden and Spencer Noon of Variant. If you’re an avid fan of the show, you may have noticed how the podcast’s focus has shifted from platforms in the passion economy to user-owned networks within web3. In this epis…
 
What does it mean to crave admiration and respect? How can we handle it if we feel we're not getting it? The usual Ted Lasso gang (Dan, Nathan, Rachel) convene to recap the finale of season 2. Of course we talk about everything that happened with Nate's storyline, but we also talk about how we've all been in similar situations as Nate, and what Ted…
 
(Ahoy, there! Spoilers ahead!)This week, the gang obsesses over Dan’s galaxy brain theory connecting Nate’s downfall with Sam’s courtship by the Ghanaian billionaire. Questions include: should Nate be fired? What do you do when forgiveness doesn’t change a perpetrator’s behavior? How do you design a consequence? Will Ted use the revelation of his p…
 
Packy McCormick, author of Not Boring, one of the most widely-read analysts in tech. His newsletter now has more than 75k subscribers and he's raised a fund to back startups he finds interesting. In this conversation, we focus on how Packy went from crypto-skeptic to writing a post almost every week about crypto. We also talk about where power will…
 
(Spoilers, as usual!)In this special double-header, the crew discusses some of the biggest episodes of the season so far. What is going on with Nate? What did Jamie's confrontation with his father unlock in Ted, and why? How do our parents affect us, and why is vulnerability so hard, yet so important? We explore all these questions and more!…
 
The hype around crypto-native communities such as Loot and Nouns DAO have taken over all our Twitter feeds. But how do these communities arise and gather momentum? Our guest this week, Patrick Rivera, gives us an inside look into the social and financial motivations driving some of crypto’s most prominent communities. Being a part of these communit…
 
In the this episode of Ted Lasso, Higgins decides to take Coach Beard aside and ask him whether he really thinks it's a good idea to get back into a relationship with Jane, because the last time they were together it was pretty tumultuous. We all face situations like this in the world of work: should we tell our founder when we're worried about the…
 
Dan, Nathan and Rachel, discuss what is perhaps the low point of a season that has already had its share of peaks and valleys. Why does the latest installment of Ted Lasso feel untrue to both the spirit of the show and the world beyond it? Listen through to find out—and to hear how each of the hosts hope the creators might turn it around in the sea…
 
The creator economy is in constant flux, with DAOs and NFTs currently having taken centre stage. Our guest this week, Kyle Chayka, is uniquely positioned to understand these shifts. As a writer covering technology and culture, he is simultaneously involved in three very different worlds: He is a contributing writer at The New Yorker, a legacy media…
 
Dan, Nathan and Rachel reunite to discuss the second and third episodes of Ted Lasso's sophomore season, which they much prefer to the premiere. From deeply-felt thematic throughlines about mentor/mentee relationships, to the funniest gags in the show's history, the trio is engaging with Ted Lasso—or is it Led Tasso?—from every angle, so make this …
 
In an increasingly platform-mediated world, platforms have outsized control over their participants—whether that’s app developers in the creator economy, or rideshare drivers in the gig economy. We’ve been trying to understand how this can be changed for the better—how platform participants can be made rightful stakeholders; bridging the gap betwee…
 
It's a very special time of year—a new season of Dan and Nathan's favorite show on management, positivity and leadership is starting back up. That's right, it's Ted Lasso time—and for the Apple show's second season, Talk Therapy will be welcoming fellow viewer and editor extraordinaire Rachel Jepsen to recap each episode after it airs! In this disc…
 
Within traditional games like RuneScape and World of Warcraft, there have always been vibrant economies where players buy, sell, and exchange in-game assets. But these traditional games are also closed ecosystems—none of them let players transfer assets across different games or exchange their in-game assets for money. Blockchain-based games totall…
 
Nathan got himself a new fitness tracking device—and promptly found himself using it to track something unexpected: emotions. Returning to a recent management misunderstanding with Dan, he explains how the device alerted him to what he was feeling, and why his initial interpretation of his own reactions didn't hold up to scrutiny.…
 
Nathan and Dan welcome Joshua Ogundu, a fellow member of the LA tech community, to the podcast for an open and insightful conversation about the benefits of therapy, and why it's never too late to begin. Take it from Joshua, whose openness about recently starting therapy is an inspiration, and a reminder that the practice can yield surprising resul…
 
here’s a shift afoot at Twitter. The long-time microblogging platform has recently made a series of moves to position itself beyond just tweets, including acquiring the newsletter company Revue and introducing tools to help creators make money on the platform. When Twitter acquired Revue, the company declared that it was making a “better home for w…
 
Hot off a week spent brushing up on the finer points of game theory, Dan tells Nathan why a study in human behavior—specifically, cooperation—has conclusions that put cofounder relationships into a fresh new context. It turns out that just because the stakes of every interaction between founders may not be life and death, social biology makes a goo…
 
Spotify is doubling down on investing in creators. Within the past week alone, the music giant both launched its own live audio app, Greenroom, to directly compete with Clubhouse and acquired an audio news feed app, Podz, to improve creator discovery. But while these moves might seem sudden, Spotify’s Chief R&D Officer Gustav Söderström has been th…
 
Nathan's been staying up to write into the wee hours of the night. Talking with Dan about how he balances sporadic work habits with a cohabitating relationship, he drills down on a larger question: how do we decide what's important? As the cofounders exchange their ongoing rubrics for prioritizing tasks, they hit on something crucial about running …
 
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