The Foundation for Everything

He could literally be talking about YEN in this wide-sweeping interview with Marc Andreessen (he’s talking about Substack, Clubhouse, and other “social” products).

I don’t have a positive or negative reaction to that, by the way. Here:

N.S.: Recently you’ve invested in at least two companies, Clubhouse and Substack, that are part of a new wave of social media. Discord might also be included in that wave. Why now? What was lacking in the “old social media” of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube? How might the new networks improve on that?

M.A.: It’s not so much what is lacking in the incumbents. It’s more the importance of communication as the foundation of everything that people do, and how we open up new ways for people to communicate, collaborate, and coordinate. Like software, communication technology is something that people tend to pooh-pooh, or even scorn — but, when you compare what any one of us can do alone, to what we can do when we are part of a group or a community or a company or a nation, there’s no question that communication forms the backbone of virtually all progress in the world. And so improving our ability to communicate is fundamental.

Clubhouse is the Athenian agora come to life, globally. I mean that seriously. Clubhouse is the first venue for people anywhere in the world to come together in groups to talk — not metaphorically, but literally — about any topic they can imagine. It’s so striking that in our primarily textual technological world, people are instantly enthusiastic about the opportunity to participate in oral culture online — there is something timeless about talking in groups, whether it’s around a campfire 5,000 years ago or on an app today.

Substack is the business model for intellectual creativity that’s been missing on the Internet for 30 years. I’m so excited about this. Substack isn’t a new form of communication; in fact it’s the original form of Internet communication — the written essay, the IETF Request for Comments, the newsgroup posting, the group email, the blog post. But until now you could never get paid for writing online, and now all of a sudden you can. I think it’s hard to imagine how transformational this is going to be.

Substack is causing enormous amounts of new quality writing to come into existence that would never have existed otherwise — raising the level of idea formation and discourse in a world that badly needs it. So much of legacy media, due to the technological limitations of distribution technologies like newspapers and television, makes you stupid. Substack is the profit engine for the stuff that makes you smart.

Communication is the foundation to all that we do!

And this is why I’ve spent my life studying it and why I’ve built a tool and a system that provides it in its “base” layer; the simplest web-based expression of connection between humans on the web. It fuels an unbelievable curiosity and it’s become much of my life’s work.

It’s my art and it’s really what the metaverse is all about.