Robin Sloan's Optimistic, Energizing Take on Changes in Tech

As the plat­forms of the last decade crumble, we might put “founder” culture back on the shelf. Startup finance works fine if you dream of build­ing a business of a very particular kind; and, like, thank you for Shopify! Seriously! But for a decade, this very par­tic­u­lar kind of busi­ness had a lock not only on internet commerce, but inter­net cul­ture, too, with only ill effect.

I want to insist on an ama­teur internet; a garage internet; a pub­lic library internet; a kitchen ta­ble inter­net. Now, at last, in 2023, I want to tell the tech CEOs and ven­ture capitalists: pipe down. Buzz off. Go fave each other’s tweets.

It’s plain that nei­ther the big tech com­pa­nies nor the startup financiers are going to pro­duce the “ways of relat­ing” that will mat­ter in the next decade. Almost by def­i­n­i­tion, any exper­i­ment that’s truly path­break­ing and provoca­tive is too weird and tiny for them to suffer. They are trapped in their stu­pen­dous scale; lucky us.

A year of new avenues