I try to help independents and freelancers survive without growing their companies, because growth is the fastest path to dismay, hubris, and all the other modes of failure. Entrepreneurship is a cognitive disability, one that disrupts risk-seeking behavior and self-assessment, and as a survivor of the Entrepreneurship Industrial Complex I try my best to help young earnest people escape its fell clutches.
Much of that has been work done at Vague Innovation, LLC
. Over the last few years,I've also been a co-owner of Workantile
, a coworking community in Ann Arbor, MI.
I also teach machines to think about the world. That may sound like an exaggeration, but really the problem is your—our—misunderstanding of what we mean by "thought". We can talk philosophy ’til the cows turn blue, though, without settling that little argument… and that's an object lesson in itself. At any rate, a lot of my work on these projects seems on the surface to involve genetic programming, and they "think" because we have to use basic science after the fact to be able to understand what the hell they have done to solve our problems.
Which if you think about it, is an awful lot like psychology and evolutionary biology....
I know a bit of weird technical stuff and have a little common sense regarding business stuff, and for some reason this inspires folks to ask me to come visit and listen to them tell stories about their work and their goals and "the future". Usually I tell them they are wrong in a number of ways they've never considered, but nonetheless that seems to please them.
I digitize books, even when Google thinks they've "done" them, and then republish them all for free. More than republish them, in fact.
I pontificate endlessly about the nature of work, the economy, and rickety cultural assumptions along those lines. Mainly this ends up being stuff about agile project management, cascades of disintermediation, a bunch of stuff about the tacit revival of anarchism, and what it would be like to kill and eat a corporation—without harming any of its employees, of course, because as we all know, that would be wrong.
If we meet, I'll ask you two or three questions. "Who are you?" and "What do you want?" and maybe a third that depends on your answers to those.
And I always play scissors the first two rounds of rock-paper-scissors.