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DAOs After Lifestyle — Toby Shorin

Are DAOs the logical evolution of a post-lifestyle culture? Toby Shorin is the co-founder of Other Internet, and author of the recent essay Life After Lifestyle. In this conversation, Steph (Media Steward) sits in for Jess while he’s AFK. Toby and Steph explore DAOs as subcultures within a post-lifestyle zeitgeist, the evergreen moral impulse of world building, and the hubris of brands attempting to supplant meaningful community connection. In spaces without clearly defined doctrines, it’s critical that we attune to the things we’re dually instructing and absorbing.

Show Notes
& Relevant Links

Toby Resources:
Other Internet
Life After Lifestyle Essay
FWB Talk

Time - Stamps:
0:00 - Intro
1:14 - What has Toby been thinking about lately
3:53 - What Does OtherInternet do?
6:51 - Otherinternet Is Not a DAO
10:05 - The Value of Learning Together
14:19 - Toby’s Life After Lifestyle Essay
26:23 - FWB & The Essay
28:06 - Positive Moral Influence
33:30 - What We Shouldn’t Lose Sight Of?
36:58 - Toby’s Influences
39:04 - Wrap Up


Steph 0:00
Hey Toby.

Toby Shorin 0:01
Hi Steph.

Steph 0:02
How are you?

Toby Shorin 0:03
I'm great.

Steph 0:04
What's the thing you've been thinking about this weekend?

Toby Shorin 0:06
So other internet is becoming a nonprofit. And I am, like in the middle of fundraising for it. And I'm trying to learn how to do that. And I don't, I've never done this before, even though lots of my friends have raised venture funding. So I'm getting like, lots of conflicting pieces of advice. It's all really good advice. I'm messaging like, tons of people doing like, a lot of random, looking into who works where and like who I've talked to about this stuff and trying to make friends with people. Yeah, I'm trying to learn how to do it. Right. Yeah. So honestly, that's consuming a huge amount of my mental space.

Steph 0:49
Yeah. Why nonprofit? Why not any other legal wrapper none at all?

Toby Shorin 0:54
Well, we've been a regular corporation. Up until this point, it's kind of hard to describe the way that we work to people. Because we are a pretty weird organization. It's sort of a research institution embedded in a squad, and like the squad came first. So there are a lot of people with different interests, different energies and ways of working. And we started this Uniswap project a year ago, and got million dollar grant from Uniswap. A big part of what we have been spending our time on, in addition to that, is all of these different internal learning practices and facilitating other members of the squad to do their own research, some of which has nothing to do with crypto governance, that's really important for us to continue. That's the main reason of the internet got together, these set of people got together in the first place was thinking together. So in order to grow that part of the organization, which is really like who we are, we need to we need to have resources that aren't contingent on us delivering client projects, I guess Uniswap is not exactly a client, per se. It's more like an ecosystem in which we're governance actor, and we tried to take responsibility there, it's somewhat more constrained in scope, we could certainly grow out, I think, a very profitable kind of governance consulting business governance, you know, professional delegation business, if we would like to my experience suggests that would change the flavor of the rest of the work that we're doing to be mostly in support that in reality, that's not really why we set out what we set out to do, or why we got together in the first place. So it's important to have other sources of capital.

Steph 2:43
Yeah. I mean, you've I feel like you've shared a version of this tension with me before that. It was one of those times I was like, What is other internet actually do? And everyone wants to know, everyone wants to know, I know. Yeah, it's the juicy question. But you were saying how like other Internet does, like you do consulting you, you like, do these these like governance. I mean, consulting feels like the word to use here. You were, yeah, you were sharing that, like, you're kind of over that you're kind of trying to get back to do something other than consulting. And when I hear you talk about the you say that other internet's like origin is this idea of a squad Delta round ideas. What does that look like beyond consulting.

Toby Shorin 3:22
This is definitely something that we are trying to figure out right now. So I think the first other internet kind of collective practice was peer review, we had this idea, hey, blogger, peer review, is this is a thing now and like anything that this group of people happen to be publishing, like, it's gonna get posted to the blogger, peer review chat first, and we're gonna all look at it and review it give qualitatively like really good feedback on it. And that kind of the first like squad collective authorship practice. And then there are other things we tried, we have tried and developed to like we use some collective funds to hire a French Revolution scholar, basically to give us some lectures about natural law theory and like different constitutional designs when we were thinking about public goods last year, and like wanting to understand where the idea of the public came from. So that was another example of testing how the squad can learn together. And then another thing we did is we hired fizzing researchers, we hired like two super young people right out of college to work with us and like develop a project of their own choosing. We kind of just added them to the squad and said, like, hey, why don't you do this? And that became a really generative project, the basis for figuring out how the core staff because they're almost the first employees of other internet actually like that became kind of the basis of figuring out how the core staff can then interface with other squad members and kind of create these containers for them to do projects. And now after almost a year of working to Other with a full time team as well as the squad, we have developed a sort of library of different formats for calls, different learning agendas, different types of ongoing cadences and rhythms and containers with starts and ends. And I think we're getting really close to figuring out how to just straight up give people in the squad like discretionary budget to just do projects of their own choosing. That's like the energy we want to have. And it went away for a while when like the full time staff came on board, because then we were like, Oh, wait, we're institution now like, we got to be really professional. I think we're now figuring out how to create the affordances for people who are just in the squad to do the things that they want to do and be supportive.

Stepn 5:41
I mean, when you're talking about this idea of creating these slides, and basically equipping them with budgets to go facilitate it explore their own ideas. I mean, that sounds like a DAO. Is it not a DAO?

Toby Shorin 5:57
Other internet is not a DAO.

Steph 5:59
Other internet is not a DAO. Why not?

Toby Shorin 6:00
There's not a DAO. I think we resist this term, because at least I resist this term, because I don't I don't like being wrapped up in like this semantic confusion around it. Too many things can be called q DAO. So I'd rather be something specific Plus, I've had to fight really hard and like work in absurdly long time to have like this applied research institution become real. And so I'm owning that title for the Lord.

Stepn 6:29
Applied research institution. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, this was one of the things that we were thinking a lot about at Seed Club. And I think also just in the space, this idea of how nonspecific the word or phrase, DAO is, when you use the word applied research institution, because there's, there's always that tension between using the language that's available as a way to create familiarity and legibility for other people, or creating new language for the thing that that is specific and speaks to what you're doing. And I see you all going that second route, sort of kind of creating, creating this like, yeah, how does it feel to be on that side of it? Like, do you feel like you have enough legibility? I mean, is it ever attention for you?

Toby Shorin 7:11
I think it is, I mean, research institution sounds pretty formal, doesn't it? Like, that's where we are trying to create some credibility affordances. But for those who know, it's also possible to describe ourselves like as the squad, which is the thing that we came up with more or less, and or not that we invented that term, but we gave it this meeting. And yeah, it's good to walk both paths. I don't see too much of a tension between the two. Honestly, I think a lot of the work that we have been kind of doing in the crypto space specifically is playing with language that might want to be revitalized. Like when we did this public goods piece that positive some worlds we thought public is the way it's being used as somewhat impoverished definition. Like why don't we attach it to like what public goods like really means in in the real world as it currently stands. And then I think that there are other words in the crypto space that we are not so fond of like protocol, politicians, or delegates, like they have affordances that are not really useful, or like not really helping DAOs, professionalize, organize themselves. But we are interested in the concept of like public servants, for instance, I think we have done a little bit less of like creating our own language, our own words from scratch on our playing more with the boards that already exists, but need to be revitalized or have properties that could be really useful for how people think and work if they were introduced. Yeah, in a new way.

Stepn 8:47
When you're talking about public goods earlier, and you were saying how y'all had started working with this renaissance historian? Yeah. I mean, that's just like the like such a classic other internet story, where there's this thing, and you're exploring this thing. And you're like, actually, let's like, go way back and look at what is the history of this thing? And you know, to me, it seems really obvious why that's important. But from your perspective, like, why do that?

Toby Shorin 9:14
First of all, it's rewarding to like learn as a group, and like use resources like that life hack, you can hire a random scholar and pay them a few $1,000 to give you lectures, like that's sick as fuck more people should do that.

Stepn 9:29
If that's the one thing you take away from this, that's what you should do.

Toby Shorin 9:32
For real that's a huge life hack dogs. Yeah. But then I think the other part is, a lot of things that are happening in the crypto space are like echoes of themes or like their iterations on very old themes. There's a history of liberal thought and when we talk about stuff like the network state, or crypto states was like the, you know, the term before balaji book came out, he's not the first person to you know, come up with that comparison. And you know, Luis Quinta has been on that wave for literally years, what we're talking about is a moral impulse to create our own society where we can designate our own rules where we can decide how it is we want to live. That's the liberal drive. And it's been with us for like, a few 100 years since the French Revolution, basically. So it's we wanted to look at the French Revolution, specifically, because that's where constitutional design was kind of first created. But secondly, or more broadly, there are a lot of things I think we can understand about this moment by looking at the historical variations, whether those are the tensions between the aristocracy and the nascent democratic movement in the UK, right after the French Revolution happened when democracy was still seen as like this kind of dangerous terrorist idea, or the tensions between different thinkers in like the 19th century, who argued for the different kinds of emphasis on like state church and like democratic or like labor involvement in setting like political agendas, there's just a lot to learn about, like what is happening now and historical versions of the same political arguments that can be used to parse through some of the FUD and just like ideological gambling, that's, that's happening at the current moment. Why does

Stepn 11:23
it feel like we are really at the edge of this of this, like big cultural revolution? Do you think it felt this way for people who were in that period of time, like during the French Revolution, or during the Renaissance? Like, do you feel like do you feel like they also felt the sense of we are on the edge of something? Yeah.

Toby Shorin 11:42
Well, yeah, cuz they were fucking dying, like, the French Revolution was just a huge massacre, which is why it was so controversial. Like the people who were on the edge, were literally like, you know, gay attaining aristocrats, like, all the time, it was a war, it was a civil war.

Stepn 11:59
Do you think that there's like a crypto vs non crypto war going on?

Toby Shorin 12:05
I think banking, the banking sector is very unhappy about crypto and about like tech in general and is doing a lot to entrench itself legally protect its own interests. So I think there's for sure, a struggle over the nature of digital currency and digital financial rails, I wouldn't go so far as to call it or but yeah, I can understand why some people in the crypto space like perceive it like that.

Stepn 12:34
Yeah, I mean, I feel like there is this felt sensation in the crypto space. And I think in some ways in the DAO space to that, like, like, and I certainly experienced this when I'm talking to non crypto native friends or people that I feel like a sense of great disconnection and just like almost unreliability to that world. And then when I come when I'm like, with my, like, people who are in this world, there is just like, great sense of solidarity. And obviously, I've never been at war and have never survived a war. But like, there is that sense of almost like fraternity or something with folks who are in in the crypto space, and then just like to kind of connect it to your like life after lifestyle essay, because it's actually feels really relevant. Why does it feel that way? Why do you and I feel like we have so much solidarity, even though we barely know each other? And like.

Toby Shorin 13:23
I think because you're a real one?

Stepn 13:29
Isn't it? Yeah.

Toby Shorin 13:30
I get what you're asking, though. Let me

Stepn 13:31

Toby Shorin 13:33
I don't know. I mean, I mean, honestly, I don't know, I could speak for, you know, the two of us. But I think that the kind of like we're all in this together. The feelings of solidarity are perhaps a little overblown. And I expect it to 2024 election will reveal a lot of political fault lines that currently are being paid for Miss shade over Yeah, yeah. Sorry to be a downer about that but.

Stepn 13:58
No, no, I, I think so maybe, maybe it's like a different there is some or maybe not, maybe, I mean, maybe challenge me on that. Like, do you think that we have a shared culture in web three in crypto? Like, of course, like, of course, there's there these subcultures. And you know, you've got, you've got DAOs, you've got DeFi, you've got NFTs, you've got, you know, even just like retail consumers, but do you think that there is a shared more like global culture across crypto.

Toby Shorin 14:26
It sometimes feels that way. But it definitely feels that way more during the bull market. So I'm not 100% sure, yeah, what the culture of crypto is there's been too many. There's also been a lot of different waves. I think that the people are consistent, but even people's positions have changed a lot. And it's hard for me to point to a single point in time and be like, this is consistent with now or like I don't know if I could personally name a trait that is like indigenous to the crypto space.

Stepn 14:57
I mean, just to jump around for a second in your essay so first of all, I feel like to call it an essay is like almost a pejorative for what this is. Yeah. I mean, you started writing this in 2016.

Toby Shorin 15:09
Yeah, the first version of it was kind of like just about the idea of lifestyle, like, what is a lifestyle brand? At the time, I was really just trying to figure out how brands work kind of infatuated with companies that I perceived as like understanding the logic of how like people form their identities better. Yeah, it was really trying to understand like how it is that like a brand becomes like central to somebody's identity, how products do that. So the first version of this of me writing about this topic was really just about that. But already at that time, I think I had developed some empathy for because I was able to see it as more of a social learning process, rather than some form of malnourished consumer identity formation, I was able to empathize with people in that position and like to be less suspicious of it. And I think many.

Stepn 16:05
So that was my experience. I've read this essay three times now. And like, each time, that's always been my experience. It's like, Yeah, I mean, it's an incredible piece of work. Yeah. And every time that I read it, I so appreciate the lack of Yeah, of moral judgment that you place on this moment in time. And especially like, I'm a huge participant in this moment in time, both as a consumer and as someone who comes from a brand building background, I talk about my experience of with my quip toothbrush, often, and how like the toothbrush itself, it's like a fine product. You know, the branding is very millennial, but I am so dedicated to this idea that I am someone who intentionally carves out three minutes of my day, aspirationally twice a day, but at least once a day, where I just like, engage in this really restorative act of wellness, that like that is my identity and quip enables that part of my identity, I think that's a good thing for me. You know, it's like, it's, I think that there's, there's ways in which, you know, there's totally, you know, conspicuous consumption and, and the way that we attach ourselves to brand and brand story that I think can become to use your word, like malnourished. And that's a really, really apt word. But I think that's what I really appreciated about this was I felt so seen. And also, I felt really seen and in my experience of lifestyle, and this moment in time, but then also felt seen in how, yeah, like, there's more like, I want more, and you say this in the piece, you're like, brands aren't going far enough. What do you mean by that?

Toby Shorin 17:37
It is probably my most dangerous claim?

Stepn 17:41
Well, I feel like I saw you in that part of the essay, like kind of dancing around the wave that.

Toby Shorin 17:46
Then dancing around it here too, because like, my actual feeling is that like, if you work at an agency, and like, you feel enabled by that, like, Fuck you, you are not structurally even in a position to enable that for your clients. And like, you should know that because you work in an agency world and like, you know exactly how constrained you are, and how rarely, clients are able to execute on your advice. So like, just don't even try. That's my agency. Disclaimer, I love it, it's cool to hear your relationship with brushing your teeth, and like how the product enables that to become even more of a ritual for you. The idea is really of like, okay, can you take that even further is Can that be even more meaningful, and like brushing your teeth may not be the tightest example, or may not be so straightforward. But how can that moment of like self care and wellness be connected to other points, and like parts of your life in a way that like, enriches it with even more meaning, I think it's quite difficult to imagine how to do that. Because as a consumer, and like meaning maker, your moment of like brushing your teeth, and like the idea of like wellness that you're affiliated with, or whatnot is not really the same, I'm guessing this about you, I could, but like, it's probably not the same world of meaning as yourself as like a wind enjoyer or like cannabis consumer or other other rituals that you have, which is definitely a different self than like the self that you're bringing to this podcast recording in your work at Seed Club, right? This is kind of what some people call like, the atomized self, which is like the kind of characteristic quality of the modern subject is that they have these things that are kind of meaningful, but the meanings are different worlds of meaning. They're different systems of meaning that are different parts of themselves and not integrated. On the one hand, like Oh, it's okay because like it's kind of cool that you can have those disparate things within yourself and like maybe it's a little bit more experimental but you also means that they aren't like integrated, and like they don't enrich one another. So putting this idea of like, going further in this large context of a self that's integrated, whose like meanings are integrated into, like a larger world or system sounds pretty difficult for like a single brand to achieve, I think and once again, to anyone who's actually working on a brand and like thinks that they can accomplish that, like do not have that hubris. But this is why it all points to religion and sacredness as like the place where those meetings can come together. And he made sense of.

Stepn 20:39
I mean, to follow this idea of hubris, because it you get at this a little bit in the essay too, and stick with me here for a second, have you heard of this idea? Brand, flagship platform?

Toby Shorin 20:49

Stepn 20:50
So this may or may not surprise you, but I have a subscription to Harvard Business Review.

Toby Shorin 20:59
Go for it.

Stepn 21:00
I love that for you. And in one of their recent issues, they talked about this idea of a brand flagship platform. And it's supposed to be the sort of like, answer to the brand aggregate platform. So things like an Amazon or Walmart, and a brand flagship platform is basically when a brand, let's say like Nike creates this, this like more integrated experience that includes a services, product and content. So obviously the product, you know, they've got their sneakers and their and your gear, and then there's content. So you know, as millennials, we're very familiar with content and the way in which brands engage in content marketing, which you also address in the piece. And then, and then there's this idea of services, which is where I think I'm seeing, for instance, Nike in this one case study reaching for this idea of integration by bringing in like nutrition experts, and like other third party apps, so or for other third party brands, like I don't know, like athletic greens, or something, and, and it's all kind of crashing into each other within this digital experience of an app. And I can't remember the name of the Nike app right now. But I'm sure lots of folks will know what it is. And yeah, and there's also this idea of community, they call it crowdsourcing and crowd sending. So this idea of like, crowdsource event, that seems pretty obvious. But like this idea of crowd sending, which is where you then allow people to curate with each other and like, create their own meaning with each other. And so you sort of like remove yourself as an intermediary within your, your platform. And so I see something like this, and I'm, I'm thinking this is them attempting to go further. You know, they're, they're sitting there thinking we're not going far enough. We're gonna go further with this brand flagship platform idea. At the same time, I hear you say really clearly, like, don't have the hubris to attempt that, right. And I somewhat agree, like as someone who has spent my life building brands, and then thinking about what we're doing at Seed Club, as well. And then I also think about what Nike is doing through this, this idea of this flagship platform, I guess, I don't see that much difference from like, what we're doing in crypto, right. There are some differences. But like, let's just take a DAO, right? Like there's, we're essentially crashing the idea of community, which you get at that word. And then we're crashing product, and then like media as a sort of like trinity of things that DAOs are engaged in. And so yeah, like, are we like kind of stepping out of our lane here in crypto by attempting to create these post lifestyle cults or whatever the word is we want to use to qualify them like is this a fool's errand.

Toby Shorin 23:34
There's so much to respond to here? I think it's important to understand that most of the things that are happening in the crypto space are driven by the fact that the basic product is like tokens, it's currencies, and it comes out of these like sovereign monies, ideas that were more prevalent in the earlier stages of crypto, I think to some degree, there's a little bit of self delusion going on about like, what is DAO because it's more that like, we had Bitcoin that we had a bunch of alt coins, then we had Ethereum and then we had ERC 20 tokens and like, when the ICO phase was hitting, it was necessary to have a platform with which to talk about these tokens to like, you know, show them and like aggregate the community in one place, so we added discords onto the stack. And you know, before you had snapshot you still you had stuff like source cred and like these bots to like attach token getting membership to a discord. It seems to me that like the way DAO is often being used now is kind of like a post hoc justification for the stack that has come into being in order to shill tokens. And now there's all of these like kind of aspirational meanings that are projected on it that are not necessarily like DAO and like the DAO stack was like, not designed. It's more derived from the properties of like, ICOs. This is kind of a hot take, but I think this is a really hot topic. I'm trying to and get at the idea that, like DAOs don't represent like an attempt to do anything. Maybe they do now, but they they're not quite the same as these like brand platforms. They're they're more like an emergent shape.

Stepn 25:14
You talk about FWB. And obviously you gave this talk at FWB, right? Yeah, what's the through line with FWB. And within this essay.

Toby Shorin 25:22
A through line with FWB it's not so much of a through line, it more happens to be that FWB represents one of the most sophisticated attempts to create, like an actual scene or subculture, even though it's based on this emergent design kit, you can say that is the DAO stack as at work. And you can see a lot of the weirdness like the fact that like, it isn't designed because like, normally, when you do a scene, you don't capitalize the scene with venture capital, like that doesn't really happen. So you can see that it's like more native, it's something that is trying to be built on top of this, like, you know, weird ICO legacy edifice, but you know, the people who are running it are like, you know, big culture and entertainment people. And there's a genuine attempt to create something a little bit more lasting, which is just interesting can they do.

Stepn 26:17
Do you think they can?

Toby Shorin 26:18
I hope so.

Stepn 26:19
You say this thing at essay tech founders are not yet prepared to operate communities that are first and foremost places of moral influence. Yeah. And as someone who identifies, you know, aspirationally, as a tech founder, I found this very compelling, because I agree. Yeah. And yet, we still do it. And I guess, do you consider yourself a tech founder?

Toby Shorin 26:42
No, but I'm pretending to in public. So for anyone who's listening to this, like, please keep believing me when I say yeah, I am.

Stepn 26:50
Firm, tech founder in public.

Toby Shorin 26:53
I'm a founder in tech, but I don't think I'm a tech founder.

Stepn 26:57
Yeah, I mean, my experience at Seed Club, and what I perceived to be your experience at other internet as well, is this idea that we are attempting to build spaces of positive moral influence of, of social change of yeah, just like positive impact on the world. And even if I totally feel underprepared, and I think that, you know, you and I often talk about just like the challenges of being in varying positions of influence, just how much we're both like fumbling. And yet we continue to aspire.

Toby Shorin 27:34
You're special stuff, like, not everyone is like you. I guess. I don't know, I think a lot of founders genuinely have their hearts in the right place. Like they have good intentions, if not pure intentions. And nobody has like perfect intentions. But I don't know, I was talking to a founder not that long ago, who described when I was asking about their the chief sources of influence on them for like the cultural project that they are doing, they like pointed to their collegiate experience. And I actually know that their college like I had visited that college. And I think it's like, it's actually nice, like, they do have a good culture there. But I thought it was pretty sad that like, a probably 40 year old person, like could only really point to that as like a generative, and like life giving space in their life. It indicated to me that like that that person didn't have very clear sources of like, moral influence, or like examples of community leadership, what that tells me is like, that person will not try to create that shape of an organization. Like, they will probably try to create an organization that looks more like a business with a community element strapped on, like a classic web 2.0 brand with a business or brand with the community. Or they will if they are trying to create a more meaningful space, like there's a higher risk that they will create one that like just isn't so nourishing, you know, maybe has bad vibes. And yeah, I think most people in my experience, my age, like just haven't experienced those types of spaces. On the other hand, it's so much easier to have these conversations with people who had who have spent a lot of time in religious community. It's way easier to engage with them on this level. And like people who have spent time in those spaces have very rich vocabulary for different types of leadership, and like a community design sounds so like weird and astrophotography but like, Design Principles for community and gathering belonging I I think that that's what I mean by like, people who identify as tech founders like are not typically those who have had those types of experience. And now, Oh, it's hot to do community. So that's what we're gonna do. But like, you haven't had those experiences, and it's likely that the person who you're hiring to be your community manager, like, it hasn't either. This is not a job that you farm out to somebody, it's like, it's got to be part of the culture from the start, if you are trying to operate a space that wants to become that meaningful people.

Stepn 30:35
That's so precise that like, in some ways, this idea of being a tech founder, or being being a founder, in tech, whatever the however you want to describe yourself or myself, like, it's almost like in conflict to a sense of like religiosity or, or even, you know, one, one, click further like spirituality. And when you're talking about the, like, ineffable qualities of someone who has spent meaningful time in a religious community, I so, you know, I, I actually have not spent considerable time in a religious community, I was I was raised Catholic, but didn't have a super great time and that experience and so sort of like, so sort of, like, you know, like, fled that, that worlds pretty hard. And yeah, but have been someone who's been in search of that sense of, I see the, the deep resonance that people have within within their religion, and that is very compelling. And so I, and to me, what I see is like I, and you get at this, too, in the essay like this, there's like, there's like those rituals, there's practices. And, and there's just like connection, and a sense of like, vulnerability within that connection, and like, and curiosity. And so I guess, yeah, when you think about people in tech, who are doing this thing, where we're, you know, especially in the DAO space, at the intersection of tokens, like we see this, we see tokens as a, as a really optimistic technology, like something that can potentially provide this additional layer of, like attachment and connection for people around a shared purpose, you know, particularly at the intersection of like, value creation and ownership and value flow. But I think, for those of us who are who are pursuing this, like, fundamentally speculative path, right, like, we don't know how this is gonna go, but we're doing it because we fundamentally believe in the optimism here. And, yeah, what are the pieces that are really critical for us to, to hold out, as we're, you know, sort of on this impossible pursuit? You know, you've run, you've run these cult workshops. Maybe you can say more about those. But yeah, like, what are some of the through lines that you've seen?

Toby Shorin 32:51
What did you mean by pieces that we should hold out?

Stepn 32:53
Yeah, the things that we shouldn't lose sight of right.

Toby Shorin 32:56
I think you shouldn't lose sight of our people, whether it's children's or adults, we are constantly learning, we are never not learning something through all the activities and communities that we engage in, we're learning certain things about ourselves about the roles that we play, and are expected to play as community leaders like we're being watched. So a lot of like, what we're saying is teaching others even when we're not intending to instruct people, when things that like, we're not intending them to learn, such as like you can learn in a dysfunctional workplace, like what you can learn is I'm not worthy of being given responsibility for this or that type of task, or something. Or what I've learned is I don't need to know for this organization to function, I don't need to know why I'm being given this responsibility, like or like, why it's important, I just need to do it. I think there is a lot to understand about how people are working in these decentralized ecosystems. I mean, we have deep experience in Uniswap. And I think what people have learned there is like only reproducing like the most dysfunctional organization when it comes to these things where there's moral life involved. Yeah, I think it's important for I don't know, this is kind of my design principle. But like, I want to be part of spaces where people feel empowered and unable to have spiritual experiences that are valid, that are viewed as valid by those spaces. And when somebody has an experience, your experience can't be wrong, it can't be invalid, because it's just your experience. It is but if you haven't experienced and like somebody denies you some aspect of that experience, it says like it's wrong or incorrect, then like, you're learning something about, like, what is permitted and not permitted in that space. For example, if FWB were to like, not be receptive to like forms of critique, then like it would be training people to not express some part that like might actually be very useful for FWB too have is like part of its culture. Yeah. So I think just like understanding what people are learning in a given space, even if that space doesn't have any concretely designed doctrines, especially if it doesn't have concretely designed doctrines, it's important to understand, like what's being taught, I would put in scare quotes.

Stepn 35:18
I think that that gets out at that, like, in spaces where there aren't clearly defined doctrines, which lets you know that I feel like the whole DAO space is that right now, that it's really critical that we are just really, really attuned to the things that that are being quote, unquote, taught. And like, you know, as a parent, I think about that all the time, just like my kids, they're just watching me, they're watching me they're listening, even when I don't think they are and, and there's just so much that they're absorbing. And maybe that's more of a better word, just like the level of absorption that's happening. And because it happens, yeah, it happens everywhere. And all the time in these communities that we have influence over that we're leading are, Toby, before we go, I'm curious, you know, ever since your essay, you've had this real impact on the Seed Club ecosystem. You know, you've gotten many shout outs in our current cohort sessions, and people are looking to you for thought leadership and I want to know who you look to, who are the people that you look to.

Toby Shorin 36:19
Honestly one of my heroes is still venkatesh rao. He's not as popular as he was before, because he doesn't write these like big, flashy pieces anymore. But if anything, like he's only gotten more onpoint, and like continues to think in really interesting and inventive ways continues to have his finger on the pulse. Venkat is very averse to like exercising his own moral influence on others, other people who I look to, are, I would say that, like my colleagues, like continue to be an inspiration to me, Aaron Lewis continues to be like, a huge influence on me. And aside from our intellectual partnership is actively like creating these wholesome spaces. I think right now, I'm most inspired by people who are not writing but whose intellectual practices like married to the type of spaces that they are able to create and are like, living out their work in some fashion. I also want to like point to to process and company I don't know if you know about them, but they they're just the most inspiring and creative organization that I know. And then I also because I had a dream back in the night, I also want to give a shout out to Charles Taylor, the philosopher he's like 90 year old Catholic who is just like one of the giants of contemporary moral philosophy and has been really influential on me, both in my development as a thinker and like in terms of like, what I pay attention to like the moral life.

Stepn 37:54
Well, Charles Taylor, you gotta shout out.

Stepn 37:57
Charles Taylor, the legend, Charles Taylor listening to Seed Club

Stepn 38:02
Will try and get to. Toby, where can people find you and other internet on the internet?

Toby Shorin 38:10
The other internet website is My website, my personal website is And my blog website on which life after lifestyle and many older essays are published is And whenever I have another good website, I also have I have a big arena presence so you can check out my arena.

Stepn 38:38
It's a good one, Toby, thanks for doing this with me. Thanks for coming on the pod.

Toby Shorin 38:42
Thank you Stepn, only for you