How have I never come across Melanie Rieback?

One of the many highlights from the excellent Publicspaces conference today was discovering Melanie Rieback.

Everything I thought about after seeing the first dotcom/bomb era and seeing many friends chasing the dream of Silicon Valley’s unicorn. I struggled to come up with an alternative to the completely unsustainable growth charts going up and to the right. A few times I would talk about something which sounded closer to social entrepreneurship and Bcorps, and won’t lie drove my decision to work for a public company.

Melanie alongside Ethan Zuckerman talked about what it means to be truly disruptive. As you can imagine, its not the startup unsustainable formulaic pipe dream which every startup team/creator is hard sold.

Seeing post growth entrepreneurship, there is a lot here and speaks volumes to the work BBC R&D around sustainability and human values. I found this post a good summary, especially starting with Doughnut economics which I recently read and recommend.

The problem with exponential growth

The economist Kate Raworth makes beautiful analogies with nature in her book Doughnut economics. She says for instance that any living organism – let’s say a tree or a dog or a child – grows very quickly, almost exponentially at the very beginning of its life. At a certain point in time that growth starts to flatten off. Then it stops growing and starts thriving. If that tree wants to keep growing even though it already has reached its maximum size, it drops seeds. Then these seeds can grow again until they reach their maximum size. And so on. If this is how nature does it, why should it be any different with our businesses?

Exponential growth curve

This exponential curve is ubiquitous. You will find it in every MBA programme, every start-up incubator, pop culture, etc. It is very hard to get away from this curve. It’s the Silicon Valley model of entrepreneurship. There are three parts to this model:

  1. Capital
  2. Scaling
  3. Exit

I’m coming around to the notion, scale is the enemy of humanity. and likely fits in the unknown unknowns?

Like Kate Raworth who calls herself the rouge economist, I can see why Melanie Rieback’s ideas for post growth entrepreneurship doesn’t go down well with startup incubators, investment angels and VCs.

Looking forward to making the rouge/alternatives the everyday!

 

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (Nov 2020)

How the fediverse deals with trolls

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed seeing the next big social network using the exact same centralised model as the existing ones; while us privileged dive into our exit pods.

To quote Buckminster Fuller “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

You are seeing aspects of this happening with do not track being rethought and getting some legal muscle.


The curious past and future of Signal CEO

Ian thinks: Good to hear more about the mysteries figure which is Signal’s CEO Moxie Marlinspike. His views of taking back our privacy, moving systems into the public infrastructure category and making encryption the default; is quite telling looking at his past. Unlike most, he has the knowledge and system to actually implement with others the reality he thinks about.

Is scale the enemy of human kind?

Ian thinks: This interview with Marina Gorbis from the institute of the future with Douglas Rushkoff is full of status-quo busting thoughts. The centre idea is how the allure of scale is actually the main problem the human race faces.

How to fight black box algorithms together

Ian thinks: Openschufa a project which aggregates your GDPR requested financial data with others to reveal bias, is the type of services I was hoping would come out of GDPR’s data portability rules. Look forward to seeing more like this.

Decentralized Social Networks vs. The Trolls

Ian thinks: This video is excellent and one of the reasons I have always been keen to use fediverse services like Mastodon and Pixelfed. This is another good talk from the Activity pub conference

How Ghent removed cars from the city

Ian thinks: When I visited Ghent last year I did notice the city centre was very quiet from the lack of cars. I had no idea but it felt like a place to live and walk. Lessons for other European cities?

Techdirt experiments with web monetization

Ian thinks: I personally have been following the web monetization protocol and grant for the web project for a while. Even adding it to my own personal blog, but its great to see Techdirt taking up the same protocol. Web monetization is growing and growing.

The role of design during Covid19

Ian thinks: This is a impressive list of 7 design based innovations which have helped and aided during the pandemic. All very different and all inspiration.

Understand digital identity beyond self-sovereign

Ian thinks: Centralised digital identity is easy to understand, but self-sovereign identity is being pushed as the way forward. However this essay by Philip Sheldrake, really shakes up the notions of identity in a way I’m still struggling to think about now.

Facebook won’t take the social dilemma lying down

Ian thinks: I thought Facebook would ignore the social dilemma as its not that great compared the great hack or after truth, plus there are many issues. But Facebook have hit back claiming the documentary as sensationalism. Seems to have touched a nerve I think?


Find the archive here

Hot Chocolate with the Carolina Reaper

Carolina Reaper Dark Chocolate

When on holiday, I’m always interested in different teas and chocolates. I happen to come across urbandeli when seeking brunch and decided to go back and check it out in full. I saw a whole shelf of chocolates but one stuck out a mile away, mainly because it had a tag underneath it saying something in Swedish about danger not for Children!

To be honest I thought it was some gimmick but as I love chilli & dark chocolate I bought a bar and decided to try it out in store, as the store is part of a bar and hotel, meaning anything you bought you could consume too (they even have microwaves).

On further investigation I realised while eating my first tiny bit. This wasn’t a joke, the chilli flaked bars I had in the past were nothing like the heat this was delivering to my tongue and mouth. It was the real deal, proper heat from a small chunk of chocolate.

It wasn’t till I looked it up, I realised everything. I heard of the Scoville number but didn’t know the scale of the numbers. I had also misread the number on the packet as 1.569 not 1569300! Massive difference!

The name of the chocolate came from the chilli with the same name.
With a Scoville value of 1,569,300 which was officially the hottest chilli in the world 5-7 years ago. Gizmodo did a nice piece about the chilli which I found interesting.

I finally found it on Cocoarunners site with a review

This is not just a chilli chocolate bar, this a Carolina Reaper chilli chocolate bar.

Bred in South Carolina, the Carolina Reaper has held the Guinness World Record for the world’s hottest chilli since 2013. When tested for the record, the batch of chilies had an average heat level of 1,569,300 Scoville Heat Units. The hottest individual pepper measured 2.2 million Scovilles. For comparison a Jalapeno generally has a heat range of 1,000 – 20,000 Scoville units.

The dark chocolate is a blend oh Ghanaian and Dominican beans but honestly this serves as nothing more than a base for the chilli. Break off the smallest piece imaginable, put it on your tongue and discover what is almost certainly the world’s hottest chocolate (and certainly the hottest chocolate we’ve ever tasted).

There is no question of subtle flavours and different tasting notes. The chilli flavour starts deceptively slowly and keeps on building and building. Waves of heat pass across the palate, overwhelming anyone with a low spice tolerance. Long after the chocolate itself has melted away you are left with a tingling sensation on the tongue – a piquant reminder of the Carolina Reaper’s passage. A unique chocolate experience, this is not a bar for the faint-hearted.

Always good to find these type of things…!