goodtech 10: no such thing as other people’s children

Also featuring internet nations, the year we should have had, and some interesting reads for the week

💡 Big Ideas

TL;DR: I don’t know. Do you?

The memory of picking up my first grader from the school bus stop the day of Sandy Hook is more vivid to me than 9/11, the first day of lockdown, and any of a baker’s dozen of social and personal traumas that have happened since.

I was in school when Columbine happened, too, and it definitely hit home in a small town where most of us had no future and all of us knew where the guns were kept.

Yet nothing hit quite as hard as waiting in the lot with the other moms, all of us grabbing our children off that bus with tears in our eyes, unable to tell them what was wrong and why we were holding on so tight.

In the words of Glennon Doyle, there is no such thing as other people’s children – and there shouldn’t be, especially not right now. There are only children, innocent of everything, and the shit we put them through.

After Sandy Hook, the idea that our society was just a little broken but probably fixable died a quick and quiet death.

After Uvalde, for me at least, the idea that there’s any pathway forward in a country that will kill women to protect fertilized eggs yet recommend bulletproof blankets to children doing nothing more than learning their ABCs died a permanent and painful death.

I simply can’t reconcile the idea that any policy change or innovative idea can change something so dominant as the idea that children don’t matter unless they’re not born yet.

I had a few different pieces in the pipeline this week, but none of them seem especially important now. Not much does, to be honest, when we can neither feed nor protect the children already here.

So this week I’ve skipped any longer essay in favor of giving you back that time to process, reflect, and act however feels useful to you. And to love on your children and other people’s children, too.

If you need it, here’s a Texas paper’s roundup of ways you can provide support.

🥑 Holy guacamole, that might actually work

Cool ideas for new ways of doing things

It’s probably weird to put my own story in here, but I think it’s something maybe all of us need to hear right now. I wrote recently about the year we should have had, and maybe giving yourself back that year is something that will help you, too:

It might be time for us all to have the year we should have had. We’ve been living with the pandemic and its consequences for years. We’ve had a hot vax summer and a Covid winter. On top of the pandemic, we’ve dealt with scarcity, fear, public traumas and private ones, all of it inside societies that feel like they’re on the brink of collapse. Maybe now we should try having the year we should have had. Not a return to normal. Not even a new normal. A year of living the way we knew we wanted to when we all got quiet and still…read more.

🚀 Moonshot

One big idea, every week

Internet nations and a theory of justice for web3

Both these articles came across my desk this month and I’m…digesting. (I mean, I’m still digesting crypto as a concept and Web3 as anything I can take seriously, so it’s understandable.) The first is a response piece to Balaji’s essay about the new internet nation; the second ties Web3 development to John Rawls’ theory of justice.

There is a real and valuable movement now towards looking at governance as something that can be modernized to suit the world as it is today. However, when I read about this, having spent most of my life in the public sector, I realize that we’re walking a dangerous path towards continuing all our current unjust systems under new management in the digital age.

Most of the people advocating for these changes are new to the ideas and principles that underlie governance; they’re looking for an easier way to stash their money or a visa that lets them nomad around and disrupt other economies, all without any idea that the problems underlying taxation & citizenship are much more complex and deeply rooted than what a certain class of mobile tech stars are able to see.

Both these pieces are good highlights of the kinds of trends that are happening in governance; the danger of letting more tech bros build the future internet democracies of the metaverse; and the tightrope we’ll need to walk in order to change governance but not allow it to be gutted of its true intention.

🥂 Upcoming Events

🤩 Our next goodtech coworking is June 3 – the day before my birthday 🎉. Join us at 12 EST for a half hour of social connection followed by an hour of chill & quiet coworking so you can focus on something you love.

Reply to this email to be added to the invite!

📚 I’m on a curiosity voyage, I need my paddles

Books, podcasts, articles and more to feed your brain

  • Particularly terrifying since my kid is supposed to leave home in eight months: a new study on how many adult kids are still dependent on their parents in this economy
  • A great rollup video on current AI tech emergence to get you thinking about how we could use it for good.
  • A fun podcast for those of you in the States who have no f*cking clue why or how Congress gets so f*cked up
  • I’m loving writer N.S. Lyons’ takes on just about everything geopolitical right now

Until July, friends –


PS: A huge thank you to new subscribers James, Deborah, and Prasanna – it means so much to me 💌