Note — Feb 06, 2022

Builder Brain

Speaking of stereotypical inventors. In this piece, Charlie Warzel riffs off the little hubbub about synthetic uteruses on startupTwitter and expands to the builder mentality. “What matters, to a degree, is the boldness of the idea and the process of the thought experiment. The Builder mindset often eschews policy completely and focuses on the macro issues, rather than the micro complexities.” Good read and nicely weaved-in with Web3 and NFTs.

Two thoughts. Not only his Warzel correct in regarding systemic complexity not addressed in those ‘ideas’ but it’s also interesting to note that real solutions aren’t even hypothetical, lots of countries have things like good inexpensive of free childcare and parental leave. Second, he had me thinking ‘maintainers > builders,’ which connects very well with the fourth piece in this issue, Holding to account.

As one vision of the future rapidly replaces the next, the technologies and systems now in place suffer decay and disrepair. Our imaginations and resources are once again diverted from fixing or rehabilitating what exists. Meanwhile, familiar problems, inevitably, resurface. Imaginative obsolescence also upends efforts at effective technological governance—and perhaps that is exactly the point. […]

If we just keep building without repairing what exists or applying lessons learned along the way, we will continue to spin our wheels as the same problems accumulate and amplify. In this way, our technology may evolve, but our relationship to it (and to each other) can only degrade. […]

But the Builders do not repair. They build. That’s because building is virtuous. Unlike, in their mind, criticism, which is passive and vampiric in nature, building is active and generative. It is a de facto good to build, regardless, perhaps, of the outcome. […]

It’s a standard bit of deflection. But what I think this deflection ignores is that there are plenty of people advocating for solutions—they’re just of a more boring, bureaucratic type than the Builders would like. Maintenance, not demolition and remodeling.