More Bicycles of the Mind
In the early days of Microsoft, Bill Gates and Paul Allen set a goal of, “A computer on every desk and in every home.” While this mission isn’t strictly complete even in 2021, more people have a supercomputer in their pocket than the Microsoft duo could have imagined (they were focused on desks after all).
Corporate mission statements need to be simple to be memorable (proto-memes?). So while the sheer ambition of this statement is still commendable, it omits an important dimension.
That missing dimension is captured by Steve Jobs in a famous interview quote, “To me, a computer has always been a bicycle of the mind.” If computers are a bicycle for the mind, then the rider should be in control. Computers help our minds go farther, faster, and more efficiently, but we should be able to choose our own path and maybe even go off-road. Computers should be creative devices and not just consumptive ones.
That’s not what computers (i.e. smartphones) are for most people today. Too often they’re tracks laid to a destination someone else chose. A depressingly large percentage of computer/smartphone usage is mindless time-filler.
The “average” person doesn’t get to express their creativity on the internet today. They don’t blog, create digital art, design a website, or build their own apps. They may (avidly) post to social media, but to the platform’s ends.
Once upon a time, MySpace allowed users to customize the layout, design, and even music on their profile page. Facebook came along to crush MySpace with a sanitized experience for quicker onboarding and the drive to more engagement. This encapsulates our status at the end of the Web 2.0 era: algorithmic feeds and interactions “optimized” to hit corporate KPIs at the cost of users truly exploring and expressing themselves.
We’re building the Geo Web to empower and embrace everyone’s innate creativity. Consumption will always be easier than creation. That makes the opportunities for creativity and inspiration all that more important.
Our goal, a la Gates and Allen, is for every home and every business to own and manage their corresponding Geo Web parcel. They will do this with an “equity” stake in the results and not at the pleasure of a proprietary platform.
This is an important, but not sufficient, step in reversing the current lack of creative empowerment.
Building/personalizing a Geo Web space must be an accessible, open, and direct experience with the power of computers. If we get this right, the Geo Web can be a bicycle for the mind that helps us explore untapped ideas and inspire latent creativity far beyond the bounds of the network itself.
On to the updates…
- Added 3D Media Gallery rendering to the Spatial Browser plus other infra & web content updates (https://github.com/Geo-Web-Project/browser/pull/8)
- Cleaned up state management in the Cadastre (https://github.com/Geo-Web-Project/cadastre/pull/37)
- Add the ability to edit media gallery items in Cadastre (staging env only) (https://github.com/Geo-Web-Project/cadastre/pull/38)
- Added a quick start guide, use case overview, and copy edits to the Geo Web docs site (https://github.com/Geo-Web-Project/docs/pull/3)
- We had a great chat with the ecosystem team from Rarible. NFTs are still on fire, so there’s a lot of new development and projects in the space. Most NFT marketplaces aren’t decentralized like the blockchains from which their inventory originates though. We’re excited (and value-aligned) with Rarible’s community-controlled, neutral protocol vision for NFTs and marketplaces. Excited to see where this goes!
- I wrote about the importance of the open web browser as we transition to the next generation of smart devices a few weeks ago—mostly in the context of the app store foreclosure of innovation. The trial for Epic’s lawsuit against Apple for their app store policies kicked off this week, and the EU has charged Apple with antitrust violations related to the app store and streaming music. These are important developing stories, but here’s a similar issue of foregone innovation viewed from a different, technical lens: delayed progress in Apple’s open web browser development efforts.
- We’re working on a few grant applications to help fund the move to mainnet and more full-time contributors. If you or someone you know is a (grant) writing whiz, hit us up.
- Adding Ceramic multi-query support and other core functionality to the v1 Spatial Browser
- More Cadastre clean-up
- Community & Governance documentation writing
- Preparing for a Ceramic’s mainnet launch