My greatest fear is “fantasy plateau” (capping the future) not competitive differentiation: (assuming reality isn’t editable and that everything is frozen in time).
Let’s follow the fantasy: a future son and daughter, Ariana G. Habib ’41 and Jaden Ty Dolla Sign Habib ’39 interacting with a Jarvis-like assistant named “Bryan L.” about their first product idea. Don’t do the math.
NCSSM has offered a resource called “Bryan L.” a “concierge for continuing education, career changes and otherwise self-actualizing, level up like endeavors” to offer anyone that goes through the system, help. Forever.
People don’t shoot the shit on it. They double, triple, quadruple their salaries. They switch industries. They U-turn from U-turns. They learn things, fast. They disseminate information. They get drowned in help. Anything social is a side effect of both being drawn to those things.
Let’s imagine Bryan L. doesn’t just answer the question with an exact number. That they want to hear from the peanut gallery of founders, friends and other product people in our community.
- Bryan sends a structured request: a link, a description of what she is doing, expected actions to take, timelines involved. This de-risks her likelihood of missing anything critical or wording anything incorrectly to 0%.
- Bryan extracts relevant information, summarizes it and de-risks misinterpretation and routes it to all.
- A male alum reads it and initially starts to scoff at it, he gets an alert that says “You sure you want to say that that way? Spin it this way instead.” And it shows him examples of help other alumni have given and a meme to make him laugh. It takes a hint of a toxic interaction and throws cupcakes at it.
- The three become friends instead of weird tension buddies, maybe even cofounders or that’s my new son in law. Who cares? I’m super liberal by then but still have family values.
- My son jumps out of bed to read this “Dad said this shit looks like a UN human development report” to his sister, his boss, the next day.
This is very different from
- An open ended text box asking “…what are you thinking?” to everyone possible person at the same time.
- An infinite abyss of other people that have asked that
- Rolling the dice based on how everyone in the room is feeling tonight
- Best case scenario a max reach of 2500 active alums in a 10k group (try posting something while you are a business) and no visibility into performance of that post.
- Reposting on LinkedIn, Twitter, 49 other place groups.
- People prodding with like box, like box, like box while the crowd jeers for more.
- Guy, driving at a red light writes “lol”.
- Another guy at a green light writes “lol”.
- Guy drives backchecking notification one at a time.
- Ariana gets dejected, never comes back to this again.
- Almost forgets what she is doing.
- Starts dating someone at Uber.
- You get the idea.
My prediction for consumer internet
- Personalized homing missiles full of heroin: AI training on AI training on AI, what a billion versions of you might do and showing you the most addicting path possible.
- Thousands of engineers incentivized to maximize attention extraction
- Insularity and removal from society (SF will literally hover above the ground)
So what the hell is Alum? Today? I’m productizing the effect NCSSM alums have had on my life:
- A curated list of companies, jobs, internships, co-ops and more.
- A substantive list minus bullshit, which can’t enter
- A place to learn more about the community.
- Things that make me say “wow me with that would run circles around me now”
- “Boosts” in Mario Kart.
- A healthy alternative to fast food.
- A safe place to meet a future co-founder.
What do you mean curated
- Only NCSSM alums can contribute to it
Isn’t that elitist
- No, there will be public views
- It working locally will allow for us to think about global
Everything else is like everything else
Every day we
- De-risk the next milestone
- Fix bugs
- Make new things
- Increase stability, accessibility
You know how metaphorical and subjective I am, I could spin this 100 ways. Is Facebook different to different people? Yes. It will make NCSSM rich and it’s people healthier.
Everything else is “tricks” to get alums to find this “trap” and for execs to buy this “bag of tricks”
- Pictures (memories)
- Apple Pay for Merch (money for clothes you want)
- Event Registration (hit a button if you want to go to an event)
- Something I forgot about but is useful
- Something I forgot about but is useful . . .
I’m not manipulating you into walking past Bryan L. On the way to the student store to show you what I wished I saw. You’re just jaded by all this other stuff. Wipe the slate clean and think about what you would want for your kids. To answer dings, dings in a car with your hands at the wheel?
What could this become? The last place for humans