Reflections on Being a Solopreneur and Navigating Web3

This AI transcription/summary was created on @November 23, 2023. Listen to the original recording here.


The speaker discusses their recent podcast featuring Marie Bastian from World of Mesh, sharing their experiences as a solopreneur and thoughts on the alignment of personal values with professional endeavors. The speaker mentioned their hesitation to cross-promote due to a preference for maintaining authentic relationships rather than engaging in superficial networking. They reflect on the nature of success, the pressures of public life, the importance of maintaining one's values, and the complexities of Web3's promise versus reality. The narrative explores the idea of not compromising on core values for success but instead seeking liberation from societal conditioning to find a fulfilling path.


A reflection on last night's podcast, which was an episode with Marie Bastian of World of Mesh. This time I did something which I normally don't do, which is I cross-promoted the event on my platforms. And the reason I don't normally do this is because I have not been posting regularly to my platforms to begin with, mainly Instagram, and therefore to send people to another platform or to another spectacle without being able to offer something that is personally mine. It feels like a kind of mishandling of attention.

And I spent my entire adult life building authentic relationships with people. And I can say that with confidence now because I haven't done any of the networking stuff for over half a decade, if not seven to ten years. And therefore the only people who've hung around are the people who have some sort of personal connection beyond anything that's related to career. So to post something career among a kind of silence feels very misleading.

But now that I've started my Instagram feed again and I am approaching it with a consistent outpouring of what I think is a really genuine, what I know is a genuine creative act and what I think is also very accessible and consistent, I can now intersperse it with things that are hinting at a different side of me. And that other side really came out well, I think, yesterday in the interview, or I should say conversation, because it wasn't really an interview. And the conversation was held under the auspices of Web3 creators and resilience. And I feel that even in 30 minutes we were able to embed the conversation with some hints at how resilience shows up.

Again, I always want to see things in as much context as possible, especially if that context has traditionally been overlooked or even camouflaged or obfuscated. And for me, the context is that I have been a solopreneur for my entire life, so it's a very familiar space to not have any security. And I've had to find ways of making it work without really compromising compromising. I think a compromise that a lot of people make is actually deeply rooted in a belief system that the world is out to get you, and that you have to kind of compromise on your values to get what you want.

And I think that much of my life has been setting that up as the problematic and saying, okay, well, the solution is obviously not easy, but there must be a way to build a life that is practically speaking not going to take my life away from me. Because I don't think there is a life without a sense of values and a sense of stability in a sense of a direction that things are becoming more and more more unified rather than fragmented. Interestingly enough, my solution is, it's lost a bit of its romantic sheen. I've had the privileged experience of working among, alongside people who've had incredibly successful careers, especially in the creative fields.

And having had that first-hand experience, and I call it first-hand because some of these people I know extremely well, and I've also had a modicum of, let's say that I've tasted some of that success earlier on in my life. I realize that there's a certain pressure that forms when you become a public figure, and those pressures can directly inhibit or mute the kind of sensitive agility that I think is inherent in the creative process. And so, just like having material obligations, having family obligations, having attention obligations or platform obligations, all of these things are, they become part of a web that is they become part of a web that holds you up, but it also keeps you down. And so, I think there's a real need to understand what kind of web you're spinning and what it's going to catch, how you've built it.

Unfortunately, we are, I feel like humans in general, we, for as much as we are patterned creatures, we also are always kind of revolting against history and revolting against habits. Unlike a spider, which evolves in some sort of pace with its environment, and that's obviously changing right now with the pace at which we are changing the environment for everyone else. But let's say in the general span of evolution, a spider over millions of years, hundreds of thousands, millions of years, has perfected its own web spinning so that it can traverse the web like a ballerina, but everything else that falls into it just kind of gets stuck. And I think a lot of humans want to be spiders, but we're not playing with silk threads that come we're not playing with silk threads that come out of our hands.

We're kind of conducting other entities into a sort of web function or web mesh. And for that, it becomes something where just being nimble is not enough, because you're working with a lot of different influences and a lot of different parameters. And so there's this kind of one-sidedness of the convenience of certain metaphors to try and explain things, whereas the actuality is we've set up much more complicated conditions, and that's why it can feel like everyone has to figure it out on their own. I think that's one of the biggest issues today, is that we over-complicate things, because what we want is over-complicated, and a lot of times it's hypocritical.

We choose to only see the freedom, quote-unquote, of money or of attention, of being successful, of being able to take a private jet wherever you want, those kinds of things. And a lot of that impression is fed through very manicured and framed images from those same people who trade in the currency of attention. Trade in the currency of attention. Meanwhile, what they've given up for freedom is something that we, a lot of us, don't even recognize we still have.

And so there is an exchange going on, and the exchange is taking our attention away, and I'm saying our now from the perspective of a not-famous person who might be looking at people who have success through very much rose-tinted lenses. We're actually in an equal exchange, in the sense that they are asking for our attention, taking our attention away from what we have, and creating a kind of let's say a movement through vacuums. So there's there's a kind of displacement going on, I want to say a dynamic of displacement. There is no celebrity without attention.

So to not derail myself too much, I'll bring it back to what I've seen and learned about success. And this is also combining it back to Web3. I think a lot of right now, it can feel like there's an almost oppositional contrast or paradox between the way most people today look for success, and the which is very much about identity and kind of being noticed and known and seen, versus a sort of freedom while having the means to move to be free, to move around, to exist above survival level. And I think that's the most important thing.

I think that's the most important thing. I think there's also a sort of release valve, which is something I'm trying to do around not creating these dynamics of displacement. I am not a fan of these kinds of water locks where the pressure can build up so much that if you don't have an incredible infrastructure in place, or a dam, let's say, that you end up destroying villages and entire landscapes. That doesn't really interest me because it requires so much maintenance.

And it's that maintenance aspect which can feel like it would take all of your extra energy. So I want to go back to kind of an initial sentiment, which is that if you dedicate your life to solving a really complex problem, that means it's not an obvious answer. But when your values are really strong, then you can find a way to coordinate something that looks like a compromise, maybe, but actually is the opposite of a compromise. It's saying there are certain things I could never compromise on, and the things that I could are not compromises, because I actually don't really need whatever it is that from the outside would look like a compromise, if that makes sense.

So for example, it's not a compromise for me to not make that much money, because actually I find a lot of... I find that to be creatively exciting. To have enough, but not to have too much, where things become dull. It is a compromise for me to spend the majority of my day having to worry or think about content, or having to think about building that dam, and having a whole team managing the inflow and outflow of things.

It is a compromise, or it's a non-negotiable thing, that I cannot work for anybody, I cannot dedicate my life to someone else's vision, which is very different from learning from somebody, which is something that I have done. I have put myself in hierarchical relationships, in the sense that there's someone who's leading it, and I'm kind of doing the grunt work, but that was learning, whereas once the learning has stopped, and it becomes more of an extraction mechanic, a kind of golden handcuffs moment, then I cannot do that, because I don't care about the money. See? So, this is why I actually don't believe there is compromise.

I believe that there's kind of self-delusion, and I believe that there's freedom from conditioning. And maybe this is what the whole note is about. It's really that freedom from conditioning reveals that you've never compromised on things, because it's only the conditioning of society that tells you it's a compromise. But actually, there's a certain configuration of your life that is life-giving, life-supporting for you.

And once you find that, then you can creatively apply yourself to find a way to create that in your life. And it may look completely different than what you thought it was going to be, and it may not have a model in this world. And that's the kind of going through the gauntlet that I think everyone, hopefully, can have the privilege to experiment with, to do, to manifest in this life. And it is a privilege to be able to think this way, because there are powers at hand that want you to stay conditioned.

They feed off of your contribution, which is not a contribution from your heart. It's almost like being born into slavery and thinking there's no other way. And the worst thing would be to be an extractor like that, because I just don't think those people are happy because they know how precarious their situation is. Their situation relies on you not knowing your own potential, what's possible, your own choices, your own free will.

And actually, I think that's a really interesting point around why is it that the Web3 projects, which were cooler, and cooler in the sense that people who were kind of more, maybe more aware of these things, why actually those projects don't sell so well, it's because within those communities, you have a lot of people who realize they can do it themselves, who get off more on the co-creation or the creation period versus the consumption. And so there's a lot of mixed, there's a lot of muddied thinking right now because people are broadening their focus, but while they're broadening their focus, they haven't broadened their approach or the kind of habits they have and how they work through the path to get there. And so there's a lot of need of self-organization, self-clarity, becoming very aware of not mixing and matching your cause and effects, but at the same time, playing around with a fuller palette of colors or a fuller toolbox and knowing those tools. And then at some point later, later on, there is the ability again to combine a lot of things and have a bit more artistic fun with it.

Additional Info

Main Points

  • The speaker cross-promoted a podcast episode with Marie Bastian from World of Mesh on personal platforms, a deviation from their usual practice.
  • They reflect on their history of building personal connections rather than networking for career purposes.
  • The speaker values authentic creative expression over posting for attention and identifies this as a non-compromise in their life.
  • Discussion of the pressures and challenges of public life and success, and a desire to retain creative sensitivity.
  • The speaker has experienced firsthand the unappealing aspects of high-profile creative success.
  • A metaphorical comparison illustrates how unlike spiders, humans have to navigate a more complicated web of life and societal expectations.
  • They critically assess the notions of freedom, success, and the often-overlooked cost associated with fame or wealth.
  • The speaker emphasizes freedom from conditioning and the power of realizing one's potential outside societal expectations.
  • They argue that apparent compromises are often due to societal conditioning rather than genuine sacrifice.
  • The conversation touches on the complexity of the Web3 environment and the need for clarity and self-organization within it.

Stories and Examples

  • The speaker's experience of starting to post on Instagram again, with a genuine creative act that is accessible and consistent.
  • Personal lessons learned from working with highly successful individuals in the creative field and how that influenced the speaker's views on success.
  • The metaphor of human societies as complex webs compared to the simplicity of a spider's web, illustrating the challenge of navigating life's many expectations.
  • The speaker's philosophical outlook on life, identifying what constitutes a compromise based on societal standards versus personal values.
  • The dynamics within Web3 communities, highlighting a tendency towards co-creation over consumption and the implications for project success.

References and Citations

  • Mention of Marie Bastian from World of Mesh and her involvement in the recent podcast episode.
  • The speaker's insights into their life as a 'solopreneur' and decision to not engage in traditional networking.
  • High-profile individuals' struggle with public pressure and its impact on their creative process.
  • Discussion of societal conditioning as a force that shapes our perception of freedom, success, and compromise.
  • The Web3 creators and resilience topic under which the podcast conversation was framed.

Potential Action Items

Reflect on personal and professional practices to assess where genuine value and authentic engagement can be increased (2023-11-23)
Consider ways to balance creative freedom with the responsibilities and expectations that come with success
Engage in activities that align with core values and assess what true compromises would look like
Monitor and manage the influence of societal conditioning on personal choices and beliefs
Explore the Web3 landscape to better understand its complexities and opportunities for genuine connection and success

Follow-Up Questions

  • How can one consistently build authentic relationships in a digital space primarily aimed at promoting careers or businesses?
  • What systems or tactics can be used to minimize the pressure that comes with becoming a public figure?
  • Can maintaining a creative lifestyle without significant financial wealth be sustainable in the long term?
  • In what ways could one resist societal pressures and conditioning to retain personal integrity?
  • How can Web3 technologies empower individuals to navigate success without falling into traditional traps of attention and fame?

Arguments and Areas for Improvement

These are potential arguments and rebuttals that other people may bring up in response to the transcript. Like every other part of this summary document, factual accuracy is not guaranteed.
  • There may be disagreement over the speaker's choice not to engage in regular cross-promotion on social media platforms.
  • Some might argue that a certain level of compromise is necessary for success, even if it's against one's values.
  • The notion that success without considerable wealth can be creatively exciting could be challenged from a practical standpoint.
  • The idea that society's conditioning is the primary reason for perceiving certain choices as compromises could be disputed.
  • There could be criticisms of the aversion to managing a large infrastructure or team as a reluctance to scale or grow one's business.

Related Topics

  • compromise and societal conditioning
  • creative process versus public expectations
  • cross-promotion on social media
  • liberation from societal expectations
  • maintaining authenticity in professional relationships
  • navigating success within web3
  • resilience in the creative industry
  • self-organization and clarity in professional endeavors
  • solopreneurship
  • the impact of success on personal values


  • Sentiment: reflective
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