Rhys' Newsletter #69

Gen Z thinks humanity is doomed, why WhatsApp's E2E encryption is good, and DAOs as new institutions

This newsletter goes out to more than 1,000 ambitious frontier people. Please share it with a friend who would like it. And welcome to all the folks who joined this in the past week!


Hello from San Francisco! I had a big bag of dates recently. They were delicious but expensive. Please eat dates. They are good.

This message was paid for by the Date Lobby.

1) Wrote a piece on why More Startups Should Use Credit Unions (and why I used one for Roote). tl;dr: As member-owned cooperatives, Credit Unions help the communities they’re part of. For example, my credit union is helping pass a law that would make sky-high payday loans (like the ones below) illegal.

2) The next Roote Fellowship, RF5, is coming up in early October! Share it with your friends and apply here: roote.co.

3) Interviewing Susan Blackmore, the author of Meme Machines, this week for the podcast. What should I ask her?


1) Young People's Voices on Climate Anxiety, Government Betrayal and Moral Injury.

Dark report on young folks’ perspectives on climate change. Yes, the climate crisis is a crisis. But damn, I feel like we’ve done young people a disservice by making them nihilistic. 56% of young people think that “humanity is doomed” due to climate change.

2) Letters to a Young Technologist

Excellent set of essays on how to be intentional and reflective as you build technology. The kids are all right.

From one essay Value Beyond Instrumentalization, by Jasmine Wang:

To make this reflection possible, the technology ecosystem must maintain non-instrumental spaces (as opposed to, say, a space like YCombinator, where the space is meant to help you reach a specific external outcome under time-bounded pressure) where technologists can play with ideas and think freely, similar to parks and urban forests in a bustling city.

Such spaces for paratelic play existed at various points in Silicon Valley’s history: Bell Labs and Xerox Parc and the first generation of hackathons, but have largely been discarded or commercialized. Technologists must have (literal) space for thought.

3) Great thread from Alex Stamos on how ProPublica misreported the privacy vs. safety tradeoff in WhatsApp. The key idea is that messaging apps can be end-to-end encrypted while still allowing users to report their own abuse.

4) DAOs, The New Coordination Frontier.

Excellent DAO research report from Gitcoin and Bankless.

5) Babylon BeeBiden Unveils 'Your Body, My Choice' Vaccination Program

6) The Onion: Optimistic Researchers Say There Still Time To Head Off Climate Change Before It Starts Killing Rich People

7) Rhys: Racist Test Scores, Essays, and Grades Removed As California Colleges Switch To A Simple Income Checks

8) Satire From The Crowd: Leaked Deleted Scene from Fast & Furious 9 is Just Vin Diesel Changing a Tire for 12 Minutes

(Please send me other funny headlines you’ve written!)

9) TikTok of the Week: love it when grandmas jam on TikTok.




Britain is bumping out great hip-hop recently. As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, SAULT has been awesome, including their new album Nine. One of SAULT’s collaborators is Little Simz, who has also been excellent in her career thus far and also just released a delightful new album, Sometimes I Might Be Introvert (produced by none other than Inflo, the leader of SAULT).

I love it when artists look promising and then continue to lean into their full artistic purpose. So many artists just make one good album. Not Little Simz!

Here’s one of my favorite songs from Sometimes I Might Be Introvert. It uses an excellent sample that Little Simz plays with as a lyricist:

Seeing Little Simz kill it reminds me of 2000s British women rappers. They’re something about the dryness in their voice that feels deeply different than someone like Cardi B, who is full of pomp and energy.

Speech Debelle is a good example of what I might call British Dry Rap:

Hope you have a good week! Warmth, Rhys

If you like this newsletter, check out the online community of systems thinkers that I helped co-found, Roote.

❤️ Thanks to my generous patrons ❤️

Chris Densmore, Maciej Olpinski, Jonathan Washburn, Ben Wilcox, Audra Jacobi, Sam Jonas, Patrick Walker, Shira Frank, David Hanna, Benjamin Bratton, Michael Groeneman, Haseeb Qureshi, Jim Rutt, Zoe Harris, David Ernst, Brian Crain, Matt Lindmark, Colin Wielga, Malcolm Ocean, John Lindmark, Collin Brown, Ref Lindmark, James Waugh, Mark Moore, Matt Daley, Peter Rogers, Darrell Duane, Denise Beighley, Scott Levi, Harry Lindmark, Simon de la Rouviere, and Katie Powell.

Loading more posts…