#77: Roote Projects
The next chapter in building the Wisdom Age
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!
Sorry it’s been a bit. I’ve missed ya. I was in Barcelona and Paris for the holiday with my family. Walkable European cities, yay!
Here’s a gif of a baby goat jumping over our hiking trail in Montserrat, Spain. Awww.
My family with a lil’ street cat we adopted in the Pyrennes. Awww.
My dad stealing my phone and cheesin’. Awww.
A world-class selfie of me at the Louvre pyramid. It shall be an NFT and will be hung in the galleries next to the Mona Lisa.
How was your holiday? Send me pix!
Roote Chapter 2
But it’s mostly talk and no walk. Memes not movements.
But Roote has mostly been cheering and critiquing from the sidelines.
That COVID experiment birthed a larger goal: To co-create the Wisdom Age.
To achieve that mission, I’m excited to share that we’ve now expanded Roote to include Roote Projects, a nonprofit startup studio building the Wisdom Age.
We’re starting with these four projects. Check ‘em out!
🐦 Tweetscape: Surfacing the most important information from Twitter communities.
📱Web3 & Society: Education and tooling to steward crypto for the public good.
🧬 What Information Wants: A book and research program exploring replicators on earth.
💰 Generosity Project: Creating a culture of generosity by encouraging people to give 10% of their income to charity.
Roote Fellowship trains people to change systems, Roote Projects directly changes them.
To build out the nonprofit startup studio, we’ve become a 501c3, raised $250,000, formed a board, and hired a COO.
Here’s the crew! Vanessa and Jasmine are on our board, Brendon is our new COO.
A bit on each of them:
Vanessa Slavich is, wow, an amazing human. She’s been a key member of Celo’s Teal org design, helps inclusion-focused DAOs like KorembiDAO, and has a vulnerable, smart blog detailing her journey with cancer. So grateful to have her wisdom in steering this ship.
Jasmine Wang is, wow, another amazing human! She’s currently leading verses_xyz, a collective that creates cultural drops like the Declaration of the Interdependence of Cyberspace. She’s often found in frontier communities like the Thiel Fellowship, Interact, and Reboot. Grateful to have her expansiveness in moving the Overton Window forward.
Brendon Wong is, you guessed it, an ah-may-zing human. He runs Antigravity Investments, an investment firm with $20 million in AUM that helps charities compound their balance sheet. He also runs Better, a research hub and venture studio that develops tools to help people live…better 😉. He just started in January and has been instrumental in spinning up Roote’s operations and new projects.
Here is Brendon’s note for why he’s joining Roote:
Hunger, pollution, authoritarianism—it seems like there are problems everywhere, persistent and increasing day by day. Most of the world, like 94% of Americans, believes the world is getting worse. Over the course of my life, I've become aware of not just the enormous array of problems we face, but also the illusory nature of these problems.
Hunger is optional. We already produce enough food to feed everyone on this planet. So is pollution. It's possible to keep the best aspects of modern life without trashing the environment. So is governance, which we choose for ourselves via our collective social contracts, some of which are clearly better than others.
We can eliminate the vast majority of problems on the planet, or, go further and live in an age of great abundance and flourishing. The good news is, humanity is already moving in this direction. Prosperity, clean energy, governance, safety, life expectancy, and more are all improving globally. But why aren't we already there?
At the root level, we're lacking the collective desire and coordination to make a radically better world happen. More concretely, we need to change the current systems that are in place for organizing society. People are hungry and homeless because society isn't allocating resources in their direction. Companies pollute because they aren't incentivized not to. Governments make poor decisions because they’re composed of politicians influenced by self-interest and special interests.
Changing these systems will be very challenging. Existing institutions are very entrenched and pose many risks to society's current and future flourishing. But emerging movements like conscious consumerism, benefit corporations, and universal basic income are small steps in this direction. These movements represent tractable attempts at incremental systems change, a portfolio approach to bring about the better future that we should already be living in.
I'm joining Roote as COO to accelerate the personal and collective transformation necessary to create a new, radically better chapter of human history.
One final note on people: Shingai Thornton (who was an RF3 fellow!) is our first donor. He is an immensely curious and interdisciplinary thinker excited by political economy, crypto, and systems thinking. He is excellent at evaluating and investing in crypto, and has donated to get Roote off the ground. Thank you Shingai!
And why not, while we’re at it, here’s a hip black & white picture of him too. 🙂
We’ve been collectively accumulating potential energy through years of exploring the idea maze. Excited to operationalize this into impact!
More writing and podcast interviews soon, but for now I wanted to share ways to get involved:
We’re hiring a Founding Developer for Tweetscape. Reach out or forward to your colleagues who want to design a better Twitter feed.
If you’re interested in other ways to help out Roote, have any other ideas, or just want to chat, please reply to this email or grab a time to chat here. (Here’s the project list again for reference: Roote Fellowship, 🐦 Tweetscape, 📱Web3 & Society, 🧬 What Information Wants, 💰 Generosity Project.)
Apply to join RF5, which begins March 2022. We have three energetic folks committed: a brilliant cultural and institutional designer at emerging tech companies, an MIT MBA from Azerbaijan who is empowering youth protest leaders in authoritarian countries, and an up-and-coming undergrad complex systems designer. Help us help you (😂) create a fulfilling interdisciplinary career. Join us!
If you’d like to donate, invest, or join our internal metrics mailing list for investors and donors, please reply to this email. I’d love to chat about our plans to turn money into impact.
Thank you all for your continued support (and critique!). Excited to begin Chapter 2.
- Rhys 🐘
❤️ Thanks to my generous patrons ❤️
Laurel Petterson, Eric Tang, Chris Densmore, Maciej Olpinski, Jonathan Washburn, Ben Wilcox, Audra Jacobi, Sam Jonas, Patrick Walker, 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.