Notes from Underground: Intention and Transition

laptopAfter last Saturday’s inflection point, the week was filled with writing, outlining, and business modeling.  Oh and Google+ of course.   Anxiously masculinity under threat, structural oppression, and nymwars … no shortage of interesting topics!  In a depressing kind of way, that is.

So once again I was ready for the weekend.  Friday night, we dropped by Gibbous, DJ Anomaly’s bi-weekly, for a couple hours.  Saturday was burn night on the playa; here in the Seattle area, it was Intention, again with DJ Anomaly.  And then Sunday, while the Temple of Transition burned in Black Rock Desert, I was back at The Atrium one more time for Transition.

It was a sparse crowd and the DJs were okay but nothing out of the ordinary.  D stayed home writing and I wound up running into a friend I used to hang out with a lot a few years ago.  After we exchanged hellos and caught up on what was happening, she told me that she was thinking of buying a new Android phone but was concerned about Google tracking her.   From there we drifted to a discussion of Google+ and pseudonymity.

The two of us first met online, at a social network site where almost everybody used pseudonyms.  I spent most of my online time there for a couple years, back before Facebook and Twitter.  The discussions were great, the people were interesting, and over the years many of us wound up meeting and often becoming friends in real life.   Long-awaited first meetings, dancing at Bar Sinister, zooming through the streets of DC at 3 a.m. on the back of a scooter … you don’t need to know somebody’s “real name” for any of this.

And over the last 30 years millions of people have had similar experiences, on BBSs, discussion boards, chat rooms, Live Journal,tribe, free-association, MySpace, Dreamwidth, and zillions of other places.  Sorry, Google; the way you expect people to interact in your “identity system” isn’t “just like the real world” no matter how many times you say it.  Grr.

Do I know how to have a good time at a psytrance party or what?

Fortunately the music got better and I shut up and danced.   The food and drink specials were tasty as always, the light made everybody look great.   D showed up at close to 3:30, and we hung out for a while before heading home.  It was a fine evening, and a great chance to reflect on where I am two-thirds of the way through 2011.

Seven of CupsCrossing me (opposing forces, good or bad): Seven of Cups: Dreams, castles in the air, imagination working overtime — the seekers’ forces have been too scattered. A unifying story that speaks of limitless diversity, unbounded potential.  Are you distracted by the diversity before you? If so, how can you obtain clear focus?

— from the Tarot reading in DJ Anomaly at the Party Without a Name

You talking to me?  Yeah, I have been known to get distracted by limitless diversity.  And with a lot of stuff happening on the personal side, focusing has been a real challenge this year.   Sounds like yet another opportunity for inflection.

That night of the party without a name is also when I finalized my goals and resolutions for the year.  I’m doing pretty well on the resolutions, with the glaring exception of “spend more time on diversity-friendly social networks, and less in sexist, racist, and elitist environments” … as Melissa Hall says, dear Google, we really need to have a talk about our relationship.  But the disruptions, upheavals, and suspended decisions foreshadowed by the Tower, Three of Swords, and Hanged Man — along with a couple of decisions that could have worked out better — mean that I’m lagging on some of my goals.  Ah well.

But more positively, everything that’s happened validates my intention for qweries and highlights that the opportunity probably isn’t going away any time soon.  There is a huge audience for a site that helps everybody (not just the elite) find answers, get in the conversation, and contribute to their communities.  Google+ could fill this rule but based on what we’ve seen so far it doesn’t look likely.

Over the summer, I’ve learned a lot about the current technology situation and identified key audiences to target. The Q&A space remains attractive, the search market remains ripe for disruption, and a diversity-focused strategy can lead to a sustainable competitive advantage.   True, it’s still not completely clear how to get there from here. at least in a way that leads to a sustainable business, but I’m sure there’s a way.  And hey, if changing the world was easy, everybody would do it.

So despite all the challenges, I’m in a great frame of mind.  As I danced, I found myself thinking about a handful of my closest friends — in keeping with the theme of pseudonymity, I’ll call Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Space and Consciousness [not their real names].  It was another clear night, and once again Jupiter shone brightly over the dance floor.    I was in a creative enough mood that I wound up writing a haiku.

Warm light and psytrance
Intention and transition
Jupiter above

(For the elements who transform my world)

I heart psytrance.