I make my ideas work. This is my thought collection.
How I found a reasonable priced room in New York City.
The first weeks in 2011 of my arrival in NYC I stayed in Borough Park, an extremely religious jewish orthodox neighborhood about 40 min by train from the city. It was an interesting experience, but not the most convenient and certainly not cool or hip, if you will. My rent was about 800usd/month. My girlfriend at that time, wondered who would want to live in such a haunting house, well I did. And I was ok with it.
After that I shared a small room in the lower east side with four people. No privacy, for just only 800usd per month, I slept on couches, on air mattresses in living rooms.
The last weeks of my stay I ended up living 10 min by bicycle from the city renting for 900usd/month. Before that I lived for 750usd/month in Fort Greene, also 10 min by bike from the city. As a follow up on my NYC Guide, I think it makes sense to write some quick tips on how to find a cool place in NYC when you’re broke and ambitious. One thing I learned: the narrower the streets get, the more creative you will be.
Don’t set goals for yourself, particularly material ones. They’re disastrous and will keep you from becoming who you really are.
Keep your ego in check. You’ll be better liked, and more opportunities will come your way.
Get outside your comfort zone by traveling to distant lands and reading books in a serendipitous way.
Be a giver, not a taker. It’s more rewarding.
Learn with friends.
And always think for yourself. Stephen Fry: What I Wish I Knew When I Was 18 | Open Culture
Launching Plopp.us - A simple database for all peer to peer initiatives.
Two weeks ago I proposed to launch a simple catalog for all peer to peer initiatives to advance the sharing economy. For those who are not familiar: sharing economy is an economy that grows based on renting out / sharing what we already have with other people [correct me if I’m wrong], wether it is knowledge, an angle grinder, an old car we never use, ideas, etc.
The internet has amazing power to do away with all boundaries and help others to grow with very little resources but just a connection with the World Wide Web.
The catalog has the goal to help peer to peer related start-ups, foundations and initiatives grow faster and better.
It’s called Plopp.us and it is launched as a Global Shapers community initiative. The Global Shapers Community is part of the well known World Economic Forum. I already hear you: that’s pretty top-down, elitist and heavy loaded. Sure thing, but hey you can use the enormous reach and network to help those amazing start-ups working on the next economy where sharing is key.
I’m super excited to see what is going to come out of all of this, please do submit your own initiatives you love or let me know what we should do to improve it.
Be worthless, it’s good
We’re not all privileged to do all what we want, indeed we need to make some money to eat, drink and sleep. We may even have some family members or even friends to take care off. But as long we’re not starving, we’re good and we can do whatever we want.
In fact nothing holds us down, because if we approach life as something we don’t know why we have it, everything seems to be possible. Every law, argument, product, rule was made by someone who had in fact no clue why he/she was actually here. Wandering around, staring to the sky: we all haven’t found the reason why we are here. Frankly that makes making decisions a lot easier, because we can easily conclude everything we do is worthless, since the reason isn’t to be found.
So whatever you do, you should do it because you feel like it, not because others say so, or because you expect it to make you a better person. Do it because you just can. If only for the sake of accepting that life is just here and you’re just in it. It’s in the end worthless and that’s the best thing that could happen to all of us. Be worthless, it’s good.
[The picture is a screen grab from the movie: “Du, Levande” or “You the Living” a film by Roy Andersson where he pictures the anti-hero, the miserable, in an incredible way]
The end of the institution as we know it
My foundation is working day in and day out in Alley NYC, one of the many co-working spaces you’ll find in New York. Fridays usually end in great evenings. So did it do the other day. One of my coworkers presented a rather genius new idea: a plan to rebuild the way we access the internet. An internet that will run through our smartphones, tablets and laptops, no vast server anymore, no control. No regime that can bring down the internet in any way. Access to knowledge anytime, without interference…
The more these ideas spark up and are being realized the more I know huge changes are happening and will continue to happen. In general those changes are good for almost all people and planet. Only a few who prefer money over time will have problems with the future I’m about to lay out for you…
2013 and beyond will be the year of the death of the institution as we know it, and the birth of the open and flexible institution.
If we look at the rise of the 3d-printer, we will soon learn that we don’t buy our chairs in a shop, we’ll have them printed. The best designs, at the corner of our streets. Mass consumption will die.
Investing and banking will a totally different dimension. Banks won’t really exist anymore. We will decide by ourselves where our money is going, we can put it on webapps instead of on banks and have people investing it for us. Real people, who - just like you and me - rather invest in small companies with a good heart and a simple profit.
Every form of data will be 100% free: articles, books, music, tracks, records, films, everything that’s data will be free. Why? Because we will sell and produce products that last longer than our lives, and we will therefore have more time (no need to buy yet another phone, a new computer, shoes,…)
Education will transform in a big way, more people will have access to knowledge and lessons and will be virtually working from coffeeshops, coworking spaces and hubs across the globe. Already almost all of my clients, never met me in real life (I work as a freelance designer to pay rent and expensive drinks with fascinating people). Some clients even wrote testimonials how great they found it working with me. Those testimonials and recommendations will be our future grades and scores, references: to get more clients. The only thing what will count is what you really did and wether people were happy with you. Look already how Airbnb works: we trust the people we rent homes from based on the recommendations they have received.
Our economy will be much more a creators economy than a consumption economy. It’s already happening: look at the way everyone was suddenly able to build apps for the iPhone, crowd funding our own ideas: new inventions, blogs that grew bigger than mainstream news sites,… See it (our future economy) as a box with legos: we can make anything we want/need, instead of buy anything we don’t need (today).
When you stimulate people to create, they are restless, they love to build and share it with others instead of only consuming what is already made. The best and latest example I can give is the first open source game console called OUYA. The company raised 8M usd in just days! Backed by hackers, gamers and developers. Those people invested because they loved it and are excited to use and build games for it. This also means the beginning of the end of major console game companies like Nintendo, Microsoft’s XBOX and Sony’s Playstation. The institution as we know it will either die or deliver services to make it easier for the people to create.
These times are truly fascinating.
Making yourself useless, that’s the future. And it’s bright.
I already knew it, you probably did too, but like me you probably did not know it had a name: PLANNED OBSOLESCE it is! According to Wikipedia:
[…] a policy of planning or designing a product with a limited useful life, so it will become obsolete, that is, unfashionable or no longer functional after a certain period of time
In other words… a printer that only last three years because it was programmed to die (it exists!), a lightbulb that only lasts 1000 hours (when there were for years patents dated from 1930 of lightbulbs that would last even 100,000 hours - never made it to the market…), software updates that make your phone go slower and eventually unbearable so you’ll buy of course a newer one… reasons to buy more that we actually need for the sake of making business sell more.
I learned about this a lot more watching the Pyramids of Waste (2010), AKA The Lightbulb Conspiracy. It tells you why it’s good to break with the economy that is based on growth, because growth is not necessarily moving us forward. Bill McKibben writes in Mother Jones the following:
The environmentalist Alan Durning found that in 1991 the average American family owned twice as many cars as it did in 1950, drove 2.5 times as far, used 21 times as much plastic, and traveled 25 times farther by air. Gross national product per capita tripled during that period. Our houses are bigger than ever and stuffed to the rafters with belongings (which is why the storage-locker industry has doubled in size in the past decade). We have all sorts of other new delights and powers—we can send email from our cars, watch 200 channels, consume food from every corner of the world. Some people have taken much more than their share, but on average, all of us in the West are living lives materially more abundant than most people a generation ago.
What’s odd is, none of it appears to have made us happier. Throughout the postwar years, even as the gnp curve has steadily climbed, the “life satisfaction” index has stayed exactly the same. Since 1972, the National Opinion Research Center has surveyed Americans on the question: “Taking all things together, how would you say things are these days—would you say that you are very happy, pretty happy, or not too happy?” (This must be a somewhat unsettling interview.) The “very happy” number peaked at 38 percent in the 1974 poll, amid oil shock and economic malaise; it now hovers right around 33 percent.
We know all of this is also a huge disadvantage for both our planet and consumers. In the end we have not endless ressources and consumers need to continue working to sell products that don’t last forever to keep buying new products with again limited useful life.
In fact every business should agree that it should die in order to move everyone forward, no more products that are not build to last forever.
As Mingus Vogel (co-founder and colleague at Les Oiseaux de Merde) puts it:
[…] for companies to be successful in a world with limited ressources, they need to make themselves useless in the end.
In other words companies need to become superfluous. They simply need to die and have a life long repair desk.
Doesn’t that put people out off work? O my…, they have more free time. WOAH!! To spend on things that are not effecient at all…
Such as (what really makes us happy)
- Realizing dreams: which is super time consuming;
- Not working a lot (which happens eventually);
- Debating, saying what they think;
- Cultivating friendships;
The trend of “companies” building long lasting products is actually ALREADY happening. Since the line between consumers and producers is fading away, because of endless access to knowledge and resources, we can easily become engineers, inventors and eventually producers invested with crowdfunded capital.
Already for years hackers have been able to pull their own free systems together that can run on the oldest PCs. Ouya a recent successful kickstarter project opens up the complete gaming experience on the TV for independent developers, in which they would be able to hack and program their own games. This means the end of the traditional way how corporations like Microsoft, Sony, work: trying to make you buy each four years an entirely new device. In this way: the community buys, repairs, makes it better, and has not a a direct interest in growing…
Personally I’m extremely obsessed with this trend and will do everything I can to make sure it carries on. I question regularly how can we organize these community driven peer to peer ideas that enable consumers to build first class products that eventually never break and that are made to last forever or repair forever.
This way major companies to give in and become 100% sustainable: and slowly shrinking to just repair desks and former employees who start rethinking policies designing a fair economy that’s build to just be here and now. Utopic, maybe, but exciting too.
- Republican girl: I love Sweden, I could really live their
- Me: How come? Sweden is full of socialists. I would assume that you...
- She: Exactly. That's the only thing I dislike about that country.
- Me: Huh?