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🎁 Valentin's Present - Symbol - Startup I've been working on

The startup I've been working on is called Symbol. You can check it out here: In the

🎁 Valentin's Present

November 12 · Issue #11 · View online
The best content I've ever found. Mouthwatering concepts, tempting questions, juicy books, delicious songs, exquisite short films, and other surprises.

The startup I’ve been working on is called Symbol. You can check it out here:
In the middle of this week I came to Brown to do some anthropological observations/questioning (customer development/bottom up research), and I’ve been learning so much; been adapting the offering so it’s something people want and find valuable. We already have some new designs for the new & improved version — can’t wait to share the updates for that next week. We also have a new set of hypotheses. Would love your thoughts on the hypotheses, either through email/message or just through a comment on that google doc.

And even though our value proposition and hypotheses have evolved/been refined, our vision is still the same. Made it into a section below because this intro is already long.

As always, hope you enjoy this present :).

Provoking Picture
This is a cave painting on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. It’s one of the oldest cave paintings we’ve found, estimated at 40,000 years old. Humans have been drawing and thinking in symbols for a long time, maybe since the “beginning?

Symbol Vision
Humans think in symbols. Language, Mathematics, Money, Credentials. The symbols we use influence how we think. How we think influences how we act. We believe that representing society in a new way can generate a better world.
Our Vision
Create a world full of purpose and progress.
We believe purpose and progress come mainly from understanding — both ourselves and the world.
At Symbol, we’re building a universally trusted platform to celebrate learning, skills, and what you do with your knowledge and skills.
We approach our vision by helping to generate the following:

1. A society that rewards lifelong learning.
It’s hard to impose top-down goals on society. But if we change the incentive structure, we can design a system that motivates the main source of purpose and prosperity: learning and creating.
By creating a direct link between status and what you know and can do, and making this an evolving symbol in which you can finally see your progress, we’re creating the incentive structure to pursue ongoing growth and skill development.

2. Efficient allocation of human capital.
The biggest asset of humanity is humans. By quantifying human skills and making them visible, we can channel and combine our skills towards the problems that best suit our strengths.
With quantified expertise comes the necessary transparency and data to efficiently allocate human capital in a meritocratic, unbiased, and costless way.

3. A global meritocracy.
We believe talent is universal but opportunity currently isn’t.
We’re building a world where people are seen not by their credentials, but by their true set of skills and what they are able to do with them.

Exquisite Short Video
Media for Thinking the Unthinkable on Vimeo
Bret Victor’s videos and thoughts are pretty exquisite in my opinion. This video talks about several things, one of them being the mouthwatering concept below.
Mouthwatering Concepts
Tools and Symbols help us Think Previously Unthinkable Thoughts
Just as there are odors that dogs can smell and we cannot, as well as sounds that dogs can hear and we cannot, so too there are wavelengths of light we cannot see and flavors we cannot taste.
Why then, given our brains wired the way they are, does the remark, “Perhaps there are thoughts we cannot think,” surprise you? — Richard Hamming
We have tools that help us think about the light wavelengths we cannot see.
We also created tools and symbols that have helped us think in new ways, like writing making thought visible. Other examples include mathematical notation, graphs, maps, computer programs. The video above expands on this concept.

Tempting Question
What is something you like learning or some skills you have that aren’t captured by your credentials?

I actually would love to hear your response to this. Would be super helpful so I can build something that’s valuable. Just hit reply to this email.
Craveable Short Poem
you are
is not
you are.
— circumstances
By Nayyirah Waheed

Re Human Stories
Link to weekly and daily recaps here.
Delicious Music
This Friday Manuel Turizo released Sola, pretty good so gained a spot in my Aguacate playlist.

Zucchini is a chill playlist with a particular vibe people seem to enjoy a lot.

As always, I’m only a click away (a click to the reply button).
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