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Ways to Build the Fire
NFT NYC as a welcome reminder of how we can collectively turn away from darkness and build the fire.
Seed Club Co-Creator Nicole d’Avis shares her post-NFT NYC reflections on how we find pathways through challenging times, her perspective on the Seed Club network’s simultaneous interdependence and distinction, and her infamous egg-yolk analogy.
Twenty years ago on a clear warm night in Maine, my friend and I canoed through a silky twilight to find camp.
I've never been so mesmerized by fire as I was that night. Surrounded in all directions by darkness, it was both terrifying and incredibly provocative to stare into the unknown. Extremes are instinctually appealing. Like going between a sauna and icy water, glancing between the fire and darkness stirred something in me.
As coins and exchanges imploded over the last few weeks, we have had this urge to stare over the edge. We’re attempting to learn something about where we came in order to make sense of what just happened. I’ve listened to hours of Laura Shin's pod for just this reason. But, we can only stare over the edge for so long before it beckons too dangerously.
Four cohorts in, Seed Club is still *just* getting started, but we have grown considerably in the eight months since the previous NFT NYC in November 2021.
Last week’s NFT NYC was a perfectly timed break. It was a reminder of what matters and how to do it.
Our alumni projects blanketed the city. From early to late, it was possible to spend all week attending their events and still not make it to all of them. I was fortunate to visit many and bump into even more network friends: regenerative food and wine Thirsty Thirsty, underground culture COLORS, Water & Music at the intersection of music and research, basketball hype Krause House and running into FWB Mayor Zhang on a street corner.
Wandering between them, the simultaneous interdependence and distinctness of each microbiome is striking. Each node exists on its own, with its own culture and call to adventure. And yet, they, we, all need each other.
At the lunch hosted by Thirsty Thirsty and Cabin, we were treated to a lesson on kombucha's symbiotic scoby. The relationship that bacteria and fungi create, and which facilitates kombucha, is both extremely interdependent and reflective of its surrounding ambience, and interestingly, exclusive and sometimes even inhospitable to neighboring cultures.
From an outsider's perspective, if one didn't know that web3 was the common unifier between these gatherings, it would have been understandable to assume that there was no common ecosystem. That the Thirsty Thirsty luncheon, Krause tournament, Mochi picnic, Serif garden party and Refraction art show were completely unrelated. Web3, generally, and Seed Club, especially, is the sense-making protocol layer for these nodes. We are the hypernetwork.
While I'm certainly not suggesting that our nodes across the greater hypernetwork should be inhospitable or competitive (we are, after all, all gonna make it), there is something to be said for recognizing our boundaries and knowing how to focus our culture-building inward.
That wondrous night in Maine when our canoe hit shore, we gathered sticks from the edge of the woods, and turned away from the darkness to build our fire. Right now, this feels like the important work. These are a few ways that work well for me:
Writing down what I know. Then doing it.
There is SO MUCH ambiguity, and we can endlessly question if we are going in the right direction. So I write down what I do know I need to do, and every day I do some of it. The next day, I review and adjust based on what I learned the previous day.
Having a shared understanding of the "egg yolk".
A write-up on this egg yolk -vs- white model is overdue, but in a nutshell, projects should have an agreed upon definition of what the core business is, and what is outside of but additive to the core. Unless resources are unconstrained, a project should only be doing things that fall into one of those two categories.
Trying on leadership.
Leading in a DAO is confusing, at best. It seems antithetical to the definition. But there is something to be said for consistency and grounding. It's actually something I'm quite comfortable with, and I have been leaning into this within Seed Club.
Cultivating a balance that allows for positive dissatisfaction to me means: appreciating the hard work by and around me, while pushing to make the next cycle even better. Opening myself up for feedback and accountability, and working to make that a culture we all embrace.
This is how I build a fire and turn away from the darkness. We may not know how the night is going to end, or what lies on the other side of the wildness, but we know enough to get to the next spot.
Nicole d’Avis is one half of Seed Club’s intrepid Co-Creator duo. Follow her on Twitter at @mybellalogica