some background about why i started this

the salient background point for the purpose of this first post on substack can be reduced into the following statement: writing, editing, and publishing have become a large part of the way i live.

over the years, i got into the practice of journaling as a way to make sense of my own world and i noticed that it helped me understand myself a lot better. [1]

part of my work is writing, editing, publishing, and talking about the transformative power of law, technology, and design. [2]

get feedback from interesting folks

in doing these things, i have realized that i enjoy talking to a bunch of different people about a bunch of different topics and finding ways to co-create new understandings and ideas about the future together. perhaps the key motivation in creating this substack is actually the process of making/maintaining/curating something akin to a news letter. in the same way that the practice of writing, editing, and publishing has positively transformed my personal life and my professional life, it is my hope that a recurring substack will force me to write a bit more, to learn a bit more, and to connect a bit more on a bunch of the things that exist somewhere between personal and professional. [3]

provide updates

history has also demonstrated that i am not really good at providing regular updates about the different things i have been working on. [4] i suspect a big reason for this failure is related to my general mistrust of mainstream social media platforms. in any case, another big reason i am bad about providing updates is because i don’t like writing up summaries for the different audiences on the different platforms about whatever thing i did. i chose substack over various other platforms because the long form content makes it easier for me to publish everything in the form i want without directly competing for space in a news feed or being hamstrung to a certain number of characters. another reason i chose substack is because you, dear reader, can select how you access these meanderings. you can sign-up to clog your inbox with email updates when i make new posts, or you can bookmark this page and come back to it whenever you feel like avoiding other parts of the internet that might be even worse than this one.

so here we are.


notes

[1] if you are interested in building better habits, including journaling, i would highly recommend reading Justin Kan’s post about Feeling Good.

[2] if you are interested in checking out some of my working writing, editing, publishing, and talking about technology, i’d encourage you to check out the publication i work for — the MIT Computational Law Report.

[3] indeed, the title of this substack derives from a concept that is defined by my research boss, Professor Alex ‘Sandy’ Pentland, as “[t]he propogation of behaviors and beliefs through a social network by means of social learning and social pressure. Idea flow takes into account the social network structure, the strength of the social influence between each pair of people, as well as individual susceptibility to new ideas.” In his book Social Physics, Sandy & team look at the relationships between different patterns of engagement, exploration, and the relative effect of these different patterns in achieving some success.