Matthew Schutte

Month: March 2015

Big Walls, Big Waves, Learning and Mastery

This weekend, I finally made it to Yosemite in person. I went with two wonderful friends (Colleen and Tory) and got to attempt outdoor rock climbing for the first time since I was barely 15 years old. Yesterday, weclimbed the lower part of the Nose at El Capitan, focusing on crack climbing. There were other climbers at the site as well. Some, like us, were there for a day or two of single pitch routes — that means they were climbing up about 60 feet or so, then descending back down. Others were attacking the entire 2900 foot face with huge sacks of food and plans to spend multiple days and nights dangling from the side of the wall. They were taking on one of the best and most famous climbs on planet earth.

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An evening with Jerry Michalski and Sir Ken Robinson

I had a wonderful conversation with Jerry Michalski on our way to and from a talk by Sir Ken Robinson.  Our talks covered designing from trust, the boundaries of social organisms (communities, companies etc), digital reputation tools and the possibilities (and limits) of what they might help us accomplish and more.

The best bit of insight from the event itself came as a result of a question Jerry asked.  It was Sir Ken Robinson saying something along the lines of this:

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Chris Allen summarizes Elinor Ostrom

Christopher Allen (co-author of the SSL standard and someone who is incredibly thoughtful about collaboration) sat down today and took a crack at making Elinor Ostrom’s nobel prize winning work a bit easier to grok.

Chris and I chatted on the phone earlier today.  Then he did this.  I had a fun afternoon, but I could only wish it had been as productive as his.

I know Chris has been thinking about these things for years, but I’m certain his taking a crack at this distillation was inspired by a session at the Future of Work conference that I helped organize last week.

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My talk from Voice & Exit on Balancing Privacy and Transparency in a Digitally Connected World

This was the closing talk that I gave at Voice and Exit, in Austin, Texas last summer.  I want to thank Max Borders and Seth Blaustein for inviting me to give this talk. Distilling these complex ideas down into a deliverable form wasn’t the easiest thing for me, but it has proven incredibly helpful.

One of the details that got stripped away is the actual mechanism that keeps people behaving well in digital interactions in the future.  I’ll detail that architecture in an upcoming post, but it is a design that attempts to enable the informal pressure and flexible interpretation of traditional reputation systems to be deployed at scale and across domains by enabling users to draw upon the sources of information that they find relevant, to combine those in ways that they find useful and thus to help them make decisions about who to interact with.

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The health benefits of scary surf


Matthew Schutte falls from the sky on a 30 foot wave at Mavericks


Surfer Magazine says that Big Wave Surfing is scary and stressful.  But that type of stress may in fact be good for you.

More importantly, here is the Stanford neuroscience article that inspired it.

Lucy Bernholz on Values Aligned Technology

In this thoughtful post on “Values Alligned Technology,” Lucy Bernolz has shone a spotlight on some of the fictions of consent that we have been living with for the past couple of decades.

The related question that I had grappled with over the past decade was “Which values may be shared so broadly that we should be baking them into digital architecture itself.”

Ms. Bernolz touched upon the one value that seems to be most core — actual agency for individual users. Not just lip service. Not just a fiction of consent, but actual consent. At the same time, in order to minimize the difference in transaction costs in interactions between individuals (which currently bear the full weight of making an informed decision all within a single interaction) and institutions (which can split that cost over thousands or even millions of interactions), individuals will need to be able to collaborate with others — and that ends up resulting in some form of “delegated consent.”

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Steve Waldman on CryptoEconomics and Reputation

I wasn’t able to make the recent CryptoEconomics conference organized by Kieren James-Lubin and crew but I loved this point by Steve Waldman.  There is much promise in these crypto systems, but if we tie one arm behind our back and make “identity” and “reputation” not parts of the equation – at least at times, we are unlikely to find them to be the robust tools that they have the potential to be.

His point focuses primarily on the maintenance of the ledger (which is where fraud would occur in a cryptoeconomic system).

More of Steve’s work can be found at Interfluidity

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