I’m not really from the edge, or maybe I’m from the lower edge of the global 1%. I’m from a roof and three meals, though there were times when they had to come from the family garden. I came to discover EdgeRyders thanks to a series of unlikely events which began with the publication Aaron van Wirdum’s interview with Vinay Gupta. I didn’t know either of them but it was dropped on a mailing list and when I got through reading it the only word on the tip of my tongue was “Hallelujah”, finally someone to speak reality to these people who think markets will fix everything. A few days later and almost entirely by accident, I heard about an event called SquatConf - a tech conference hosted in a squat, and it was right in Paris where I live! Looking at the list of names, I sensed an imminent party and there was no way I was going to miss it. I shot down to the IRC channel where the event was being organized and who do I meet? Aaron van Wirdum and he’s looking for a place to stay, I said sure thing and not one week later we were sitting in a proper squat and art gallery. I had been reading everything I could about Vinay, being the first person I’d ever seen who was both compassionate and had an understanding of infrastructure, that lead me to discover EdgeRyders and at SquatConf a blond guy with piercing eyes sat down next to me and as we were talking, I asked him if he’d ever heard of EdgeRyders … dumbest question in the world … I was talking to Elf Pavlik.
I describe myself as a “protocol guy”. I spent the past 3 years developing cjdns routing protocol and I have come to see all human interactions as well as all machine interactions as matters of protocol. From Ethernet to “thank you” and taking one’s shoes off at the door, every place where humans or machines interact with other humans or machines, we standardize protocols. Through this lens we can see politics, economics, law, language and everything that makes our world what it is, as a protocol.
What excites me about EdgeRyders is that here there is a fundamental understanding of the necessity of management and infrastructure. Previously I have seen mostly libertarian orientated people who were capable of management and systems thinking but felt entitled to own everything they participated in building. Also there were communistic people who wanted a good world for everyone but, and there’s no way to dress this up, could not manage their way out of a wet paper bag. Here it seems that people are having serious discussions about how we want to raise children and take care of the ill and elderly and also how we are going to get from where we are now to where we want to be.
Fundamentally I do not know where we want to be, I know we’re going to need to try things for a while before something stands out as really working. What I do know is that in order to get anywhere, we are going to need to define protocols; systems of law, systems of economics, be they money based, reputation based, gift based or some combination of the three. This is what I do. Imagine the world you want, down to the most minute detail, understand the world you have without allowing your emotions to cloud your perception, then create a social virus which converts one into the other.