Moontower Munchies #13
Video game designer Gabriele Leydon went on Invest Like The Best and dropped deeply provocative bits about what I might describe as design and gamification as a response to a future that has thus far proved disappointing or alienating. I don’t know how much of it I agree with it though I’ll admit I have had similar thoughts with respect to financialization. I’d describe listening to this as Patrick interviewing the Ben Hunt of video games.
If there’s something I’d probably disagree with most it’s the pastoral sense that the frontier seemed somehow more accessible to the common man 100 years ago beckoning people to go West for opportunity. There are frontiers, and they are always crushing by the standards of their time. The immigrant driving your Uber is a modern-day pioneer. They left all that is familiar behind (the success of immigrants in the US shouldn’t be surprising. They are built different. Immigration is a filter.)
Ultimately I really enjoyed listening to this interview and any disagreement I’d have is well worth the brain food Gabriele serves. Patrick does a great job as usual asking questions.
These are my snippets pulled from the transcript of what I wanted to refer back to. It’s not a summary. All emphasis is mine.
Gabriel Leydon’s “Purple Pills” (12 min read)
These are some of Patrick’s questions, you can read the responses in the link:
I know you’re going to restrain yourself, but we’ll do our best. The first red pill of the discussion is around the topic of design. There’s a huge emphasis on design right now, and I think you’ve got an interesting take on what an emphasis on design means about where we are in capitalism. What are your thoughts on the importance of design or what it might mean?
What did you learn about the reasons why people will pay? Famously in free to play there’s this crazy power law of who pays and how much. And the 0.1% of the players, I don’t know what it is. Some crazy high percentage of the revenue. So maybe a better way of asking the question is like, what have you learned about what characterizes that willingness to spend?
Give me one more thing at least. One more what I would call purple pill. Something not too inflammatory. Something you think that is true about the world that people wouldn’t like to hear.
Does the idea, I’ll call it the gooey teleportation principle or something, is this also an investing principle? You should look for stuff that has terrible design or is breaking?
If this interview isn’t dystopian enough for you, I’m afraid to tell you that I enjoyed Ben Hunt’s recording:
Hollow Men, Hollow Markets, Hollow World (38 min listen)
If you prefer to read, here’s the transcript (19 min read)
If you read my post this past Sunday you can probably see why these recordings struck a chord.
Life As A Tournament (3 min read)
I just finished both volumes of Venkatesh Rao’s Art Of Gig books. You can see my love letter tohere:
Highlights From The Art of Gig (Moontower)
In particular, I’ll point you to an essay that is your personal antidote to the zero-sum tunnels described by Leydon and Hunt above:
And a bit of a non-sequitur…this is the best essay I’ve read on the taboos around discussing salary:
If you enjoy Rao’s turns of phrase even half as much as I do buy the books right now.
I was invited to be a part of the Substack Meetings beta. You can book a time to chat. I’m more expensive than a 900 number from 1988 and have a less sexy voice.
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