If I were to boil down who I am into one sentence, it’s that I am an US-based technologist and civic entrepreneur dedicated to building tools, systems, and movements that accelerate human and planetary flourishing. I co-founded Civics Unplugged and Dream DAO, which train Gen Z civic innovators, and am currently focused on supporting Gitcoin DAO and various projects related to leveling up America with foundational technology.
Hi Michael, glad you asked. Here's my response: https://garysheng.substack.com/p/manifesto/comment/11333722
I like this.
To speak more generally about what I think you're pointing at, step function improvements in communication + coordination tech seems to be essential to breakthroughs in other kinds of tech.
A lot of people point at the existence of Four Industrial Revolutions so far:
I'm wondering if any of these would have taken off at a global scale without the invention of the...
To reference Anton Howe's piece from earlier this year, innovation doesn't seem to be human nature.
Perhaps the proliferation of tech that sufficiently spreads inspiring ideas—like "XYZ is possible!"—is what leads people to decide to innovate anyway, against their conservative nature.
Great points here, Jason.
Can easily apply your framework to why alternative meats that have been "invented" will still take years to change the world, because of cost, social acceptance, regulations, scaling issues, quality (taste), accessibility at restaurants, etc.
Also, this is too true...
"the U.S. seems to have accidentally assembled a kind of bipartisan coalition against some of the most important drivers of human progress."
Hi Sebastian. Yes - this is a great challenge. And I'd love to see your website when it's up!
I really appreciate the kind words, Coleman. Means a lot.
Glad you got a lot out of the art. Very intentionally created + placed.
And yes, the problem with "techno-optimism" is that it loses people immediately by communicating a sense of naivety about how challenging building a better future really is.
Finally, yes, the America-centricity is mainly about tightening the scope. Here are some other reasons I share in the comments of the original posting.
Thanks again for reading this Manifesto.
You might have been wondering “Why the emphasis on the U.S.?”:
First, I believe that people from any country should focus on issues that they have disproportionate ability to affect. On that note, just about everyone has more influence over matters to which they are in closest physical proximity to—whether they are matters affecting your family, your town, y- our city, your state/province, or country. As an American, I have more influence over what happens in the U.S. than in, say, Canada, Brazil, or Singapore. And I believe citizens of a country should be most invested in making improvements to the place they live.
Second, the issues affecting the U.S. are not identical to those affecting other countries, even if there are many similarities across countries. Thought leadership on, say, how we improve America’s regulatory regime, educate American family offices, or create media that inspires American students may have some use to movement builders around the world—but the only way that this manifesto and its eventual outputs can help level up America is if they are designed to provide great service to Americans dealing with U.S.-specific challenges.
Third, there is no question that knowledge and technology produced by an American-centric movement can and should be shared with builders in other countries. And in a way that doesn’t replicate the sometimes predatory models of international philanthropy and economic development of the past many decades. And if we want to help the world, it’s important that we know we can help ourselves. Let’s get our own messy house in order before arrogantly assuming we can help others.
Fourth, the US still arguably has the most access to resources and power in the world right now, and changes in the U.S. here have extraordinary leverage in setting positive trends that cascade across the world.
Finally, most of this manifesto can be forked by movement builders in other countries who recognize the applicability of this approach to future-building in their local environment. I welcome this wholeheartedly.
Appreciate your kind words!
Hey Erik - I'm mostly just trying to manifest it into existence at this point. Would love to connect. You can DM me on Twitter https://twitter.com/garysheng
Hi everyone. I'm Gary Sheng.
If I were to boil down who I am into one sentence, it’s that I am an US-based technologist and civic entrepreneur dedicated to building and evangelizing tools, systems, and movements that accelerate human and planetary flourishing.
I co-founded Civics Unplugged and Dream DAO, which train Gen Z civic innovators. I was honored as Forbes 30 Under 30 for this work.
I am currently focused on supporting Gitcoin DAO and various projects related to leveling up America with foundational technology.
I don't know if there was one moment that got me into the "progress" space, but I'm obsessed with the idea of the US breaking free from the grips of doomerism and stagnation and achieving a new Golden Age. We have the most talent and resources in the world. If we can't do it, that doesn't bode well for humanity.
Connect with me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/garysheng.
I enjoyed your piece, Tony.
I hadn't heard of the "Ratchet, Hatchet, Pivot" before. I really like it for intra-ecosystem communication.
I also love these questions: "What has gone right and why, what is going wrong and why, and what can be done to overcome the problems facing humanity?"
You can swap humanity for "my life," "my family," "my community," "my country," etc for a universally useful exercise.
On a separate note, your piece resonated because something I'm trying to interrogate for myself is also what you seem to be thinking about: what is the role of media in advancing progress?
I have a sneaking suspicion that part of the reason why most optimistic media usually(?) doesn't do well is because it's not tied to a particular theory of change.
I imagine most people wondering: "Cool, I'm glad to know that this cool invention is being built. But what exactly does this have to do with me?"
I suspect that media that feels like media that supports the growth a movement with clear and exciting goals could get traction.
I've seen some progress-adjacent YouTube channels do really well roughly targeting a niche of people who want to electrify their house, so they like to be up to date on new energy / storage inventions.
And I predict that I would love to follow media covering the journey of a group trying to get some progress-related legislation passed.
I'm not sure there's room for general purpose optimistic, progress-oriented media beyond the current players right now. But I could be wrong!
What do you think?