Do you want to build a… content creation network?

I’ve been reflecting on my desire to live a better life and the fact that this is not a life I can create in isolation and I have decided that I want to create a distributed, autonomous, and asynchronous network of content creators who share a similar vision and are willing to contribute their own pieces of the puzzle to the greater vision. I have a vague outline of what I want to be a part of but I need help from you to be able to make this vision clear enough to bring to reality.

Why content creators?

One of my old creative writing teachers told me that if we really want to create a better world, we can’t just write about the things that are wrong with this world. While it is important to talk about the things that we wish to be changed, it is also impossible to create a world that we cannot imagine or describe. I want to actively collaborate with others in this creative process of creating a better world.

What type of “content creator” are you talking about?

“Content creator” is a super vague term, I definitely agree. However, that serves my purposes here because I think having a diversity of creative activity is essential when it comes to describing a fully fleshed out world. In the most traditional sense, I’m talking about content creators as people who write poetry and prose, who create a whole spectrum of visual art, musicians and podcasters.

But as anyone involved in creative collaborations know, there are a whole bunch of other roles that normally don’t have the prestige of being the “creator” of a piece of work but are nonetheless essential to that work being created. Writers need editors, videographers need editors, directors, and camera folks, artists need models and muses. This is by no means an exhaustive list because it would be impossible for me to catalogue all of the roles that contribute to the creation of this sort of work. Even just being willing to discuss this work with other people is a contributing role as these discussions feed back into the creative work.

If you’re reading this, even if you don’t consider yourself a creator at this time, I’d love for you to be involved if you’re interested.

What do you mean by “distributed, autonomous, and asynchronous”?

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the type of organizations that I want to be a part of and certain traits come up over and over. I do not think these traits are “universal goods” as I know that other people really benefit from co-location, explicit direction, and synchronous communication but I do not thrive in those situations, so I want to create an environment where I (and other people like me) will thrive.

Distributed vs Co-located

While there are some forms of collaboration that really benefit from being in the same place at the same time, the internet has really empowered people to collaborate in so many different ways while being scattered all across the globe. Even without the internet, people have found ways to collaborate at a distance, sending letters back and forth to edit and evolve philosophical writings, for instance.

I prefer to work with organizations that are explicitly distributed because it accepts the fact that there is only so much control that we have over where we are at any given time and creates a default expectation that you can participate from anywhere. This doesn’t mean that people can’t get together to chat or work on a project by any means, but setting this default expectation means that we will invest in infrastructure that allows people to collaborate all over the world, opening up more possibilities for more people.


Personal autonomy is an extremely important topic to me. Because we have so little control over the situation of our lives, I think it is extremely important to maximize the amount of autonomy that each person has when it is not interfering with the autonomy of other people.

In the context of this creative network, I think it is important to give people control over what projects they work on, who they collaborate with, and how those collaborations take place. Some people have a lot of time on their hands and other people have relatively little, so it’s also important to allow people to choose their level of engagement.

This amount of freedom can make collaboration difficult in some ways. If people can come and go as they choose, it becomes impossible to know who you can rely on and know what ways to communicate and do project planning.

Instead of having that be a reason to reduce the level of autonomy, however, I think that we should accept these challenges and create processes that can be used to nail down the requirements for a specific project and turn collaboration into a constant conversation instead of imposing concrete expectations onto every project. If we can come up with a library of different ways to collaborate, we can then use those ideas as a starting place to create something that better fits the people involved in any particular project.

Asynchronous by default

Synchronous communication is so often the default for many organizations that we participate in from day to day. Every time we have a phone call, hop on a Zoom meeting, or meet face-to-face, we’re engaging in synchronous communication. Since we’re using this all of the time, why would we want to default to asynchronous communication for a network like this?

The truth is, synchronous communication has a lot of limitations. Have you ever tried to schedule a meeting with multiple people who are super busy? Or have you tried to set up a regular role playing game group as an adult? It’s super hard! I’m always impressed with anyone who manages to regularly coordinate with others in a synchronous manner.

But there’s nothing that makes synchronous communication inherently better than asynchronous communication. While some people say that the speed of working with people in person allow for deeper strategic conversations, if you set the expectation that communication is asynchronous by default, you give people the time to do research and contribute their ideas when they are rested and prepared to do so. Yes, things might move slower, but if anything, we should be aiming for slow, intentional movement for anything that is really important. Move quick and break things only works until you move quickly and break society.

So what does this look like?

That’s a great question! Honestly, I don’t know and this is where I need your help. I’ve worked in organizations that are at least “remote friendly” for the last five years, so I have some ideas of tools and processes to facilitate distributed collaboration but the project that I have in mind is much more ambitious than any of the organizations or projects I’ve worked with so far.

If you’re interested in this project, leave a comment down below and let me know how you’d like to be involved so that we can start discussing it. If you don’t know how you’d like to be involved, but you’d still like to be involved, that’s fine too! I don’t have everything figured out and I don’t expect you to either. Maybe we can figure it out together.

2 Replies to “Do you want to build a… content creation network?”

  1. This sounds like an amazing endeavor. I’m not sure where within this structure I might find myself, but I am definitely interested in being a part of it, or at the very least watching it unfold and grow.

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