Transcription project: Optimizing for human thriving

Hi everyone, who wants to help me create the transcript for this podcast episode called Simona Pop: Optimizing for human thriving

Below are the first 6 or so minutes starting at about 1:24. Can you please review and correct them? If you want, you can also continue with the next part, which will be about really interesting questions and ideas:


All right, let’s hop into the show. I am here with Simona Pop. Simona, thank you so much for coming on the show. Thank you so much for inviting me and I am delighted to finally be here. Yes, I cannot wait to chat about some of the things that are in your mind but before we get into all of that, do you want to give a little bit about your background on you?

How you fell on the crypto rabbit hole? You’re sort of an OG in the crypto space. So, I’m super excited to chop, but want to give a little bit of background for anybody who doesn’t know what you’ve been working on and your story and crypto, of course. So, I kind of started, you know, just circling that rabbit hole around 2014-2015.

When I started with a little bit of investing in crypto very, very light kind of didn’t necessarily give it as much attention at the time. It was just something that I was exploring. I always kind of particularly with tech, I always liked to poke around a little bit, have a little try out and then kind of it.

Be kind of went away from my, from my field of vision until 2017 when it kind of grabbed me, I guess by the proverbial lap because I was worrying lapels probably not, but he was kind of like the sudden realization that the world. A lot of people building. Very cool.

And I had this moment of kind of this penny dropping or this token drop of just, why am I doing things in web too when I could be over there in that fun kind of rally building this like complete redesign of the world as we know it. So I quickly rushed over and, you know, just properly dove in then.

And that’s how I came to co-found the bounties network, which were the creators of the standard bounties protocol to get coins sits on top of that protocol even though they’ve kind of or but now for their bounties. But really the main there. And what we wanted to do with that project is very much go broad in exploration and experimentation.

What could you do with a bounty as a format? Particularly as an incredibly powerful payment mechanism across different verticals. So we went incredibly, incredibly broad, we did bounties for social impact and research and design, and art and music. And soon, and really experimenting with a lot of the things that you now, see, as kind of standard, tooling for our web3 economy.

And at the time we were that people weren’t necessarily thinking about in a, we can do this, that kind of dynamic, and that was, for many reasons, you know, there was for the wallets, had to be better, and a whole, the off-ramps on ramps, a whole host of different things.

But that experimentation really incredible. I’m not only IRL kind of impact projects, but also a lot of relationships built in the ecosystem and that’s something that I’ve continued doing through my time. Space is building those relationships and really kind of creating these new ways of collaborating stacking different elements of crypto functionality into again, creating this IRL type experience.

So as a result of that I was involved in earnest, you learn, I created these earnest, you learn of intro to web three kind of workshops that I ran across these global circuit in 2018-2019. I am a part of the, the lead kind of group for Defcon scholars, seen for East Denver scholars.

A big, big piece for me is the education and the accessibility of the web three space for everybody. Not the select few and really everything that I’ve kind of done since has been. And I’ve done many things, I was kind of thinking about doing the latry, but I think it’s gonna be such a giant tree that it’s like, gonna be like a sequoia, but not anyway.

So a lot of stuff that essentially is all centered around. How can we make this new redesigned empowering kind of economy accessible for everybody? Very much empowering for everybody. And you know, my work now as community strategists for status is very much based on that. It’s how do we bring this technology on this mobile first?

Kind of thinking the privacy first kind of thinking the decentralized goodness, that we really want people to be able to shift towards and also open those skates to an open source economy that allows again, everybody to tap into this modular kind of tooling that then comes with very easily accessible.

You know, the documentation and being able to just create their own solutions, for whatever it is that they want, right? And also obviously tapping to the resources that come with that. So all in all and and now I’m also on a co-organizing list on going to be a conference in October in Lisbon part of Lisbon blockchain week and the whole purpose with that.

And the reason why I wanted to organize it is because I really wanted to be a celebration of culture. I think you know we see this meme a lot came for these stay for the culture. It is absolutely true. I think that culture is something that we absolutely must preserve, and also infuse into everything that we do because it’s an incredibly incredibly firing and empowering way of thinking, and is certainly has done those things for me.

So I would love to be able to continually usher more people into or initiate more people into this culture.


Hell yeah, I will be in Lisbon and I cannot wait for it. One of the things that I love about conferences like that and conversations with people building and web three more broadly.

And I think you’re sort of getting it, this is this idea of how do we redefine these economic models that we currently use for essentially measuring value in us in web two. And it feels like sometimes web three does adopt those same models, where your maximizing for money, which I know you’ve thought a lot about, you know, the implications of that and other things to think about one of the things that I loved that, I think you said on a podcast, maybe it was a tweet.

It was basically the study of optimizing for humans thriving instead of money. Yes, can you talk more about that and your thought process there? Sure. Here it is for the next time I can talk. Basically, like the whole idea with the economy, the way that it’s being or certainly economic thinking has always been some around idea that we can grow GDP to infinity and beyond, which is obviously impossible.

But nobody has ever thought about writing, everybody’s growth, growth, growth, growth, growth but nobody has ever thought. Okay? But what are the implications of that? Is that even possible? How long can we sustain this growth and everything that comes from it? That question that we have progressively seen throughout the decades.

The obsession with remembering is nearly a measurement tool. That is how we measure resources and natural resource in fact, right? It’s just a unit of measurement but somehow again, throughout generations after generations, we’ve come to think about it as the and it’s almost like you go out for a meal and you eat the menu.

So it’s like that’s the food, it’s not. The food is just a thing that says, that’s what the food is. And so I think because we have done that, we’ve really just gone on this incredibly gross. Obsessed like mindless growth trajectory where we haven’t necessarily thought about. Okay but what does that mean for humans what does that mean for the environment?

What does that mean for sustainability? What does that mean for a whole host of other things really in this trajectory that we’ve been on humans. Ripening is like the bottom of the list, right? It’s yeah. You’re kind of just here to keep peddling and to do whatever it is that you need to do to get.

And I think again because of God, we have lost the ability to think about what is good for us as humans and for us as communities. And for us as societies away from this monoculture and obsession with money. Because again, through the, the kind of money is everything type, I guess, way of thinking, or type of economic dynamic.

We’ve also stopped thinking that value is anything, money and value is so incredibly diverse. And so incredibly multifaceted that if you think about flows of value. And if you think about what it can mean, there’s cultural value. There’s, you know, there’s so many different types of know that reducing it to just this unit of measure is, you know, misguided, let’s say and I think with web three and it’s, what attracts me and continuously fascinates me and and keeps me going in this space is we are at this time where we have opportunity to really shift from this reductive mindset to one that is much kinder much more empowering versus this you know again the our obsession for generations of pooling powering one place or you know taking it for ourselves and so I kind of hope that what we’re doing here is that evolution from where we are now which is this incredibly mindless kind of gross stands to this human thriving age and I think we can do it again.

Is the text stack hasn’t been this flexible in the successful way in a very long time. And I think now we have that opportunity supported by technology to move into the phase of generally human evolution. Like I I think we’re there. We just have to make sure that we cross that ranger yet there and we make sure that we maintain that goal of humans arriving and we don’t just rebuild the same short sighted kind of.

Yeah, I think that’s a really impactful way of thinking about web three, the natural question that comes up for me. If people love measuring you think, especially when we’re talking about massive human coordination, you know, measuring things is such a useful way to coordinate and collaborate amongst a large group of people and so maybe this question doesn’t make sense but I’ll ask it.

Anyways, how do we think about metrics to measure human thriving? If that’s what we really want to optimize. I mean again maybe metrics are a broken way of doing things period. But I’m curious what you think about that. It’s it’s a good question because I thought about this in obviously from the perspective of communities and how do you, you know, measure growth and how do you measure adoption, and how do you measure engagement and

For the, you know, that the word marketing and I tweeted about this today, but I really think that is also evolving. I, I think, with two measurements are incredibly almost like, and I, I’m gonna use this analogy. It’s almost going into it. The doctors are dangerous, you know, when you and, you know, take your height and then they just say, yes, you’re healthy versus going for a checkup that centrally looks at the whole organism, is it?

Functioning probably are things, communicating properly are things collaborating. Because at the end of the day, you know, our bodies can go off like raw organized and collaborative dynamics and saying, okay, based on all of that, on all of this in-depth, can we, you know, save that the organism is healthy.

And I feel that is where again with three is steering us towards because as we’re seeing where so much more focused on communities on collaboration versus audiences, you know, very soulless type quantitative metrics that, just very superficially. Say yeah you’re doing fine but in what value blindfold in, whatever it is that you’re doing with value?

Are they getting from being involved with value or these sharing is, it’s, it’s also this the way I would again private is, it’s a kitchen versus a one-way, communication, almost like some town into the theater for lack of a better phrasing, but it’s just this kind of here. It is.


Really, it doesn’t interest me. I’m just telling you something versus this website. Where is the conversation? Potentially heated dialogue, might push us further because of that dialogue in all of the communities and in the Dallas seeing and hopefully we will continue refining and and figuring out better ways of doing this in doubles, and in any of our communities collaborative conversation that will lead us to.

And that’s how I would like the main main analogy is that of a healthy organism versus very, very superficial height. And that’s super interesting. This reminds me of this idea of networks. I’m reading a book about networks, which I will link in the description of this but it almost reminds me of if you think about a network and the nodes and then the connections between nodes, it’s almost like in web two, we measure the nodes or maybe the size of the.

But in web three we have a disability to measure like the connections between the nodes and it comes to something like conversation for example or discussion and collaboration. Like we’re really measuring all of these different engagements and ways that the nodes interact with one. Another rather and just looking at the network as a whole and being like this is worth this much money.

That’s a really interesting way to think about it. I did not think that a lot about that. And actually it is very much and again, I tweeted about this, I can’t remember how it would feel weeks ago or something. It’s the evolution as well from mere, crow higher group, two network, right?

So it’s and again, that kind of communication and relational kind of, or relationship, is that evolution from pride, where you’re passive, you’re faceless, you’re just a kind of pool of humans fire group, which involves a little bit more of a kind of organization and then to network. Because again, when you think about networking, particularly when you think about it, if from a natural, what nature, complex flow networks are all about communication and value flows, like how everything moves through one link to the other and back, almost like a butterfly, kind of regenerative, I versus just like a straight, it flows and it apps and it goes in loops and it back again.

And between the different parts of the network moves from passive audience, which was the crowd into active elements cells of a meta organism, right? It becomes something that evolves and it breathes, and it exists, and it grows, and it becomes through that diversey and through those flows and through that communication.

And through that exchange of value, If you think. And this is that I think I spoke it when was it two years ago? Three years ago basically gave this

In nature when you have diversity. It’s incred zillion. And when you have too much efficiency, for instance, which is what I kind of alluded to earlier with the monoculture monetary monoculture. Everything is very, very brittle and everything is very, very fragmented and it is a good analogy. There is the grace squirrel that basically eats anything and you know the population is thriving versus the panda that just eats one thing.

And then it’s, you know, who’s gonna be more resilient out of the two. And that’s what you tend to have. Like, if you look at nature, it’s a very, very good teacher in what we should be optimizing for. Yeah, that’s really interesting. In the context of, you know, when we think about dows and all of these pieces where networks are way more resilient only, if they are not homogenous, not only if but much more.

So if they’re not homosexuals of course. And that’s why I think it’s so important for us. And again, it’s something that I’ve certainly tried to do as much as possible is to continuously bring different points of view, different experiences, different ways of looking at things, and of designing things because that’s what makes you aware of what could be versus what already is.

And you probably also have that curse of knowledge where you’ve kind of done things in one way and you assume that’s just the way it is. And you assume everybody knows what you mean and what you want to achieve and then you just produce it. And then it’s like up it it’s not really something that can facilitate that evolution that we’re talking about for where we are now to where we could be.

And so varieties are incredibly, incredibly, incredibly important which is why complementary currencies. And, you know, this kind of plurality of ways of measuring value is very, very good. Of course, there’s wild experimentation right now and there’s a token for everything, but think it’s where it’s it leads. And where it crystallizes?

That’s important. Right? Experimentation should happen. Absolutely. But it’s where it leads what, you know the the values in the intentions we baked into it. What does that do? And what does that achieve? And how is that different? And how does it empower more versus again, just repeat that tendency of pooling power and resource to a very small percent.

Yeah, I think you’re pointing about tokens and other mechanisms from measuring value that are sort of outside of our traditional system is interesting. Particularly when you do think about this context of, how could we have a more, how can we have more depth in the way that we’re measuring value?

I am curious. How you reckon style that with the fact that a lot of these things, still boil down to liquidity on uniswap, you know, and I’m using that as an example, but no matter why, that is what pays the bills for a lot of people. Particularly when you’re thinking about people who are aren’t already super privilege and basically like this homogeneous group that has sort of already tended to have the power and whip too, how do you reconcile those two pieces?

Because it really, it matters a lot more for those people because they don’t have the privilege of saying I want to opt out of this monetary system. And also it does feel like these tokens that are emerging still do boil down to this financial piece. Of course, I think, the reason why always say that, you know, this isn’t necessarily a revolution, it’s an evolution, which means it’s gonna take a little while is because when you think of a revolution and, you know, I grew up in Romania and was there.

I mean I was very young, but when they remain in revolution happened, it was nearly a change of nothing really changed. In the, let’s say organism of power. It was just well, let’s get right of this guy. External interests were there. So they just did a quick guard change.

And so what that’s an important piece to remember, because when you just change one piece, it means the rest stays the same. It’s like when you have a puzzle in your lose a piece in your replace the piece with the same thing, it has to look and be shaped exactly the same to match.

You can’t fit it in otherwise, but when you talk about evolution, you are literally talking of real. Look at it again. Nature, how did things evolve? Yes, they took a long time because the didn’t like, I think, you know, there’s this this whole thing of like fish didn’t just grow a leg over and or whatever bird guilt however, we want to look at it.

It didn’t happen overnight, and it didn’t in the recent for that is, it happened gradually. So that the whole thing, the whole thing could transform versus again. If a fish grew a leg. What’s it gonna do? It’s still has to do the things that it was doing fish. You put now it has this impediment of elect and so with that in mind you’ll obviously going to for a while.

Work with what you have at your disposal, right? We can’t wake up tomorrow and everything is just the way we wanted. And everything is sprinkled with web three. So it’s gonna take a minute, but what that means is we have to be incredibly incredibly like it’s something that I see all the time.

It’s if watching teachers do anything it is, you have to be patient and you have to make sure that you keep to the values that we hopefully all of us agree or majority of us. Agree. Are what this new economy webcream world with three. Whatever is going to be built on.

And I think with regards to what you are saying, in terms of, I think what we need is. And again, this is something that I was doing with bounties in those 2018. Leave. Let’s say crypto, it’s diversifying the ways in don’t, just have one entry point have multiple and then let people choose and I said this so so many times but things like earn is to learn things like being able to do certain tasks that

We’re seeing more of now but it certainly isn’t like completely diverse and so many in ways of getting involved, we still haven’t. But in terms of accessibility I think the biggest thing that we’re doing and yes yet but I think it is lowering that point of access particularly if we continue to diversify the ways in and I would say that certainly again from my experience, you know, we’ve I wrote my on here was an interview with an incredible, you know, human and superior artist who started in the unity.

He was homeless in Phoenix Arizona. He message me earlier this year in May, and told me that he put a deposit down on, and it’s nothing that we have right now in the web to space ever. Enable you through those steps to get your you from that point to this point, ask quickly.

And as I guess on inhibited, in terms of what is there for you to access. If you have no bank account, your basically, out of the, the traditional economy, if you have no address your so host of different to, right now, we’re in just like the socioeconomic, if you don’t have a savings account, if you don’t have this, if you don’t have that, you don’t look a certain way.

And all of this web all about away. And what is opportunities for you to access resource regardless of where you were born? Regardless of how privileged you were regardless of whether you are in the, you know, geographies of plenty. And all of that that again is completely and utterly devoid of any kind of consideration for.

There’s been right up. If we just to multiply that type of pathway and keep making it easier and quicker and and more open to everybody not just like, English speaking participants, I think we can get ourselves in a really, really good place that genuinely, shifts us from power to empowerment from this kind of this that we’re just in these cemented lines, get this opportunity and unless this and unless that less this other thing you’re just, you know, confined to a

Altitude of different things that you could be doing. And like I say, it’s us building those entry points, multiple easily accessible modular chooser on adventure and then like, we’re good. Yeah, to me, that’s what I’m realizing when I think about purpose in my work in web three, I’m coming to realize that that is one of the biggest things that matters to me.

Particularly as I’m thinking about dows and things, I’m seeing the impacts of this personally and dows that I’m working in and it is insane to watch that happen. And to think about how when we scale this we really will be leveling the playing field in a massive way that it’s just never been possible before.

And that’s the thing, never lose sight of and I think that’s the long term play that we have to consciously keep in our minds, as we build the things that we’re building. And as we develop the, as we grow things that we’re growing is not height of that because there are so many distractions.

And as you and I were chatting, just before we started recording, there is so much going on and at times it, we drain you of because there are all of these some because here and this drama like all of that, it can happen that you lose sight of the long-term goal, which is genuinely evolving us from where we are now to a place where we can drive, and really pray to be something that if that is open to everybody.

Yeah, that’s so powerful. I love that. I feel like I’m hyped. I don’t always talk about working about three people like after really thinking about it in this context I’m like fuck yeah go out and build this because it really does matter and it’s it’s one of those things that I think we do sometimes forget about in crypto because there’s some NFT project that’s dropping in your earning 20,000 percent API on some random staking thing, which is great.

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