How Does It Work is our interview series exploring the inner workings of interesting companies.
Do you remember when Facebook said it was like chairs? In the company’s first-ever brand video a narrator explains that chairs, like dancefloors, basketball, and the universe, are, apparently, similes for Facebook. “These are all things that connect us,” Zuckerberg continued in a blog post, “and now Facebook is a part of this tradition of things that connect us too.” The video was published in 2012. It was a simpler time when, perhaps, these broad, vague comparisons could get a pass (though headlines at the time suggest otherwise). But, honestly, I do kind of get it. Facebook was exciting, and its seismic global influence was unprecedented. No one really knew how to talk about it. So, yeah, maybe parallels to ubiquitous—and suspiciously benign—modern devices like a chair or a doorbell felt right, or helpful, or advantageous. Whatever the intention, the infamous ad reveals more than just the inherent corniness of Facebook, but speaks to a long-standing semantic dilemma. How do we explain the internet?
Here’s one way. The internet is a Dark Forest. Coined by Kickstarter co-founder Yancey Strickler, the image conjured is a foreboding vision of tall trees with dense canopies shading our trail. Unable to see bad actors that could steal our data or cancel us at any turn we’re overexposed and undernourished, leading even the bravest to seek safety. In turn, we’ve burrowed underground into newsletters and podcasts, or deeper still into what writer Venkatesh Rao calls the Cozy Web; gatekeeper-maintained communities in group chats, Slacks and Discord channels. These spaces, with their slower timescale, intimacy, and more forgiving culture Strickler says, “allow us to be ourselves because we know who else is there.” Adjacent to these, though, as designer and anthropologist Maggie Appleton illustrated, is a haven with yet another ecological namesake: digital gardens. These are the antithesis to endless streams (another analogy) like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook that are focused on immediacy and impermanence. “The garden," Appleton says in a blog post, "helps us move away from time-bound streams and into contextual knowledge spaces." In practice, digital gardens can look like personal wikis, note-taking apps, and innovative websites that are designed for slowness and contemplation. Rare digital spaces to pause, connect ideas, and, if we want, share unfinished thinking in broad daylight. For those of us seeking a respite from the endless rivers of content and haunting forest of opinions Appleton says, “The garden is our counterbalance.”
While it seems a bit too on the nose, there is actually a lot of garden talk on Are.na (pronounced “arena”). The burgeoning social platform with a cult-following is both a popular example of the latest wave of digital gardening tools and a destination for brainy types who enjoy sharing PDFs about communal gardens as a model for an anti-capitalist future. (Full disclosure: I’m a paying member of Are.na who has also shared such PDFs.) While digital gardening is not analogy formally adopted by Are.na, in my conversation with two of it's co-founders, Charles Broskoski and Daniel Pianetti, they acknowledge the growing desire for tools like these. “It's just a bunch of people recognizing that it's really hard to think when you're attached to the internet all the time,” Broskoski shared, “That's a very real, palpable feeling. I think there are a lot of ways to approach that problem.” Lots of analogies too. Broskoski’s favourite? "The canonical one where I'm like, "This is what Are.na should be like," is the public Reading Room at the New York Public Library." A digital reading room? Add it to the list.
Read on for our full interview.
Charles Broskoski (Cab), Co-Founder of Are.na: I think my sound is not working. Hello?
Sydney Allen-Ash, Co-Editor of Early: Hi, we can hear you!
Daniel Pianetti, Co-Founder of Are.na: Yeah. Hi, hello.
CB: I feel shameful about it because I am a programmer, I do engineering, but my computer is in such a sorry state. It's like constantly running out of space and memory.
SA: Yeah, you're working too hard. Your computer can't handle it.
DP: Yeah. Maybe you can hear it. It sounds like an airplane.
SA: Yeah. I would always joke that when my laptop would be overheating because I have too many Adobe platforms open at the same time, I would be like, "It's just a heater. It's just a heater for my apartment. That's all it is.”
CB: Yeah. That's a very optimistic way of looking at it.
SA: It's probably not good for my body to have my laptop sitting on my lap overheating like that. But you know...
CB: Yeah, it's doing something to your circadian rhythms that it shouldn't be doing.
SA: Or it's frying my ovaries. That's more what I was concerned with. [Laughs]
CB: [Laughs] Yeah, that’s less optimistic.
SA: Just like frying eggs. [Laughs] Yeah. So, I mean, hopefully it's not actually doing that and I'm hoping yours is not doing the same thing to you. That'd be unfortunate.
CB: Yeah. We're all good.
SA: Good. Good. Okay. Well, thanks for taking the time to chat with me. I'm really excited to talk to you guys.
CB: Yeah, us too.
SA: Awesome. So, I wanted to start just with some basic questions, like what are both of your roles in Are.na and what are the roles of the other founders? I know there's several other people involved as well.
CB: Yeah. So yeah, Are.na it's like...
SA: First question, stumped ya.
CB: [Laughs] It's a little complicated. So, yeah, Are.na has been around for 10 years. The way it started off is very different than the way it is now. And I don't have to go into the whole story but essentially we started with a single person who was funding the company.
SA: Right. Stuart [J. Stuart Moore, Co-Founder of Sapient]?
CB: Stuart, yeah. And a couple of years after he was funding it, he decided to retire and then he just gave us the company. We have no background—or at least I have no background in being entrepreneurial in any way. So it took a really long time, I think, for us to figure out what the best way of working is. And we've gone in different stages of working full time to then working part-time then to working full-time again. And so the people who... There's like a ton of founders, you know what I mean? But most of them are not working day-to-day. It's Daniel and I who are working full time and have been for the past, I don't know how long has it been, Daniel?
DP: We’ve been working together since 2013, but the two of us have been working full-time for the past 18 months.
CB: Yeah. And so in terms of roles, because both of us are running Are.na, mostly we do everything. We are both pretty focused on the product, I would say, equally. I'm a little bit more on the engineering side and Daniel is more on the design, product, business side. Isn't that right, Daniel?
DP: And about two years ago, we made a decision saying we're going to pretty much spend what we make. And that's when we stepped up hiring other collaborators as contractors with a flexible agreement. We increase their time as we grow, mainly in the engineering and product side. So for developers, we have a part-time help.
SA: How many other developers do you have on part-time?
CB: Even that's like hard to answer, how many do we have? So, we work with one very small agency in the British countryside. They essentially work part-time. And then we have a guy in Germany who is helping with backend stuff, and then we have someone in LA who's helping on the frontend stuff. It's all very part-time.
DP: And then we have Meg [Miller] who helps us. She's been with us for a while. And she helps us with anything editorial and event-related.
SA: Right, like with the blog.
CB: Yeah, the blog. She is almost solely responsible for the Are.na Annual and she runs the events, like the Channel Walkthroughs that we do.
SA: Cool. So, to backtrack for a second, you said there are so many founders and it's just you two that work the most consistently full-time on it. But how many other people are there? Like dozens or like 20, like five?
CB: No. Okay. So, I mean, initially there's, Damon Zucconi who was the head of engineering at one point who was also around since the very beginning and architected almost everything on Are.na. All these people we consider advisors and I would say of the people that we consider advisors, he's the most active. He reviews code and advises pretty regularly on which direction we'll take things engineering-wise. And then Chris Sherron who was leading the design was also around almost since the beginning. And Daniel, Chris and I are the majority shareholders of Are.na. And then we have Chris Barley who joined a little bit later, who is doing something similar to what Meg does. More around press and PR-related things. And he's also fairly around in terms of being an advisor and helping us with partnerships and stuff, when those things come up. Then there are the people who were around at the very beginning who are not official shareholders, but we still keep in contact and they'll advise us every once in awhile.
SA: Emotional shareholders.
CB: [Laughs] Emotional shareholders? Yeah. For sure.
SA: As Are.na has evolved and you've decided to make some shifts, do you ever decide to bring on new advisers or to reach out to new partners to help shape the direction if you're experimenting with something new?
CB: Yeah. Yeah. I would say that the people on Are.na, anyone who decides to be vocal and active ends up being an informal advisor. And we have our open feedback channel and we have our Discord and all these things. We take that stuff pretty seriously and we pay attention to everything that people say and are always prioritizing and reprioritizing based on people who are the most vocal.
DP: For example, the person who is helping us with developing in California, we found out about their work through the Are.na community. And in the past, we also found some small consultancies through other members of the community as well.
SA: That's really cool that it comes organically like that.
CB: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Thankfully people get passionate about what Are.na is, whatever it could be and have their own ideas for how things could move. And I think we have a position where everyone should be able to determine this direction because it's so open-ended. It could go in a lot of different places so it wouldn't make sense for us to be the... You know what I mean? It's better if other people are shaping the directions.
SA: So, because part of it is open-source still, right, and you have this democratic community-oriented feedback loop and there's many people involved in Are.na's creation and ongoing future—what happens when you have competing priorities or disagreements? How do you settle them? Who's actually tangibly involved in those because I could imagine sometimes it could be like death by democracy?
CB: Yeah. I guess Daniel and I end up being the final say, because we're the ones who end up doing all of the work. But for example, right now we have two major product projects which are refactoring and just entirely overhauling the search infrastructure.
SA: Oh, great.
CB: The other one is a new view for tables that will eventually be applied to profiles and search.
DP: And given the size of our company, these projects usually take quite a long time. So in practical terms, there are not many big decisions to make often. And when we do have some bigger project or start thinking about what to do next, we do a larger meeting with these former founders and advisors where we discuss more in a holistic way, if the direction is what we want and things like that.
CB: Yeah. I think we have an inkling or a notion that having these kinds of meetings regularly and including people from their community is probably a good idea, but we just haven't done it yet. I think after these two projects, at least when they're launched, I feel like that's probably a time when we might try that.
SA: Speaking of the size of the community and the level of engagement. I listened to a talk that you did Charles, and you were talking about using spatial metaphors as a way of talking about social networks or social media platforms, stuff like that. And you gave an example of a small town square that can only be a certain length and width otherwise it starts to feel distant, impersonal and maybe sparse or empty. In the context of Are.na, do you think that there's a certain size that you can hit before it starts to lose some type of special sauce?
CB: What do you think Daniel?
DP: Since we grew really steadily and slowly, we never had this shock of sudden growth. So far we've been pretty comfortable with the growth. And one thing we know that we were talking about recently is that there are little bit shifts of community and we do see a new generation coming in. It's encouraging when we do see the new generation having the same principles of the previous generation of the community. So I will say we do see a trend, still, it's early—because 10 years is not a generational timeframe—but we do see people coming in and out of the "square". So it's a bit of a revolving situation.
CB: Yeah, I mean, to expand on that a little bit, there have been multiple times when there is just a very slight, an extremely relative tension. And it's not a tension that you would feel unless you were on Are.na day-to-day, and probably no one felt it but us, but it was like an old generation noticing a new generation coming on Are.na and being like, "Who are they?" You know what I mean?
SA: Like, “Who are the first years?” kind of thing?
CB: Yeah, yeah. But those people were once the new people and there's been like four or five of these rotations. But I think more generally Are.na is also a fairly introverted platform. So I think the culture changes in such a slow way because of the way that people are working on it. And it tends to be a little bit more like self-directed or small group directed in the way that people experience these things. I think it would be really hard to shift the culture because of how much history there is.
SA: Right. When I introduce Are.na to friends, I have to give them a channel to start with. I'm just like, "Hey, this is my favorite channel right now." It's a good entry into the wormhole because I feel if I just like send them the general link, they don't really know where to go because it is so insular. It's like little pockets, you know?
CB: Yeah, yeah.
DP: Does the channel change over time or by person? Or it is always the same?
SA: It definitely changes by person depending on what I know they're into, for sure. There's some general ones that I think are good for the scene or the world that I'm in. I have a friend Marvin who has this one that's just like gentle positive feedback notes. Just stuff that reminds me, “You're doing a good job.” And that's a nice, healthy way to enter into a new internet platform. You know?
CB: Yeah, yeah. Totally.
SA: Like the content polices—polices is not the word I want to use. The content that you see when you land in Are.na for the first time starts to suggest to you what content you should be sharing on there. Right?
SA: Like you see a PDF about communal gardening or something. And you're like, "Okay, I understand this is not the place for selfies."
CB: Yeah, yeah, yeah. But it's interesting because we try and take the perspective, even from developing the product that there shouldn't be a wrong way to use Are.na. And it's hard to say exactly how that community emerged. I think it's just like, I don't know. I don't know what it is because I think we started off with a very small group of people. We didn't really push. We weren't going hard after designers or going hard after some market. We were just like, the people who get on here who take to it are the ones who are going to be into it. And then it's going to slowly keep expanding like that. And we're just lucky to have this seed of a really nice and super interesting and really well-meaning community.
SA: Yeah. Super, like, pleasurably intelligent, if that's a thing? You know there's intelligent people that are insufferable to talk to, but then there's intelligent people that are really enjoyable and they can share knowledge well without being egotistical, like that's kind of the vibe.
CB: Yeah. Thank you. That's a huge compliment.
SA: You mentioned that it's an introverted platform and that was also referenced in that talk that I listened to. You gave all of these kinds of different qualities or dichotomies that you can observe in different social platforms. You talked about introversion versus extroversion, passive versus active engagement, ownership of the platform, stuff like that. Obviously those attributes inform the design of Are.na and the way it progresses as a platform. Do they also inform your internal culture and how you work with collaborators? I know you two are the only full-time team, but when you bring on new people to engage with part-time or collaborators when you build little offshoot projects. Do you also think about how the work culture reflects those values?
CB: That's a good question.
DP: We never thought too much about it. I wonder if maybe subconsciously...
CB: Yeah. I think it probably does because that's how we are too. It's not like people have to mirror that vibe exactly, but at least have to be conducive to it. I don't know. It's a good question. Because it's a small company the culture just emerges out of the way that Daniel and I, and then also all how the other founders have been. I would say that most of the other people that have ever worked at Are.na are similar at least. I mean, they're all very different, but similar in that regard. Fairly chill, not like very pushy and open-minded so yeah. I think probably a little bit slower too, in a good way.
SA: Yeah. I was thinking about how cultish… maybe that word has a negative connotation. But what I mean is that the community and the people who love Are.na really love Are.na, and as companies like that, that have that cultish following, grow and evolve it becomes a really interesting challenge to figure out how to talk about what the company was and what it can be in the future to new people who join the organization. And obviously that's not happening with your team right now because you guys are small, but you did mention with the community, there's an observation of the different generations as well, which is really interesting how the sense of ownership that people have over Are.na also maybe creates a sense of territorial-ness a little bit. Or maybe it's just like fascination with how the next-gen uses it.
CB: Yeah. I think it is a little bit of territorial-ness but I don't know how quite to articulate this, it's such a dumb way to put it, but I think that for anyone who's ever interested in anything, there's always a point at which you're going to be a poser in that world. You know what I mean? You're going to be new and you're going to not know what's going on and not understand the context and the nuances of what the people around you are doing and the norms and stuff. But I think a lot of the values of Are.na are about continually being in that position. Whatever territorial-ness someone might feel from an old generation to a new generation is at least a little bit offset by the fact that the point of the platform is to be open-minded and be open to understanding a different perspective and being empathetic in the context of learning and self-directed learning. I mean, at least at its most ideal [laughs].
SA: Yeah. Yeah. Well, I hope it stays that way. Sharp pivot in the convo, you guys being the two full-time people, how do you determine your salaries in relation to where the business at?
DP: Whatever's available.
SA: Right. Got it.
SA: Yeah, right, so you are paying yourself salaries?
DP: Yeah, but we're still not on a market rate, and we grow our salaries as the business grows.
SA: And I know that you make money through the membership subscriptions. Are there other revenue streams Are.na right now?
SA: Are there plans to expand into other avenues?
CB: Yeah, but they're more about the structure and how Are.na works than it is about doing something drastically different.
SA: I read in one interview, I can't remember how long ago, you were talking about VC firms and the potential of taking investment. I don't know if you guys have taken investment or not, but in those types of conversations, what qualities are you looking for in a potential partner in that space? Because I think obviously VC culture has changed since what it was like Silicon Valley, super shark-ey and awful–
DP: Hasn't changed that much.
SA: [Laughs] It hasn't changed that much, I'm giving it too much benefit of the doubt? Okay. But what do you guys look for in partners like that?
CB: Well, we did a crowdfunding funding round in 2017 and the majority of the people who participated in that were members of Are.na. And Chris Barley, who I mentioned before, is an angel investor. And we have a few other smaller investors, but no institutional investments. So over the course of, let's say five years, I think it's a total of like $400,000 or something which, relative to other startups or what people expect resource-wise from a company like ours, it's nothing. It was really, really helpful to get us to different stages. But I think compared to other companies, yeah, it's not a lot.
DP: But we did explore. And we had talked with investors, institutional investors. But we haven't found someone that was a good fit or a good situation. And that's probably the closest we’ve had in either advisors or in contact with people in the workspace that has a completely different approach to us. We also talked to other founders, or founders who want to give advice or that become investors. And that's where the aggressive people that have been in contact with our team came from. And it's always interesting for us to talk to these people. When we talk with these people, we realize the difference between our work culture and the VC culture.
CB: Yeah. It is very similar to your question earlier about doing partnerships. That’s also what we would look for in a partner. As far as I know, there are no VC people who have the slow chill.
SA: Yeah, those two things seem diametrically opposed. [Laughs]
CB: Yeah, yeah. [Laughs] It's like an oxymoron or something, but I mean we've gotten far into talks with people who have seemed like it could be a good fit. But I think it always comes down to the business model of VCs, which is like, you're investing in X amount of companies and expecting some small percentage of people to make a 100x return, which will justify all your other investments. And you're looking for companies that are trying to go public or trying to sell to a larger company. And those companies have to also grow very fast. The way that those funds work, they're expecting five-year returns. And we're like, "No, we want to be around for 30 years, 50 years or a hundred years." It's not about an exit for us. Like the pleasure of being able to work on Are.na is like, that's the thing, you know what I mean?
CB: So, yeah, It does seem like there are people who are interested in different kinds of returns now and exploring different models. I know there's, well, there was Indie VC, but he shut down. There's this guy, Tyler Tringas, he runs Calm Capital. And it seems like there are other people who are trying to do VC in a different way that did seem promising. But for us, I think the very straightforwardness of like we try and make the product as good as we can. And we try and make the environment as fulfilling and enriching and a healthy place as we can. And in doing that, it has to be good enough that someone is willing to pay for it. And that's a super straightforward relationship. And it's a paradigm that we can wrap our heads around. Do you know what I mean?
CB: It's a built-in way of keeping the growth of Are.na very organic.
SA: Mm-hmm. So, who do you consider your peers in terms of other companies? Like, I would think of Wikipedia and the Internet Archive—my two favourite websites on the internet basically.
DP: Yeah, a merge between Tumblr and Wikipedia is definitely something we think about.
SA: Pre the murder of Tumblr.
CB: Yeah, I think it's more like the concept of Tumblr, the idea of Tumblr, and especially Tumblr pre-Yahoo! acquisition. I also think about GitHub, especially in GitHub's early days, it was just like it was a really nice model in the way that their business was set up and the way that it promoted open source and that kind of thing I thought was really good. Obviously, that company is problematic in other ways now. Then there's parts of other companies product-wise that I think are really impressive. Like we use this product called Linear that's like Jira, but it's just like Jira done-
CB: Yeah, very well. There's nothing that's super complicated about it. It's just really well-built, and that feels nice. I think that's the kind of thing engineering and performance-wise that we aspire to.
SA: On that note of we're talking about these other companies and the culture of VCs and how what you guys are doing is often kind of diametrically opposed to startup culture and startup rhetoric—like expediency and "move fast and break things" kind of vibe. The culture of Are.na being so open-source and sharing, I would assume it wouldn't bother you if you got copied, but would you be mad if there was a very clear, blatant ripoff? Is that an indication that you're creating a cultural shift and that's ultimately what you want? But then it's also fucking with your livelihood. This has probably already happened and I just don't know about it, but how does that feel?
DP: There's definitely copies, but they usually copy parts of it or they try to copy the vibe of Are.na, which is a bit ridiculous. It's pretty obvious when that happens. I think the only times we get bothered is when someone has that approach combined with their VC funding. So when it's a big institutional support behind it, and they try to copy little snippets or the culture of Are.na, then, yeah, we ask why. But otherwise product-wise, we know there's a lot of space in this environment, and we welcome it, of course.
CB: [Laughs] Yeah. I'm laughing because it's happened more recently, and I'm the one who I get emotional about it, and Daniel is always super chill about it now.
DP: I think that the reason why, probably five years ago, people who had this idea wanted to follow this line of thought product-wise. They didn't have the backing of VCs, but now it's very easy to get on board with those. So people would copy or get inspired 10 years ago, five years ago, it was probably a bedroom project of a lone developer. Nowadays it happens, but it's a company that has $30 million funding from a VC.
CB: Yeah. The structure of Are.na is obviously, there's nothing that's super new about that. There are 10 versions of it and a lot of products before. But I think it's like we... I wouldn't say we're precious, but we're proud of the way the we have carried it out, and a lot of that is not based on Daniel and I's pride as founders, it's pride for all of Are.na, you know what I mean?
SA: Yeah, as a collective.
CB: Yeah. All the ways that this stuff has emerged has come from everyone indirectly or directly or whatever. So it's more of the intangible parts of that copying that bums me out, you know what I mean?
CB: Because it's just like carbon copy, but then without all the history and context.
SA: Without the soul.
SA: Yeah. Is there any part of you that sees these copies or these attempted copies and is kind of affirmed by it as an indication that you guys are doing something good and interesting and cool?
CB: Yeah, for sure. For sure. I think especially at the start of COVID when people were hyper online, there was this big ramp-up of projects that were in this... I really hesitate to say the name, because I loathe the term, but “tools for thought space”. It's just a bunch of people recognizing that it's really hard to think when you're attached to the internet all the time. That's a very real, palpable feeling. I think there are a lot of ways to approach that problem. Yeah. Our approach is a little bit less oriented around productivity and a little more... Yeah, I think those spatial metaphors, I really tend to lean on them. The canonical one where I'm like, "This is what Are.na should be like," is the public reading room at the New York Public Library.
SA: Oh yeah.
CB: When you're in there it feels so nice to be in there. It's not productivity. It's something different. It's not inspiration. I don't know. It's a hard quality to describe.
SA: Yeah. The spatial metaphors are interesting. I have hosted a lot of panel discussions and artist talks in person—and obviously had to do a lot of them online, but doing them in person, there's something that you can feel happen in the room when people are in a space together as they learn new things collectively. There's a shift that is very noticeable—or at least noticeable for me—when we’re physically present and when something has shifted in the crowd because they have understood something new collectively, and that never really happens for me on the internet, because you're so atomized and isolated. But you go on Are.na, you see all these people learning things. You're not actually watching their eyeballs scanning the page or whatever, but they're linking 13 PDFs about something-something-computing and you're like "Damn, that person's really studying right now.” Yeah, just the awareness that people are learning around you.
CB: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
SA: Interesting. Okay, so we have nine minutes left. I would love to know future goals for Are.na. You guys mentioned two specific projects that sound like they're immediate, happening right now. Then you had mentioned, “We want to be around for 30 years or 50 years or 100 years”. What is happening between that span? What do you envision for Are.na's teenage-hood?
DP: I think themes around governance and company structure definitely are something we're going to be working on. We already started research on ways to include the community, exploring ways to create an entity that has a voice on Are.na's decision making, ways to give back to the community, both the investors and every member. Those are all things that we start to think about. Product-wise, I don't know, Cab?
CB: Yeah, I think part of the governance thing and part of the community thing, just to add to what Daniel is saying, is the focus is on resilience. It shouldn't have to be us are the ones who steward Are.na into the future. Ideally, this is something that other people can have the responsibility of.
SA: Yeah, have the responsibility displaced.
CB: Yeah, exactly. Yeah, product-wise, I think something that comes up a lot and something that I feel like we've been ambiently brainstorming for a long time but haven't really come to a good conclusion on is just how you get a better bird's eye view of what is going on in Are.na. I think when you use Are.na for a while, you can sort of start to sense that the ways in which the things that you're doing, the things that you're working on are connected to other threads of interest and study. But ways of making that experience a little bit more visible, and especially more visible to someone who maybe hasn't been on Are.na for a while. I think there are parts of that that also we feel like can sort of lend towards being empathetic towards the different ways in which interests can converge and then separate.
But yeah, I think part of this governance thing, going back slightly, is like we have some notion that there is an amount of features that we want to do that will make Are.na feel close to being complete as a product. We also want to open up that perspective to other people, including community members and the decision-making or expanding our responsibility outwards is about figuring out exactly what a complete version of Are.na looks like. Yeah.
SA: That's an interesting question, because I feel like what you had mentioned earlier about just the culture and the values of the community that uses Are.na is about kind of this open-mindedness and infinite multiplicity of perspectives and constant evolutions. I would be very curious to see if there could ever actually be an endpoint if you followed through that belief system purely. Obviously, you're probably going to want to do something else in your life, maybe. I don't know. Maybe you don't. Maybe you have singular vision, and this is all you want to do forever and ever. But there's a practical way to end it, and then there's the path that if you take that ethos and those values and you keep running with it, it suggests that it would never end, right?
DP: I think product-wise, a good parallel is, again, Wikipedia. Wikipedia does feel like a complete product, but still grows constantly as an entity, as a community, as a tool for though, again, yeah.
CB: Thank you.
SA: Yeah, makes sense.
CB: Yeah. On the growth of a Wikipedia, they got to a point where this is the level that they can sustain a project that is not large. They don't have to grow much more. They do grow, but it's not like increasing exponentially kind of thing.
SA: Right, yeah. Have you ever read the stuff that happens between the moderators on Wikipedia and the fights that they have?
DP: Yeah, I talked to them, I talked to a community moderator once.
SA: I read an interview with somebody from Wikipedia and they were just talking about how this one post and the alignment of the photo—should be on the left side or the right side—and it just downward spiraled. Someone ended up quitting who was a really key moderator. Because people get really passionate about it, and it's really fascinating. It was like a soap opera in the moderator section.
CB: That's awesome. Probably the experience of it for the moderators is not awesome, but the concept of people being that into something and passionate about a position is pretty cool.
SA: Yeah, definitely. Definitely. Okay, well, I want to respect your time. We only have two more minutes. Is there anything else I should know? Is there anything else you want to add? Anything you want to clarify?
CB: No, it feels that it was good.
DP: I think it's good.
SA: Okay. Cool. Awesome. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me. I really enjoyed this.