by Alan Waxman MLA
Black Box Cryptography:
Of Zen Noble Truths and Blockchain
You are a black box (空). More appropriately, you and I together, in this shared space, are (in) a black box right now. Big data (縁) flows through, informing our context and ourselves. In this sense(念), we form a cipher (円相) between us, a cryptographic (法) void (無) of potentiality (如来).
We can share(業) certain things, our clothes, our food, even our “time”(時). These things are possible to share because we can shed them, alienable. When we’d rather not actually bother to take off our clothes or meet to share food, we can make images of our clothes, food, and time, and share this simulacrum(空想).
You and I can decide(思) to quantify the value of this exchange, of this present. We can slap price stickers on our clothes and our time, or even more easily price our simulacre versions(行) of our “things”(事). Monetize.
Better to put a price on an image(像) of yourself than on yourself(我), right(正)? The image, the on-screen(写) persona of yourself, is not only easier to market, to become a personal brand, but it also keeps you safe. Why not toss around digital messages, images, selfies in and out, slick and protected? Pretty soon we’ve got all these mega chat rooms running around the world, multiple online businesses and characters going(行). And the digital flows into the digital.
Heck, if we add up(欲) all the dollar signs into a ledger we have a running tally of our digital community value - line graphs on a screen tracing a speculative online digital market. Now, we know Satoshi’s folks bodied(此縁性) the flow(流), by putting something more to “crypto” - the garden in the machine(露地).
This “something”(埃) makes the code a bit more solid, a bit more embodied(現). Ever extending lines that make up the blockchain are verified by shared processes (公案) - the data mining cipher(円相). Suddenly, the digital is looking a little more locked down and unknown(不思).
The internet of things lends itself to this because the physical world and it’s panoply of expressions of context over time (縁起) constantly creates new, unforeseen data flow(泡). When something in the system breaks(侘) it comes to suddenly triangulate even more value in the constantly updating(化) blockchain. Example (礼) is derived by exception (陰陽). Whether math problems, or personal health decisions, it’s the unknown variables that derive the greatest value in the cryptography. The risk.
On the blockchain there is no going backwards. You and I and our data mining internet of things(縁起), a distributed ledger updating in real time. The blockchain is “digital”(裏) but it mirrors the change in the physical community of value, repudiated in the mining processes, a black box of momentous proportions(空).
This feedback continues quickly ad-infinitum(無常), blurring into real time(心相續). Pretty soon, the intricacies and patterns of unknowns; the breaks in the norm(不正常), come to inform the code(法). Deep learning(深層学習) in the neural net(神経回路網).
Artificial intelligence to Intelligence
Perhaps you’ve been preoccupied(苦) with smoothing out the anomalies(不正常), with creating seamless feedback loops(廻) where you know what goes in to create what comes out. Control(配). Make a brand(名). A reliable product. This is the old artificial intelligence approach: make a machine learning model that fixes things and maintains “good” feedback, no big waves. This is the old closed-system approach. Minimize the variables. Make a nice selfie. Get likes. Monetize that shit.
Now imagine a particular cluster of these intricacies, risks, anomalies. Imagine this as a literal black box. From the view outside the box, we see what’s going in and what’s coming out - We see a steady stream of data representative of what’s inside the box(空想). We can paint the box with any image, any simulation we choose to see, and this may affect the inputs and outputs of the box. We can even paint a human face on the box, perhaps even a selfie of ourselves. But, we will never know what’s inside our box(無心相續).
When we realize we are this black box (無心) - we realize that we are the machine and the machine is us, a man/mirror mix. Suddenly Moore’s Law has not slowed after all, just reached an asymptote. Computers shrank from the size of a town, to a building, to a room, to a desk top, to a pocket, and then suddenly vanished entirely. We ARE them, the other, I and thou, in ecstasy. No more man vs nature, with “resources” and “manufacturing.” Enter the anthropocene, the primordial(阿吽), the tea ceremony(茶の湯).
This leap into the unknown stands to release us from the bounded thinking of controlling variables. It stands to transform the act of “programming” into a sensitive opening of intersubjective vulnerability (慈悲). It stands to unleash us from laboring in the dry factories of closed systems to play in the wet lush fields of open system ecologies.
Alan Waxman MLA (awecosocial.com) creates ecosocial design for health equity and cultural resiliency. By operating in locations of fragility in space and time, he aims to bring people together to reopen critical narratives. His Urban Rhythms studios with Mark Morris Dance Group, the Center For Court Innovation, and other partners, have assessed urban patterns by way of participatory engagement; setting up emic spectrums of data derived from meaning for cultural insiders. Resident participants, those who have the most to gain and the most to lose, collaborate to make real time interventions through events, dance, and environmental change. As "Neighborhood Doctor," Waxman has deployed ecosocial design in Brownsville, Brooklyn NY and Kyoto, Japan, where he served as an instructor with the University of Oregon in their Myoshinji Zen temple based urban design program. He works as a landscape designer at Elizabeth Everdell in San Francisco.
End of year could be very stressful for founders, from fundraising to budgeting for the new year to holiday parties. This end of year could lead to burn outs, sick days, and unproductive months ahead. To avoid this type of situation, here are 5 tips for self-care at the end of the year crunch.
1. Create a routine
Having a schedule could reduce stress to reduce decision time on what you should be doing on certain time of the day. It allows you to predict and plan your day, which provides your startup life a lot more stability.
2. Set boundaries
Say no to some things that might not be beneficial to you. You need to set healthy boundaries and expectations to not pile your plate further. Remember, if someone wants something from you, it is their problem, not yours. Commit yourself to a set amount of social events to make sure you have some “me time” to not clog up your schedule.
3. Schedule time off
Not only about vacations as some of us founders do not have the luxury to abandon our startups in the middle of the end of year chaos. However, just scheduling some time off in the afternoon to walk in the nature could make a world of difference for your mental health. If you do schedule vacations, you could rush yourself through the end of the project as hard and as fast as possible so your vacation could be amazing. As the old saying goes, “Work hard, play harder.”
4. Only check your inbox at certain time
Tim Ferriss, the productivity guru, recommends checking inbox only twice a day on his blog. Checking inbox frequently could lead to distractions and take time away from what actually needs to be done. Stop checking your inbox could also have the side effect of sleeping better as you are not having the habit of waking up in the middle of the night to frequently check your inbox.
5. Make sure to find some time to exercise
As President Theodore Roosevelt’s father told Teddy, “you have the mind but you have not the body, and without the help of the body the mind cannot go as far as it should. You must make your body. It is hard drudgery to make one’s body, but I know you will do it.” Your mind could only go as far as your body, so make sure you schedule some time to exercise. Even a walk after your lunch could build some cardio into your day.
Wrapping up the year could be an intense experience but with the proper self-care, it could be a better experience. Make sure to spend the time you need for yourself at the end of the year.
Many startups are stealth mode nowadays due to the fear of others stealing their startup idea. If anyone at a coworking space asks them what they are working on, they normally say, “We are a stealth mode startup.” Of course, there are horror stories of others stealing startup ideas, but ideas are only ideas if there is no execution behind them to turn them into a business. Here are 5 reasons why sharing what your startup does might help you.
1.Get immediate feedback-
If you have a product to showcase, let others in the coworking space to use your product and see what they think. Since there are so many people, you can immediately get some feedbacks on what potentials users might think.
2. Gain resources-
Maybe other coworking members are connected to companies, individuals, or influencers you need for your startup. Members of Treehouse love sharing information and resources with each other.
3. Potential recruit-
Are you looking for someone to help you out on building your product or potential salespeople? There could be drop-in daypassers at a coworking space or at a networking event who is excited about what you are building! Even if they aren’t looking for a job, someone from the coworking circle might also know someone with the talent you are looking for your startup.
Maybe there is another company in the coworking space looking to collaborate with someone in your field! You will never know unless you connect with them.
5. Share knowledge-
You can learn so much from talking to others at a coworking space. People love sharing their knowledge over coffee or lunch.
If you are still not convinced to talk about what you are working on, share only a part of your business idea especially if you are on the early stage of your startup.
Hosting an event could be a stressful activity. There are a lot that go into putting together a successful event. An event needs to be carefully planned, promoted, and ran for it to run flawlessly and for everyone to have an exceptional time. Luckily, coworking spaces could help you get your event running smoothly.
Here are 6 reasons why you should host your next event at a coworking space:
1. Existing community at a coworking space
A coworking space normally have an existing community so you could normally leave a flyer or poster about the event at the communal space in a coworking space so members could learn about it.
2. Connect with local doers
Coworking spaces are filled with different professionals across different industries. Hosting an event right after their work hour makes it convenient for them to attend.
3. Coworking spaces are normally equipped
Coworking spaces are used to running events all the time and are normally equipped with speakers, projector, and whatever necessary to run your event smoothly. At Treehouse Society, we are equipped with accessories to run your space successfully.
4. Community manager at coworking space
A coworking space is normally staffed with a community manager to guide your guests to the kitchen, restrooms, and the sorts. One less headache for you while you are running your event.
5. Comfortable and casual
Coworking spaces are designed for their members to work long hours, so they are normally a comfortable and casual space for guests during an event.
6. Tap into coworking space’s email list and website
It never hurts to ask a coworking space to see if they could feature your event on their email newsletter or website. We are always looking for content for our email newsletter at Treehouse Society and would love to feature on event on our next email!
Keep Treehouse Society in mind next time you are planning your next event! We are always happy to help! You could book our event space here.
Modern living is filled with distractions. It feels as if time pass by very quickly and nothing is getting done and you could feel very stressed from the constant busyness. This is what you need to ruthlessly prioritize in order to get things done. By prioritizing, you would be able to lead a more meaningful life and be more zen. Identifying what is important by aligning your life goals and prioritize items that will help you reach your goals.
Below are 5 tips to help you stay zen while maintaining a busy schedule.
1. Ruthlessly Prioritize
You can’t do everything, but you can decide what is more important. Just because something is requested to be done ASAP by your colleague, doesn’t mean it is the most important thing to be done in your life. As Steve Jobs said, “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow know what you truly want to become.”
2. Keep a to-do-list
After you have decided what’s important in your life, make sure you get it done by keeping a to-do list. In fact, billionaire Richard Branson stated that his success was due to his to-do list.
3. Stay Fit
Not only does exercise help you manage weight and maintain healthy organs. The latest study shows that a regular exercise routine can make you happier, smarter, and more energetic. Your life is too short for unfocused thinking.
4. The distraction elimination.
You will have to admit that everybody is distracted by constant connections via electronics nowadays. Try to avoid all possible distractions by being fully involved in the work process and check your inbox only twice a day like Tim Ferriss. There are a lot of methods to stay productive, from time blocking technique to practicing Zen Buddhism at Work.
5. Recreation Time
No matter how busy you are, you should always have time for your interests and things you love. Without dedicating time to chill, you won’t last long in your busy mode.
Give yourself a good sleep, never skip on that.
You will wake up refreshed and ready to crush it!
Keep up with these six points for your busy day and you will always win the day.
San Francisco had been making headlines for being the most expensive city in the United States. However, many still try to build their startups here. Let’s look at the status of the city and check why this is still a great place for your startup.
As a startup founder, you might need the following for your company to run smoothly.
San Francisco is a hip city where college graduates want to move to. What does that mean to your startup? It means there is a huge pool of talent to recruit from.
People are excited when you tell them about your startup. This doesn’t happen much anywhere else in the world. The excitement leads to contribution and idea exchange. You could also find like minded people by attending Meetups and events according to your startup interest.
Since WW2, San Francisco had been the most diverse city in the United States. This means you could test your startup idea with the diverse community here. If your startup does well in a diverse environment, there is a higher chance it will go well once it is scaled out of this town.
Funding can make or break your startup. By April of 2018, 157 San Francisco startups reported raising a seed or angel round totaling around $200million. The median deal size for seed company also set a new record in 2018 for $2.2 million. This is a 30% jump from 2017’s median deal size of $1.69. With so much available investment laying around, there is no wonder why startups still bear with the high cost of living in San Francisco.
Young Adult Dwellers
More favorable place for new ideas and businesses. This is a factor of your success as you could test your ideas better with young adult dwellers who are open minded. A young open minded person is more likely to test out your app or the latest gadget. This leads to faster progress and growth.
Hopping startup scene
A lot of people move to SF to engage in startup activities. There is no better feeling than being surrounded by like minded individuals who are building their startups as well
Since the Bay Area is still filled startups, there are still great communities for you not only professionally but also personally. Of course, living in the middle of Idaho could be cheaper in terms of costs, but what kind of connections would you be building?
There are reasons why SF continues to house the most amount of startups. Despite the high cost of living, bad public transits, there are still companies everyday being started in San Francisco. Be a dreamer and doer and start your company in San Francisco today.
A right startup needs to be at the right environment. Come check out Treehouse Society for our latest private office deals.
Zen Buddhism is usually known as a Japanese school of Mahayana Buddhism emphasizing the value of meditation and intuition. However, Zen Buddhism dates back to 6th century. An Indian monk named Bodhidharma brought Buddhism to China and it was soon adapted by the Taoists at the time. Taoists used the Buddhism techniques to enhance meditation, and they formed a branch of Buddhism called Chan Buddhism. It then became popular and spread south to Vietnam, northeast to Korea, and to Japan. It then became popular in the West in the mid 20th century.
Zen Buddhism emphasizes rigorous self-control, meditation practice, and insight into Buddha-nature. It is a very pragmatic practice, not a theory or dogma. Instead of finding something exterior to fulfill the spiritual needs for self, it seeks internally. Steve Jobs is a very well known entrepreneur who practices Zen Buddhism. As he stated in his autobiography written by Isaacson, “Follow your heart and your intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.”
Although some might think that spirituality and business should be combined together, the combination makes sense. Spirituality and work both play an important role in people’s lives and the ancient wisdom from Zen Buddhism can really make a difference in people’s attitude toward work.
There are eightfold paths to Zen Buddhism, and they could be translated to business practices. The eight paths are right view, right resolve, right speech, right conduct, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right samadhi(concentration).
1. Right view
This is to state that our actions have consequences. At a workplace, our actions could result in unintended consequences, so we must reflect before we act.
2. Right resolve
This is to move away from cruelty and to move into living kindness. In business, sometimes if we let things go and be less cruel, it could help to break barriers with potential customers and bring us new opportunities.
3. Right speech
No gossips, no lying, and no rude speech, which is useful in business. In a work environment, one should only speak with truth, kindness, and compassion.
4. Right conduct
Of course, one should not steal, lie, and be deceitful while working or managing a team.
5. Right livelihood
This is a concept related to minimalism and to possess what is essential to sustain life. All the extra frills at work could be deemed frivolous.
6. Right effort
If we do everything with kindness and compassion and guard against sensual thoughts, that is the right effort at work.
7. Right mindfulness
Being conscious in everything you do is very important. In this ever connected world, being mindful with everything you do could be difficult, which is why meditation can help with this.
8. Right samadhi(concentration)
This is to reflect on all the actions practiced with the ideas of Zen Buddhism in mind. The best way to do that would be to meditate.
The best thing about Zen Buddhism is that it is just a practice and that there are no right answers on whether or not we are practicing correct. However, with the lengthened periods of practice, we could see results not only in our work lives, but also our personal lives.
Of course, you’ve heard of, “early bird gets the worm”, and there is a lot of truth in that. Successful people are normally early risers. In fact, today’s top leaders in every industry are up by 8am. In a monastery, monks are up by 4am, and they are meditating by 5am. In Zen Buddhism, life happenings are just waves. The earlier one gets up for meditation, the calmer the mind is and less disturbed by the waves. Even if your job allows you to walk in whenever be up 2 hours prior to work so allow yourself a calmer morning and to take charge of the flow of the day.
We live in changing times where times move fast so waking up can help you prepare for it.
Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba Group wakes up at 6am.
Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple wakes up at 3:45am.
Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon and the richest person on earth wakes up by 7-8am.
Li Ka Shing, the richest man in Hong Kong wakes up by 6am.
Jack Dorsey, serial entrepreneur is up by 5am.
Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla is up by 7am.
Richard Branson wakes up at 5:45am.
Oprah Winfrey wakes up by 6:20am.
Okay, you get the point, every successful person wakes up early. There might be science behind this, waking up early helps with our mood, willpower, and metabolism. After a good night of sleep, early risers experience better prefrontal power which is related to creativity and willpower. Hence, the best time to be creative is in the morning. Morning is when the willpower is strong and the best decisions are made. According to studies, as the day goes on, the subjects were more likely to make unthoughtful choices. Maybe this is why executives wake up early to make mindful choices.
It turns out that our biological clock works best when we rise with the sun. The suprachiasmatic nucleus, which is located right above the point in the brain where the optic nerve fibers cross is responsible for keeping time. Due to its location, it is able to receive the cues it needs from light in the environment to keep track of time. So your mind and body actually work best when it is waking up to the sunrise.
Our hormones also work with the biological clock. The hormones responsible for metabolism rise and fall throughout the day. So waking up early could also help with sticking with a diet, and since waking up early also helps with decision making, not only is it good for metabolism, it also helps to resist the urge of binge eating.
There are 86,400 seconds in a day, the earlier you wake up, the more time you’d have. Time is one of those things that shouldn't be wasted as you can't get any of those missed seconds, minutes, or hours back. To build the habit of getting up early, try setting the clock 15 minutes earlier each day until you are up by sunrise.
Waking up early allows you to set the tone for the day playing offense instead of playing defense. It also allows for the time for you to eat a nutritious breakfast instead of rushing out the door.
Coworking is great for combating loneliness, looking more professional, and social innovation. A lot of small business owners, freelancers, social enterprises, startups, and nonprofits turn to coworking as an office need not only to spark new ideas, but also to reduce cost. Also, coworking benefits range from reducing carbon footprint on your transportation to shared kitchen appliance to reduce electronic waste.
Here are a few reasons why coworking could save the environment.
No wonder coworking is the most trendy way to work. Not only does it come with professional benefits, it also helps the environment to reduce the speed of global warming. Come by Treehouse Society for a tour to help with the environment!
Every company should have a human resource department. But some startups are way too small for it, and they skim HR department thinking it is unrealistic until it is too late. There is a semi-efficient way to get out of this issue. An employee handbook might be what every company needs, small or large, big or small. It has details that thoroughly show every activity taking place in a company’s office. This can be from recruiting to firing, and even the dress code.
The process of writing a handbook can be long and tiring. However, its importance in a company makes it well worth it to have one because a company is made out of humans. Humans all have flaws and limited amount of memory, so this employee handbook can help as a guide.
Below are the 5 reasons why you need an employee handbook.
Protect Your Company in an Employment Lawsuit
In the event that someone is taking legal action against your business in regards to employment, your lawyer will require this handbook. This is because each and every employee has read and adhered to everything written therein.
Once an employee signs the acknowledgment section in the handbook will show that he or she was privy to all rules regarding the company. Thus, the lawsuit exercised against you will be in your favor. This is very helpful since the employee accepted to follow all policies inside the handbook.
Adherence to Federal and Government Law
Every company that has employees is required to comply with all state and federal laws. This will involve having an employee handbook that follows all employee and labor laws in the state in question.
Provided an employee who is on a leave, they will be aware of his rights as they are clearly stipulated in the handbook.
Merits provided by the Company
All employee benefits should be clearly shown in your handbook for all your employees, from paid vacations to pensions. These merits can motivate both the employer and employee to take advantage of said benefits.
The human resource team will have less of a workload since they won’t have to explain everything to new employees.
Treating Workers Fairly
If by any chance a company does not write down its rules employees will feel that they are being treated unfairly. Having a handbook will clear all doubts about unfair treatment as everyone is aware of all the benefits they are to receive.
The handbook could also include a time frame of when a merit is to be offered and to whom in regard to a position.
Setting a Standard for Employees and Employers
Everything in the business will run smoothly if everyone knows what is required of them. This can be anything from what to wear within the premises to what time to arrive at work. This will often help to avoid time wasting and increase the productivity of the business.
Especially if a manager requires dealing with a business issue and the owner is unavailable, the handbook will direct him or her.
All in all, an employee handbook is supposed to help employees feel comfortable in their workspace. Whenever a problem arises or they don’t what to do in a particular situation they can find answers in the handbook.
Management, H. (2017, May 16). Paycor:8 Reasons You Should Have a Company Handbook. Retrieved May 5, 2018, from Paycor: https://www.paycor.com/resource-center/8-reasons-your-organization-should-have-an-employee-handbook
Msiza, T. (2017, August 15). How to Write a Human Resource Manual. Retrieved May 8, 2018, from wikiHow website: https://www.wikihow.com/Write-a-Human-Resource-Manual
Nguyen, C. (2015, August 25). Amity Law: Top 5 Reasons your Company Needs an Employee Handbook. Retrieved May 5, 2018, from Amity Law: http://www.amity-law.com/blog/2015/8/25/top-5-reasons-your-company-needs-an-employee-handbook
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