A Look to the Future

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It’s incredible how much life can be compressed into just a few dozen hours, isn’t it? Since I last posted, I have resigned, been fired from, and successfully rejoined Pied Piper. And while this whirlwind meant I used up my “tears budget” a bit earlier than usual this month, it also reminded me of how lucky I am to work for Richard Hendricks, a true technological visionary. In that forward-looking spirit, I thought I’d share my letter to my 40-year-old self. I revise this missive to the future each time I begin a new professional venture, but with any luck, I will have this job — and this letter — until the day I die. Enjoy, dear readers, and take care!

Lordy, lordy, look who’s forty!

Who would have thought Donald Dunn would make it to forty-years-old? After swimming through the piranha-infested waters of the Amazon, running with the bulls in Pamplona, finding love in Paris — and losing it in Malta —you’ve seen big things, Donald.

Your life has been a checkered quilt, and some of its patches have been rougher than others. But whether a coarse swatch best forgotten or a velvet one to be cherished for all time, they have stitched together the man you’ve become. A man who sees adversity as opportunity, melancholy as but a brief minor key in life’s longer song. Not to mention, you threw one hell of a fortieth birthday bash on that yacht. Good on you, Donald!

You can be hard on yourself, but it is the lofty bar you’ve set that makes you such an exemplary friend, spouse, and father. To think, you were worried about raising one little scamp, and now triplets! It seems the chemical traces in that shipping container all those years ago didn’t cause lasting medical damage, after all. Four is a nice round number for a brood, too, and you should be glad that you went with the maroon minivan. It was the right choice.

Donald, you’ve kept so many of the promises you made to yourself. To give all of your heart, mind, and physical well being to each and every company to which you’ve pledged your faith. To treat each friendship like a hummingbird: vibrant, yet delicate. And, of course, to always wear your retainer at night to protect against stress-related grinding. Your teeth are the sparkling Christmas lights for your face, Donald, and they must shine year-round!

You are a star shooting across the Great Plains, a manta ray swimming in the sundrenched, shallow waters of the Caribbean, a single hair that raises on the back of a child’s neck after he hears his first violin solo. Never forget that you are truly something, Donald. You are tougher than anyone I have ever met, but also a gentle soul that never ceases to give first, and ask questions later.

Looking back on your life, you wish you could tell your younger self to relax, and sure, have that second glass of sparkling cider. Your soul has always been older than your body, and one day they’ll have a name for that condition. In the meantime, savor your youth and this, your fortieth birthday (give or take, depending on which of those certificates was actually legitimate). Next up: nifty fifty!

You’re the best, Donald. Richard is proud of you.

Love always,

Jared

Comments (21)

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  1. What?
    What the?
    Are you kidding me?
    This is real?
    Wow!
    Nice post and way to go guys.
    Want to become like you guys.
    Don’t just know how to start!

  2. Jared, thank you for sharing such a personal note. May I suggest you write a letter for mile marker sixty as well? Trixie, Dixie, look who’s sixty! I would think you’ll have accomplished an exponential amount more than what you’ve already managed by then. Perhaps you’d be a grandfather by that time as well!

    Proud of you and the rest of the guys for finding yourselves in all the chaos. Keep up the good work, bros.

  3. Hey Donald! Loved this blog post. It’s quite impressive how you can pull out enough time from your busy schedule of pacifying the other PP members to write such a blog. Brilliant! Hope to hear more from you…

  4. I’m somewhat surprised that you’re predicting your life until 40. Would that mean that you’d be disappointed if you don’t now have 4 kids (including triplets!)?

    But then again, this guy fucks.

    I’m sure you won’t have any issues fulfilling your dream of being a father.

Problem 1:

Single Points of Failure

Libraries are vulnerable to losing their collection because all of their books are contained at a single location. Say, for instance, that there was a fire, or a flood, or a vandal defaced John James Audubon’s masterpiece Birds of America by giving all the Warblers human genitalia. Even worse, if the vandal recruited bird haters from other neighborhoods and got ahold of all the copies of the book in existence, it could be lost crude doodles forever. It would be a tragedy on par with the destruction of the Library of Alexandria.

The Problem

Because Birds of America is centralized in one public location, it’s susceptible to permanent deletion. The same goes for content on the Internet — storing all your family photos on a single account in a cloud service? They could all be wiped away if someone hacked your account or corrupted the host servers.

The Solution

Our solution: In our decentralized library, we would duplicate and distribute multiple copies of Birds of America to your neighbors — if you need a copy, you would just go to your neighbor’s house. As our Pipernet town of mobile devices grows, so do the number of neighbors who might have a copy of your book. And the more potential copies there are available, the more secure the book is.

That’s what our new internet will allow you to do too: spread your personal files on devices across the world, so they’re completely safe from bad actors manipulating or deleting them.

Takeaways

All copies of your files in a well-known, hackable location = RISKY!

Files copied and distributed to multiple locations = SAFE!

Problem 2:

No Privacy

In order to check out books, you must have a library card — an ID that links back to your real world identity. That library card reveals all the books you’ve ever checked out, where you returned them, and whether they were returned on time.

The Problem

The tech titans collect data profiles on us too, and theirs are far more comprehensive. They amass thousands of personal data points by tracking our activities in both the online and physical worlds.

Users don’t own or control their own data, so it can be used against them. Take, for instance, Richard’s lawyer Pete Monahan, who had his probation revoked when the state retrieved his library records. Which was… probably a good idea. But for this metaphor’s purposes: bad that they can access that information!

On the web, our data profile is far more detailed, the laws around privacy even looser, and more freedoms are at stake. For example, what if Hooli sold your search data to an insurance company who then denied you coverage because you’ve HooliSearch-ed “kindest Palo Alto based Cardiologist” a few too many times?

The Solution

Replace library cards with anonymous identification cards which are impossible to connect to your real world identity. Instead of using a library card (linked to your name, address, etc.) to check out books, you would swipe a nondescript card (containing no personal details). Your activity would be tracked to keep the system stable, but your identity would not be siphoned and sold. I, for example, would no longer check out books as "Donald Dunn," but rather the nom de guerre "h3w0vbk37vpm."

That’s what our new internet will allow you to do too: use its apps and services without compromising your privacy.

Takeaways

Trading your identity and data for online services = RISKY!

Using services anonymously so nobody can target you = SAFE!

Problem 3:

Censorship and Manipulation

Because a town’s library is run by a small group of administrators, they could theoretically decide what books are available to its people. They could even decide to ban Birds of America, depriving young birders of Audubon’s elegant illustrations, pored over page by page under a government-issued blanket after lights out, giving you hope that even a slender-framed, shivering boy could grow to be as majestic as a Hooded Merganser.

The Problem

On the internet, multinational corporations can screen content, or even “adapt” their services to fit the local government’s requests. In both libraries and on the Web, we’re susceptible to data being censored or manipulated by intermediaries.

The Solution

A peer-to-peer lending system backed up by a fully public ledger, allowing you to send and receive books freely to anybody in the world without worrying about censorship or interference. Want to add Catcher in the Rye, Fahrenheit 451, or your controversial essay on Audubon’s coloring techniques? No problem, even if the town surrounded you with pitchforks to ban them, these vital texts would be available to share neighbor to neighbor, impossible to delete.

That’s what our new internet will allow you to do too: exchange messages and files directly with their intended receiver, disperse ideas and information free from threats of censorship.

Takeaways

Pushing all transactions through a central authority = OPPRESSIVE!

Establishing a peer to peer exchange system based on an immutable public ledger = FREE!

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