FTX Syndrome

I find it hard to continue working in tech and taking things seriously. I genuinely want to use technology wisely, make a good living, and live my life. I historically have gotten caught up in doing things the right way, where many around me seem fine with riding the waves of the day, cycle, and latest trend. As I watch the FTX trial wrap up with a verdict of guilty on all counts, I can’t help but think people will once and for all see through crypto hustle. But no, it is the opposite, they are doubling down. It feels like the same thing with Trump, and everything else in our world, despite all the evidence to the contrary, people are just willing to believe the story of the day, this election cycle, and whatever the latest twist on how we line up at the feeder to consume.

It is fascinating to watch people double down on technology being the answer despite the mounting evidence that it is rarely the answer. I still believe that Internet technology can be done well, but I just rarely see evidence of it action. Bitcoin is rebounding despite FTX. Artificial Intelligence is booming, despite it really not enjoying much daily usage and adoption. I hear a lot about the promise of AI, but honestly it doesn’t touch my daily work. I feel like I live in an API Groundhog Day, where we keep talking about the benefits, but the sprawling API landscape is just getting larger, not better. I don’t feel like there is any growing body of people who want to do APIs well, just waves up newbies who believe it can be done well, but rapidly burnout—with a few of us veterans sticking around for gits and shiggles.

I feel like FTX is similar to the drug addiction I grew up around, and the broken record conspiracy theory condition that affects many people I grew up with. People want to believe. People don’t want to do the work. People want a story that aligns with their beliefs. I find it hard to keep a straight face in all of this, let alone properly plan and navigate through the world of Internet fueled technology. I feel like what I was really good at with APIs is just telling stories, and finding the bullshit alignment with what everyone else wants. It had nothing to do with my technological understanding and skills. I find it disturbing to be in a room full of people in a Silicon Valley startup who are pretending to care about customers and solving real world problems, when all they really care about are the perceived valuations of the company. I find it disorienting to live such a lie in private and in the open.

It all leaves me thinking that capitalism is just many levels of people conning other people, and believing is just what you do. You are either believing and in the know or you are believing and swept up in whatever is happening in the moment. Like my conspiracy theory family in rural areas, I won’t be able to question everyone I know in a year about why artificial intelligence didn’t change the world. Everyone seems to lack the self reflection to look back and apply what we just learned to what is next. I feel like this is by design. Internet technology has a great ability to impact your memory, and keep those dopamine receptors satisfied with what is happening now-—regardless of the impact in six months or a year. This all makes for a pretty difficult career when you are trying to steer folks in the right direction. Even if I can tell which way is the right direction, it rarely seems like the right direction to people who are swept up into the latest technology cycle and trends. I feel like I need to just embrace my storytelling abilities and walk the line between what is real and what is fiction.