What can’t we see? What can’t we hear? What don’t we understand?

Those of us that grew up with a ‘mainstream media’ have a problem.

We are aliens born in a 2D universe finding ourselves in a world of 3 dimensions.

Our reality is that there is a single global community that can be reached through a mainstream channel of some kind. Intuitively we believe that:

  • Mega channels like ‘the TV’ can communicate an idea to whole countries
  • Getting onto the front page of a national newspaper will mainstream a national conversation
  • There are global movie and music stars that everyone has ‘heard of’.

But those days have gone. We are blind to another dimension and until we tune into see it, we will not understand huge groups of people and will never understand how to reach them, how to learn from them, how to have a conversation.

We are not seeing, we are not hearing

Today there is a froth of micro-cultures which is quite different to our mental model of the world. Rex Woodbury at Index Ventures got me thinking about this when I found myself in his bubble.

There’s no such thing as a mainstream — rather, we have 4.5 billion individual universes of culture, colliding and intersecting and building on one another to redefine how we collectively think and live.

I still need to force myself to know that not everybody is tuned into my culture stream. I intuitively assume everyone is in the same conversations as me. I assume that everybody listens to Dr David Sinclair’s Lifespan podcast on longevity and reads Paddy McCormick’s Not Boring newsletter.

Plus the 100 other sub-cultures I participate in.

My perception of the world is formed by the synthesis of these mental worlds colliding and forming new understanding.

And that is different to yours.

Find new bubbles or fade away

For those of us that make a living from making new things, it is dangerous to languish in a one dimensional bubble.

I realise this now.

We can’t opt out of the social channels that frustrate us with ideas that we think are absurd. We can’t privately rage against NFTs and processed foods and assume that is is an irrelevant fad. We can’t assume that because our friends believe we need to do something about climate change that everyone is thinking that.

Bubbles build momentum

Culture bubbles form in pockets of the internet and memes multiply in their incubators. The memes spread from bubble to bubble, taking on new characteristics. This happens without us seeing or hearing.

And then one day they are upon us.

Bubbles manifest in the physical world

These conversations spill into life.

If you believe that animal agriculture will be with us forever as a constant of life, you are not tuned into channels that are angry about the industry’s planetary impact or the scientists that are building alternatives.

If you believe that regulators will forever resist bitcoin and other crypto technologies, you are not tuned into the Discord servers of the Web 3 communities who speak in a new language and create active new solutions to tired ways to exchange value.

What can’t we see? What can’t we hear? What don’t we understand?

If this was helpful, please:

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Deep tech VC — Main Sequence Ventures. Ecosystem builder. Maker. Director. Startup Scientist.

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Phil Morle

Phil Morle

Deep tech VC — Main Sequence Ventures. Ecosystem builder. Maker. Director. Startup Scientist.

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