working at cardstack

Some news—I'm working on a new project. It involves blockchain. But first, some background.

My four years in online media, working as a digital producer and social media editor at CNN and Fusion/Gizmodo Media have been a privilege. It’s also given me a firsthand understanding of what happens at the intersection of media and platform capitalism: when content is funneled through Silicon Valley's business model of data extraction, aggregation, and control.

What I saw from my vantage point is that even the biggest, most well-known media outlets are, to a frightening degree, at the mercy of these tech giants, who are consolidating their influence by monopolizing data and using it to power opaque algorithms that govern our choices. But this isn’t just about what stories appear on your news feed. It’s about a broader, disturbing tendency in the structure of today’s Internet that concentrates power and wealth in the owners of these digital infrastructures. And how that affects everyone. 

Over the last year I’ve been learning about the movement to decentralize the Internet, and whether we can create systems that are fairer, more transparent, and accountable to communities, not corporations. One piece of this movement is blockchain, which lets people exchange information in a peer-to-peer way, following rules that are enforced collectively by a network’s participants. But if you look past the more sensational headlines, there’s a lot of fascinating intellectual, technical, and creative work being done about how you govern these networks, how you scale them, how you make them usable — to create a new architecture for the Internet and hopefully make it a better, fairer place.

This is the goal of Cardstack, a project I joined at the end of last year and am now working for full time in New York City. Cardstack's goal is to build the experience layer of the decentralized Internet, which is to say, how do we make this new technology work for users? How do we translate some of the concepts in this new space — like self-sovereignty or distributed consensus — into tools that are meaningful for rest of us? As the managing editor of Cardstack, my job is to help develop arguments like these and create a space for more discussion, not just from a technical standpoint, but also from political and cultural perspectives. We should be constantly asking questions and looking critically at what we’re creating.

Right now, we're expanding. I'm building an editorial team (yes. real. jobs!). We're looking for folks who have the drive and intellectual curiosity to help think through this growing project, and the creative skills to help tell these new stories. That’s an intentionally general description because this is a challenging project without a lot of precedent — so these roles are not strictly limited to specific kinds of backgrounds or experience.

A lot of this is new and I know there'll be questions. But if any of this resonates, and especially if this is something you could see yourself working on, please drop me a line at wilfred.chan@cardstack.com to introduce yourself. I'd be happy to answer questions, and go into more detail.