Related: collaborative-thinking, communities, friendship, and context-collapse

Why are we more ourselves in small group chats than our posts? Why are we more comfortable trying new things and working on projects in these smaller groups?

Is it because of bureaucratic friction at scale? Group limits?

How do we move away from the ‘other’ and towards the ‘us’? Towards collectivism and interdependence rather than individualism?

On Building with a Squad

By Jon Borichevskiy

It is not a startup, nor an organization with a mission statement, nor a non-profit, nor a consultancy… Our calls are space we hold in which we invite one other to explore and create what wants to be built at the intersection of all our interests and diverse perspectives and past experiences. A squad is a collective identity in which I can participate to create something more intricate, comprehensive, and wonderful than with just myself.

It’s trusting everyone else in the group is committed to upholding a high-openness, high-trust, playful mode of co-creating and exploration. It’s having the confidence that whatever comes up – we will make space for the collective group wisdom to work through it and come out on the other end stronger, together.


  • Shared knowledge graph tooling is a common pain point and one no one has solved well
  • Friction-ful onboarding can be good! “What does work is having people join our open calls, playing with ideas and tasks they resonate with, and progressively getting more involved”

Squad Wealth

Source: Other Internet on Squad Wealth

”Squad culture is the antithesis of neoliberal individualism. Millennials are healing from decades of irony poisoning, rediscovering what it’s like to have generative, exploratory relationships with one another.”

The squad economy primarily yields non-monetary forms of value

Small Group

Source: James Mulholland

The SMALL GROUP offers a private, close-knit environment in which members can share ideas freely.

Benjamin Franklin had the Junto Club, Tolkien and C.S. Lewis had The Inklings, Jobs and Wozniak had Homebrew. The Bloomsbury Group was integral to the success of Virginia Woolf, Clive Bell, and John Maynard Keynes, while MIT’s Model Railroad Club spawned much of modern hacker culture.

Around a dozen members is the sweet spot of social motivation: small enough to know everyone, yet large enough that the group won’t collapse if one or two members’ enthusiasm wanes; small enough that you are not daunted by competing with the whole world, yet large enough that you still need to be on your toes to keep up.

An ongoing relationship provides more effective advice, allowing the use of shorthand for concepts and a two-way conversation that autodidactic education lacks.

The goal here is not to invest more in the skills you use at work. Instead, it is to be truly exploratory for no immediate purpose. It is to waste time (yet to savour it), to wander off in the wrong direction (and to find an exciting new path). Indirection and exploration should not come at the cost of doing and building. Doing and building should not come at the cost of having fun.

Against fully online communities

First, they shift the emphasis towards consumption, not creation. How many tweets do you write versus how many do you read, for example? Communicating in real-life shifts the ratio of creation to consumption far closer to 1:1, thus forcing you to fully develop your ideas.