Internal Comms

I can't stress this enough, comms matter. Effectively communicating what you're doing, how you're progressing towards goals, blockers you're encountering, and celebrating wins is critical to achieving top performance.

In my experience, teams and individuals who "fly under the radar" under achieve. They get less attention until all attention is on them.

How to masterclass comms?

Individual contributors:

  • Send a Monday list of things you plan on accomplishing to your leadership and team.
  • Mid week openly communicate, check in on chans, escalate blockers
  • End of week recap what was accomplished

Team Leaders:

  • Same as above
  • Include strategic planning such as beginning and end of quarter goals

For folks who want to move up the stack, volunteer to keep notes for the team, be the voice of the team. You do not want to be out of sight or out of mind.

Build, Remove Blockers, Escalate, And Celebrate Wins!

The Art of Escalation

Spending a decade at a fortune 500 big tech did a lot of good for me and my career, but one of the biggest things I learned was the art of escalation. Coming into the job I carried various entry level sales jobs at non tech firms. I had never experienced politics in the workplace and how to get things done. One of the first things my boss said to me was "escalate early and often". I had no clue what he meant. Literally no one in my life had used the word escalate in this way to me.

I quickly learned what it meant and how to use it.

To escalate is to bring attention to or make aware of something, usually up the chain of command.

When my boss said "escalate early and often" he was explaining how let leaders know when there are issues early and make that a habit. This fosters an environment that removes blockers and allows builders to flourish. Escalation is an artform and it is essential in when it comes to mastering internal communications. Escalation is used by all levels of an organization and is a sign that team members are actively building.

I am no master of the art of escalation, but I do know what it is and how to do it. I need to escalate early and often.

Power of the DM

One of my super powers is the direct message or DM. Up until a couple years ago, I reserved DM's exclusively for communicating with people I knew in real life. It wasn't until I became more active on Bitcoin Twitter that I began to notice bitcoiners saying things like DM's open and people encouraging inbound comms if you have questions. This felt foreign and not natural. Why would I DM if I don't know you? DM broke my mental barrier to connect with humans. By sliding in DM and asking an honest question it forced me to expose my lack of knowledge on the subject matter, opened the door to an answer to the question, and most importantly opened the door to a possible connection.

I use twitter DM heavily for my job, interests, and personal relationships. Make a list of (10) people who are subject matter experts on something you're curious about and slide in their DM. You won't get 10 responses but you'll likely get more than 0, especially if it's about Bitcoin and you're on Twitter.

The Pursuit of Hashiness

The long winter is upon us.

The BTC price has driven many home miners are powering down. Old Asics are no longer in profitable. Some leveraged commercial miners are getting margin called. All the while blocks keep stacking. Difficulty keeps adjusting. And the network matches on.

Many miners are looking for ways to squeeze additional earnings out of existing infrastructure. This is bear market mentality. When things are booming, leverage is used, people get sloppy, and efficiency is ignored. Just plug shit in the wall. But bears change things.

The majority of miners pay for the energy they consume. If things get bad, they can simply power down ASICS in order to lower their bills (liability). For others, myself included in this small bucket, their

Target Market

Target Market is a broad group of potential customers defined by ranges. Those ranges can be ages, location, income bracket, etc.

Target market is made up of various target customers or personas. This is a more narrow look at a person. You use this to describe the person(s) you are selling to.

Defining a Target Market is essential in developing a business plan and finding product market fit.

Target Customer

Business is all about definitions. Defining what you sell, defining your customer, defining how you sell it.

Defining a target customer is a key element to successful business.

It is also important to understand that there are many target customers which roll into a target market.

Once you have a target customer identified, you are on your way to finding product market fit and can develop marketing ands sales plans.

Finding Product Market Fit

When thinking about how to build or launch a product/service, finding product market fit is essential.

Product market fit or PMF is how well a product satisfies a strong market demand.

Product Market Fit Pyramid

Source: Dan Olsen1

Target Customer

Defining your Target Customer is essential in

Resources

HOW TO CREATE YOUR PERFECT PRODUCT DEFINITION IN SIX SIMPLE STEPS

link to an article about pmf

Product User Fit

Marc Anderssen coined and popularized PMF

1. Source Link

Purity Tests

A common FUD that scammers use against maximalists are Purity Tests. This label is applied when a scammer gets shit on for bad ideas and they cry wolf about purity tests and conformity and mean maxis.

The more I think about purity tests, the more I am into them. I think this is probably a meme we (maximalists) should lean into.

What is the downside of purity tests?

  • You get labeled as using purity tests
  • You get called a cult (false we are a religion)
  • You get called a bully

What is the upside of purity tests?

  • Clear direction
  • Shared beliefs *Stronger community

The downside of a purity test would only effect you if you didn't pass it. At that point you'd either try to pass the test (adopt values) or move along.

Bitcoin Trends

If you look at established markets or sectors, finance bros usually produce annual reports that highlight what's happening in the space.

These annual reports cover micro and macroeconomic trends, happenings with companies and people, and other "big deals".

Two notable reports for reference are from Mary Meeker and Benedict Evans.

They both are focused on high tech and economics and there exists nothing like this that focuses on Bitcoin.

This is why I'm building Bitcoin Trends. 1 part chart boi, 1 part narrative, all subjective to my world view. It will be flawed but I think I can build something valuable and repeatable.

Bear markets are for building.

Bitcoin Twitter Drama Timeline

Year Week Start Day End Day Primary Theme Secondary Theme
2020 29 7/12/2020 7/18/2020 Twitter hacked for Bitcoin - god mode and shadow bans confirmed
2020 30 7/19/2020 7/25/2020
2020 31 7/26/2020 8/1/2020
2020 32 8/2/2020 8/8/2020 Dave Portnoy challenges Bitcoin
2020 33 8/9/2020 8/15/2020 Run the Numbers - auditors attempt to verify supply of ETH
2020 34 8/16/2020 8/22/2020
2020 35 8/23/2020 8/29/2020 What is XPUB - Peter unwilling to learn after 3 years of running successful Bitcoin pod.
2020 36 8/30/2020 9/5/2020 INX Drama - Jameson sells out for a shitcoin.
2020 37 9/6/2020 9/12/2020 Chair Gate - Pierre Sells everything including chairs for Bitcoin. Denies ever sitting. Deater takes on Citadel21
2020 38 9/13/2020 9/19/2020 Chad King - Michael Saylor goes all in on Bitcoin with MicroStrategy $425m buy of 38k BTC
2020 39 9/20/2020 9/26/2020 Portnoy's tits Citadel Flags
2020 40 9/27/2020 10/3/2020 Cory Klippsten takes on PlanB and S2F
2020 41 10/4/2020 10/10/2020 @jack buys $50m worth of Bitcoin for Square's balance sheet Floor is in
2020 42 10/11/2020 10/17/2020 Arthur gets Bitmex Rekt Fidelity shares 5% allocation paper
2020 43 10/18/2020 10/24/2020 PayPal is coming to play. Giga Chad Saylor destroys Keith and Quad 4 is a scam.
2020 44 10/25/2020 10/31/2020 Hashrate dumps by 40% Fees Soar Udi deletes Twitter because we don't break $14k
2020 45 11/1/2020 11/7/2020 Fed Seizes Silk Road Corn, Markets absolutely rage, Trump loses election Saylor promises $100k party & HODL pays Pedro for election bet
2020 46 11/8/2020 11/14/2020 Eth shit all over itself and randomly hard forked NGU
2020 47 11/15/2020 11/21/2020 Drunkenmiller gets in and big boys notice.
2020 48 11/22/2020 11/28/2020
2020 49 11/29/2020 12/5/2020 New All-Time High Plebsgiving 2020
2020 50 12/6/2020 12/12/2020 Saylor going all in again with $650M Senior Convertible Notes
2020 51 12/13/2020 12/19/2020 New ATH 24k Magic Raoul is still a scammer
2020 52 12/20/2020 12/26/2020 Ledger leak fucks a ton of people Ripple finally sued by SEC, fuck em.
2020 52 12/27/2020 01/02/2021 Okung getting paid in btc

Lightning Network and Email Newsletters

Bitcoin is disrupting everything... if you think email marketing won't be disrupted then you can GTFO.

Time for some #reckless thoughts.

Traditional email marketing has a couple different key metrics. Open rate, click rate, lead gen, subscribe rate, unsubscribe rate, are some of the most important.

Influencers, brands, or anyone managing a big list are always trying to get something out of subscribers.

This is usually a click on a call to action!

Email marketers are constantly balancing ways to monetize newsletters.

They generally monetize through subscriptions, rev gen from sales, and lastly through ad placement.

In case you didn't know, EVERYTHING you do when you interact with an email is captured by marketers. Every click and every time you open the email is tracked.

Knowing all that, what is the reader getting out of this?

They are getting signal they (hopefully) signed up for.

But what if there was a way to build more brand loyalty with users?

#Bitcoin fixes this.

As a subscriber, ads are generally something you scroll by and don't think about? What if an advertiser could pay YOU for YOUR attention?

This would change the model.

Attention is the asset being monetized and subscribers have always gotten the short end of the stick.

But all that is about to change.

Here's the real world use case.

I run a monthly Bitcoin journal @_bitcoinwords. As part of that project, I offer a newsletter that sends the contents of the journal to the (500) subscribers.

My goals for the newsletter:

  • Click Read Journal link
  • Pay for the PDF
  • Pay for the ePUB
  • Click connect with me

The list has slowly grown and I really can't complain, but my inner marketer wanted more. How can I create more engagement? How could I create more engagement and reward readers?

Enter #reckless Joe.

I've tested different email formats & subject lines and I am always iterating to make it better then about a year ago, I discovered LNPay.co which is run by @BootstrapBandit.

LNPay is a Lightning Service Provider that specializes in paywall and faucets on Lightning Network.

I began testing content distribution with paywalls and automation with LNPay and Mailchimp and Zapier.

more here: https://joe-rodgers.github.io/paywall-and-mailchimp

This was pretty cool and was the first time to my knowledge that a user could purchase something from a LNurl and have it automatically delivered to them via email.

Later on, @BootstrapBandit rolled out faucets. Think of faucets as a big bucket where you can distribute Bitcoin. He developed a concept called "hoses" which allowed email marketers to limit faucet withdrawals by email address. In other words, I could now include a faucet in my emails for readers.

The stack was growing and I now have more tools in the arsenal. I have analytics from my email service provider, paywalls, and faucets.

email-venn

We began testing and the results were not super impressive. I only had a handful of users withdrawing from the faucet.

Some known factors limited faucet withdrawals:

  • Not everyone has a LN wallet
  • Not everyone knows what the QR code means
  • Not everyone wants to take your money
  • There are surely more factors, but these are some high level factors off the top of my head.

Like all things in life, consistency helped change behavior. After a couple months, more people began withdrawing.

@BootstrapBandit and I kept talking and thinking about the implications of faucets in email. I realize I do not have a huge list and I do not sell anything noteworthy, but this experiment with faucets has gotten our wheels spinning!

This was my personal aha moment. Using email service providers AND LNPay.co you could start to see who is opening emails and now you can see who is pulling from the faucet. IF you were selling items, THEN you could even see who is buying from you.

Email marketers could now reward readers for reading their emails

I began thinking about how to triangulate the value of each reader. If I could see who is opening, who is buying, and who is withdrawing, that would be very informative.

Advanced email marketers could begin to segment their lists off this additional data. You could target the people who are super-subscribers with exclusive content or offers.

Also, now that you have faucets, you could experiment with sponsored faucets.

Last month I partnered with CryptoCloaks to sponsor the newsletter faucet. I included a blurb, call to action and the LNurl faucet.

cc-email

This is pretty neat for all parties. For one I don't have to sponsor the faucet out of my pocket, readers are getting rewarded for their attention, and the sponsor is getting to connect with a potential customer.

LNPay even allows you to include a custom memo, here you can see the note from CryptoCloaks.

Once the campaign was sent, more information began to flow in. I was beginning to see a clear picture of the impact the faucet was having on the email. From LNPay I could see all the pulls, attempts, sats withdrawn, and impressions.

Using hoses, LNPay allows you to see who made the withdrawals. This is pretty damn awesome. This month was one of the highest open rates and click rates. I can see who is opening, who is pulling, and impressions for my faucet sponsor. They can know with certainty how many clicks and impressions they are getting for their faucet investment.

At the moment, all the information is spread across platforms and I am not making any business decisions with this. I can, however, envision a very radical future where Lightning Network in email allows email marketers to engage with readers in very radical new ways. I can imagine clickless engagements, re-subscribe to services, donations, purchases, and more powered by Lightning Network.

As a marketer, you are always looking for more information about your customer and Lightning Network is going to be a game changer.

Final thoughts... we are so early that only 8% of subscribers to a BITCOIN-ONLY email newsletter are stacking the free sats in the faucet.

Consider subscribing to WORDS monthly newsletter, follow @bootstrapbandit, and check out lnpay.co.

Notes on The Viral Aspects of Language

A Quantitative Research of Memetic Selection Criteria

This is a 92 page senior thesis. It covers the basics of memes but digs into how memes spread and specific research into virus hoaxes.

This paper is broken into 4 chapters:

  1. Introduction to Memetics
  2. Spreading of Memes
  3. Reseach Methodology and Corpus
  4. Research Results

Introduction to Memetics

Memes according to Richard Dawkins:

Meme - unit of cultural transmission. Memes "propagate themselves in the meme pool by leaping from brain to brain via a process which, in the broad sense, can be called imitation." - Richard Dawkins, Selfish Gene

According to Wilkins:

"The least unit of socio-cultural information relative to a selection process that has favorable or unfavorable selection bias that exceeds its endogenous tendency to change."

According to Heylighen

"An information patter, held in an individual's memory, which is capable of being copied to another individual's memory."

This author comes to this defintion for meme and uses this as the backdrop for the research within.

A meme is an information pattern which is capable of being copied to another individual's memory, mostly by means of imitations (though other techniques are possible as well) and which is subject to a selection process.

Evolution on this planet gave way to the creation of replicators which was the final breakthrough to life on this planet.

Dawkins compared memes to well known replicators, genes.

  1. Memes = genes
  2. Memeplex = genotype (sum total of genes)
  3. Mutation = phenotype (how we perceive the genotype.)

Memes have the ability to adapt themselves by interaction with the environment (host), and change their phenotype1.

From the author:

A meme will not be passed in its original 'genotypic' state but will instead be copied in a phenotypic state which will, for the new host, become the genotype of this meme.

I think this is an interesting point of view. I am curious what the author would say about the proliferation of internet memes which are copied and pasted without any changes. Would the author suggest that although internet memes can be easily replicated, they are still subject to interpretation in hosts minds, which varies from individual to individual?

Memes are selfish-replicators, that is they are only concerned with replicating themselves.

While genes are subject to exact science, memes are more in subject to fields where exactness is not feasible such as sociology and psychology.

Dennet describes memes as units affected by natural selection AND evolution.

  • Variation: a continuing abundance of different elements
  • Heredity or replication: the elements have the capacity to create copies or replicas of themselves
  • Differential "fitness": the number of copies of an element that are created in a given time varies, depending on the interaction between the features of that element (whatever it is that makes it different from other elements) and features of the environment in which it persists.

On Mutation

  • Mutation is genes - happens by accident
  • Mutation in memes - can happen by accident OR mutate consciously by the host. The deliberate mutation is part of the variation.
Re: memes & mutation - there's an important distinction between how genes and memes replicate. Genes are like a protocol in a sense that they strictly follow rules, however mutation does occur. Memes on the other hand are subjective because each person's mind is different. Memes will TRY to replicate and will only do so IF they include instructions. Since we are dealing with the human mind, they will slightly change each time they replicate. I would say memes with the simplest "rules" stay as close to the previous version, that is they are not as susceptible to mutation.

Unsuccessful Mutations

Replicator Mutation Effects
Genes unsuccessful mutation will result in the gene being unable to replicate
Memes due to subjectivity aka selection criteria, unsuccessful mutation may be duplicated without errors until it hits the criteria or required subjectivity of a host at which point it will no longer propagate.

On Linked Memes or Memeplexes

LIke genes, memes work together in groups called memeplexes. They work together and influence each other.

Memes work together in ways that build protections for each other within the memeplex

On Religions

Religions as memeplexes - these memplexes find shelter in hosts minds, but they also change the perceptions and life of their new host2.

From author:

Built-in defense mechanisms protect hosts (and the memeplex) from being subjected to changes of their belief systems. Aside from protecting the host from hostile meme-intrusions, religions also include a factor of 'conversion'. All major world-religions have a religious task to spread the religion and convert non-believers. Next to that, they have their own holy scriptures which hasten spreading and make sure the memes can survive over time.

Memes and hosts

Meme Carriers

Carriers Description
Vectors canot reflect upon the meme they carry. Books & graffiti are vectors. Humans CAN be vectors and they CAN turn into hosts once they contemplate the meme they carry.
Hosts Hosts are opposite of vectors. They think about the meme and have a general understanding of the meme, this requires reflection and thought.

Meme Life-Cycle

A meme is virtually immortal.3

Meme lifespan depends on several criteria:

  • Velocity - The rate at which a meme can spread.
  • Smoothness - How easy it is for a meme to be spread

Viral memes spread on their own, but internet marketers use buttons and special call to actions in order to simplify or increase smoothness of spreading a meme.

What is meme selection?
It is the process of a meme's first contact with a host and it's journey to be selected and propagated.

4 Stages of Meme Selection

  1. Assimilation
  2. Retention
  3. Expression
  4. Transmission

During each stage, memes are battling for promotion to the next stage within a host.

Examples of memes

Frame or reference of the host is important when considering meme examples. You might not know how to read sheet music, so it would be impossible for a written song to be able to propagate with you.

Memes do not have to be decoded by conventional means, they can also use symbols and logos for meme propagation. Examples being Nike swoosh of the Christian Cross.

Sometimes memes only propagate within a small community. They become tokens of mutual understanding and shared interest.

Examples of small community memes:

  • Band logos
  • street gang tags
  • religious symbols

Language Viruses

Some authors call memes a language virus. Some scientists say language was developed as a way for early humans to propagate memes.

Language viruses can be dangerous. A potentially dangerous viral sentence contains instructions such as: "Copy me" or "Say me" or "Steal this".

The internet has made meme propagation easier and more rapid than ever.

Virus Hoaxes - false virus warnings. They urge the recipient to take action that is harmful to the recipient by exploiting fear.

Death of a meme

Although memes are "virtually immortal", when hosts die, all the memes they carry die with them.

Since humans ONLY pass on phenotypes (i.e. their interpretation of a genotype), the meme dies with the human. Memes can be passed on in their genotype form in other replicators or vectors such as books because they are not subject to interprutation, they are literal genotypes.

3 Other Factors to the death of a meme

  1. Changes in environment - loss of data ie computer crash, host gets alzheimers, physical destruction. This only applies if this single host or vector carry the meme.
  2. intrinsic fragility - complexity in memes make propagation more difficult. Sometimes complex memes propagate because the essence or main points are transmitted on like in tribal stories and folklore. Other memes such as recipes do not do so well with the loss of data, which could result in the death of the meme.
  3. elimination by other memes - attack by other memes. Man's mind is a limited resource, therefore memes are in constant battle to stay relevant. Attacks come in two forms:
    • Neutralize the information value of their competitors (convert to a Islam)
    • Instruct their host to destroy the hosts of competing memes (Jihad)

Spreading of Memes














Virus Hoaxes4


  1. Dawkins drew the comparison to genes. The phenotype is the result of interactions between the genotype and the environment. 

  2. This is a strong quote where I can see the effects of Bitcoin on an individual. Hass McCook has written about and avdvocated the Bitcoin religion in "The Passion of the Believers" 

  3. Gigi has spoken about how you cannot kill an idea and that Bitcoin cannot be un-invented. How it is here to stay. Need link to that article. 

  4. "Virus hoaxes are fake virus reports resembling the chain letters of yesteryear. Virus hoaxes are threatening and scaremongering, unlike those old chain letters, which promised all sorts of luck and oodles of cash if you forwarded the letter to X number of people. Unlike viruses, virus hoaxes do not self-replicate. People who forward them on are either fooled by the threats and (helpfully) want to warn others, or have a knee-jerk reaction to share anything unusual in their inbox. ..." https://www.comparitech.com/antivirus/virus-hoax/ 

Notes on Memetics - A Growth Industry in US Military Operations

First things first, download this paper.

The executive summary is really great. A single page that sums up the contents.

Thesis: Tomorrow’s US military must approach warfighting with an alternate mindset that is prepared to leverage all elements of national power to influence the ideological spheres of future enemies by engaging them with alternate means—memes—to gain advantage.

Conclusion: Cognitive scientists, cultural anthropologists, behavior scientists, and game theory experts must be included as professional meme-wielding-gunfighters on future battlefields. The US must recognize the growing need for emerging disciplines in ideological warfare by ‘weaponeering’ memes. The Meme Warfare Center offers sophisticated and intellectually rich capability absent in current IO, PsyOps and SC formations and is specifically designed to conduct combat inside the mind of the enemy. Memes are key emerging tools to win the ideological metaphysical fight.

The author includes discussion points in the Executive Summary which highlight sections of the paper.

The paper opens up exploring ideologies and their importance on beating the enemy. Ideologies are VERY difficult to deafeat with force. (People don't like to have ideas beaten out of them - especially non-combatants).

Characteristics of ideologies:

  • difficult to eradicate kinetically1
  • highly dynamic
  • garner support for often undetectable reasons
  • contain both intangible and tangible attributes
  • generate visceral enmity
  • compel noncombatants to take up arms
  • influence strategic, operational and tactical relationships and in the simplest form present a daunting challenge for most conventionally trained military forces

Memes are bits of cultural information transmitted AND replicated. Memes are metaphysical, intangible entities, transmitted from mind to mind, either verbally, with actions, music, or by repeated actions and/or imitation.

Meme propagation flow chart
Memes influence ideas ➞ ideas influence and form beliefs ➞ Beliefs generate and influence political positions, feelings, & emotions ➞ which finally inform and influence behavior

This entire process is needed for memes to propagate.

The value of understanding memes lies at the heart of accepting nonlinear thinking and extrapolating it into a warfighting ethos.

Memes are an opportunity to enter the hotly contested territory in the new battlefield of the minds of both enemy combatants and non-combatants.

Like it or not, military ops create memes. Some memes are intended, some not. Both of these memes create 2nd and third order effects.

Controlling 2nd and 3rd order effects is very difficult.

Without contact, meme propagation is brought to a halt.

Author argues that IF you acknowledge memes are real, THEN meme engineering should fall to a department or organization in the military. As of publication, meme warfare was not recognized as legitimate and did not roll into any org.

The author now pivots into memes and the comparison to disease.

The clinical disease analogy for the spread of memes infers a further metaphorical connection to the development and spread of ideologies.

Using this metaphor, the author builds the case that ideologies can be combated much like a Doctor treats a disease.

  1. Analyze disease properties, proliferation method, and conditions for favorable propagation
  2. Methodically construct substances to inoculate hosts

Okay so now apply to this metaphor to ideologies...

  1. the ideology must be acknowledged as the disease and memes the proliferation method
  2. to amplify this disparity, there is a nexus at the crossroads of sociology, anthropology, cognitive science, and behavioral game theory that can help us to intentionally persuade (inoculate) large audiences (or hosts) through subtle or overt contact (remember memes can only propagate through contact).

A central component of future warfare must consider how to confront the complex adaptive system of an ideology. ... Targeting the source of the ideology is perhaps a blinding flash of the obvious, but the tools and methods for combating ideologies require a sophisticated nonlinear approach

A central component of future warfare must consider how to confront the complex adaptive system of an ideology. ... Targeting the source of the ideology is perhaps a blinding flash of the obvious, but the tools and methods for combating ideologies require a sophisticated nonlinear approach
On the proposed MWC - Meme Warfare Center I lost interest at this point. The paper turns into a proposal for the development of a MWC.

The author goes into detail about a proposed MWC would operate and where it would roll up organizationally. If you are interested in further details, dig into the paper. It details how the private sector has used memes to create marketing campaigns and to influence corporate culture. And later goes into details about the proposed MWC org.

This closing quote was pretty interesting, from Donald Rumsfeld:

“Our enemies have skillfully adapted to fighting wars in today's media age, but for the most part we, our country, our government, has not…. the violent extremist[s] have established ‘media relations committees’—and have proven to be highly successful at manipulating opinion elites. They plan and design their headline grabbing attacks using every means of communications to intimidate and break the collective will of free people.”

And finally the last two sentences are icing on top.

The emerging tools to win the metaphysical fight are memes. Managing, employing and leveraging memetic power is key for the US to shape and win on future battlefields.


  1. I think this is an interesting point, and also quite obvious. It made me think about the principle of blowback. I first heard learned about this from Dr. Ron Paul. Lew Rockwell wrote this short piece about Blowback and credits Dr. Paul for bringing this topublic discourse.  

Notes from Meme Warfare

How to Overthrow the Powers that be On a Low Budget

I recommend you download this paper. It's an easy read and overall very quotable. It goes a little micro on some parts but overall it is a great read.

This articles describes memes, memplex, how memes spread, how the memeplex gets and holds power, memeplex vulnerability, and how to subvert current memeplex.

Let me first level set what you'll get out of this. You WILL walk away with an understanding of how power is derived and the power of memes. You will develop an understanding of how memes propogate1 and how to develop your own memes.

What are memes and memeplexes

Nature is everywhere and everything.
Within nature, we can classify all things into two categories: replicators and non replicators.

Replicators

Category Explainer
Replicator of Self Human cell, it builds itself.
Replicator of Other Robot on assembly line, it builds others
Non Replicators Rocks, they don't replicate!

Human brain is both a replicator of self and replicator of other. This is because humans make babies and build things.

Self replicators are subject to evolution.

Important the process of replication requires instructions, consumption of resources, and a new host or object it is made of.

Resources are scarce, therefore self replicators are in competition to survive and to propogate.

Errors and mutation can occur with self replicators which can mean the self replicator dies or evolves into something new.

I think this is an important point and want to quote the author:

A self replicator’s future is determined most by its instructions. Instructions that lead to successful acquisition of resources and greater opportunities to replicate out compete instruction sets that lack these qualities2. Indeed, the survival of the self replicator’s instructions is what drives the process of evolution. Consequently, the survival of the instruction set is primary. Memes exist, first and foremost, to perpetuate themselves. Therefore, the long term survival of any specific instance of a self replicator is secondary to the reproduction of the self replicator. The instructions concern themselves first with copying themselves into the next generation and secondarily with the survival of the host.

This tells us that self replicators that are the most successful are most concerned with propagating itself than the survival of itself.

Definitions

  • meme - a mental construct that copies itself from mind to mind. It reproduces by inducing its carrier to engage in behavior that causes the meme to copy to other minds. Memes exist, first and foremost, to perpetuate themselves. It is a mental construct conjoined with a set of instructions which compel its host to engage in activities that increase the probability of the entire instruction set being copied from a host’s mind into the minds of others.
  • memeplex - a complex of mutually supporting memes.

Meme Transmission

Meme Transmission

  1. Imitation
  2. Conversation
  3. Printed Language

The most obvious is imitation. You see someone doing an action and you try to perform that action.

Another method of transmission is through conversation. The author states that this is through conversation between 2 or more individuals. This is when a someone describes behavior that is induced by the meme, the instructions of the meme are relayed, and the recipient copies and carries out the instructions. (The author does not explicitly say if this is for verbal conversation. I assume it could apply to written word like a irc chan or Tweet thread.)

The third method is through printed language. This would be through books, websites, graffiti, tv, and radio. I think a more appropriate description that captures all this would be 1-way conversation.

Sometimes, complimentary memes will aggregate in order to improve their chances of propagation and survival.

Thus, just as DNA found advantage in aggregating into complex aggregations of genes, some memes find advantage in aggregating into complexes of memes. This more complex form is called the memeplex.

Memeplexes control society. Most people are unaware.
Humans are slaves of the memeplexes and memes they host. This is why meme engineering and meme warfare is so powerful.

Most people think power is derived from the state, but it in fact is derived from the obedience of the constituents. Sometimes the beliefs and behaviors of constituents are against their own best interests, however the memeplex and supporting memes of the state are so strong that the hosts continue to propagate the memes. This is Stockholm Syndrome3 writ large.

If memes are self replicating like genes, then memeplexes are more parasitic like a virus. They exploit the mental and physical behavior of their hosts in order to propagate themselves. Memeplexes are not only interested in the propagation aspect but longevity is important.

Memeplexes take resources in order to survive and propagate.

In order to trick the individual into believing that the overhead of the memeplex is worth the sacrifice(or resources), the memeplex carries a payload which justifies the memeplex’s existence by convincing the individual that he or she benefits from the memeplex through the preservation and forwarding of the goals of the state, dictator, corporation, organization or institution to which the individual is a subject.

In regards to the state or world religions, these complex memeplexes carry instructions that demand the host surrender their liberty to the memplex and interferes with the hosts ability to realize they are losing liberty and/or sovereignty.

It is common belief that successful revolutions are aggressive attacks against the ruling party, but you must destroy the rulers memeplex in order to achieve the most change.

We do these things because we are slaves to the memeplex. The memeplex controls our behavior, our thoughts and our lives. Unless we recognize that our understanding of reality is shaped by memeplexes, there is little hope that we will, as a society and as individuals, make rational4 decisions. We cannot rule ourselves until we play an active role in determining which memeplexes we will host.

Hosts defend memeplexes. Fighting against the effects of the memeplex are futile because you are targeting the wrong thing.

When a single supporting meme of a memeplex is challenged, the host rejects it because it goes against their belief system. Hosts will call ideas that challenge the memeplex as utopian or idealistic or unrealistic.

Since memes are akin to genes and memeplex to DNA, we now look to ways to subvert them. Viruses are replicators that alter the host, so too can viruses subvert the memeplex

What's Meme Warfare?

What is meme warfare?

  • Meme warfare is the subversion or destruction of a memeplex by means of memetic engineering. Meme warriors design memes targeting existing memeplexes. Such memes are intended to infect an existing memeplex, hinder an existing memeplex, or form a part of a competing memeplex.

Parasite is the best analogy fore meme warfare. Parasites infect hosts but don't kill them.

Some of the most successful parasites benefit their hosts by making their hosts desire to maintain a relationship with the parasites. The same is true with successful memes. Memes are more easily spread and retained if their hosts enjoy them. Those memes which induce entertaining behaviors5 are more likely to be adopted by hosts and are more likely to consume the hosts’ resources (e.g. time, money, energy) than those which provide no immediate reward. Unless a meme is consuming resources, it is not doing anything. Therefore, the meme warrior, whenever possible, should design memes that the targeted hosts will willingly foster and cultivate.

Here is a very important characteristic of memes that support the very nature of them.

In all cases, memes must exploit human behavior. They may exploit linguistic behavior, sexual behavior, social behavior, individual behavior, creative behavior (e.g. art), antisocial behavior (e.g. defacement of property), or any other form of human behavior. Memes are not memes unless they induce their hosts to behave in a way that executes the meme’s payload and/or induce others to copy the meme.

Example Meme

An example of a linguistic meme is the use of the name “Bush” as a pun. “Fuck Bush!” “The Only Bush I Trust Is My Own,” and “Trim the Bush!” are all perfect examples of this kind of meme. The meme exploited both sexual desire and the desire for entertainment to induce its hosts to carry the message.

This is basically a fancy way of describing political shit talking. Linguistic memes are spoken and utilize sex and entertainment in order to propagate.

Memes evolve and thus there is a danger in meme warfare. One may release a meme that evolves to oppose its originator.

Memes are a subtle subversion of self interest that compels the host to work in the interest of an idea.

Subversive actions attract antibodies.

Based on the year this was written, many of the meme warfare tactics described involve the physical world. Real protesting (with nudity always gets coverage), bumper stickers, and graffiti are referenced.

The paper wraps up without a clear gameplan but gives a great overview of how what memes and memeplexes are.


  1. I really like this word. It is especially popular among Bitcoiners because it propogate or propogation describes how bitcoin blockchain grows. I think it is also a great word to describe how Bitcoin as an idea spreads person to person. So much to unpack about propogation! 

  2. if you think about this in the context of Bitcoin, this is really interesting. At it's core, Bitcoin is core. It is a set of rules. It is a great self replicator because of positive feedback loops. I touch more on this idea in The Bitcoin Memeplex

  3. Stockholm Syndrome has been defined as a condition in which hostages develop a psychological alliance with their captors during captivity. 

  4. when I saw the word rational, it made me think about "How Persuaders See the World" by Scott Adams. In this epic piece, Scott describes the 3 kind of people. Rational People use data and reason and are "mostly imaginary". The article is short and worth a read. It talks about how Persuaders control Word-Thinkers. Don't be a Word-Thinker. 

  5. Entertaining behavior is a great point. What better way to propagate than through entertainment. I got to thinking about signaling with posting screenshots of stacking sats. This does many things but it's worth noting a few. It signals the hosts belief systems "Hey I'm a Bitcoiner", it is easy to perform and replicate because you can buy a very small amount of Bitcoin and simply post the screenshot. You also get a hit of dopamine whenever you stack sats which is quite entertaining. 

Make Guns Not War

A great meme is one that prompts the receiver to share it. Memes tug on emotions in order to replicate between hosts. One of the classic memes from the anti-war movement of the 60's1 is "Make love, not war". The meme was born out of opposition to the war in Vietnam. It is a great meme because it is short, memorable, and includes to polar opposites, love and war. The meme was painted across bare chests, on posters, and printed on buttons. It is so catchy that is still circulates today.

Fast forward 50+ years to 2020 and the world looks very different than it did in the 60's. Sure, there is still war being fought around the world by America, but 2020 is unlocking the gates to a new era. The pandemic and global economic crisis are inspiring many new memeplexes. We are seeing an uptick in collectivism as well as individualism. While the state is looking to keep its seniorage and power, the individualist movement is creating memes that challenge the status quo.

Of the many memes that make up the individualist memeplex, pro-gun memes are among the strongest. Pro-gun memes not only mock the state, but with with the invention of 3D printing, the state's attempt to silence and stifle the proliferation of guns is a fools errand2. Pro-gun advocates push the position that an armed society is more free and more prosperous.

Make Guns Not War

Make Love Not War on Clany Rodgers' website

Make Guns Not War by Clancy Rodgers takes a classic anti-war meme and flips it on it's head. It evokes feelings of emotion from both collectivists and individualists alike. It's simple changing of the word "love" with "guns" gives the feeling that this isn't quite right. You expect to see love and you get guns instead. It goes against everything the state teaches us. How can making guns lead to peace? How do you make guns and not war? This is exactly what you're programmed to think, and this internal question makes it powerful.

Make Guns Not War is a mutation from the classic anti-war meme Make love not war that has a modern twist. It's a meme for the individual, advocates peace, and encourages self sovereignty through 3D printing guns.

Regardless of where you stand, the symbolism in this mutated meme is radical and it begs the question... will you propagate the meme?

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  1. The 60's was wild. The war machine was full tilt and Americans were discovering psychedelics and the hippy movement was born. The meme "Make love not war" inspires many meme's including "Breasts not bombs". This is a classic use of sexuality in a meme to get hosts attention. Also excellent use of the three word meme. 

  2. Fool's errand is a task that has little to no chance of being successful or beneficial.