The Fall of Roam and the Future of YC

Here's everything we published this week.

Happy Sunday!

You might notice a bit of a theme in the pieces this week. Maybe it’s the Winter Olympics, recent world events, or maybe we’re just feeling a little restless and competitive—regardless, we’re looking at the possible decline of some big empires: Roam and Y Combinator.

Let’s get right to it, shall we?

The Fall of Roam

Dan Shipper / Superorganizers

The note-taking app that swept the nation—or at least the productivity scene—has lost its edge. What happened here? Why didn’t bi-directional links and double-bracketed keywords change the note-taking game like we thought it would? Some blame Roam’s slow product velocity, the bad mobile experience, or even the well-documented community issues for the collapse of the Roam-an Empire (get it?). But for Dan, it all comes back to that pesky question of organization: “Where am I going to put this [note]?”


Is YC the Monopoly It Thinks It Is?

Evan Armstrong / Napkin Math

After a fiery tweet thread from the now-former CEO of Bolt (and the subsequent onslaught of memes), Evan decided to do a deep dive of his own into the Y Combinator “mob” with one question: is YC truly indomitable, or is the company’s downfall on the horizon? For his research, he talked to multiple YC competitors and seed stage investors (none of whom were willing to go on the record out of fear of YC) and analyzed the market structure and competitive dynamics to reach his stance.


Reading Recs:

The Factorio Mindset

Byrne Hobart / The Diff

Are video games one of the biggest wastes of human potential? Or is there something beneficial to be gained from playing online? Friend of Every Byrne Hobart meditates on this question in this thoughtful post. So much economic activity is devoted to gaming, but there may be a greater lesson learned than simply the strategies necessary for the high score.

Read here.

The man who got fired by his DAO

Casey Newton / Platformer

In a typical process of cancellation, some sketchy behavior will come into the collective public conscious (usually via Twitter). From there, a mob will assemble, decry the sin of the individual in question, and call for justice. If you are on the internet, you have seen this happen probably hundreds of times. In Web3 things are a little different: not only can the mob quote-tweet things into existence, they can vote on your fate using governance tokens. This is something entirely new. In this piece Casey Newton asks a question that few have thought to voice: Does the voting actually make anything different?

Read here.

The Defiant

The Defiant curates, digests, and analyzes all the major developments in decentralized finance, so that you can stay informed and smart about the most cutting-edge and fastest-changing corner of crypto and finance.

Check it out.

Two more things before you go:

We're working on a secret new project, and paying subscribers can test it out now. Want to try it? Click here.

Dan wrote a Twitter thread on shame: what it is and what to do about it. You should check it out.

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