Building the Small Ponds of the Internet
And 22 newsletter recs to enhance your information diet
👋 Welcome to the latest issue of The Jungle Gym – the newsletter that helps you build a more fulfilling career by integrating your work and life.
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It’s been an exciting two weeks.
As you may have seen, we launched that web3 education project that I’ve been hinting at, and it seems to be picking up momentum.
Our project, Invisible College, is essentially a learning community (or DAO) for builders and creators who want to explore and launch web3 projects. Our community is being powered by an ambitious collection of 10,000 uniquely generated NFTs called the Decentraliens, that we’re planning to release in January (if any of those words were confusing, feel free to check out our launch video that gives a more detailed explanation).
After spending lots of time studying online communities, I’ve always wanted to build one. While I’ve tested a few ideas, none have gotten much traction.
Invisible College feels different. Over the past two weeks, our Discord server has grown from under 400 to almost 2400 members. While that growth is exciting, it’s the generosity of our members and the quality of their conversations that has blown me away.
Through some targeted marketing and just a bit of vetting, we’ve managed to gather a group of smart, kind, and curious explorers. The positive vibe they’ve created within the community has created a referral engine that appears to be bringing us more of the right humans.
What’s exciting is that our members don’t just see themselves as customers of the community, they’re jumping right in to help us build Invisible College. That includes our:
community leaders who are welcoming new members at all hours of the day
content creators producing wildly creative videos to keep the community engaged
education team jumping in to create learning programs and material for new web3 explorers
When we launched this project our thesis was that access to quality content wasn’t what was preventing people from exploring web3. After all, there are plenty of great articles and how-to guides out there. The problem is people don’t know what they should be searching for. They don’t know credible people who can help them separate opportunities from scams.
What people need to onboard into web3 is the right community to support their exploration. We believe that by launching our NFT collection first we can give our community members a shared sense of ownership and identity that will incentivize them to support one another.
For those who are still skeptical about NFT profile picture communities, I don’t blame you. From the outside, it looks kind of like digital cosplay or beanie baby collecting. But I actually think there’s something a lot deeper going on here. For those of you who are curious, I put together this short video essay to explain why I think these profile picture communities actually serve a valuable function in our online society:
In short, I think these NFT communities can become the small ponds of the internet that give people the opportunity to try out new identities and play important roles in spaces where they feel valued.
If you’re curious to check out our small (but growing) pond, we’d love to have you stop by.
State of the Jungle Gym 2021
It’s also been an exciting year for the Jungle Gym.
After starting the year with just over 2200 subscribers, we are now on the precipice of 4600.
If you’re not a subscriber already, you can become one to push us over the line.
But more than the growth this year, I’m proud of the writing. There are a lot of posts I could highlight, but I thought it might be neat to share the ones that resonated most with this audience. To that end, here are the top five posts with the most views:
18 Trends that will Shape Our Careers in 2022 (+13,200 Reads)
Stepping off a Rocketship and Strapping on a Jetpack (+11,400 Reads)
The Rise of Platform Brands (+9,400 Reads)
The T-Shaped Information Diet (+8,300 Reads)
Nine Infinite Games to Play with Your Career (+6,300 Reads)
The final big highlight of the year was that we launched the talent collective. Since Pallet has been transitioning the product from Airtables to new software, we haven’t been able to send as many talent drops as we would like, but that should change in the new year.
If you’re on the hunt for a new gig in 2022, you should definitely fill out your information here, so we can start sending you curated intros to fast-growing startups.
22 year-end newsletter recs
Writing a quality newsletter requires lots of work. To wrap up our final issue of the year, I’d like to shout out 22 great newsletters from friends of the Jungle Gym that you should consider adding to your information diet in 2022:
Superorganizers (by Dan Shipper) #productivity
New World Same Humans (by David Mattin) #future
Three Quarks (by David Phelps) #web3
Art & Attention (by David Sherry) #web3
Cybernaut (by Fadeke Adegbuyi) #onlineculture
We Are Not Saved (by Jeremiah) #eschatology
Flying Penguins (by Joey Debruin) #web3
The Next Brand (by Justin Mares) #health
Read Something Great (by Louis Pereira) #curation
Just Enough to Get Me in Trouble (by Lyle McKeany) #humanity
The Generalist (by Mario Gabriele) #business
Almanac (by Nat Eliason) #web3
Plan Your Next (by Nate Kadlac) #design
Not Boring (by Packy McCormick) #business
Boundless (by Paul Millerd) #career
Digital Native (by Rex Woodbury) #creatoreconomy
Tippets by Taps (by Rishi Taparia) #curation
Check Your Pulse (by Sari Azout) #curation
Stew’s Letter (by Stew Fortier) #curation
White Noise (by Tom White) #humanity
The SEO MBA (by Tom Critchlow) #career
That’s a wrap! Hope you and your families have a wonderful holiday season. Thank you all so much for your attention and generosity this year. Excited to share more ideas with you all in the year to come.
If you enjoyed this issue of the newsletter, I'd really appreciate it if you could forward it to a friend, family member, or colleague who you think might like it too.
Or, if you'd like to share it on one of your social networks, that’s always great as well.
Until next time,