Discover more from The Palladium Letter
Why I Built Zuzalu
Can online networks become viable communities and further their goals in the real world? I brought two hundred people together in Montenegro to find out.
Last week, Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin published an article in Palladium on his experiment running a pop-up city on the coast of Montenegro.
“Zuzalu” brought together two hundred people from the Ethereum world to see what happens when an online community is given a physical space to cultivate. While conferences, parties, or retreats have all been done before, what distinguished Zuzalu from the rest was its longer duration:
Zuzalu was an experiment in taking these ideas to the next level. We already have hacker houses, and hacker houses can last for months or even years, but they usually only fit around ten or twenty people. We already have conferences, and conferences fit thousands of people, but each conference only lasts a week. That is enough time to have serendipitous meetings, but not enough to have connections with true depth. So let’s take one step in both directions: create a pop-up mini-city that houses two hundred people, and lasts for two whole months.
The experiment’s pre-existing sorting effect plus its long duration meant there was enough time for a nascent culture to emerge; morning cold plunges and karaoke nights became traditions of their own. According to Vitalik, the “small but highly focused network effect of a few hundred people who care about the precise thing you care about really can substitute the massive but much more unfocused network effects of the global megacities.”
You can read more about Vitalik’s experience with Zuzalu here.
Here’s what’s been on the front page lately:
Why I Built Zuzalu by Vitalik Buterin. Can online networks become viable communities and further their goals in the real world? I brought two hundred people together in Montenegro to find out.
The Wagnerization of Political Order by Alexander Gelland. Wagner Group arose out of Russia’s landscape of corruption, factionalism, and political fiefdoms. If similar conditions intensify in the West, powerful individuals will exploit the same opportunities.
PALLADIUM 11: Social Apocalypse. PALLADIUM 11: Social Apocalypse is now available to all Palladium members. Subscribe today to receive your copy of our fall 2023 print edition.
It’s Time For Greater San Francisco by Evan Zimmerman. The Bay Area is a regional economy hindered by fragmented local governments. The answer is consolidation into Greater San Francisco.
A New Cosmist Moment by Alexander Gelland. The Cosmists pursued visions of resurrection and immortality but ended up recuperated into Soviet ideology. Modern tech utopians are following in their footsteps.
That’s all for now.