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Who Are We?
The question at the heart of every community
We write not to explain, but to figure out what we think. In the same way, community or company building isn’t a process of “executing an idea,” but rather, discovering one.
Conviction in a starting point - sufficient determination to see action through - of course matters, otherwise it's hard to find the motivation to keep going. It’s as important, though, to remain adaptable and willing to be moved and transformed by reality.
As both writers and entrepreneurs, we perform this balancing act, “strong ideas, loosely held,” as some people call it, but applied to an entire life’s work. How do we pursue our idea with steadfastness, passion, and vigor, all the while maintaining a sort of non-attachment to outcome, and willingness to adapt?
When I started Foster I thought we would be a traditional startup; finding PMF and rapidly scaling toward an epic exit or IPO. We journeyed an “elite” path through YCombinator, meeting with legends like Michael Siebel, studying the winners and losers of the Silicon Valley method ™, rapidly experimenting toward North Star Metrics.
Now I realize we are something else entirely, and each day, discovering further what we are. At the same time we are, and we are becoming. It might feel paradoxical, but it's the very embodiment of the balancing act I described above.
Through the this journey I’ve come to understand the base-level philosophical question at the heart of Foster: “Who are we?”
It’s a question each writer attempts to answer in their own way, and that together, I believe we progressively approximate over time. Indeed, this practice of discovery – of getting closer and closer to the truth of who we are, might be the very basis of our existence.
My own philosophical ground comprises the same question: “Who am I?”
I hear this question as a whisper in my stillest and most contemplative moments. I experience it arise from the depths or from beyond me. Even through unfathomable darkness, it illuminates a path forward. It drives me, haunts me, compels me forward.
“Who am I?”
“Who are we?”
Individually and collectively, it’s a question that motivates us all.