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One day: Philosopher-in-Residence
A Future Role Daydream
A while back I wrote out a “one day”, a sort of day dream about a digestion dialogue weekend in Dubai. On a flight recently I tapped out another one. This one comes not in the form of an itinerary but a job description of sorts:
We, <VC/Incubator> is seeking a Philosopher-in-Residence. Similar to other postings like Engineer/CTO in Residence, or Entrepreneur-in-Residence, the person in this role will level up our community and portfolio with the power of the humanities and by generating wisdom that our group doesn’t have the time to zoom out to see benefit from.
Why the role
In tech in general and startups in particular we often make little time to zoom out and even less time for wisdom generation. As services like ChatGPT commoditize lower level thinking tasks of our startup lives we must encourage ourselves and each other to pop up one notch to seek (and create) the higher order wisdom and patterns that we in tech and startups are at the mercy of. As we learned in Thinking Fast and Slow, our mental models drive much of our knowledge work whether we know it or not. Knowing these mental models is our answer to the classical Delphic call to know our selves.
A day in the life
At a high level you will: Read old and as new as possible, write to clarify thinking and thoughts and patterns and essences, speak aloud your questions and hunches to the immediate community and the broader community, and of course listening extensively to all first to absorb the context
More specifically that might look like
Writing a post about the inner and outer challenges the community is facing at any given micro+macro moment
Meeting with community members to gather info about the essence of or wisdom in a particular problem or team
En route to meetings, reading old and new and combining each into an insightful and empowering amalgamation (think startup investor updates and Herodotus)
Gathering community members together to build collective wisdom out of many separate experiences and journeys
Listening across all community interactions for not just patterns but higher order problems collectively gathered wisdom might have the chance of resolving
Speak at, facilitate workshops, and help to plan portfolio company offsites
A bit about you
You’ve spent extensive time in the tech startup or broader tech industry
You have experience “connecting the dots”
You are a “Full-stack Human”
You write online, maybe even prolifically
You are a great listening and active in communities of various kinds
Your success will be measured by scored by peer survey responses to these questions
How Active/Productive has <your-name> been?
How Caring/Helpful has <your-name> been?
How Insightful/Impactful has <your-name> been?