Dorion Mode - A blog by Robinson Dorion.

May 24, 2023

The Junto, by JWRD

Filed under: JWRD — Robinson Dorion @ 20:43

So it started a few years back, in 2016 or 2017. Caai and I were talking over a beer at Billares Nelson, either before or after salsa class next door at Paradise Banquet Hall. He asked me about computer security and privacy and what steps a fellow might take should he want to improve his practices. I shared some high level points, but said he should meet jfw and try eating from his brain. So we set up a time on the weekend and went over to Jacob's place in Paitilla and he had prepared a little outline to handout that went quite wide which he used to go deep into some of the details, as he's wont to do when in the presence of the curious. Caai would later remark on his surprise of receiving a likbez on Unix and Linux, "I came for computer security, what is this Linux stuff ?"(i) Such is life and learning, sometimes the student's notion of how things are is completely upended by the master, but that's the value of learning to begin with. Proactively seek out those higher in the hierarchy, ask smart questions and reorganize your mind and world to reflect the newly earned competence gleaned from engagement with the master so you're more ready for the next morsel.

Fortunately for Caai and our story here, he's a learner and a reader.(ii) He didn't go running away from the new knowledge which implied he'd have to change himself drastically to become more competent, he doubled down. By then, we had all read the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, so someone suggested we create our own Junto, a club of mutual improvement. The idea was we'd meet every week and take turns teaching each other things or reading certain texts together and discussing and afterwards we'd dine. What started as a trio quickly turned into a tetrad after a couple of months with Fausto coming into the fold and a couple months after that we were up to a hexad with the addition of the Castellanos brothers. We covered topics such as computer security,(iii) Bitcoin, counterpoint,(iv) a couple of Socratic dialogues, technical analysis, Eulora, Man's Search for Meaning and a range of other topics. Various tourists came and went over the months, but the table stakes of intermittently being prepared to share something valuable resulted in the group staying small. Then the panicdemia swept the city and the wider world and our ability to meet in person and dine afterwards was severely hindered. We gave it a go virtually for a few weeks, but didn't manage to carry it forward.

In the aftermath, JWRD began organizing our own events, such as Bitcoin and Beverages at Baxter's, which we originally called "educational social hours". The idea there was to gather cool, smart people together, have some drinks and food, take a break from the conversing to share some prepared knowledge nuggets and in the end, see what we can make of getting smart people together discussing important topics. Upon reflection though, "educational social hour" is a bit of a mouthful. We could call these gatherings "events", but as the man observed, we're not aiming for the whitebread, ourdemocracy "event"s that allow anyone with a pulse entry where people/socialmediaprofiles go around "heart"ing. These gatherings are for people already in the process of improving themselves who want to meet and learn from and build relationships with like minded people. So, given the theme of mutual improvement, we're calling them Juntos.

This usage of Junto waters down the original meaning, as we're not requiring participants to present. Jacob and I will do the bulk of that lifting to start, but we're open to worthy people contributing on that front as we build it up. The focus to start will be on finance and technology topics, but we're open to testing out other themes as well. While we're lowering the barrier to entry and advertising to the public, we'll aim to filter for quality by directly inviting people we think would be a good fit. Furthermore, we think baking in a learning element provides a cheap filter as the blackout-while-partying and otherwise boring crew tends to exclude themselves from such functions ; they have Silly Con Valley dopamine drips to scroll when they're not blackedout from booze to cover up the hole where their personality is supposed to be, y'know ?

While we aim to share valuable information in an engaging manner, the fundamental value we see in organizing these is to gather and connect cool people. As we grow it, the goal is to raise the barriers(v) to entry so as to reflect the growth of the individuals who participate. Quality is more important than quantity.(vi) As far as frequency, we're aiming for one Wednesday evening per month and we'll adjust as needed from there.

So then, if you want to join our Junto, keep an eye out for our events, come,(vii) ask smart questions and be cool. No, two cent, burdensome exigences allowed.

That'd be all, cheers !

  1. For the things that matter, Linux is pretty much your only option, bitch. [^]
  2. One of the reasons he's a reader is so he doesn't end up a waffle waitress, you know ? [^]
  3. Lots of that ! Turns out an afternoon isn't enough to cover it ! You need more like four months. [^]
  4. I.e. the rules that govern the composition of music. [^]
  5. What the barriers will be are deliberately unspecified here. [^]
  6. There is a time and a place for filling a venue wall to wall with people. This isn't it. People don't think as well when they're sweating, look it up. [^]
  7. It's better to come to the first events and decide it's not for you than to miss when it's easy to access and later regret that the barrier is too high for to you scale. [^]


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