Help me publish creative projects that cultivate depth and beauty.
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For my entire professional career, the value of my work has been directly tied to the concept of scale. When I was at Google, I designed a product used every day by billions of people. Today, I lead design at a venture backed, Silicon Valley startup with the sole objective of building a business that's worth billions of dollars.
Personally, however, I don't believe that scale is equivalent to value.
So in August of 2019 I launched Bonsai, a personal effort (outside of my job) to "cultivate depth and beauty" by publishing decidedly small and deeply personal creative projects. Each project reflected a different part of my identity, and I invited others to become supporting members of the work while ensuring each project was freely accessible to all:
Reflections and critiques on life, culture, and design:
Newsletter exploring the intersection of technology and spiritual faith:
Online magazine celebrating multi-ethnic relationships through conversations and photos:
$500 grant to fund projects from other solo creators that cultivate depth and beauty (partially funded by Bonsai members, the rest out of my own pocket)
I set ambitious publishing goals for each project, but as a result of COVID hitting in 2020 and dealing with multiple bouts of burn out from working at a high growth startup, I wasn't able to maintain a regular publishing schedule. I felt a tremendous amount of guilt for this, which, of course, is the antithesis of the entire idea.
So I continue to publish, but slowly, and without explicit goals set around speed or frequency. And I still invite you to become a member!
Bonsai in 2022
I've narrowed my focus to two core areas of work:
Writing more nuanced critiques
- I'd rather write 4 "big" pieces in one year than a short newsletter every month, even though this approach of less frequent publishing is less effective in growing an audience.
- In both The Valleyist and my Bonsai newsletter, the writing I've been proudest of over the past couple of years has been long form (~2,000+ words).
- These pieces can take months to percolate and even more months still to write, edit, and publish, but I believe that this space is where I provide the most value.
Awarding more TinyTree Grants
- One of the most meaningful experiences from embarking on Bonsai has been connecting with other solo creators and enabling their projects to come to life.
- All the money I receive from Bonsai memberships will go directly to recipients of future grants.
- Finding creators, establishing a relationship, waiting for them to publish their work, and documenting the process takes a long time.
Why become a member:
- You resonate with the ethos of “cultivating depth and beauty”
- You find the topics of creativity, tech, culture, or spirituality interesting
- You want to help bring fundamentally new creations into the world via the TinyTree Grant (beyond just supporting the arts, like a museum membership, you get to be a patron!)
What you get as a member:
- Occasional emails from me to you, of behind-the-scenes updates and reflections
- Access to an ongoing collection of mini Spotify playlists, curated by me (~5 songs each, ~12 playlists per year)
If you don't feel like becoming a member, you can still subscribe to my writing: