Web Wide Matrix

For many years, I’ve been really suffering from the problem of information overload: I’m subscribed to many content feeds, which are very valuable to me, but don’t have any way to effectively consume them – even if I’d sit all day & read them, I won’t be able to cover all of them.

Thinking about this problem I understood 3 things:

  1. The problem starts with the medium – the interface in which we consume content feeds today is like a baggage carousel, where you need to look at a list of items, arriving in random order, until you see what you’re looking for. This interface is somewhat effective with few dozens items, but will never work with thousands. On the other hand, an interface such as a supermarket is effective for selecting a few items out of thousands of items, because it’s an organized space that you can walk into & see all items, & since you go there frequently you know exactly where to find what interests you & discover more along the way.
  2. There are many good technologies today to automatically process large amounts of information, in order to enable people to make value out of it, but to use these technologies you need a team of engineers working for weeks or months building a solution for some specific content feed & use-case. This is similar to the situation before the Web, where if you wanted to connect to some information you needed to build the software, protocols & infrastructure for accessing information remotely. The Web introduced a simple & powerful standard way to access information, that removed these barriers & enabled anyone to publish & access information from anywhere in the world. Similarly, we need a simple & powerful way to enable anyone to process any content feed & make value out of it. This should be as simple as writing a simple HTML file.
  3. Until today, every person needed just an internet connection & a device to access information – something to run a browser on & access information & services. However, by now we stretched to the limit our ability to consume & make value from the sea of information available to us – Slack/Email/Articles/Twitter/Data/Opportunities/Events/&c. The introduction of powerful machine-learning & autonomous software agents can now enable every person to have a team of bots working for him by processing information & creating value out of it. So, a browser & internet connection is not enough anymore – you need another software/service to cope with the never ending streams of information flooding you, that needs to be available & affordable for everyone, just like an internet connection & a browser.

So I set out to design an architecture & solution based on these ideas, which I call the Web Wide Matrix. Inspired by the Matrix movie, it is a

  • Virtual Reality interface for consuming content feeds as an organized space
  • generated by a personal team of hacker bots, working inside software hovercrafts to process your content feeds
  • using training courses that are as simple to write as HTML documents

To make this a reality, I’m building this as an open-source initiative, led by a non-profit organization (called the Wachowski groupoid, in honor of the Matrix creators), currently consisting of just myself. I’ve written an initial POC & put up an initial web site for the project. Check it out to learn more & drop me a note if you’d like to join me in solving this problem once & for all.

Screen Shot 2017-04-03 at 6.30.56 AM


Groupoid organization structure

  • The term

    • When I was studying math many years ago, I came across the term Groupoid, which in Linear Algebra means a set of things, with a relation connecting each 2 things with a 3rd one. I then had the idea that this mathematical structure could also be applied to organizations, to yield a group of people without a leader that act together as one
  • The purpose

    • There are many human enterprises, much bigger than a single person can tackle, for which organizations are formed. The problem is that in order for a group of people to work as one in achieving the big enterprise, there needs to be a way to:
      • Set the path for the group
      • Make decisions on actions
      • Cultivate shared values & culture in the group
      • Guide, mentor & monitor new members

      & to do all that, organizations are usually structured as an hierarchy

      • But an hierarchy results in having people at the top, that resemble lions in the savana – fully realizing their potential due to their degree of freedom – & people at the bottom that resemble lions in the zoo – taking orders & executing them without putting their full heart & brain to make the enterprise successful (see PG’s article)

      What if we could have an organization structure that isn’t hierarchical & yet meets the requirements for having a group of people working as one to achieve some big enterprise?

  • The groupoid structure

    • Parents
      • For each member in the group there are 2 other members called “parents”Their goal is to represent the group to the member by:
        • cultivating in him the group values & culture
        • guiding & mentoring him so that he’ll succeed in his work
        • setting the path for him & monitoring his progress

        When every new member joins the organization, 2 existing members that don’t have a “child” (or have just 1-2) will volunteer to parent the new member

    • Path
      • The group will always have a metro map of its path:
        • large stations for goals
        • small stations for sub-goals needed in order to reach the large stations
      • For every station there will may be sub-maps for the path to get to those stations
      • Each person may have his own map showing his own path
        • Parents will work with their child on his map
      • A tool such as “Ekkli” can be used to facilitate that
    • Dreamer
      • At least one member of the group should volunteer to be the dreamer – the person coming up with the vision for where the group is going:
        • What should be the goals
        • How exactly should they be like

        The dreamer needs to

        • Write blog posts describing the vision & goals
        • Have periodic meetings where the blog posts, vision & goals are discussed
    • Decisions
      • Whenever there are more than one option to do something & a decision needs to be made, the people involved will work together on devising:
        • description of the motivation & goal
        • map of the underlying assumptions
        • map of the options
        • experiments that can validate which option is best for reaching the goal

        An experiment should then be selected, & based on its result, the decision will be made

    • Progress & process
      • The group needs to make progress in its path toward its goals, & needs to learn along the way from reality whether its path is correctEvery week a new station should be reached, that involves an experiment that:
        • gets the group closer to its ultimate goalsinteracts with the world in order to validate or refute some hypothesis, & help the group learn whether it’s on the right path
    • Communications
      • A constant communication channel is required between the group members in order to ensure as much direct interaction between the members as possibleThe metro maps should be shared & collaborated on all the time, to ensure full visibility on the path of the group & each sub-group or individual within it
    • Values
      • To make the group successful, psychological safety is required, which basically means that people should have personal connection with each other & be nice to each other at all timeNo one should be afraid to say what he thinksThe group should collaborate on coming up on the best solutions for problems, & fight over which solution to useEmpirical experiments should be used to make decisions, instead of arguments & discussions
  • Experiment

    • I am just starting to build a group for an open-source project I’m starting (Web-Wide-Matrix) & going to try use the Groupoid structure for managing the group