First read “The Gods of the Copybook Headings” by Rudyard Kipling. (And, if you have a bit more time, “Meditations on Moloch” by Scott Alexander. Also thematically appropriate is Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “Ozymandias” and the book Frankenstein by his wife Mary Shelley.)

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Photo by Valentin Antonini.

The Gods of the Copybook Headings were ever as just and wise
As the choices that make us into everything that we despise.
Now we reign quite merrily, in silicon and rare earth,
But the Gods of the Copybook Headings advance with their gift of dearth.

Scarcity ever us compels to seek those Market Gods; The Gods of…


I gave this short talk at the Decentralized Web Summit in August, 2018. (It was livestreamed on YouTube.) Below is the full text I prepared.

I work for a privacy nonprofit called the Zcash Foundation. We exist to support technology that puts people in control of their own financial information. We focus on stewarding the cryptocurrency Zcash, in collaboration with a separate, for-profit startup that you may know as the Zcash Company. The Foundation also works with independent cryptocurrency miners and developers.

As a protocol, Zcash is a lot like bitcoin. The biggest difference is that Zcash includes a cryptographic…


Luck plays a significant role in business success. Not just in the mere fact of success, but in the magnitude of any given company’s triumphs. We tend to overlook this reality because of a mental distortion called survivorship bias. It is a common cognitive failure, and a dangerous one because it obscures the distastefully harsh nature of the world.

We love to fantasize that emulating the habits of extraordinary entrepreneurs like Bill Gates and Elon Musk will catapult the most talented imitators to the stars. In reality, there are plenty of would-be titans of industry who simply weren’t in the…


No, it’s not just a collection of buzzwords. It’s a real opportunity.

The Zcash Foundation is seeking grant proposals. You — yes, you!—are encouraged to apply. The deadline for initial proposals is May 18 (two weeks from now).

About us: The Zcash Foundation is a nonprofit organization that exists to promote financial privacy through technology, with a particular focus on the cryptocurrency Zcash and its underlying cryptographic innovations.

We have a total budget of $250,000 for this round of our grants program. All of it will be dispensed as discretionary funds.


The following blog post won’t make sense unless you followed the contentious process of Larry Garfield being exiled by Drupal’s community leadership. A substantial portion of the community itself found that decision appalling, so there was a lot of backlash. Followed by counter-backlash. Then counter-counter-backlash.

I wrote two articles about the events as they were unfolding, back in early 2017, and you can catch up on the broad outlines by reading them:


So, this is a first! The following post is about nootropics, a transhumanist tool that I find very appealing. What’s new is that the post is sponsored by Modup.net. Modup is a vendor that sells modafinil online.

Native advertising has been on my radar for years, but I’ve never written a sponsored post before. Modup’s only request was that I link to the website, so I had complete creative freedom. I decided to explain why I think brainhacking is important. My perspective is an outgrowth of the cyberpunk paradigm that I chronicled for Ribbonfarm last year.

However! Before I get…


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Header image is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

There’s a sub-segment of Twitter that I used to really enjoy. It still exists, and it’s called #FrogTwitter. The frog being referred is Pepe, infamous for his memetastic association with the elusive alt-right. This cartoon character was absurdly condemned as a hate symbol by Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, as well as the Anti-Defamation League.


“How I got press coverage for my dinky seed-stage startup” is a common topic in places like /r/Entrepreneur, but it’s pretty rare for a journalist’s perspective to be included. Well, I’m a full-time tech reporter who’s been following and writing about the industry for several years. I don’t claim to be a veteran, but I certainly receive a lot of pitches from or about startups. I would appreciate it if the caliber of those pitches improved!

(I also owe a hat-tip to Sean Byrnes; last week he asked me how I decide which emails to pay attention to and which…


I went to Patreon HQ today for work. (In case you didn’t know, I’m a tech reporter at Inc.) Beforehand, I asked the Fediverse if they had any burning questions for the Patreon team. Here are the questions — all of which you can see in the original thread if you wish — and the answers I got. No particular order, and I just copy-pasted the questions.

Would be cool if we could get them to talk about how Operation Choke Point affects their business — which things would they like to support but had to not? …


This morning I tweeted a string of thoughts on political elitism. I’m replicating those tidbits here so that I can 1) easily relocate them later and 2) share them with non-Twitterites. Feel free to read the originals in their native habitat.

Helpful background: Slate Star Codex’s “I Can Tolerate Anything Except The Outgroup” (long but worth it) and “Staying Classy” (also long and also worth it).

If you’re not familiar with the cadence of Twitter conversations, the following may seem choppy or disjointed. I didn’t edit much. Other people’s interjections are included as block quotes.

It’s easy to be an…

Sonya Mann

🌸 writer of various sorts 🌸 https://www.sonyaellenmann.com

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