Pattern Matching

Here’s the working theory: if an adult who is responsible for caring for a child is also sexualizing that child, they may starve her, deprive her, deny her very existence. They’re going to punish her for living, as a projection of punishing themselves.

I developed the working theory after months of listening to stories in support groups. You hear the same stories over and over again, you start pattern matching.

You hear story after story of women who were sexually abused as children, who grew up to become obese or impoverished or both, and you recognize patterns. You start to see a visualization of the way our culture has drawn off these people. You start to understand the psychic and economic costs women bear for what others do.

As a filmmaker, pattern matching is visual. I see it. I automatically start working out how I could film it.

Pattern matching is also what venture capitalists do, when they sort for dealflow.

Almost all lucrative exits were companies founded by young white men who study certain things at our colleges (but didn’t graduate) so that’s who we’re looking to meet.

They talk about this mythical “pipeline problem” whenever questioned about diversity — like the fact that between 2010 and 2015, only 10% of global venture dollars funded startups that included at least one female founder.

When I first mentioned to my co-founder that we may consider raising venture capital to seed our company — to buy time, even though we would prefer to bootstrap — he responded

No one is going to fund a brown person and a woman.

Pattern matching. They’re looking to pattern match to the 90% in the stat above, not the 10%. And the effect compounds culturally and narratively. My co-founder is higher profile in tech than I am, and he has absorbed this country club pattern matching narrative in his bones.

If they don’t want us to play, we’ll take our bat and ball and play by ourselves at home.

One of my biggest fears about writing is being alone. It’s almost terror, what I feel, when I sit down to write. I will do almost anything to escape it.

That’s a fear your audience feels. That’s a fear your users feel. Use that.

From early on in the company, we agreed that users would contribute to Common Knowledge. At one point I argued that some day we would secretly become a machine learning company, as we developed intelligent resources to apply Common Knowledge.

Fuckin’ Julie — always tryna throw in all the latest tech buzzwords —

This is true. I am all in and I want it all.

However, I’m also right about this.

Support groups are a real world application of common knowledge. The group is more knowledgable — and better at pattern matching — than any individual that creates the group. However, it still takes some intelligence to parse this pattern matching. It takes hearing story after story to develop common knowledge, for it to start to sink in that fathers starving their girls to punish their own projected shame is a thing.

Sometimes when I don’t want to go, I say to myself —

That’s where the stories are.

Pattern matching only works when you’re drawing on very large data sets.

Let’s revisit this conversation once Common Knowledge becomes meaningful.

How do you find great startup ideas? Look for the secrets hidden in plain sight.

Venture capitalists pattern match from a very small pool of bland-ass eating-their-own-mayonnaise mostly lucky dudes to determine what secrets look like.

You’re not gonna find any good secrets that way.

They’re not going where the stories are.

My co-founder and I were both abandoned by our fathers. It’s in our emotional and spiritual DNA. Single mother households. Poverty. Schemes to get by.

One night during a three hour phone conversation, we started naming off all the schemes our moms came up with to keep the lights on. Emus. Sandwich shop.

The schemes never worked out. Our lights got cut off.

Screenwriters worship producers and founders worship VC’s cuz they stand between them and the checks. Getting a check means you get to make your movie or start your company (if you’re not smart enough to bootstrap). You get to keep the lights on. The kind of people who become screenwriters and founders are the kind of people who made it through childhood still needing something, something big. Something funding can’t fix.

There are unresolved issues.

How’d that sandwich shop turn out?

As a screenwriter who writes about these people, I couldn’t ask for more to work with. In the characters I write about. I go where their stories are.

It never even got started. No funding.

As one of these people, I think I’d rather just be whole and resolved and happy.

When your father starves you as a child, you spend the rest of your life searching for fathers to feed you.

You wash up in the places where the stories are.

No one’s gonna fund a brown person and a woman? I think you’re wrong about that.