Notes from Betaworks Render Conference - August 16, 2022

I wrote a long post with notes and take-aways:

My high-level takeaway is that “Tools for Thought”, as a broad class of applications, benefit greatly from the WebNative stack (auth, sharing, files, db) and, given how early/exploratory many of these tools are, could be an excellent place to explore real applications built on WN.

Here are a few other take-aways that are specific for Fission.

Interop all the things

This is actually from the longer post, but it bears repeating in full:

Throughout the day, there was a lot of discussion on how these tools will talk to each other and share data.

From Silos to Portfolios. In their “the recent history of TFTs”, the Readwise founders noted a shift in the last two years from a “one app to rule them all” approach to a “portfolio” approach. In their experience, in 2020, people had the idea that they were going to do everything inside a single app: read and highlight, write, create graphs, spaced repetition, everything. Over the last few years, it seems that people have moved away from that and are instead looking at a portfolio of tools, working together, to build their workflows. But how to get those tools to talk to one another?

Noosphere: A Protocol For Multiplayer. Noosphere is designed to solve the interop problem at the protocol level, creating a simple HTTP-like interface for publishing and ingesting text.

A key problem for the future is to figure out how to get our tools to talk to one another.
And that’s not even touching on multiplayer or scaling synthesis: how do we get the individual tools that we use as part of our workflows to talk to one another?

There is no good solution to this problem right now!!! And yet people are starting to find it truly painful. The WebNative stack could provide a really solid technical foundation for interop (one of the reasons @boris has been beating that drum for years).


I could also see Noosphere getting some love/traction, which would be an inroads to discussing UCANs with people. Lots of positivity in the discord, which I think most of you have joined.

Slides from Gordon’s talk

The slides from Gordon’s talk are pretty excellent, and you should browse through them:

Look at that delightful Toucan!

Local-first Everywhere

The term “local-first” was mentioned in a few of the talks (Readwise, Linus). Again, this is a technical challenge without the right underlying infrastructure. But if you choose the right infra (Dialog?) you get it for free. “Local-first” seems to be emerging as a differentiator for TFTs versus traditional tools.

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Your link to Andy Matuschak resonated for me as well:

Andy Matuschak observes that novel user interface ideas are public goods. If that’s the case, then let’s figure out how to work together on them.

I’ve mentioned this with regards to everything from Trello / Kanban to @-mentions and #-linking.

I think we should go back to the “drag and drop TiddlyWiki” as a novel interface that we should get working everywhere @jessmartin — it’s the one that most feels like magic.

There are probably others. EG an @-mention system that grabs contacts from your Webnative stored local social graph.

And yes — I believe this class of applications could benefit greatly from our stack.