In this conversation I discussed Nostr and open protocols with my friend David Nachum who has built products at big tech for many years. Specifically he worked on core communication tools at Google (Gmail), Facebook/Meta, and Apple.
It was fun to hear about some of the the cultural beliefs at big tech around open versus closed, his rigorous focus on user value props when trying to decide what he believes about Nostr, and how some of what he saw on the Gmail team hints at one of the best reasons to be optimistic about the possibilities of Nostr.
I hope you enjoy our conversation!
1:38 building Gmail, open versus closed tradeoffs
2:45 centralization concerns around Gmail from engineers working on it
4:00 future of email closed versus open?
5:36 why didn’t SMS/MMS/open standards win at messaging?
8:23 Google employee temperament/culture is pro-open
9:52 Nostr setup – informed technical/eng/product
10:50 Nostr overview
16:40 content moderation
18:25 web3 – language clarification 😬🤙
21:45 skeptical, but agree feed based products to group messengers/Discords
23:38 move from niche to broad via product innovation
27:30 lightning network – product innovation in Damus
29:26 EU passing laws about messaging interop
31:30 question the “better for innovation” argument
32:08 incentives matter, look at evolution of Linux
34:25 businesses to be built on relays
38:52 big tech, AI, nostr
40:27 what’s the pitch to an entrepreneur who’s building a Twitter competitor to consider nostr?
42:37 recommendation algos as AI, Artifact
48:36 centralized platforms can execute rapidly, but…
49:48 build niche apps with features which deeply address specific needs instead of lowest common denominator apps for broad
52:37 less engineering, more design/UX – trend of becoming cheaper+easier continues
55:00 don’t overstate messaging on Nostr
57:00 Gmail team members building new feature/setting that they really liked
1:02:03 hypothesis: the world is less polarized than it appears
1:04:48 Twitter’s community notes feature
1:08:13 game theory of underdogs versus overdoes
1:10:09 how do you create/capture value in a collaborative environment?
1:13:30 in the US we might not feel this pain as acutely
1:16:33 Brian Armstrong, introduction to bitcoin in 2014, has not achieved its vision in 2023
1:20:48 philosophically aligned with bitcoin