Becoming a zero detective

July 20, 2018


I recently finished Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea, by Charles Seife. He chronicles how hard it was for humanity to come up with and hold onto the concept of zero. No zero, no math. No zero, no engineering. No zero, no modern world as we know it..

Since reading this book, I can’t stop thinking about what today’s zeros might be. I’ve become a zero detective.

Interestingly, belief systems determined the rate of zero acceptance. Christianity held the idea of nothingness as ungodly and evil, which stalled societal progress for hundreds of years; Buddhism maintained it was an aspirational ideal, and accelerated it.

That rings true personally. As a Mormon, my “zero” searches were within the ideological system. After I left the organization, the zero search space and my openness to noticing things hiding in plain sight exploded in scope.

I started Kernel and OS Fund because I believe they’re addressing zeros. What else could be zeros? Imagining a non dopamine-driven world? Recognizing the deep interconnectedness of all things?

What are the basic concepts that our belief systems, biases, and blind spots are preventing us from accepting, but that would change everything?


P.S. I recently had a conversation with two entrepreneurs working to replace your hard drive with…wait for it…DNA. The reasons and implications are fascinating. This 9-minute write up of Catalog, an OS Fund company, explains why.