YakCon Part 1 Review, Part 2 Preview
The Yak Collective's week-long experiment is off to a great start
YakCon Part One is done! We had around thirty participants (+/- 5) for the full four-hour session. If you missed it, but still want to attend Part 2, read on to get caught up, and look for the sign-up link at the bottom.
Part 1 Review
There was a mixture of active and inactive Yaks, as well as some newcomers; approx. 40% of attendees were new to YC or returning from a hiatus.
The consensus is that the 4-hour session just whizzed by. Here's a recap that may indicate why.
Killian Butler (LinkedIn, Twitter) kicked us off with an engaging talk around the theme of productising machine learning research. "Is model failure indicative of product failure?" "Where does margin accrue in the AGI supply chain?" These questions (and more) were explored.
We then took a whirlwind tour of sustained YC activity areas—such as governance and distributed system studies, infrastructure and the Fermi Gym—as well as an overview of YC's emerging pop-up consulting methodology.
Following the all-hands, we had one breakout session that allowed participants to:
Enter the Fermi Gym and attempt a roughly-right answer to a sensor-focused problem
Orient themselves in the terrain of distributed robotics via a pebble automata puzzle
The second breakout session was a little lighter. Participants were able to:
Read an essay on rules and discuss their common invocations (as models, as algorithms, as laws)
Receive an introduction to YC's infrastructure and ideate opportunities for expansion, improvement and experimentation
Thus passed the hours.
Now, we're into YakCon's Async Week. Below is a breakdown of what's happening.
Async Week Activities
Distributed systems and robotics
Monday 9th Jan, 1600 UTC: the regular distributed systems reading group (focused on cache coherence, a gnarly computer science issue).DONE
Tuesday 10th Jan, 2000 UTC: the regular robotics group, this week involving a demo and discussion of SLAM navigation in the Unity game engine.
Every day: a new item will be selected from the accrued reading list, as well as arbitrary Discord chatter.
Friday 15th Jan, 1700 UTC: the regular governance studies session which will involve a rules-focused reading and dialogue.
Throughout the week: informal chatter and link-drops in the Discord.
The Fermi Gym
Throughout the week: self-paced answering of some Fermi Gym questions (an easy, medium and hard option available) alongside informal discussion and analysis.
Throughout the week: a self-paced ideation session focused on the evolving YC infrastructure (which can span design, UX etc. as well as code).
Thursday 14th Jan: a potential pop-up sync session based on activity and discussion.
Throughout the week: a self-paced, health/fitness-focused, week-long experiment (options include lux exposure, a supplement trial and slooooow movement).
You'll need access to the YC Discord to take part in any of the above. Go here to get it.
Towards YakCon Part Two
After Async Week, we get to YakCon Part Two.
It follows the same structure as Part One (and it's at the same time; 1600 UTC this coming Sunday, January 15), and it will be friendly to those who missed Part One and/or Async Week. We'll have two guest speakers for this session, though.
We'll be hearing from Mike Casey (Farcaster, personal site). He specialises in investment and entrepreneurship in complex markets facing capital scarcity — whether that's by geography (think Africa) or vertical (think life sciences). He'll be tackling the difficult question: "Can Crypto Close the $4 Trillion SME Financing Gap?"