Trying to understand how people work. I try to engage in both theory and practice, which means I'm always cycling between writing to understand a topic, then finding ways to test those ideas in the "real world."
I'm currently researching the tech industry's growing social and political influence. My work has been supported by Emergent Ventures and Schmidt Futures.
Previously, I explored parasocial communities and reputation-based economies, with support from Protocol Labs. I put those ideas into practice at Substack as their second employee, focused on developing the writer experience on the platform.
I spent many years exploring the funding, governance, and social dynamics of open source software, with support from the Ford Foundation and Protocol Labs. I put those ideas into practice at GitHub, where I worked to improve the developer experience. I also published a book about open source developers, Working in Public: The Making and Maintenance of Open Source Software (Stripe Press).
If you're curious about this website's meta-ethos, check out this Q&A.
(Note: I recently changed my last name; you can also find my work under Nadia Eghbal.)
I’m participating in the Summer of Protocols research program this summer as a Core Researcher. It’s an 18-week program, funded by the Ethereum Foundation, that aims to catalyze a wider exploration of protocols and their social implications.
TLDR: Most conversations about “top talent” assume Pareto distribution; however, a closer examination suggests that different corporate cultures benefit from different types of talent distribution (normal, Pareto, and a third option – bimodal) according to the problem they’re trying to solve. Bimodal talent distribution is rare but more frequently observed in creative industries, including some types of software companies.
I gave a talk at The Stoa in February about “Mapping digital worlds to understand our present and future.” You can watch the video here; the following is a transcript of that talk.