March 13, 2024

Growing up, I absolutely loathed personal writing. It didn’t matter the prompt (a letter to my future self from 6th grade; a poem on my favorite things; college essays)— internally screaming the whole way, I’d zombie-trod my way to the minimum word count, too embarrassed to proofread.

This is perhaps the most difficult, unnatural thing I’ve ever done on my own volition, but I also haven’t been this excited about a project in a long time. The rabbit-holes of reading and research I’ve discovered in just the past month are already proving to be a constant stream of epiphanies, good vibes, and grounded optimism. I’m elated to have the opportunity to share my favorite bits of it with you.

My latest experiment begins here: my worst fear, out in the public for everyone to see for all eternity, with no one to blame for it but myself.

This is going to be fun.

ben cuan
wednesday, march 13, 2024

so here’s the plan

After spending my whole life up till now completely off social media (and enjoying it quite a lot), I’m simultaneously launching on three platforms!

I’ve decided on this format after some inspiration from Tom Critchlow’s theory on digital streams, campfires, and gardens ↗. Information on the internet can be overwhelming, so I think it’ll be helpful to offer channels of different speeds so you can interact with what you want at your own pace.

bird app

Twitter is a mess of bot-filled toxicity right now. That being said, there are some brilliant, genuine people on there, and as long as I’m careful with what shows up on my feed, I’m not going to let the overall climate deter me from meeting them.

Go lurk @bencuan_ ↗! I expect to be posting on occasion.

Substack substack

I’m starting up whimsical wednesdays ↗, a weekly newsletter about whatever I feel like writing at the moment, in a 5-ish-minute bite sized read.

My goal with this is threefold:

  1. improve my voice rapidly by writing a lot of words about a lot of different things
  2. serve as a search query ↗ to connect with the ideas and people I want to find out about
  3. get comfortable enough to write the bigger stuff (see below). putting stuff online is so scary rn D:

this website (you are here!)

This website is my internet home base. When things get crazy elsewhere, I can always return here, where everything makes sense. I hope I can offer some of this respite to weary travelers passing by.

You might notice that the blog section is very empty. I intend to keep it this way for a while: the only publications that will appear here will be very long-form, thorough, well-researched, and serialized. I have a few big ideas in the early stages of a pipeline; none are ready for me to put into comprehensible words right now.

The future content of this website is the primary reason I’m launching this experiment. Writing is the glue that will hold my scattered builds together, and without community alignment, I doubt any of this future scheming will materialize :3

For now, please refer to the colophon if you’re interested in staying around a while longer!

thank you, and let’s keep in touch!

There’s a good chance I don’t know you if you’re reading this. Thank you so much for giving a few minutes of your day to stop by and visit some stranger’s website. I feel like a new kid on the block again, and your presence means a lot more to me than you might think.

Everyone has a different level of interaction they’re comfortable with, so I’ll give you a few options here if you’d like to keep going:

  1. For the lurkers: as one formerly in your ranks, you have my utmost respect. Here’s a fun button to click (I nabbed the component from my homepage, just so you can click it again. Wheee!)
  1. Subscribe to my substack ↗. Updates on Wednesdays, guaranteed to make your midweek evenings just a little more exciting.

  2. Send me a reading rec ↗! Let me know where you get your magical wisdom from, and maybe it’ll turn into a fun conversation.

  3. contact me. I’m especially interested in meeting (and working with) talented people who have ideas about how we can ensure a positive, human-driven future for technology, the internet, and our urban landscapes.

If I do know you, I don’t care how long it’s been (maybe you’re my kindergarten teacher, student in my discussion section, old friend I lost touch with) - send a text, call, discord/messenger dm, email, whatever- I’d love to catch up. It’d be awkward for me to message you out of the blue, but since I’m specifically sending out this open invitation, it won’t be awkward for you! :)