Links.net:
Justin Hall's personal site growing & breaking down since 1994

watch overshare: the links.net story contact me

Over the Edge of listenable radio

On 10 May 2019 I spent three hours co-making radio on KPFA's Over the Edge, hosted by the musician Wobbly, aka Jon Leidecker - a dedicated listener, sampler, participant, and historian of music & sound. He has been deep in software, forming formed his own opinions about the health and impacts of our technology-augmented bickering and self-sabotage. Wobbly saw the re-release of Home Page, and invited me to join him for Over The Edge, as he hosts a Negativland radio show on KPFA from midnight to 3am Thursday late/Friday early.

It's a 3 hour tour; we start talking around 14.20:
https://kpfa.org/episode/over-the-edge-presents-may-10-2019/
or
http://negativland.com/ote_files/OTE20190510.ModernHall.mp3

I took advantage of the airtime to plug bud.com, even playing hints of our voicemail greeting. Jon left the mic open while I explained my experience moving from the wild unregulated early days of the web to the highly regulated and inhibited online commerce of cannabis with bud.com.

It reminded me of two things -

I love layering sound & music. It was like being on the electric eclectic again - my last regular radio show. Here I was with a deep music hacker, with my own computer adding layers; playing sound from a movie file, from my iTunes library, and from my Spotify subscription, all at once. So fun to be able to dribble in media. I regret that I didn't identify this video I played RUN MAN RUN sung by Kevin Blechdom:

Two, I still love talking, telling stories, bantering for an audience. The Justin Hall Show is on hiatus, or rather it's been absorbed into multi-collaborator weekly staff meetings working to increase worldwide availability of cannabis. If someone offers me a warm mic, I'll often come jaw at length. So far I believe I haven't completely buried myself under bad ideas, publicly-stated. More to come.

Thanks Jon!

his servant's voice

These days I don't take time to reach my fingers into your eyes with my stories. But sometimes people present me with a microphone. So I can post links that might resemble my voice:

home page

A 1999 documentary I appear in, entitled "Home Page" has just been re-released in DVD format just in time for 2019 viewing. The film explores the phenomenon of people oversharing about their lives on the early World Wide Web. If this sounds like a good time to you, purchase a plastic disc on Amazon or a download contract with Apple iTunes, or I think it will also be distributed online soon, through video streaming services the likes of which we could only feverishly prognosticate about some mere decades ago.

The filmmaker Doug Block has a page about Home Page - we still get along so that link should work. He convinced a publication Fast Company to write an article: Home Page is being rereleased like a time capsule from the internet's early days.

Even more fun, humans have gathered in darkened rooms in several cities to watch the 102 minutes.

I attended 3/4 of those: San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles (sorry Sebastopol!). Flying may be a chief sin, and it's even more acute mixed with vanity. I enjoy the talking. In every screening I wore the same outfit. Heavy, thick, no colors except my daily purple undershirt. I thought of it as my armor as I prepared to sit down and open my mouth in public. Each time I answer live questions, I can't help but feel an urge to challenge myself to be more present with the audience and my mind. I wonder how these footages will attest to my mental continuity 20 years henceward from the Home Page footages.

Here's some video parts from Spring 2019:

San Francisco Jewish Film Festival

17 February 2019, San Francisco: Panel discussion after watching Home Page including journalist Matt Honan, Doug Block, Justin Hall

International Documentary Association screening

They recorded Marjan Safinia moderating a panel with Doug Block, Justin Hall, and surprise guest Jamie Levy - will the web see it??!

Afterwards I spoke with a Sheran James from KX 93.5 FM in Southern California, and she posted this hour long conversation between us in audio format The Sharin' Hour 4/1/19: Justin Hall

Cannabis Business

While I revel in decades-old misbehavior, my work on the bud.com team continues. Jonathan Davis from a local progressive public radio-station KPFA put a mic in front of me at the February 2019 International Cannabis Business Conference in San Francisco. He posted a shorter "Cannabis Business Conference in SF - a year into legalization (KPFA News)" radio piece. I join the conversation about four minutes twenty seconds in.

Jonathan also posted a longer edit of that piece that's more descriptive, I appear at six minutes twenty-six seconds.

backchannel research

Finally, a mentor & collaborator from my graduate studies days Scott Fisher dug up some research we did on the use of live chat and data jockeys during classes and presentations is now posted online on a few academic paper hosting sites:

"Experiments in Backchannel: Collaborative Presentations Using Social Software, Google Jockeys, and Immersive Environments" Academia.edu and ResearchGate.net. I presented it at ACM SIGCGI 2006, Montreal - the Association for Computing Machinery's Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI - Computer-Human Interactions.

my chief sin

aside from too frequent pastrami sandwiches, air travel is my chief sin. It is the guilty thing I cannot help and cannot countenance. If you roll down your windows driving into an airport, you know what I mean. You can't breathe it but you're about it. I talk to jetsetting friends about our trips past and upcoming and I think we're all filthy sinners.

So I think, I should practice better carbon offsets - make my air transit reflect the cost to the collective air/water/earth resources spreadsheet. Expecting to be somewhere far away in less than a day feels like a wild luxury in appropriate to the gravity of suffering already due to our collective resource prioritization, and the upheaval pending as the seas rise and forests dry. And how can I say I enjoy it so; the friends and family anchored to their lives in another place, the chance to taste some other air, to imagine myself as a person inscribing memories with distant nodes.

Sometimes traveling I look up and notce I'm in a room, with other people, seeking food or drink, sex, love or stimulation. I think, why did I need to leave my local rooms to practice want-fulfillment somewhere else?

25 links.net

If I had another appendage I could manifest the significance of this date in person. As it is I have online sharing PTSD. Each thing I write online I question who am I serving? Am I violating someone else's privacy? Am I punching up or down? Am I going to be harassed by people with too much time feeding on my personal details? Would I rather be spending time with my kid or pleasuring myself elsewhere?

So I'm constipated for online sharing. Plenty of buildup - scores of photos I take each month. Gigabytes of unshared media. I check Instagram and I think oh man my friends are doing great things and taking wonderful trips and asking good questions. Shouldn't I demonstrate my standing as a photogenic human with the means to participate in mediated life demonstration? Ahhh it's just too much to think about. Only good girls keep diaries, the bad girls never have time - thank you Tallulah.

But I still serve my celebrity, such as it is. THIS MY SITE FIRST HAD EXTERNAL VISITORS 25 YEARS AGO TODAY. There, I'm marking the occasion. Not with a staggered poem about my desire meeting someone aligned with it, or a story about ingesting psychedelics just before an upright meeting. I now work in the legal cannabis business after my work in video games, so I've already passed through the ceiling of my teenage career fantasies. It was never my career fantasy to suffer in public. I love being of nearby service; now I make breakfast for my partner and child just about every day.

I agreed to show up to a few screenings of an old film in which I appeared. Doug Block made a documentary Home Page, which is personal media writ into a sort of permanence. Permanence served by re-mastering, re-screening. So I shall likely stand before small groups in New York and Los Angeles and San Francisco to say "yes I survived" and "now I sell cannabis" and "sharing on the internet is complicated"

I could write here on links.net all kinds of opinions on the web-that-was. But that would be like spraypainting dust and spider webs on this already-dilapidated art objet. Better to ramble on them in person at some venue, where I can grab free drink in a plastic cup bound for an ocean gyre, while I eye some attractive sort in the front row and imagine how old I must seem to them, and yet how immature. I like to imagine that if I offend with commentary on a revitalized 480p documentary, I am not famous enough for my remarks to be newsworthy.

O, passmore that and oxus another!

Stopped walking across a desert art party by a Gavan Kennedy and asked to read from a book called Finnegan's Wake, originally channelled by James Joyce.

Pages 197,
198, and 199.

There's a video; I look like I'm sitting in front of a green screen! Hah!

bud.com delivers

bud.com logo

tldr; this year bud.com launched as a California benefit corporation delivering recreational cannabis.

 
June 2016 we had a baby - wow - I became a father! That was a fantasy long-dreamt. I adjusted my life to support my partner & child, and allow me to keep up a good household for this little fascinating being.

At the same time I realized my professional & creative powers aren't going to get much better before they diminish. So I itched to make something meaningful that could also provide for me and my family, on more my terms than an employer's.

In 1994 I registered bud.com. I've run various software & projects on the site since then; none lasting too long. In 2013, various folks began approaching me with semi-serious business plans, eager to employ "bud.com" in service of cannabis business. I talked to 2-3 people per year thereafter, and in 2015 I started attending cannabis industry events to network to the best of my wide-mouthed gladhandery. "I own bud.com, what should we make with it?" I would say to most anyone I met.


In 2017 this culminated in meeting someone who said, "why don't you use bud.com to bring people pot?" and we started hatching a cannabis delivery service. In September 2017 I quit my job as cultural ambassador for a Japanese investment firm and startup incubator, and for eight months or so, I've been CTO of bud.com: relying on my wife Ilyse's health insurance and spending my savings to build up an eCommerce site and customer support tools for recreational cannabis delivery.

bud.com began delivering legal recreational cannabis in the East Bay of California in January 2018. I can now walk into our local partner's warehouse full of cannabis for sale on bud.com - a far throw from my weed-scrounging youth. It feels like a deep form of human liberation that people would be allowed to ask for this plant and have it when they want to. I hope we can set our society up for shared success in a legal cannabis era.

bud warehouse at launch
preparing the bud.com warehouse for launch - many little jars of cannabis, bins of rerolled joints, boxes of edibles

We formed bud.com as a "benefit corporation" which obliges us to account for and improve our social & ecological impact. We want to pay attention to the plant medicine roots of recreational cannabis, and ensure that there's some compassion in our business. So that's a nice thing to be able to establish in a company from the start. We're working out exactly how to build a beneficial cannabis company; last week bud.com launched a veteran's discount program after members of that community asked us to make their cannabis more affordable.

As I was parsing the various pitches and schemes people presented for bud.com, I realized I didn't want to sell the domain, I wanted to participate. I wanted bud.com to be a ticket to adventure.

a history of GameLayersIt's been 10 years since I last tried co-founding a startup. So many tech tools are further along. Software is cheap. Developers can be found online and our species has more support & structures for working remotely. I was CEO then, and learned what parts of that role I'm not so good with. So this time I'm the CTO of bud.com - I set the priorities, schedule, and budget for our tech, and then recruit good folks to help build it. I am glad to stretch myself into a technical role; I've always enjoyed debating structure with engineers; even if I failed 50% of the two CS classes I took in college, I was a member of the Swarthmore College Computer Society.

Working in the cannabis industry presents unique challenges: many software vendors aren't comfortable now hosting cannabis companies; many basic functions of online business you have to build yourself or work around. Fortunately that pain is shared across California cannabis companies; it's the same craggy, wet, hard surface we're all attempting to stand on. There's regulatory uncertainty, cultural uncertainty, a lack of qualified professionals from major disciplines, and a lack of professionalism. All that means it's a field ripe for experimentation - and an extremely stimulating day-to-day worklife.

Someone asked me "how does it feel to be present at the birth of a new industry?" I remembered the web in 1994, mobile phone games in 2001 & 2010. After decades experimenting, I can safely say I enjoy working on emerging tools. I'm naturally long-winded, unafraid to deploy a bit of self-expression in a new medium. Figuring out how to structure a project to ensure long-term viability and scalability is a greater personal challenge. This time I've shown up to a new industry with a better sense of how business + finance + people + motivation + social context work. And I'm grateful to have found excellent compatriots.

part of bud team at launch
Armando, Jasmine, Justin - part of the initial bud.com launch team

This is a fun early stage in this enterprise. I work from home most of the time and I schedule occasional four hour meetings to take my 2 year-old daughter somewhere fun in San Francisco. I wonder sometimes about choosing to involve myself with a demanding business when I could instead devote more of my time to parenting my kid. I have a baby at home, and I started another family in an office somewhere else. But ultimately I decided I can be a better parent to her if I am doing meaningful work in my career. I'm learning more and more about the tradeoffs of adulthood, which makes me ever-more grateful to have so much adventure in my work as I cultivate a stable home.

So, with pride I can say that bud.com offers cannabis delivery to Alameda county cities including Oakland, Berkeley, Hayward, San Leandro, Emeryville, Piedmont, Alameda, Castro Valley, Dublin, Pleasanton. bud.com offers Contra Costa county cannabis delivery to Alamo, Canyon, Concord, Danville, Diablo, Lafayette, Moraga, Orinda, Pleasant Hill, San Ramon, Walnut Creek. With a bit more time, we expect to expand to offer more things to more people in more places.