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

watch overshare: the links.net story contact me

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.

Shoveling up

When I've shorn my garments in word and image, posting links and brief excerpts of recent recollections of old dreams seems so translucent by comparison. Anyhow - I was asked by Medium.com to write an essay about a word that defined 2017 for me, and I chose sovereignty.

They partnered me with a richly illustrated drawing of that word by Sunday Buro. From the American bunting, an eagle with its eyes bound, and my teaser bio reading: "An Unsettling Struggle for Sovereignty: Cannabis entrepreneur Justin Hall reflects on the sacrifices we make for the illusion of freedom." you would think my Sovereignty piece is about America's war on drugs. But it's much more about literally wrestling with my daughter.

It's the first time I've written an "Article" in a good long while and I was flattered to be asked and excited to have a chance to fire up my content production machine and share something again. I believe the article is behind a "paywall" which means the content is not visible unless you participate in the publication (Medium.com)'s efforts to sustain itself financially.

I have mixed feelings about the whole thing - I have become more ambivalent about public sharing. I dwelled in "public sharing" for 18 months up to 2016, before the shit got real weird. Of course at any moment we can look around and marvel at what humanity has made with what it has enabled; so why should we be surprised that social media might actually be a manipulative scourge? Let's find a newer mode of expression upon which we shall project our hopes for perpetual authenticity!

speaking into Internet History podcast

All this writing and video work is a series of small flags I hoist up in the wind.

Brian McCullough wanders the internet looking for old flags, and then he puts a microphone in front of the wind.

I was grateful to be included in his Internet History Podcast: the "First" Blogger, Justin Hall. The whole episode runs 1 hour 44 minutes so that's bastante talking.