Defective Detective

#3 LAB: I Don't Think I Can Solve Problems

January 06, 2022 thecakelin Season 1 Episode 3
Defective Detective
#3 LAB: I Don't Think I Can Solve Problems
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

What being disabled and chronically ill has been like for me and how it's affected how I build a company. I talk about consistency, pain, guilt and shame, rumination, and struggling to create. I also include an update of Laboratory de Cake, which will be structuring the podcast like a science paper! 

I can't solve the problems we are facing with the pandemic and climate change, maybe none of us can. I hope I can support disabled and chronically ill people to find a better standard of living, with more financial stability and overall freedom. We deserve more and the world can benefit from our talents.

I BELIEVE IN YOU. Please hang in there. 🧡

If you want to connect with me, you can find me @thecakelin on Twitter, Tiktok, and Instagram, and Gmail. I will give free advice to hx excluded identities looking to get into tech or build products (content or apps). Identities: disabled/chronic illness, BIPOC, LGBTQIA.

Schedule time to Ramble Rumble with me on Calendly!

[00:28] Introduction

[00:55] Solving problems… or not

[03:03] Consistency with chronic illness

Mentions: Brianne Benness, host of No End in Sight and NEISvoid

[06:02] Pain and justice sensitivity

[08:26] Guilt and shame

[09:50] Patterns (or how I realized I'm autistic)

[11:05] Am I still running? Rumination

[13:30] Tasty grant failure

[14:33] Defining disability and not selling my story

[18:21] Start where your data is

[19:40] My business hypothesis: self-experiments

Mentions: ikigai, MVPs, no code

[24:14] I have been in the brain struggles

Mentions: Amy Hoy and book Just Fucking Ship

[26:09] The first self-experiment, hopefully

[27:08] Personal data posters and object permanence

[28:52] Experiment pardners: could it be you??

[29:30] Homebase & capitalism concerns (money)

[31:20] Values

[32:24] Research on the harmony of breathing

Mentions: Racket podcasting app

[36:16] Thank you, please leave me a negative review

Image Description For Episode Artwork

[Graphic design image with diagonal split black and white background with many color elements, feels playful and bright. Middle of the image is the title which says “Defective Detective Podcast” half of which is white on black and the other half is black text on white. Black background has colored stars scattered on it. 

Top of the image, above the title, is 5 solid circles connected by grey lines. Half is on black background and half on white. One circle in the middle is split by the black and white backgrounds, the purple “body” circle. Circles on black are a red “technology” and a teal “brain”. On the white background is a yellow “relationships” and an orange “society”.

Bottom of the image, under the title, are 5 circles in an unconnected slanted T shape arrangement and with different labels. On black background, the bottom of the T is a teal “laboratory” circle and purple “materials and methods”. The top of the T shape is on white with 3 circles: yellow “introduction”, orange “results”, and red “discussion”.

Upper left corner is the logo, an octopus in a beaker with 4 tentacles coming out in yellow, orange, teal, and red. Upper right corner is the cakelin logo, a mix of a hashtag and a slice of cake that has circuits for cake layers, colors are yellow, orange, teal, red, and purple. Lower left corner are the hashtags: @thecakelin, @nudgesio, @detfective.] 

[00:00] Upbeat electronic music intro, fades to voice


You’re listening to Defective Detective, a podcast about figuring out your brain and body. A choose your own data adventure. Let’s check out our stats and collectively wonder “What the fuck is going on with me”.

[00:28] Introduction

Heyo! It’s your hostess with the mostest except instead of a twinkie, I’m Cake. This episode is about my experiences being disabled and chronically ill. And what it’s like being a disabled entrepreneur in a world that prioritizes attention. I’ve got a plan for moving forward that I want to share with y’all. There’s a delightful gift at the end, a precious science discovery. Let’s dive in!

[00:55] Solving problems… or not

I don’t think I can solve any of the world’s problems. I don’t think I can solve your problems, because I don’t think I can solve my problems. As I was trying to say these two sentences a minute ago, my headphones decided they were off and they made an incredibly disgusting noise with my microphone. And I was stunned for a few minutes and had to process what that meant for me as a sensory thing. Because I’m very new to figuring out that I’m autistic. And I am self-diagnosed. Back to discussing problems I definitely don’t have.

Even things that I thought were solutions might not have been what worked for me. Life has too many variables. Everything feels like a guess, probably because it is. I have no quick tips and tricks. No lists of 3 or 5 things you could or should do. I got a lot of questions, from my seat at the back of the class.

I think I’m not supposed to admit any of this as an entrepreneur. These phrases float through my mind that I’ve heard other places. Like: Your brand is your promise. Do things that don’t scale. Focus on the problem. Solve your own problems. Great founders have velocity and urgency. Content needs consistency.

[Sigh] Yeah, so, I am probably not going to do or be any of those things. I’m disabled, neurodivergent, and chronically ill. Per my report cards and performance reviews, I am not consistent or fast. It is year two of a pandemic where many people like me have died. I’m surprised I’m still here. Not surprised I am still weird and queer. I am tired of our existence not being enough. I am also just tired. 

This is at least my third attempt just at recording a second podcast episode, because, quite frankly, I do not know what I am doing. I’m sure I’ll talk more about what that’s like, in The Future. Maybe even later in this episode. Also my script is wrong, because this is ending up as my third episode.

[03:03] Consistency with chronic illness

I want to talk about this notion of consistency and how harmful it can be for some of us. Especially those of us who have dynamic disabilities, a term coined by Brianne Benness, the host of the podcast No End In Sight and the leader of the #NEISvoid community on Twitter. A dynamic disability is needs and abilities that change day to day. 

This becomes a huge issue with careers and relationships. Consistency is how trust is formed. If you don't have consistency of behavior, then other people might not trust you. This is certainly the case with healthy people, employers, and doctors who often don’t believe us. Despite a gene marker and overwhelming family history, it still took years and many doctors to get proper diagnosis and treatment for any of my conditions. Healthcare policy and systems have taken a big ole bite out of my peace, time, and finances. 

This is all compounded by the pandemic now, which is affecting our ability to access care and creating newly disabled people. Otherwise known as a mass disabling event. Newly disabled people have a long journey ahead of them, some may never identify as disabled because they don’t feel disabled “enough”. There is a lot of internalized ableism to unlearn, while also figuring out how to advocate for yourself.

What people don’t realize from the outside is that dynamic disabilities also affect your ability to understand and trust your own needs. This causes a massive amount of anxiety. I speak from experience. Am I going to be okay committing to this event? Will people be upset with me if I don’t show up? Do I force myself to do this or let myself rest? What penalty or consequences am I going to have to face if I do this?

Our limited choices were landmines long before the pandemic.

Life is set to ultra-hard mode without self-trust and self-regulation. How do you commit to long-term goals or dreams when you have no idea what your future will be like? I don’t even know what my brain and body are going to be like tomorrow.

Humans need the illusion of control in order to be motivated. Nondisabled people frequently act invincible. I’ve had nondisabled friends do incredibly risky things and rationalize it. Especially during the pandemic. Some of us have had that curtain pulled back and are living in a different reality. The health I have is a shaky house of cards and I work every day to accept this. I know nothing is guaranteed. I try to focus on consistency of character and effort, instead of energy and output. 

If we have to accept this deeply painful truth, it would be great if family, friends, employers, and systems could accept us too. Instead of denying our reality and considering us expendable. Please and thank you.

[06:02] Pain and justice sensitivity

Let’s talk about physical and emotional pain.

I grew up with sick parents and oodles of all kinds of trauma. I understood pain in others before I could understand it in myself. Entwined in my body is a deep sense of responsibility for ending harm. My earliest memories are of feeling the pain of others so deeply and desperately wanting to fix it. It didn’t matter if I knew them or if I understood why they were in pain. I would do everything I could to try, even if that was risky or damaging for me. I had no sense of self-preservation then. It was either trained out of me or I didn’t learn it, probably both.

One of my therapists would call this my “exhausting morals” and the other “over-responsibility”. Yes, I have two therapists. I am reasonably certain this is the hyperempathy that female and assigned female autistics feel. This reaction to injustice is called justice sensitivity and it is correlated with ADHD and autism. Our nervous systems are more sensitive. Which means more experiences are trauma. The resulting triggers de-stabilize you further, causing heightened sensitivity. See the cycle?

This is a level of emotional intensity that is rarely welcomed by others or society. A gift I would have returned 100 times over if I had the receipt. I still don’t understand it and I have been working on managing it for years. I go through severe oscillations of taking up too much space and endlessly shrinking, cycles of shame and crisis, hyperactivity and lethargy. Pain and trauma cause internal inconsistency, which can then result in an arrested sense of self. Which versions of that are truly me? Healing means integrating those parts of myself so they work together. This includes the ways I have been influenced by society, people, and of course.. trauma.

I’m not the only one finding myself Here. Hearing the stories of others is a relief and a kind of burden. What are we going to do about this? What am I going to do about this? I was taught to earn my self-worth through action and I am still working on unlearning that.

[08:26] Guilt and shame

Let’s have some real fun now and talk about guilt and shame. Guilt is a sign that you are stepping into your truest self, which was there all along. Patiently waiting for you and for me. Choosing yourself means disappointing others. As social creatures, guilt is protective of our relationships. I’m welcoming guilt to my emotional shitshow. I get to choose whether to listen to it. 

Guilt is different for disabled and chronically ill people. We feel so much guilt for all the things we can’t do and the help we need from others. We feel guilt for our inconsistency, for canceling plans, for having so little energy for our dreams and relationships. Underneath this guilt is a well of grief so deep I could not explain it to anyone else. Unless someone has faced their own serious health issues and limitations, they can’t know.

There's so many ways that I shame myself or expect too much out of myself. I am working on setting boundaries with myself, too. Ahhh the process of self-parenting. I believe that recognizing your own strengths and your own limitations is how you develop trust and collaboration and healthy relationships with others. Because we are all unique. And yet, I still feel like I should do everything on my own. I should be able to work all the time. There’s so many shoulds.

[09:50] Patterns (or how I realized I'm autistic)

I think if I could just explain these things, if I could explain what is going on inside me everything would be clear. The myth of being understood clings to me. I find it in my ego, I find it in science, I find it in relationships. I’m stuffing the void of my lonely, misunderstood, and odd inner child.

My brain loves solving problems and finding patterns. It will leave my keys in my door overnight, while it’s occupied musing on humanity's flaws and potential solutions. 

And yet, and yet, and yet.. In addition to emotional intensity, visualizing and explaining complex topics is an innate gift of mine. I vigilantly search for connections and put things in their place. An orchestra of ideas and exploration. It feels like it belongs to me. Living inside ideas and ideals means not being in this body when I am not ready to hear what it needs to say. I am slowly learning to listen and embrace silence and solitude. To put boundaries at the edges of my energy. To say no to things and, more importantly, people that I am not aligned with. To search for equanimity and contentment.

[11:05] Am I still running? Rumination

Sometimes it’s not an easy process. It’s a struggle to fix these self-limiting beliefs and mental concepts. I’m frequently confused, without language or symbolization to build a coherent picture. It’s like I abruptly stopped running, to whip around and face my chaser. There’s no point catching up to all the people I was running with. I can just look at what’s there, with curiosity. If I choose to.

Sometimes, it can be so easy and so clear. Like the lakes I swam in as a child, on the land my people colonized. Even in those moments, where I know what to do, the action is still hard. My brain fights itself for weeks after, rationalizing its own intuition. I sometimes call these repetitive thoughts brain loops or spirals. It is also known as rumination. No matter what you call it, it devours my energy. My imagination and creativity is delightful when it decides to focus on creativity. And a nightmare when it decides to defend me from threats I may never confront. It’s like I need to give my brain something to chew on or it will chew on me.

Thankfully. there are other people who’ve stopped running, who are committed to noticing, witnessing, and reflecting. I think these are the people who can solve these problems. I know it. If they could just get past systemic barriers, while learning to notice and nurture stability and authenticity in themselves. 

My path is to help and be helped by them. To have fun and enjoy each other. To build conscious community together. To screw up and call each other in. To protect each other from harm.

This is my path whether or not we solve anything. Fixing is a false goal. Fixing is a trick the mind plays to gain control and certainty. Practice over goals, effort over outcomes. The intention is open-hearted curiosity and compassion, for ourselves and for others.

I once asked my dear friend Ian, “What do you want most in your life?”. He responded “To love and be loved.”

[13:20] Electronic music

[13:30] Tasty grant failure

Here is an excerpt from a grant I didn’t get:

Disability is a mismatch between our environment and abilities. Disabled communities are more likely to be in digital spaces due to physical space access issues. empowers disabled people to build online worlds tailored to our unique needs and strengths.

Currently, paternalistic and narrowly focused public and private policy force disabled people to view ourselves through an individual identity or issue. 

Access to all of our personal data allows us to make decisions holistically instead, including all of our disabilities and intersecting identities. Existing and new disabled leaders can use Nudges to build their own tools and niche communities. Social movements and progressive organizations will be able to better understand and effectively use their activist and volunteers’ strengths.

By democratizing personal data tools, we are amplifying the power of disabled people to do what we do best: adapt and start powerful social movements. 

[14:33] Defining disability and not selling my story

Y’all, I was so pumped about this grant rejection. Being an entrepreneur is all about collecting failures and loving it. We love the hero story, rags-to-riches, and rooting for the underdog. Don’t we?

My health has improved over the past few years and I have fought hard for every diagnosis and treatment. I don't want to sell that story. I don't even really like labeling things healthy or unhealthy. I don't know how to explain this to most people, because chronic illness and disability is a big part of who I am. 

There's the social versus medical model of disability. The social model is that society is disabling and the medical model says it is our bodies. My overarching definition of disability is the gap between these. It’s a mismatch between what I can do and what my environment allows or expects. Why is this an important distinction to make? Why is it important for me to focus on the mismatch? Well it’s not always clear what I can change and what I want to change. I want to let that be dynamic too. Sometimes I might want to level myself or my skills up. Other times I might want to modify my environment. If we get stuck in either mode, we can potentially miss out on seeing the size or impact of that mismatch and the best possible solution to it. We can’t solve all of this, part of being disabled in this world means acceptance or we would all burn out on systemic injustice. We can prioritize and experiment with different solutions, treatments, and accommodations. 

By the way, whenever I say body, I include the brain as part of it. While mental illness has been used to dismiss and invalidate people’s physical symptoms, I have both mental and physical illness and disabilities. It’s as hard to separate them as it would be to figure out the overlap between me being bisexual and nonbinary. This goes for privileged identities too, I can’t separate my whiteness from the experience of gender or disabilities. Especially since white supremacy and colonialism created binary gender. And ableism is rooted in anti-Blackness. 

So of course there's parts of my chronic illness that I would want to be cured. Then there's disabilities I don't want to lose, because I don't really know who I would be without them. The process of becoming sick, of losing everything, of losing so many dreams and other things. And then connecting to other people who are struggling and constantly trying to figure things out... I would not want to give up what that has meant to me. Being chronically ill and disabled often has a lot of desperation to it. It's struggling, it's poverty, it's navigating all these systems that suck. I don't want to sell this story to nondisabled people that, oh my god, I just tried hard enough. And now I'm healthy!! Nondisabled people will be inspired and think any person who is disabled or sick could just get better if they tried hard enough. That is definitely not true.

So I’m not going to sell my story as trauma and inspiration porn. It’s one large source of friction and inauthenticity for me as an entrepreneur. I just would like to build something that can help disabled people navigate their environment and make money, because those are two things that I need. I haven't always been able to work and when I have, I face discrimination and exploitation. My health starts to fail from the stress and then I’m unable to work again. I’m on and off public and private benefits and constantly fighting for healthcare and access. While not all disabled people work, if you define work as paid labor, all of us have to work at survival. And the toxic sludge of endless paperwork and systemic mazes that we are subjected to.

[18:21] Start where your data is

It's taken so many years for me to figure out how to bridge the gap between my environment and me. I couldn’t definitively claim what has worked or hasn’t, because I don’t have the data to verify those hunches. Yet. I am fairly certain that collecting and tracking my personal data over time has helped me manage my health and disabilities. Having ADHD and autism, I am basically pure chaos on the inside. Self-tracking is the only way I’ve found to build some consistency and self-boundaries while practicing skills and finding wholeness that early trauma took from me.

Many environments are not set up for neurodivergent people, disabled people, chronically ill people. We miss out on participating or contributing and everyone else misses out on our talent. I want to see all the things that disabled and chronically ill people could create. I want to see the members of my community figure out how to save some of our energy for fulfillment instead of survival. I want so much more for us. If having access to our own data can help, I’d do anything to bring that to our community.

[19:30] Electronic music

[19:40] My business hypothesis: self-experiments 

Here's my hypothesis or why I am starting a company. Or have started a company. When are you done starting it? [laughter] I don't know what people need. Only that the world needs more people to create and collaborate. Those people need to be diverse in order to come up with solutions that reflect the needs that humanity has. So I want to build something that other people can use to build things. I want to build a tool, I want to build Legos. So people can make Lego structures because I have no idea what kind of Lego structures to make. The thing that I do best is integrating and being interdisciplinary in a bunch of different areas. And I think that this is what I can bring to the world. It's my unique capability. Or ikigai if you’re familiar with that.

I'm going to structure these episodes like a science paper because that's what we're doing. We're going to be doing self-science. Together, I mean, if you choose to participate. Or you can just listen to other people do self-science. I really do hope that you will decide to participate in an experiment at some point. So that you can learn things about yourself and so that I can figure out how to do this. And that’s really on me to make the experiments as accessible as possible. I would really love that and appreciate your help. Science papers are typically structured with an introduction, materials and methods, results, and discussion. The introduction has an explanation and references to existing information for the experiment topic. The Materials and Methods section is how the experiment was performed. There's a results section, heyyy look at what we found out and all its data. Then there is a discussion. What does this mean in the bigger picture? What kind of other work would need to be done in the future?

As a scientist, I am pretty stoked about this.

Here’s some more details on doing self-experiments. First, I'm learning about a concept so I can teach it, later I can interview experts. Then we can learn how to experiment, build, and share our results. I'm going to be building fun little tools and data visualizations, which I’m hoping will help keep me engaged and build connections with other people. I am calling these Baby Apps, because I don’t like the sports connotation of MVPs (minimal viable product). Baby Apps are the smallest little thing that you can experiment with. We are looking for newborns. This Materials and Method process of learning how to create and build experiments is tiered. Otherwise I would not be able to do this. First, I’ll use existing apps that are well structured. Like a habit tracker. Next, I’ll be exploring existing no code tools. This includes software like Notion and Airtable. No code is just a way to describe software that is meant to be accessible for non-engineers. Usually no code ends up being low code, some form of coding ends up being involved. Like excel! Everyone’s favorite. Good thing I’m an engineer and scientist y’all. My meandering hath had a purpose.

Eventually, what I want to learn from making all these little baby babies is what a no code tool would look like for people's personal data. I’ve been thinking about this as the ability to have all the data that exists about you in one place. My vision is that this would eventually become an ecosystem or marketplace, where people can use, create, share, and earn from their own data. That's a long ways off. I'm going to need help, which I'm not good at asking for. 

Oh hey, look over there, it’s an opportunity for personal growth! Sure hope I take it. [laughter]

In summary, I am building a company through a community driven baby app strategy. I'm doing this because I don't want to build something without input. I want to listen to people. I want to learn. I’m not building an audience, I am the audience. I do have this problem. I personally need this tool. I am really excited to share the things that I've learned from self-tracking and self-experiments. I want to make this whole process of building products and companies transparent. I want as many people as possible to find some escape and relief from capitalism. I also want to make sure that others can learn from my failures as they are happening so we can avoid survivorship bias. My brain will naturally justify my choices as contributing to success, when in reality there is far more uncertainty, luck, and privilege involved. It’s that locus of control showing up again. In the wild wild world of startups being transparent while building a company or product is called building or learning in public. 

[24:14] I have been in the brain struggles

Unfortunately, I’ve been struggling to do this. Dun dun dun. First off, I have trauma around visibility, wanting things, creating, and however many other “trauma” tags I have in my Notion trauma database. What, you don’t have a spreadsheet with all the worst things that have happened to you? Hmm, that is weird. 

Secondly, like many neurodivergent people, I struggle finding the edges to topics. Everything feels connected in my brain. Amy Hoy in the book Just Fucking Ship calls this crispy edges and well, I’m not there yet. I’m definitely going to talk about this mental tradeoff between stability and flexibility that is encoded in our cognition. For now I’ll say, I can certainly digest and generate a lot of information. I’m a lil learning machine. Editing and structuring all of that takes me considerable time. I am also working on who and how to ask for editing and feedback. Usually if I ask, if I don’t finish the piece after someone gave me feedback, I feel so guilty. 

Wait, sheet, wasn’t I just discussing guilt earlier.. Dear former Cake, send me some halp.

So I started putting all this stuff into Notion and sometimes Google Docs. It’s enough for a book. I think writing is easier for me than talking into a podcast. If I just do an outline, it turns out too rambly. So instead I write out everything that's going to be in an episode and then follow that script completely. I hope being a guest on other people’s podcasts will help. Wink wink, nudge nudge. Nudges! That’s.. That’s the name of my company.

Side-eye note, side-eyeing myself because why in the fugg am I bringing this up this far into the episode: nudges are a term from behavioral economics, it’s ways to influence people’s behavior and decisions. Usually these are external and set by policy makers. I want us to be able to nudge ourselves, based on our own God damn goals!

[26:09] The first self-experiment, hopefully

So the first self-experiment! I bet you want to know what I have planned. Me too [laughter]. I am re-writing this, because I once again, changed my mind on where to start. Please see Crispy Edges from 5 minutes ago.. The first experiment is going to be Chaotic Habits. Chaotic habits are flexible enough for those of us who have a high amount of inconsistency in our bodies, brains, environment, or all of the above. Aren’t you excited to find out more?

Infographics are going to be a big part of the podcast and the book. I'll be making infographic posters that have all these different research concepts put together. Maybe for Defective Detectives who are investigating themselves with their own experiments, I could make personalized posters. So you could hang up the results of your self-experiments in your home. Or you could have a map of all the experiments and fill in which ones you've participated in. You know, there's a lot of options in that area. 

[27:08] Personal data posters and object permanence

For example, how amazing would it be to have a personalized poster for your path to diagnosis? I want to be reminded of how far I’ve come, everything I’ve been through, and how it bonded me to other people.

A lot of neurodivergent people like physical ways to track things because of object permanence. Which is that if we don’t see things, it’s like they don’t exist. Devices with the internet are so distracting too. I think having things in your home that try to remind you of who you are based on your pattern of behavior is helpful for confronting the shame, guilt, and inconsistency that I mentioned earlier. As I have been self-tracking, I’ve been able to rely on a past version of myself that had a certain behavior that my current self doesn’t have. I have been tracking my alcohol consumption daily for almost 3 years. Being able to look at my alcohol score and even when it dips to 70 or 80%, knowing that I usually have a 90% score is the path of moderation that I need in my life. Trying to stop drinking completely never worked for me. Now I get to say I’m 90% sober and my health is so much better. I’m at 93% today, because yeah I look at my personal stats almost every day.

Unfortunately, I don’t get a chip or anything. That’s appropriate, because I’m not an alcoholic and I don’t struggle with sobriety in the same way. That being said, I’d love to have a poster or something to remind me of this huge accomplishment in my life. 

Side note: I have some tiktoks that explain this more and I will be delving into this process in detail in, you guessed it, da future. Which is the next self-experiment. The first self-experiment!

[28:52] Experiment pardners: could it be you??

I want to find an experiment partner to try out every experiment with me. Because of being neurodivergent, I've decided that the first people that I want to have on the podcast are going to be people in my life who have similar conditions. I’m reasonably sure I can convince friends to do this with me. Maybe this whole first season will just be friends of mine because I'm fairly nervous about interviewing people. I don't have a lot of experience interviewing and I think I can learn it from being interviewed. I hope I can. Trying this with people I know first is a safe way to poke at my social anxiety. Hey, if you’re a friend of mine, please let me know if you would like to be interviewed. Thanks. [laughter]

[29:30] Homebase & capitalism concerns (money)

I am going to make a homebase for all these self-experiments, a sort of community space. It's hard to say community when right now it's really just me. Although I do call all my friends, I say that they're members of the Cake Collective. So at least I have friends. [Laughter] Oh, that's such a sad sentence. I mean, I didn't have friends when I was a child. Look at me go!

I need to design this home base. As you can see or otherwise sense, there's just a lot of work to do in a lot of different areas. There's no clear order of operations or recipe for building a company, which is actually amazing. After a lifetime of not following instructions well, not having any instructions is not as much of a problem for me as it is for other people. 

I can use this home base to start getting people's feedback, collect their experiment ideas, see if anybody wants to help me build some of these baby apps. This would be really fun for me, because not only will I be figuring out what to build for my company, I'll also be teaching other people how to build products. All of this is to make sure that even if my company or one product fails, I will still be putting out value into the world.

I do need to figure out a way to make money so I can focus on building full time. I'm currently living off money I made from consulting in the last year. I can do more of that, but I would rather build products. I am worried about a Patreon or crowdfunding, because I don’t know enough people to make it successful. I think the best place for me to start is to write a useful book and self-publish. What do I mean by useful? Actionable knowledge, shorter than other books, and evergreen meaning the content does not get outdated. Not to get too meta baby, there’s a book on this called Write Useful Books. I highly recommend it.

[31:20] Values

Hello, I need to restate my values real quick. A lot of being a leader or creator or whatever you would like to call this, is continually resharing mission, values, and strategy. I want to re-state certain commitments, non-negotiables if you are into that term. Can we call these company boundaries? Here goes.

No ads. I will not buy search or social ads and I will not put ads into the podcast or a product. There's going to be no paywall, I'm not going to charge people to access their own data or run their own experiments. I am focused on privacy, user control, and safety. 

I can make these promises because my company is 100% self-funded and independent. That’s why I get excited about being rejected from grants, it means I have to serve my users or clients, not stakeholders. 

[32:11] Electronic music

[32:24] Research on the harmony of breathing

Like I mentioned at the beginning of all time, okay I mean, I mean this episode, I am going to finish out each episode with a funtastic research article. This article is actually from March of 2020, which is around the same time as a global event you may have heard of. It's about breathing. The title of this on ScienceDaily, which is where I read most of my research by the way, I may or may not have an RSS feed app just for ScienceDaily [laughter]. The title is How Our Brains Create Breathing Rhythm is Unique to Every Breath

“Breathing propels everything we do -- so its rhythm must be carefully organized by our brain cells, right? Wrong. Every breath we take arises from a disorderly group of neurons -- each like a soloist belting out its song before uniting as a chorus to harmonize on a brand-new melody. Or, in this case, a fresh breath.”

[breathes in and out] Everything that I have been learning about from doing psychedelics, from working on my healing, and for me as a Buddhist.. I accept everything is interconnected. We don't exist on our own. It's part of why I'm trying to work on accepting help. It’s part of why this podcast exists, so I’m talking about doing instead of just sitting in my apartment by myself all the time thinking that I’m solving problems [laughs]. I just love this summary because breath is so important for how our body functions. So I just want to read a little bit more of this because I think it's perfect to me. Science is so fucking beautiful. 

“According to first author Sufyan Ashhad, the neurons' activity resembled a choir whose members are practicing and singing over each other without benefit of a conductor.

"It's like each neuron is clearing its throat and rehearsing its tune off-key, so their collective sound does not make sense.. As the neurons interact, though, they quickly synchronize to sing in tune, transforming their individual solos from cacophony into harmony."

Each breath begins as hundreds of individual neurons haphazardly fire at low levels, then quickly synchronize. The synchronized effort prompts a burst of activity that signals muscles in the diaphragm and chest to contract, causing the chest to expand. Air rushes in and fills the lungs for inhalation.

As the signal subsides, the chest pushes air out of the lungs for exhalation. The cycle repeats, generating the rhythm of breathing.

"Given the reliability of breathing, we were stunned to discover that how these neurons move to synchronize and generate rhythm is different in every breathing cycle”

[Breathes in and out] What I think is really beautiful about this, is it reflects what's happening to us at any moment. Humans are just a series of predictive loops based on things that have already happened. And based on what we think is going to happen. I've been calling it Prediction Machines. 

Gremlin side note: I made a Racket about this a while back. Racket is a podcasting or social audio platform for 9 minute or less recordings that makes it easy to be spontaneous and reply to others. If you’re wanting to get into podcasting or audio, it might work for you. Heads up, they are shutting down their web app for mobile and it’s only on iOS until later this year. Back to the main notes, beep beep. 

I think it's worth it to accept humanity the way that it is, without a sense of hope. Hopelessness, groundlessness, and emptiness are important concepts in Buddhism. I’d encourage you to check out any of Pema Chodron’s writing. She is one of my main teachers, even though I have never met her. The awe inspiring power of books.

Change is always happening. It is always possible. Even the way that we breathe is different in every breath. Every body and it’s internal complexity is beautiful.

[36:16] Thank you, please leave me a negative review

I hope that when I edit this, that it'll be something that people enjoy listening to. Or I really hope that I start getting some negative reviews, because I think it would be good for me if people hate my work. It's just fun. It's fun to see what people think about the things that you put out in the world. Or at least that's what I like to tell myself, because I don't want to hold myself back anymore. I want to accept who I am with all of my differences.

I can’t promise to release this on a regular schedule, because of my health and that I am still learning how to run a podcast. So much to learn, so much to do, oodles of trauma to heal from (do you remember when I mentioned my trauma spreadsheet or nah?). 

I am committed and dedicated to getting disabled and chronically ill people our own data. Because I think that that's what's essential to us. Finding whatever kind of fulfillment and stability that we want, that each of us wants. Not what I want for you, what you want for you. 

Writing is something I do for me and there's such freedom in that. I love you, eye sparkles and heart tenderness. I call my heart cheesecake, it’s got it’s own priorities [laughs]. I’m not sure I’ve learned to love my sensitivity and emotional intensity or being emotionally vibrant, yet. I am not clinging to that happening, I can accept even my occasional-ish lack of self-acceptance.

I want to celebrate everybody who doesn't know what's going to happen and who is open to possibilities and who is accepting of themselves and others. Or is trying to be those things. It’s the effort, y’all.

If you're listening to this podcast, I'm pretty sure that I like you as a human being. Probably because you're one of my friends [laughter]. If you are one of my friends, please leave me a terrible review. Please tell me all the things that you hate about this, because that would be awesome. 

If you aren't someone that I know, this is your invitation to the Cake Collective. I think that you can form genuine friendships with people online, most disabled and chronically ill people do. My connections there have meant so much to me.

Please reach out. Let me know what you think about things. Let me know what step you take next, let me know what you would want to experiment on. I don't know. I'm here for all your thoughts. If you want advice, encouragement, support.. any of those things about building a product or building your own company, please please reach out to me about that too. If you're interested in connecting with me anywhere, I'm @thecakelin. Y’know, a slice of cake L-I-N. I’m on Tiktok, Instagram, Twitter.. OnlyFans. I'm not really that great at my business accounts, whoopsie. I am pretty reachable on my personal accounts. 

I am also putting out a Calendly with an event type Ramble Rumble, if you want to chat with me sometime! I’m alone most of the time because of being immunocompromised. I love solitude AND there is nothing like witnessing another person’s experiences and interests.  

Thank you so much for listening. I appreciate y'all so much. Until next time Defective Detectives, BYE.

[Music fades in and out]

Solving problems... or not
Consistency with chronic illness
Pain and justice sensitivity
Guilt and shame
Patterns (or how I realized I'm autistic)
Am I still running? Rumination
Tasty grant failure
Defining disability and not selling my story
Start where your data is
My business hypothesis: self-experiments
I have been in the brain struggles
The first self-experiment, hopefully
Personal data posters and object permanence
Experiment pardners: could it be you??
Homebase & capitalism concerns (money)
Research on the harmony of breathing
Thank you, please leave me a negative review