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The Dream Of The Future Is Alive In That Musky Dorm Room

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Illustration by Tara Jacoby

As a Californian, as an on-again off-again Aaron Sorkin fan, and as someone who has tried repeatedly to watch Silicon Valley, I know how this is gonna sound. But hear me out: Wouldn’t it be nice if we could solve hunger with a nutrient shake that is both shelf-stable and tasty? What if you could hack the imperfections from your brain and body with the perfect cocktail of apps? If—I say this as a recently pregnant person, so don’t come for me—blood tests weren’t such a pain in the ass? When we skewer these vacuous self-aggrandizing megalomaniac techie dreamers, are we not also mocking the very concept of hope? 

OK, yes, I know there is that whole meddlesome problem of the actual world we live in, where innovation is disconnected from empathy and venture capital poisons the ground wherever it goes. Perhaps we should not entrust the future to people who live by a mantra that encourages speed and breaking things, those are the people who never tend to think about the messes they leave behind. Still, it’s nice to have ambitions, isn’t it? 

Today our story revolves around a pair of youths who spent the pandemic forging big ambitions in the incubator of their musky, climbing-hold-spangled college apartment. Wouldn’t it be nice, they wonder, if you could use cryptocurrency for microtransactions? Wouldn’t it be nice if you could start a company with your bestie and have everything turn out okay? Shhh. Let the children have their dreams. 

This week Kelsey’s guest is none other than Elise Hu! ​​Elise is the host of TED Talks Daily and a host-at large at NPR, as well as the author of Flawless: Lessons in Looks and Culture from the K-Beauty Capital, which is based on her years as a foreign correspondent in Seoul, South Korea. Previously, Elise was a member of the team that launched the nonprofit digital startup, The Texas Tribune. Find her on Instagram @elisewho or on TikTok as @whoelise.

Elise brought Kelsey a story about a cad with many mistresses, and about how a nigh-archaic piece of technology brought about his downfall. Then Kelsey introduced Elise to Emmett, Xander, and their ill-fated company, now to be known as MYCROZ.

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