About the Yak Collective
The Yak Collective is an online space for collaborative tinkering. We do this by creatively curating a slow-lane, long-term temporal orientation. If you want to muddle away slowly but steadily at a 10-year goal, this is a place for you. It is a space where you can work with others on gardening your indie or weekends-and-evenings life in collaboration with others who share some of your priorities/interests.
We don’t have a single overarching mission you can orient around or a formal onboarding process that will guide you to activities that might interest you. What we do have is an extremely strong emphasis on doing things together over simply hanging out and chatting (though we do that too). This can be frustrating to people who are more used to primarily social or networking communities. While long-time members might occasionally help you get oriented a bit, it’s mostly up to you to wander in, introduce yourself, look around, say hello to old friends, make new friends, find something interesting to do, and start doing it. From that, you can grow into some sort of unique long-term role you basically make up for yourself. This requires patience, willingness to low-key lurk while you figure it out, and self-starter tendencies.
We feel there’s something valuable to aspiring to work in a decentralized, convivial, leaderless way. We think this is better than either working alone or being in one of the more alienating corners of the modern world.
Activity in the Yak Collective is loosely organized around several projects or activity tracks, usually built around a weekly cadence of meetings, study groups, or coworking sessions. We try to grow our capabilities through work on long-term programs, within which projects build on each other and also have potential for fertile interplay with other programs. We organize efforts around key lighthouse interests. When we take on a program area, like robotics, we aim to stay active in it for multiple years, not just a month.
The Yak Collective maintains a constantly evolving, cobbled-together pragmatic set of tools, with a bias towards early adoption of experimental tools as they become available. We are strong believers in the idea that the medium is the message, so we take our tools seriously. We began with an infrastructure built around Discord, Roam, and a static website, and have since added a lot more support. These tools support various programs. Current programs include robotics, web infrastructure (web2 and web3), speculative fiction, online governance, and bleeding-edge publishing. If you like clean, well-organized spaces, this isn’t for you. We’re always muddling through, with constant trial and error.
The main thing it takes to be a yak is a willingness to simply show up reliably, week after week. If you reliably drop by one of our regular weekly chats for a month or so, while being open to both joining existing activities and starting your own, you’ll like it here. If you are expecting to jump in, propose your pet project and get a dozen excited recruits on Day 1, it’s unlikely to happen. But your chances increase if you bring some collaborators with you. A simpler approch is to just show up regularly, and start working slowly but steadily on something. Working in public in our spaces on something interesting means people will likely join you. You don’t so much join the Yak Collective as make it a habit. Come join us.
The Yak Collective didn’t start out in its current shape. In early 2020, it began as a network for indie consultants. The initial impetus came from wanting to do something productive together in response to covid, and that morphed into the idea of seeking consulting gigs together. That original mission didn’t quite work out as planned, but several other surprising things we didn’t plan on did work out, and the Yak Collective began evolving towards its current shape and form. We’re sure it will continue evolving and this page will look different this time next year. We like to think we now have a better idea of what we’re doing than when we started.