We have two economies: the exchange economy and the gift economy. In the exchange economy, we put exact value on things and exchange happens when values of things match. In the gift economy, things do not have an absolute objective value. Their values are subjective depending on how they are taken.

Almost everything exists in both realms, but some kinds of goods are more gift-like due to their origin and the intention of their makers.

The gift nature of certain activities are present even among people with whom we don’t easily associate it with.

Andy Matuschak differentiates between the startup mindset versus the researcher mindset. For a startup to succeed, it has to produce a product. It needs to produce a product to sell. It fails if it doesn’t produce that. Meanwhile, the researcher cannot force insight. insight cannot be predetermined. If a researcher takes on a startup mindset just to produce a product, he will compromise the very nature of his trade. This is the reason why Andy has his work supported by funding through patrons in Patreon. In early iterations of his patronage model, he doesn’t even offer any perks to patrons, just the opportunity to support him. Recently, he has introduced office hours and the privilege of contacting him as perks to his membership tiers. But that’s it.

Andy’s understanding of the difference between intentions we bring with our work attests to the fact that art could exist in both market exchange and gift realms but certain categories of human activities are more gift-like and thrive more in a gift context (i.e., not intentionally created to be commoditized).


What is my gift?

A deep and continuous renewing appreciation of life, curiousity, gratitude, perspective, and love of learning. A philosophical and even religious quest to learn how to live.

This feeling of deep connection with life that I have always felt is unique to me and which I couldn’t find in my immediate environment. This is the gift I need to nurture and continue to move.

You cant gift what you are not. Who are you? That is your gift. What you gift is what you didnt choose to become.