More on Entrepreneurship/Creators
1 year ago
Bills are paid by your 9 to 5. 6 through 12 help you build money.
40 years pass. After 14 years of retirement, you die. Am I the only one who sees the problem?
I’m the Jedi master of escaping the rat race.
Not to impress. I know this works since I've tried it. Quitting a job to make money online is worse than Kim Kardashian's internet-burning advice.
Let me help you rethink the move from a career to online income to f*ck you money.
To understand why a job is a joke, do some life math.
Without a solid why, nothing makes sense.
The retirement age is 65. Our processed food consumption could shorten our 79-year average lifespan.
You spend 40 years working.
After 14 years of retirement, you die.
Am I alone in seeing the problem?
Life is too short to work a job forever, especially since most people hate theirs. After-hours skills are vital.
Money equals unrestricted power, f*ck you.
F*ck you money is the answer.
Jack Raines said it first. He says we can do anything with the money. Jack, a young rebel straight out of college, can travel and try new foods.
F*ck you money signifies not checking your bank account before buying.
F*ck you” money is pure, unadulterated freedom with no strings attached.
Jack claims you're rich when you rarely think about money.
This doesn't imply you can buy a Lamborghini. It indicates your costs, income, lifestyle, and bank account are balanced.
Jack established an online portfolio while working for UPS in Atlanta, Georgia. So he gained boundless power.
The portion that many erroneously believe
Yes, you need internet abilities to make money, but they're not different from 9-5 talents.
Sahil Lavingia, Gumroad's creator, explains.
A job is a way to get paid to learn.
Mistreat your boss 9-5. Drain his skills. Defuse him. Love and leave him (eventually).
Find another employment if yours is hazardous. Pick an easy job. Make sure nothing sneaks into your 6-12 time slot.
The dumb game that makes you a sheep
A 9-5 job requires many job interviews throughout life.
You email your résumé to employers and apply for jobs through advertisements. This game makes you a sheep.
You're competing globally. Work-from-home makes the competition tougher. If you're not the cheapest, employers won't hire you.
After-hours online talents (say, 6 pm-12 pm) change the game. This graphic explains it better:
Online talents boost after-hours opportunities.
You go from wanting to be picked to picking yourself. More chances equal more money. Your f*ck you fund gets the extra cash.
A novel method of learning is essential.
College costs six figures and takes a lifetime to repay.
Informal learning is distinct. 6-12pm:
Observe the carefully controlled Twitter newsfeed.
Make use of Teachable and Gumroad's online courses.
Watch instructional YouTube videos
Look through the top Substack newsletters.
Informal learning is more effective because it's not obvious. It's fun to follow your curiosity and hobbies.
The majority of people lack one attitude. It's simple to learn.
One big impediment stands in the way of f*ck you money and time independence. So often.
Too many people plan after 6-12 hours. Dreaming. Big-thinkers. Strategically. They fill their calendar with meetings.
This is after-hours masturb*tion.
Sahil Bloom reminded me that a bias towards action will determine if this approach works for you.
The key isn't knowing what to do from 6-12 a.m. Trust yourself and develop abilities as you go. It's for building the parachute after you jump.
Sounds risky. We've eliminated the risk by finishing this process after hours while you work 9-5.
With no risk, you can have an I-don't-care attitude and still be successful.
When you choose to move forward, this occurs.
Once you try 9-5/6-12, you'll tell someone.
Few of us hang out with problem-solvers.
It's how much of society operates. So they make reasons so they can feel better about not giving you money.
Matthew Kobach told me chasing f*ck you money is easier with like-minded folks.
Without f*ck you money friends, loneliness will take over and you'll think you've messed up when you just need to keep going.
Steal this easy guideline
Let's act. No more fluffing and caressing.
If you detest your 9-5 talents or don't think they'll work online, get new ones. If you're skilled enough, continue.
Easlo recommends these skills:
Designer for Figma
editor in Photoshop
Automation consultant for Zapier
Designer of Webflow
video editor Adobe
Ghostwriter for Twitter
Artist in Blender Studio
2. Develop the ability
Every night from 6-12, apply the skill.
Practicing ghostwriting? Write someone's tweets for free. Do someone's website copy to learn copywriting. Get a website to the top of Google for a keyword to understand SEO.
Free practice is crucial. Your 9-5 pays the money, so work for free.
3. Take off stealthily like a badass
Another mistake. Sell to few. Don't be the best. Don't claim expertise.
Sell your new expertise to others behind you.
Using a digital good
By providing a service,
Point 1 also includes digital service examples. Digital products include eBooks, communities, courses, ad-supported podcasts, and templates. It's easy. Your 9-5 job involves one of these.
Take ideas from work.
Why? They'll steal your time for profit.
4. Iterate while feeling awful
First-time launches always fail. You'll feel terrible. Okay. Remember your 9-5?
Find improvements. Ask free and paying consumers what worked.
Multiple relaunches, each 1% better.
5. Discover more
Never stop learning. Improve your skill. Add a relevant skill. Learn copywriting if you write online.
After-hours students earn the most.
Repetition is key.
7. Make this one small change.
Consistently. The 6-12 momentum won't make you rich in 30 days; that's success p*rn.
Consistency helps wage slaves become f*ck you money. Most people can't switch between the two.
Putting everything together
It's easy. You're probably already doing some.
This formula explains why, how, and what to do. It's a 5th-grade-friendly blueprint. Good.
Reduce financial risk with your 9-to-5. Replace Netflix with 6-12 money-making talents.
Life is short; do whatever you want. Today.
10 months ago
400 articles later, nobody bothered to read them.
Writing for readers:
14 years of daily writing.
I post practically everything on social media. I authored hundreds of articles, thousands of tweets, and numerous volumes to almost no one.
Tens of thousands of readers regularly praise me.
I despised writing. I'm stuck now.
I've learned what readers like and what doesn't.
Here are some essential guidelines for writing with impact:
Readers won't understand your work if you can't.
Though obvious, this slipped me up. Share your truths.
Stories engage human brains.
Showing the journey of a person from worm to butterfly inspires the human spirit.
Overthinking hinders powerful writing.
The best ideas come from inner understanding in between thoughts.
Avoid writing to find it. Write.
Writing a masterpiece isn't motivating.
Write for five minutes to simplify. Step-by-step, entertaining, easy steps.
Good writing requires a willingness to make mistakes.
So write loads of garbage that you can edit into a good piece.
A courageous story will move readers. Personal experience is best.
Go where few dare.
Templates, outlines, and boundaries help.
Limitations enhance writing.
Excellent writing is straightforward and readable, removing all the unnecessary fat.
Use five words instead of nine.
Use ordinary words instead of uncommon ones.
Readers desire relatability.
Too much perfection will turn it off.
Write to solve an issue if you can't think of anything to write.
Instead, read to inspire. Best authors read.
Every tweet, thread, and novel must have a central idea.
What's its point?
This can make writing confusing.
️ Don't direct your reader.
Readers quit reading. Demonstrate, describe, and relate.
Even if no one responds, have fun. If you hate writing it, the reader will too.
1 year ago
Trends from the Winter 2022 Demo Day at Y Combinators
Y Combinators Winter 2022 Demo Day continues the trend of more startups engaging in accelerator Demo Days. Our team evaluated almost 400 projects in Y Combinator's ninth year.
After Winter 2021 Demo Day, we noticed a hurry pushing shorter rounds, inflated valuations, and larger batches.
Despite the batch size, this event's behavior showed a return to normalcy. Our observations show that investors evaluate and fund businesses more carefully. Unlike previous years, more YC businesses gave investors with data rooms and thorough pitch decks in addition to valuation data before Demo Day.
Demo Day pitches were virtual and fast-paced, limiting unplanned meetings. Investors had more time and information to do their due research before meeting founders. Our staff has more time to study diverse areas and engage with interesting entrepreneurs and founders.
This was one of the most regionally diversified YC cohorts to date. This year's Winter Demo Day startups showed some interesting tendencies.
Trends and Industries to Watch Before Demo Day
Demo day events at any accelerator show how investment competition is influencing startups. As startups swiftly become scale-ups and big success stories in fintech, e-commerce, healthcare, and other competitive industries, entrepreneurs and early-stage investors feel pressure to scale quickly and turn a notion into actual innovation.
Too much eagerness can lead founders to focus on market growth and team experience instead of solid concepts, technical expertise, and market validation. Last year, YC Winter Demo Day funding cycles ended too quickly and valuations were unrealistically high.
Scrum Ventures observed a longer funding cycle this year compared to last year's Demo Day. While that seems promising, many factors could be contributing to change, including:
Market patterns are changing and the economy is becoming worse.
the industries that investors are thinking about.
Individual differences between each event batch and the particular businesses and entrepreneurs taking part
The Winter 2022 Batch's Trends
Each year, we also wish to examine trends among early-stage firms and YC event participants. More international startups than ever were anticipated to present at Demo Day.
Less than 50% of demo day startups were from the U.S. For the S21 batch, firms from outside the US were most likely in Latin America or Europe, however this year's batch saw a large surge in startups situated in Asia and Africa.
YC Startup Directory
163 out of 399 startups were B2B software and services companies. Financial, healthcare, and consumer startups were common.
Our team doesn't plan to attend every pitch or speak with every startup's founders or team members. Let's look at cleantech, Web3, and health and wellness startup trends.
Our Opinions Following Conversations with 87 Startups at Demo Day
In the lead-up to Demo Day, we spoke with 87 of the 125 startups going. Compared to B2C enterprises, B2B startups had higher average valuations. A few outliers with high valuations pushed B2B and B2C means above the YC-wide mean and median.
Many of these startups develop business and technology solutions we've previously covered. We've seen API, EdTech, creative platforms, and cybersecurity remain strong and increase each year.
While these persistent tendencies influenced the startups Scrum Ventures looked at and the founders we interacted with on Demo Day, new trends required more research and preparation. Let's examine cleantech, Web3, and health and wellness startups.
Hardware and software that is green
Cleantech enterprises demand varying amounts of funding for hardware and software. Although the same overarching trend is fueling the growth of firms in this category, each subgroup has its own strategy and technique for investigation and identifying successful investments.
Many cleantech startups we spoke to during the YC event are focused on helping industrial operations decrease or recycle carbon emissions.
Carbon Crusher: Creating carbon negative roads
Phase Biolabs: Turning carbon emissions into carbon negative products and carbon neutral e-fuels
Seabound: Capturing carbon dioxide emissions from ships
Fleetzero: Creating electric cargo ships
Impossible Mining: Sustainable seabed mining
Beyond Aero: Creating zero-emission private aircraft
Verdn: Helping businesses automatically embed environmental pledges for product and service offerings, boost customer engagement
AeonCharge: Allowing electric vehicle (EV) drivers to more easily locate and pay for EV charging stations
Phoenix Hydrogen: Offering a hydrogen marketplace and a connected hydrogen hub platform to connect supply and demand for hydrogen fuel and simplify hub planning and partner program expansion
Aklimate: Allowing businesses to measure and reduce their supply chain’s environmental impact
Pina Earth: Certifying and tracking the progress of businesses’ forestry projects
AirMyne: Developing machines that can reverse emissions by removing carbon dioxide from the air
Unravel Carbon: Software for enterprises to track and reduce their carbon emissions
Web3: NFTs, the metaverse, and cryptocurrency
Web3 technologies handle a wide range of business issues. This category includes companies employing blockchain technology to disrupt entertainment, finance, cybersecurity, and software development.
Many of these startups overlap with YC's FinTech trend. Despite this, B2C and B2B enterprises were evenly represented in Web3. We examined:
Stablegains: Offering consistent interest on cash balance from the decentralized finance (DeFi) market
LiquiFi: Simplifying token management with automated vesting contracts, tax reporting, and scheduling. For companies, investors, and finance & accounting
NFTScoring: An NFT trading platform
CypherD Wallet: A multichain wallet for crypto and NFTs with a non-custodial crypto debit card that instantly converts coins to USD
Remi Labs: Allowing businesses to more easily create NFT collections that serve as access to products, memberships, events, and more
Cashmere: A crypto wallet for Web3 startups to collaboratively manage funds
Chaingrep: An API that makes blockchain data human-readable and tokens searchable
Courtyard: A platform for securely storing physical assets and creating 3D representations as NFTs
Arda: “Banking as a Service for DeFi,” an API that FinTech companies can use to embed DeFi products into their platforms
earnJARVIS: A premium cryptocurrency management platform, allowing users to create long-term portfolios
Mysterious: Creating community-specific experiences for Web3 Discords
Winter: An embeddable widget that allows businesses to sell NFTs to users purchasing with a credit card or bank transaction
SimpleHash: An API for NFT data that provides compatibility across blockchains, standardized metadata, accurate transaction info, and simple integration
Lifecast: Tools that address motion sickness issues for 3D VR video
Gym Class: Virtual reality (VR) multiplayer basketball video game
WorldQL: An asset API that allows NFT creators to specify multiple in-game interpretations of their assets, increasing their value
Bonsai Desk: A software development kit (SDK) for 3D analytics
Campfire: Supporting virtual social experiences for remote teams
Unai: A virtual headset and Visual World experience
Vimmerse: Allowing creators to more easily create immersive 3D experiences
Fitness and health
Scrum Ventures encountered fewer health and wellness startup founders than Web3 and Cleantech. The types of challenges these organizations solve are still diverse. Several of these companies are part of a push toward customization in healthcare, an area of biotech set for growth for companies with strong portfolios and experienced leadership.
Here are several startups we considered:
Syrona Health: Personalized healthcare for women in the workplace
Anja Health: Personalized umbilical cord blood banking and stem cell preservation
Alfie: A weight loss program focused on men’s health that coordinates medical care, coaching, and “community-based competition” to help users lose an average of 15% body weight
Ankr Health: An artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled telehealth platform that provides personalized side effect education for cancer patients and data collection for their care teams
Koko — A personalized sleep program to improve at-home sleep analysis and training
Condition-specific telehealth platforms and programs:
Reviving Mind: Chronic care management covered by insurance and supporting holistic, community-oriented health care
Equipt Health: At-home delivery of prescription medical equipment to help manage chronic conditions like obstructive sleep apnea
LunaJoy: Holistic women’s healthcare management for mental health therapy, counseling, and medication
12 Startups from YC's Winter 2022 Demo Day to Watch
Bobidi: 10x faster AI model improvement
Artificial intelligence (AI) models have become a significant tool for firms to improve how well and rapidly they process data. Bobidi helps AI-reliant firms evaluate their models, boosting data insights in less time and reducing data analysis expenditures. The business has created a gamified community that offers a bug bounty for AI, incentivizing community members to test and find weaknesses in clients' AI models.
Magna: DeFi investment management and token vesting
Magna delivers rapid, secure token vesting so consumers may turn DeFi investments into primitives. Carta for Web3 allows enterprises to effortlessly distribute tokens to staff or investors. The Magna team hopes to allow corporations use locked tokens as collateral for loans, facilitate secondary liquidity so investors can sell shares on a public exchange, and power additional DeFi applications.
Perl Street: Funding for infrastructure
This Fintech firm intends to help hardware entrepreneurs get financing by [democratizing] structured finance, unleashing billions for sustainable infrastructure and next-generation hardware solutions. This network has helped hardware entrepreneurs achieve more than $140 million in finance, helping companies working on energy storage devices, EVs, and creating power infrastructure.
CypherD: Multichain cryptocurrency wallet
CypherD seeks to provide a multichain crypto wallet so general customers can explore Web3 products without knowledge hurdles. The startup's beta app lets consumers access crypto from EVM blockchains. The founders have crypto, financial, and startup experience.
Unravel Carbon: Enterprise carbon tracking and offsetting
Unravel Carbon's AI-powered decarbonization technology tracks companies' carbon emissions. Singapore-based startup focuses on Asia. The software can use any company's financial data to trace the supply chain and calculate carbon tracking, which is used to make regulatory disclosures and suggest carbon offsets.
LunaJoy: Precision mental health for women
LunaJoy helped women obtain mental health support throughout life. The platform combines data science to create a tailored experience, allowing women to access psychotherapy, medication management, genetic testing, and health coaching.
Posh: Automated EV battery recycling
Posh attempts to solve one of the EV industry's largest logistical difficulties. Millions of EV batteries will need to be decommissioned in the next decade, and their precious metals and residual capacity will go unused for some time. Posh offers automated, scalable lithium battery disassembly, making EV battery recycling more viable.
Unai: VR headset with 5x higher resolution
Unai stands apart from metaverse companies. Its VR headgear has five times the resolution of existing options and emphasizes human expression and interaction in a remote world. Maxim Perumal's method of latency reduction powers current VR headsets.
Palitronica: Physical infrastructure cybersecurity
Palitronica blends cutting-edge hardware and software to produce networked electronic systems that support crucial physical and supply chain infrastructure. The startup's objective is to build solutions that defend national security and key infrastructure from cybersecurity threats.
Reality Defender: Deepfake detection
Reality Defender alerts firms to bogus users and changed audio, video, and image files. Reality Deference's API and web app score material in real time to prevent fraud, improve content moderation, and detect deception.
Micro Meat: Infrastructure for the manufacture of cell-cultured meat
MicroMeat promotes sustainable meat production. The company has created technologies to scale up bioreactor-grown meat muscle tissue from animal cells. Their goal is to scale up cultured meat manufacturing so cultivated meat products can be brought to market feasibly and swiftly, boosting worldwide meat consumption.
Fleetzero: Electric cargo ships
This startup's battery technology will make cargo ships more sustainable and profitable. Fleetzero's electric cargo ships have five times larger profit margins than fossil fuel ships. Fleetzeros' founder has marine engineering, ship operations, and enterprise sales and business experience.
You might also like
1 year ago
This post is for you if you can't read or study for 5 minutes.
If you clicked this post, you may be experiencing problems focusing on tasks. A few minutes of reading may tire you. Easily distracted? Using social media and video games for hours without being sidetracked may impair your dopamine system.
When we achieve a goal, the brain secretes dopamine. It might be as simple as drinking water or as crucial as college admission. Situations vary. Various events require different amounts.
Dopamine is released when we start learning but declines over time. Social media algorithms provide new material continually, making us happy. Social media use slows down the system. We can't continue without an award. We return to social media and dopamine rewards.
Mice were given a button that released dopamine into their brains to study the hormone. The mice lost their hunger, thirst, and libido and kept pressing the button. Think this is like someone who spends all day gaming or on Instagram?
When we cause our brain to release so much dopamine, the brain tries to balance it in 2 ways:
1- Decreases dopamine production
2- Dopamine cannot reach its target.
Too many quick joys aren't enough. We'll want more joys. Drugs and alcohol are similar. Initially, a beer will get you drunk. After a while, 3-4 beers will get you drunk.
Social media is continually changing. Updates to these platforms keep us interested. When social media conditions us, we can't read a book.
Same here. I used to complete a book in a day and work longer without distraction. Now I'm addicted to Instagram. Daily, I spend 2 hours on social media. This must change. My life needs improvement. So I started the 50-day challenge.
I've compiled three dopamine-related methods.
Day-long dopamine detox
First, take a day off from all your favorite things. Social media, gaming, music, junk food, fast food, smoking, alcohol, friends. Take a break.
Hanging out with friends or listening to music may seem pointless. Our minds are polluted. One day away from our pleasures can refresh us.
2. One-week dopamine detox by selecting
Choose one or more things to avoid. Social media, gaming, music, junk food, fast food, smoking, alcohol, friends. Try a week without Instagram or Twitter. I use this occasionally.
One week all together
One solid detox week. It's the hardest program. First or second options are best for dopamine detox. Time will help you.
You can walk, read, or pray during a dopamine detox. Many options exist. If you want to succeed, you must avoid instant gratification. Success after hard work is priceless.
1 year ago
As the world watches the Russia-Ukraine border situation, This bill would bar aid to Ukraine until the Mexican border is secured.
Although Mexico and Ukraine are thousands of miles apart, this legislation would link their responses.
Ukraine was a Soviet republic until 1991. A significant proportion of the population, particularly in the east, is ethnically Russian. In February, the Russian military invaded Ukraine, intent on overthrowing its democratically elected government.
This could be the biggest European land invasion since WWII. In response, President Joe Biden sent 3,000 troops to NATO countries bordering Ukraine to help with Ukrainian refugees, with more troops possible if the situation worsened.
In July 2021, the US Border Patrol reported its highest monthly encounter total since March 2000. Some Republicans compare Biden's response to the Mexican border situation to his response to the Ukrainian border situation, though the correlation is unclear.
What the bills do
Two new Republican bills seek to link the US response to Ukraine to the situation in Mexico.
The Secure America's Borders First Act would prohibit federal funding for Ukraine until the US-Mexico border is “operationally controlled,” including a wall as promised by former President Donald Trump. (The bill even mandates a 30-foot-high wall.)
The USB (Ukraine and Southern Border) Act, introduced on February 8 by Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-MT0), would allow the US to support Ukraine, but only if the number of Armed Forces deployed there is less than the number deployed to the Mexican border. Madison Cawthorne introduced H.R. 6665 on February 9th (R-NC11).
What backers say
Supporters argue that even if the US should militarily assist Ukraine, our own domestic border situation should take precedence.
After failing to secure our own border and protect our own territorial integrity, ‘America Last' politicians on both sides of the aisle now tell us that we must do so for Ukraine. “Before rushing America into another foreign conflict over an Eastern European nation's border thousands of miles from our shores, they should first secure our southern border.”
“If Joe Biden truly cared about Americans, he would prioritize national security over international affairs,” Rep. Cawthorn said in a separate press release. The least we can do to secure our own country is send the same number of troops to the US-Mexico border to assist our border patrol agents working diligently to secure America.
What opponents say
The president has defended his Ukraine and Mexico policies, stating that both seek peace and diplomacy.
Our nations [the US and Mexico] have a long and complicated history, and we haven't always been perfect neighbors, but we have seen the power and purpose of cooperation,” Biden said in 2021. “We're safer when we work together, whether it's to manage our shared border or stop the pandemic. [In both the Obama and Biden administration], we made a commitment that we look at Mexico as an equal, not as somebody who is south of our border.”
No mistake: If Russia goes ahead with its plans, it will be responsible for a catastrophic and unnecessary war of choice. To protect our collective security, the United States and our allies are ready to defend every inch of NATO territory. We won't send troops into Ukraine, but we will continue to support the Ukrainian people... But, I repeat, Russia can choose diplomacy. It is not too late to de-escalate and return to the negotiating table.”
Odds of passage
The Secure America's Borders First Act has nine Republican sponsors. Either the House Armed Services or Foreign Affairs Committees may vote on it.
Rep. Paul Gosar, a Republican, co-sponsored the USB Act (R-AZ4). The House Armed Services Committee may vote on it.
With Republicans in control, passage is unlikely.
1 year ago
The chronicles of monkeypox.
or, how I spread monkeypox and got it myself.
This story contains nsfw (not safe for wife) stuff and shouldn't be read if you're under 18 or think I'm a newborn angel. After the opening, it's broken into three sections: a chronological explanation of my disease course, my ideas, and what I plan to do next.
Your journey awaits.
As early as mid-may, I was waltzing around the lab talking about monkeypox, a rare tropical disease with an inaccurate name. Monkeys are not its primary animal reservoir. It caused an outbreak among men who have sex with men across Europe, with unprecedented levels of person-to-person transmission. European health authorities speculated that the virus spread at raves and parties and was easily transferred through intimate, mainly sexual, contact. I had already read the nejm article about the first confirmed monkeypox patient in the u.s. and shared the photos on social media so people knew what to look for. The cdc information page only included 4 photographs of monkeypox lesions that looked like they were captured on a motorola razr.
I warned my ex-boyfriend about monkeypox. Monkeypox? responded.
Mom, I'm afraid about monkeypox. What's monkeypox?
My therapist is scared about monkeypox. What's monkeypox?
Was I alone? A few science gays on Twitter didn't make me feel overreacting.
This information got my gay head turning. The incubation period for the sickness is weeks. Many of my social media contacts are traveling to Europe this summer. What is pride? Travel, parties, and sex. Many people may become infected before attending these activities. Monkeypox will affect the lgbtq+ community.
Being right always stinks. My young scientist brain was right, though. Someone who saw this coming is one of the early victims. I'll talk about my feelings publicly, and trust me, I have many concerning what's occurring.
Part 1 is the specifics.
Wednesday nights are never smart but always entertaining. I didn't wake up until noon on june 23 and saw gay twitter blazing. Without warning, the nyc department of health announced a pop-up monkeypox immunization station in chelsea. Some days would be 11am-7pm. Walk-ins were welcome, however appointments were preferred. I tried to arrange an appointment after rubbing my eyes, but they were all taken. I got out of bed, washed my face, brushed my teeth, and put on short shorts because I wanted to get a walk-in dose and show off my legs. I got a 20-oz. cold brew on the way to the train and texted a chelsea-based acquaintance for help.
Clinic closed at 2pm. No more doses. Hundreds queued up. The government initially gave them only 1,000 dosages. For a city with 500,000 LGBT people, c'mon. What more could I do? I was upset by how things were handled. The evidence speaks for itself.
I decided to seek an appointment when additional doses were available and continued my weekend. I was celebrating nyc pride with pals. Fun! sex! *
On tuesday after that, I felt a little burn. This wasn't surprising because I'd been sexually active throughout the weekend, so I got a sti panel the next day. I expected to get results in a few days, take antibiotics, and move on.
Emerging germs had other intentions. Wednesday night, I felt sore, and thursday morning, I had a blazing temperature and had sweat through my bedding. I had fever, chills, and body-wide aches and pains for three days. I reached 102 degrees. I believed I had covid over pride weekend, but I tested negative for three days straight.
STDs don't induce fevers or other systemic symptoms. If lymphogranuloma venereum advances, it can cause flu-like symptoms and swollen lymph nodes. I was suspicious and desperate for answers, so I researched monkeypox on the cdc website (for healthcare professionals). Much of what I saw on screen about monkeypox prodrome matched my symptoms. Multiple-day fever, headache, muscle aches, chills, tiredness, enlarged lymph nodes. Pox were lacking.
I told my doctor my concerns pre-medically. I'm occasionally annoying.
On saturday night, my fever broke and I felt better. Still burning, I was optimistic till sunday, when I woke up with five red splotches on my arms and fingertips.
As spots formed, burning became pain. I observed as spots developed on my body throughout the day. I had more than a dozen by the end of the day, and the early spots were pustular. I had monkeypox, as feared.
Fourth of July weekend limited my options. I'm well-connected in my school's infectious disease academic community, so I texted a coworker for advice. He agreed it was likely monkeypox and scheduled me for testing on tuesday.
nyc health could only perform 10 monkeypox tests every day. Before doctors could take swabs and send them in, each test had to be approved by the department. Some commercial labs can now perform monkeypox testing, but the backlog is huge. I still don't have a positive orthopoxvirus test five days after my test. *My 12-day-old case may not be included in the official monkeypox tally. This outbreak is far wider than we first thought, therefore I'm attempting to spread the information and help contain it.
*Update, 7/11: I have orthopoxvirus.
I spent all day in the bathtub because of the agony. Warm lavender epsom salts helped me feel better. I can't stand lavender anymore. I brought my laptop into the bathroom and viewed everything everywhere at once (2022). If my ex and I hadn't recently broken up, I wouldn't have monkeypox. All of these things made me cry, and I sat in the bathtub on the 4th of July sobbing. I thought, Is this it? I felt like Bridesmaids' Kristen Wiig (2011). I'm a flop. From here, things can only improve.
Later that night, I wore a mask and went to my roof to see the fireworks. Even though I don't like fireworks, there was something wonderful about them this year: the colors, how they illuminated the black surfaces around me, and their transient beauty. Joyful moments rarely linger long in our life. We must enjoy them now.
Several roofs away, my neighbors gathered. Happy 4th! I heard a woman yell. Why is this godforsaken country so happy? Instead of being rude, I replied. I didn't tell them I had monkeypox. I thought that would kill the mood.
By the time I went to the hospital the next day to get my lesions swabbed, wearing long sleeves, pants, and a mask, they looked like this:
I had 30 lesions on my arms, hands, stomach, back, legs, buttcheeks, face, scalp, and right eyebrow. I had some in my mouth, gums, and throat. Current medical thought is that lesions on mucous membranes cause discomfort in sensitive places. Internal lesions are a new feature of this outbreak of monkeypox. Despite being unattractive, the other sores weren't unpleasant or bothersome.
I had a bacterial sti with the pox. Who knows if that would've created symptoms (often it doesn't), but different infections can happen at once. My care team remembered that having a sti doesn't exclude out monkeypox. doxycycline rocks!
The coworker who introduced me to testing also offered me his home. We share a restroom, and monkeypox can be spread through surfaces. (Being a dna virus gives it environmental hardiness that rna viruses like sars-cov-2 lack.) I disinfected our bathroom after every usage, but I was apprehensive. My friend's place has a guest room and second bathroom, so no cross-contamination. It was the ideal monkeypox isolation environment, so I accepted his offer and am writing this piece there. I don't know what I would have done without his hospitality and attention.
The next day, I started tecovirimat, or tpoxx, for 14 days. Smallpox has been eradicated worldwide since the 1980s but remains a bioterrorism concern. Tecovirimat has a unique, orthopoxvirus-specific method of action, which reduces side effects to headache and nausea. It hasn't been used in many people, therefore the cdc is encouraging patients who take it for monkeypox to track their disease and symptoms.
Tpoxx's oral absorption requires a fatty meal. The hospital ordered me to take the medication after a 600-calorie, 25-gram-fat meal every 12 hours. The coordinator joked, "Don't diet for the next two weeks." I wanted to get peanut butter delivered, but jif is recalling their supply due to salmonella. Please give pathogens a break. I got almond butter.
Tpoxx study enrollment was documented. After signing consent documents, my lesions were photographed and measured during a complete physical exam. I got bloodwork to assess my health. My medication delivery was precise; every step must be accounted for. I got a two-week supply and started taking it that night. I rewarded myself with McDonald's. I'd been hungry for a week. I was also prescribed ketorolac (aka toradol), a stronger ibuprofen, for my discomfort.
I thought tpoxx was a wonder medicine by day two of treatment. Early lesions looked like this.
however, They vanished. The three largest lesions on my back flattened and practically disappeared into my skin. Some pustular lesions were diminishing. Tpoxx+toradol has helped me sleep, focus, and feel human again. I'm down to twice-daily baths and feeling hungrier than ever in this illness. On day five of tpoxx, some of the lesions look like this:
I have a ways to go. We must believe I'll be contagious until the last of my patches scabs over, falls off, and sprouts new skin. There's no way to tell. After a week and a half of tremendous pain and psychological stress, any news is good news. I'm grateful for my slow but steady development.
Part 2 of the rant.
Being close to yet not in the medical world is interesting. It lets me know a lot about it without being persuaded by my involvement. Doctors identify and treat patients using a tool called differential diagnosis.
A doctor interviews a patient to learn about them and their symptoms. More is better. Doctors may ask, "Have you traveled recently?" sex life? Have pets? preferred streaming service? (No, really. (Hbomax is right.) After the inquisition, the doctor will complete a body exam ranging from looking in your eyes, ears, and throat to a thorough physical.
After collecting data, the doctor makes a mental (or physical) inventory of all the conceivable illnesses that could cause or explain the patient's symptoms. Differential diagnosis list. After establishing the differential, the clinician can eliminate options. The doctor will usually conduct nucleic acid tests on swab samples or bloodwork to learn more. This helps eliminate conditions from the differential or boosts a condition's likelihood. In an ideal circumstance, the doctor can eliminate all but one reason of your symptoms, leaving your formal diagnosis. Once diagnosed, treatment can begin. yay! Love medicine.
My symptoms two weeks ago did not suggest monkeypox. Fever, pains, weariness, and swollen lymph nodes are caused by several things. My scandalous symptoms weren't linked to common ones. My instance shows the importance of diversity and representation in healthcare. My doctor isn't gay, but he provides culturally sensitive care. I'd heard about monkeypox as a gay man in New York. I was hyper-aware of it and had heard of friends of friends who had contracted it the week before, even though the official case count in the US was 40. My physicians weren't concerned, but I was. How would it appear on his mental differential if it wasn't on his radar? Mental differential rhymes! I'll trademark it to prevent theft. differential!
I was in a rare position to recognize my condition and advocate for myself. I study infections. I'd spent months researching monkeypox. I work at a university where I rub shoulders with some of the country's greatest doctors. I'm a gay dude who follows nyc queer social networks online. All of these variables positioned me to think, "Maybe this is monkeypox," and to explain why.
This outbreak is another example of privilege at work. The brokenness of our healthcare system is once again exposed by the inequities produced by the vaccination rollout and the existence of people like myself who can pull strings owing to their line of work. I can't cure this situation on my own, but I can be a strong voice demanding the government do a better job addressing the outbreak and giving resources and advice to everyone I can.
lgbtqia+ community members' support has always impressed me in new york. The queer community has watched out for me and supported me in ways I never dreamed were possible.
Queer individuals are there for each other when societal structures fail. People went to the internet on the first day of the vaccine rollout to share appointment information and the vaccine clinic's message. Twitter timelines were more effective than marketing campaigns. Contrary to widespread anti-vaccine sentiment, the LGBT community was eager to protect themselves. Smallpox vaccination? sure. gimme. whether I'm safe. I credit the community's sex positivity. Many people are used to talking about STDs, so there's a reduced barrier to saying, "I think I have something, you should be on the watch too," and taking steps to protect our health.
Once I got monkeypox, I posted on Twitter and Instagram. Besides fueling my main character syndrome, I felt like I wasn't alone. My dc-based friend had monkeypox within hours. He told me about his experience and gave me ideas for managing the discomfort. I can't imagine life without him.
My buddy and colleague organized my medical care and let me remain in his home. His and his husband's friendliness and attention made a world of difference in my recovery. All of my friends and family who helped me, whether by venmo, doordash, or moral support, made me feel cared about. I don't deserve the amazing people in my life.
Finally, I think of everyone who commented on my social media posts regarding my trip. Friends from all sectors of my life and all sexualities have written me well wishes and complimented me for my vulnerability, but I feel the most gravitas from fellow lgbtq+ persons. They're learning to spot. They're learning where to go ill. They're learning self-advocacy. I'm another link in our network of caretaking. I've been cared for, therefore I want to do the same. Community and knowledge are powerful.
You're probably wondering where the diatribe is. You may believe he's gushing about his loved ones, and you'd be right. I say that just because the queer community can take care of itself doesn't mean we should.
Even when caused by the same pathogen, comparing health crises is risky. Aids is unlike covid-19 or monkeypox, yet all were caused by poorly understood viruses. The lgbtq+ community has a history of self-medicating. Queer people (and their supporters) have led the charge to protect themselves throughout history when the government refused. Surreal to experience this in real time.
First, vaccination access is a government failure. The strategic national stockpile contains tens of thousands of doses of jynneos, the newest fda-approved smallpox vaccine, and millions of doses of acam2000, an older vaccine for immunocompetent populations. Despite being a monkeypox hotspot and international crossroads, new york has only received 7,000 doses of the jynneos vaccine. Vaccine appointments are booked within minutes. It's showing Hunger Games, which bothers me.
Second, I think the government failed to recognize the severity of the european monkeypox outbreak. We saw abroad reports in may, but the first vaccines weren't available until june. Why was I a 26-year-old pharmacology grad student, able to see a monkeypox problem in europe but not the u.s. public health agency? Or was there too much bureaucracy and politicking, delaying action?
Lack of testing infrastructure for a known virus with vaccinations and therapies is appalling. More testing would have helped understand the problem's breadth. Many homosexual guys, including myself, didn't behave like monkeypox was a significant threat because there were only a dozen instances across the country. Our underestimating of the issue, spurred by a story of few infections, was huge.
Public health officials' response to infectious diseases frustrates me. A wait-and-see approach to infectious diseases is unsatisfactory. Before a sick person is recognized, they've exposed and maybe contaminated numerous others. Vaccinating susceptible populations before a disease becomes entrenched prevents disease. CDC might operate this way. When it was easier, they didn't control or prevent monkeypox. We'll learn when. Sometimes I fear never. Emerging viral infections are a menace in the era of climate change and globalization, and I fear our government will repeat the same mistakes. I don't work at the cdc, thus I have no idea what they do. As a scientist, a homosexual guy, and a citizen of this country, I feel confident declaring that the cdc has not done enough about monkeypox. Will they do enough about monkeypox? The strategic national stockpile can respond to a bioterrorism disaster in 12 hours. I'm skeptical following this outbreak.
It's simple to criticize the cdc, but they're not to blame. Underfunding public health services, especially the cdc, is another way our government fails to safeguard its citizens. I may gripe about the vaccination rollout all I want, but local health departments are doing their best with limited resources. They may not have enough workers to keep up with demand and run a contact-tracing program. Since my orthopoxvirus test is still negative, the doh hasn't asked about my close contacts. By then, my illness will be two weeks old, too long to do anything productive. Not their fault. They're functioning in a broken system that's underfunded for the work it does.
*Update, 7/11: I have orthopoxvirus.
Monkeypox is slow, so i've had time to contemplate. Now that I'm better, I'm angry. furious and sad I want to help. I wish to spare others my pain. This was preventable and solvable, I hope. HOW?
Third, the duty.
Family, especially selected family, helps each other. So many people have helped me throughout this difficult time. How can I give back? I have ideas.
1. Education. I've already started doing this by writing incredibly detailed posts on Instagram about my physical sickness and my thoughts on the entire scandal. via tweets. by producing this essay. I'll keep doing it even if people start to resent me! It's crucial! On my Instagram profile (@kyleplanckton), you may discover a story highlight with links to all of my bizarre yet educational posts.
2. Resources. I've forwarded the contact information for my institution's infectious diseases clinic to several folks who will hopefully be able to get tpoxx under the expanded use policy. Through my social networks, I've learned of similar institutions. I've also shared crowdsourced resources about symptom relief and vaccine appointment availability on social media. DM me or see my Instagram highlight for more.
3. Community action. During my illness, my friends' willingness to aid me has meant the most. It was nice to know I had folks on my side. One of my pals (thanks, kenny) snagged me a mcgriddle this morning when seamless canceled my order. This scenario has me thinking about methods to help people with monkeypox isolation. A two-week isolation period is financially damaging for many hourly workers. Certain governments required paid sick leave for covid-19 to allow employees to recover and prevent spread. No comparable program exists for monkeypox, and none seems to be planned shortly.
I want to aid monkeypox patients in severe financial conditions. I'm willing to pick up and bring groceries or fund meals/expenses for sick neighbors. I've seen several GoFundMe accounts, but I wish there was a centralized mechanism to link those in need with those who can help. Please contact me if you have expertise with mutual aid organizations. I hope we can start this shortly.
4. lobbying. Personal narratives are powerful. My narrative is only one, but I think it's compelling. Over the next day or so, i'll write to local, state, and federal officials about monkeypox. I wanted a vaccine but couldn't acquire one, and I feel tpoxx helped my disease. As a pharmacologist-in-training, I believe collecting data on a novel medicine is important, and there are ethical problems when making a drug with limited patient data broadly available. Many folks I know can't receive tpoxx due of red tape and a lack of contacts. People shouldn't have to go to an ivy league hospital to obtain the greatest care. Based on my experience and other people's tales, I believe tpoxx can drastically lessen monkeypox patients' pain and potentially curb transmission chains if administered early enough. This outbreak is manageable. It's not too late if we use all the instruments we have (diagnostic, vaccine, treatment).
*UPDATE 7/15: I submitted the following letter to Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand. I've addressed identical letters to local, state, and federal officials, including the CDC and HHS.
I hope to join RESPND-MI, an LGBTQ+ community-led assessment of monkeypox symptoms and networks in NYC. Visit their website to learn more and give to this community-based charity.
How I got monkeypox is a mystery. I received it through a pride physical interaction, but i'm not sure which one. This outbreak will expand unless leaders act quickly. Until then, I'll keep educating and connecting people to care in my neighborhood.
Despite my misgivings, I see some optimism. Health department social media efforts are underway. During the outbreak, the CDC provided nonjudgmental suggestions for safer social and sexual activity. There's additional information regarding the disease course online, including how to request tpoxx for sufferers. These materials can help people advocate for themselves if they're sick. Importantly, homosexual guys are listening when they discuss about monkeypox online and irl. Learners They're serious.
The government has a terrible track record with lgtbq+ health issues, and they're not off to a good start this time. I hope this time will be better. If I can aid even one individual, I'll do so.
Thanks for reading, supporting me, and spreading awareness about the 2022 monkeypox outbreak. My dms are accessible if you want info, resources, queries, or to chat.