WTF is Existential Ventures?
Put simply, Existential Ventures is a consultancy “helping visionaries build futures worth working for”. On a practical level, it is the Estonian equivalent of an LLC that allows me, Moritz Bierling, to form contractual agreements with clients and collaborators, make use of the legacy financial system, and manage my professional endeavors from my laptop. Here’s how I got started.
From December 2014 to March 2017 I lived and worked with Exosphere in Chile and Brazil. During that time I organized the world’s first space elevator bootcamp Copernicus, the world’s first 8-week residential Ethereum developer training, an AI conference, as well as writing a primer on the emerging discipline of Alternate Reality Design, among other things.
At the beginning of 2017 I left Exosphere and returned to Germany, where I spent two months in the sanctuary of my parents’ place reorienting myself and skilling up; it was in these two months that I made the fateful decision to participate in Tiago Forte’s Building a Second Brain course, which now has become the cornerstone of my personal work process and foundation for freedom. Once I completed the course, I started working for blockchain startup Neufund and began to look for ways to take on additional opportunities. A couple years back I had heard of Estonian e-Residency and how it enabled location independent professionals to operate their business digitally, so I went ahead and applied. I was accepted and promptly proceeded to establish my own company in Estonia through the company-as-a-service provider LeapIN. Immediately I got my first gig as a speaker on blockchain on top of the Berlin TV tower, earning me € 400. Talk about omens…
With my company established and bank accounts in place, I was ready to get to work. Only on what exactly wasn’t clear just yet…
Back then the only clarity I did have was that of intent: work for myself and force myself to seek out opportunities in the direction of self-employment. How? By pouring my abstract intention into embodied forms like forming a company, setting up payments infrastructure, and building a website. My expectation was that this would drive me towards action by incurring a fixed financial cost, thus activating my aversion to loss, a powerful motivator for all humans.
And while I have yet to create a logo, figure out a coherent pitch, or even specify a clear service offering, I have already been using the “EV” frame and the embodied forms for practical purposes: doing all my contracting through the company, managing my travel, paying myself salary, and using the payments infrastructure and my decent enough earnings for the Volta project.
I have recently started getting coached in all things business and relationships, prompting me to think more deeply about what Existential Ventures will grow into. The first injunction I received from my coach was to figure out the one thing I am great at, that I can go all in on, and that I can tell people I do (cf I, consultant).
While I agree that this works well as a clear path to success (ie clear self-perception, clear role for others to understand, etc), I didn’t choose the plural “Ventures” for no reason. I conceive of myself as “the guy who spots visionaries and helps them manifest their vision in reality”. This plays to my strengths, but also allows for continuous overcoming of weaknesses: there’s always more to learn and obstacles to overcome in finding visionaries and helping remove obstacles from their path, whatever those may be.
The plan for this year is to get even better clarity on “the thing I do” and then double down on it, whatever that may look like.
For an overview of my current endeavors, please visit my Now page.
But what about the name?
Names are important. They not only communicate something to others, but they also strongly influence how we ourselves relate to the objects they designate. So with that in mind, why did I choose Existential Ventures as the name for my company?
Existentialism — meaningful pursuits for the individual (improving individual fittedness to the world).
Existential Risk — meaningful pursuits for the collective (decreasing risks to planetary survival).
Ventures — multiple endeavors, not just a single vision.
Overall, I believe one of my 12 Favorite Problems really captures it nicely:
How might I leverage my company Existential Ventures to empower as broad and varied a set of people to address individual and societal existential crises and risks?
Before you go…
Are you embarking on an existential venture? I’d love to hear from you!