Protocol Labs is a remarkably ambitious and ideological company. For example, our team’s dedication to abstraction has left us with an unusually modular corporate structure, and our belief in future-proof solutions has us biting off so much that we’re often left chewing for a long time. However, more than any other company I’ve come across, we consistently bet, not only that the future could be a fantastic and wonderful place, but that it’s worthwhile for us, as an organization, to work toward that future. We do this not only to secure a bright future for ourselves but also as a token of gratitude for the circumstances that have given us the privilege to solve problems to get us there.
We’re a company that builds protocols, so much of an individual employee’s time is spent optimizing a single piece of a solution, checking that it was built to spec, and ensuring that it’s compatible with the rest of the system. That holds true for our engineers as much as for our teammates in finance or operations. However, members of PL Research also have the opportunity and the mandate to examine global systems and ask questions about struggles facing humanity to see if we can move all of humanity forward with the application of improved communication or computation systems.
In 2018, we announced the formation of a research team within Protocol Labs. Now that team has reached a size and velocity where we require a dedicated space to communicate our activities. In this blog, we hope to accomplish two things.
- We want to share the joy of being an optimist, even a cynical one. There’s a point at which predicting bad outcomes is self-fulfilling – you won’t finish anything you never start. And sometimes cynicism is the best protection against naïveté. But since you can never be entirely sure that the future won’t be better, you already believe that it could be. And few things are more motivating than working toward a goal you believe is worth the struggle, even in the event of failure.
- We also want to share a better sense of who we are as researchers and as an organization. I can tell you that we’re the type of people who will lie awake in bed thinking about a sci-fi idea that’s just crazy enough to work. But I think you’ll agree that it’s more interesting to read about the ideas and hear the problems we’re thinking about.
These two hopes combine in an aspiration that you’ll work with us, in one form or another, in building technology that makes all lives better, as we all go together, to the future.