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What is the economic potential locked up by restrictive zoning?

A handful of local governments in the Bay Area, New York, and other tech hubs have an inordinate amount of power over the modern economy, like deciding how much housing can get built. Restrictive zoning laws keep rents high, encourage sprawl, and make it harder for knowledge to cluster by applying pressure that pushes ambitious people elsewhere. Our cities are the engines of economic productivity yet their potential is often dictated by local politics, something many people in technology aren't paying enough attention to.

How do you create effective institutions?

In 2021 I started a DAO that pooled $5m to buy land using a new law in state of Wyoming that made it possible. As a decentralized organization, everything is decided through a vote of the members. Compared to my company, each action needed much more deliberating and buy-in. While it's indeed a more democratic institution, it also moves slower as a result. Startups, which need to move fast, are more akin to dictatorships (hopefully benevolent ones). This allows them to make a lot of tiny decisions fast instead of having the team vote on every new feature or design choice. Benevolent dictatorships can be effective and fast while they are benevolent, but since they concentrate resources and power, they make it tempting for infighting over control and are volatile in periods of regime change. Starting the DAO was a study in incentive design and institutions - and made me fascinated by how to build institutions that are effective, enduring, and compassionate.