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01 - Welcome to "A Choice of Futures"

Dan York
Dan York
We have before us a choice of futures… we must choose wisely.

We have before us a choice of futures.
One choice leads to a future where innovative companies can emerge, thrive, disrupt and succeed.
Another choice leads to a future where what little “innovation” there is exists only at the will of the gatekeepers to the network after appropriate requirements and/or payments are met. Other choices lead to outcomes somewhere in between those polarities.
How will we choose?
Ten years later, not only is that still all true, it is even more urgent. The pandemic has shown us that the Internet is a critical lifeline. Can you imagine how it would have been without the Internet?
But with the massive success of the Internet as a medium for communication, collaboration, creation, connection, and commerce, so many players now want to control it or extract revenue. Giant corporations want to “monetize” everything - and control what we see. Governments of all flavors want to control different aspects, either to control communication, supress dissent, or to gain tax revenue. Legacy telecommunications companies want to get their hand back into larger revenue streams and control how access the Internet.
And while all these giants battle in the playground, we, the actual users of the Internet, are left trying to figure out what path makes the most sense. Particularly when there are valid concerns we worry about that don’t have easy, simple answers.
We have a choice of futures for the Internet.
But it’s not just the Internet where we face choices. It seems in so many ways that elements of our society are unraveling. Democracy is being challenged. As our 2020 election showed in the USA, there are deep divisions and a great polarization has occurred - and shows little sign of lessening. And everyone seems to be yelling at each other.
Part of our societal challenge is that different groups are telling each other different stories… using different facts and data. How do we bridge those divides? How do we understand our differences? How do we heal some of the wounds?
We have a choice of futures for our society.
And in the end, it comes down to the choices that each of us makes. Now. Today. In our every action, we have a choice to build people up, or to tear people down. To treat people with kindness, or not.
The choices we make determine the kind of world that we will live in, and the kind of society we will have.
We have a choice of futures for ourselves.
These are the many choices I intend to write about in this newsletter.
Some topics may be technical, because of course that is what I enjoy, and with the reality that everything in our society is becoming connected to the Internet, we have some serious decisions to make, not just in the years ahead, but today. (ex. are you really going to connect that tankless water heater to the public Internet??) I also work for the Internet Society, and these issues are core to what I and my colleagues are doing each day.
Yet other topics will look more at the human side. In the next issue, I plan to write about “hopepunk” and the need to speak about the positive amidst the chaos. In other issues I’ll look at the ways we are now telling stories - and more.
All looking at “the big picture” of the choices we face - and the decisions we must make. (Or… others will make them for us.)
Why now?
Why start this newsletter TODAY?
First, I’ve been wanting to experiment with Revue for a newsletter ever since Twitter bought them. And now that Twitter has various ideas to integrate Revue even deeper into the main Twitter product, the time is right. (I’ve also experimented with Substack.)
Second, back on January 1, I wrote about “My 3 Words for 2021” and my desire to focus in 2021 on “our choice of futures”. It is something I see as my personal mission:
To help people understand our choice of futures in our ever-more connected society, and to be a voice for the open Internet.
While this is part of my daily work for the Internet Society, I want to also go beyond the realm of choices for the Internet and look at the even bigger picture.
Finally, the reason for “today,” September 24, 2021, is a personal one.
Yesterday, a good friend and colleague for 10+ years passed away after a long battle with cancer. Though I knew she was sick, I did not understand how sick and so was quite shocked. It has hit me hard. In a beautiful message our CEO sent last night, he said this:
Our best tribute to her is to make sure that the vision she lived every day—the Internet is for everyone—comes true.
Consider the launch of this newsletter as my own little personal contribution toward that goal. It is part of how I am processing my grief. May my words, today and in the weeks ahead, help us all understand our choice of futures - for we must choose wisely.
Welcome to “A Choice of Futures”! I look forward to engaging with you all and seeing where this goes!
A Final Word...
Dan York
Cherish the ones you love. Hold them. Give them extra hugs. Call them. Tell them “I love you”.

Cherish the good people you know or work with. Tell them how much they matter. Help them. Honor them. Support them. Be kind.

Because one day, all of a sudden, they may not be there.😢
Disclaimer: Please note that this newsletter is a personal project and has no connection or affiliation with my employer, the Internet Society. While I may sometimes mention the Internet Society or include links to their content, any text and content here is entirely my own.
You can find links to more of my audio and writing at
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Dan York
Dan York @danyork

Exploring our choice of futures... for the Internet, for our society, and for ourselves. Join with me in the exploration!

[Note: this newsletter is a personal project and has no connection to my employer, the Internet Society.]

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Dan York, Shelburne, Vermont, USA