Cover photo for Philip I. Thomas

Philip I. Thomas

I'm building The Contraption Company, a product studio crafting tools that help people work online. There, I focus most of my time on Postcard - a tool in touch with a personal website + newsletter. I'm fascinated by how technology and the internet affect work and labor.

In the past, I founded Moonlight - an early remote work company helping software engineers, which was acquired and continues to operate. I also founded Staffjoy, a startup that built scheduling tools force for app-based workforces, which is now a popular open-source project. I studied Physics and Systems Engineering at WashU, and was a Y Combinator Fellow. I've worked with companies like Webflow (building their marketplace), Trusted Health (building Works), OpenDNS (building security for distributed workforces), and Dawn Health (as an advisor). I like to travel and explore urban culture through cafes and restaurants.

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What I'm up to - March 2023

✨ What I've been up to Part of my work at The Contraption Company includes helping startups develop new products. For the last six months, I've unintentionally been working almost exclusively with AI-focused startups, and I've seen the rise of OpenAI first-hand. While the broader tech market shows signs of slowing, the hype in AI has been exploding. One Contraption Co. client went from an idea to >$7m in seed funding within five weeks. (They're still in stealth - but are hiring in engineering, growth, and design. Email me for an intro.) I summarized my observations and predictions about this AI hype cycle in this post: OpenAI, the path for OpenAI-powered startups, and the AI hype cycle. Finally, I've been contemplating this thought: Businesses like to buy from businesses, and people like to buy from people. 🤔 Things to share • Articles: Why Social Media is Bad for Artists (via Chris L-T). The Build-Nothing Country. Rise of the Silicon Valley Small Business.  • Books: Dopamine Nation - a takeaway for me has been that adversity results in pleasure while pleasure results in pain. • Trends: Vector databases, such as pgvector. • Audio: Derek Sivers on Remote Ruby. • Video: Why single-origin coffee is so expensive (featuring Metric Coffee, my favorite Chicago roaster). • Fun fact: Cede and Company and Depository Trust Company are two of the most important companies in the USA. • Gadgets: Umeshiso Chopsticks. • Apps: Bartender adds the ability to reorder and hide Mac menu bar items, which I find essential on the new notched laptops. uBlock Origin can block elements on pages - I started using it on Linkedin to block  the feed + notifications, and on Amazon to make the homepage just a search bar. You can subscribe to Youtube channels via RSS - allowing you to set up email notifications. • Coffees I'm drinking: Comparing geisha varietals from Prolog, April, and Prodigal.  📫 What I'm up to this month I'm in the process of building 1,000 websites for people on Postcard. I'm also working on a post-writing experience I hope to launch soon. 📍 Where I'll be (Let me know if we overlap!) • March 8-24: 🇫🇷 Paris
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