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Workshop, Department of Social Sciences University of Naples, Federico II, December 20, 2018.

The start-up/venture capital system is by now increasingly understood to be a failure. Few start-ups survive the market test; the cash for equity based business model of incubators fails to perform, as to venture capital funds. The start up/venture capital model also tends to standardize innovation, producing a series of replicas of a small number of proven business models (an Uber for bread, an Uber for pizza etc.). It relies on invasive managerial regimes (pitches, enforced labor intensive lifestyles etc) to create a valuable entrepreneurial subjectivity that , in the end becomes the only criterion of valuation for entrepreneurial projects (since ‘ideas are cheap’). Even unicorns like Uber or Facebook are mostly financial ventures, generating very little in terms of market-based revenue.

At the same time, entrepreneurial and creative workers have begun to find alternatives to the start-up model. There is a revitalization of coops and other forms of ‘genuine’ sharing economies, in particular in the quality agriculture sector. Crypto economies, in particular ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings) have created an alternative market for capital, relying on small-scale retail investments, that is able to bypass the Start up/venture capital system and provide substantial financing for the construction of a new blockchain- based infrastructure. The token economy is also providing a new source of remuneration for tech workers, enabling them, effectively to escape the discipline imposed by the start-up venture capital model. These alternative forms of organizing creative work also come with new subjectivities, forms of sociality and political visions. These range from new conceptions of value as based on authenticity and reputation and a new rediscovery of ‘ancient’ traditions, via new gender identities and new practices of eros and intimacy and new forms of co’-living arrangements to a revitalization of both classical liberalism and anarcho-libertarianism. Often these worldviews are propagated by YouTube based self-help prophets, along with a new generation of organic intellectuals writing on sites like medium.com.

In this workshop we invite presentations of research and theoretical reflections on what we broadly define as ‘Post-start up cultures . (projects in progress are welcome). Possible topics are coops and new forms of organization creative work, the crypto economy, digital nomadism, tinder and other apps as mediators of intimacy and eros, Jordan Peterson and the beta males, new forms of ecological consciousness and practices.

This is a project created on the cheap, without much in terms of overall budget. We appreciate if speakers are able to find funding to cover their own expenses. However we will be able to cover travel (within Europe) and accommodation for a small number of speakers who do not have their own means

Please send title and short abstracts to adamerik.arvidsson @ unina.it by October 22. Invited speakers will be notified by October 29.