Instructions Unclear and NEETBUX NATION ✌️

Hello friends! It’s Sonya again. Last time I sent a newsletter, I reminded you who I am, but I’m not gonna do that anymore. It’s probably sunk in by now.

Anyway, this is gonna be quick and dirty:

1) I published a zine called Instructions Unclear, about rituals and their place in human life.

Instructions Unclear, a zine about rituals created by Sonya Mann

The zine costs $5 — free shipping in the United States and $2.50 everywhere else. Each physical copy comes with a high-resolution PDF.

Along with debit and credit cards, you can pay with BTC or ZEC. More details on my website, where you can purchase Instructions Unclear.

2) I released a handful of free-culture #YangGang designs. If you don’t know who presidential hopeful Andrew Yang is, or if you’re unfamiliar with the memes dedicated to his candidacy, then you probably won’t get the jokes. But just in case…

"Secure the Bag" Andrew Yang 2020 #YangGang design, public domain

See the rest on my website.

My friend @AbsurdNihilism made the #YangGang designs available as T-shirts. I can’t wait to receive mine, if only to broadcast more thoroughly that I am a dork who spends too much time online.

Buy the shirts here:

@AbsurdNihilism also created his own hilarious “infinity tendies” design.

Bonus: I posted the notes from my Business of Blockchain talk, which was about privacy, cryptocurrency adoption, and how each affects the other. I’ll turn the talk into a Zcash Foundation blog post at some point.

That’s all for now! Catch you on the flip side.

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I am releasing a handful of #YangGang designs into the public domain, using the license CC0 1.0 Universal. The art was originally intended for T-shirts, so the full-size files are large and high-resolution.

Because of the CC0 license, you can distribute the designs, edit them, remix them, use them in products, incorporate them into advertising… whatever you want. Attribution is not required, although it would be appreciated 😊

All of the third-party visual assets that I used were available with equivalent permissive licenses (on websites like Unsplash) or were created by me. (For example, I drew the portrait of Yang’s face.) My primary tool was Pixelmator, with a splash of PhotoMosh for flavor.

Full-size files, plus the Pixelmator versions, are available for download in a Dropbox folder. WordPress wouldn’t let me upload huge images, so the ones below are edited to be smaller.

"Secure the Bag" Andrew Yang 2020 #YangGang design, public domain
full size // Pixelmator file
"Neetbux Nation" Andrew Yang 2020 #YangGang design, public domain, variation 2
full size // Pixelmator file
"Neetbux Nation" Andrew Yang 2020 #YangGang design, public domain, variation 1
full size // Pixelmator file
"Neetbux Nation" Andrew Yang 2020 #YangGang design, public domain, variation 3
full size // Pixelmator file
"$1k Neetbux 2020" Andrew Yang #YangGang design, public domain, dark version
full size // Pixelmator file
"$1k Neetbux 2020" Andrew Yang #YangGang design, public domain, light version
full size // Pixelmator file

In case you’re wondering, I have no affiliation with presidential candidate Andrew Yang or his campaign. I don’t even support his agenda, which I consider to be woefully underspecified. The memes are what got me excited 😜

Granted, the other presidential wannabes don’t impress me either. It’s probably impossible to be a viable candidate while also living up to my standards. That said, I did donate like $5 to help Andrew Yang qualify for the primary debates, and I attended a rally that he held in San Francisco.

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Business of Blockchain Talk Notes

Hello! Thank you for listening to me speak about privacy and cryptocurrency adoption at the MIT Business of Blockchain conference. Sorry for the talk being billed as “The Path to Adoption: 3 Types of Product-Market Fit” and then being messier and more tentative than that.

Here are the links to references:

I owe a general hat-tip to Josh Swihart from the Electric Coin Company, whose go-to-market blog posts shaped how I think about cryptocurrency adoption trajectories. Read them here and here.

I wrote a full script for the talk, and I’ll probably turn it into a blog post on the Zcash Foundation’s website at some point. Right now it is… not super polished.

If you want to discuss any of these topics, hit me up! (Or if you want to see the rough script.) I’m @sonyaellenmann on Twitter, or you can email

Obligatory CTA: Please subscribe to the Zcash Foundation newsletter. And my personal newsletter. Heck, send me your private keys. (That’s the Crypto Twitter version of a firstborn child, right?)

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What Sonya Wrote, Catch-Up Edition

Astoundingly, I haven’t sent a newsletter since August, 2018. In case you’ve forgotten who I am:

  • Sonya Mann (AKA @sonyaellenmann)
  • formerly a tech journalist
  • used to write a cyberpunk newsletter called Exolymph, may it rest in peace

Currently I run communications at the Zcash Foundation.

Anyway, since August, I’ve published one essay: “The Internet Won’t Kill Gun Control By Itself” for Palladium, an online magazine devoted to “governance futurism.”

The essay analyzes cypherpunk Second Amendment advocacy. I tried not to moralize in either direction, instead focusing on the movement’s strategic choices.

Some technology can be seen as a means of self-liberation, insurance against coercion. The cypherpunks regard encryption as such. Guns are similar.

True believers’ faith in the primacy of the Second Amendment is evident throughout American history. Despite the wide broadcasting of each new mass shooting and growing sentiment for serious gun regulations, frontier activists have opened a new, orthogonal battlefront. The use of the internet, coupled with CNC milling machines, is intended to route around rhetorical and ideological battles in the public sphere.

The cypherpunk attitude that the technology of ungovernability can make these rhetorical battles obsolete, itself a descendant of American individualism and cynicism toward centralized power, is neatly applicable to the domain of firearms.

That’s a taste; go read the rest.

In other news, this Saturday I’ll be on the panel “Raising and Resolving Conflict in Online Communities” at InfoCamp 2019 in Berkeley, CA.

Then in early May, I’ll be giving a talk of some kind at MIT’s Business of Blockchain conference in Boston, MA.

Also since August, I’ve blogged about…

Wearing the Japanese streetwear style mori-kei. Designed by @pastellbits.
Designed by @pastellbits.

If you feel inclined, reply to this email and let me know what you’ve been up to! (I can’t guarantee a timely or lengthy response, but I’ll get back to you at some point.)

Thank you for reading my newsletter 💖

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Get-Started-Quick Bootstrapping Tools

Originally posted on Reddit, but here it’ll be easier to find again.

These are links that I’ve bookmarked over the past year or so. General theme: Tools that you can use to quickly bootstrap. In most cases it’s best to prove out your concept before, say, spending $100s on a professional graphic designer. Some are free, others are just low-cost.

I haven’t used all of these services personally, but they all seemed handy enough to save for future reference. Not intended to be a comprehensive list of options.

Design + Visual


Instantly design custom logos for free. Only pay if you’re 100% happy.

Launchaco Free Online Logo Maker: Basically the same thing as Logojoy but totally free.

Cool Backgrounds:

Cool Backgrounds is a collection of tools to create compelling, colorful images for blogs, social media, and websites. Beyond backgrounds, the images generated can be used as desktop wallpapers or cropped for mobile wallpapers.


Beautiful, free photos. Gifted by the world’s most generous community of photographers.

I use Unsplash alllll the time because you don’t have to credit the photographers. You can, so I do when it’s feasible, but you have a lot more flexibility than with Creative Commons.

Flickr Creative Commons search with commercial use and modifications allowed: Another one that I use constantly. Make sure to attribute properly according to the license terms.

unDraw Illustrations:

Browse to find the images that fit your needs and click to download. Take advantage of the on-the-fly color image generation to match your brand identity.

LunaPic: Free online photo editor with lots of effects. The website looks archaic, but the results are surprisingly good. YMMV depending on the aesthetic you want.


Bootstrap Shuffle:

Bootstrap builder for busy developers. Too often developers don’t have time to perfectly implement their designs. That’s why we have built a tool that will help you move faster from building a layout to the refining stage so that you can have time to work on the details.


Spiffy HTML5 site templates that are fully responsive, built on intelligent HTML5 + CSS3, super customizable, and 100% free under the Creative Commons.

(I lightly edited that description into an actual sentence.)


Simple, free, fully responsive one-page sites for pretty much anything.

Tons of templates. Pay up for a custom domain and other features that aren’t in the free version.


PhastPress uses advanced techniques to manipulate your pages, scripts, stylesheets and images to significantly improve load times. It’s designed to conform to Google PageSpeed Insights recommendations and can improve your site’s score dramatically.

No idea how well this works, but if it does work well, what a great shortcut.

WriteFreely is a writing-focused blogging platform that’s uniquely simple and distraction-free. Instead of having one website called Medium or Tumblr, anyone can start their own entire community with the WriteFreely software and govern it however they want.


“The art of storytelling” course by Pixar: Exactly what it sounds like.

Twitter’s advanced search page: Can be used to find reporters, other people to approach for various reasons, complaints about competitors, chatter from unserved niches, etc.


Create awesome invitations to small and large events. Distribution of invitations and collection of RSVPs made really simple. So no invitations are ignored or forgotten. Totally free. A really simple browser and email platform. Easy to use for both organizers and guests. Works for everyone without the hassle.

Organize events from email. Add to an email. Once the email is sent, we’ll create a private event on and send a follow-up email to each address with an invitation. Each participant will receive an email with a special sign-in link to access the event. No sign-up necessary!

“It’s okay that your startup doesn’t have a communications strategy”:

In today’s crowded startup landscape, it’s rarely obvious what will cut through the noise. You’re not just competing with direct competitors for customers, you’re competing with everyone for attention (and all the potential future hires, partnerships and funding rounds that awareness can help drive). Tactics are more amenable to creativity and experimentation, don’t devour massive resources, and come with shorter and simpler feedback loops.

I know it’s a little weird to include an article, but the advice is that good!


Y Combinator Safe Financing Documents:

Y Combinator introduced the safe (simple agreement for future equity) in late 2013, and since then, it has been used by almost all YC startups and countless non-YC startups as the main instrument for early-stage fundraising.

WilmerHale Document Generator:

Our Document Generator is custom-tailored to offer important legal documents that will enable you to start and grow your company. It is an invaluable resource for entrepreneurs and founders of startups in various stages of growth and is designed to help you navigate the unfamiliar and manage interrelated issues. The Document Generator has been developed with the guidance of our experienced lawyers who have a longstanding tradition of offering strategic advice and an indispensable business perspective.


macOS Security and Privacy Guide:

This guide is targeted to “power users” who wish to adopt enterprise-standard security, but is also suitable for novice users with an interest in improving their privacy and security on a Mac.

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Disclosure: I am a member of the Amazon Associates program. If you click on an Amazon link from this site and subsequently buy something, I will receive a small commission (at no cost to you).