Simple Machines


The Simple Machines startup combines a distributed computing architecture with an end user platform (proposed). It is a response to the problem George Gilder calls "Silicon Valley's nervous breakdown" in his book Life After Google (2018). Other visionaries (Jaron Lanier, Gary Marcus, Jeremy Rivkin, Max Tegmark, Robert Rosen) have written about this same crisis, and it has not only alarmed the U.S. Congress but disrupted global democracy, threatened human privacy, and in some ways even abetted forecasts of environmental apocalypse. Most will agree that the age of Google built on "big data" and machine learning, has been awesome and useful. But it's coming to an end, says Gilder. Simple Machines is looking for a technical co-founder able to discuss this problem and collaborate on a solution.

Who am I?

My name is John Bliss Sr. ( I studied venture finance at Princeton followed by market-positioning technology research at Stanford Research Institute (SRI International) at the beginning of the digital era. I founded two Boston companies (The 33rd Floor Corp and InfoProcessing Inc) that pioneered the concept of coworking leaseholds, which afforded me an opportunity to study the problem Gilder is talking about. The Simple Machines startup will cast this crisis as a unique window of opportunity.

What you'll get from

I began this startup by defining a small set of user-tailorable screen artifacts ("simple machines") that can radically personalize and simplify computer use by naive non-programmers. At least three aspects of this software end user interface require explanation:

1. Own your identity

2. Save yourself time

3. Get yourself paid

In owning identity, I'm referring to an unmediated, certified, self-sovereign right to a “digital self”. A digital self is the aggregation of your data, everyday interactions, and documents, all securely stored in a personalized repository you curate on a peer to peer network.

In saving time, I'm suggesting that non-programmers can curate, radically personalize, and economize their personal repositories, to get stuff done faster by orders of magnitude. Today only a tiny elite has a remotely comparable computing power, writing the code and markup that defines our digital worlds. The rest of us today have little choice but to give time and attention to "walled gardens" of a few mega corporations-- Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple. They control huge amounts of our everyday digital life. The problem is that their systems are too narrow and too closed, consisting of opaque code, canned procedures, and needlessly objectified scenarios, coupled to irrelevant advertising and unproductive or unfocused relationships.

In getting paid, I note that today's internet business model is NOT "free", but instead is based on massive private surveillance and cultivated advertising addiction, algorithmically mediated, centralized, and monetized. That model robs you of the value you unwittingly contributed for which payments would otherwise be your proprietary right to collect, using a Simple Machines payment platform and distributed architecture.

How to subscribe

Social (to be determined)


I hold test positions in a few cryptocurrencies:


My interest in distributed infrastructure (Gilder's "cryptocosm") includes:

Blockstack's security architectureUnlock-Protocol's micropay business modelGolem, Eich, and OTOY micropaymentsJuan Benet’s Protocol Labs and Web 3Solid-Inrupt

More info

You can read some of my thoughts (from 2013) about a non-programmer computing environment at