In 2011, Eric Reiss published “The Lean Startup,” which quickly became a dominant mode of thought in the technology and entrepreneurship community. The book includes examples from the preceding decade of companies such as Dropbox proving what is called their “value hypothesis” by creating a short demonstration video and sending it to potential customers. They collected feedback and email addresses of people willing to pay for such a service and were quickly able to attain funding.


The Lean Startup Methodology is one of the primary texts defining how and why a technology startup measures and replicates its own success. They employ rapid iterative testing of stripped down products that enables a team to measure the viability of the product once it goes to market. Thus, rather than spend a year and a lot of money developing a finished product that nobody wants, you attempt to create many inexpensive iterations of the idea, test them, and measure their results. It is similar to how a scientist would go about proving a hypothesis.


Lean Startup Strategy Control provides the top level rubric for how one ascends the lean startup methodology from inspiration to Exit Strategy. The process starts in the free form associative space of idea generation. When an idea can harness intent, it can formulate what is called a
“Minimum Viable Product,” the vehicle of growth, and begin its ascent. Through careful analysis of potential threats, it performs a  SWOT analysis, which measures its relative strength, weakness, opportunity and threats relative to the competition.


This leads to the process of testing the MVP in the market which results in pivots, or the transformation of the MVP into its higher form. This process of conceptual development and testing moves through the various spheres of influence until marketshare is reached. Marketshare is the point where the MVP can prove its merits, and is ready to begin its Exit Strategy in earnest.


The Exit Strategy is the point of consummation, where the MVP has reached its purpose and can now release it’s previous form and merge with larger pools of capital.

Build Measure Learn

In Build Measure Learn, we examine the cyclical process by which we take the Minimum Viable Product and iteratively test it against the market.


We start with the Leap of Faith assumption, or our hypothesis about whether or not our company (object) will reach its purpose (goal). In order to begin the process, one must become a Seeker, and Genchi Gembutsu, or go see for yourself. You go out into the world to find out real (world) data by talking to prospective customers.


Based on potential customer feedback, the startup starts building a prototype, or Minimum Viable Product. In the building stage of the process, your team purifies the concept for the Minimum Viable Product (MVP), stripping away all unnecessary elements so that the MVP can be inexpensively deployed on its path.


Once your team has developed the MVP, you can measure customer behavior through a variety of techniques, including split testing. Your MVP bifurcates and creates multiple reality simulations which is shown to different sets of users. You can measure results from this process to quickly determine which decisions will yield better results.


From this point, you can learn from your tests through a process called Innovation Accounting, which is supposed to help you determine whether the metrics you’ve accumulated reflect actual future earning potential. This helps you track your learning milestones so you can validate your value and growth hypothesis.


Once you have adequately learned from an experiment, you repeat the process, making adjustments to account for new information.

Engine of Growth

Through a continuous process of questioning, the Seeker harness the “Wisdom of the Five Why’s” to unstick all of the processes inhibiting the growth of the company. At this stage, the MVP has proven marketable, and there is now the process of figuring out how to acquire new customers. There are three primary means of acquiring new customers. Viral, sticky, and paid. While it is possible that a company will use some combination of these techniques, it is recommended that you initially focus on one to focus attention and more easily prove your market viability to investors.


With the viral technique, you are relying on customers to share your product with their friends, creating a viral network effect with your product’s adoption. Another word for this is the “viral coefficient.” With the sticky technique, you are relying on customers trying your product and continuing to use it. Some customers will discontinue their use, which is called the churn rate. You attempt to keep existing customers while adding new customers, creating a “sticky” effect. The third option is paid advertising, whereby you figure out how to leverage a system such as google adwords or facebook marketing to target specific audiences. You determine how much money it costs to acquire a new customer, and if that money is less than the revenue produced by that customer, you can validate your growth hypothesis.


Once you can validate your growth hypothesis, you have achieved “Product Market Fit,” and can prove that your company is a viable container of value. This enables you to begin your ascent of the venture capital financing ladder.


Seed Funding is something one acquires early on in the process. This often precedes or coincides with the process of testing a minimum viable product, where the funder receives a large portion of the company in exchange for a small investment, because the company hasn’t proven it’s value yet.


Series A funding is the first round of series funding a startup will get after it has proven its basic value hypothesis. Based on the metrics, venture capitalists will usually receive a somewhat smaller stake in the company for a larger investment, based on the projected value of the company as it grows. The company has proven a minimum viable product, and can now invest in staffing up its organization.


Series B funding involves scaling up the engine of growth. At this point the company can start making sizable investments into advertising and marketing, and hiring support for increasing its production capacities.


Series C funding involves exponential expansion of the company as profitability soars. This is the stage before the company either goes public or is conditioned to be sold to a larger holding company.


Exit Strategy is the process by which the company begins its process of transforming into the pure expression of value. The company becomes a speculative object and consummates its purpose, merging with a larger form of capital.

White Paper

White Paper may be considered the primary vector of Normcorp. Its glowing white heart. Its unbearable lightness of being.

A white paper is a document issued by a company or a research institute outlining the theoretical aspects of the project they are developing and its implications. It is not a sales document, but rather a detailed technical overview of an emerging technology. Every blockchain startup issues a white paper outlining what their contribution is and how their technology will innovate the space.

Normcorp’s White Paper is a white web page. There is no visible content on the page, but the scrollable area extends beyond the fold of the browser window, prompting the user to begin scrolling in search of content. Beneath the empty white expanse of pixels, there is a small piece of code that generates more <div> elements on the page as the user keeps scrolling, so the more they scroll, the more emptiness is generated. This is the primary conceptual underpinning of Normcorp. As the user continues searching for content, the structure of the website continues generating more of its own conditionality, eventually crashing the user’s browser window with the profundity of its emptiness. The absence of content reflects back the containing structure.

Normcorp is a blockchain art startup as reflexive monochrome sculpture. Our tagline is, “We’re starting a startup, we value value.” Unlike other blockchain-art startups who seek to help artists edition and track ownership of their artworks, Normcorp does not work with other artists. Normcorp is the art.

Since establishing that the Distributed Art Object Framework enables the mutability of different constructions of value by leveraging the history of the contract in relationship to the art object, we now find ourselves at a point when we can make a radical extension of how these things work. We can imagine a new form of art that uses self enforcing smart contracts as the site of the work, where legal parameters both define and shift depending on how the artist chooses to construct their work.

In using legality reinforced through technology, we can start envisioning whole organizations as relational art objects.

Normcorp is a company whose product is iteratively reproducing the conditions of its own existence. It self-reflexively operates as an arbitrary container of value that uses the methodologies and techniques of value creation to instantiate itself as an art object. We use the Lean Startup methodology as a performative score, iterating through its various stages of development to construct Normcorp in the language of the business startup. In this case, publicity is the viral engine of growth, both creating and interceding in the public’s awareness of the art object and thus transforming its perception of value. However here there is only this structure, and the content is just a reflection of the conditions that give rise to the object that functions within and across the speculation economy.

In this way, we create parity between the construction of a technology startup and an art object as containers of value in a speculation economy.

The Architecture of Emptiness

Normcorp is a distributed company, meaning it doesn’t have a physical location. It is incorporated in Estonia and it is instantiated on the blockchain. These things are invisible, and yet, it has form. There is a legal structure and a voting structure. There is the performance of value through the publicity machine and the attention economy. There is a conceptual scaffolding that works to produce itself as content.

The Normcorp building is a vast skyscraper with infinite floors. Every floor is an iteration of a corporate lobby and waiting room, designed to confer all of the dimensions of power. Every lobby is a place where one waits to gain access to that power.

In the book, “Corporate Interiors No. 5,” by Roger Yee, the painstaking detail of contentless spaces are laid out in all of their banality. The banality is a platform that gives rise to the most transformative forces that recondition that power through their ascension of all of the floors. While the Normcorp building has infinite floors, the top floor can be found at the moment when one reaches their Exit Strategy.

Blockchain and Corporate Governance

The structure for Normcorp is derived from the concept of a DAO, or Distributed Autonomous Organization. Because Normcorp is itself becoming a speculative art asset, putting the company on the blockchain is the logical step for that to occur.  In this case, the DAO serves as the object which gets editioned through the Distributed Art Object Framework as a nested structure.

A DAO is an organization which lives on a blockchain. Aspects of it’s governance is automated and so the organization produces value, and that value is passed directly back to its shareholders. Often this is thought of as being an investment fund, where the group democratically decides where to invest the pool of money, and the returns are delivered back to the group without an intermediary.

In this case, Normcorp is a DAO that raises money by issuing its own currency through what is known as an ICO, or Initial Coin Offering. Normcoin, as the currency is called, allocates an ownership stake in Normcorp, and equates to voting rights. As the artist, I would hold the majority stake in Normcorp, and issue approximately 20% of total coins for public consumption. These coins would be in the erc-1155 format, a non-fungible token on the ethereum blockchain which can be freely traded on a major exchange.

Publicity Theater

Publicity Theater deals with the mechanism of public awareness, and how that is shaped and sculpted through media to create perception/value. In the blockchain community, where often the technology is either theoretical or so early in its development that it isn’t functional, companies raise money through ICO (initial coin offerings, meaning they create their own currency) or more traditional means.  In order to do so, they must substantiate their value for the public in some way, which often involves sending press releases to online publications, releasing media updates, and giving talks at conventions and panel discussions.

Maintaining visibility is paramount if the price of one’s ICO is to remain viable. To that end, we use the means of publicity as a type of public performance of our value. The content of these updates doesn’t necessarily promote our product, but rather redirect back to the idea that we are a company and the company itself is valuable. In other words, substanceless hype.


An example could be issuing a press release about issuing a press release. Creating an ongoing media campaign out of the launch of the company…that lasts for several years. Creating social updates with white pictures that describe some form of interaction that happened in the hypothetical office. Inspirational tweets about innovation. Thoughtful thought leadership posts to linkedin about being a thought leader. The point here is to parrot the rhetoric of the startup, i.e. changing the world, without adding anything particular to it. The rhetoric suddenly becomes opaque and you can see it clearly for what it is.

While the publicity is the primary site for the performance and articulation of Normcorp, it is limited by the idea that it can only reflect back the larger conceptual structures of the technology startup in late capitalism.