Hi, I’m Ersin. You should subscribe.

I’m a middling entrepreneur who dropped out of a medieval history PhD ten years ago to work at Silicon Valley unicorns. Well, that’s a bit of a stretch, but it’s not far from the truth.

There were a few steps between the PhD and working at Instacart, like when I briefly started a business selling empathetic hand-written letters to strangers or presented the world’s most embarrassing video game demo at a dinner attended by hundreds of Ethiopians living in the greater Chicago area.

If my adult life could be predicted by an algorithm, it would be this: every time I get my hands on some money, I invest it back into creating a half-baked startup.

I’ve met an odd cast of characters along the way, including: a man towing a 9’ wooden cross on caster wheels across the desert, billionaires on yachts, mathematicians who don’t like being slapped (and ones who very much do), and old men who conduct lightning storms with a baton in Arizona. Maybe I’ll write about them, too.

Most of all, I express my skepticism of simple takes. Engineers who think there’s nothing beyond bosons and quarks. Post-humanists who think that the arrival of our AI overlords will be beautiful. The denialism of the left, the gullibility of the right. NIMBYs, YIMBYs, Jack in the Box, the Baltimore Orioles and Married at First Sight. I have seen a lot, am not surprised anymore yet am still ever impressed.

Here are some reasons why you should subscribe:

Stay up-to-date on my failures

As Mark Zuckerberg once said, fail hard and fail fast. Ergo, I am one of the greatest entrepreneurs of our generation, because I have failed a lot in business.

I’ll tell you all about it in my newsletter and on the website. Never miss an update.

Discover fresh perspectives from someone who knows tech and also medieval Latin

Aren’t you tired of having your mind melded by ceaseless tech bro substacks? This substack will meld your mind in a different fashion thanks to my advanced knowledge in a field of endeavor that seemingly has nothing to do with modern technology.

It’s almost as if we might get better takes on the technologies that rule us from well-rounded people. Except now imagine that instead of being well-rounded, the takes were from someone who has two very sharp spikes, one pointing toward technology and another pointing toward history. “Well-horned.”

Join a growing community

Be part of a community of people who share your interests.

As of writing, that community includes myself. I am very interested in myself and I write about myself—join me.

Subscribe to Ersin Akinci

Building empathetic tech startups in public. AI, startup fails, empathy, and cacti from a historian turned software engineer in Tucson.


Cursed techie/historian combo, spends all his money on ill-fated business ventures.