The Core Thing that Makes me Optimistic is Humanity: Mathias Sundin
“the core thing that makes me optimistic is humanity”
Victor Perton: Mathias, what makes you optimistic?
Mathias Sundin: There are so many things that make me optimistic, and the core thing that makes me optimistic is humanity. We are capable of so much, especially when we really try hard. We can achieve amazing things.
We do that in small things all the time, but we can also really, really make an effort, and we can achieve great things.
Of course, there are still many bad things going on in the world, but if you look at humanity as growing up, as a human being growing up, a teenager now or a little bit older than that, we still have a lot to learn, but it's progress.
It doesn't mean everything is good now or everything is bad. You have to look at this trajectory.
Most people want to do good things in the world, which makes me very optimistic.
Victor Perton: We've asked more than 20,000 people, "what makes you optimistic?"
Looking at the fast-developing neuroscience of optimism, we're now asking an additional more emotional question "what makes you feel optimistic?"
For example, a woman answered, "Being in the arms of my little children."
So, for you Mathias, what are the experiences that really make you feel optimistic?
Mathias Sundin: It's often the David versus Goliath.
When you see we see someone or a small group of people trying to make some change, trying to make something better in society, they often dedicate their lives to it, even though the odds are totally against them.
If you read the history of the world or at least of humanity, you can see many of the breakthroughs in thinking, science, general thinking, values and many, many other aspects; often, it's someone or a small group of people that first thought, "Okay, is this really this way? Isn't it that way?"
And they have some bizarre theory, and every expert says, "No, no, no. That's completely idiotic."
Of course, it's not that day. But they keep fighting, and sometimes, they're wrong. And sometimes, they're right. And it may change how entire humanity sees things or values something.
And those stories of people like that make me very optimistic. And those are the big things you hear about.
When I was in politics earlier, one of the great things about being in politics and being a member of parliament was that you get to visit many people, companies, organisations, and others doing good things. They welcome you, and they tell you about what they're doing. And there's so much good in those small stories that get no coverage, especially not in the news media. They try to improve, improve, and test something new. So that makes me very, very optimistic to see that.
Seeing these people and those breakthroughs, innovations, and forward steps get so little attention was frustrating.
That annoyed me because I felt so much hope and optimism there. But unfortunately, we missed many opportunities because we listened too much to negative assessments.
Victor Perton: You've called yourself an angry optimist. Please tell us more about this notion of you as the angry optimist, and what is "angry optimism"?
Mathias Sundin: It's the frustration I just touched on earlier.
People are trying to make a difference in the world and make something better; they have a new idea, innovation, or something new they want to try. And then you see the pessimist around them, especially in news media, also a lot in social media, but also this general pessimism that could be around that, "No, no. That's not going to work" story. "Blah, blah, blah."
They don't solve things: They focus on a small risk that could become a real problem, but the risk is minimal. If everything goes wrong, it could happen.
Of course, we should not ignore risks, but we shouldn't make them our focus. That's something to solve on the way to this, whatever innovation or breakthrough or whatever it is, some progress.
I thought about it over and over again as I met these people.
When I went back and talked about these things to colleagues, I got a lot of pessimism around this negativity.
At first, I felt frustrated, and I became angrier and angrier.
And I was thinking, "What the hell? We're missing so many opportunities now. So many people must be afraid of trying something new because they know they'll face this onslaught of negative questions."
So that anger, I became angrier and anger. But, simultaneously, I kept evolving and becoming more optimistic because I met more and more of these positive, inspiring, optimistic people.
So that's when I decided to leave politics and start the Warp Institute to do something about it because I realised I was only complaining about people complaining. So I'm not making much of a positive difference either.
So, my goal is to become only an optimist, not an angry optimist.
I want to help change the mindsets of humanity, so we must encourage these people to optimism rather than criticise them for their negativity.
Victor Perton: You set up the Warp Institute, and you set out to gather fact-based optimists. Your fans include people like Steven Pinker and others at Harvard. So what are the facts that should make us optimistic? Your countryman Rosling, for instance, wrote a whole book called Factfulness. But from your perspective, what facts should encourage us to be optimistic?
Mathias Sundin: So there are two basic categories.
First, it's human progress, what Rosling talked about, and what Steven Pinker and many others are discussing.
We've seen, for example, since 1990, over 100,000 people have left extreme poverty every day. That's amazing. Every day since 1990, over 100,000 people have escaped extreme poverty.
There are still 5 million children who die every year, under five years old. Over 5 million, but it was 10,000,000 20 years ago.
And that's what Hans Rosling often said. "Something can be bad but still get better."
It's awful that 5 million children die yearly, but it was much worse just 20 years ago.
But we also see life expectancy rising with the education level rising worldwide. So we're wealthier and healthier than ever before. And this has been going on for 300 years or so, especially in the last 30 years.
We can see if people get more freedom more democracy, with that follows education, and healthcare, and income, and all that. So that makes me very, very optimistic.
It's not something magical that has made this happen. It's human freedom and democracy.
So that's one part of the facts that should make us optimistic.
The other part is the technological and scientific progress that we see very much intertwined with different types of human progress.
For example, now there's an AI revolution; we're in the midst of now.
For instance, there's a "before and after ChatGPT". It is releasing a lot of human creativity and democratises access to these AI tools that would make us smarter, faster, and better, and get this human creativity out of our brains in new ways.
So that kind of technological progress also is a significant fact.
Victor Perton: I updated our Ramadan Optimism and Lenten Optimism resources today. One of the quotes from a Christian saint, Saint Josemaría Escriva, is, "Christian optimism is not a sugary optimism, nor it is a mere human confidence that everything will turn out all right. It is an optimism that sinks its roots into an awareness of our freedom."
The "optimism that sinks its roots into an awareness of our freedom" reminds me of you!
One of my favourite thinkers in global government is Singapore's Senior Minister, Tharman. And last year, he gave a powerful speech on the collapse of optimism in the developed world.
Tharman challenged us, saying, "Creating bases for optimism has to be our central task everywhere in the world and through global collaboration. We must create bases for optimism to see ourselves through this long storm and to emerge intact; emerge a better place, and it can be done."
How do you think we're going to meet that challenge?
Mathias Sundin: Well, not very good. I think there's way too much pessimism and negativity.
I don't mean the kind that is based on facts. Bad things are going on in the world in my neighbourhood: In Ukraine, for example, and many other places, terrible things are going on.
So it's not that you shouldn't be critical of or negative about those things, but there are so many other things going on, and many more positive things going on.
But that is hidden, especially in news media and the onslaught of negative headlines worldwide, which have increased in the last decade.
But also social media could be better in that, even though social media is also an excellent way for us to express ourselves and get our optimistic thoughts, learnings and ideas out.
It's up to many like you, Victor and me, political leaders and other leaders, to change this narrative.
Because it's not that people should be overly optimistic about the world. They shouldn't have a fake positive view of the world. Instead, I want them to have a fact-based view of the world. A fact-based view is that bad things are going on, but many more significant good things are going on.
If you have that view, many more people would be hopeful and optimistic about the future, and they will do many more things. They will have more ideas.
They will have the power of optimism, like my T-shirt: "the future is created by optimists".
And as Kevin Kelly wrote in his Case for Optimism in Warp News, "It is extremely difficult to create a desirable future without first envisioning it. To imagine is really the first step in creating anything. Therefore an essential chore for making a future we want to live in, is to imagine what it is like and how we get there. That plausible path is a form of optimism."
If you can envision a positive future, whether it's a tiny thing or for entire humanity or whatever, you must envision that and feel, okay, this could be something good to come out of this. We should do this.
Whatever it is, this future will be better than the present. It's going to be amazing.
From that, you draw strength from another idea actually to do something.
The strength of optimism is that it creates this accent.
But also, when you run into problems like you always do when you start a company or run a project or whenever you try something new, you run into some obstacles and difficulties you must solve along the way.
Then you have much more energy to do that. So you don't give up as easily. Optimists don't give up as easily.
Not everything succeeds, of course. In failure, an optimist is more likely to try again with something new. If we can exchange the mindset of humanity for more people with this optimistic view of the world, we will have much more ideas and better progress.
I agree with Tharman, and it's imperative that we change this global negativity, and it's up to all of us. And to all political leaders and other types of leaders around the world.
Victor Perton: You recently wrote an article, "my failures and what we are doing about it."
So tell us what you were thinking when you said, "My failures." And what's going to change for you?
Mathias Sundin: Starting something new is hard. So too, starting an optimistic media company when negative news media is dominant.
Negative news media is dominant for many reasons, but one reason is that humans react pretty strongly to negative headlines. But, of course, we've been responding to danger for thousands of years, which was helpful when we lived in the savannah.
But as Hans Rosling said, the world is different now. It's less dangerous than it was back then.
So we have to fight this urge to click the negative headlines or fight this urge to see the danger.
So it's, of course, hard to start a media company in that kind of environment. But, on the other hand, there's, of course, a demand for this. So many people want these different types of news, this fact-based optimistic news.
I have discovered and learned that it's much harder to spread optimistic news than negative news. There is much optimistic news out there, but it's spread very, very badly. So we've had a hard time getting our news broadly distributed worldwide.
That has been more of a challenge than I thought. So that's been a failure.
Another failure is I've been very occupied with the company's running, taking care of staff, and all these fundraisings, and all these aspects. I need more time to think and write and do the necessary things, spreading the mission of Warp Institute, voting text and talks, media, and other aspects.
So we felt okay; it's time to change things here. So now, we tested the news here for three or four weeks like that. And it's very different.
Now, I have time to think and write and will give many more talks.
And now, we've managed to get some of our news into other news media because we have time to contact them or ensure they know about the positive news.
We've created our own news: The community has enormously supported this. So that feels great.
But back to the strengths of optimism, it feels like the path to success, whatever success is, is always challenging.
But what I feel, you can say, "Oh, okay. We've created a good core engine here. Our news is popular among the people who know us, but we've failed to spread that. So yeah, maybe we should give up."
It's like, "no, no, no. This mission is so important. I can see this future and want to fight hard for it."
So there's no way I would give up. We'll try something new here and see if that works better.
Victor Perton: I'm excited to support you and your work.
Our Centre for Optimism website is a platform for optimists of beliefs and faiths. We aim to spread optimism and positivity to everyone, regardless of background.
Our two most-visited web pages feature the inspiring religious figure Mother Julian of Norwich and the Marxist Antonio Gramsci, uplifting people with their messages of optimism and hope.
Mother Julian of Norwich famously said, "All shall be well. All shall be well. All shall be well."
Antonio Gramsci said, "I’m a pessimist because of intelligence, but an optimist because of will."
So if we can spread optimism on left, right, spiritual, and unspiritual, we're happy to do it.
Recently I was recently interviewed about the world happiness index, and I believe the index is over-weighted towards people's attitudes towards government.
When we ask what makes people optimistic, they mention mindset, life experiences, family and faith to create a positive outlook.
Less than 1% mention the government or the economy.
Mathias Sundin (laughing): That must be the prime minister and the government saying that.
Victor Perton: On the positive side, our Framework for a Positive National Narrative has had some impact on political expression.
Jeff Kerr-Bell: I am absolutely fascinated about the angry optimist, Mathias. I really loved that, and I indeed identified with elements of that. That's for sure. And angry at people for not being so optimistic. And also think wanting to drop "the angry" optimist is great.
Transformation and change are about making the world better.
We live in these times where we've got this dichotomy of crisis and opportunity.
The greater the crisis, the more the opportunity becomes apparent. That's where the optimist opportunity starts to emerge.
So, I guess from, whether it's climate change, whether it's some of the challenges of the geopolitical situation and so on, but right down to some of the commercial, the business and economic challenges we have at the moment, how do you see whether it's angry optimism? Or that excitement about startups and about creative creativity, how do you see that playing out to some of these enormous meaty world challenges?
Mathias Sundin: In climate change, for example, I've interviewed quite a few people who run startups in the climate change space.
Unsurprisingly, I became very optimistic by talking to them because I saw something similar.
Five or ten years ago, they started to get worried about climate change. They began to see, "okay, this is a problem, and what can I do?"
In some cases, they had to quit their current job and start their own company, get some education, or change careers. That took a few years as well. They started their companies one, two, or three years ago. They're, of course, still small companies because they're very young.
But I felt the story was the same, and that's why change and progress sometimes take time. But I felt like when people say nothing is going on in climate change; no one is doing anything, it's like, "No, no, no. That's not true."
Let's do more. But many people are doing a lot of things. I described it in an article as a tsunami of climate solutions.
When the tsunami wave is out at sea, you don't notice it. It looks like any other wave. But when it comes to shore, suddenly, we are going to be, in a positive way, drowned in climate solutions.
But that's five, ten years into the future because some of these companies will fail, some will be very successful, and we'll stand there and be very pleasantly surprised. So where did all this come from?
It's been in the works for 10, 15, or 20 years, but it takes time. And there are so many different aspects. We have to change the entire society. So that's made me very optimistic.
And all of them, no one is starting a company and saying, "Hey, my solution is that we are going to be worth off. I'm trying to solve this, and make it a little bit better along the way. It's going to be better for the climate. Also, is going to be better for us humans."
So we don't have to look at climate change as if we have to end up in a much worse world.
We have to solve this problem. Then, it's going to be a better world for humanity.
There will be a lot of differences, and some of the changes will be hard on some people or many people.
But that kind of startup mentality is very optimistic for me.
Jeff Kerr-Bell: I love that. I love the analogy of the wave because oftentimes, you're standing on the shore, and you see a wave, but it's a long way away. And it just doesn't seem real until it gets very close.
So you're right; when it comes to shore, climate change in particular, but a number of the other significant meaty issues are coming in.
I look at the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and the progress on some of those and sure, I like what you said Mathias about the fact that some of these things are bad, but they're less bad now.
We are making progress. The Sustainable Development Goals are probably good examples.
It's claimed Einstein said, "If I had an hour, I'd spend 59 minutes on the problem."
The fact that we've identified and articulated what those problems are allows us to focus our optimism and our energies towards solving those problems rather than spending a lot of time spinning the wheels going, "What are the problems? What are the problems? I'm stuck in this mire of problems."
We've got some clarity around that. I'm sure there's some specificity. So I like that idea of the wave coming into shore because we've got a lot of that happening now. So thanks very much for that.
Mathias Sundin: Thank you. That's why it's important to remember that the news media has a huge responsibility to put things into perspective.
You can easily make a headline, X number of children die every minute worldwide. And it's horrible. Of course, it is horrible. But if you know that 20 years ago, the number was twice as high, you feel, okay, we're making progress. And then you want to know, what are we doing to fix this problem? Why was it 10 million children who died 20 years ago, and why is it 5 million now? What have we done to get it from 10 to five, and what can we do to get it to one, and eventually to zero, very close to zero.
So that's what you want to know, but many people think only the negative here encourages people.
And with climate change, it's like this. So many people seem to think you have to scare people as much as possible and with doomsday scenarios.
Of course, negative things could happen if we don't do anything. Of course.
But if too many folks are scared of the problem and convinced of doomsday, it turns people to pessimism and inaction, thinking, "Oh, it doesn't matter. Things are going to hell anyway. So we can keep doing whatever we've been doing."
You have to trust people to see that, for example, climate change is a real problem, but it's a problem that we can fix.
And when something good happens, we should say that.
We should stop scaring people and trusting people who can think and think for themselves.
Victor Perton: "the ultimate no-brainer,"
Yesterday Inger Anderson, leader of the UN Environment Programme, helped launch the IPCC climate-change synthesis report and said, "we already have the technology and know-how to get both these jobs done. Renewable energy instead of fossil fuels. Energy efficiency. Green transport. Green urban infrastructure. Halting deforestation. Ecosystem restoration. Sustainable food systems, including reduced food loss and waste. Investing in these areas, and more besides, will help to stabilise our climate. Reduce nature and biodiversity loss, and pollution and waste – the other two prongs of the triple planetary crisis. Deliver many other benefits: from cleaner air and healthier nature to decent jobs and more equity. It's the ultimate no-brainer."
As you know, I'm on the board of a water company, Yarra Valley Water. We are likely to be carbon-neutral by 2025, with the best waste energy plant in the country and starting to produce green hydrogen.
Mathias, Jeff, the two of you have nailed it: I admire your understanding that successful change needs infectiously optimistic leadership.
Jeff, what's that statistic you've got on the number of change projects which fail?
Jeff Kerr-Bell: It's something like 75% of transformation projects that fail.
Some of the work we've done in research at the Center for Optimism highlights that many things can be done to improve those statistics.
It very much starts with the mindset of the leadership and the way that they treat failure as almost an inevitability and success as "a nice surprise".
That's a miserable and terrible way to start a transformation project, as opposed to the expectation that lots of things will go wrong.
Realistic optimism is the difference you've got to add the "I believe we've got the capability in the team to be able to overcome all the problems."
We often miss that in some of the leadership around transformation projects, and we have more about the I'm working through a system and a process, but not the end game in sight."
That's the impact we're seeking to have, and that's what we've got to keep reminding ourselves of as we progress through.
Our research and work certainly talk about the fundamental importance of optimistic leadership in transformation projects and significant change.
Mathias Sundin: That's super interesting, and that reminds me of when we started Warp Institute. So first, it was just this frustration and anger, and I talked to a few friends I know who shared this frustration. And we said, "Let's try something. Let's try to do something about this. But we didn't know really what."
So we organised a couple of meetups to see "is anyone else interested in this?"
At the second or third meetup, we said, "Okay, let's try something new here."
It was 60 minutes. And we send to people in the audience, "We're going to pitch a few ideas here. During these 60 minutes, you're not allowed to be negative. Of course, you can have negative thoughts in your head, and you can be negative the rest of the day, if you want. But for these 60 minutes right now, we're only going to focus on the positive on possibilities when we talk about these things."
And then we pitched these ideas and talked about them in different groups and all that.
Afterwards, when I walked back home, it felt completely different from any other type of discussion ever had because I remembered I had pitched an idea.
And the discussion didn't end at one level when we started thinking about different problems. We reached a second level, a third level of thinking. It's like, "Oh, okay. Yeah, yeah. And then we could do that, which could lead to that."
As we discussed before, Victor, I saw these opportunities much better. And this is how you should start the discussion. Then, of course, if you want to make something out of that idea and into a company or a project, whatever, you also have to think about, "Oh, what are the problems we could run into?" So we could avoid them.
But if we only had gone one level in thinking when we started thinking about problems, we might give up. "Oh, that problem is too hard", or we can't see a different path. So to your point of the leadership there, that's crucial. Leaders and teams see possibility and feel it much more potent with a simple trick like that. And hopefully, succeed with many more of these transformational projects.
Victor Perton: One of the things that Australian corporate governance has become excellent at is negative risk analysis and oversight. It’s weak at positive risk and foresight.
So one of my crusades on any of the boards I'm on is to have positive risk well-entrenched in the risk register. After about two years of my asking questions, one risk manager came into the risk committee meeting and looked at me; he said, "Victor, you'll love this. I have blue for opportunity in the risk register."
A corporate board leader in Australia, David Gonski, former chairman of the ANZ Bank and chairman of many other corporations, said that Australian boards were really good at managing adverse risk but really bad at taking responsibility for opportunity.
One of our little crusades is helping people to incorporate positive risk into a risk register.
It might be a global problem, not just restricted to Australia. For example, do you see the excessive focus on negative risk in corporate governance and oversight in Scandinavia?
Mathias Sundin: Yes, it's been very similar in focusing on problem and risk.
We're involved in an energy project here, and I'm working together with one of the Swedish internet pioneers. In the nineties, they were the true visionaries and changed how Sweden viewed telecommunications and made us, at least for a few years there, a leader in that field. So that opened up the mindset for many other people that, oh, okay, these super visionary guys were right. And they did what they said. So that opened up the mindsets of a lot of people.
And that started the wave of successful startups in Sweden, like Spotify and Minecraft.
So just a few leaders in one field opened up a new mindset, and that's changed the entire country.
There's so much wealth coming out of this startup sector now, but in many other fields, it's still the same old same old. So a lot of focus is on risk and avoiding problems.
I talked to one of our investors and advisors in Warp, he runs a very large company, and they have private equity owners and investors. And he said, "Private equity gets a bad rap." But he says, "They actually have something that I haven't noticed in other investors and others. They always ask, " What is the best possible outcome of this?"
Of course, they also talk a lot about risk, but they have this crucial question, "what could go right here? And if something goes right, what is the outcome here? Which many, many, many miss completely. They only focus on the small tiny steps forward, maybe. And then a lot on the risk."
Victor Perton: Steven Soo wanted me to ask you this question. "Mathias, I have two kids, eight and 11. With the future they are facing, I'm excited for them. And at the same time, cautious about how we approach it with them. From your perspective, how should parents with young kids encourage optimism and still have that parental, "I want to protect them all the time"?"
Mathias Sundin: Right. Yeah, that's a tricky one. I have a son who is almost two years old. I haven't really started talking to him about these things, but I've started thinking much more about them. At least, what I'm going to attempt to do is to try to show him as much possible of the world and try to show him the facts or what are close to facts about the world. And show him how human imagination and creativity, what an enormously strong force that is.
I'm definitely going to tell him many times that "you, who live in the generation that has the biggest opportunity of any generation in human history. You are lucky enough to be born in one of the countries where you can grab these opportunities. It's not going to be easy. You have to work hard for whatever it is. You can be unlucky, of course, but you have the opportunity and a better opportunity than anyone before you, whatever it is that you want to do in life."
I wonder if he's going to listen to me or not. I don't know how much I listened to my parents. But that's at least the message I'll try to get through to him, but also throw him as much as possible of the opportunities in the world and hope that he finds something that inspires him.
Victor Perton: I think both of you have kids who have won the lottery with such positive people as parents. The Dalai Lama said, "A more optimistic attitude is key to the care of teenagers and children. A pessimistic attitude is very bad. Helping children to stay hopeful and still optimistic despite the difficulties is very important."
The Dalai Lama went on to say, "You can't tell children to be optimistic. All we can do is model optimism."
Mathias Sundin: Yeah. You can see in kids there is increased pessimism in all age groups.
And especially in young people, much of that ties back to the narrative and frightening stories on climate change.
It's one thing to be critical. It's very good to be critical of things that are wrong: If you see something bad, you should be critical. But if that negativity o pessimism turns into hopelessness, and you think you can't do anything about it, that's dangerous.
And that's what I see in some young people now, especially teenagers; they think the world will end, that humanity will end, and there's nothing they can do about it.
But if they could turn that, and they rightfully so, they can think, "Okay, why the hell are we in this climate change problem? They should have started doing something about this in the nineties." And they could be super critical about it.
And that's totally fine; if that turns into action and changing things and feeling "we can fix this problem, we can create all these possibilities instead."
But hopelessness is what this exaggerated pessimism leads to. That is dangerous, and I'm worried about that.
But it can definitely change.
Victor Perton: In Australia, there's an interesting phenomenon. Over the last ten years, the number of people on antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs has doubled. We're actually number two to Iceland. Now Iceland, that makes sense. It's dark 40% of the year. It's cold. In Australia, it's almost inexplicable.
McKinsey and others have been quite bewildered by the loss of optimism in Australia as a phenomenon. But, of course, it has a lot to do with how the local news media reports Australia, always negatively.
But returning to the positive, Jeff has a foot in both camps in Australia and New Zealand. And Jacinda Ardern, who's just retired as the prime minister of New Zealand, said this on climate, "You may well argue that based on our current trajectory, now is not the time for optimism. But if we only talk about the loss of glacier mass or sea level rises, we run the risk of a society that believes it is all lost and it's too late. It's not. No one has the luxury of copping out. Not those who deny climate change, nor those who believe it's too far gone."
And she concluded that speech at the UN General Assembly, "Now is the time for optimism and for hope, and crucially for a plan."
And Mathias, you and the Warp Institute are certainly global leaders in that optimism, hope and plan.
Mathias Sundin: Thank you very much. Yeah, that's an excellent speech by Jacinda. I agree 100%.
You shouldn't be afraid of being optimistic to solve problems. People won't ignore problems just because you think you can solve them. The way to solve them is to be optimistic and confident.
Jeff Kerr-Bell: Mathias, This has been a superb conversation. I have loved it!
To summarise what we've discussed, the question on my T-shirt is, "what makes you optimistic?"
And it's beautifully answered by your T-shirt with the slogan "the future is created by optimists."
Thank you very much. And have you got any final words for us?
Mathias Sundin: Thank you so much for that, and thank you so much for inviting me and for your support. It goes the other way as well.
My core idea with Warp was that building a community of optimistic, forward-looking people from all over the world and bringing them together in different ways will change the world. Or we'll really give ourselves a chance to change the world. That's been so amazing with Warp meeting these people, getting in touch with you, and collaborating with you and many others around the globe.
You see that power, and I would love to visit Australia.
But it's also awesome that you can visit this way and talk to you in this way.
So thank you so much for inviting me to this session at the Optimism Cafe.