About Kate Tyson & Thoughtful as Moss
I am not proposing a return to the Stone Age. My intent is not reactionary, nor even conservative, but simply subversive. It seems that the utopian imagination is trapped, like capitalism and industrialism and the human population, in a one-way future consisting only of growth. All I'm trying to do is figure out how to put a pig on the tracks. —Ursula K. Le Guin
Hello. I’m Kate Tyson (née Strathmann)
I am an artist, advisor to small business leaders, writer and deep thinker specializing in subversive ideas. Originally from Philadelphia, I currently (most of the time) call the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont home along with my partner Kha and dog Josie.
Through Wanderwell, I advise business leaders alongside a small team of expert number wranglers (aka, bookkeepers). This Substack is my writing home and, while connected to Wanderwell, also a container for thinking beyond business advice.
My work in the world, if I were to boil it all down like maple sap, is about understanding systems and changing them. About digging underneath the current paradigms to uncover new ones. Often called gently challenging in my approach, I aspire to help people to think differently and ask world-altering questions.
Since my “day job” is at the helm of a small business advisory practice, I situate most of my systems change work within the broad fields of economics and business. This wasn’t an expected path for a young person who has since birth identified as an artist with a rebellious streak, nor for someone who prefers words to numbers! But here we are.
I did, however, come from a family of entrepreneurs and my brain loves systems. It turns out that business finance is more about relationships than math. And that business and economics can provide a meaningful way to channel anarchistic political views and an artist practice.
I write for people who want to think about business more humanely, radically, and collectively. Who hunger for a different kind of exchange that does not demand profit and growth as its sole focus, but instead centers justice, equity, and deep care.
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What does this have to do with Moss?
If you’ve walked through a forest (almost anywhere, moss is found in most ecosystems), you’ve encountered moss, and you’ve probably imagined laying down in the softness of the filaments, or maybe felt it cushy and damp under your hand.
Moss plays an important role in ecosystems, having survived just about every climate crisis over millions of years. You find it covering fallen tree trunks as they slowly decay, over time helping to pull what once was structured and solid back into the forest floor and the dirt. Moss is not fire, but something far gentler, less observable in its change work.
Looking at mosses adds a depth and intimacy to knowing the forest. Walking in the woods, and discerning the presence of a species from fifty paces away, just by its color, connects me strongly to the place. That certain green, the way it catches the light, gives away its identity, like recognizing the walk of a friend before you can see their face. Just as you can pick out the voice of a loved one in the tumult of a noisy room, or spot your child’s smile in a sea of faces, intimate connection allows recognition in an all-too-often anonymous world. This sense of connection arises from a long time spent looking and listening. Intimacy gives us a different way of seeing, when visual acuity is not enough.
—Robin Wall Kimmerer, Gathering Moss
What’re Boss Talks?
This is a "section” of writing and conversations providing more practical wisdom for leaders and owners of businesses. (More on subscribing & unsubscribing from sections here.)
While I write and think expansively about systems change, my ‘day job’ is advising small business leaders and entrepreneurs, and I believe in grounding the big picture, visionary, and radical thinking in praxis. I don’t deign to know what folks will be interested in reading about, but this section includes more practical advice, and may be mostly of interest to those that can readily apply it.
What’re Whiskey Fridays?
A podcast where an experienced lawyer and consultant get together, drink, and tell you what we really think.and I started holding “Whiskey Fridays” as office neighbors a number of years ago, gathering to sip whiskey and talk business and life. Sometimes we invited other folks. We share a humanist view of business and have worked with many of the same clients over the years.
Deeper back, Fridays were originally Whiskey Wednesdays, a ritual from the first commune I lived in involving clothing optional cooking. Pour me one, neat, and I’ll tell you that story sometime.
So let’s just say the name is a nod to subversive communalism, rituals around comradery, and my favorite spirit.
In any case, Whiskey Fridays is a podcast where John and I talk shop over whiskey and where I also host conversations with business leaders and thinkers.
A Note on Paid Subscriptions
All writing and interviews are sent to all subscribers.
Paid subscriptions receive access to commenting and community functions, and downloads of all zines and experimental publications (currently published roughly quarterly), including previously published work.
Additionally, Zine Club subscribers receive physical copies of publications as they are released (4 annually). Hand bound by yours truly, and mailed to your home address.
Which is to say, over hours and hours, usually with a community and a bottle of some libation to pass. The ratio of maple sap to maple syrup is something like 40:1.
John is the best small business attorney I know and we’ve worked together for over a decade, often co-advising clients from our complementary expertise. In the beforetimes, we kept neighboring offices in Philadelphia.