(Vision) Growing up at the Feet of Giants

Kent Dahlgren
4 min readSep 25, 2020


I grew up at the feet of giants on the floor of my grandmother’s kitchen, and echoing off the walls, down the hallways, and within the hollowed caverns of my memories are the staccato voices of my people — not always blood kin, mind you — as they retold “the family stories.”

The wedding reception of my great uncle Eric and his wife Leona, in my grandmother Vaughn’s kitchen. My grandfather Henry and his abundant ears guard the doorway

The “family stories” served as an informal form of oral tradition, enabling us to re-frame the true meaning of tragedy, abundance, and joy, punctuated always with the bottomless, rich, and verdant sounds of irreverent laughter.

For that’s what we do, right? We greet tribulation with laughter, because what else are you going to do?

Have you not already noticed that this is what distinguishes us from others? We turn tragedy into a dance, and a joke.

Sure, things are hard, but are we not laughing and dancing our way through it all?

We have a penchant, you and I, for transforming each tragedy into an opportunity to explore a shared sense of mirth, ideally within the confines of our own homes, over a meal prepared within our own kitchens.

Ok, so.

We’re working on a project, and it’s helpful to think of it as something akin to a potluck, in that: the overall quality of a really good potluck is a reflection of the love, experience, and attention invested by each individual contributor.

But it’s not an actual potluck; we’re going a step deeper and far more meta, focusing upon the kitchen as the building block for health, wealth, and safety within our lives and our communities.

We’re creating a franchise, ok?

But it’s not like a chain of restaurants, not exactly.

Think of this franchise as a playbook, designed to be easy to follow, accessible and inclusive, so we can extend the benefits as far as possible.

The playbook will feature a neighborhood franchise, where the neighborhood goes into business with itself to create a citizens assembly that’s entirely self-supporting and regenerative, and the raw, foundational element of this foundation is the kitchen.

The primary purpose of this envisioned franchise for creating neighborhood citizens assemblies is not monetary profits, per se, but rather to deliver health, wealth, and safety to its residents, on the neighborhood’s terms.

The neighborhood citizen assembly directs the earnings of its franchise into the enrichment of its citizens, by investing in health, wealth, and happiness.

How? Aren’t we all struggling to find enough money just to get by?

It’s our contention that the wealth necessary to launch this franchise exists within our communities, the more needy, the richer the wisdom that makes the wealth possible.

Allow me to elaborate:

Our model recognizes forms of non-monetary capital, such as gift economies, as well as guides adoption of regenerative best practices to bring forward things we know are valuable, but not currently valued.

For example: nearly all neighborhoods feature at least one person serving as the hyper-local “seat of wisdom,” typically a senior possessing vast experience in the seamless art of peacemaking.

Within our model, these persons of esteemed wisdom would leverage their experience in the resolution of minor disputes and non-violent conflict within the community, thus enabling the neighborhood to take a more active role in community policing.

This same person could secure private loans from those in the community, leveraging their earned reputation as a form of collateral, thus reducing the dependency upon predatory payday lending.

Also within our neighborhoods are those who are skilled at transforming raw, edible ingredients into culinary masterpieces. Thanks to the Texas Cottage Food Law, those who launch a food-based business can do so without licenses, inspections, or permits, provided they earn less than $60,000 per year.

Using the franchise model featured within the Antifragile Playbook, people whose culinary experiences are typically devalued are afforded a role of high esteem and prestige, likewise able to leverage their hyper-local prestige to secure community loans, earn additional money in their assistance to their neighbors, and more.

In our franchise model, the rising tide lifts all boats, as all within the community are incentivized to adopt practices that benefit the local community.

We’ve chosen to use a franchise model in our Antifragile Playbook, so people like you can easily adopt the template for introducing economically self-sufficient citizens assemblies into your own neighborhoods.

And, again: this begins within your own home, within your own kitchen.

As with McDonald’s and its famous kitchen laboratory, within our franchise, the neighborhood serves as a living laboratory, something like a test kitchen, and the “recipe book” (the Antifragile Playbook) is constantly updated to reflect the most effective ingredients to bring forth the most accessible, inclusive expressions of self-governance possible.

We need your help to create an Antifragile Playbook — a recipe book, beginning at human scale and expanding to include your entire neighborhood, and beyond.

We aspire to deliver an economic and cultural stimulus from the bottom up, leveraging the wealth that already seethes like a heated needle just a few feet from the surface of our neighborhoods, and in concentrated form within the four walls of our own home kitchens.

How would you like to assist?

Think of our invitation as a potluck; what wisdom and experience are you able to bring to our shared meal?

Are you able to bring our project’s version of delicious blackberry pie?

We are receptive to forms of non-monetary capital that are normally overlooked and devalued.

How would you like to help make this a success?



Kent Dahlgren

Product management fix-it guy. World-famous people skills. Extremely small hands. (edit) marketing lady says I’m also supposed to say “CEO of software company”