If slow evolution–the accumulation of tiny changes over geologic time–is insufficient to account for all evolutionary leaps, so the theory goes, then perhaps there exist macroevolutionary jumps due to large mutations that create organisms with significant advantages over their erstwhile species. These macro-mutant organisms are dubbed Hopeful Monsters, born without kin or kind, seeking that slimmest improbable chance to thrive.
This is by no means widely accepted–common criticisms point rightly to the fact that macroevolutionary mutations are almost invariably lethal, or render the mutant sterile, unable to propagate their mutation forward.
This all, looking at the history of fledgling startups born from the roiling primordial soup of our VC bubble, sounds about right. Fuck Social Darwinism, but how about Corporate Goldschmidtism?
A lineup of Dead Startup Toys on a shelf is the equivalent of a line of heads on stakes, or the macabre pyramids of Kublai Khan. Not exactly triumphant, given that companies fail through no real fault of our own, as consumers, but schadenfreude is a small sadism, after all.
This is not a memorialization. Let Theranos burn and never taste the light of heaven. Still we are perhaps honor-bound to acknowledge the mutants, for they accomplish a certain weirding of the world that we aspire to. Dead Startup Toys are not a resurrection, to be sure, but perhaps they are a form of necromancy: we celebrate their pale shadows, deprived of their original context.
Behold these beautiful mutants, hoisted on petards of their own solid-aluminum-unibody construction. We salute these voyagers, flown too close to the blood-red suns of their own fever dreams, on wings made of oh-so-flammable dollar bills, whose inexplicably sincere hopes became our most surreal entertainment...