web3 ism is about as fuzzy a concept as Web 2.0.
But that’s not really the point, the point is that the people that will shape the future are already out there and doing their best work, and the internet of tomorrow is being built today. The opportunities and businesses that are at the heart of the new digital world, are already there.
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This is a matter of new SaaS products, start-ups, or apps, or even the internet as we know it today. It’s a plethora of new technologies that will fundamentally change the world forever.
Hand in hand with this, are fundamental movements in business and culture, and a reshaping of how people create and interact in communities.
web3 and technology shifts
There are two types of people in the world. Those who actively avoid the technology that’s reshaping the internet, and those who are all-in on it. I haven’t seen a lot in between. For people avoiding this new tech, this is a massive miss.
Now, not everything new goes somewhere. 90% of start-ups fail. New technologies often don’t catch on, even if they had a head-start, or were better technologies. Anyone remember Betamax? Nobody remembers Betamax (a format for video recorders, now largely obsolete).
So, some new companies will start, most will fail. Why is it a miss that you don’t care about blockchain?
Well, have you ever thought it would have been nice to have invested in Google or Amazon twenty-something years ago, or Facebook, Uber, Shopify, or Airbnb in the late 2000s?
You didn’t need to know how tech like Google’s algorithm works to see that they were onto something. And honestly, you don’t need to know how blockchain works. Most people using Google in the early 2000s couldn’t have told you, really, how page rank worked. But they could (maybe) have told you why Google was so much better than what had come before.
So likewise, you don’t need to know all the ins-and-outs of how crypto works to use it. Instead, just look at what’s being built on top of it, and if there’s something you like, give it a try.
A lot of use cases are still niche, but the tech is going towards the mainstream like a freight train. There are already a lot of interesting things you can do with it (beyond losing all your money on bitcoin).
NFT’s are a good example. An NFT (non-fungible token) is just proof of ownership of something, like a deed of title. But it could be for anything – say a piece of artwork. So why not buy an NFT? Just for shits and giggles. You’ll find that, in the process, you end up with a crypto wallet, some crypto currency, and a fancy new NFT that will probably be worth nothing in a year. But by the end of it, you’ll know a million times more about what crypto is than you did at the start. Suddenly, the tech won’t seem so black-box.
Gen Z has replaced Millennials as the new, bright-eyed, digital native generation that everyone dunks on for being lazy and entitled. Millennials are the newer, and much less wealthy version of Baby Boomers. Boomers are, well, still Boomers.
At the same time, there have been big changes in remote work, freelancing and the creator economy, and digital communities have fundamentally changed in general. A lot of these changes are the result of web3 tech, however, some are because of things like Covid, and some are just because of society changing in general.
You might not be able to see these changes or think I’m exaggerating. But remember that you’re consuming media in a bubble. You might not see these cultural shifts unless you actively seek them out. Find the thought leaders in spaces you’re interested in, and look at where, and how they create content. I don’t mean your bog-standard businesses that post cookie cutter content on LinkedIn. Find interesting people doing things differently, and look at the communities they operate in. Don’t wait for change to come to you.
Business, commerce, and start-ups
At the intersection of the tech and culture changes, a myriad of start-ups and new business models are being created that will one day shape everything we do. A lot of them aren’t companies at all, don’t issue shares and are completely decentralised. So how do you invest in something like this?
Exactly. Go and engage with these guys, use their products. Get a feel for what they are and what they represent. If you don’t pay attention, you’ll either not see opportunities as they come up, or not understand them when you do.
For some people, one day the world will have moved on. They’ll hear (or say) things like “man, I wish I invested in X back in 2021”. And they’ll begrudgingly change their ways when their kids force them to stop doing things the old-fashioned way.
And the only thing you need to do to avoid this is to be curious, look at what people are doing, and have a play around.