My Journey as a Creative Into Web3
Image Credit: Julia Dufosse
I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but sometime during the pandemic it became clear that I was now doing what I had aspired to do 15 years ago as a junior creative. That left me thinking, ‘what’s next?’ This could have been anxiety inducing, but I took it as an invitation to go deep and investigate what it was that I wanted to truly be doing professionally, not just today but 15 years from now.
Looking back at my career further, it was clear that I had experienced several distinct chapters in my creative journey. The first decade of my career was broadly spent in what we called at the time ‘digital’ — the early days of the internet, where web builds felt experimental and creativity was just transitioning from TV, print, radio to very basic experiences on screens. The vestiges of the mad men era were still in the air, but I was drawn to this new, strange medium. It felt like outsider art, and I relished this time. This is when I first came of age as a creative, first in advertising and soon into design.
After spending a decade in web1, working at several transformative agencies and in-house creative teams, I stepped in the belly of web2 for the better part of the last decade at Meta where I had a wonderful creative journey. As I like to say, I caught the tail end of a bunch of college kids just trying to do something good in the world. In this chapter, social media came of age and became a juggernaut of society. Meta had such a diverse internal atmosphere of emerging technology that the environment was always changing, always fluid, and never short on creative and business challenges. This internal landscape was so vast however, that it shielded me from having to look outside of the company for inspiration, motivation.
Taking the Dive
It wasn’t until I stepped away from Meta at the end of 2021 that I was able to truly pick my head up and investigate the landscape of emerging technology. It was soon clear that the world of web3 was not only already here but it was well under way and moving fast. That’s precisely when I started going deep down the rabbit hole and consuming as much information as I could get my hands. The web3 world is also slightly cryptic, so I leaned hard on my network to help me calibrate my filter for what was compelling, vetted, and inspiring in this new space.
I started my investigation by going broad, first identifying, and then interrogating the many verticals across the landscape of future internet. This included exchanges, gaming, crypto, NFTs, DFAOs, funds, VC’s, stable coins, etc. In my early exploration it was unclear what the role of creative in this new space meant. Was the future of the in-house agency a series of committed DAOs, how would the principles of decentralization apply to brand building and team building in this new world? These were questions I had to deeply interrogate to better understand my path.
What I have found incredibly compelling thematically about this wave of decentralized building across the future internet has been several-fold.
Language ‘Web3’ in reality is a clunky term. There isn’t one succinct way to summarize this moment in technology, but web3 seems to be a good shorthand especially when caveated as I’m doing here. My current favorite term is the ‘future internet’.
Access There are tomes of information available on the web, in the form of podcasts, long form and short form content. It’s literally everywhere! While web3 might be cryptic from the outside, for those who are more than a bit curious all the information is there to be consumed.
Culture The culture is incredibly open and welcoming. This sort of camaraderie was in the air of early web2, but this is something different, amplified. This is invaluable as I have found real-time 1:1 conversations to be one of the fastest ways to understand what’s happening behind the scenes of any given technology or company.
Signal vs Noise When first diving deep it is incredibly difficult to filter out the signal from the noise. As a result, a massive component of this journey into web3 has been merely sharpening my filter for what I discerned to be quality, vetted and viable businesses. Amongst the rug pulls and pump and dumps, at first it can all be incredibly overwhelming!
The best piece of early advice I received was simply to ‘get going’. There aren’t necessarily invitations into this space, but for those who seek it out the opportunities are endless. What does this mean? First, the conversation is very much happening on Twitter/Discord. And compared to many other networking platforms the pace is FAST. The content is seemingly endless, which is riveting for those bitten by the bug. It’s also super easy to get involved with a DAO of your choosing and start contributing to the conversation and even the work if you’re compelled. I also have found the audio dialogue in Twitter Spaces to be a great place to literally listen in to the real-time conversations with the builders of this future web. Also, there are a few key steps to literally participating in web three namely including 1) Setting up a wallet 2) Parking your ETH address, etc.
Creativity in Web3
One of my biggest learnings is that the way we think about many things will be forever influenced by blockchain technology and web3 innovation. Specifically, I believe creativity is undergoing a massive shift across its most common touch points, including product, design, brand, advertising, and marketing more broadly. The questions are many and yet to be answered. For example, what structures like DAO governance influence how we build and define agencies of the future DAO? How will we balance education with brand building? What does marketing look like in an era of extreme evangelism?
I have enjoyed this recent chapter delving into this emerging web3 space and am excited to share how I’m choosing to contribute to the rapidly evolving emerging landscape. More to come on that soon ; )