The February 2022 Reading List
Netflix and Charlie Brooker release The Cat Burglar.
In case you missed it, Charlie Brooker is back with another ‘Bandersnatch’, having released a new interactive short film on Netflix, named ‘Cat Burglar’. It’s a gorgeous mix of vintage animation and brain-activating twists, forcing to us examine how passively we usually consume content (the questions are…hard!). It’s only 12 minutes long and I highly recommend you check it out. It also starts to point towards Netflix longer term path, integrating gaming and content into blurred formats.
What is an internet aesthetic and how does it differ from a subculture?
As we start to see ever more fragmentation around communities, trends and micro moments in culture, it’s worth digging into how we define all of this…or at least attempt to.
This is a great deep dive piece.
'Subcultures will always have a greater longevity because the community has a tighter knit & it becomes part of your identity. On the other hand, internet aesthetics are more ephemeral'
"The variety of audiences within a subculture is another factor. “Some people in the cottagecore aesthetic may emphasise sustainability, anti-capitalism and repurposing. However, others aren’t concerned about that and would purchase a cottagecore piece from H&M, for example.”
A brilliant overview of how internet oddity and pockets of peculiarity are making a come back (i.e. niches, communities, creativity, co-creation)
'There’s an opportunity to recapture the playful, kinetic weirdness of an earlier age of social'
'In some ways, Reddit and Discord are descendants of Tumblr, both born of the same pseudonymous and chaotic and interest-based DNA.'
'Meta products don’t spark joy or provoke creativity. This void leaves an opening for new entrants.'
On how sci-fi could help us to imagine and build solutions to the climate crisis.
A must-read profile of Kim Stanley Robinson and his focus on leveraging sci-fi to help kick us out of our inertia when it comes to how we see climate change - helping us to see a potential utopia, rather than dystopian doom and gloom ends, and encouraging us to try, rather than give up and call it ‘too late’.
(And if you haven't read 'The Ministry Of The Future' - you absolutely should.)
Blockchain gaming: myths and realities.
Brilliant, in-depth and comprehensive long read on the inaccurate myths and realities of blockchain gaming, delving into the common criticisms and presenting the nuanced truths that sit behind them - hint: it’s never black and white.
Well worth your time.
Hello Sunshine x World Of Women.
Reese Witherspoons Hello Sushine has officially partnered with NFT project, World Of Women, to turn the project into a full blown entertainment IP franchise.
And this is just the latest example of this trend, following BAYC signing with Guy Oseary, Jenkins The Valet + CAA, Cryptopunks + UTA
NFT projects are reinventing and reimagining the model and potential for entertainment projects and IP. They’re flipping the fundraising approach on its head and involving fans from the start and I, for one, am excited to see where it all goes.
How Web3 go-to-market strategies are rewriting the rulebook.
Fascinating deep dive into the new the formulas and playbooks for web3 companies - shifting from advertising/acquiring customers to community tokens/customer ownership.
This is what people mean when they say that ad-based models may not be dominant moving forward.
‘The key difference to remember is that the goals, growth, and success metrics of web2 and web3 are often not the same. Builders should start with a clear purpose, grow a community around that purpose, and match their growth strategies and community incentives — and with them, the go-to-market motions — accordingly. We will see a variety of models emerge, and look forward to observing and sharing more here.’
On the importance of being open-minded, cautiously optimistic and ‘learning to learn’.
I bang on about this a lot, to me, cynicism is the ad industry default and it’s killing our appetite for experimentation, risk and true creativity.
But Rishad has encapsulated it better than I ever could in his latest piece.
‘The future is important because we are going to spend the rest of our lives there.
Regardless of what your news channel and your digital stream may indicate we are not all doomed, things are not all dark and the days of the past were not the halcyon days they are made out to be.
Rather, we are at the cusp of the most amazing time for humanity where a combination of all of our learning to date, breakthroughs and inter connections between technologies such as AI, Biotech, Blockchain, 5G, Robotics and a total re-think of education, finance, mobility and health care in a global world where billions of people have access to technology with “God-Like” power is going to unleash a bright future.
We can be better, and we can do better.’
Goldman Sachs on the metaverse opportunity.
Really good and comprehensive breakdown of what 'the metaverse' is, all of its core components and growth potential.
'We arrive at a ~$2.6tn total market opportunity and in the most bullish scenario, at a ~$12.5tn opportunity.'
On how money is not a dirty word when it comes to art and internet culture, instead it’s an enabler.
'The “starving artist” conjures an image both romantic & pathetic—a person too pure to make it in the world. But when that person decides not to starve, they become a sellout & yet, money has become the most important measure of artistic accomplishment'
'The paradox is that the best way to protect artistic integrity is to create new paths to money-making for creative people. Innovations like NFTs & tokens are new tools in their arsenal. When earning a living becomes easier, they're freed to focus on what they want to make'
'The cynic’s view is that financializing art will destroy artistic integrity & we should think about how to protect creative work. But there is also the optimistic view: that new ways of earning a living will make creative careers more viable and attractive, crowding in talent'
On the business case for cultivating community
The future of media and brands is increasingly focused on community.
"COMMUNITIES ARE TRANSPORTABLE, audience alone doesn’t travel across platforms."
DAO’s aren’t a fad, they’re a platform.
‘Whilst the early days of DAOs did the model no favours, what's happening now is well worth paying attention to.’
‘A quarter-century ago, an Illinois “Investment Club” run out of a church basement, the beardstown ladies, spawned a slew of bestsellers and imitators as stock-picking groups proliferated. DAOS have modernized and digitized the concept, incorporating many of the traits that make the blockchain so potent.’
I adore this concept.
“To buy a Bored Ape Yacht Club you need proof of funds. If you’re rich enough, you can buy it. We’re building proof of friendship, proof of loyalty.”
Web3 empowering community patronage to change the way we eat
For those who are against NFTs/blockchain for environmental reasons, the vast majority of new blockchains are POS & are gaining traction.
Minting takes about as much energy as a Google search or Instagram post.
This study by Deloitte lays out the facts.
On moving NFTs from 'status and wealth' to being 'soulbound'.
'If you take the proverb that "those who most want to rule people are those least suited to do it" seriously, then you should be suspicious of transferability, precisely because transferability takes governance power away from the meek who are most likely to provide valuable input to governance and toward the power-hungry who are most likely to cause problems'
'Making more items in the crypto space "soulbound" can be one path toward an alternative, where NFTs can represent much more of who you are and not just what you can afford.'
And a short thread here on how I’ve been starting to think about a similar construct - NFTs as girl scout badges.
The rise of pseudonymous identities, fractured personas, avatars at work and much, much more…
If you were confused by finsta's, you're not even remotely prepared for what's coming next.
"Instead of latching onto one fixed identity across many digital spaces, they embody various roles and play with different and novel modes of interpersonal relationship-building online, and find value in aligning themselves with small, close-knit internet communities.”
A brilliant in-depth overview of how web3 could turbo change social impact initiatives through aspects such as new forms of fundraising, new models of organizing, ownership, and activism and democratizing wealth building.
Creators are quitting Instagram to build for themselves.
Exactly what we told you was going to happen in the New Creator Manifesto report that we published last year...
“I want to have control over my business. I don't want Instagram to have control over it.”