The January 2022 Reading List
A thought-provoking piece on how web3 could unlock new governance and ownership models, far beyond those of the purely financial or transactional.
"What may have the most impact on the future isn't decentralized digital technology alone but the governance patterns it culturally normalizes."
A brilliant 1.5 hour listen from the Michaela Coel, writer and producer of ‘I May Destroy You’, which just blew my mind. It’s impossible to describe, so just do yourself a favour and download it.
Brilliant piece by Cherie Hu on the need to expand our understanding of “gamification” in tokenomics & DAO design beyond merely pushing overly quantifiable, financialized objectives, towards incentivizing more emergent opportunities for discovery & creativity.
On why it’s too early to get excited by web3
…but also why it’s too early to shut it down and become cynical rejectors of it.
'So much is yet to be created. Let’s focus on the parts of the Web3 vision that aren’t about easy riches, on solving hard problems in trust, identity & DeFi & above all, let’s focus on the interface between crypto & the real world that people live in'
On web3 as a ‘backend revolution’
‘the average person won’t understand blockchain, or fungibility, or stablecoins. They won’t need to. Most people today don’t understand HTTP, the Hyper Text Transfer Protocol developed in 1989 that powers the World Wide Web, and yet they rely on it every day. Most people don’t understand the cloud: in my favorite survey result ever, 51% of people think that the cloud doesn’t work as well on a sunny day'.’
and in a similar vein…
We are very much still in a pre-consumer phase of Web3, but just as in the 90's, the AOL moment of 'dumbing down' & simplifying onboarding will arrive.
'There’s no single America Online-style solution that gets the newbie simple and comprehensive access to the best of the blockchain'
...but that doesn't mean it's not coming.
A brilliantly insightful piece on the 12 career lessons you’ll need.
Early Years: 'If you are fortunate to be able to pick between jobs or find demand for your skills that allow you to choose between opportunities in a company, do not select the higher paying one but the one that is aligned with the future.'
Mid Years: 'In addition to being generous and working with integrity which are key to being a successful brand it is important to be well positioned in a niche, have a distinct and clear voice and have a story. Your resume is in large part your web presence.'
Later Years: 'Unlearn. Transform. Re-Invent. The really successful folks in the last third of the career have become students and learners again. If you do not want to become as irrelevant as you fear privately you will have to change.'
A brilliant profile of Wordpress founder & Automattic CEO who is an inspiration and unfailing advocate for the open web.
“People's natural desire for freedom gets more of the best and brightest working on open, distributed, decentralized systems”
“As more of our lives start to be run & dictated by the technology we use, it's a human right to be able to see how that technology works & modify it. It’s as key to freedom as freedom of speech or religion. So that is what I plan to spend the rest of my life fighting for.”
On how to explain the metaverse to your grandparents
'We're using the term 'metaverse' as a proxy for a sense that everything is about to change'
This is very good for those still wrapping their heads around it all.
An excellent deep dive into the crossovers between the two and what they can learn from one another.
An excellent and exhaustive run-down of a bunch of web3 projects in the world of food and beverage.
On what to watch out for in crypto in 2022
'In 2021, we saw web3 emerge thanks to 3 overlapping core trends: DeFi, NFTs & the glimmers of social tokens—all stitched together using the cartilage of DAOs. In 2022, things will start to get weird. These 3 categories will grow & promiscuously intermix'
On how obsessive fandom could grow the next generation of female tech talent
It all begins with One Direction. So smart.
What Braintrust are building is essentially a web3 decentralised talent network, owned and operated by the talent themselves.
If successful, it could challenge the very need for recruiters and it could even make certain agency models redundant.
On ‘one trends report to rule them all’
Matt Klein has read ALL the trends reports and combined them to create a mega meta trends overview, which is super useful.
But also, love his thinking here:
'The edges are the sharpest, and the fringes are the future. To see what’s coming, we must respect the bizarre and validate the weird. [Most] trend reports don’t.'
'One who perceives a Meta Trend as an emergent opportunity is late to the party.'
On the meaning of ‘ownership’ in web3
‘If we lived in a perfect world where everyone didn’t act out of self interest and there weren’t so many evil people bent on harming others, then of course property rights wouldn’t be a necessary evil.
But we don’t live in a perfect world, and they offer many protections/benefits’
On web3 as ‘incremental net positive’
A masterful rebuttal of Prof G’s lazy and uninformed ‘take down’ of web3.
'Arguments around specific attributes of web3, or of any network, like centralization or the existence of bad actors, are besides the point, like arguing that the internet is bad because Facebook or 4chan exist.'
'This debate is not about centralization versus decentralization. It’s about choice.
About whether or not web3, an internet owned by the users & builders, orchestrated with tokens, is net good or net bad for humanity, not just in its earliest form, but in the promise it holds.'
'I hope we can end this silly debate now and engage in more nuanced, thoughtful conversation like the one prompted by Moxie’s piece instead of loud and inaccurate yelling like the Prof’s. Or just get out of the way.'
Amen to that.
Very good deep dive from a Gen Z perspective.
'The idea of the metaverse is not new to Gen Z, or in fact any native gamer who’s experienced in-game currency, avatars, and worlds.'
'We come back to the question… why now?
I'd argue it's the combination of these three forces at play: market timing, technology (blockchain, headsets), and generational readiness.'
Individual ownership is lonely and purely transactional.
But collective ownership is different - it changes the meaning from transactional to shared purpose, connection, context, mission, creation.
That’s all for now. Enjoy.
Love these reading lists Zoe!!