More on NFTs & Art
1 year ago
Starbucks' NFT Project recently defeated its rivals.
The same way Amazon killed bookstores. You just can’t see it yet.
Shultz globalized coffee. Before Starbucks, coffee sucked.
All accounts say 1970s coffee was awful.
Starbucks had three stores selling ground Indonesian coffee in the 1980s.
What a show!
A year after joining the company at 29, Shultz traveled to Italy for R&D.
He noticed the coffee shops' sense of theater and community and realized Starbucks was in the wrong business.
Integrating coffee and destination created a sense of community in the store.
He told Starbucks' founders about his experience.
For two years.
Shultz left and opened an Italian coffee shop chain like any good entrepreneur.
Starbucks ran into financial trouble, so the founders offered to sell to Shultz.
Shultz bought Starbucks in 1987 for $3.8 million, including six stores and a payment plan.
Starbucks is worth $100.79Billion, per Google Finance.
26,500 times Shultz's initial investment
Starbucks is releasing its own NFT Platform under Shultz and his early Vision.
This year, Starbucks Odyssey launches. The new digital experience combines a Loyalty Rewards program with NFT.
The side chain Polygon-based platform doesn't require a Crypto Wallet. Customers can earn and buy digital assets to unlock incentives and experiences.
They've removed all friction, making it more immersive and convenient than a coffee shop.
NFTs are the access coupon to their digital community, but they don't highlight the technology.
They prioritize consumer experience by adding non-technical users to Web3. Their collectables are called journey stamps, not NFTs.
No mention of bundled gas fees.
Brady Brewer, Starbucks' CMO, said;
“It happens to be built on blockchain and web3 technologies, but the customer — to be honest — may very well not even know that what they’re doing is interacting with blockchain technology. It’s just the enabler,”
Rewards members will log into a web app using their loyalty program credentials to access Starbucks Odyssey. They won't know about blockchain transactions.
Starbucks has just dealt its rivals a devastating blow.
It generates more than ten times the revenue of its closest competitor Costa Coffee.
The coffee giant is booming.
Starbucks is ahead of its competitors. No wonder.
They have an innovative, adaptable leadership team.
Starbucks' DNA challenges the narrative, especially when others reject their ideas.
I’m off for a cappuccino.
1 year ago
Hate NFTs? I must break some awful news to you...
If you think NFTs are awful, check out the art market.
The fervor around NFTs has subsided in recent months due to the crypto market crash and the media's short attention span. They were all anyone could talk about earlier this spring. Last semester, when passions were high and field luminaries were discussing "slurp juices," I asked my students and students from over 20 other universities what they thought of NFTs.
According to many, NFTs were either tasteless pyramid schemes or a new way for artists to make money. NFTs contributed to the climate crisis and harmed the environment, but so did air travel, fast fashion, and smartphones. Some students complained that NFTs were cheap, tasteless, algorithmically generated schlock, but others asked how this was different from other art.
I'm not sure what I expected, but the intensity of students' reactions surprised me. They had strong, emotional opinions about a technology I'd always considered administrative. NFTs address ownership and accounting, like most crypto/blockchain projects.
Art markets can be irrational, arbitrary, and subject to the same scams and schemes as any market. And maybe a few shenanigans that are unique to the art world.
The Fairness Question
Fairness, a deflating moral currency, was the general sentiment (the less of it in circulation, the more ardently we clamor for it.) These students, almost all of whom are artists, complained to the mismatch between the quality of the work in some notable NFT collections and the excessive amounts these items were fetching on the market. They can sketch a Bored Ape or Lazy Lion in their sleep. Why should they buy ramen with school loans while certain swindlers get rich?
I understand students. Art markets are unjust. They can be irrational, arbitrary, and governed by chance and circumstance, like any market. And art-world shenanigans.
Almost every mainstream critique leveled against NFTs applies just as easily to art markets
Over 50% of artworks in circulation are fake, say experts. Sincere art collectors and institutions are upset by the prevalence of fake goods on the market. Not everyone. Wealthy people and companies use art as investments. They can use cultural institutions like museums and galleries to increase the value of inherited art collections. People sometimes buy artworks and use family ties or connections to museums or other cultural taste-makers to hype the work in their collection, driving up the price and allowing them to sell for a profit. Money launderers can disguise capital flows by using market whims, hype, and fluctuating asset prices.
Almost every mainstream critique leveled against NFTs applies just as easily to art markets.
Art has always been this way. Edward Kienholz's 1989 print series satirized art markets. He stamped 395 identical pieces of paper from $1 to $395. Each piece was initially priced as indicated. Kienholz was joking about a strange feature of art markets: once the last print in a series sells for $395, all previous works are worth at least that much. The entire series is valued at its highest auction price. I don't know what a Kienholz print sells for today (inquire with the gallery), but it's more than $395.
I love Lee Lozano's 1969 "Real Money Piece." Lozano put cash in various denominations in a jar in her apartment and gave it to visitors. She wrote, "Offer guests coffee, diet pepsi, bourbon, half-and-half, ice water, grass, and money." "Offer real money as candy."
Lee Lozano kept track of who she gave money to, how much they took, if any, and how they reacted to the offer of free money without explanation. Diverse reactions. Some found it funny, others found it strange, and others didn't care. Lozano rarely says:
Apr 17 Keith Sonnier refused, later screws lid very tightly back on. Apr 27 Kaltenbach takes all the money out of the jar when I offer it, examines all the money & puts it all back in jar. Says he doesn’t need money now. Apr 28 David Parson refused, laughing. May 1 Warren C. Ingersoll refused. He got very upset about my “attitude towards money.” May 4 Keith Sonnier refused, but said he would take money if he needed it which he might in the near future. May 7 Dick Anderson barely glances at the money when I stick it under his nose and says “Oh no thanks, I intend to earn it on my own.” May 8 Billy Bryant Copley didn’t take any but then it was sort of spoiled because I had told him about this piece on the phone & he had time to think about it he said.
Smart Contracts (smart as in fair, not smart as in Blockchain)
Cornell University's Cheryl Finley has done a lot of research on secondary art markets. I first learned about her research when I met her at the University of Florida's Harn Museum, where she spoke about smart contracts (smart as in fair, not smart as in Blockchain) and new protocols that could help artists who are often left out of the economic benefits of their own work, including women and women of color.
Her talk included findings from her ArtNet op-ed with Lauren van Haaften-Schick, Christian Reeder, and Amy Whitaker.
NFTs allow us to think about and hack on formal contractual relationships outside a system of laws that is currently not set up to service our community.
The ArtNet article The Recent Sale of Amy Sherald's ‘Welfare Queen' Symbolizes the Urgent Need for Resale Royalties and Economic Equity for Artists discussed Sherald's 2012 portrait of a regal woman in a purple dress wearing a sparkling crown and elegant set of pearls against a vibrant red background.
Amy Sherald sold "Welfare Queen" to Princeton professor Imani Perry. Sherald agreed to a payment plan to accommodate Perry's budget.
Amy Sherald rose to fame for her 2016 portrait of Michelle Obama and her full-length portrait of Breonna Taylor, one of the most famous works of the past decade.
As is common, Sherald's rising star drove up the price of her earlier works. Perry's "Welfare Queen" sold for $3.9 million in 2021.
Imani Perry's early investment paid off big-time. Amy Sherald, whose work directly increased the painting's value and who was on an artist's shoestring budget when she agreed to sell "Welfare Queen" in 2012, did not see any of the 2021 auction money. Perry and the auction house got that money.
Sherald sold her Breonna Taylor portrait to the Smithsonian and Louisville's Speed Art Museum to fund a $1 million scholarship. This is a great example of what an artist can do for the community if they can amass wealth through their work.
NFTs haven't solved all of the art market's problems — fakes, money laundering, market manipulation — but they didn't create them. Blockchain and NFTs are credited with making these issues more transparent. More ideas emerge daily about what a smart contract should do for artists.
NFTs are a copyright solution. They allow us to hack formal contractual relationships outside a law system that doesn't serve our community.
Amy Sherald shows the good smart contracts can do (as in, well-considered, self-determined contracts, not necessarily blockchain contracts.) Giving back to our community, deciding where and how our work can be sold or displayed, and ensuring artists share in the equity of our work and the economy our labor creates.
Jim Clyde Monge
1 year ago
Can You Sell Images Created by AI?
Some AI-generated artworks sell for enormous sums of money.
But can you sell AI-Generated Artwork?
Simple answer: yes.
However, not all AI services enable allow usage and redistribution of images.
Let's check some of my favorite AI text-to-image generators:
Dall-E2 by OpenAI
The AI art generator Dall-E2 is powerful. Since it’s still in beta, you can join the waitlist here.
OpenAI DOES NOT allow the use and redistribution of any image for commercial purposes.
Here's the policy as of April 6, 2022.
Here are some images from Dall-E2’s webpage to show its art quality.
Several Reddit users reported receiving pricing surveys from OpenAI.
This suggests the company may bring out a subscription-based tier and a commercial license to sell images soon.
I like Midjourney's art generator. It makes great AI images. Here are some samples:
Standard Licenses are available for $10 per month.
Standard License allows you to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, and/or sell copies of the images, except for blockchain technologies.
If you utilize or distribute the Assets using blockchain technology, you must pay MidJourney 20% of revenue above $20,000 a month or engage in an alternative agreement.
Here's their copyright and trademark page.
Dream by Wombo
Dream is one of the first public AI art generators.
This AI program is free, easy to use, and Wombo gives a royalty-free license to copy or share artworks.
Users own all artworks generated by the tool. Including all related copyrights or intellectual property rights.
Here’s Wombos' intellectual property policy.
AI is creating a new sort of art that's selling well. It’s becoming popular and valued, despite some skepticism.
Now that you know MidJourney and Wombo let you sell AI-generated art, you need to locate buyers. There are several ways to achieve this, but that’s for another story.
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11 months ago
Read These Books on Personal Finance to Boost Your Net Worth
And retire sooner.
Books can make you filthy rich.
If you apply what you learn. In 2011, I was broke and had broken dreams.
Someone suggested I read finance books. One Up On Wall Street was his first recommendation.
Finance books were my crack.
I've read every money book since then. Some are good, but most stink.
These books will make you rich.
The Almanack of Naval Ravikant by Eric Jorgenson
This isn't a cliche book.
This book was inspired by a How to Get Rich tweet thread.
It’s one of the best tweets I’ve ever read.
Naval thinks differently. He nukes ordinary ideas. I've never heard better money advice.
Eric Jorgenson wrote a book about this tweet thread with Navals permission. A must-read, easy-to-digest book.
Seek wealth, not money or status. Wealth is having assets that earn while you sleep. Money is how we transfer time and wealth. Status is your place in the social hierarchy — Naval
Morgan Housel's The Psychology of Money
Many finance books advise investing like a dunce.
They almost all peddle the buy an index fund BS. Different book.
It's about money-making psychology. Because any fool can get rich and drunk on their ego. Few can consistently make money.
Each chapter is short. A single-page chapter breaks all book publishing rules.
Spending money to show people how much money you have is the fastest way to have less money — Morgan Housel
J.L. Collins' The Simple Path to Wealth
Most of the best money books were written by bloggers.
JL Collins blogs. This easy-to-read book was written for his daughter.
This book popularized the phrase F You Money. With enough money in your bank account and investment portfolio, you can say F You more.
A bad boss is an example. You can leave instead of enduring his wrath.
You can then sit at home and look for another job while financially secure. JL says its mind-freedom is powerful.
You own the things you own and they in turn own you — J.L. Collins
Tony Robbins' Unshakeable
I like Tony. This book makes me sweaty.
Tony interviews the world's top financiers. He interviews people who rarely do so.
This book taught me all-weather portfolio. It's a way to invest in different asset classes in good, bad, recession, or depression times.
Look at it:
Investing isn’t about buying one big winner — that’s gambling. It’s about investing in a diversified portfolio of assets.
The best opportunities come in times of maximum pessimism — Tony Robbins
Ben Graham's The Intelligent Investor
This book helped me distinguish between a spectator and an investor.
Spectators are those who shout that crypto, NFTs, or XYZ platform will die.
Tourists. They want attention and to say "I told you so." They make short-term and long-term predictions like fortunetellers. LOL. Idiots.
Benjamin Graham teaches smart investing. You'll buy a long-term asset. To be confident in recessions, use dollar-cost averaging.
Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it. — Benjamin Graham
The Napoleon Hill book Think and Grow Rich
This classic book introduced positive thinking to modern self-help.
Lazy pessimists can't become rich. No way.
Napoleon said, "Thoughts create reality."
No surprise that he discusses obsession and focus in this book. They are the fastest ways to make more money to invest in time and wealth-protecting assets.
The starting point of all achievement is DESIRE. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desire brings weak results, just as a small fire makes a small amount of heat — Napoleon Hill
Ramit Sethi's book I Will Teach You To Be Rich
This book is mostly good. The part about credit cards is trash.
Avoid credit card temptations. I don't care about their airline points.
This book teaches you to master money basics (that many people mess up) then automate it so your monkey brain doesn't ruin your financial future.
The book includes great negotiation tactics to help you make more money in less time.
The 85 Percent Solution: Getting started is more important than becoming an expert — Ramit Sethi
David Bach's The Automatic Millionaire
You've probably met a six- or seven-figure earner who's broke. All their money goes to useless things like cars.
Money isn't as essential as what you do with it. David teaches how to automate your earnings for more money.
Compounding works once investing is automated. So you get rich.
His strategy eliminates luck and (almost) guarantees millionaire status.
Every time you earn one dollar, make sure to pay yourself first — David Bach
Thomas J. Stanley's The Millionaire Next Door
Thomas defies the definition of rich.
He spends much of the book highlighting millionaire traits he's studied.
Rich people are quiet, so you wouldn't know they're wealthy. They don't earn much money or drive a BMW.
Thomas will give you the math to get started.
I am not impressed with what people own. But I’m impressed with what they achieve. I’m proud to be a physician. Always strive to be the best in your field…. Don’t chase money. If you are the best in your field, money will find you. — Thomas J. Stanley
by Bill Perkins "Die With Zero"
Let’s end with one last book.
Bill's book angered many people. He says we spend too much time saving for retirement and die rich. That bank money is lost time.
Your grandkids could use the money. When children inherit money, they become lazy, entitled a-holes.
Bill wants us to spend our money on life-enhancing experiences. Stop saving money like monopoly monkeys.
You should be focusing on maximizing your life enjoyment rather than on maximizing your wealth. Those are two very different goals. Money is just a means to an end: Having money helps you to achieve the more important goal of enjoying your life. But trying to maximize money actually gets in the way of achieving the more important goal — Bill Perkins
1 year ago
How I Stay Fit Despite Eating Fast Food and Drinking Alcohol
Here's me. Perfectionism is unnecessary.
This post isn't for people who gag at the prospect of eating french fries. I've been ridiculed for stating you can lose weight eating carbs and six-pack abs aren't good.
My family eats frozen processed meals and quick food most weeks (sometimes more). Clean eaters may think I'm unqualified to give fitness advice. I get it.
Hear me out, though. I’m a 44-year-old raising two busy kids with a weekly-traveling husband. Tutoring, dance, and guitar classes fill weeknights. I'm also juggling my job and freelancing.
I'm as worried and tired as my clients. I wish I ate only kale smoothies and salads. I can’t. Despite my mistakes, I'm fit. I won't promise you something just because it worked for me. But here’s a look at how I manage.
What I largely get right about eating
I have a flexible diet and track my daily intake. I count protein, fat, and carbs. Only on vacation or exceptional occasions do I not track.
My protein goal is 1 g per lb. I consume a lot of chicken breasts, eggs, turkey, and lean ground beef. I also occasionally drink protein shakes.
I eat 220–240 grams of carbs daily. My carb count depends on training volume and goals. I'm trying to lose weight slowly. If I want to lose weight faster, I cut carbs to 150-180.
My carbs include white rice, Daves Killer Bread, fruit, pasta, and veggies. I don't eat enough vegetables, so I take Athletic Greens. Also, V8.
Fat grams over 50 help me control my hormones. Recently, I've reached 70-80 grams. Cooking with olive oil. I eat daily dark chocolate. Eggs, butter, milk, and cheese contribute to the rest.
Those frozen meals? What can I say? Stouffer’s lasagna is sometimes needed. I order the healthiest fast food I can find (although I can never bring myself to order the salad). That's a chicken sandwich or a kid's hamburger. I rarely order fries. I eat slowly and savor each bite to feel full.
Potato chips and sugary cereals are in the pantry, but I'm not tempted. My kids eat them because I'd rather teach them moderation than total avoidance. If I eat them, I only eat one portion.
If you're not hungry and eating enough protein and fat, you won't want to eat everything in sight.
I drink once or twice a week. As a result, I rarely overdo it.
Food tracking is tedious and frustrating for many. Taking breaks and using estimates when eating out help. Not perfect, but realistic.
I practice a prolonged fast to enhance metabolic adaptability
Metabolic flexibility is the ability to switch between fuel sources (fat and carbs) based on activity intensity and time since eating. At rest or during low to moderate exertion, your body burns fat. Your body burns carbs after eating and during intense exercise.
Our metabolic flexibility can be hampered by lack of exercise, overeating, and stress. Our bodies become lousy fat burners, making weight loss difficult.
Once a week, I skip dinner (usually around 24 hours). Long-term fasting teaches my body to burn fat. It provides me one low-calorie day a week (I break the fast with a normal-sized dinner).
Fasting day helps me maintain my weight on weekends, when I typically overeat and drink.
Try an extended fast slowly. Delay breakfast by two hours. Next week, add two hours, etc. It takes practice to go that long without biting off your arm. I also suggest consulting your doctor.
I stay active.
I've always been active. As a child, I danced many nights a week, was on the high school dance team, and ran marathons in my 20s.
Often, I feel driven by an internal engine. Working from home makes it easy to exercise. If that’s not you, I get it. Everyone can benefit from raising their baseline.
After taking the kids to school, I walk two miles around the neighborhood. When I need to think, I switch off podcasts. First thing in the morning, I go for a walk.
I lift weights Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. 45 minutes is typical. I run 45-90 minutes on Tuesday and Thursday. I'm slow but reliable. On Saturdays and Sundays, I walk and add a short spin class if I'm not too tired.
I almost never forgo sleep.
I rarely stay up past 10 p.m., much to my night-owl husband's dismay. My 7-8-hour nights help me recover from workouts and handle stress. Without it, I'm grumpy.
I suppose sleep duration matters more than bedtime. Some people just can't fall asleep early. Internal clock and genetics determine sleep and wake hours.
Fitness and diet advice is often useless. Some of the advice is inaccurate, dangerous, or difficult to follow if you have a life. I want to throw a shoe at my screen when I see headlines promising to speed up my metabolism or help me lose fat.
I studied exercise physiology for years. No shortcuts exist. No medications or cleanses reset metabolism. I play the hand I'm dealt. I realize that just because something works for me, it won't for you.
If I wanted 15% body fat and ripped abs, I'd have to be stricter. I occasionally think I’d like to get there. But then I remember I’m happy with my life. I like fast food and beer. Pizza and margaritas are favorites (not every day).
You can get it mostly right and live a healthy life.
1 year ago
How we started and then quickly sold our startup
From a simple landing where we tested our MVP to a platform that distributes 20,000 codes per month, we learned a lot.
Kwotet was my first startup. Everyone might post book quotes online.
I wanted a change.
Kwotet lacked attention, thus I felt stuck. After experiencing the trials of starting Kwotet, I thought of developing a waitlist service, but I required a strong co-founder.
I knew Dries from school, but we weren't close. He was an entrepreneurial programmer who worked a lot outside school. I needed this.
We brainstormed throughout school hours. We developed features to put us first. We worked until 3 am to launch this product.
Putting in the hours is KEY when building a startup
The instant that we lost our spark
In Belgium, college seniors do their internship in their last semester.
As we both made the decision to pick a quite challenging company, little time was left for Lancero.
Eventually, we lost interest. We lost the spark…
The only logical choice was to find someone with the same spark we started with to acquire Lancero.
And we did @ MicroAcquire.
Sell before your product dies. Make sure to profit from all the gains.
What did we do following the sale?
Not far from selling Lancero I lost my dad. I was about to start a new company. It was focused on positivity. I got none left at the time.
We still didn’t let go of the dream of becoming full-time entrepreneurs. As Dries launched the amazing company Plunk, and I’m still in the discovering stages of my next journey!
You’re an entrepreneur if:
You enjoy disassembling and reassembling things.
You're adept at making new friends.
YOU HAVE DREAMS.
You don’t need to believe me if I tell you “everything is possible”… I wouldn't believe it myself if anyone told me this 2 years ago.
Until I started doing, living my dreams.