More on Entrepreneurship/Creators
Aaron Dinin, PhD
1 year ago
There Are Two Types of Entrepreneurs in the World Make sure you are aware of your type!
Know why it's important.
The entrepreneur I was meeting with said, "I should be doing crypto, or maybe AI? Aren't those the hot spots? I should look there for a startup idea.”
I shook my head. Yes, they're exciting, but that doesn't mean they're best for you and your business.
“There are different types of entrepreneurs?” he asked.
I said "obviously." Two types, actually. Knowing what type of entrepreneur you are helps you build the right startup.
The two types of businesspeople
The best way for me to describe the two types of entrepreneurs is to start by telling you exactly the kinds of entrepreneurial opportunities I never get excited about: future opportunities.
In the early 1990s, my older brother showed me the World Wide Web and urged me to use it. Unimpressed, I returned to my Super Nintendo.
My roommate tried to get me to join Facebook as a senior in college. I remember thinking, This is dumb. Who'll use it?
In 2011, my best friend tried to convince me to buy bitcoin and I laughed.
Heck, a couple of years ago I had to buy a new car, and I never even considered buying something that didn’t require fossilized dinosaur bones.
I'm no visionary. I don't anticipate the future. I focus on the present.
This tendency makes me a problem-solving entrepreneur. I identify entrepreneurial opportunities by spotting flaws and/or inefficiencies in the world and devising solutions.
There are other ways to find business opportunities. Visionary entrepreneurs also exist. I don't mean visionary in the hyperbolic sense that implies world-changing impact. I mean visionary as an entrepreneur who identifies future technological shifts that will change how people work and live and create new markets.
Problem-solving and visionary entrepreneurs are equally good. But the two approaches to building companies are very different. Knowing the type of entrepreneur you are will help you build a startup that fits your worldview.
What is the distinction?
Let's use some simple hypotheticals to compare problem-solving and visionary entrepreneurship.
Imagine a city office building without nearby restaurants. Those office workers love to eat. Sometimes they'd rather eat out than pack a lunch. As an entrepreneur, you can solve the lack of nearby restaurants. You'd open a restaurant near that office, say a pizza parlor, and get customers because you solved the lack of nearby restaurants. Problem-solving entrepreneurship.
Imagine a new office building in a developing area with no residents or workers. In this scenario, a large office building is coming. The workers will need to eat then. As a visionary entrepreneur, you're excited about the new market and decide to open a pizzeria near the construction to meet demand.
Both possibilities involve the same product. You opened a pizzeria. How you launched that pizza restaurant and what will affect its success are different.
Why is the distinction important?
Let's say you opened a pizzeria near an office. You'll probably get customers. Because people are nearby and demand isn't being met, someone from a nearby building will stop in within the first few days of your pizzeria's grand opening. This makes solving the problem relatively risk-free. You'll get customers unless you're a fool.
The market you're targeting existed before you entered it, so you're not guaranteed success. This means people in that market solved the lack of nearby restaurants. Those office workers are used to bringing their own lunches. Why should your restaurant change their habits? Even when they eat out, they're used to traveling far. They've likely developed pizza preferences.
To be successful with your problem-solving startup, you must convince consumers to change their behavior, which is difficult.
Unlike opening a pizza restaurant near a construction site. Once the building opens, workers won't have many preferences or standardized food-getting practices. Your pizza restaurant can become the incumbent quickly. You'll be the first restaurant in the area, so you'll gain a devoted following that makes your food a routine.
Great, right? It's easier than changing people's behavior. The benefit comes with a risk. Opening a pizza restaurant near a construction site increases future risk. What if builders run out of money? No one moves in? What if the building's occupants are the National Association of Pizza Haters? Then you've opened a pizza restaurant next to pizza haters.
Which kind of businessperson are you?
This isn't to say one type of entrepreneur is better than another. Each type of entrepreneurship requires different skills.
As my simple examples show, a problem-solving entrepreneur must operate in markets with established behaviors and habits. To be successful, you must be able to teach a market a new way of doing things.
Conversely, the challenge of being a visionary entrepreneur is that you have to be good at predicting the future and getting in front of that future before other people.
Both are difficult in different ways. So, smart entrepreneurs don't just chase opportunities. Smart entrepreneurs pursue opportunities that match their skill sets.
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.
1 year ago
Why don't you relaunch my startup projects?
Open to ideas or acquisitions
Failure is an unavoidable aspect of life, yet many recoil at the word.
I've worked on unrelated startup projects. This is a list of products I developed (often as the tech lead or co-founder) and why they failed to launch.
Chess Bet (Betting)
As a chess player who plays 5 games a day and has an ELO rating of 2100, I tried to design a chess engine to rival stockfish and Houdini.
While constructing my chess engine, my cofounder asked me about building a p2p chess betting app. Chess Bet. There couldn't be a better time.
Two people in different locations could play a staked game. The winner got 90% of the bet and we got 10%. The business strategy was clear, but our mini-launch was unusual.
People started employing the same cheat engines I mentioned, causing user churn and defaming our product.
It was the first programming problem I couldn't solve after building a cheat detection system based on player move strengths and prior games. Chess.com, the most famous online chess software, still suffers from this.
We decided to pivot because we needed an expensive betting license.
We relaunched as Chess MVP after deciding to focus on chess learning. A platform for teachers to create chess puzzles and teach content. Several chess students used our product, but the target market was too tiny.
We chose to quit rather than persevere or pivot.
BodaCare (Insure Tech)
‘BodaBoda’ in Swahili means Motorcycle. My Dad approached me in 2019 (when I was working for a health tech business) about establishing an Insurtech/fintech solution for motorbike riders to pay for insurance using SNPL.
We teamed up with an underwriter to market motorcycle insurance. Once they had enough premiums, they'd get an insurance sticker in the mail. We made it better by splitting the cover in two, making it more reasonable for motorcyclists struggling with lump-sum premiums.
Lack of capital and changing customer behavior forced us to close, with 100 motorcyclists paying 0.5 USD every day. Our unit econ didn't make sense, and CAC and retention capital only dug us deeper.
Circle (Social Networking)
Having learned from both product failures, I began to understand what worked and what didn't. While reading through Instagram, an idea struck me.
Suppose social media weren't virtual.
Imagine meeting someone on your way home. Like-minded person
People were excited about social occasions after covid restrictions were eased. Anything to escape. I just built a university student-popular experiences startup. Again, there couldn't be a better time.
I started the Android app. I launched it on Google Beta and oh my! 200 people joined in two days.
It works by signaling if people are in a given place and allowing users to IM in hopes of meeting up in near real-time. Playstore couldn't deploy the app despite its success in beta for unknown reasons. I appealed unsuccessfully.
My infrastructure quickly lost users because I lacked funding.
This essay contains many failures, some of which might have been avoided and others not, but they were crucial learning points in my startup path.
If you liked any idea, I have the source code on Github.
Happy reading until then!
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1 year ago
A Day in the Life of Lex Fridman Can Help You Hit 6-Month Goals
The Lex Fridman podcast host has interviewed Elon Musk.
Lex is a minimalist YouTuber. His videos are sloppy. Suits are his trademark.
In a video, he shares a typical day. I've smashed my 6-month goals using its ideas.
Here's his schedule.
Not woo-woo. Lex's mantra reflects his practicality.
"I remember the game's rules," he says.
Sleeping 6–8 hours nightly
1–3 times a day, he checks social media.
Every day, despite pain, he exercises. "I exercise uninjured body parts."
He imagines his day. "Like Sims..."
He says three things he's grateful for and contemplates death.
"Today may be my last"
Then he visualizes his goals. He starts big. Five-year goals.
Short-term goals follow. Lex says they're year-end goals.
Near but out of reach.
He lists his principles. Assertions. His goals.
He acknowledges his cliche beliefs. Compassion, empathy, and strength are key.
Here's my mantra routine:
Four-Hour Deep Work
Lex begins a four-hour deep work session after his mantra routine. Today's toughest.
AI is Lex's specialty. His video doesn't explain what he does.
Clearly, he works hard.
Before starting, he has water, coffee, and a bathroom break.
"During deep work sessions, I minimize breaks."
He's distraction-free. Phoneless. Silence. Nothing. Any loose ideas are typed into a Google doc for later. He wants to work.
"Just get the job done. Don’t think about it too much and feel good once it’s complete." — Lex Fridman
30-Minute Social Media & Music
After his first deep work session, Lex rewards himself.
10 minutes on social media, 20 on music. Upload content and respond to comments in 10 minutes. 20 minutes for guitar or piano.
"In the real world, I’m currently single, but in the music world, I’m in an open relationship with this beautiful guitar. Open relationship because sometimes I cheat on her with the acoustic." — Lex Fridman
Then exercise for two hours.
Daily runs six miles. Then he chooses how far to go. Run time is an hour.
He does bodyweight exercises. Every minute for 15 minutes, do five pull-ups and ten push-ups. It's David Goggins-inspired. He aims for an hour a day.
He's hungry. Before running, he takes a salt pill for electrolytes.
He'll then take a one-minute cold shower while listening to cheesy songs. Afterward, he might eat.
Four-Hour Deep Work
Lex's second work session.
He works 8 hours a day.
Again, zero distractions.
The video's meal doesn't look appetizing, but it's healthy.
It's ground beef with vegetables. Cauliflower is his "ground-floor" veggie. "Carrots are my go-to party food."
Lex's keto diet includes 1800–2000 calories.
He drinks a "nutrient-packed" Atheltic Greens shake and takes tablets. It's:
One daily tablet of sodium.
Magnesium glycinate tablets stopped his keto headaches.
Potassium — "For electrolytes"
Fish oil: healthy joints
“So much of nutrition science is barely a science… I like to listen to my own body and do a one-person, one-subject scientific experiment to feel good.” — Lex Fridman
Four-hour shallow session
This work isn't as mentally taxing.
Lex planned to:
Finish last session's deep work (about an hour)
Adobe Premiere podcasting (about two hours).
Email-check (about an hour). Three times a day max. First, check for emergencies.
If he's sick, he may watch Netflix or YouTube documentaries or visit friends.
“The possibilities of chaos are wide open, so I can do whatever the hell I want.” — Lex Fridman
Two-hour evening reading
Lex ends the day reading academic papers for an hour. "Today I'm skimming two machine learning and neuroscience papers"
This helps him "think beyond the paper."
He reads for an hour.
“When I have a lot of energy, I just chill on the bed and read… When I’m feeling tired, I jump to the desk…” — Lex Fridman
Lex's day-in-the-life video is inspiring.
He has positive energy and works hard every day.
Mantra Routine includes rules, visualizing, goals, and principles.
Deep Work Session #1: Four hours of focus.
10 minutes social media, 20 minutes guitar or piano. "Music brings me joy"
Six-mile run, then bodyweight workout. Two hours total.
Deep Work #2: Four hours with no distractions. Google Docs stores random thoughts.
Lex supplements his keto diet.
This four-hour session is "open to chaos."
Evening reading: academic papers followed by fiction.
"I value some things in life. Work is one. The other is loving others. With those two things, life is great." — Lex Fridman
Looi Qin En
1 year ago
I polled 52 product managers to find out what qualities make a great Product Manager
Great technology opens up an universe of possibilities.
Need a friend? WhatsApp, Telegram, Slack, etc.
Traveling? AirBnB, Expedia, Google Flights, etc.
Money transfer? Use digital banking, e-wallet, or crypto applications
Products inspire us. How do we become great?
I asked product managers in my network:
What does it take to be a great product manager?
52 product managers from 40+ prominent IT businesses in Southeast Asia responded passionately. Many of the PMs I've worked with have built fantastic products, from unicorns (Lazada, Tokopedia, Ovo) to incumbents (Google, PayPal, Experian, WarnerMedia) to growing (etaily, Nium, Shipper).
Soft talents are more important than hard skills. Technical expertise was hardly ever stressed by product managers, and empathy was mentioned more than ten times. Janani from Xendit expertly recorded the moment. A superb PM must comprehend that their empathy for the feelings of their users must surpass all logic and data.
Constant attention to the needs of the user. Many people concur that the closer a PM gets to their customer/user, the more likely it is that the conclusion will be better. There were almost 30 references to customers and users. Focusing on customers has the advantage because it is hard to overshoot, as Rajesh from Lazada puts it best.
Setting priorities is invaluable. Prioritization is essential because there are so many problems that a PM must deal with every day. My favorite quotation on this is from Rakuten user Yee Jie. Viki, A competent product manager extinguishes fires. A good product manager lets things burn and then prioritizes.
This summary isn't enough to capture what excellent PMs claim it requires. Read below!
What qualities make a successful product manager?
Themed quotes are alphabetized by author.
Embrace your user/customer
Aeriel Dela Paz, Rainmaking Venture Architect, ex-GCash Product Head
Great PMs know what customers need even when they don’t say it directly. It’s about reading between the lines and going through the numbers to address that need.
Anders Nordahl, OrkestraSCS's Product Manager
Understanding the vision of your customer is as important as to get the customer to buy your vision
Angel Mendoza, MetaverseGo's Product Head
Most people think that to be a great product manager, you must have technical know-how. It’s textbook and I do think it is helpful to some extent, but for me the secret sauce is EMPATHY — the ability to see and feel things from someone else’s perspective. You can’t create a solution without deeply understanding the problem.
Senior Product Manager, Tokopedia
Focus on delivering value and helping people (consumer as well as colleague) and everything else will follow
Darren Lau, Deloitte Digital's Head of Customer Experience
Start with the users, and work backwards. Don’t have a solution looking for a problem
Darryl Tan, Grab Product Manager
I would say that a great product manager is able to identify the crucial problems to solve through strong user empathy and synthesis of insights
Diego Perdana, Kitalulus Senior Product Manager
I think to be a great product manager you need to be obsessed with customer problems and most important is solve the right problem with the right solution
Senior Product Manager, AirAsia
Lot of common sense + Customer Obsession. The most important role of a Product manager is to bring clarity of a solution. Your product is good if it solves customer problems. Your product is great if it solves an eco-system problem and disrupts the business in a positive way.
Edward Xie, Mastercard Managing Consultant, ex-Shopee Product Manager
Perfect your product, but be prepared to compromise for right users
AVP Product, Shipper
For me, a great product manager need to be rational enough to find the business opportunities while obsessing the customers.
Janani Gopalakrishnan is a senior product manager of a stealth firm.
While as a good PM it’s important to be data-driven, to be a great PM one needs to understand that their empathy for their users’ emotions must exceed all logic and data. Great PMs also make these product discussions thrive within the team by intently listening to all the members thoughts and influence the team’s skin in the game positively.
Director, Product Management, Indeed
Great product managers put their users first. They discover problems that matter most to their users and inspire their team to find creative solutions.
Grab's Senior Product Manager Lakshay Kalra
Product management is all about finding and solving most important user problems
Quipper's Mega Puji Saraswati
First of all, always remember the value of “user first” to solve what user really needs (the main problem) for guidance to arrange the task priority and develop new ideas. Second, ownership. Treat the product as your “2nd baby”, and the team as your “2nd family”. Third, maintain a good communication, both horizontally and vertically. But on top of those, always remember to have a work — life balance, and know exactly the priority in life :)
Senior Product Manager, Prosa.AI Miswanto Miswanto
A great Product Manager is someone who can be the link between customer needs with the readiness and flexibility of the team. So that it can provide, build, and produce a product that is useful and helps the community to carry out their daily activities. And He/She can improve product quality ongoing basis or continuous to help provide solutions for users or our customer.
Lead Product Manager, Tokopedia, Oriza Wahyu Utami
Be a great listener, be curious and be determined. every great product manager have the ability to listen the pain points and understand the problems, they are always curious on the users feedback, and they also very determined to look for the solutions that benefited users and the business.
99 Group CPO Rajesh Sangati
The advantage of focusing on customers: it’s impossible to overshoot
Ray Jang, founder of Scenius, formerly of ByteDance
The difference between good and great product managers is that great product managers are willing to go the unsexy and unglamorous extra mile by rolling up their sleeves and ironing out all minutiae details of the product such that when the user uses the product, they can’t help but say “This was made for me.”
BCG Digital Ventures' Sid Narayanan
Great product managers ensure that what gets built and shipped is at the intersection of what creates value for the customer and for the business that’s building the product…often times, especially in today’s highly liquid funding environment, the unit economics, aka ensuring that what gets shipped creates value for the business and is sustainable, gets overlooked
Stephanie Brownlee, BCG Digital Ventures Product Manager
There is software in the world that does more harm than good to people and society. Great Product Managers build products that solve problems not create problems
Delivery Hero's Abhishek Muralidharan
Embracing your failure is the key to become a great Product Manager
DeliveryHero's Anuraag Burman
Product Managers should be thick skinned to deal with criticism and the stomach to take risk and face failures.
DataSpark Product Head Apurva Lawale
Great product managers enjoy the creative process with their team to deliver intuitive user experiences to benefit users.
Dexter Zhuang, Xendit Product Manager
The key to creating winning products is building what customers want as quickly as you can — testing and learning along the way.
PayPal's Jay Ko
To me, great product managers always remain relentlessly curious. They are empathetic leaders and problem solvers that glean customer insights into building impactful products
Home Credit Philippines' Jedd Flores
Great Product Managers are the best dreamers; they think of what can be possible for the customers, for the company and the positive impact that it will have in the industry that they’re part of
Set priorities first, foremost, foremost.
HBO Go Product Manager Akshay Ishwar
Good product managers strive to balance the signal to noise ratio, Great product managers know when to turn the dials for each up exactly
Zuellig Pharma's Guojie Su
Have the courage to say no. Managing egos and request is never easy and rejecting them makes it harder but necessary to deliver the best value for the customers.
Ninja Van's John Prawira
(1) PMs should be able to ruthlessly prioritize. In order to be effective, PMs should anchor their product development process with their north stars (success metrics) and always communicate with a purpose. (2) User-first when validating assumptions. PMs should validate assumptions early and often to manage risk when leading initiatives with a focus on generating the highest impact to solving a particular user pain-point. We can’t expect a product/feature launch to be perfect (there might be bugs or we might not achieve our success metric — which is where iteration comes in), but we should try our best to optimize on user-experience earlier on.
Nium Product Manager Keika Sugiyama
I’d say a great PM holds the ability to balance ruthlessness and empathy at the same time. It’s easier said than done for sure!
ShopBack product manager Li Cai
Great product managers are like great Directors of movies. They do not create great products/movies by themselves. They deliver it by Defining, Prioritising, Energising the team to deliver what customers love.
Quincus' Michael Lim
A great product manager, keeps a pulse on the company’s big picture, identifies key problems, and discerns its rightful prioritization, is able to switch between the macro perspective to micro specifics, and communicates concisely with humility that influences naturally for execution
Mathieu François-Barseghian, SVP, Citi Ventures
“You ship your org chart”. This is Conway’s Law short version (1967!): the fundamental socio-technical driver behind innovation successes (Netflix) and failures (your typical bank). The hype behind micro-services is just another reflection of Conway’s Law
Mastercard's Regional Product Manager Nikhil Moorthy
A great PM should always look to build products which are scalable & viable , always keep the end consumer journey in mind. Keeping things simple & having a MVP based approach helps roll out products faster. One has to test & learn & then accordingly enhance / adapt, these are key to success
Rendy Andi, Tokopedia Product Manager
Articulate a clear vision and the path to get there, Create a process that delivers the best results and Be serious about customers.
Senior Product Manager, DANA Indonesia
Own the problem, not the solution — Great PMs are outstanding problem preventers. Great PMs are discerning about which problems to prevent, which problems to solve, and which problems not to solve
Tat Leong Seah, LionsBot International Senior UX Engineer, ex-ViSenze Product Manager
Prioritize outcomes for your users, not outputs of your system” or more succinctly “be agile in delivering value; not features”
Senior Product Manager, Rakuten Viki
A good product manager puts out fires. A great product manager lets fires burn and prioritize from there
acquire fundamental soft skills
Oracle NetSuite's Astrid April Dominguez
Personally, i believe that it takes grit, empathy, and optimistic mindset to become a great PM
Ovo Lead Product Manager Boy Al Idrus
Contrary to popular beliefs, being a great product manager doesn’t have anything to do with technicals, it sure plays a part but most important weapons are: understanding pain points of users, project management, sympathy in leadership and business critical skills; these 4 aspects would definitely help you to become a great product manager.
PwC Product Manager Eric Koh
Product managers need to be courageous to be successful. Courage is required to dive deep, solving big problems at its root and also to think far and dream big to achieve bold visions for your product
Ninja Van's Product Director
In my opinion the two most important ingredients to become a successful product manager is: 1. Strong critical thinking 2. Strong passion for the work. As product managers, we typically need to solve very complex problems where the answers are often very ambiguous. The work is tough and at times can be really frustrating. The 2 ingredients I mentioned earlier will be critical towards helping you to slowly discover the solution that may become a game changer.
PayPal's Lead Product Manager
A great PM has an eye of a designer, the brain of an engineer and the tongue of a diplomat
Product Manager Irene Chan
A great Product Manager is able to think like a CEO of the company. Visionary with Agile Execution in mind
Isabella Yamin, Rakuten Viki Product Manager
There is no one model of being a great product person but what I’ve observed from people I’ve had the privilege working with is an overflowing passion for the user problem, sprinkled with a knack for data and negotiation
Google product manager Jachin Cheng
Great product managers start with abundant intellectual curiosity and grow into a classic T-shape. Horizontally: generalists who range widely, communicate fluidly and collaborate easily cross-functionally, connect unexpected dots, and have the pulse both internally and externally across users, stakeholders, and ecosystem players. Vertically: deep product craftsmanship comes from connecting relentless user obsession with storytelling, business strategy with detailed features and execution, inspiring leadership with risk mitigation, and applying the most relevant tools to solving the right problems.
Jene Lim, Experian's Product Manager
3 Cs and 3 Rs. Critical thinking , Customer empathy, Creativity. Resourcefulness, Resilience, Results orientation.
Nirenj George, Envision Digital's Security Product Manager
A great product manager is someone who can lead, collaborate and influence different stakeholders around the product vision, and should be able to execute the product strategy based on customer insights, as well as take ownership of the product roadmap to create a greater impact on customers.
Grab's Lead Product Manager
Product Management is a multi-dimensional role that looks very different across each product team so each product manager has different challenges to deal with but what I have found common among great product managers is ability to create leverage through their efforts to drive outsized impacts for their products. This leverage is built using data with intuition, building consensus with stakeholders, empowering their teams and focussed efforts on needle moving work.
NCS Product Manager Umar Masagos
To be a great product manager, one must master both the science and art of Product Management. On one hand, you need have a strong understanding of the tools, metrics and data you need to drive your product. On the other hand, you need an in-depth understanding of your organization, your target market and target users, which is often the more challenging aspect to master.
M1 product manager Wei Jiao Keong
A great product manager is multi-faceted. First, you need to have the ability to see the bigger picture, yet have a keen eye for detail. Secondly, you are empathetic and is able to deliver products with exceptional user experience while being analytical enough to achieve business outcomes. Lastly, you are highly resourceful and independent yet comfortable working cross-functionally.
Yudha Utomo, ex-Senior Product Manager, Tokopedia
A great Product Manager is essentially an effective note-taker. In order to achieve the product goals, It is PM’s job to ensure objective has been clearly conveyed, efforts are assessed, and tasks are properly tracked and managed. PM can do this by having top-notch documentation skills.
1 year ago
Is Web3 nonsense?
Crypto and blockchain have rebranded as web3. They probably thought it sounded better and didn't want the baggage of scam ICOs, STOs, and skirted securities laws.
It was like Facebook becoming Meta. Crypto's biggest players wanted to change public (and regulator) perception away from pump-and-dump schemes.
After the 2018 ICO gold rush, it's understandable. Every project that raised millions (or billions) never shipped a meaningful product.
Like many crazes, charlatans took the money and ran.
Despite its grifter past, web3 is THE hot topic today as more founders, venture firms, and larger institutions look to build the future decentralized internet.
How often have you heard: This will change the world, fix the internet, and give people power?
Why are most of web3's biggest proponents (and beneficiaries) the same rich, powerful players who built and invested in the modern internet? It's like they want to remake and own the internet.
Something seems off about that.
Why are insiders getting preferential presale terms before the public, allowing early investors and proponents to flip dirt cheap tokens and advisors shares almost immediately after the public sale?
It's a good gig with guaranteed markups, no risk or progress.
If it sounds like insider trading, it is, at least practically. This is clear when people talk about blockchain/web3 launches and tokens.
Fast money, quick flips, and guaranteed markups/returns are common.
Incentives-wise, it's hard to blame them. Who can blame someone for following the rules to win? Is it their fault or regulators' for not leveling the playing field?
It's similar to oil companies polluting for profit, Instagram depressing you into buying a new dress, or pharma pushing an unnecessary pill.
All of that is fair game, at least until we change the playbook, because people (and corporations) change for pain or love. Who doesn't love money?
belief based on money gain
“It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”
Bitcoin, blockchain, and web3 analogies?
Most blockchain and web3 proponents are true believers, not cynical capitalists. They believe blockchain's inherent transparency and permissionless trust allow humanity to evolve beyond our reptilian ways and build a better decentralized and democratic world.
They highlight issues with the modern internet and monopoly players like Google, Facebook, and Apple. Decentralization fixes everything
If we could give power back to the people and get governments/corporations/individuals out of the way, we'd fix everything.
Blockchain solves supply chain and child labor issues in China.
To meet Paris climate goals, reduce emissions. Create a carbon token.
Fixing online hatred and polarization Web3 Twitter and Facebook replacement.
Web3 must just be the answer for everything… your “perfect” silver bullet.
Nothing fits everyone. Blockchain has pros and cons like everything else.
Blockchain's viral, ponzi-like nature has an MLM (mid level marketing) feel. If you bought Taylor Swift's NFT, your investment is tied to her popularity.
Probably makes you promote Swift more. Play music loudly.
Here's another example:
Imagine if Jehovah’s Witnesses (or evangelical preachers…) got paid for every single person they converted to their cause.
It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy as their faith and wealth grow.
Which breeds extremism? Ultra-Orthodox Jews are an example. maximalists
Bitcoin and blockchain are causes, religions. It's a money-making movement and ideal.
We're good at convincing ourselves of things we want to believe, hence filter bubbles.
I ignore anything that doesn't fit my worldview and seek out like-minded people, which algorithms amplify.
Is web3 merely a new scam?
Blockchain has many crucial uses.
Sending money home/abroad without bank fees;
Like fleeing a war-torn country and converting savings to Bitcoin;
Like preventing Twitter from silencing dissidents.
Permissionless, trustless databases could benefit society and humanity. There are, however, many limitations.
What if you're cheated?
What if Trump/Putin/your favorite dictator incites a coup d'état?
What-ifs abound. Decentralization's openness brings good and bad.
No gatekeepers or firefighters to rescue you.
ISIS's fundraising is also frictionless.
Community-owned apps with bad interfaces and service.
So what compromises does web3 make?
What are your trade-offs? Decentralization has many strengths and flaws. Like Bitcoin's wasteful proof-of-work or Ethereum's political/wealth-based proof-of-stake.
To ensure the survival and veracity of the network/blockchain and to safeguard its nodes, extreme measures have been designed/put in place to prevent hostile takeovers aimed at altering the blockchain, i.e., adding money to your own wallet (account), etc.
These protective measures require significant resources and pose challenges. Reduced speed and throughput, high gas fees (cost to submit/write a transaction to the blockchain), and delayed development times, not to mention forked blockchain chains oops, web3 projects.
Protecting dissidents or rogue regimes makes sense. You need safety, privacy, and calm.
What if you assumed EVERYONE you saw was out to rob/attack you? You'd never travel, trust anyone, accomplish much, or live fully. The economy would collapse.
It's like an ant colony where half the ants do nothing but wait to be attacked.
Waste of time and money.
11% of the US budget goes to the military. Imagine what we could do with the $766B+ we spend on what-ifs annually.
Is so much hypothetical security needed?
Blockchain and web3 are similar.
Does your app need permissionless decentralization? Does your scooter-sharing company really need a proof-of-stake system and 1000s of nodes to avoid Russian hackers? Why?
Worst-case scenario? It's not life or death, unless you overstate the what-ifs. Web3 proponents find improbable scenarios to justify decentralization and tokenization.
Do I need a token to prove ownership of my painting? Unless I'm a master thief, I probably bought it.
despite losing the receipt.
I do, however, love Web 3.
Enough Web3 bashing for now. Understand? Decentralization isn't perfect, but it has huge potential when applied to the right problems.
I see many of the right problems as disrupting big tech's ruthless monopolies. I wrote several years ago about how tokenized blockchains could be used to break big tech's stranglehold on platforms, marketplaces, and social media.
Tokenomics schemes can be used for good and are powerful. Here’s how.
Before the ICO boom, I made a series of predictions about blockchain/crypto's future. It's still true.
Here's where I was then and where I see web3 going:
My 11 Big & Bold Predictions for Blockchain
In the near future, people may wear crypto cash rings or bracelets.
While some governments repress cryptocurrency, others will start to embrace it.
Blockchain will fundamentally alter voting and governance, resulting in a more open election process.
Money freedom will lead to a more geographically open world where people will be more able to leave when there is unrest.
Blockchain will make record keeping significantly easier, eliminating the need for a significant portion of government workers whose sole responsibility is paperwork.
Overrated are smart contracts.
6. Tokens will replace company stocks.
7. Blockchain increases real estate's liquidity, value, and volatility.
8. Healthcare may be most affected.
9. Crypto could end privacy and lead to Minority Report.
10. New companies with network effects will displace incumbents.
11. Soon, people will wear rings or bracelets with crypto cash.
Some have already happened, while others are still possible.
Time will tell if they happen.
What will web3 be?
Who will be in charge?
Hope you enjoyed this web3 dive. There's much more to say, but that's for another day.
We're writing history as we go.
Tech regulation, mergers, Bitcoin surge How will history remember us?
What about web3 and blockchain?
Is this a revolution or a tulip craze?
Remember, actions speak louder than words (share them in the comments).