More on NFTs & Art
6 months ago
Why I Love Azuki
Azuki Banner (www.azuki.com)
Disclaimer: This is my personal viewpoint. I'm not on the Azuki team. Please keep in mind that I am merely a fan, community member, and holder. Please do your own research and pardon my grammar. Thanks!
Azuki has changed my view of NFTs.
When I first entered the NFT world, I had no idea what to expect. I liked the idea. So I invested in some projects, fought for whitelists, and discovered some cool NFTs projects (shout-out to CATC). I lost more money than I earned at one point, but I hadn't invested excessively (only put in what you can afford to lose). Despite my losses, I kept looking. I almost waited for the “ah-ha” moment. A NFT project that changed my perspective on NFTs. What makes an NFT project more than a work of art?
The Azuki art drew me in as an anime fan. It looked like something out of an anime, and I'd never seen it before in NFT.
The project was still new. The first two animated teasers were released with little fanfare, but I was impressed with their quality. You can find them on Instagram or in their earlier Tweets.
The teasers hinted that this project could be big and that the team could deliver. It was amazing to see Shao cut the Azuki posters with her katana. Especially at the end when she sheaths her sword and the music cues. Then the live action video of the young boy arranging the Azuki posters seemed movie-like. I felt like I was entering the Azuki story, brand, and dope theme.
The team did not disappoint with the Azuki NFTs. The level of detail in the art is stunning. There were Azukis of all genders, skin and hair types, and more. These 10,000 Azukis have so much representation that almost anyone can find something that resonates. Rather than me rambling on, I suggest you visit the Azuki gallery
If the art is meant to draw you in and be the project's face, the team makes it more. The NFT would be a JPEG without a good team leader. Not that community isn't important, but no community would rally around a bad team.
Because I've been rugged before, I'm very focused on the team when considering a project. While many project teams are anonymous, I try to find ones that are doxxed (public) or at least appear to be established. Unlike Azuki, where most of the Azuki team is anonymous, Steamboy is public. He is (or was) Overwatch's character art director and co-creator of Azuki. I felt reassured and could trust the project after seeing someone from a major game series on the team.
Then I tried to learn as much as I could about the team. Following everyone on Twitter, reading their tweets, and listening to recorded AMAs. I was impressed by the team's professionalism and dedication to their vision for Azuki, led by ZZZAGABOND.
I believe the phrase “actions speak louder than words” applies to Azuki. I can think of a few examples of what the Azuki team has done, but my favorite is ERC721A.
With ERC721A, Azuki has created a new algorithm that allows minting multiple NFTs for essentially the same cost as minting one NFT.
I was ecstatic when the dev team announced it. This fascinates me as a self-taught developer. Azuki released a product that saves people money, improves the NFT space, and is open source. It showed their love for Azuki and the NFT community.
Community, community, community. It's almost a chant in the NFT space now. A community, like a team, can make or break a project. We are the project's consumers, shareholders, core, and lifeblood. The team builds the house, and we fill it. We stay for the community.
When I first entered the Azuki Discord, I was surprised by the calm atmosphere. There was no news about the project. No release date, no whitelisting requirements. No grinding or spamming either. People just wanted to hangout, get to know each other, and talk. It was nice. So the team could pick genuine people for their mintlist (aka whitelist).
But nothing fundamental has changed since the release. It has remained an authentic, fun, and helpful community. I'm constantly logging into Discord to chat with others or follow conversations. I see the community's openness to newcomers. Everyone respects each other (barring a few bad apples) and the variety of people passing through is fascinating. This human connection and interaction is what I enjoy about this place. Being a part of a group that supports a cause.
Finally, I want to thank the amazing Azuki mod team and the kissaten channel for their contributions.
So, what sets Azuki apart from other projects? They are shaping a brand or identity. The Azuki website, I believe, best captures their vision. (This is me gushing over the site.)
If you go to the website, turn on the dope playlist in the bottom left. The playlist features a mix of Asian and non-Asian hip-hop and rap artists, with some lo-fi thrown in. The songs on the playlist change, but I think you get the vibe Azuki embodies just by turning on the music.
The Garden is our next stop where we are introduced to Azuki.
We're creating a new brand together.
A metaverse brand. By the people.
A collection of 10,000 avatars that grant Garden membership. It starts with exclusive streetwear collabs, NFT drops, live events, and more. Azuki allows for a new media genre that the world has yet to discover. Let's build together an Azuki, your metaverse identity.
The Garden is a magical internet corner where art, community, and culture collide. The boundaries between the physical and digital worlds are blurring.
Try a Red Bean.
The text begins with Azuki's intention in the space. It's a community-made metaverse brand. Then it goes into more detail about Azuki's plans. Initiation of a story or journey. "Would you like to take the red bean and jump down the rabbit hole with us?" I love the Matrix red pill or blue pill play they used. (Azuki in Japanese means red bean.)
Morpheus, the rebel leader, offers Neo the choice of a red or blue pill in The Matrix. “You take the blue pill... After the story, you go back to bed and believe whatever you want. Your red pill... Let me show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.” Aware that the red pill will free him from the enslaving control of the machine-generated dream world and allow him to escape into the real world, he takes it. However, living the “truth of reality” is harsher and more difficult.
It's intriguing and draws you in. Taking the red bean causes what? Where am I going? I think they did well in piqueing a newcomer's interest.
Not convinced by the Garden? Read the Manifesto. It reinforces Azuki's role.
Here comes a new wave…
And surfing here is different.
Breaking down barriers.
Building open communities.
Creating magic internet money with our friends.
To those who don’t get it, we tell them: gm.
They’ll come around eventually.
Here’s to the ones with the courage to jump down a peculiar rabbit hole.
One that pulls you away from a world that’s created by many and owned by few…
To a world that’s created by more and owned by all.
From The Garden come the human beans that sprout into your family.
We rise together.
We build together.
We grow together.
Ready to take the red bean?
Not to mention the Mindmap, it sets Azuki apart from other projects and overused Roadmaps. I like how the team recognizes that the NFT space is not linear. So many of us are still trying to figure it out. It is Azuki's vision to adapt to changing environments while maintaining their values. I admire their commitment to long-term growth.
To be honest, I have no idea what the future holds. Azuki is still new and could fail. But I'm a long-term Azuki fan. I don't care about quick gains. The future looks bright for Azuki. I believe in the team's output. I love being an Azuki.
Thank you! IKUZO!
Full post here
6 months ago
Pixelmon NFTs are so bad, they are almost good!
Bored Apes prices continue to rise, HAPEBEAST launches, Invisible Friends hype continues to grow. Sadly, not all projects are as successful.
Of course, there are many factors to consider when buying an NFT. Is the project a scam? Will the reveal derail the project? Possibly, but when Pixelmon first teased its launch, it generated a lot of buzz.
With a primary sale mint price of 3 ETH ($8,100 USD), it started as an expensive project, with plenty of fans willing to invest in what was sold as a game. After it was revealed, it fell rapidly.
Why? It was overpromised and under delivered.
According to the project's creator[^1], the funds generated will be used to develop the artwork. "The Pixelmon reveal was wrong. This is what our Pixelmon look like in-game. "Despite the fud, I will not go anywhere," he wrote on Twitter. The goal remains. The funds will still be used to build our game. I will finish this project."
The project raised $70 million USD, but the NFTs buyers received were not the project's original teasers. Some call it "the worst NFT project ever," while others call it a complete scam.
But there's hope for some buyers. Kevin emerged from the ashes as the project was roasted over the fire.
A Minecraft character meets Salad Fingers - that's Kevin. He's a frog-like creature whose reveal was such a terrible NFT that it became part of history – and a meme.
If you're laughing at people paying $8K for a silly pixelated image, you might need to take it back. Precisely because of this, lucky holders who minted Kevin have been able to sell the now-memed NFT for over 8 ETH (around $24,000 USD), with some currently listed for 100 ETH.
Of course, Twitter has been awash in memes mocking those who invested in the project, because what else can you do when so many people lose money?
It's still unclear if the NFT project is a scam, but the team behind it was hired on Upwork. There's still hope for redemption, but Kevin's rise to fame appears to be the only positive outcome so far.
[^1] This is not the first time the creator (A 20-yo New Zealanders) has sought money via an online platform and had people claiming he under-delivered. He raised $74,000 on Kickstarter for a card game called Psycho Chicken. There are hundreds of comments on the Kickstarter project saying they haven't received the product and pleading for a refund or an update.
3 months ago
# DeaMau5’s PIXELYNX and Beatport Launch Festival NFTs
Pixelynx, a music metaverse gaming platform, has teamed up with Beatport, an online music retailer focusing in electronic music, to establish a Synth Heads non-fungible token (NFT) Collection.
Richie Hawtin, aka Deadmau5, and Joel Zimmerman, nicknamed Pixelynx, have invented a new music metaverse game platform called Pixelynx. In January 2022, they released their first Beatport NFT drop, which saw 3,030 generative NFTs sell out in seconds.
The limited edition Synth Heads NFTs will be released in collaboration with Junction 2, the largest UK techno festival, and having one will grant fans special access tickets and experiences at the London-based festival.
Membership in the Synth Head community, day passes to the Junction 2 Festival 2022, Junction 2 and Beatport apparel, special vinyl releases, and continued access to future ticket drops are just a few of the experiences available.
Five lucky NFT holders will also receive a Golden Ticket, which includes access to a backstage artist bar and tickets to Junction 2's next large-scale London event this summer, in addition to full festival entrance for both days.
The Junction 2 festival will take place at Trent Park in London on June 18th and 19th, and will feature performances from Four Tet, Dixon, Amelie Lens, Robert Hood, and a slew of other artists. Holders of the original Synth Head NFT will be granted admission to the festival's guestlist as well as line-jumping privileges.
The new Synth Heads NFTs collection contain 300 NFTs.
NFTs that provide IRL utility are in high demand.
The benefits of NFT drops related to In Real Life (IRL) utility aren't limited to Beatport and Pixelynx.
Coachella, a well-known music event, recently partnered with cryptocurrency exchange FTX to offer free NFTs to 2022 pass holders. Access to a dedicated entry lane, a meal and beverage pass, and limited-edition merchandise were all included with the NFTs.
Coachella also has its own NFT store on the Solana blockchain, where fans can buy Coachella NFTs and digital treasures that unlock exclusive on-site experiences, physical objects, lifetime festival passes, and "future adventures."
Individual artists and performers have begun taking advantage of NFT technology outside of large music festivals like Coachella.
DJ Tisto has revealed that he would release a VIP NFT for his upcoming "Eagle" collection during the EDC festival in Las Vegas in 2022. This NFT, dubbed "All Access Eagle," gives collectors the best chance to get NFTs from his first drop, as well as unique access to the music "Repeat It."
NFTs are one-of-a-kind digital assets that can be verified, purchased, sold, and traded on blockchains, opening up new possibilities for artists and businesses alike. Time will tell whether Beatport and Pixelynx's Synth Head NFT collection will be successful, but if it's anything like the first release, it's a safe bet.
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1 month ago
Facebook is going away. Here are two explanations for why it hasn't been replaced yet.
And tips for anyone trying.
We see the same story every few years.
BREAKING NEWS: [Platform X] launched a social network. With Facebook's reputation down, the new startup bets millions will switch.
Despite the excitement surrounding each new platform (Diaspora, Ello, Path, MeWe, Minds, Vero, etc.), no major exodus occurred.
Snapchat and TikTok attracted teens with fresh experiences (ephemeral messaging and rapid-fire videos). These features aren't Facebook, even if Facebook replicated them.
Facebook's core is simple: you publish items (typically text/images) and your friends (generally people you know IRL) can discuss them.
It's cool. Sometimes I don't want to, but sh*t. I like it.
Because, well, I like many folks I've met. I enjoy keeping in touch with them and their banter.
I dislike Facebook's corporation. I've been cautiously optimistic whenever a Facebook-killer surfaced.
Why? Two causes, I think:
People couldn't switch quickly enough, which is reason #1
Your buddies make a social network social.
Facebook started in self-contained communities (college campuses) then grew outward. But a new platform can't.
If we're expected to leave Facebook, we want to know that most of our friends will too.
Most Facebook-killers had bottlenecks. You have to waitlist or jump through hoops (e.g. setting up a server).
Same outcome. Upload. Chirp.
After a week or two of silence, individuals returned to Facebook.
Reason #2: The fundamental experience was different.
Even when many of our friends joined in the first few weeks, it wasn't the same.
There were missing features or a different UX.
Want to reply with a meme? No photos in comments yet. (Trying!)
Want to tag a friend? Nope, sorry. 2019!
Want your friends to see your post? You must post to all your friends' servers. Good luck!
It's difficult to introduce a platform with 100% of the same features as one that's been there for 20 years, yet customers want a core experience.
If you can't, they'll depart.
The causes that led to the causes
Having worked on software teams for 14+ years, I'm not surprised by these challenges. They are a natural development of a few tech sector meta-problems:
Lean startup methodology
Silicon Valley worships lean startup. It's a way of developing software that involves testing a stripped-down version with a limited number of people before selecting what to build.
Billion people use Facebook's functions. They aren't tested. It must work right away*
*This may seem weird to software people, but it's how non-software works! You can't sell a car without wheels.
Startup entrepreneurs build new things, not copies. I understand. Reinventing the wheel is boring.
We know what works. Different experiences raise adoption friction. Once millions have transferred, more features (and a friendlier UX) can be implemented.
3. Cost scaling
True. Building a product that can sustain hundreds of millions of users in weeks is expensive and complex.
Your lifeboats must have the same capacity as the ship you're evacuating. It's required.
4. Pure ideologies
People who work on Facebook-alternatives are (understandably) critical of Facebook.
They build an open-source, fully-distributed, data-portable, interface-customizable, offline-capable, censorship-proof platform.
Prioritizing these aims can prevent replicating the straightforward experience users expect. Github, not Facebook, is for techies only.
What about the business plan, though?
Facebook-killer attempts have followed three models.
Utilize VC funding to increase your user base, then monetize them later. (If you do this, you won't kill Facebook; instead, Facebook will become you.)
Users must pay to utilize it. (This causes a huge bottleneck and slows the required quick expansion, preventing it from seeming like a true social network.)
Make it a volunteer-run, open-source endeavor that is free. (This typically denotes that something is cumbersome, difficult to operate, and is only for techies.)
Wikipedia is a fourth way.
Wikipedia is one of the most popular websites and a charity. No ads. Donations support them.
A Facebook-killer managed by a good team may gather millions (from affluent contributors and the crowd) for their initial phase of development. Then it might sustain on regular donations, ethical transactions (e.g. fees on commerce, business sites, etc.), and government grants/subsidies (since it would essentially be a public utility).
When you're not aiming to make investors rich, it's remarkable how little money you need.
If you want to build a Facebook competitor, follow these tips:
Drop the lean startup philosophy. Wait until you have a finished product before launching. Build it, thoroughly test it for bugs, and then release it.
Delay innovating. Wait till millions of people have switched before introducing your great new features. Make it nearly identical for now.
Spend money climbing. Make sure that guests can arrive as soon as they are invited. Never keep them waiting. Make things easy for them.
Make it accessible to all. Even if doing so renders it less philosophically pure, it shouldn't require technical expertise to utilize.
Constitute a nonprofit. Additionally, develop community ownership structures. Profit maximization is not the only strategy for preserving valued assets.
Nobody has killed Facebook, but Facebook is killing itself.
The startup is burying the newsfeed to become a TikTok clone. Meta itself seems to be ditching the platform for the metaverse.
I wish I was happy, but I'm not. I miss (understandably) removed friends' postings and remarks. It could be a ghost town in a few years. My dance moves aren't TikTok-worthy.
Who will lead? It's time to develop a social network for the people.
Greetings if you're working on it. I'm not a company founder, but I like to help hard-working folks.
18 days ago
The Learning Habit
The Habit of Learning implies constantly learning something new. One daily habit will make you successful. Learning will help you succeed.
Most successful people continually learn. Success requires this behavior. Daily learning.
Success loves books. Books offer expert advice. Everything is online today. Most books are online, so you can skip the library. You must download it and study for 15-30 minutes daily. This habit changes your thinking.
Typical Successful People
Warren Buffett reads 500 pages of corporate reports and five newspapers for five to six hours each day.
Each year, Bill Gates reads 50 books.
Every two weeks, Mark Zuckerberg reads at least one book.
According to his brother, Elon Musk studied two books a day as a child and taught himself engineering and rocket design.
Learning & Making Money Online
No worries if you can't afford books. Everything is online. YouTube, free online courses, etc.
How can you create this behavior in yourself?
1) Consider what you want to know
Before learning, know what's most important. So, move together.
Set a goal and schedule learning.
After deciding what you want to study, create a goal and plan learning time.
3) GATHER RESOURCES
Get the most out of your learning resources. Online or offline.
3 months ago
Why I quit a $500K job at Amazon to work for myself
I quit my 8-year Amazon job last week. I wasn't motivated to do another year despite promotions, pay, recognition, and praise.
In AWS, I built developer tools. I could have worked in that field forever.
I became an Amazon developer. Within 3.5 years, I was promoted twice to senior engineer and would have been promoted to principal engineer if I stayed. The company said I had great potential.
Over time, I became a reputed expert and leader within the company. I was respected.
First year I made $75K, last year $511K. If I stayed another two years, I could have made $1M.
Despite Amazon's reputation, my work–life balance was good. I no longer needed to prove myself and could do everything in 40 hours a week. My team worked from home once a week, and I rarely opened my laptop nights or weekends.
My coworkers were great. I had three generous, empathetic managers. I’m very grateful to everyone I worked with.
Everything was going well and getting better. My motivation to go to work each morning was declining despite my career and income growth.
Another promotion, pay raise, or big project wouldn't have boosted my motivation. Motivation was also waning. It was my freedom.
My motivation was high in the beginning. I worked with someone on an internal tool with little scrutiny. I had more freedom to choose how and what to work on than in recent years. Me and another person improved it, talked to users, released updates, and tested it. Whatever we wanted, we did. We did our best and were mostly self-directed.
In recent years, things have changed. My department's most important project had many stakeholders and complex goals. What I could do depended on my ability to convince others it was the best way to achieve our goals.
Amazon was always someone else's terms. The terms started out simple (keep fixing it), but became more complex over time (maximize all goals; satisfy all stakeholders). Working in a large organization imposed restrictions on how to do the work, what to do, what goals to set, and what business to pursue. This situation forced me to do things I didn't want to do.
Finding New Motivation
What would I do forever? Not something I did until I reached a milestone (an exit), but something I'd do until I'm 80. What could I do for the next 45 years that would make me excited to wake up and pay my bills? Is that too unambitious? Nope. Because I'm motivated by two things.
One is an external carrot or stick. I'm not forced to file my taxes every April, but I do because I don't want to go to jail. Or I may not like something but do it anyway because I need to pay the bills or want a nice car. Extrinsic motivation
One is internal. When there's no carrot or stick, this motivates me. This fuels hobbies. I wanted a job that was intrinsically motivated.
Is this too low-key? Extrinsic motivation isn't sustainable. Getting promoted felt good for a week, then it was over. When I hit $100K, I admired my W2 for a few days, but then it wore off. Same thing happened at $200K, $300K, $400K, and $500K. Earning $1M or $10M wouldn't change anything. I feel the same about every material reward or possession. Getting them feels good at first, but quickly fades.
Things I've done since I was a kid, when no one forced me to, don't wear off. Coding, selling my creations, charting my own path, and being honest. Why not always use my strengths and motivation? I'm lucky to live in a time when I can work independently in my field without large investments. So that’s what I’m doing.
I'm going all-in on independence and will make a living from scratch. I won't do only what I like, but on my terms. My goal is to cover my family's expenses before my savings run out while doing something I enjoy. What more could I want from my work?
You can now follow me on Twitter as I continue to document my journey.
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