More on NFTs & Art
1 year ago
$100M in NFT TV shows from Fox
Fox executives will invest $100 million in NFT-based TV shows. Fox brought in "Rick and Morty" co-creator Dan Harmon to create "Krapopolis"
Fox's Blockchain Creative Labs (BCL) will develop these NFT TV shows with Bento Box Entertainment. BCL markets Fox's WWE "Moonsault" NFT.
Fox said it would use the $100 million to build a "creative community" and "brand ecosystem." The media giant mentioned using these funds for NFT "benefits."
"Krapopolis" will be a Greek-themed animated comedy, per Rarity Sniper. Initial reports said NFT buyers could collaborate on "character development" and get exclusive perks.
Fox Entertainment may drop "Krapopolis" NFTs on Ethereum, according to new reports. Fox says it will soon release more details on its NFT plans for "Krapopolis."
Media Giants Favor "NFT Storytelling"
"Krapopolis" is one of the largest "NFT storytelling" experiments due to Dan Harmon's popularity and Fox Entertainment's reach. Many celebrities have begun exploring Web3 for TV shows.
Mila Kunis' animated sitcom "The Gimmicks" lets fans direct the show. Any "Gimmick" NFT holder could contribute to episode plots.
"The Gimmicks" lets NFT holders write fan fiction about their avatars. If show producers like what they read, their NFT may appear in an episode.
Rob McElhenney recently launched "Adimverse," a Web3 writers' community. Anyone with a "Adimverse" NFT can collaborate on creative projects and share royalties.
Many blue-chip NFTs are appearing in movies and TV shows. Coinbase will release Bored Ape Yacht Club shorts at NFT. NYC. Reese Witherspoon is working on a World of Women NFT series.
PFP NFT collections have Hollywood media partners. Guy Oseary manages Madonna's World of Women and Bored Ape Yacht Club collections. The Doodles signed with Billboard's Julian Holguin and the Cool Cats with CAA.
Web3 and NFTs are changing how many filmmakers tell stories.
1 year 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.
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.
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Dr. Linda Dahl
1 year ago
We eat corn in almost everything. Is It Important?
Corn Kid got viral on TikTok after being interviewed by Recess Therapy. Tariq, called the Corn Kid, ate a buttery ear of corn in the video. He's corn crazy. He thinks everyone just has to try it. It turns out, whether we know it or not, we already have.
Corn is a fruit, veggie, and grain. It's the second-most-grown crop. Corn makes up 36% of U.S. exports. In the U.S., it's easy to grow and provides high yields, as proven by the vast corn belt spanning the Midwest, Great Plains, and Texas panhandle. Since 1950, the corn crop has doubled to 10 billion bushels.
You say, "Fine." We shouldn't just grow because we can. Why so much corn? What's this corn for?
Why is practical and political. Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma has the full narrative. Early 1970s food costs increased. Nixon subsidized maize to feed the public. Monsanto genetically engineered corn seeds to make them hardier, and soon there was plenty of corn. Everyone ate. Woot! Too much corn followed. The powers-that-be had to decide what to do with leftover corn-on-the-cob.
They are fortunate that corn has a wide range of uses.
First, the edible variants. I divide corn into obvious and stealth.
Obvious corn includes popcorn, canned corn, and corn on the cob. This form isn't always digested and often comes out as entire, polka-dotting poop. Cornmeal can be ground to make cornbread, polenta, and corn tortillas. Corn provides antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins in moderation. Most synthetic Vitamin C comes from GMO maize.
Corn oil, corn starch, dextrose (a sugar), and high-fructose corn syrup are often overlooked. They're stealth corn because they sneak into practically everything. Corn oil is used for frying, baking, and in potato chips, mayonnaise, margarine, and salad dressing. Baby food, bread, cakes, antibiotics, canned vegetables, beverages, and even dairy and animal products include corn starch. Dextrose appears in almost all prepared foods, excluding those with high-fructose corn syrup. HFCS isn't as easily digested as sucrose (from cane sugar). It can also cause other ailments, which we'll discuss later.
Most foods contain corn. It's fed to almost all food animals. 96% of U.S. animal feed is corn. 39% of U.S. corn is fed to livestock. But animals prefer other foods. Omnivore chickens prefer insects, worms, grains, and grasses. Captive cows are fed a total mixed ration, which contains corn. These animals' products, like eggs and milk, are also corn-fed.
There are numerous non-edible by-products of corn that are employed in the production of items like:
How does corn influence you? Consider quick food for dinner. You order a cheeseburger, fries, and big Coke at the counter (or drive-through in the suburbs). You tell yourself, "No corn." All that contains corn. Deconstruct:
Cows fed corn produce meat and cheese. Meat and cheese were bonded with corn syrup and starch (same). The bun (corn flour and dextrose) and fries were fried in maize oil. High fructose corn syrup sweetens the drink and helps make the cup and straw.
Just about everything contains corn. Then what? A cornspiracy, perhaps? Is eating too much maize an issue, or should we strive to stay away from it whenever possible?
As I've said, eating some maize can be healthy. 92% of U.S. corn is genetically modified, according to the Center for Food Safety. The adjustments are expected to boost corn yields. Some sweet corn is genetically modified to produce its own insecticide, a protein deadly to insects made by Bacillus thuringiensis. It's safe to eat in sweet corn. Concerns exist about feeding agricultural animals so much maize, modified or not.
High fructose corn syrup should be consumed in moderation. Fructose, a sugar, isn't easily metabolized. Fructose causes diabetes, fatty liver, obesity, and heart disease. It causes inflammation, which might aggravate gout. Candy, packaged sweets, soda, fast food, juice drinks, ice cream, ice cream topping syrups, sauces & condiments, jams, bread, crackers, and pancake syrup contain the most high fructose corn syrup. Everyday foods with little nutrients. Check labels and choose cane sugar or sucrose-sweetened goods. Or, eat corn like the Corn Kid.
1 year ago
I've Never Seen a Sales Deck This Good
It’s Zuora’s, and it’s brilliant. Here’s why.
My friend Tim got a sales position at a Series-C software company that garnered $60 million from A-list investors. He's one of the best salespeople I know, yet he emailed me after starting to struggle.
Tim has a few modest clients. “Big companies ignore my pitch”. Tim said.
I love helping teams write the strategic story that drives sales, marketing, and fundraising. Tim and I had lunch at Amber India on Market Street to evaluate his deck.
After a feast, I asked Tim when prospects tune out.
He said, “several slides in”.
Intent on maximizing dining ROI, Tim went back to the buffet for seconds. When he returned, I pulled out my laptop and launched into a Powerpoint presentation.
“What’s this?” Tim asked.
“This,” I said, “is the greatest sales deck I have ever seen.”
Five Essentials of a Great Sales Narrative
I showed Tim a sales slide from IPO-bound Zuora, which sells a SaaS platform for subscription billing. Zuora supports recurring payments (e.g. enterprise software).
Ex-Zuora salesman gave me the deck, saying it helped him close his largest business. (I don't know anyone who works at Zuora.) After reading this, a few Zuora employees contacted me.)
Tim abandoned his naan in a pool of goat curry and took notes while we discussed the Zuora deck.
We remarked how well the deck led prospects through five elements:
(The ex-Zuora salesperson begged me not to release the Zuora deck publicly.) All of the images below originate from Zuora's website and SlideShare channel.)
#1. Name a Significant Change in the World
Don't start a sales presentation with mentioning your product, headquarters, investors, clients, or yourself.
Name the world shift that raises enormous stakes and urgency for your prospect.
Every Zuora sales deck begins with this slide:
Zuora coined the term subscription economy to describe a new market where purchasers prefer regular service payments over outright purchases. Zuora then shows a slide with the change's history.
Most pitch recommendation advises starting with the problem. When you claim a problem, you put prospects on the defensive. They may be unaware of or uncomfortable admitting the situation.
When you highlight a global trend, prospects open up about how it affects them, worries them, and where they see opportunity. You capture their interest. Robert McKee says:
…what attracts human attention is change. …if the temperature around you changes, if the phone rings — that gets your attention. The way in which a story begins is a starting event that creates a moment of change.
#2. Show There’ll Be Winners and Losers
Loss aversion affects all prospects. They avoid a loss by sticking with the status quo rather than risking a gain by changing.
To fight loss aversion, show how the change will create winners and losers. You must show both
that if the prospect can adjust to the modification you mentioned, the outcome will probably be quite favorable; and
That failing to do so is likely to have an unacceptable negative impact on the prospect's future
Zuora shows a mass extinction among Fortune 500 firms.
…and then showing how the “winners” have shifted from product ownership to subscription services. Those include upstarts…
…as well as rejuvenated incumbents:
To illustrate, Zuora asks:
Winners utilize Zuora's subscription service models.
#3. Tease the Promised Land
It's tempting to get into product or service details now. Resist that urge.
Prospects won't understand why product/service details are crucial if you introduce them too soon, therefore they'll tune out.
Instead, providing a teaser image of the happily-ever-after your product/service will assist the prospect reach.
Your Promised Land should be appealing and hard to achieve without support. Otherwise, why does your company exist?
Zuora shows this Promised Land slide after explaining that the subscription economy will have winners and losers.
Not your product or service, but a new future state.
(I asked my friend Tim to describe his Promised Land, and he answered, "You’ll have the most innovative platform for ____." Nope: the Promised Land isn't possessing your technology, but living with it.)
Your Promised Land helps prospects market your solution to coworkers after your sales meeting. Your coworkers will wonder what you do without you. Your prospects are more likely to provide a persuasive answer with a captivating Promised Land.
#4. Present Features as “Mystic Gifts” for Overcoming Difficulties on the Road to the Promised Land
Successful sales decks follow the same format as epic films and fairy tales. Obi Wan gives Luke a lightsaber to help him destroy the Empire. You're Gandalf, helping Frodo destroy the ring. Your prospect is Cinderella, and you're her fairy godmother.
Position your product or service's skills as mystical gifts to aid your main character (prospect) achieve the Promised Land.
Zuora's client record slide is shown above. Without context, even the most technical prospect would be bored.
Positioned in the context of shifting from an “old” to a “new world”, it's the foundation for a compelling conversation with prospects—technical and otherwise—about why traditional solutions can't reach the Promised Land.
#5. Show Proof That You Can Make the Story True.
In this sense, you're promising possibilities that if they follow you, they'll reach the Promised Land.
The journey to the Promised Land is by definition rocky, so prospects are right to be cautious. The final part of the pitch is proof that you can make the story come true.
The most convincing proof is a success story about how you assisted someone comparable to the prospect. Zuora's sales people use a deck of customer success stories, but this one gets the essence.
I particularly appreciate this one from an NCR exec (a Zuora customer), which relates more strongly to Zuora's Promised Land:
Not enough successful customers? Product demos are the next best evidence, but features should always be presented in the context of helping a prospect achieve the Promised Land.
The best sales narrative is one that is told by everyone.
Success rarely comes from a fantastic deck alone. To be effective, salespeople need an organization-wide story about change, Promised Land, and Magic Gifts.
Zuora exemplifies this. If you hear a Zuora executive, including CEO Tien Tzuo, talk, you'll likely hear about the subscription economy and its winners and losers. This is the theme of the company's marketing communications, campaigns, and vision statement.
According to the ex-Zuora salesperson, company-wide story alignment made him successful.
The Zuora marketing folks ran campaigns and branding around this shift to the subscription economy, and [CEO] Tien [Tzuo] talked it up all the time. All of that was like air cover for my in-person sales ground attack. By the time I arrived, prospects were already convinced they had to act. It was the closest thing I’ve ever experienced to sales nirvana.
The largest deal ever
Tim contacted me three weeks after our lunch to tell me that prospects at large organizations were responding well to his new deck, which we modeled on Zuora's framework. First, prospects revealed their obstacles more quickly. The new pitch engages CFOs and other top gatekeepers better, he said.
A week later, Tim emailed that he'd signed his company's biggest agreement.
Next week, we’re headed back to Amber India to celebrate.
11 months ago
ChatGPT Is Experiencing a Lightbulb Moment
Why breakthrough technologies must be accessible
ChatGPT has exploded. Over 1 million people have used the app, and coding sites like Stack Overflow have banned its answers. It's huge.
I wouldn't have called that as an AI researcher. ChatGPT uses the same GPT-3 technology that's been around for over two years.
More than impressive technology, ChatGPT 3 shows how access makes breakthroughs usable. OpenAI has finally made people realize the power of AI by packaging GPT-3 for normal users.
We think of Thomas Edison as the inventor of the lightbulb, not because he invented it, but because he popularized it.
Going forward, AI companies that make using AI easy will thrive.
Most modern AI systems use massive language models. These language models are trained on 6,000+ years of human text.
GPT-3 ate 8 billion pages, almost every book, and Wikipedia. It created an AI that can write sea shanties and solve coding problems.
Nothing new. I began beta testing GPT-3 in 2020, but the system's basics date back further.
Tools like GPT-3 are hidden in many apps. Many of the AI writing assistants on this platform are just wrappers around GPT-3.
Lots of online utilitarian text, like restaurant menu summaries or city guides, is written by AI systems like GPT-3. You've probably read GPT-3 without knowing it.
Why is ChatGPT so popular if the technology is old?
ChatGPT makes the technology accessible. Free to use, people can sign up and text with the chatbot daily. ChatGPT isn't revolutionary. It does it in a way normal people can access and be amazed by.
Accessibility isn't easy. OpenAI's Sam Altman tweeted that opening ChatGPT to the public increased computing costs.
Each chat costs "low-digit cents" to process. OpenAI probably spends several hundred thousand dollars a day to keep ChatGPT running, with no immediate business case.
Academic researchers and others who developed GPT-3 couldn't afford it. Without resources to make technology accessible, it can't be used.
This dynamic is old. In the history of science, a researcher with a breakthrough idea was often overshadowed by an entrepreneur or visionary who made it accessible to the public.
We think of Thomas Edison as the inventor of the lightbulb. But really, Vasilij Petrov, Thomas Wright, and Joseph Swan invented the lightbulb. Edison made technology visible and accessible by electrifying public buildings, building power plants, and wiring.
Edison probably lost a ton of money on stunts like building a power plant to light JP Morgan's home, the NYSE, and several newspaper headquarters.
People wanted electric lights once they saw their benefits. By making the technology accessible and visible, Edison unlocked a hugely profitable market.
Similar things are happening in AI. ChatGPT shows that developing breakthrough technology in the lab or on B2B servers won't change the culture.
AI must engage people's imaginations to become mainstream. Before the tech impacts the world, people must play with it and see its revolutionary power.
As the field evolves, companies that make the technology widely available, even at great cost, will succeed.
OpenAI's compute fees are eye-watering. Revolutions are costly.