Almost 30 years ago I was part of the team that built Snapple’s very first website (web1). We used illustrations and animation (ground-breaking!) and it looked terrific and inviting.
At the time there was so much excitement about what new opportunities might lay ahead with this new technology, and I can feel the same anticipation growing around web3.
How we got here
My experience with Snapple and others -- like reading news on America Online Channels -- started to shape my view of what was to come. We could envision every person as a publisher with their own website or blog. And when video began to be available, it was clear that TV would one day be delivered over IP -- i.e., streaming.
Everyone was imagining a whole new world where information flowed fast and people were connected.
At the time I was finishing up my MBA and I was able to do all my research for several term papers entirely online -- a feat that was never possible before. And today we have Google and all the world's knowledge at our fingertips (web2).
What web3 means for the future
Web3, built using blockchain technology, promises a decentralized peer-to-peer web (no more walled gardens) using token-based economics. We will transact using cryptocurrency like Bitcoin and Ethereum and ownership of our digital identity will be clear using tokens like NFTs.
Crypto wallets like the Coinbase Wallets will hold our money, our identity (think digital social security card) and our tokens (keys to our communities). The biggest change will be that the middlemen will be removed from all transactions.
We will not use social networks to facilitate our connections. We will connect directly with people. We will buy stocks directly from companies. We will buy art directly from artists. We will also buy debt directly from companies.
Content creators will be paid as soon as content airs from the people who view it. Advertisers will immediately know how many people saw an ad because the content will live on the blockchain. And the need for third-party measurement will go away.
Put simply, the changes will be extraordinary.
How to prepare for what’s to come
But we are just at web3’s infancy. For now, we can only imagine. We can also prepare.
1. Consider your business model
D2C business models destroyed the traditional models that relied on stores and sales reps. Imagine not being able to go online to buy insurance or mutual funds directly. Imagine having to go into a store to buy anything?
If web3 eliminates the middle layer between people, brands and any transaction, how will it impact your business? Start by integrating your business model and begin laying the groundwork for a different kind of customer relationship.
2. Buy and mint NFTs
Today the process of buying a non-fungible token (NFT) is fraught with friction. It's not easy to figure out which crypto to buy, which wallet to store it in and which NFT marketplace to connect with. But while it’s not easy, many many people are already doing it.
Get your team together and go through the process. Invite your clients to join you. The act of doing it together will inspire you to think about how this new way of transacting and owning will shape your business.
3. Subscribe to Upstream
Upstream is a great networking platform I’ve been using for a few months. They host amazing webinars that introduce crypto founders to the Upstream community and conduct many instructional seminars.
Join Upstream or any web3-related community and start asking questions. Become a web3 pioneer by showing up to events, participating, lending your voice and creating.
Here’s the bottom line: There’s still so much about web3 we don’t know because so much of the infrastructure is still being developed. I remember in web1 when I first heard a 14.4 dial-up modem connect me to AOL and I thought the world would change.
I’m having that feeling again and it’s great to once again be a pioneer.