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Historically, humans have organized themselves in a variety of ways: from tribes and councils, to LLCs, and C-Corps. But these forms of organization tend to be centralized in nature, and feel slightly out of place today. With so much of our personal and professional lives taking place online now, the real question is: what does an internet-native way of organizing ourselves and our resources look like? DAOs, or Decentralized Autonomous Organizations, are one compelling answer. In this episode, we unpack that. We explore the fundamentals: what DAOs are, how they function, and what they entail for the future of work. To take on this task, we’re welcoming Tracheopteryx to the show! Trach is a cofounder at Coordinape—a scalable & permissionless platform for decentralized compensation built for the needs of DAOs. Trach has been operating in this space for a while now. He is also a core contributor at Yearn Finance—making him the perfect guest to help us unpack DAOs. We hope you enjoy this conversation as much as we did!
How we portray ourselves online has become almost as relevant as how we portray ourselves IRL: Bored Apes and CryptoPunks are the new tailored suits and designer handbags. In years past, digital status-signaling was largely restricted to gaming communities but the post-COVID world has created a vibrant digital fashion scene with major fashion houses like Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana getting involved. More recently, this digital fashion world has also collided with web3 and NFTs—taking traditional fashion values of ownership and authenticity and making them verifiable on-chain. In this episode, we explore the rise of fashion NFTs and how they might disrupt the trillion dollar global fashion industry. We are joined by Dani Loftus, the founder of This Outfit Does Not Exist, a platform bringing digital fashion to life. Dani is also a founding member of RedDAO, a digital fashion DAO that is investing in NFTs and startups in the digital fashion ecosystem. Dani has seen this space evolve since its early days, making her the ideal guest to unpack the rapidly changing digital fashion scene. We hope you enjoy this conversation as much as we did! 
In this episode of our web3 explainer series, we take on an ambitious task: explaining Ethereum from the ground up. We unpack what Ethereum is, how it works, and why it matters.We spoke to Preethi Kasireddy, founder of DappCamp, which introduce students to the Ethereum ecosystem and helps them build their first web3 product in just three weeks.Preethi is an entrepreneur, writer, engineer, and educator who started her crypto career as a software engineer at Coinbase. Her essay,“How Does Ethereum Work Anyway”, is widely considered one of the best primers on Ethereum.  Her deep theoretical knowledge and practical experience makes her the perfect guest for this episode.
In this second episode of our new web3 explainer series we ask an important, and hard to answer question: is crypto *actually* destroying the planet?Over the last year, crypto has witnessed mainstream adoption, with billions of dollars of value exchanged across different blockchains. But this shift has created a pressing problem: the current process of mining blocks and validating decentralized networks is extremely energy intensive. This means that running popular networks like Bitcoin and Ethereum has a massive carbon footprint. For instance, a single transaction on the Ethereum blockchain is equivalent to the power consumption of an average US household over 7.86 days. Researchers at Cambridge University have estimated that the global mining of Bitcoin uses more electricity than entire countries—countries the size of Argentina, Sweden, or Pakistan. An increasing number of artists, creators, collectors, and environmentalists have voiced their concerns around crypto’s impact on our climate and the need to spur change. But is their concern well-founded? In this episode, we take a step back to fundamentally understand the problem. Is crypto actuallydestroying the planet? How is it doing so? And more importantly, what can we do about it? We're joined by Joseph Pallant, the founder of the Blockchain for Climate Foundation, which is aiming to “put the Paris Agreement on the blockchain.” Joseph has been operating in this space for multiple years—his work, insight, and advocacy makes him the perfect guest to unpack this divisive topic with refreshing nuance.
For the next few episodes of Means of Creation, we are piloting a series of web3 explainers—unpacking some of the fundamental concepts of web3, from first principles. The goal is to explore various topics, trends, and projects that people want to learn more about but find confusing! Essentially, to ask the questions we’ve been too afraid to ask in public. If you want your questions answered, or have topics and/or guests you want to recommend,  feel free to do so by tagging  @Means of Creation on Twitter. We hope you find these conversations valuable! In this first episode, we explain DeFi, or Decentralized Finance. Cryptocurrencies have taken a major hit over the last few days—Bitcoin and Ethereum have fallen by almost fifty percent from their all-time highs. However, the proponents of DeFi still believe in its long-term potential to be the future of finance. If we zoom out a little, this belief seems to be well-founded: as of this writing, the value locked in various DeFi projects is $196B. As recently as 2019, that number was merely $600M. DeFi proponents also go on to claim that we’re just getting started—the advantages of an open and decentralized financial system have the potential to capture trillions of dollars of value. In this episode, we're joined by Nat Eliason, who helps us unpack this claim. Nat is a writer, crypto engineer, and educator who’s been at the forefront of DeFi long before it became became a trend. He brings with him a wealth of experience in this space—he teaches a very popular course called DeFi Orientation which enables people to get started in DeFi and earn money from their crypto assets. He helps crypto companies with their tokenomics and smart contract development. He also writes Almanack, a newsletter about DeFi, tokenomics, yield farming, and other related topics. Nat's experience as an educator and operator lets him simplify complex theories but also demonstrate how to apply them in practice. He was the perfect guest to bring on to explain the rapidly changing world of DeFi. 
Pinterest is often written off as a digital mood board used to inspire purchases and future plans—a place for its 444 million monthly users to share recipes, DIY craft projects, home décor ideas, beauty tutorials, fashion, or just about anything else.But in reality, Pinterest is a dark horse in the creator economy. Many of those users have become influential visual curators, going on to build powerful personal brands as creators themselves. Pinterest wants to further accelerate this trend by giving them better tools to create, distribute, and monetise their content. Recently, it acquired the video editing company Vochi to provide its creators with better video tools. It also launched a $20 million creator fund last year to financially support creators. Video-first features like Idea Pins, and a TikTok-like “Watch” tab underscore this shift in strategy. In this episode, we spoke to Silvia Oviedo Lopez, Pinterest’s Global Head of Content & Creators, who has been at the helm as all these changes have taken place. Our conversation with Silvia provides an inside look into why and how Pinterest is doubling down on its creators, and cementing its place in the creator economy.We hope you enjoy this conversation as much as we did!
A recurring theme on this show has been creator and user empowerment—more specifically, how founders can build scalable businesses that don’t just extract value from their users, but instead, allow them to directly benefit from the value they help create. In the past, web2 gig economy marketplaces have had to be extractive—imposing higher take-rates and lower payouts seemed to be the only way to stay in business. Many of them still struggle to be profitable. However, our guests for this episode are using web3 to build a radically different alternative. Gabe Luna Ostaseski and Adam Jackson are the founders of Braintrust—a decentralized talent network like Upwork or Fiverr that is user-owned and redistributes its value back to its participants. It’s still early, but the talent on Braintrust has already been hired by the likes of Nike, Porsche, NASA, and Goldman Sachs. In this conversation, we talk to them about:  Why they think our current way of building marketplaces is broken  What led them to founding Braintrust  The practical challenges of running a decentralized talent network; and   Braintrust’s vision for the future of work  We hope you enjoy this conversation as much as we did! 
In this episode, we were joined by Erik Forman, the co-founder of The Drivers Cooperative, a driver-owned alternative to Uber and Lyft. Erik spoke about how he got interested in the labor movement, his experience organising workers, what it means to be a socialist entrepreneur, and what a modern labor movement could look like in today’s platform-dominated economy. Erik has a deep understanding of labor theory. Besides being an entrepreneur, he has organised labor movements on the ground as a union organiser. He also teaches labor studies at SUNY Empire’s Harry Van Arsdale Jr. School of Labor Studies. Erik was a great guest because he truly bridges the gap between theory and practice. Hope you enjoy this conversation as much as we did! 
Nathan interviewed Li in this special episode of Means of Creation, where she talks about the $110M fund she recently raised with Jesse Walden and Spencer Noon of Variant. If you’re an avid fan of the show, you may have noticed how the podcast’s focus has shifted from platforms in the passion economy to user-owned networks within web3. In this episode, Li talks about how her passion economy thesis converges with Variant’s ownership economy thesis—a crypto enabled future where consumer technology products are owned by their users, who contribute so much to their value. Li also talks about her personal journey into web3: what prompted her to go down the crypto rabbit hole, and the mental models she uses when investing in the creator economy’s web3 future. This is an episode that promises to intrigue crypto maxis and skeptics alike! Hope you all enjoy it.
Packy McCormick, author of Not Boring, one of the most widely-read analysts in tech. His newsletter now has more than 75k subscribers and he's raised a fund to back startups he finds interesting. In this conversation, we focus on how Packy went from crypto-skeptic to writing a post almost every week about crypto. We also talk about where power will accrue in the web3 value chain, the tribal nature of many crypto projects, and the possible deep connections between the idea of a 3d "metaverse" and blockchains. Enjoy!
The hype around crypto-native communities such as Loot and Nouns DAO have taken over all our Twitter feeds. But how do these communities arise and gather momentum? Our guest this week, Patrick Rivera, gives us an inside look into the social and financial motivations driving some of crypto’s most prominent communities. Being a part of these communities is so compelling, because according to Patrick, they are “a combination of a social hangout spot, an intellectual challenge, and a way to make money.” Patrick’s position has helped him get in early on these trends, and understand the importance of being a part of these communities from day one. He is a Product Engineer at Mirror—a crypto native creative suite, with crowdfunding & publishing tools for creators. Mirror is backed by some prominent investors such as a16z, USV, Variant Fund, and Li herself!  At Mirror, Patrick’s role involves working very closely with creators to design and ship new features & launch new crowdfunding campaigns. We spoke about how Mirror is powering the convergence of  crypto and the creator economy, and how crypto-native projects are rewriting the playbook around raising capital and launching products. Patrick believes that more projects will take this decentralized, bottom-up approach in the future—giving everyone the opportunity to invest in projects they care about, right from the get go.  We hope you enjoy this conversation with Patrick as much as we did! 
The creator economy is in constant flux, with DAOs and NFTs currently having taken centre stage. Our guest this week, Kyle Chayka, is uniquely positioned to understand these shifts. As a writer covering technology and culture, he is simultaneously involved in three very different worlds: He is a contributing writer at The New Yorker, a legacy media organization, he writes his own newsletter Kyle Chayka Industries on Substack, and he also publishes a newsletter about entertainment called Dirt, which he crowdfunded by selling NFTs via crypto publishing platform Mirror. Kyle's first-hand experience publishing his work through legacy media, centralised platforms, and decentralised networks made for a really insightful conversation! We spoke to him about:  How platforms exercise control over their creators and users today  His own experience launching an NFT powered newsletter;  The commercial incentives and cultural dynamics powering DAOs How algorithmic platforms mediate culture   We hope you enjoy this conversation with Kyle as much as we did! 
In an increasingly platform-mediated world, platforms have outsized control over their participants—whether that’s app developers in the creator economy, or rideshare drivers in the gig economy. We’ve been trying to understand how this can be changed for the better—how platform participants can be made rightful stakeholders; bridging the gap between labor and capital. Our guest today, Jason Prado, is at the forefront of that effort.Jason is the Head of Product for The Drivers Cooperative, a driver-owned ride sharing platform based in New York. The Cooperative is a worker-owned alternative to traditional ridhsarding platforms like Uber and Lyft. Jason joined the Cooperative after working for big tech companies like Facebook and realizing that his interests as a worker were not aligned with his employers. The Drivers Cooperative now has over 3,500 drivers and 30,000 users on its platform, and has garnered vocal support from prominent political figures like AOC. Our conversation with Jason dives into the history of the labor movement, the ideological shift that made him leave big tech and join the Cooperative, and what collective action looks like in today’s platform dominated creator and gig economies. We also discuss:  How The Drivers Cooperative came into being  The challenges of running a participant-owned business  How Web3 could potentially solve these challenges We hope you enjoy this conversation as much as we did! 
Within traditional games like RuneScape and World of Warcraft, there have always been vibrant economies where players buy, sell, and exchange in-game assets. But these traditional games are also closed ecosystems—none of them let players transfer assets across different games or exchange their in-game assets for money. Blockchain-based games totally disrupt this model. Not only do they make in-game assets transferable across games, they enable players to sell these assets for cryptocurrencies like Ethereum or fiat currencies like the US dollar. This has caused a radical shift—unlike traditional games, players can actually earn a sizable income by playing blockchain-based games. And this is not something that is restricted to early adopters in the developed world—many players in the developing world are earning more than the minimum wage in their own countries. Gabby Dizon, the co-founder of Yield Guild Games, is at the forefront of this play-to-earn movement. Yield Guild Games helps players by financing their entry into blockchain-based games where they can start earning an income by playing video games. In this conversation, Gabby helped us understand just how significant of a shift this is and how a play-to-earn model will help foster an emerging creator middle class. We also spoke about: - The metaverse, and enabling upward social mobility through blockchain based games - The details of the play-to-earn model of gaming and why it is important for developers and players - Gabby’s own NFT collection, and the psychology powering in-game economies We hope you enjoy this conversation with Gabby as much as we did! Music by Keizo Fish
here’s a shift afoot at Twitter. The long-time microblogging platform has recently made a series of moves to position itself beyond just tweets, including acquiring the newsletter company Revue and introducing tools to help creators make money on the platform. When Twitter acquired Revue, the company declared that it was making a “better home for writers,” apparently doubling down on its mission to help people create and share content with a plugged-in audience. But are we ready for longform Twitter? Nick Sallon, Twitter’s Head of Longform Content, thinks so. We recently talked to him about all these changes at the company. We also discussed: Revue’s editorial philosophy Twitter’s value proposition to writers The archetype of a Twitter-native creator Twitter’s longform content strategy going forward We hope you enjoy this conversation with Nick as much as we did! Music composed by Keizo Fish
You can watch this episode on YouTube or listen to Means of Creation on your podcast app of choice.
Spotify is doubling down on investing in creators. Within the past week alone, the music giant both launched its own live audio app, Greenroom, to directly compete with Clubhouse and acquired an audio news feed app, Podz, to improve creator discovery. But while these moves might seem sudden, Spotify’s Chief R&D Officer Gustav Söderström has been thinking about Spotify’s unique role in the creator economy for a while. Gustav has been with the company since it was a 30-person team in Stockholm, and has a valuable bird’s eye view of the company’s product vision and strategy as a leader of teams across Product, Design, Data, Technology and Engineering. He also reports directly to Daniel Ek, Spotify’s CEO and co-founder.In this conversation, we talk to Gustav about what he’s keeping a pulse on these days; NFTS? Interactive audio? Bundles? We also talk about: - How he sees Spotify fitting into the creator economy through their Open Access Platform- Why the Spotify doesn’t believe in taking an “App Store cut” from creators - The company’s ethos around building “voluntary” features - Why he’s excited about the business model of NFTs - The demand for live audio and why it’s bigger than people thought We hope you enjoy this conversation with Gustav as much as we did! Brought to you by Means of Creation, an Every newsletterTheme composed by Keizo Fish
Alex Kantrowitz is a journalist who has spent years studying the inner workings of tech companies—how and why they make strategic decisions. He’s also a solo creator with a newsletter and podcast (Big Technology), and has written a book, Always Day One, in which he studies the internal decision-making frameworks within big tech companies. In this conversation, we talk to Alex about: - Why the creator economy went mainstream, and how Big Tech’s attitude toward it shifted - Why he is bullish on Twitter Spaces and why he thinks live audio will not really replace podcasting - His work as a solo creator, and how having direct control of his audience compares to his time working for larger media companies - The pros and cons of monetizing through advertising versus subscriptions, and - His personal strategies to avoid burning out Brought to you by Means of Creation, an Every newsletter https://every.to/means-of-creation Music by Keizo Fish
Li and Nathan are joined by Kat Tenbarge, senior reporter at Insider. Digging into Kat's work as an influencer watchdog—including her recent expose on sexual assault allegations against David Dobrik's Vlog Squad—they discuss the importance of holding influencers accountable, what people don't always understand about the elaborate fact-checking and editing processes, and how the internet might move to a healthier content ecosystem. If you liked this, you'll like our newsletter! We publish an original essay on the creator economy every week at https://every.to/means-of-creation Theme music by Keizo Fish
Brought to you by Means of Creation, an Every newsletter.
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