The new internet of scarcity
The future looks like the past, just different.
Good Morning! ☀️
Apologies for my absence. I started a long term leave of absence from work two weeks ago. Since then I’ve been dedicating my days to working with a few non-profit companies I had wanted to for a while, but never had time. I’ve found it amazing to be able to spend hours thinking about a single problem. I love running the argo studio in Amsterdam, but I usually never have more than 15 minutes to think on a topic unless I do it before or after work. The last few weeks have been overly refreshing.
Additionally, I was able to get through two books.
An Ugly Truth - Peering inside Facebook’s working culture, it places its focus on the relationship between Sheryl Sandberg and Mark Zuckerberg. While the books’ overall viewpoints are often not kind to Facebook, I found their insights on the company culture valuable. It helped illuminate how they scale, think of politic issues, and how they have too often mishandled users data pricy with their internal employees.
The Pattern Seekers - For anyone with autism, autism-like traits, or has autistic children, this should be required reading. Among other behavioural topics, the book highlights how many autistic individuals think and why the basics of daily life like conversation, meeting friends, or working at their jobs can be difficult. It also showcases how these same individuals can be amazing at inventing, seeing new patterns, and creating innovative products.
I’ve long been a fan of hiring diverse individuals, which can easily be seen in the argodesign Amsterdam studio. But I hope in the future I’ll become even better at hiring and working with those of different ages and all types of neurodiversity to design and deliver better products.
With that, let’s get into this weeks writing, which I’ll keep short, but philosophical 👨🏻💻 🖊️
His view of the metaverse is slightly different from the popular culture one we see so often talked about. That one mostly comes from Snow Crash and focuses on a parallel virtual world like we have seen in Ready Player One (e.g. Roblox, Second Life, Fortnite, etc).
By contrast, Rolston sees the metaverse as more of an abstraction of the internet onto the physical world, and vice versa. A merging of worlds.
In the Venturebeart article, Rolston describes what he sees as foundational metaverse elements. These include augmented reality, sense-of-place within both the augmented and virtual spaces, the abstraction of self (meta me), and finally the full virtual reality experience.
Arguing over which definition is perfect is moot. We simply have to go and create it. The dots only connect when we look backwards 😉
What I have seen in all of these definitions and new worlds is that companies are now looking to create worlds and economics in addition to their products.
The new internet, much like the old, continues to be about empowerment and democratisation. Giving everyone to tools to build and create 🛠️
If you want to explore a bit more on that, I would recommend this article from Packy on Web3 protocols (decentralised internet). You could them think of the metaverse and these new worlds, being a layer or section on top of those protocols.
However, I’ve noticed one major difference looking forward as we build new worlds and economies. The internet, and software, was meant to create abundance. Everything can be copied, downloaded, and endlessly replicated.
While the internet turned physical scarcity into digital abundance, in reading on new protocols and new digital worlds, it feels like the future protocols described around decentralisation and metaverse are driving a return of scarcity - NFT’s, DOA’s, Social Tokens, etc.
While we are building new worlds, and tools within those worlds, we’re also building in social cues from the real world. More specifically, the idea that everyone can’t have everything. While this is common in games, until now it’s not being seen as a base protocol in our future worlds and environments.
We started with the idea of the internet providing an equal platform for everyone, but now scarcity and social signalling through money and power are creeping in. They are also traversing the digital and physical world.
GaryVee, a well known Marketer and wine enthusiast, recently announced his VeeFriends conference would only be available to those holding one of his NFT tokens, which he sold in previous months.
These decentralised platforms, protocols, and new virtual worlds being built, in many ways are bringing back social systems to the once flat internet. Erik Torenberg had a nice article on signalling based on scarcity and pulled the Cryptopunk images into the conversation.
I don’t need a Rolex when I have a cryptopunk!
It feels like irony, but it’s a natural progression. The narrative of being decentralisation is bringing power back to individuals. But the more I read, instead it feels even more like it’s creating a mirror universe on the internet of the scarcity we have in the real world. And if we’re not careful, those who are creating the systems will be in the best spot to benefit and profit from them - just like the real world. Leaving others to want.
I suppose there is only one way to change it - Get engaged! 🔥
That’s all for this week!
As a closing note, now that we can travel, I’ll be back on the road. If anyone wants to meet up, please reach out.
South-East USA at the end of September
Berlin in the middle of October
Lisbon at the end of October
Thank you for reading and exploring topics with me.
Until next time!