Web3 and Building in Public ⚒️
Cutting through the layers of complexity + hype
Chances are, you’ve heard a lot about Web3 and the buzz around NFTs and the like. But how much do you actually know about it? 🤔
If you’re like me, you probably know enough to understand coffee chat convos, but not enough to actually get into and build in the crypto/web3 space. Considering the amount of smart people in web3, investors pouring money into it, and underlying frameworks and philosophies, there’s a lot of potential for growth and innovation. I’ve found particularly interesting that it lies at the intersection of game theory, economics, math, CS, etc.
Web3 is a new way of using the internet that is based on blockchain technology. This new way of using the internet is supposed to be more secure, private, and scalable than the current way.
Today’s newsletter will focus on providing you with some of the signals behind the noise/hype:
🌐 What’s driving web3 - Schelling points, tokenization, decentralization, etc
🔑 Distribution is key, and how you can leverage it
⚒️ How to start building in crypto/web3
🎙 Δx podcast
I was recently lucky enough to chat with Aryan, a 17-year-old builder and hacker in Web3. He’s also previously built two small startups in the education and hyper-local jobs space, and posts his thoughts on Twitter to over 10K followers.
He’s also a super “quotable” person 😂 e.g. while editing this podcast episode, it struck me that many things he said contained interesting ideas + philosophies which could easily be expanded into entire blog posts. I think you’ll get what I mean — give the episode a listen!
💎 Δx takeaways
1️⃣ The first question we tackle: Why build?
Macrocosmically, Aryan believes that everything you use has been built by someone else.
Any sort of progress happens in 2 ways: 1) discover knowledge to enable that process which is more on the research side. You figure out things, you understand how things happen. Once you have that knowledge base, there’s this whole element of 2) engineering which is taking whatever we’ve discovered and improving people’s lives with it... that’s what I think the role of builders and engineers in the world. It’s bridging the gap between knowledge that exists and solutions for people’s lives.
On a micro level, building is just really fun and gratifying.
When I build a project and maybe 1000 people using it, and when I do a tweak and I see a behavior change happening because of that, it’s my way of channelize a worldview into the world. I think something should be done in this way, and my product is the way I get that idea out to most people.
2️⃣ The 2nd question we answer: Why build in public?
“Building in public” often refers to startups taking an audience along for the journey before it’s even launched, i.e. posting frequently about the journey and building transparency. It’s also become more common for individuals builders/coders to do this. Aryan is a big fan of building in public, citing Shaan Puri as an example.
He realized he was an engineer who knew how to build product, not a leader who knew how to build a company. The difference is engineers know how to figure out product, leaders are people who know distribution.
Content creation is often more powerful than ads because it uses network effects. For example, a16z (VC firm) uses Medium to make relationships with founders. Many believers in web3/decentralization believe that in the future, these small-scale, individual efforts of retention may replace large scale media. A lot of the builders you’re probably familiar with use this idea to build community around their brand and launch more effectively.
Web3, according to Aryan, is about communities acting collectively. The idea is not new, but Web3 has put a structure around Discord/online communities, automating them, adding tokens, and governance. He believes that NFTs will reward them continuously, and that this is a natural evolution.
Many people have been thinking about Web3 as an isolated market... but the behavior has been existing for years. That’s a fundamental thing about the market. You can’t create a new behavior, you have to ride on waves of behavior in the market. And that form of serving to the behavior has been changing.
Let’s take a closer look at this with the example of Spotify. In the old way, Spotify gets users, goes public on stock market, users can buy their shares. In the new way, the simplest example is getting tokens when you use the product, tokens get more valuable the more users come in ⇒ unlock special privileges i.e. extend subscription, exclusive access to songs if you’ve been loyal customers. This creates a marketplace.
Indirectly what’s happened is you’ve become an owner in the upside of Spotify without having to go to a traditional stock exchange to make shares available.
Aryan recommends getting started with investing in crypto by buying tokens. He also recommended asking people who are building projects and help them in order to “create a map of the space, figure out what’s noise and what’s signal” before you start building your own projects.
Buildspace: The world's largest network of web3 builders
Questbook: Learn to code in Web3
Crypto Twitter: Stay up to date with the latest trends
A16z newsletter: Blogs about Web3
The biggest opp for young people right now is in crypto. There’s a huge engineering shortage in this space right now... there’s insanely awesome opportunities with insanely high pay. Especially for young builders. There’s 2 interesting reasons 1) this is a market which we natively understand... 2) lots of energy and momentum.
📰 Δx change
Speaking of building in public/Twitter/crypto…
🐦 Elon Musk wants to buy Twitter: Elon Musk offered to buy Twitter for $43 billion on April 14, in what he claimed was a move that would allow him to change the platform to promote more “free speech.”
☀️ Solar flare this Easter: The sun unleashed a major solar flare over the Easter holiday weekend, sparking radio blackouts and setting the stage for more solar storms to come. X-class solar flares are the strongest types of storms on the sun.
🤖 DALL·E 2: DALL·E 2 is a new AI system that can create realistic images and art from a description in natural language. It can combine concepts, attributes, and styles.
That’s all for this week’s Delta X newsletter & happy Easter! 🐰