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Episode 330
November 24, 2023

Boys Club v. Future Commerce

Phillip and Brian sit down with Natasha and Deana, Co-Founders of Boys Club and mavens in the web3 and crypto world. They discuss what place legacy brands have in web3, what the challenges are for adoption, who’s helping, and who’s hurting. But what will it take to get there? 

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Phillip and Brian sit down with Natasha and Deana, Co-Founders of Boys Club and mavens in the web3 and crypto world. They discuss what place legacy brands have in web3, what the challenges are for adoption, who’s helping, and who’s hurting. But what will it take to get there? 

A Well-Governed Potluck

  • {00:20:20} - “A big part of the value set of web3 is this idea of shared and distributed ownership, and governance, but ownership being a big part of that. And I think if you're a global corporate brand, that's gonna be at odds with shareholder values.” - Deana
  • {00:41:03} - “As more and more fake news, deep fakes, weird AI content is put into the world, we're gonna want to know what is human-generated and what isn't. And decentralized, trustless, open, permissionless blockchain is a great way to do that. I think that we're quite a far ways off from what that user experience is for that set of tooling and how that comes to life in the apps that we're all using every day.” - Deana
  • {00:43:48} - “web3 and crypto, we've always had the perspective that it is just a mirror to your interests and the things that you care about.” - Natasha
  • {00:47:41} - “It's only a matter of time until brands like that do see wallets as a new type of acquisition channel for them. Now today, there's probably not enough data, not enough wallets for it to be worth it to them, but I would invite them to experiment, and I know no better place to do that than Boys Club World.” - Deana
  • {00:52:07} - “We have found that you have to have a really strong vision and a vehicle for people to come in and play in. And that multiplayer mode has to be in the parameter of a game that we all set together or that a few people set and then a lot of people get to join in and have fun with.” - Natasha
  • {00:54:03} - “To do anything in multiplayer mode, you have to be a really good listener and hear the other person and what they're saying and what their vision is and what they want. Many people aren't very good at that, so we've over indexed to this. “Let's co-create. Let's do all these things together,” and we're all just talking over each other. And it's really ineffective and inefficient, and nothing ends up happening.” - Natasha

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Deana: [00:00:00] I'm in a group chat that has folks who are launching their stuff and getting people to test out. And she's launching a decentralized Spotify. And, yeah, that's tough. That's pushing a rock up a hill, very hard to do. But if I'm on Spotify, I should definitely be paying attention to what's happening there. I should definitely be paying attention to how it's used, what the feedback is... All of that, I think, is really important if I'm at one of these Web 2 or [00:00:28] trad [00:00:29] brands because it's just there will be 1, at least, that hits. But I do think it's really important for, if I'm a brand owner in Web 2 or in the [00:00:40] trad [00:00:41] world, to be paying attention to the weird experiments that are being shipped out of Web 3.

Phillip: [00:00:50] Hello, and welcome to FutureCommerce, the podcast at the intersection of culture and commerce. I'm Phillip.

Brian: [00:02:07] And I'm Brian.

Phillip: [00:02:08] And I don't often get butterflies, but today, I think they're warranted. We have, The Boys. The Boys Club podcast is a phenomenon. Of course, not just The Boys Club podcast. We're not allowed to say that. It's just Boys Club, as they are quick to remind everybody at the top of their show, but just prolific, creators in the space, in the crypto community and Web 3. Natasha Hoskins and Deana Burke, welcome to the show.

Brian: [00:02:35] Welcome.

Natasha: [00:02:36] Thank you so much for having us. We're honored to be here.

Deana: [00:02:39] Excited to be here. Thank you.

Phillip: [00:02:41] I had a fangirl moment of my own, the summer when I was going through early shipments The Multiplayer Brand, and we were shipping out our zine, and I saw one of your names pop up. And I was like, "Why weren't both of them on the list?" No. But I just thought to myself, "What an awesome privilege it is to have these communities that are intersecting. For people who don't know about Boys Club, can one of you or both of you give us a quick download?

Deana: [00:03:10] I love this sort of crossover episode that we have here. Yeah, Boys Club can sometimes be challenging to explain because we first started very much like, as a very organic community where it was a bunch of people, primarily women at first, who came around to learn together in community about what was happening in crypto and Web 3, how it applied to their careers, what it meant for the things that they were interested today in like art and fashion, and so we started with events, a couple small events. And it was really at first just: let's hang out together, let's learn together, and then that translated to an online experience as well, like let's hang out online together too. So that's where we started. Since then, it's been about 2 years, it's evolved into a whole world, Boys Club. Now I think it's fair to say we're sort of one part media company where that sort of worldview of Boys Club, the community is expressed through newsletters and podcasts and still events, and then one part community, which is still thriving and growing, and kind of is the heartbeat of all that we do. So yeah, kind of community, kind of media company, but at its heart it's sort of this idea of how technology is an increasing part of all of our daily lived lives. It's more and more where we're spending our time. And Boys Club is really a way for us to inspect that with a lens that is native to us, and that has a very distinctly feminine point of view, unapologetically feminine point of view, but can be read and appreciated by anyone. So that's kind of how it comes to life. I'm sure I missed some things, Natasha.

Natasha: [00:05:15] Great job.

Deana: [00:05:16] Feel free to round it out.

Natasha: [00:05:18] 10 out of 10. No notes. Yeah. I would just add that you can kinda think of us as the cut for the new Internet. Really thinking about how all this incredible, interesting, crazy, and sometimes very technical technology can actually affect our daily lived realities with a really fun, hopefully funny worldview and perspective. So it's a lot of fun.

Brian: [00:05:44] I noticed that neither of you said Web 3, crypto, blockchain, or any of those words. {laughter}

Natasha: [00:05:52] {laughter} We've been trained. We've been trained. I think that we're really careful not to... Those words can be really alienating for a lot of people, And I think that we have tried to make Boys Club and the content that we produce and the things that we talk about as approachable as possible for people. So we are obsessed with Web 3 and crypto and blockchain, and it's definitely in the stack of almost everything we do. But we also know that it can be a major turnoff, so we're careful about how we talk about it.

Phillip: [00:06:25] I would say having this mindset around you do have presuppositions. People have their own opinions about crypto and Web 3, and I think that we could probably get into some of that today. What I think is really interesting is how you've taken this new media business. You said the cut for the new Internet or the new modern age. We think of ourselves as sort of like the monocle for the retail and eCommerce set. And that's specifically because if you think of monocle, it's like elitist banal consumer cosmopolitanism. Cool. We'll be that for the eCommerce set. And I see there is a growing need for folks to storytell with their own framework and their own lived experience. You do that as well. And so I think one way to start off is you've really taken this perspective as independent journalists in covering things that are relevant to the crypto community. Specifically, Natasha, I think you were cosplaying as a court reporter, for more than a month, in the SBF trial. Tell us a little bit about the decision to do something like that and what your community sees the value in of you bringing that sort of reporting to your media.

Natasha: [00:07:39] That's yes. Wow. It was a wild ride. We sort of decided to do it on a whim. You know, the trial is happening in New York City. I live in New York. It's open to the public. Anybody could go. You didn't need sort of credentials or to be a lawyer or to be working on the case to attend. And I think there were a lot of people in our community who were looking for our perspective on this trial, this crazy moment that was happening in our industry, and we definitely struggled to decide if we really wanted to cover it for a few reasons. One, we didn't wanna give SBF more airtime. We didn't wanna continue to make this person, this figure that just took up your news cycle, and that was one tension that we felt. And then the other tension that we felt was we are not reporters. I am not an investigative journalist or a court reporter. And, I was very aware of that, going every day, sitting next to very legitimate journalists who take it very seriously and wanted to make sure that people knew that, 1) and had other sources of information. And 2) what was our unique sort of Boys Club view, perspective, voice around it that wasn't something that you could get from the very, very good coverage that The Verge was doing or The Wall Street Journal was doing or these very historical and legacy publications or even more new media publications that were covering it really well. So that was a tension that we felt, And I think we came to something that felt true to us, which was 10 to 15 minutes on the most interesting part of the day. Some of it was drama happening amongst the press corps that was sitting in the overflow room. Some of it was testimony. Some of it was just fan-girling over the prosecutor, and it was a lot of fun. And I think my main takeaway is that journalists are important and essential to the fabric of society, and I am glad that I am not one. Because every day, I was like, "Wow, they have to really fact-check." The things that they say, the things that they write, things that they publish are essential to be true and accurate. And I was just sort of vibing down at the courtroom. So, I had a lot of fun. I don't know that I would do it all over again, but I think we got some good responses from our coverage and sort of the way that we approached it.

Phillip: [00:10:16] When you're thinking about how our ecosystem consumes content and how much, futurism is sort of baked in what we do. It's very different to what they normally hear. [00:10:29] In the eCommerce ecosystem, there is a specific trade media. But I don't know that in this new frontier and this new wave of commerce and these new financial models or whatever happens in Web 3, playing in that ecosystem is also kind of opportunistic for big brands. [00:10:47] I don't know what your take is on that. Yeah.

Brian: [00:10:50] That's a really good point, Phillip, a lot of kinship in listening to both of you kinda talk about how you describe yourself, because it is a weird moment right now where we're seeing a lot of transition to new technologies, new opportunities for changing how people interact with each other and the tools that we use. And so the way that we engage with information around that is changing as well. And so thinking through, Phillip, your question or comment, the way that people consume right now is it's changing significantly. And I was just talking to a Web 3 founder that went back to Web 2 because Web 3 wasn't there yet. It was, like, "Okay. I gotta go make money, So I'm going back to Web 2. Maybe the old Internet is actually the way the world's gonna function." And she got back, and she was like them. She was like, "Oh, wow. Web 2 is a mess. It's a mess. The Internet is put together on spider webs." It's held together with nothing. And so [00:12:07] it's funny how new technologies feel kind of flimsy, and the way that we interact with them is kind of flimsy. It feels like it's just getting its start, but actually, all of technology has sort of been built that way. [00:12:19] I don't know what you guys think about that.

Natasha: [00:12:22] Yeah. I think I was actually at a party this weekend with a bunch of crypto people, and it was interesting because we were sort of just riffing and talking about our careers prior to working in crypto and how much it feels like the experience of the day to day is so different in Web 3, where there are new aspects to this technology that are shipping every single day. And it's totally chaotic at times, and these tools are so nascent. And we're asking so much of consumers to use them and play with them, and there's a lot that's broken there. But working in this industry sort of ruins you forever because you get used to that speed and you get used to sort of at any given time you can update your timeline and something has shipped, and there's a new way to sort of play. And that's so fun. And it's a really I think it's been there's a really negative way that you could look at it where it's fragile, and the foundation isn't built, and consumers can't use it. But I think another way that you could look at it is there's all this opportunity for play. There's so much fun that you can have with this technology, and that makes it really hard for legacy and established brands to do things. But as builders and entrepreneurs and creative people, you can do a lot with it, and you can sort of use this moment where it's unformed and in a design phase to have fun and to try new things. And one of those things will sort of solidify and start to make sense, and I think that will have more widespread adoption. But coming back to sort of what you were saying about how all of the Internet is sort of fragile in many ways, and a lot of how we use things have been taped together and we're not aware of it because we've done a really good job or builders have done a really good job of sort of obfuscating that away where all the tools that we use any given day, for the most part, feel pretty solid and solidified, and you feel safe using them. And even though they might not be that under the hood. And I think Web 3 just needs to get a lot better at sort of hiding all of the things.

Brian: [00:14:28] The front end.

Natasha: [00:14:28] Exactly. The front end needs a lot of work.

Deana: [00:14:30] One more thing on that is that when I think about the Web 3 versus Web 2 vibe, I think that there is something that's baked into the values of Web 3 around permissionless innovation and decentralization that gives the whole thing a very sort of anti-authoritarian and subversive energy almost, which is part of what we, like both Natasha and I personally, and I think Boys Club more broadly, really like about the sort of work that's being done in and around Web 3. It's not that it's like anti-big tech, but it's certainly questioning a lot of the things that we've taken for granted, with Web2 over the past 10, 15 years, whatever it is. And sort of looking at all of that and questioning everything and being like, "Is this the right way to move forward?" And I think that that sort of energy of subversion and, yeah, I guess like the anti-authority thing is fun. And I think it's like net positive regardless of whether or not the tech is ready for mainstream. I think that the sort of values of it feel important to have right now.

Brian: [00:15:44] So on that note, actually, I was talking to an independent game developer, and you know, developing on some of the big engines that are out there, and they're like, "It's really hard. It's really hard to make it as an independent game developer because the engines are updated so frequently. It's almost impossible to keep up with just the updates that are required as you are trying to release a product at the same time." Do you think one of the challenges, you know, we've seen enterprises enter the space, and you also have the whole independent community, but do you think that the changing nature, the sort of anti-authoritarian, like, we're gonna just keep doing things a different way, makes it really, really hard to, 1) either monetize these new technologies? Or 2) if you're a big company, make a big investment in the specific iteration that was available at the time or the thought processes around how to monetize. And we can get into some of the examples here. And I know Phillip's got some ideas around this. But do you think this makes it really hard to make a big bet or even also to be an independent creator who is having a hard time finding a way to make money on this?

Natasha: [00:16:58] Yeah. I think it's nearly impossible for large brands to play in this space. I think in a way that is gonna have longevity at this point. And we've seen a lot of them try, and a lot of them play around, and some have done better than others. But I think it's really tough because if you're LVMH, and you're seeing the craze of 2021 summer NFTs, and you're looking around the room and thinking, "We've gotta do something. This is the future. This isn't so interesting. There are all these new commerce opportunities. There are all these new ways to build brand loyalty." It takes you, whatever it was, 18 months to get something actually shipped. And by then, we're in a bear market. No one wants to hear about NFTs. It's like a dirty word. And I'm super sympathetic to individuals who are working at these companies, who are trying to innovate and trying to play in these new types of fields and industries and technologies, and it's essentially impossible to move at the speed that's required to stay relevant in this space. I mean, Deana and I feel that way, and we're a team of 3 who are beholden to no one and just throwing stuff at the wall. So it's really difficult. And at the same time, you have there's only the respect and sort of richness of the opportunities if you're willing to really commit to the bit and really willing to say, "Okay. All of these amazing tools, this new way to engage with our customers, there are all these things that have been unlocked," but it only works if you are chips in and really commit. And the brand account is talking about it, and there's all of these maybe it's loyalty. Maybe it's unlocking new commerce experiences or scarcity, but that requires a full commitment from that brand. And these trends are moving so quickly that that's a real tension, I imagine, in these bigger institutions that are heritage brands that are really sensitive to how they're perceived.

Phillip: [00:18:54] Right.

Natasha: [00:18:54] So I don't really know what the answer is for them because I want to see, you know, brands that I love and brands that I think are really cool and produce amazing products to play in this space and to be relevant to emerging technology and the cutting edge. But I think If I were maybe a, I don't know, a Loewe, I'd probably be waiting to see how all these things play out to really commit to something fully. But, Deana, I'm curious of your...

Deana: [00:19:19] Yeah. I also think that. And there's a lot there's just kind of a values mismatch with a lot of the big brands. I think their intentions are good generally. But I think that it's gonna be really hard for an innovation. We had a conversation a few months ago with an innovation lab that was out of a large retailer, and they were like, "We were really into it. We really like this." And, like, they're the innovation group. And you see these sort of innovation labs spin-off of these big corporates all the time. And it's typically a smaller team and they're a little bit scrappier, but they're still working within the legal structure of a big, huge org. And so I think they wanna think that they can move faster than they actually can. But this particular retailer basically wanted to set up a way where sort of different creators could come into the ecosystem and build things. And at the end of the day,  [00:20:20]a big part of the value set of Web 3 is this idea of shared and distributed ownership, and governance, but ownership being a big part of that. And I think if you're a global corporate brand, that's gonna be at odds with shareholder values. [00:20:37] And so there's a rub there that I don't know quite how to get past. I'm sure some creative, brilliant person will come up with a way. But where I'm sitting right now, it feels really hard, for at least those types of approaches. Now I think when it comes to loyalty, and those types of plays, it's maybe a little bit different. But, certainly for more sort of the consumer applications of it feels tough.

Phillip: [00:21:04] This is where I feel like we, these Web 3, adages, like, "Oh, we're so early." But I think it's kind of a funny thing to witness because it does feel like technology and consumer acceptance of technology and adoption of technology is accelerating. Of note, neither of you has effective accelerationism in your bio on Twitter, so that's cool. But I do think that this idea of just being accepting of the world that we live in as technology moves fast, and consumers are always sort of pulling on businesses to move faster, and maybe that's what innovation teams feel. What I've witnessed personally is that innovation teams love to talk to groups like Boys Club and Future Commerce. They love to get all kinds of free ideas and advice that they can put in their decks and sell them back to their bigger orgs as being so smart. Look at us. We're paying attention to everything that's happening in the world. What needs to happen is those businesses haven't, they weren't invested in eCommerce. Let's say eCommerce as being some frontier of retail experience. They didn't get invested in eCommerce until the past 8 or 10 years. So they were 15 years late to that trend. Why? Because they waited until they could have complete ownership over the customer and complete acceptance of the customer's relationship on brand. LOEWE is not on Amazon. Why? Because Amazon owns that channel, and that channel is littered with all kinds of things that their brand doesn't wanna be associated with. It's the same objection in Web 3. It's the exact same objection. So until something arises where what we had in Web 2 was a bunch of walled garden ecosystems, The Facebooks of the world, the Metas of the world. You have Amazons of the world where you have these little ecosystems that have dominated modern experience until that comes around where brands can say, "Oh, so we can play within that world," I don't think brands Can do much, at all in that ecosystem. And that's so I guess my question back here I'd like to spin it back to you all because I wax poetic as I often want to do. Are there big enterprises that are sort of championing the efforts of crypto and Web 3? We saw them sort of bandwagon in 2021, but who is still doing the work today? And is it helpful at all? Deana, I'll ask you first.

Deana: [00:24:15] I know Natasha kinda dunked on LVMH a little bit in her previous answer, but I actually think that some of the work that they've done with their I think they called it, like, their key holder, which was a way to sort of use the tech to bring more scarcity into their products, and also to monetize that access felt smart. And I don't know that it's "worked," but I think as an experiment, it feels like the right one for them to have done. Maybe they shipped it a year late or a year later than they should have. But I actually think that that type of access and scarcity play is really interesting. I think kinda related to that, we've seen the I think that the big auction houses, the Sotheby's and the Christie's, have done it right. I think that there's something that crypto or Web 3 solves for in provenance, which, I think is really interesting and I think is something that fine art has always struggled with. And so I think that when there are pain points that can be solved directly with the technology those are the places where we've seen some success.

Phillip: [00:25:33] Let me ask you this. Would you count the Beeple auction as being the kickoff of the bull market as far as consumers are concerned? Is that the thing that put it on the radar?

Deana: [00:25:43] I think one would. Yes. I don't know as much about it. But yes, I think that that's... We have a fine art correspondent who that is her take. And she said it last week on a podcast with us. So yes. But I think that there's a lot more room for those types of orgs to run, in terms of what's possible.

Natasha: [00:26:07] Yeah. I mean, I did dunk on them, but I do agree with you, Deana, That out of all of them, that was definitely the best. They're the easiest to dunk on because, I mean, they're the GOATs. But I think one of the things that we have seen more less on really consumer brands necessarily, but large institutions and really, financial institutions utilizing blockchain technologies for private blockchains and developing their own private blockchains that they use internally as a shared ledger. The crypto community really hates that because it's sorta it goes against all of the reasons why you have a shared ledger and what the purpose of, what they claim the purpose of blockchain technology is. And so I can see, sort of back to your point about the emergence of eCommerce and how late a lot of brands were to that because they wanted to control it. I can see how larger institutions are sort of doing that with this technology in their own way, and I'm sort of two minds about it. I Completely understand why that's the way they're dipping their toe in, and they can experiment, and they're not making huge mistakes publicly that on a shared ledger would be super visible and really embarrassing for large institutions. And so I totally get that. On the other hand, I do understand how it's completely the things that excite me about crypto are a bunch of stuff around creativity and innovation and shared ownership, and there's a lot we can say about that. But when I think about sort of real-world use cases today, how this tech can disrupt very old and crotchety sort of verticals like travel or hospitality or these different industries that have had very, very little innovation for many, many, many, many years, and how a shared ledger and how blockchain technology can be applied to that, that's really exciting to me as well. And so institutions privatizing that and creating their own private blockchains is sort of a disappointing application of this tech at a large scale. If that's all we do at the end of the day, it's a little bummer. Bit of a bummer.

Phillip: [00:28:27] You didn't know that you're gonna have to be the full apologist for all of the crypto Web 3 activity coming on this show, but it's sort of your beat, so I thought we'd take some swings at it.

Deana: [00:28:39] It's great. I also just want to say, for the record, crypto and Web 3 is toxic and has a bad rep right now for good reason. We're totally eyes wide open about that and feel like any chance we can get to address that head on and to acknowledge it and say, like, yeah, all these things that have happened suck. And there's also all these other things that are possible that we see builders working on and experimenting with and shipping weird stuff all the time that there is again, a lot of room to run and so to not throw the baby away with the bathwater.

Phillip: [00:29:17] I live in West Palm Beach, Florida. I'm very proud of my hometown, but it also is the home to Mar a Lago, Casey Anthony, and a pedophile ring. Very famous.

Deana: [00:30:29] Brutal.

Phillip: [00:30:29] Horrible place to have been from, but it's home. I love home. It's a great place to be. So we have to be clear headed about...

Brian: [00:30:38] Just to riff a little bit on what you're saying, Deana, about enterprises adopting and the nature of an enterprise being a bit of a challenge to adopt some of this technology that's supposed to be inherently open and community-oriented. One thing that I do remember, and I think you nailed something, and you all I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but the consumer application is very different than, like, the back end application and private versus public chain and the sort of disappointing nature of that application to the community in general, but Phillip and I are both out of another world that had a similar ethos, when it kinda got started, which was the open source world. And I think he mentioned that when he was on Boys Club with you, Deana, and everyone that's listening should go check out that episode because it was a fantastic episode. But that let's make this a community thing. Let's find a way to do it differently. Let's get out of Microsoft world, which was very, at the time... It's so funny because Microsoft's so open now, and we should probably talk about them a little bit later. But they were like, "Everything was paid to play, everything was closed, everything was controlled," and open source came along and was like, "No, we gotta rethink how we do everything. Let's do it together as a group and rethink the world of technology." So what we eventually saw is that some of these larger corporations did actually kind of take on this ethos. And we had Jeremy King, who at the time was CTO at Walmart, and he's like, "Yeah, we moved our whole technology stack to open source." He's now right leading engineering at Pinterest. I think he's running technology at Pinterest now. My point here is that I think there are ways for big corporations to get involved in this. It's just like you both said, it's not on the front end. Consumer application of tech here is interesting. It's been for a technology-focused consumer. And their taste change quickly. We're running at the pace of the Internet. Back to what you said earlier, Deana, culture is sort of what drives a lot of this. And to kinda tie in my point from earlier, is it technology that's moving so fast, or is it actually the way that the leading edge technologists are thinking about how to apply that technology that's moving so quickly? The culture around it that's moving so quickly. I mean, I feel like it's both probably, but I'd I'm yeah. I do think there's a chance for enterprises to find a way to use this in a private way or eventually in a public way that could be transformative. And so I'm still bullish on the future of this. That's what I'm getting at.

Phillip: [00:33:43] Really? I like how you hedged for all of our audience all at one time and just, like, making sure everybody feels heard so nobody tunes out right before the sponsor bump, just to make sure...

Natasha: [00:33:54] {laughter} I think one thing that we have recently been hearing from really smart people in this industry, and this is a take that I'm borrowing from Lee Jin, who is at Variant. And she actually had talked about that she sort of has a thesis that this technology's gonna reach adoption, and people are actually going to be using it as native tools, native products, native software begins to create more interesting experiences, not enterprises and established brands adopting the technology in new and innovative ways for their own brand. But there has to actually be that development that happens that's native to the industry that then reaches adoption more broadly. And I actually see that as a really hopeful case and a really hopeful version and vision of the future of Web 3 because I do think, as you're saying, the technology is developing at a rate, but culture is twice as fast, if not 10 times as fast. And thinking about, okay, if we do this and we match with this, and we have fun with this weird thing that we're doing on the Internet. And that sort of building in public is very much the ethos of the industry. And so there is this vision that I can see of the future of that something clicks there, and then that starts to have more steady development in a specific direction for then more, you know, my neighbor or my doorman or whoever it is to start to be like, "Oh, cool. I'm using this thing that maybe is crypto native," but that's probably gonna be the future more so than Starbucks using Polygon to do their points program, and no one really cares.

Phillip: [00:35:41] Mhmm.

Natasha: [00:35:42] The average consumer who's on Starbucks. I love Starbucks and Polygon. It's really cool.

Deana: [00:35:47] Just dunk on them.

Natasha: [00:35:48] I'm not dunking. I think it's great. I'm just saying the average consumer doesn't care.

Phillip: [00:35:53] I don't think it's great. I think it's terrible. {laughter}

Deana: [00:35:57] I would say a caveat to that is that I think that that's true. And I think that if you're a Web 2 or you're a [00:36:03] trad brand, [00:36:04] you need to be paying attention to what's happening in crypto and Web 3 in order to make sure you don't have your lunch eaten. Just today, I'm in a group chat that has folks who are launching their stuff and getting people to test out. And she's launching a decentralized Spotify. And yeah. That's tough. It's pushing a rock up a hill. Very hard to do. I don't envy her as a builder, as a founder. I don't wanna be doing that job. But if I'm Spotify, I should definitely be paying attention to what's happening there. I should definitely be paying attention to how it's used, what the feedback is. Like, all of that, I think, is really important if I'm at one of these [00:36:45] web tour trad brands [00:36:46] because it's just there will be one, at least, that hits. And maybe it's her decentralized Spotify that has sort of ownership baked into streams. That's interesting. That's compelling. It's compelling. It solves a problem that's a huge pain point for artists and creators. And again, very hard, kind of moonshot type thing. But I do think it's really important for if I'm a brand owner in Web 2 or in the [00:37:11] trad world  [00:37:12]to be paying attention to to the weird experiments that are being shipped out of Web 3.

Brian: [00:37:15] I think Spotify is such a great example because there's been such a massive influx of song copies that have happened, that just been... I forget what the term is that we're using now to describe those, but it's been a huge influx of people stealing people's music and putting it up. This is actually a huge problem in brand as well. Fake products is a massive issue. Back to your point, Natasha, about a native brand making a play there. I also think that, as we look at the shifting nature of how much people care about sourcing and where things come from politically or ethically, social responsibility or whatever it is, the opportunity for Web 3 to make a play here is, with the enterprise, if sourcing and where something is certified becomes easier and more apparent with a native brand than it would with traditional methodologies, and the benefit to consumer is clear, that's where I think things might start to get really interesting. So back to the Spotify example, If Spotify watches this and they say, "Okay, what people care about is how to make sure that artists get credit for things." They might look at that and be like, "They just built a whole new system. We can either go acquire that system, try to copy it, or we can just use our current technology to produce the same end result for our consumer." That's where I think a lot of brands have taken a pause and said, "Why do we have to use something new when we can use existing technology to accomplish the same end results?"

Phillip: [00:39:26] I think Spotify is kind of an esoteric example here. It was okay. we're building an an NFT or some sort of consumer Web 3 app for music consumption. Another example here could be deep fakes and celebrity endorsements of products and deep fakes. There must be a way in an era where you can take anyone's name, image, and likeness, and apply it to any brand endorsement. Huberman, you know, on Twitter, deep fake supporting some creatine that he didn't actually cosign on. There has to be a technology-centric solution and an open protocol that solves that kind of problem at scale, and it's out there. We just don't like it because we had monkey JPEGs for a little while. So we just need... After a little while, we have to come back to there are actual solutions, there are technology solutions that exist in the world that actually solve this consumer problem. The validity of the brand and the economic value that comes with celebrity endorsements can be solved. We just have to all buy into the system that already exists rather than create a new one from scratch.

Brian: [00:40:33] So, really, it's just Worldcoin that we need. Is that what we're...

Natasha: [00:40:35] {laughter}

Deana: [00:40:38] {laughter} I mean, the kids are saying that AI is crypto's killer use case. And I buy it based on sort of what you're speaking to, which is about sort of credentialing, and I think that there are things like verifiable credentials that very smart people in Web 3 are working on, like DISCO. Ed McMullen comes to mind. And I think that,  [00:41:03]as more and more fake news, deep fakes, weird AI content is put into the world, we're gonna want to know what is human generated and what isn't. And decentralized, trustless, open, permissionless blockchain is a great way to do that. I think that we're quite a far ways off from what that user experience is for that set of tooling and how that comes to life in the apps that we're all using every day. [00:41:34] I'm unsure, but I do like it as an idea. And I think that when I'm fast forwarding 10 years in the future, I'm like, "Yeah. Of course, that something like that exists as all of what we're doing online is done by our AI overlords." Like, we're gonna wanna know. So that totally checks out to me, but I think we're quite a ways away from figuring out how we experience that as consumers or users.

Brian: [00:41:58] And I think this is all me leading the witness a little bit. How do the two of you see the role of Web 3 in commerce coming up here? What is your vision for how it can be applied, in this next phase of commerce?

Natasha: [00:42:17] I think there are a few things that come to mind. One is definitely this idea of loyalty. People have been talking about this for the past few months of loyalty and an inoperable loyalty program being sort of an incredible use case for consumers and for brands in some ways. I think there's a lot of work there, but I do see that as an opportunity and something that checks out on face value. I also think co-creation. I think we've over indexed on that in Web 3, how much consumers actually want to develop the products that they use. I think we've definitely over indexed, But I do think having input and some say in the products that you love and the brands that you love and Web 3 being a way to do that and incentivizing consumers to do that is really interesting and feels novel. And it is imperfect as well, but I do think that there's something there. I think provenance and supply chain tracking through the blockchain and people who really care about where their products come from and how they're developed and how they're ethically made. I think there's a lot of opportunity both from an ethical perspective for people who care about products being made in a particular kind of way. And then on the flip side, I think there's an opportunity for scarcity when it comes to really luxury goods and really luxury brands to have a way to build in scarcity and revenue opportunities for the brand, but for the consumer also to have a way to prove that their products are legitimate if you really care about luxury items. And I think there's a lot more I could say, but my main takeaway is [00:43:58] Web 3 and crypto, we've always had the perspective that it is just a mirror to your interests and the things that you care about. [00:44:04] And the only way that we have found people, and myself included, to care about this technology is that there's things that I love and things that I use every day or that I think about every day that I started to see an opportunity to see how that matches up with Web 3 tooling and crypto technology and all this stuff. And I think that that will be true for commerce experiences as well. It's like, what do people actually care about, and where does that match up? And I think that because of that, there'll be a lot of different use cases for how it shows up. So those are some of the things I think about. I don't know, Deana, if I missed any that you would wanna...

Deana: [00:44:39] No. I think the only one that, maybe I would add is with our wallets being transparent, I mean, you could go to [00:44:45] Boys Club, [00:44:46] our wallet right now, and see all the things that we have in it. I think that we mint things that are value aligned. And I think that as our wallets have this type of transparent property, I think that there are social signaling opportunities. And it's not monkey JPEGs, but it's not not that. It's maybe not necessarily like cartoon avatars, but I do think we like to vote with our wallets in many ways. And I think as more and more of us have wallets that you can see and you can look into, I think that social signaling starts to come into play, as well as other opportunities for brands to get creative with how they work with that and how they identify opportunities in that. It's all there on Etherscan or whatever blockchain viewer you want to use, but if you're a brand, there are sort of affinity groups that you've identified, it's really easy to go on and collect a bunch of them, and air dropping is gonna feel really spammy in that scenario, but I'm sure there's creative and clever ways to do that that people will be coming up with. So I think that that's another piece that, I think is really fun and exciting.

Brian: [00:46:07] So wait. I just wanna make sure I understand. Are you saying that wallets are going to be a public identity verification.

Deana: [00:46:19] They already are.

Brian: [00:46:20] Yeah. They already are. But they're a way to basically Say to the world, "These are things I care about, believe in, and want." It's an identity marker. That's the key. That's the benefit of a wallet.

Phillip: [00:46:36] I think Deana was just saying it's a new channel for customer acquisition that's not being looked at as a channel for customer acquisition. But some brands are looking at it that way. Is that what you were saying?

Deana: [00:46:46] Yeah. I think that a lot of Web 3 brands are looking at it that way. I mean, you saw with, there was an NFT marketplace called Blur that basically looked at everyone that had bought stuff on OpenSea and did this huge air drop to all those people that was some major incentive for them to come and then use Blur instead of OpenSea. So they were like, "Okay, let's identify a group of people who are doing the behavior that we want on our thing. And let's use the magic of the blockchain to get them all to come and give them an incentive to do it on our platform." That was really smart. Now they're problematic and that had a bunch of issues with it, but I think that what's the Glossier example of that? I am really interested in that type of exploration. And [00:47:41] it's only a matter of time until brands like that do see wallets as a new type of acquisition channel for them. Now today there's probably not enough data, not enough wallets for it to be worth it to them, but I would invite them to experiment, and I know no better place to do that than Boys Club World. [00:48:01]

Phillip: [00:48:02] Yeah. There you go.

Deana: [00:48:04] But, yeah, that's kind of hopefully, that lands for you, Brian. I'm not sure.

Brian: [00:48:08] It does. It's terrifying to me in some ways. But yeah. The future of brand is permanent cookies on the public Internet. {laughter} And that's how we're all gonna get acquired by brands.

Phillip: [00:48:25] But, Brian, if I told you that the vibes were immaculate, would it change your mind? Let me ask, I'm such a boomer. I've got onee last question. We had this nice little discourse about this idea of Future Commerce having this thesis about, you know, this proliferation of multiplayer ness. Natasha, I didn't get your take when I was on the Boys Club side of things, but I get the sense that you having been in a very multiplayer ecosystem for so long, you have your own perspectives on how sustainable that is. We're thinking about it a little bit differently. I'm curious if you could sort of counterbalance our audience's perspective of our talking about multiplayer a lot with your own hot takes on why that may not work at the scale that we may have been dreaming.

Deana: [00:49:23] This is a thorny question because in many ways it's at odds with the Web3 philosophy. Our personal, like Natasha and my, not even speaking about Boys Club, but our personal take on collaboration, co-creation, I think we spoke about it a bit in the podcast that we did together, which is this idea that not everyone's gonna want to participate in building a brand. Not only does not everyone want to participate in building a brand, but arguably not everyone should. And maybe this is different for bigger brands. What you're hearing from Natasha and me in this is that we have a little fledgling nascent brand that we're trying to build and trying to figure out its way in the world. And I think for us, in building Boys Club, it's been really important to have a singular vision that people can understand and then get behind. And that singular vision is not multiplayer. I mean, it's expressed in a multiplayer way, but it's more Steve Jobs than it is Vitalik Buterin. And I think that maybe that's just the size, and over time, brands become more and more resilient, and you can sort of progressively decentralize. But for us, it's been really important to, have really tight constraints on how at least Boys Club shows up in the world. So that's kind of you're hearing scar tissue around us, specifically.

Natasha: [00:51:03] Trauma.

Deana: [00:51:03] Yeah. But, I don't know if that lands for you, but that's kind of why our take is what it is.

Natasha: [00:51:12] I would say I think it's funny hearing you say this, Deana, because I totally agree, but I also think you are so far into the Web 3 world that you're thinking about it from that perspective and saying, "Oh, I'm not that." But I think if you were at a traditional brand, Like, Deana will give the login to our Twitter to basically anybody. That's multiplayer mode, and that's crazy. And so I think that you're hearing a pushback on super far Web 3 co-creation. Everybody gets to play. Everybody's in it. It's not that, and our brand isn't that, but we are extremely collaborative in the way that we show up in the world. And a great example of that is we do a twice a year zine. Our 2nd edition is coming out of Basel. We're super excited about it. And I think for us, [00:52:07] what we have found is that you have to have a really strong vision and a vehicle for people to come in and play in. And that multiplayer mode has to be in the parameter of a game that we all set together or that a few people set and then a lot of people get to join in and have fun with. [00:52:24] And that has been true for our brand and for the community of Boys Club, and I think what is most successful is having those parameters because otherwise, you've got a 100 people coming to a potluck, and everybody brings chips. And everybody's like, "What are we doing here?" And that has been a lot of what Web 3 has felt like in this sort of multiplayer co-creation idea. And so we've learned, I think, how to get better at it and do what's right for Boys Club, and I think that there's a nice balance. But there's definitely been some learning and some PTSD around how that works.

Phillip: [00:53:03] The potluck just needed a governance structure. That sounds like the problem. What I think makes any great world-building exercise is having clearly defined rules, And I think that brands already have those. I think that customers like to try to break the rules, and I feel like that's where we, this idea of a multiplayer future is a gradient. It's not black or white. You're multiplayer. You're not. I think that every brand is actually multiplayer as far as their comms team is concerned. They have to listen to what the world is saying and the Overton window shifts to things that are no longer acceptable, and you have your past as much as you do your future at the moment. And that is where I think we are coming to it from. But I wanted to get more understanding of it because we had a nice little back and forth on the Boys Club pod about it.

Natasha: [00:53:55] I also think one thing that you said that I just wanna add, it feels, relevant, is that [00:54:03] to do anything in multiplayer mode, you have to be a really good listener and hear the other person and what they're saying and what their vision is and what they want. And I think a lot of people aren't very good at that, and so we've over indexed to this. Let's co-create. Let's do all these things together, and we're all just talking over each other. And it's really ineffective and inefficient, and nothing ends up happening. [00:54:26] And so I think if you're a brand that's listening or you're thinking about how this works in your organization, be prepared to sit down and listen a lot and really try to hear what other people are trying to say as they co-create and work alongside you in the thing that you're building.

Brian: [00:54:43] I love that. Yeah. Multiplayer is a discourse. And if there is productive and good discourse, and there's discourse that's just people talking at each other or over each other or around each other, and I think you nailed it. There's gotta be a way to facilitate. I think that's exactly what you're saying is the potluck needs a facilitator. And sometimes that voice, you need strong voices, But those voices need to be ready to listen. I think to your point, we need Steve Jobs, but Steve Jobs sometimes wasn't so great at hearing what other people had to say, so finding someone like that's hard. It's hard to find a singular person like that. Sometimes it's necessary though. Vision and facilitation are some of the hardest things, and that's what I think the multiplayer brand's all about, actually.

Phillip: [00:55:35] Thank you both for coming on. Tell us more about your Art Basel event, and, tell us more about how people can get involved over at Boys Club.

Natasha: [00:55:43] Yes. We're super excited. So we're launching the next edition of our zine at Art Basel. You can follow us on X or Twitter @BoysClubWorld. You can follow us on Instagram @BoysClub.World, and those are the two best places to hear about what we're up to learn about all things Boys Club and get involved.

Phillip: [00:56:01] Amazing. Thank you so much for coming on the show.

Brian: [00:56:03] Thank you.

Natasha: [00:56:03] Thank you so much for having us.

Deana: [00:56:05] Thank you, guys.

Phillip: [00:56:06] Thank you all for listening. You find more episodes of this podcast and all future commerce properties. There are 6 of them now, and they come out way too frequently, for my team's liking, but you can get them all in one feed. FutureCommerce.com. Subscribe to Future Commerce Plus, and you can get the bonus content including our hot take After Dark take of this recording. That at FutureCommerce.com/plus. Thank you for listening to Future Commerce.

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