Noted American documentarian Ken Burns observed that there are moments in history when cultural shifts happen so quickly it’s like lightning striking. Lightning struck in Italy — particularly Florence — during the birth of the Renaissance in the 15th century. Lightning struck in Los Angeles in the mid-1960s when Jim Morrison, David Crosby, Brian Wilson, Jackson Brown, Joni Mitchell and others all lived in Laurel Canyon at the same time. They played gigs at the Troubadour club, and by the early 1970s were all famous.
The NFT space represents a quantum shift in our culture — a development that is non-linear. Some are comparing it to the gold rush, but I believe it’s more than that. NFTs could be the future of community, commerce, art, music and other types of human interaction.
Based on my experience, here are a few basic steps to take into the NFT realm to help you find success:
The old axiom “90 percent of success is showing up” rings true in this space. Last year I wrote about Clubhouse being a powerhouse for making connections and engaging in frequent thought leadership conversations. This year the conversation has moved to Discord, Twitter Spaces and, of course, real-life conferences, like NFT.NYC. These are only some of the avenues that give you the opportunity to meet and make new connections.
Meet the New Boss
The artists, collectors and gatekeepers prominent in the NFT space are a new select group who move the market from zero sales to billions of dollars each month. You have to be in it to win it. It’s not moved solely by celebrities, influencers or brands. So, knowing the space, contributing and wholly becoming part of it are all key to success.
Speak at a conference, organize local meet-ups, identify how you can add value and give to the community instead of what you can take from it. When I attended NFT.NYC last November, I saw an admirable demonstration of community and innovation. Thousands of people applied to speak, so the conference founders grouped approved speakers into categories, like music, art, thought leadership, and legal, and let the speakers choose who they would panel with by themselves. This immediately led to a sense of contribution, identity and community.
This is the secret sauce. Together we go far, as the African proverb states. The big NFT projects of apes, cats, mutants, skulls are more than illustrations that are a store of value or status symbol. They are representative of communities and identities. Traditional groups in the past have identified themselves by a common interest (e.g., golfing, tennis), a festival like Burning Man or following a band (e.g., The Grateful Dead.) These communities offer people a way of finding connections and identity.
I believe right now lightning is striking and a cultural shift is underway. It’s happening online in places like Twitter Spaces, and it’s happening at NFT conferences where people long separated by the loneliness and isolation of this ongoing pandemic slowly gives way to community, connection and celebration. I expect to meet many of you at this beautiful crossroads.
If you feel like you are late to the party, you are not. It’s early, and the party is just beginning. In my next article, we’ll dive into that mysterious Ready Player One buzz-world of the Metaverse.