Vitalik: An Ethereum Story

For the past several years my wife Carrie has been working with Optimist and Linda Xie to make a documentary film about Vitalik Buterin, the creator of Ethereum.

Inspired by what they learned, they have developed the film in a crypto-native way and will release it in a similar fashion. In 2021, they raised funds for the film through a pplpleasr NFT crowdfund on Mirror (a USV company that has since merged with Paragraph, another USV company).

pplpleasr NFT for the film

They plan to continue to release the film and a variety of other associated stories onchain through a combination of mints on Zora and Base. They have thoughtfully detailed their release plan in this post. The gist is summed up in the article:

Minting the trailer, tickets and ancillary content for the film not only unlocks viewing access but will help to fund the feature documentary’s self-release in theaters and on streaming platforms worldwide, making it accessible to people both within and outside of the crypto space...

...By harnessing the power of crypto for the film's trailer, ancillary content and ticketing, we’re creating a distribution model that gives the community direct access to the film while funding a decentralized release of Vitalik: An Ethereum Story in theaters around the world and on a traditional streaming platform.

This is a film that is pioneering a new model in how stories can be financed, distributed and experienced. It has been inspiring to watch how this plan has evolved in conjunction with the growth of web3. Today, the team released the trailer for the film, which is now available to mint. Soon, tickets for the film will be available for purchase onchain, and the film will premiere IRL in theaters across the globe. Ultimately, it will be distributed on traditional streaming platforms, but the Ethereum community and anyone who wants to will be able to experience it together in person and online beforehand.

film trailer

I'm excited for the world to see this film and to watch how creators all over the world can learn from this model, build on top of it, and transform the way film and other types of content and art are funded, distributed, and owned in the future.

Shitty First Drafts

Several years ago, I read Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. She writes about a concept called "shitty first drafts" that has stuck with me ever since:

Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere. Start by getting something -- anything -- down on paper. A friend of mine says that the first draft is the down draft -- you just get it down. The second draft is the up draft -- you fix it up. You try to say what you have to say more accurately. And the third draft is the dental draft, where you check every tooth, to see if it's loose or cramped or decayed, or even, God help us, healthy.

To me, shitty first drafts is a mindset. It's about getting ideas on the page and out of your system, however convoluted or unintelligible they may be. It's a release of whatever pent up energy and thoughts and ideas you've had stewing. And it's about not judging yourself when you put the words on the page. They're not intended to be perfect or poetic. They're just there to be the first step on the journey or the first rotation of the snowball rolling down the hill.

I like this because it's not just about writing. This mentality is applicable to many different things. Building and shipping products is one of them. Perfect is the enemy of good. Most of the time, you just need to start and ship and see what happens. 99% of the time you won't get it right the first time so just get it out there and revise, revise, revise.

This blog post is a shitty first draft. I've thought about and talked about this idea at least ten times in the past several months, and it's time to get it out of my system. It's a cathartic process.

Anything that requires creativity is well suited to a shitty first draft. The more shitty first drafts, the merrier.

Real-life Networks

This is part two in a series about how web3 will influence the future of social networks. In Part One, I wrote about how public social networks will be unbundled and siphoned off into smaller networks that form around interests (e.g., Phish Phans, bird-watching enthusiasts, biohackers, Swifties, etc.) and have unique user experiences and business models that are specific to that network. 

This second installment focuses on private social networks. I think of these as communities of people who know each other in real life and frequently assemble in groups on messaging applications. When we were building GroupMe we called it the “real life network.” We thought of it as a network of smaller networks and a place for people to stay connected to their “close ties.” Private social networks are the group chats that keep you connected with your family, your best friends from school, your kid’s little league team, your church group, your fitness buddies, and of course, your crew that you go see jamband concerts with. These networks are usually persistent threads in your life. Sometimes they’re hyperactive, and sometimes there’s a lull in the conversation for a week, month, or year(s). But they usually stay with you for a very long time, if not a lifetime.

What’s interesting about private social networks is that they live primarily in messaging applications: groupme, WhatsApp, iMessage, signal, discord, telegram, etc. They’re fragmented, but they seldom burrow themselves into a broadcast platform. That means that the ways we interact with them are fundamentally different than the way we interact with traditional social media. We don’t sit there scrolling and consuming content - we engage and tell jokes, share photos and videos and memes, make real-world plans, wish friends happy birthday, etc. The UX that supports these groups is distinct and simple, but it is also overdue for an upgrade. 

Several weeks ago, groupme rolled out its largest release in over a decade. It became one of the first messaging applications to integrate AI into the group chat experience and shipped a handful of other features and upgrades, too. I have long felt that messaging applications - the place where our real-life networks live -  have hit an evolutionary wall. There has been little to no innovation with regard to how we interact with these groups, and the UX has been relegated to a chat interface that looks and feels the same across these important applications.

There are three core areas of functionality that need to be explored: applications, money, and AI. 

  • Every real-life network should be able to access a robust suite of applications they can invite to a group chat and interact with together. Years ago when we were building groupme we used to talk about how we were going to create a world where developers could build applications that groups could use together in the app. We wanted people to be able to play Words with Friends together right in their groups. Why can’t groups play interactive games together in a group chat? Why aren’t there applications for collaboratively planning and booking trips, reservations, events, etc.? Real-life networks have real problems and needs, and they should be addressed in the interfaces in which they live.

  • Groups of people use money to do things together. Splitting the bill at a restaurant? Paying for rent with roommates? Planning an event? Going on a trip? Paying dues for Little League? Making friendly wagers? The list is endless. All of these are pain points. Money needs to be native to group experiences. Every group should have a ledger of contributions, easily be able to split payments, and program their collective and individual money to do whatever they want.

  • AI is the thing that can keep groups interesting, fun, and useful and give them longevity. MetaAI is available to chat 1-1 in WhatsApp, and now co-pilot is enabled in groupme. Groups should be able to ask agents questions together. Agents should be able to make helpful recommendations to groups and provide value to them in novel ways: suggestions of activities to do together, reservations at places, birthday reminders, surfacing old photos and choice quotes from the chat, rekindling activity when things have gone dormant, telling jokes, etc. The possibilities are limitless. They can be general purpose or even entertainment oriented: imagine inviting an AI into the group that you created together in the image of a friend or one that represents a historical figure, celebrity, musician, etc. AI can be a friend, comedian, personal group concierge, facilitator or counselor in service of your group. 

These are all relatively rudimentary and obvious ideas, but they are sorely missing from real-life networks. Why? All of our groups are stuck inside monolithic messaging applications that are designed to service the needs of their owners and not our own. Incumbents care about retaining users in their own messaging applications. They will prioritize the features and strategies that are best suited to entrenching the parent company. This usually means a focus on locking in its username and being closed to outside developers. As a result, messaging applications are way behind the innovation curve. Sure, they are fast and secure, but those are tablestakes characteristics. This thread by Shane Mac, the founder of XMTP, does a good job highlighting this issue:

I believe the only way to create the real-life network experience we deserve and to unseat the incumbent messaging applications is to be Open. An open ecosystem means that anyone can build a client on top of a messaging protocol. People should be able to build unique user experiences for certain demographics without having to rebuild the network itself (similar to the idea in Part One). Building the killer “use case” experience, like a college-focused one, a church congregation, or a recreational sports team, should be much easier. This is why I am excited about protocols like XMTP that are laying the foundation for these ideas to be realized. 

Being open means that the applications and AI agents that are invited into every chat can be accessed by every client as well. Imagine an open marketplace of applications that you can invite into 1-1 and group chats that are accessible across any messaging application built atop a shared protocol. What an incredible feature for developers to build once and ship everywhere. The exact same experience could extend to a marketplace of AI agents. I don’t want to only be able to use Meta AI or MSFT’s whatever-they-call-it-today bot. I want to choose for myself. And when it comes to the economics of these real-life networks, being open means lock-in is not possible. Money that moves around within and between groups can also flow from client to client and in and out of the protocol.

For nearly a decade, I get a pitch every month or so from an entrepreneur saying they are going to build the groupme killer. Nobody has done it yet. It’s not because groupme is a stellar application, it’s because you need a forcing function to move all your groups to another application. The only way to do this is to pray the app either gets shut down or to build something that is 10x better. It’s really hard to build something that is 10x better. WhatsApp is a superb messaging application. So is Signal and Telegram. 10x better means something important needs to be fundamentally different. Being open and nurturing a robust developer ecosystem of builders who are chomping at the bit to push forward the paradigm of messaging and real-life networks feels like the way to go about it. People need a reason to switch. It’s time to give them one. 

Writing is Composable

Today Fred wrote a post about how writing is a conversation. There are some incredible gems in it:

What I have learned from writing online regularly for over twenty years is that writing online is a conversation.

What I mean by that is that you are not trying to publish complete ideas. You are engaging in a conversation with the world and you are a participant in that... 

So to everyone out there who is struggling to polish their posts and make them perfect before hitting publish, I say "don't bother". Think about writing online like being at a cocktail party or a dinner. Think of it like a conversation starter or a witty reply that takes the conversation to the next level. Because that's what writing online is. A conversation.

I also didn't know that the term “freemium” emerged from a conversation on his blog. 🤯

I like the description of writing as a conversation. And one of the great things about it is that the more you do it the better conversationalist you become. One of the reasons is because writing is composable, and it has compounding effects. I've been saying this in my head for years, and it's time to get it on the page.

In software development, and especially in crypto, composability refers to the idea that pieces of code and functionality can be picked up, reused, and recombined ad infinitum (here’s a great piece on composability by Linda Xie). Writing is the same. Every idea and post becomes a Lego block that’s part of your toolkit, forever available to be assembled however and whenever you want. In a way, each post you write is a powerful primitive.

Over time I’ve found myself linking to my own ideas more and more. That’s because they’re readily accessible, and the ideas they represent are now part of my vocabulary. As you write more, these posts can be rearranged in different ways. They provide a reconfigurable foundation for new ideas to emerge, and in that sense, they continuously build on top of one another. This makes the next new incremental post or idea easier to flow out of you and the process of assembling thoughts more fluid.

Composability is powerful, and it's also a cheat code for getting thoughts and ideas out into the world.

Build for Yourself

I believe that creating a successful consumer product can be attributed to somewhere between 70-90% luck and 10-30% executing against that luck. A lot of things have to go right: timing, product, distribution, zeitgeist, etc. So much of it is stumbling your way into capturing lightning in a bottle or indestructible product market fit.

This may seem disheartening, but the good news is that it's possible to optimize for getting lucky. When building consumer products, I think one of the best ways to increase the chance of doing this is by building for yourself. Building products and companies is hard, so if you're building a consumer internet application, you might as well build something you want to use yourself. That way, by the end of the day, you are making yourself happy. And that's a win.

Building for yourself means that you are your target customer. You can prioritize the features that you find most useful or fun. Your roadmap is all the things you want to exist. Nobody knows your product or the problem you're trying to solve better than you. And if the product you're building can't make you happy or satisfy your needs, there's little chance it will do so for others.

I've seen a lot of people think about building or trying to build consumer internet applications by drastically overthinking things. They're midwitting their way into a problem that doesn't exist, a product nobody cares about, or an idea they think the world needs based on some hole they perceive to exist in Facebook Marketplace or Events or fill in the blank. This is not the way. Build something you want to exist and use yourself, not something that appears to be some opportunistic arbitrage.

Many durable consumer products take some time to truly inflect, and it takes even longer to figure out how to build and scale the business. On top of that, it's difficult to maintain your energy over that period of time. So you better be enjoying the ride and the product you're building. Build for yourself.

Fitness

For the past four years my family has spent most of July and August in the Catskills in a town called Accord, NY. We love it there and ended up buying a place here like a lot of Brooklyn transplants did during Covid. Summers are magical up there

One of the things I always look forward to is using the garage gym I have assembled together over the years. Once we head up, I restart a program called TrainFTW. It's a workout regimen organized by an ex-crossfit athlete named Matt Chan and his wife Cherie. I'd describe it as crossfit-lite. It's a mixture of full-body workouts that span weight training, Zone 2, HIIT, and some cardio-focused work, too. More than anything, the premise is to enjoy the benefits of crossfit without getting injured. By a long shot, it's my favorite type of workout.

I also mix it up and play tennis and mountain bike to get a variety of different cardio. I used to road bike more often, but mountain biking is a lot more fun and there are no cars. I love this summer setup for fitness. It's a highlight of my year.

Things in Brooklyn are definitely different. I feel like exercising is more of something I do to check the box than it is fun. I used to be part of a gym and do TrainFTW, but I found it takes up too much time and need something I can just get done in 45-50 minutes in the early morning. Normally I will switch between using the Tonal machine in our basement and riding the Peloton. On the Tonal I have 7 workouts I cycle through that I programmed myself, and on the Peloton I just do 4x4 Zone 5 training at least once a week. I will also try to play tennis once a week after work.

My issue with these workouts back in the city is I get bored of them rather quickly. Lifting weights in a basement isn't necessarily "fun" for me. Sometimes I will mix things up and get into F45 for a couple of weeks or months and that will help. But I've found it's hard to get as excited about fitness when I'm in the city. The best thing for me has simply been to mix it up to stay motivated. I hope to one day be as enthusiastic about my fitness program in the city as I am upstate.

The Last Great Movie Star

This will be the last generation of global movie superstars. 

In the not-too-distant future, everyone will have the tools they need to create a completely AI-generated film that is indistinguishable in quality from a traditional Hollywood movie. This includes the whole shebang: from the main characters and actors to costume and set design. Our only limitations will be the constraints of our imagination. But even that will be augmented with technology. It is easy to draw a line between where we are today with the capabilities of AI tools to where we will be by the end of the decade. And while these statements may seem hyperbolic, the rate of progress across generative AI is accelerating. Things happen gradually, then suddenly. We are approaching the inflection point. 

This type of sea change, while unsettling for those who have mastered the status quo, holds immense potential for the broader population. The proliferation of new technologies and tools not only empowers a class of emergent creators but also lowers the barrier to participation and expands the market for industries. This is a positive shift - broadening access to the arts, expression, and creativity to everyone across the globe with a computer and an internet connection - but it disrupts the current norms. 

Why would a movie studio build a franchise around a human actor when it can use an AI-generated actor it has created and owns as IP and can uniquely customize across geographies and demographics? Is that dystopian and inhumane, or is it the obvious future? Denis Villeneuve’s recent Dune series is a masterpiece, but the second installment cost $190m to produce. How many orders of magnitude will that production cost come down as people in remote corners of Earth will have access to tools that enable them to create something of equal quality on their phones? Is that an absurd question, an implausible reality, or an inevitable one? 

This premise doesn’t just extend to film - it applies to all media. We are already seeing it happen with art, images, text, and music. Video is just an extension of these, and new formats that didn’t exist before will follow. The implications are hard to fathom, but here is a spectrum of scenarios for the future of media and entertainment, all of which will coexist: 

We are moving towards a world where content is auto-generated specifically for the sole purpose of entertaining individuals. It will be uniquely customized to suit their needs, tastes, and preferences without the need for explicit definition. Today, companies like TikTok use other people’s content to entertain a mass audience. They, like other scaled (sometimes social) media platforms, understand what we want to watch more than we know what we want to watch, and they capture our attention by surfacing addictive content. In this future, why would a media platform want to be dependent on a group of human creators when it can auto-generate all media itself with AI? We are rapidly approaching this world. Content - from music to video to memes and beyond - can be spun up instantly and uniquely customized to every individual and then immediately discarded. The endless scroll will be truly infinite. Scroller beware of the implications. 

Humans will embrace AI tools to augment their creativity and explore new artistic frontiers. We’ve come a long way since the days of cavemen painting pictures with twigs and pigment blocks. We are now armed with tools that expand our capabilities and creativity to new dimensions. In 1997, world chess champion Gary Kasparov was the first knowledge worker/athlete/artist (pick your own descriptor) to lose his job to AI when he was defeated by Deep Blue. Since then, it has been believed that between human chess players and AI chess engines, the most skillful player is actually a combination of human and AI, or a chess cyborg. Media is experiencing its chess moment, and creators now have AI partners to help them push into new frontiers. Over the past two decades, some of the largest and most powerful networks in the world emerged around media. These networks built around “social media” grew on the backs of user-generated content - photographs from point-and-shoot cameras, 140-character quips, memes, videos taken with smartphones, entries on message boards, and more. The combination of humans and AI is going to produce new atomic units of media and expression, and around these novel (and weird) formats will emerge tomorrow’s global networks. 

There will always be an important market for authentically human creations, and as AI-generated media floods the digital realm, the value of “deep reals” will grow. Live experiences that showcase human talent will counterbalance the manipulation of bits, and its scarcity will drive demand. The same goes for unassisted, human-created media. While these formats may be more niche and never achieve the reach or ubiquity that their AI-generated or AI-assisted counterparts will - a human-directed, produced, and acted film may never have the same “popularity” (ie views, impressions, etc.) as a perfectly optimized-for-engagement AI-generated movie - they will still be critical foundations of culture. 

Media exists on a spectrum, and the introduction of AI tools is stretching and adding new dimensions to it. Innovative tooling is critical, but I am most interested in the networks that emerge around these novel “Human + AI” formats, as well as the experiences and infrastructure that help deep reals thrive. While this may feel like a particularly daunting moment for those who have thrived in the status quo, I'm optimistic about new opportunities for exploration and the ever-expanding canvas of expression and creativity that can fit in the hands of everyone across the globe. 


A Little Bit

My 7-year-old son recently started to love playing basketball. He wasn’t all that into it before this year, he has never watched much of it, but he loves to play. It’s the first thing he has really taken to and he asks me to play all the time with him. We practice dribbling, rebounding, and defense in our backyard, and he can’t get enough. We also got a basketball hoop at our place upstate and he can play Horse all day long. I love doing it with him.

He asked to join a team two months ago, so we signed him up for a league. He practices once a week and plays a game every weekend. When he started he didn’t really know which side of the court was his teams or the opposing ones. He spent most of the first game with his hands behind his back, double dribbling, or almost falling when he was running from one side of the court to the other. Watching it was an experience.

But he loved it and that's all that mattered. He also wanted to get better. So the first thing we did was work on passing the ball to each other and moving around without the ball. We did this every night for 10 minutes. I never asked him to do it, he'd drag me outside after dinner and demand it. The next game there was a noticeable difference in his passing and catching abilities. But he would run away from the hoop when it came time to grab a rebound. So we practiced rebounding and made it fun. He’d have to jump up for the ball and when he grabbed it and landed on the ground he’d have to yell. The next game he got several rebounds and wasn’t afraid of the ball. Then we did dribbling. Then defense. Then shooting.

Every week he made progress. And in the last game he played, it went to triple overtime. That’s a big deal for a 1st through 3rd grade league. In the third overtime, the ref declared “next point wins.” The score was 20-20 (which is a high scoring game for a bunch of 7 and 8 year olds). My son was passed the ball and scored the game winning basket. I’ve never seen him smile like that before. He came sprinting across the court and jumped into my arms. The whole gym was lit up and as far as I was concerned he had just won an NBA Championship. It was an all-time moment. 

The chances of him being a pro are slim to none. He may grow bored of it next year and not want to play anymore. That’s fine. What has been incredible to see is how his consistent bursts of effort compound slowly, then quickly. As an adult (or whatever I am), it’s easy to forget how practice and getting reps in is the only way to get better. We want immediate progress, but it always comes gradually. We practice a thing and get better, but just a little bit. But when we do it over and over, the little bit turns into a lot. Parenting teaches me a lot of different lessons, but I was so happy to be reminded of this one, and to witness it again firsthand. A little bit over and over again goes a long, long way. 

Storytelling

Previously I wrote: “One of the most important skills founders must hone is their ability to tell a compelling story. Part of that story, if they plan or want to use venture capital as a tool to grow, is articulating how much money they want to raise and what they plan to do with that money.”

Moving from entrepreneur to investor, I assumed that founders universally knew about the importance of storytelling. I took this for granted and was very wrong. Most of the time an introductory meeting is 30 minutes. That’s a huge chunk of time to leave a lasting impression, and it belongs to you. Seize it by telling the best story possible, and augment it with the best presentation you've ever made. I’m constantly shocked by how many people just want to shoot the shit, or act cute and coy and don't use the time productively to either share what they’re building and why they're building it or begin to develop a lasting relationship in a productive way. 

There are many pieces of a story that are important to communicate, and every story is different, but there are some obvious and important component parts that you should always get across either with or without a deck:

  • Who are you? I like to know your personal background and story. It humanizes you as an entrepreneur. 

  • What are you building? Too many entrepreneurs struggle to crisply articulate what is it they’re building. When this happens I immediately shut down. Whether right or wrong, it’s my dealbreaker and I can’t compromise on it. Workshop this, get feedback, refine it, do whatever you need to do to nail this. Another great way to communicate this is to show and not tell. A quick one liner accompanied by a very simple product demo (ie don’t show me every feature, just enough to grasp what it is) is always helpful. Do not mess this part up. This may sound painfully obvious, but too many people do it wrong.

  • Why are you building this? The why is the fire that fuels you for the decade to come. Express this with passion. 

  • How’s it going? What have you learned? What’s the data look like? How are the market and customers reacting to what you’re putting out there? This is a good time to demonstrate that you’re capable of synthesizing market feedback and doing something intelligent with it. What have you learned from the capital and time you've invested invested so far? I’ve always liked Frank Rotman's framing of quality learnings per dollar spent. 

  • What’s the plan moving forward? What does the roadmap look like? How much capital do  you want to raise and what will you do and accomplish with it? 

And don’t forget to paint a picture of why this is so exciting and how this becomes big and important along the way. 

Some entrepreneurs are gifted storytellers. Others are not. But storytelling is a skill that can be learned and honed over time. Practice it repeatedly. Do it in front of a mirror. Nail the delivery of the most important lines. Record it and review the tapes like a professional sports team would to get better. Pace around the room by yourself endlessly rehearsing it out loud. Practice it with your cofounder for days on end. Laugh about it. Cry about it. Give each other high fives. Give each other a hug. Scream at each other. Get weird. Enjoy the process. Refine it. Get it to the place where you can enter a meeting, start presenting, completely black out, come to at the end of the presentation and know it was flawlessly delivered. It needs to be superb and capable of being delivered on autopilot. 

If you do not take this part of company building seriously then you are shooting yourself in the foot. Some companies strike gold and are in the right place at the right time and have captured lightning in a bottle and could keep their mouths shut and term sheets and job applications would be delivered to their doorstep. This is the exception and not the rule. I’ve never built one of these companies, and chances are you won’t either. Not because you’re not amazing, but because the odds are statistically near zero. So in lieu of getting absurdly lucky, you have your story. It’s your ammo for attracting capital and talent. Make sure you invest in it because it pays dividends. 

Powerful Pockets of Internet

I’ve been spending time thinking about how web3 will influence the future of social networks and consumer applications. There are three core areas that are most exciting to me: public social networks, private social networks (eg the real-life communities that exist in messaging applications), and marketplaces. An emergent onchain internet architecture, characterized by protocols, open graphs, and composability, is giving builders another crack at reinventing these categories. I plan to write a series of posts highlighting how these different areas may evolve over time, beginning with public social networks. 

Last year Steve Martocci and I were talking about the future of social networks. We are both obsessed with self-directed healthcare, and we observed that so much of the bottoms-up dialogue that happens in the space occurs in subreddits, and it has reached a tipping point where it deserves its own place on the internet to call home. 

This is a theme that will come to define the future of social networks over the next decade. Over the past 10 years, social networks have become less social and more broadcast. I’ve written about it in WTF is Social Media? The playgrounds we used to call our homes have turned into large horizontal media distribution channels and have lost their sense of intimacy. As a result, relationships - both based on real-life connections and around interests - have been pushed to the edge. They have found their home in group chats within messaging applications and in subreddits. 

The time has come for these networks to inhabit new spaces that can deliver richer functionality, better UX, and a variety of different business models that benefit both application developers and network participants. I have been particularly interested in how subreddits can be siphoned off the mothership and turn into thriving networks of their own. There is no reason why a message board should be the universal form factor for social networks. We have seen instances of this happening from communities on Discord to sites like Patients Like Me

Last week I attended Farcon, a sufficiently decentralized conference organized by people, mainly Ted (not lasso), who are active participants in the Farcaster community. It was small (roughly 500 attendees), but filled to the brim with energy that was reminiscent of SXSW from 2009-2011. Everyone there was eager to experiment with new products, learn from the people using their products, and support the ecosystem. It felt like a very special moment in time and in ten years I think we will look back on that event as a tipping point for web3 social. 

Dan and Varun (Farcaster founders) kicked off the conference and they discussed their strategy for growing the Farcaster protocol to 1m+ DAU. One of the pillars of the strategy that they call "cozy corners" rhymes with the idea of giving flourishing subreddits a place to call their own on the internet. Dan alluded to the notion that subreddits with millions of active users can and should actually be their own freestanding networks and businesses on the internet. 

This deeply resonated with me. "Creating cozy corners" is an endearing turn of phrase, but there are powerful pockets of the internet that pack a punch and will emerge as independent social networks of their own. Channels on farcaster may very well be the thing that enables the rapid acceleration of this trend, which we can think of as the unbundling of Reddit.

Channels are the perfect conduit for this because as they become decentralized and protocolized, channel creators can spin them off into their own client. They can build their own UX around them. They can monetize them through a variety of different mechanisms. Maybe participants will need to pay a one-time fee to be able to post to the network. This could improve the quality of content and dialogue. Perhaps those that can't afford to pay will have different paths to post, like volunteering to be a moderator. Each network can have its own programmatic reputation system. Maybe it's interoperable with other channels/networks. Perhaps everyone needs to subscribe to the channel using STP. Each network may have its own native economy and token used for tipping and payments. Maybe network creators can economically participate in minting fees from the channel as a native monetization mechanism. Maybe every channel participant is also an owner and can accumulate more ownership over time based on a transparent set of rules and dividends are distributed regularly. Maybe users can collectively determine that their posts and various contributions to the network can be sold as data to train an open source AI model and they're each individually and proportionally compensated.

The canvas is wide open. Composability, openness, tokens, reputation, and native web3 monetization models - both existing ones and ones to be invented - along with a whole host of other onchain primitives will come to define emergent social networks. Web3 is opening the aperture to an entirely new UX and business model paradigm and we are going to enter a new age of many smaller but thriving social networks, each special and unique in different ways yet built atop shared infrastructure and information.

I believe this decade will be very special and I feel lucky to be here for it.