Creativity, Productivity & Business in the Metaverse
Published: 2nd December 2021
I’m your host Mich Bondesio, a writer, coach, consultant and the founder of Growth Sessions.
The aim of my work is to help people develop better work life-cadence and more mindful approaches to work. To support their creativity, productivity and wellbeing, and manage their time, attention and stress better.
This podcast is an accompaniment to my work, where I dive deeper on topics including digital wellness, intentional productivity, emerging technologies and the future of work.
This season’s episodes have been about exploring the new frontiers of Web 3.0 and the metaverse, the converging technologies which enable them to exist, and the impact they might have on how we live and work.
In the last episode, I looked specifically at wellbeing, considering what might help and hinder us as we engage with these new technologies.
In this episode, I’m mulling over the creative, productive and business aspects of using these converging technologies, including the opportunities for problem solving they might provide.
As mentioned in past episodes, some of this is speculative as we don’t have sufficient data yet.
A number of resources have informed the compilation and curation of this episode. Those resources are shared in the episode transcript, but you need to be signed up to the free ‘Cadence – Life & Work in Motion newsletter to access them. You can subscribe at growthsessions.co/cadence.
So, if you’re ready, let’s dive in.
At the time of recording, the Omicron Covid variant has just been identified, throwing things into uncertainty once again, as certain travel is being restricted and possible lockdowns may loom just before Christmas.
It’s a reminder that we’re not out of the woods yet, and that remote working and collaboration online are going to remain mainstays of how we live and work, for this next bit at least, and more likely for a lot longer.
What seems to be a hot topic at the moment is that we’ll get to play roles and reinvent ourselves online. To personalise our presence in relatable and relevant ways in different contexts. I spoke a bit more about avatars in the podcast about wellbeing and the metaverse (episode 24).
But the metaverse and Web3 are also gateways to new technologies that will support new ways to design, create, make, manufacture and innovate, for both digital products and physical products, as well as services.
They’re also environments that encourage creative collaboration.
During lockdown, many more of us started using 2D digital whiteboard software applications such are Mural or Miro.
Now imagine taking you and your team into a 3D space where you all get to brainstorm together and contribute to those boards in a spacious room where your avatars get to be more hands on.
Or imagine if you’re a freelance designer who regularly uses Procreate on your iPad. You could move from plotting out or illustrating on a tiny screen to using an entire digital wall in your 3D design studio.
Given what has been created in the metaverse so far, from gaming worlds and music festivals, to exhibitions, dance parties and conferences, the opportunities to stretch our creative imaginations will be boundless.
We’ll have opportunities to solve the very biggest challenges that we face in the world too, in innovative and new ways.
AR and VR tech enable experimentation, training, scenario planning, strategy sessions, and solution finding explorations.
We can use this technology to create simulations that represent a host of real-world situations we need to navigate and problems we need to address, both now and in the future.
From how we do business in more equitable work environments, to how we support our ageing populations, to how we tackle and mitigate the climate crises. We’ll be able to experiment with ways to overcome resource scarcity, or explore ways to better accommodate those displaced by forced migrations due to political, economic or environmental instability.
These are serious problems, they apply to all of us in some way, and they are not going away.
You may think that they have nothing to do with creativity, but critical thinking and creative thinking are closely linked. And it’s our imaginations that just might save the day.
And what we learn in the metaverse, we can bring back to apply in our real world situations.
In terms of productivity, there’s a few small elements I’ll touch in this episode.
I’ve been harping on about asynchronous working styles since I started this podcast over a year ago. They form a key part of intentional productivity. And Web 3 innovations can potentially help us to work in a way and at a time that suits us.
But we are still the ones who have to set the boundaries and change our habits, because our tools are only as good as we are, in terms of how we engage with them.
AI and voice technology will free us from the shackles of our consoles, as a myriad ways of engaging in the virtual world open up. And it will be interesting to see how much more productive we might feel working with different visual tools.
The automation that accompanies much of this technological development will give rise to more efficient ways of working. Technically, that can help us spend less time online.
But again, as mentioned in the last episode relating to wellbeing, it does boil down to our intentionality in how we use these tools. Saving time in one area of work doesn’t have to mean that it frees us up to do more work in another.
Instead, it could free us up to spend more time offline. It all depends on how you look at it, what’s important to you, and how you want to manage your time.
We’ll be communicating a lot more on “metaverse-native” platforms like Discord, which if you haven’t tried it yet is very like Slack. Discord started out as a community platform for gamers, but is now being adopted as a communication channel across sectors and social spheres.
Personally, I find using Discord can be a bit intense because conversation is continuous, and if you’re not communicating synchronously on it, you can feel like you’ve missed out, and it can take a while to catch up. It’s another example of the hyperactive hive mind. Just remember, you don’t need to be on there all the time. If you are, your productivity will probably suffer.
For many of us this is totally new technology we’re adopting and we need to learn how to best engage with it as part of maintaining those essential boundaries. So there will be a bit of trial and error to start.
DAO-focused companies like Wonderverse are delving into project management and productivity.
I talk more about DAOs a little later on, but sticking with Wonderverse and productivity for the moment, according to the Wonder manifesto, their mission is to build a community-led platform that fosters collaboration and goal completion, while letting users own equity in the universe they help to construct.
The platform offerings will encompass task and team management, project templates, collaboration features and decentralised governance structures.
It’s my thinking that existing traditional productivity-focused software applications will need to follow suit in some way, so that they can stay relevant.
There’s a lot of exciting new business formats and structures coming to the fore. And although some of them are already in operation, we’re still figuring out how this will all work in the long run.
AI is already being used in a host of business scenarios, from chat bots and customer service to virtual assistance, analytics and so much more.
AR and VR are going to assist companies with training, recruiting, and onboarding processes. Smart contracts, document storage and transactions stored on the blockchain will reduce risk, improve data capture and increase privacy.
And with meetings, conferences and events moving into 3D spaces, there is a rise in demand for skills connected to digital events, production and broadcasting. To help organisations of all shapes and sizes deliver in those spaces.
But Web 3 lends itself to supporting knowledge workers in any field.
And the great resignation that’s occurring, with people leaving traditional employment is causing large scale organisations to unbundle, to change their structure and to engage with their teams and hires in a different way. This means that the gig economy is growing.
In an article in Hackernoon about how to get paid in the metaverse, the authors (known collectively as Versetech Metaverse) succinctly define the mechanics of this new independent creator ecosystem by saying:
“As an entrepreneurial creator, the essential Metaverse requirements for your needs are virtual worlds with economies bridged to the real world and the ability to establish ownership and exchange of content within those worlds.”
DAOs (Decentralised Autonomous Organisations) are providing freelancers and gig workers with the support they need to specialise in their services and competitively run a company of one. Or to collaborate with others in a decentralised manner.
The premise behind DAOs is to create value and organise people in a structure that enables those people (the community members and stakeholders) to own a portion of the business entity, to have access to the same tools, and to work in an equitable environment which supports diversity. It’s a flat structure where everyone has a chance to be and do what they want.
To quote from a recent blog and newsletter for Bankless DAO they said: “We have a real opportunity here: to find the human coordination solutions we have been seeking ever since humans first started walking upright. These solutions aren’t just elegantly built atop code – they’re our first real shot at a universally equitable work environment.”
Braintrust is another example of a DAO that I’ve mentioned before. They’re a freelance network, creating an ecosystem for better collaboration, both amongst freelancers and their clients. And included in the mix is tokenisation within the ecosystem. This is quite common with DAOs, and the aim is to create income-earning opportunities for other services rendered that support the network.
You can create, use or join a DAO for investing, for making new products, for running a business, for socialising, for creating a business entity or even for setting up a sports club or a civic membership. The use cases for DAOs are so varied, and the boundaries of what’s possible with them aren’t set.
Even if your company doesn’t lend itself to a DAO structure (now or ever), if you engage with contractors, suppliers or freelancers, then the chances of them being part of a DAO in the not too distant future are very high.
So it’s worth your while understanding what they are and how they work because at some point you will be doing business with them or through them. Check out the resources linked to this episode if you want to dive deeper. (see below).
Certain jobs will be lost. Retraining will be required. Traditional working styles and business models are going to be disrupted big time.
At the moment, it feels a bit like we’re in the wild west. There are few rules. Things are moving so fast. Bullets are speeding and arrows are flying. And it can feel hard to keep up. But don’t panic, there is time.
At some point, not too far away, things are going to start settling down. And these new ways of producing, making, earning, engaging, connecting, buying, selling, contracting and interacting, will become more naturally embedded in our day-to-day.
Aside from cryptocurrency, elements such as tokens, creator coins and NFTs are going to become a common way that we transact online.
We’re going to reach a point beyond the novelty of producing pixelated avatars or dodgy looking j-pegs just for the sake of making a fast crypto.
Beyond being an opportunity to build an online library of collectables, rare art or miscellaneous digital pop culture, alongside creator coins, NFTs will also be a form of leverage, access and engagement.
We can mint them, we can use them like merchandise or tickets, they can activate a discount on the sale of something else. Or they can be used as an entry or authorisation for access, to an exclusive community or an event. I’m sure they will also have plenty of future uses we haven’t even thought about yet.
One example of how NFTs can be used in generating revenue in a creative business is in the publishing industry. There’s a newly launched book-specific NFT platform called Creatokia.
It was developed by the founders of BookWire, which is a longstanding digital publishing provider. The intention behind the new platform is to help authors and publishers to earn royalties on the resale of digital originals.
In this case these digital originals are connected to books. But with NFTs, your latest music album, video series, special lines of code, newly designed typeface, or other creative output (whether digital or not) could be licensed as a digital original. Thereby securing future income for you.
If you’re a maker and creator looking to do business online then this is worth paying attention to. I recommend listening to a conversation between Joanna Penn and the Creatokia founders on the Creative Penn podcast, that took place shortly before they launched their new NFT platform.
You can find the link to that in the transcript for this episode. (see below).
As someone who considers herself to be a creative thinker, and who works with creatives, what I find most exciting is that these new technologies are opening up so many new creative ways to make a living online.
We need to be open-minded to the endless possibilities that lie ahead. We need to be willing to let go of “what was” for “what may be”. And we also need to be more intentional about how we implement them into our lives and our work days.
To make good decisions about our future health, productivity, creativity and business, we need to learn about and understand what we’re now dealing with.
This season of the podcast just scratches the surface and there’s so much more to explore.
So I’ll be coming back to these topics in some of my future episodes. I hope you’ll continue to join me on this journey of discovery.
If you have thoughts about this episode or a question relating to the topics I cover on this podcast, then I’d love to hear from you. You can write to: hello at creatingcadence.co
Just a reminder that you need to be signed up to the Cadence newsletter to access the resources that support this episode. Until the new podcast site is ready, you can do so at growthsessions.co/cadence
At this point in time, the podcast isn’t yet sponsored, so the cost of my time in making the show is covered by lovely listener donations. If you want to support us too, with a one-off or ongoing contribution that costs the same as a cup of coffee or a good book, then you’ll find ‘creatingcadence’ (all one word) on both the “Patreon” and “Buy Me A Coffee” platforms.
Thanks for listening. The podcast will be back in January 2022. Until then, please take care out there. Stay safe. Be brave. Think big. And keep moving forwards, one step at a time.
Bye for now.
Links to articles and online guides I’ve referenced and curated for this episode, that will help you develop a deeper understanding of these concepts.
Naval Ravikant & Chris Dixon on NFTs, Business & the Metaverse – The Tim Ferris Show
Braintrust Tokenomics – Braintrust
Future of Gig Work – Adam Jackson from Braintrust – Software Engineering Daily
NFT Digital Originals & Book Publishing, Creatokia – The Creative Penn Podcast
How to Get Paid in the Metaverse – VerseTech Metaverse
Discord – The Generalist Newsletter
The Token Economy & DAOs – The Tilt
Task Management for DAOs – Wonderverse
DAOs – Absorbing the Internet – The Generalist
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