Just like the internet, NFT is a technology that promises new global opportunities and stands to be integrated fully into our lives long-term. In this episode, Matt Mason, the Chief Content Officer of Palm NFT Studio, shares his thoughts on the NFT industry. He tells us how he got into the NFT space, taking us from his start at Pirate Radio, to his time at BitTorrent, forays into Bitcoin, and deeper dives into crypto and NFTs. Discover what Matt is doing now at Palm NFT Studio and find out some of their latest and biggest collaborations from Damien Hirst to DC comics. Listen in to about Palm NFT Studio’s big plans for the future.
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Matt Mason Of Palm NFT Studio – From Pirate Radio To NFTs For Damien Hirst, Space Jam & DC Comics, Plus: NFLPA Dapper Collab, Epic Games CEO Is Anti-NFT And More…
Welcome, all you NFT curious fanatics. Check out this episode to learn about the biggest NFT drop ever and what the heck might be on the NFT floppy disk you get with it.
How our guests got started in pirate radio and how it inspired him to make his way into crypto.
Why De La Soul Plugs 1, 2 and 3 is the foundation of our guest’s entire personal operating system. All this and more on this episode. Enjoy.
This episode features guest Matt Mason, Chief Content Officer at Palm NFT Studio, a collective of technology, entertainment, crypto, creatives and art industry leaders. The studio provides bespoke creative services for artists and rights holders looking to establish NFT marketplaces and next-generation work on Palm. At Palm NFT Studio, Matt is responsible for developing partnerships and creative strategies with artists, creators and content owners who want to launch NFTs on the Palm chain.
Matt is a Senior Executive with years of experience in marketing strategy, product management and content creation. He previously served as Chief Marketing Officer at Kraken, Chief and Content Officer at BitTorrent Incorporated and is the Founding Editor in Chief of RWD Magazine, one of the UK’s leading music magazines. He has launched and relaunched global brands and written a best-selling book on innovation, strategy and culture, The Pirates Dilemma.
Matt, it’s a privilege to have you here. Welcome to the show.
Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.
We know you got a ton going on so it’s amazing to have you here for this time that we do have you. We want to reach back a little bit and start from the beginning. You’ve been in the disruption game for a long time. You were there in the early days of BitTorrent. Thanks so much for all those downloads. How did your experience there and since relate to you finding crypto?
If you want to go back to the beginning, I should probably go back when I’m 10, 11 years old growing up in London. There’s a big community of pirate radio stations in London. These are illegal radio stations, kids duct taping, scaffolding poles, construction poles to the sides of the tower blocks and linking them up to turntables. Literally, that’s your radio station.
If you’re in a city as densely populated as London, you can get out to about ten million people with about $600 worth of equipment. It’s hard for the police to shut down pirate radio stations because you only need $600 and if you’re putting on raves, doing advertising, people are paying your station to reach the ten million kids that you can reach, you can get another $600. It’s this game of whack a mole and if it sounds like a lot of things have happened on the internet, it’s because it is.
I grew up listening to pirate radio. I was DJing on pirate radio stations, handing out flyers for raves associated with pirate radio stations since I was eleven years old. To me, I didn’t know at that time but I thought this was amazing. I love all this music. I love all this culture that’s coming out of the city that I’m growing up in. I love the business model and mechanics of how we were able to do things.
At the pirate station that I DJed on, the police were trying to catch us. They would knock down our antennas every weekend but we always had redundant rigs and other tower blocks so we could switch on the backup. They’d call us and say, “We’re going to hit you guys this weekend. Please stay off for a few hours. It makes us look like we’re doing our jobs.” We would and they didn’t raid our studio. They didn’t put us in prison and treat us like criminals. We didn’t treat them like they were the police. In the end, the police were advertising with us because we had so many listeners.
I’m telling you this story because I grew up thinking this is how the content industries worked. I got a degree in economics then I went and did an internship at Warner Music. At which point I was rudely awakened to how the content industries were at a major label. As an intern, one of the things I had to do every month was to go into the press room. This was 1999 so the internet or the music hit. I had to take out all the files with all the photos of all the bands that Warner had signed that they decided they weren’t going to move forward with.Centralization is bad for society and bad for the way you create and disseminate culture. Click To Tweet
I would go in this room full of photos of bands signing a £400,000 deal, sell their name, their rights and everything they do to this company just to take all of those bands, hopes and dreams, their bios, their photos, everything they thought was going to magazines, put them in a bin and that was it. They were done.
That was a different way of operating from pirate radio. To me, it was clear at that point that things needed to change in the content industry. I’m not a technologist but that’s where I started on this journey. I ended up starting a music magazine with a music website and that became one of the largest music magazines and websites in the UK because it was telling the story of the music that was coming out of pirate radio. We got lucky when we saw that was where things were going. It was grimy and dubstep. These things were going to eat the world alive.
We got lucky with that and I wrote the book The Pirates Dilemma to outline how you think about piracy as a strategy and decentralized frameworks. We got lucky because people were asking this when it came out in 2008. People were starting to think about how this is a problem that we’re facing on the internet. This is an opportunity that we’re facing on the internet. It was a prisoner’s dilemma, which is the title of the book and that’s what led me to BitTorrent. That’s when I became interested. At least I understood what distributed technology was and it was like, “We can change things if we start to think about organizing in this way. This is the way that BitTorrent was architected.”
To me, it looked like a bunch of kids putting scaffolding poles on top of tower blocks. It’s the same thing. It’s peer-to-peer. This is about creators and making how we, as a society, decide to make a culture, who gets to say what that is, how it starts and where it comes from.
We’ve all seen in the last few years, many examples of why lots of centralization has happened in Web 2 has been bad for society and bad for the way we create and disseminate culture. What I hope is happening with NFTs is that they are starting to change. For me, it’s the Web 1.0 dream of the internet. It’s the Tim Berners-Lee style vision of the world that seems wildly optimistic now but NFTs can get back there.
To clarify, you’re coming from this decentralized world that is BitTorrent. When did crypto hit your radar? It makes sense that it would align with your vision and your core values of what content sharing could be but how did it arrive there? How did you even get into your vision?
It was a BitTorrent. The first person I spoke to about Bitcoin was probably Bram Cohen, the inventor of BitTorrent who was at BitTorrent the whole time I was and is still a dear friend. I remember talking to Bram about it. We were talking about it internally. I remember thinking, “Should we integrate this into the platform that we’re building for artists?” We didn’t because we had a limited amount of time. Everybody wants Stripe and PayPal. This Bitcoin thing has not got that many uses yet.
We’re like, “Let’s do that later,” which is how you should make product decisions but when I look back now, I’m like, “We should have done that first. We should have gone all-in on this and we did it because we had 117 million monthly active users and we were trying to make things as easy as possible for them.” That was the first time I heard about crypto and as things progressed BitTorrent, it was realizing that it wasn’t the record labels, the major studios or anybody in the world of content and that was going to hold us up. Everybody in the world of content wants things to change as much as we did.
It gets into credit card companies and payment processes. That’s when you start to hit the nub of, “Nothing’s going to change until we change how we do finance.” For me, that was like, “I’m not going to fix the problem I saw as an intern in the Warner Music press room until we have it until DeFi has scaled.” That’s what led me to Kraken. That’s why we release it and do that.
Let’s fast forward a little bit to NFTs. How did you first hear about NFTs? When did that a-ha moment occur for you about its potential to solve this problem around Web 1.0 not being what it could be?
I was super late to NFT. It was probably January or February 2021. When I was at Kraken, we did a project with Apple. We made Kraken customized CryptoKitties. I wasn’t calling them NFTs yet. I was working with Benny Giang and the team and I love what those guys have built nothing else in space for you without them.
We had Vicky on the show and they’ve got the NFL as if NBA wasn’t enough.
The deal stayed with Brud and we’re getting Brud Trevor Mcfedries. It’s another amazing company with an amazing founder. This space has so many smart people but in Kraken when we did this first project with CryptoKitties, I remember saying to everybody on the leadership team at Kraken, “I’m not being funny. You lot are DeFi specialists. I’m not. CryptoKitties is the only thing I understand that we’re doing.” This was what the mp3 was to the PC. This is how you say, “This is why crypto is important.”
We didn’t do much else with that for a time. We had a million other things going on but that I was like, “This matters a lot. This matters a lot more than these kittens and the people buying them. This idea is huge.” CryptoKitties came and went. Crypto winter dragged on and there was a point it’s 2020, I was super disillusioned with thinking, “We’re not going to do this. Facebook, Netflix, Spotify and these giant silos are going to keep inhaling all of the power, activity and attention in the creative industries.” Right at the beginning of 2021 so many people were saying NFTs. I was like, “I’ve tried it.” I was disillusioned. I felt nothing worse.
At some point, it’s like, “We’re doing this.” A friend of mine called Vector Meldrew is an NFT artist. He worked on Rewind with me back in the day. He was the first person that told me about it. He was like, “This is the thing you’ve been trying to do. This is it.” I’m like, “No, it’s not. We’re never doing it.” Eventually, he convinced me and we started working on a team project together. That’s when I got introduced to Dan Heyman, the chief strategy officer at ConsenSys, a man named Simon Morris who used to be the head of product at BitTorrent.
Simon pinged me like, “Do you want to talk to Dan? He’s got this new NFT thing?” I was like, “All right.” I spoke to Dan Heyman, who’s the CEO of Palm. He’s super smart. He’s worked on this one too leading the largest team in the world working on the two ConsenSys. When he told me what he was trying to do and his vision and I met his brother David Heyman, who is the third highest-grossing film producer in history. He’s the producer of all the Harry Potter films and many others.
Joseph Lubin, Cofounder of Ethereum and Joe Hage, Damien Hirst manager. When I met that team and heard what they were trying to do, for me, I’ve either worked with content companies who don’t understand tech or tech companies who don’t understand content. Dan, Joe Lubin, Dan’s brother, David, plus Joe Hage, these people are operating at the highest level in their fields and it’s a 50/50 mix of creative and tech. I’ve never seen a team like this.
I was lucky enough that they asked me to be employee number one at Palm but to me, it was the right team, the right tech and it’s absolutely the right time. None of us have slept since but I’ve had the best career you could ask for in terms of being able to do what I love but I’ve never had an opportunity like this now. Nothing has come close.
I want to ask you about that career trajectory. We love the idea of disruption and moving quickly. It’s a fun space to be in. it’s like what you were doing when you first got started with pirate radio. When the rules don’t exactly make sense and the people that are willing to at least bring that to everyone’s attention and push the boundaries a little bit.
It’s a scary territory but it’s such an important part of our evolution. You’ve worked in the more disruptive areas and you’ve talked a little bit about working in less disruptive areas. You worked at Sony where you’re heavily into the entertainment influence on things and this established area. Having worked in more established genres and workplaces, how does that integrate into how you can approach things nowadays?
All the things I’ve been able to do mean I can speak several languages as long as you understand them in broken English. I might have to talk to a film producer, a record label executive, a solidity developer or an executor to a nonprofit. I know how their world operates, the incentive structures and the environment in which they exist and talk to people. That’s what most jobs like mine are about.
It’s knowing how to talk to people because there are lots of different groups of people from different cultures and different professions and backgrounds that don’t know anything about NFTs or developers who don’t know anything about what a film studio or a game studio necessarily needs from an NFT. It’s trying to get everyone to the table and come up with a vision that makes sense to everybody. I don’t know if I always appreciate the time but everything in life that I’ve done has taught me a little bit about how to interact with a group of people that maybe didn’t interact with often in a different way or whatever.
NFT is definitely one of those spaces where a lot of people from places that don’t normally interact are coming together. That’s why people like you are so powerful. It’s not that you can go into this space and speak this language and go into that space to speak this language. You can bring people together to the table. You’re almost like a translator in a fact. I was able to watch some of the content, the video about Damien Hirst’s The Currency Project, which is awesome.
It was fun to see him wrestle with his own project to talk about how he has NFTs attached to his physical artworks and the artworks eventually that don’t get claimed as physical objects are going to be burned and the artworks that remain the NFTs will be burned. The person who made the project is like, “I don’t know how to wrap my head around this. If they burn all my artwork, I might feel terrible about it. If they burn all the NFTs, why would I have even done this in the first place? What’s the point of the whole project?” You can see even somebody who’s so well versed in art doesn’t even understand the system. He needs a translation and people to come together with who know how to talk about it and do it.
I don’t know three of the most powerful words in the English language. You have to be brave to say those words out loud. Damien Hirst is good at that. With his project, especially, he’s been transparent. I have no idea what’s going to happen. He’s interested that it’s everybody else to see which way it goes. That beginner’s mind philosophy is something we’ve tried to instill in ourselves.
At Palm, it would be easy in the NFT space in 2021 if you happen to be one of the few companies that are building projects. It’s a weird space. It’s like 1997 that there are twenty companies who can build websites. Everyone wants to build a website. That’s how it feels in terms of all the people who come into the space, the deals flow and the interest. I’ve never seen anything like this from the content industries.
It would be easy to get a bit of a big head about that but I don’t know anything about NFTs. No one at Palm NFT Studios knows anything about NFT because we just started. It’s like saying you know about the internet in 1997. You’ve got no idea. It’s 1997. You probably know as much as anybody but no one knows what’s around the corner.
We are starting what will probably be the largest distribution of NFTs in history with DC Comics. They will run into millions of NFTs, possibly tens of millions. It’s not clear. We’re prepared for the best of the worst and how we look at it but that’s going to change things. We are approaching this moment with NFTs where suddenly you’re going to see projects with tens of millions of NFTs that are geared around fan engagement more than the things that we’ve seen with CryptoPunks or Damien Hirst, where it’s giant market caps. You’re measuring billions or fractions of billions.
Most NFT drops aren’t going to be about that. We’re still going to see trillions of dollars in market activity and sales on Bonhams and Christie’s and wherever. That pie is going to continue to grow but as a proportion of the overall NFTs is receipts and fan engagements, validators in one form or another. It’s going to be 1% of the market. That worries me. One of the things we tried to remain mindful of here is that we’re doing a lot of big projects like the project in DC. They are going to have game-changing implications for NFTs, we hope.
We’re trying to make sure that we are collaborating with the crypto artists that made this all possible, the collectives of developers and communities that have done ambitious cool crypto projects. I want to make sure those communities get monetized. I’ve been part of too many subcultures where the people inside things never made a penny off it.Everybody in the world of content wants things to change. Click To Tweet
There’s going to be this bifurcation in the next few years. Crypto and NFTs are the same things. At some point, they’re going to become different things. For the audience for DC Comics, we’re going to try and get a Batman NFT. Half of them aren’t going to have a MetaMask wallet.
It’s probably like 80%.
On our Discord, a DC fan was like, “What’s an NFT?” It’s a different audience. Honestly, the word NFT probably is going to disappear the way the word cyberspace did because, at some point, it’s something that people do. It’s a cool Batman thing, it’s a social object from this franchise or it’s a concert ticket that continues to add value after the concert somehow. You don’t need to know what crypto is.
It’s the wrapping that brings it all together. It’s funny because earlier, we were talking about the Space Jam drop as the biggest NFT drop. It’s 91,000 NFTs. You guys were associated with that as well. You’d work with Nifty. What did Palm NFT Studio do there?
We designed and created the actual NFTs themselves and we collaborated with Nifties on the mechanism for how they’d be delivered and they did the whole site design. Drop them on Nifties.com but that was a true collaboration with the Nifties team. It’s one of the best teams in the business. They’re a great crew.
We know it does. Ninety-one thousand, we’re like, “Holy cow. It’s crazy,” because of projects here and there. They’re 10,000 plus or minus for a particular drop.
It was under 200,000. It was 180,000 something free and 12,000 people bought one for $399. The craziest stat on that project for me was 95% of the people who got an NFT didn’t have to do this but they ticked the box saying, “I want more emails from Warner Brothers.” I told people at Warner Brothers, I’m like, “What is less exciting than email for Warner Brothers?” We don’t know how many people are going to try and get free DC NFT but the 95% conversion rate worries me. That’s massive. There are all these numbers about NFTs that I’m excited and terrified to find out.
BitTorrent with music, we used to do a lot of mp3 giveaways to get an email address because most record labels and email addresses were $4. He’s selling that mp3 for $0.99 on iTunes. Give it to the fan and you’ll get $4 back from them over the entire time that you’re in a relationship with that fan. The NFT is a direct-to-fan emotional connection right there in the piece of content. It’s not that your email address is different. There are no best practices yet for NFT CRM, customer relationship management but I know there are conferences on NFT CRM. We talk about this a lot.
It’s so interesting to hear your perspective on this type of stuff. Let’s jump into the DC Comic project. I’m sure it’s been on your mind day and night. What’s the scoop? How is this project special and different? Our readers will be hearing this after the job has occurred. How can they get involved? What do they need to know?
The headline is this is the start of something. I’m not saying that because it’s one of the largest NFT drops in history etc. Things will keep happening that will be the largest inventory drop in history. If you’re a DC Comics fan, this is specifically the start of something ambitious that I can’t say too much about. DC Comics is doing a Palm NFT Studio. The NFTs themselves are memory devices so you can see from the artwork that you’ve got Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman and Aquaman. We’ve got characters and famous DC covers on the front of these memory devices. The common version is a floppy disk. The rare version is more like a mini disc. The legendary version is this artifact from the future storage device. All I can say is the question a fan should be asking is, what on Earth is on these devices? Is there anything on these devices that could lead me to find out?
Are there any track cassettes?
That’s not a good idea.
Working with DC Comics and their history has to be so special. Briefly tell us why they choose Palm. What was the differentiating factor? They can work with anyone in the world.
I don’t know is a short answer. We were working with one on Space Jam. David Heyman has had a relationship with Warner Brothers since 1996. We were in conversations with DC before Space Jam before Damien Hirst. It was right after the Damien Hirst shot that we got a call from Tony Hsieh and Don Poletti at DC who’ve been two of the most incredible people to work with. The team over there is amazing. Jim Lee, the chief creative officer and everybody there are some of the most collaborative and one of the easiest teams I’ve ever worked with and a pleasure to collaborate with.
They called us and said, “We love what we’ve seen from you guys. We want to work together. Let’s come up with something.” They gave us a brief of all of the things that they were thinking about doing with NFTs. We came back to him with some thoughts on how we might do that and how we might start and we went from there. I can’t say too much about what’s coming next. It’s a long-term partnership and the thing that helped was everybody they spoke to at Palm are huge fans of DC.
As a kid, The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller was one of the books that touched me. It made such a lasting impression on me. Things they’ve done that we were talking to them about like a death in the family. This was in the ‘90s, they had kids calling a 1-800 number to decide the fate of Robin and they killed Robin. That was a moment. I was a kid when that happened. I remember we have that in the family and my bookshelf behind me.
We’re fans and every company that we’re working with and every big deal we’ve landed we can’t talk about yet, it’s been the same thing. As a team, it’s something we’ve wanted to do and we’ve had lots of people approach us. They’re giant and cool opportunities but we’re like, “We don’t get it. This is nice. We were not about this. These are some things we haven’t done.” It’s a weird moment with NFTs as well because there’s this land grab going on and there’s lots of competition. I know we compete with other side chains, L2 and some deals. Some of them we go hard after and some of them we don’t because of this scarcity mindset.
For me, it’s the opposite of what this should be and what technology is about. I think about how there are 40,000 companies in New York City that are registered as advertising agencies and advertising agencies are doing fine. There are less than twenty side chains or NFT companies or whatever and there’s more stuff to do than any of us can possibly do. There’s a bunch of brilliant people in this space and they’re all doing great but we need ten times the amount. We need competition. We need people in this space. For us, it’s picking projects where we’re like, “We all want to work on this. We’re excited to work on this for ten years. Let’s do it,” and DC was on those projects.
It sounds a little bit like a domino effect. We’ve seen that too. There are these little streams of energy that happen within the NFT space and it’s interesting how people come together because they’re not always the folks that you would think. It’s a little bit out of the ordinary collaborations and connections and it matters what passions people have right or what they’re excited about.
We have one last quick question. I’m going to make you deliver it quickly before we enter our Quick Hitters, which is also quick. We always like to know what forthcoming NFT projects, platforms and ideas you’re most excited about. I know this might be hard but give us three quick sound bites of things to watch out for and we’ll head on over to our personal questions for you.
DC is top of mind. I don’t know if that counts.
It’s stuff outside of what you’re working on.
One thing that we are working on behind DC that is game-changing is a project coming with a big game in November 2021. I can’t say much about it. I’ve already said too much but that is going to be amazing.
What about outside of a Palm? What are you excited about?
I liked what TikTok and Immutable did with Lil Nas X and everyone. It was super clean and it was nice to see a social network doing something like NFTs. We have similar plans with other socials. We’ve been thinking along similar lines with another company and it’s nice to see that connection being made. I was excited about the announcement of Dapper Labs acquiring Brud. Trevor McFedries is someone who I know personally and always looked up to as an amazing talent and to see that company folded into Dapper and the way they’re thinking about DAO. We’ve been working on our own DAO internally at Palm so we can’t use our DAO.
There has to be a creative collective on DAO. Stop using all this jargon if you’re trying to reach artists because they’re terrified of all the scripts. If you talk about collectivism, everyone’s like, “Right on.” George always said, “Never use a $10 word when a $2 word will do or two similar.” Either way, he was right. It was nice to see and I can’t wait to see what that team does around DAOs. There are so many cool things that’s are happening.
That’s great. You hit about three. Jeff, should we move on to Quick Hitters? We wish we were here with you for three hours but we know you’re short at time. We have to move it through.
We could talk about this stuff all day. We appreciate it. Let’s dive into some Edge Quick Hitters. They’re a quick way to get to know you a little bit better. They’re ten questions and we’re looking for a short-single word or fewer responses but feel free to expand if you get the urge. Let’s dive in. Question number one. What’s the first thing you remember ever purchasing in your life?
My dad bought me a Sony Walkman and I needed to buy some music for it. It was 1988 when I was 10 or 11 years old. I bought the album 3 Feet High and Rising by De La Soul because it had bright colors. I liked the cover. I’d heard Me, Myself & I on the radio but that album was the foundation of my operating system. In terms of that, it made me understand remix culture. I never heard so many samples. I remember the first time I put it on and turned it on in the back of the car on the way home from the record shop. I might as well have been taking the hardest drugs in the world the way my brain was going while listening to that music.
I can hear it in my head. That’s an awesome track.An NFT is a direct-to-fan emotional connection right there in the piece of content. Click To Tweet
There are so many good tunes off of that album. Question number two. What is the first thing you remember ever selling in your life?
I’ve got no idea. It might have been a bicycle or something.
A lot of folks don’t remember. Sometimes it’s candy. Sometimes it’s stuff from their family or whatever. It’s all good. Let’s go to question three. What is the most recent thing you’ve ever purchased?
The most recent is NFT. I bought 4 or 5 Creeps & Weirdos from the DADA Collective. I don’t know if you know the DADA Art Collective.
Tell us about it.
Between CryptoPunks and CryptoKitties, there was a project called Creeps & Weirdos, which was the second big NFT project but it got lost in history a little bit. DADA is this amazing group. You should get them on the show. I can connect you to one. Judy, Beatrice and Sparrow, the three ladies that I know from DADA, every time I talk to them, I feel richer. They’re those types of creative geniuses who are so warm, smart and generous with their time and thoughts. The DADA was one of the original old school NFT projects since the Creeps & Weirdos drop that they did.
They brought back Creeps & Weirdos, which they’d stop selling because they were tired of all the speculation. I’m telling this story badly. They can tell you better but they decided to make them available again and they’re going to do a secondary market on Palm but that’s not why I bought them. I bought them because it’s such a cool project. It’s an early project. In terms of teams, they are the coolest team creating NFT.
That’s a ringing endorsement. We will definitely hit you up and try to talk with them. Let’s go to question four. What is the most recent thing you sold?
I sold a Tesla in 2020. It was the lockdown when I bought a new Tesla. It was the second Tesla. It was sitting in my garage and lost $12,000 on it in a month. I’m like, “This is stupid. I’m not going outside.” I sold it, put the money into Ethereum and made that money back in a second.
Our friend VESA is working on a club with some artists and they’re NFTing custom Tesla’s with custom skins on top of them.
It might be time for another one.
It’s something to do after this big drop.
Next time you want to get rid of a Tesla, you can give it to me, though. You can call me up.
Question five. What is your most prized possession?
I know what it is. I’m going to show you.
I knew it would be back there.
We’ve got to say for the reader what’s going on. It’s a photo. There’s a tablecloth that’s checkered. It’s a bunch of kids. That’s like the show with Alfalfa and Spanky and the Gang.
This is an original invite to a club called The Loft, which was a party site in 1965 in New York. A guy called David Mancuso started it. The music he played there came to be known as disco. The way he designed the sound design, the speaker’s tweeters hanging from the ceiling bass in the floor is the way big club sound systems are still designed. He started the first record pool.
This guy, David, was a genius. At this club, he gave me this invite and he was someone I became friendly within New York. I interviewed him for my book but he was the most complete creative genius I ever met. He did more for music. He’s up there with Chuck Berry, Elvis and the Beatles for me. He passed away in 2016 but he gave me an original invite to The Loft. His story is amazing, anyway.
It sounds like an amazing story. That’s cool. Question number six. If you could buy anything in the world, digital, physical service and experience that’s currently for sale, what would that be?
I feel like I’m at a point in life when I can buy most of the things that I would ever want and they don’t make me that happy. It’s only temporary. One of the things I like about NFTs is they make everything surface on that level. There’s no tangible physical thing, you have to think about how the experience makes you feel. i think that’s what people struggle to get their heads around. Why would anyone ever buy? That is not a real thing.” It’s like, “Nothing you buy is a real thing.”
When you buy a luxury handbag, the most satisfaction you get from it is the moment you hand someone your credit card and then the Law of Diminishing Returns kicks in. It doesn’t matter. Every single physical thing that we buy is meaningless to us. To some extent or another, I do love driving Teslas. There are certain things I do like. I do like records but it doesn’t matter. I hope that one of the things that NFTs do is help us, on a cultural level, understand what makes us tick and maybe get us to think about the things that make us tick and why those things make us tick.
We need to coin a new word or maybe somebody already has but dematerialist. People are materialists but it fits well with this decentralized. The de-everything. Dematerialist is a different type of collective.
This whole environmental impact of NFTs is, the public’s perception of NFTs is that they are bad for the environment. Solutions to problems are 99% more efficient. This is going to make that standard but that’s not the impact NFTs are going to have on the environment. NFTs are going to take Happy Meals toys out of the equation. All the things, all the pointless bits of plastic, all of that stuff I hope will go if NFT scales and that’s the environmental impacts of NFTs. My kids are still small. I buy them Happy Meal toys because it shuts them up for a few hours on a Sunday afternoon.
Once Happy Meal toys are NFTs and once they can stake that Happy Meal toy, it starts earning other Happy Meal toys. By the time they’re ready to open a bank account, they’re going to be saying, “Tell me about staking on my bank account.” The levels of financial literacy and the positive environmental impacts of NFTs, culturally, are going to have such a huge impact on the next generation in a positive way in both those funds.
It’s a lot of stuff that gets missed in the whole environmental discussion. Let’s go to question seven relates to a lot of what we were talking about. If you could pass on one of your personality traits to the next generation, what would that be?
It’s probably a better question for my wife. I don’t know she’ll give you a good answer either. On a good day, I have the ability to roll with the punches that help me. My dad said to me once, “You have to pretend it’s all a game. When something is not going well, step out of there a little bit.” That definitely helps.”
I watched The Matrix and that was helpful.
Let’s do the flip side. Maybe it’s easier. If you could eliminate one of your personality traits from the next generation, what would that be?
We need another hour on that. Pessimism or to err on the side of negative thinking. It’s definitely something deep in my core that I don’t always notice. It helps. I have to meditate and journal at the start of the day to stop myself from going there and stay mindful of everything is good. Everything is going to be alright. It stays there.
It’s good to be self-aware of that. It’s so important.Never use a $10 word if a $2 word would do. Click To Tweet
You said you almost gave up on NFT when it was time to get into it.
I’m my worst enemy on stuff like that.
A little bit easier. Question nine. What did you do before joining us on the show?
I was talking to our CTO and some folks from DC Comics about the drop. I’ve got to get on another call with them.
Question ten. What are you going to do next after the show?
I’m going to go and go and talk to the team here about everything we’re doing. It was good to talk and I’m going to stay mindful of the fact that we’re all lucky to be here at this moment. If you’re into NFTs right now, it’s a magical time.
I agree, wholeheartedly. We always like to say later than some but earlier than most and that applies here. Thanks so much for sharing all that with us and I do appreciate it. We’re going to wrap this section and we’ll continue on with Hot Topics. Eathan, we did have a quick teaser if that works for you, Matt. Before we hit that, where can folks go to learn more about everything you’re working on and follow all the amazing stuff that Palm NFT Studio is doing?
Matt, we’re working with you and your team on some fun contests together. We don’t know the exact timing yet. We’ve got a big drop in focus but we’ll share those details with our readers. Thank you for doing that with us.
Let’s get over to Hot Topics. The first is Jeff seems to be growing some sort of beard. Jeff, it’s going to be winter. What’s the backstory there? Is Florida getting a little toasty?
The real question is where have you been? It comes and goes. I shave it and it comes back in a week and I shave it.
It’s just like the NFT market. It goes away and it goes right back.
The growth curve is volatile.
The next topic is that Josh Kriger is developing prosopagnosia, which is the medical term for the inability to recognize faces.
Sometimes I’m excited to have a neuroscientist as a cohost and sometimes I wish that wasn’t this case. Is there a name for that too?
It sounds like this episode’s Hot Topics is riffing.
I did enjoy though we did have the Chicago conversation that was part of our Dapper Labs combo, which is a little bit more outside of the scope of our agenda or whatever for the show. I thought it was nice. It was nice to talk about some other stuff that’s tangential to the show. You’re connecting with Mickey Maher about that.
We’re open, guys. If you guys have ideas for other content, let us know. We want to share some of the fan mail that we get and some of the ratings and reviews that you guys have kindly left us. You might appear on a future show. Drop us a rating and review on iTunes. We appreciate those. Hot Topics is one of the many formats that we’re considering. We mix it up and adapt like the market that we’re talking about.
This is what happens when the guest leaves and there’s no time limit.
Get off the rails. On the same topic of off the rails to the reader reading right now, we did allude to it yet again in the show that we’ve got our own NFT drop coming up here and that should be exciting. That’s going to provide lots of wonderful ways for you to grow and change with us, provide us with input and feedback for the long and distant future development of this show and everything that will evolve. First Hot Topic NFLPA and Dapper Labs Announced New NFT Deal to Create Exclusive Digital Video Highlights. I’ve never heard of anything like this before. I wonder where this idea came from.
They referred to it though. We got the nod to it from well for Mickey in our episode 50. The special episode was part of the big news that they were releasing NFLPA who I work with a little bit on licensing. I remember talking to them years ago about digital collectibles and they were happy to give licenses. However, at that time, nobody knew what NFTs were. They weren’t particularly valuable but we did have that lined up, didn’t we?
Yeah, for sure. This is exciting. If you guys listen to our episode with Dapper Labs, Mickey wanted to say more but his publicity team has taught him well. This was the big news that was right on the cusp of our previous show. As if the NBA isn’t enough, we’ve all seen the potential of the NFL from a collectibles perspective digitally. I would say more America’s pastime these days than baseball. There are so many special moments in a game particularly when Tom Brady is part of that game.
For those of you that have been following my love affair with Tom Brady, I finally did see him in person at the Sophie Stadium in LA playing against the Rams and he had a great game. He didn’t win but he had a great game. Back to the topic at hand, we have a super cool announcement. I’m going to definitely be participating in this project.
It was on some of our early episodes. Justin Wu is talking about this thing happening. Not necessarily with Dapper or whatever but these waves of different things coming into the NFT scene. We had the NBA Top Shots. We had various collectibles in the Bored Ape Yacht Club and he foresaw that the NFL is going to be in there at some point when the season gets started and people get excited about that.
One other interesting thing they did as far as the drop was a thing they announced the 2005, 2006 NBA moments that they’re going to be doing so it’s the first, legit, large scale, nostalgia, throwback driven set of NFTs, at least for Dapper Labs. To me, I talk about it all the time. That is the essence of so many collectibles and the physical realm of things like baseball cards. I’m excited to see that stuff too. We have D Wade stuff and cool Kobe stuff. It’s going to be fun to see what they do there.
Let’s hit the next Hot Topic. Epic CEO Has Bad News If You Were Hoping to See Fortnite NFTs. We were all scratching our heads on this one. “On Monday, Tim Sweeny tweeted that Epic isn’t touching NFTs, in a public response to what was presumably an NFT pitch. He cites the space’s problem with scams as the reason for his hesitancy, which sparked some discussion in the comments, as strong statements about crypto tend to do.”
“Sweeney has since clarified his views on NFTs a little, saying that, to him, owning an NFT is about as valuable as liking an image on Twitter and calling into question whether NFT ownership is actually non-fungible.” This comes up over and over again. We’ve seen Animoca Brands have been in this for a while and are investing in even projects like Dapper. Anybody that’s in gaming and collaborating with NFT seems like they’re on the right track as far as our perspective goes. This is surprising.When something's not going well, just step out and pretend it's all a game. Click To Tweet
I don’t get it at all. Go ahead, Josh.
It doesn’t make sense. I found an article back in January 2021 about how he was saying the same thing. What’s fascinating to me is that so much has happened in that tea space with gaming since January 2021. We have the CEO of Alien Worlds and Star Atlas coming on the show. There’s incredible stuff happening with pay-to-earn gaming. They’re scholarship students around the world. I talked to someone that said that their child wants to be a professional video gamer and now sees a future for this possibility to say that the scams prevent innovation. It doesn’t make sense. Yeah, there are scams but there’s been scams and every burgeoning industry in the world. I don’t know if we have more scams per capita in NFTs and other industries. I haven’t seen any data to tell me that.
It’s missing the boat. I don’t understand that. It reminds me of all the investment banks that were a few years ago saying, “We’re never getting into crypto to scam.” They are some of the biggest holders of crypto bags. They’re huge investment banks and big institutional investors across the board. I don’t be sandbagging or something. I had to look to see Is this some onion article or something. I’m like, “What am I reading?”
I don’t get it. It reminds me of the stories you hear about the board meetings at Blockbuster saying that the people are running into neighbors. Netflix is the afterthought. I forget about those guys. To me, it’s a massive mistake and he’s going to either regret it and be gone or regret it and pivot. It’s one of those two outcomes on this thing because it is so important to the gaming space and to the next evolution of technology worldwide. To me, it’s a big miss.
The good news is reality is forgiving if you shift in the correct direction. The sooner the better in his case. I remember coming across something that people who have a strong opinion about something when they find evidence or are presented with evidence that is strong to the contrary, it makes them dig in harder on their existing opinion to have a strong counter-argument. Maybe that’s what’s going on.
That could apply to my optimism about NFTs too.
It applies to all of us. NFTs Are Good for Bringing Non-crypto Users Onboard says, Metaplex CEO that’s our next headline. “Metaplex Studios recently announced it had appointed Adam Jeffries as the Chief Executive Officer of a new organization formed to help onboard numerous artists onto its NFT platform. The Solana-powered on-chain protocol for minting and auctioning NFTs chose Jeffries to lead the charge for advancing the functionality of tools that will enable creators to easily manage their NFT businesses.” What do we think about this one?
We talked a little bit about it in the last episode or a couple of episodes ago where when you look at pure IP driven NFT so the profile picture, NFTs PFPs, that don’t have additional utility or if you look at those and there’s a ton of those out there. The meta utility of that is bringing people into the space and making it fun and energetic in a way that some utility-based NFTs maybe couldn’t do on their own. There are some fun use cases like VeeFriends and all the stuff that comes with what Gary Vee is doing. There are lots of utilities there but getting your car registration in the form of an NFT isn’t that sexy. It’s probably not going to bring a ton of people into the space. There’s a meta utility there for these fun projects. The utility is to bring people into the space. Make it fun and interesting and bring people into this space that’s world-changing.
It’s been the bane of nerds throughout history. They get excited naturally about something technical, be it matrix calculus or whatever. It’s hard to convince everybody else about what’s so exciting about it. The truth is, for human beings fun is always going to help them get into something. There’s a reason that they have free pizza, bagels or whatever at open lecture talks at the university or something like that. I totally agree with you, Jeff.
I look at people like Elon Musk. I don’t hear him explicitly stating this but I almost feel he’s got to have either a subconsciously ingrained principle or an intentional principle that he knows people have to have fun with stuff if they’re going to get on board. If people want to drive an electric car, they’re not going to do it because it’s practical or the right thing to do. They want to do it because they have fun doing it.
That’s pretty much Hot Topics. Was there anything else you guys wanted to spill into Hot Topics?
No, we’re good. That’s good stuff. A lot of fun things are happening right now.
For those of you that are itching for a little bit of real-life action, we will be at NFT Con in New York from November 1st to 4th 2021. We’ll also be at Dreamverse in New York on November 4th 2021. Give us a shout-out if you’d be in town. It’d be great to meet you. We’ll be moving on to Miami for the Crypto Experience from November 12th to 14th 2021 and to DCentral Con on November 30th and December 1st. They’re all cool events in the industry. If you want to join the roadshow, we’ll be kicking back, probably having some monster to keep up with all the action and interviewing some of the leaders in the space. It would be great to say hi to some of our audiences along the way. Drop us a note if you’re coming to any of those events.
We’ve reached the outer limit at the Edge of NFTs for this episode. Thanks for exploring with us. We’ve got space for more adventures on the starship so invite your friends and recruit some cool strangers that will make this journey all so much better. How? Go to iTunes, rate us and say something cool and then go to EdgeOfNFT.com to dive further down the rabbit hole.
Do you want to help co-create Edge of NFT? Got a guest you want to see on the episode? Questions for the hosts or guests? An NFT you’d like us to review? Drop us a line at Contact@EdgeOfNFT.com or tweet us @EdgeOfNFT to get in the mix. Lastly, be sure to tune in to the next episode for more great NFT content. Thanks for sharing this time with us.
- Palm NFT Studio
- RWD Magazine
- The Pirates Dilemma
- Bram Cohen
- Benny Giang
- Vector Meldrew
- DC Comics
- The Dark Knight Returns
- Dapper Labs
- Creeps & Weirdos
- iTunes – Edge of NFT
- NFLPA and Dapper Labs Announced New NFT Deal to Create Exclusive Digital Video Highlights – Article
- Justin Wu – Past Episode
- NBA Top Shots
- Bored Ape Yacht Club
- Epic CEO Has Bad News If You Were Hoping to See Fortnite NFTs –Article
- Tim Sweeny – Tweet
- Animoca Brands
- Alien Worlds
- Star Atlas
- NFTs are Good for Bringing Non-crypto Users Onboard says, Metaplex CEO – Article
- NFT Con
- DCentral Con
- Crypto Experience
- @EdgeOfNFT – Twitter
About Matt Mason
Matt Mason is a Senior Executive with almost 20 years of experience in marketing, strategy, product management and content creation. Matt has driven the growth of some of the most popular products on the Internet, launched (and re-launched) global brands, and written a best-selling book on innovation, strategy and culture.