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  • Writer's pictureStefanie Smith


In 2021 I took a pretty big career pivot from a long successful career in IRL retail to play in the metaverse and Web3 spaces. I write quite a bit about both in social media, however, I’ve never given any insight as to why. I love a good backstory so here goes mine….

“In some back yard, in some plastic chairs, thinking these cigarettes will save us”. I love that line from the Dr. Dog song “Shadow People”. It has a sense of place that I can feel in my bones when I listen to it. The song was written in 2010..but the sense of place for me was 1991–1996. The place is Philly, West Philly in particular. The time was characterized by bike riding in the summer heat, dive bars, rock shows, thrifting and a unique mixture of creativity, ennui, hope, and low key determination. Indie films, including the GenX poster child film Slacker, were bursting on the scene. Self published zines, some made by my friends, were popping up at news stands. Basement rock shows were loosely arranged and run. Artists and skilled tradespeople fixed up abandoned houses. Anarchists had weekend DIY events. Old school food co-ops found new 20 something members. We took up the mantle of “jamming econo” (thanks Mike Watt). It was post Reagan, post 80’s bull market. The was alot of insecurity but also a great spirt of collectivism. The seeds of the creator economy were being germinated. I went off to work for a global brand, one I believed in, one where I created amazing things with incredible people. Then the internet, now colloquially known as Web 2, opened up the world in wonderful new ways. You could access information about anything with a couple of keystrokes, connect with like minded people across the globe and share your talents and creations to a limitless audience. It was mind blowing. But what once felt wide open began to narrow into walled gardens and monopolies, the likes of which we hadn’t seen since the early 20th century. My longings for a more collective, independent time were ignited.

I can’t pinpoint the exact moment I connected with Web3 technology or the idea of the metaverse. Looking back I see a collection of impressions and experiences that made me want to explore what was next for me and the collective. My son’s experience building relationships through gaming showed me the IRL value of virtual worlds. A friend started mining Bitcoin and talking about how blockchain works. Stories about NFT’s caught my attention. I learned about ways artists could earn from their digital work and not get ripped off anymore. So I began to explore. I stumbled into an incredible community of people working on metaverse applications who lit me up in a way I hadn’t been for quite a while. I saw how inspiring a DAO can be. I still have boatload to learn but I love to evangelize new ideas and help them find audiences. I know I can bring my experience to the space to make a difference.

My, very utopian and perhaps naive, perspective on the metaverse and Web3 is that both have the power to make the world a better place. My affinity for both lies in my interest in the power of individuals, diversity, creativity, and ultimately, agency. Wealth, power, and opportunity have all become increasingly centralized in my lifetime. I’d like to see that change. The decentralized nature of blockchain tech, the collaborative nature of DAOs and the unfettered access to experiences that an interoperable metaverse can provide CAN make the world a better place. I want to be part of a different model. And I feel like I have unfinished business to settle.

LINKS….. Dr. Dog, Shadow People Slacker Crank History Lesson Part 2 Our Band Could Be Your Life (Book) Our Band Could Be Your Life (Austin Kleon review) I spent alot of time wearing platform shoes and staring at Marshall here is a bonus link

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