I’ve recently attended a few NFT events in person and left feeling disappointed or underwhelmed.
I found that I’m not alone in this experience…
I wanted to discuss why these events miss the mark, and how they could be SO MUCH BETTER.
I understand it takes a LOT to run these events (money, time, effort)… but we need to be more purposeful, inclusive and true to the Web3 principles (such as the concept of decentralisation).
There are too many people trying to jump on the Web3 bandwagon because it’s “trending” but all this does is give Web3 a bad name.
Online web3 events can be awesome.
When I’ve attended ONLINE web3 events (such as Twitter spaces) I have generally found that…
I get SO much value from them:
- Many hosts are really strong online moderators/hosts
- They encourage the audience to get up on stage and have open discussions
- There are real web3 builders who join the online events from all around the world (the “alpha” you get from listening to people in Twitter spaces can be incredible, I’ve learned a lot)
- Conversations feel authentic
- It’s really easy to jump into a space, no cost at all
- I have fun
But for many physical web3 events/ conferences, I’ve found they fall short…I believe we can do better.
Not all physical web3 events are bad.
Veecon is one of the few web3 events which I’ve heard nothing but positive things, run by Gary Vaynerchuk. If you’re curious about this conference, check out my Youtube video (posted at the end of this article) as I include real footage from the event.
There was a lot of positive feedback from the community regarding their experience at this conference —not to say it was perfect. There was also a lot of feedback, but Gary did acknowledge all of the remarks and is planning an even better experience for next year’s attendees.
Most important to note was the overall feedback was generally positive.
Unfortunately the feedback from many other web3 events and conferences has not even been close to that level.
I recently attended a Web 3 event, and I felt like it was a Web 2 event that threw in a bunch of Web 3 buzzwords.
They were just jumping on the Web 3.0 bandwagon. To me, this is what gives Web 3.0 a bad name. It’s not cool. And I want to see Web 3 do better.
How can we make WEB3 events more awesome?
Hybrid between the real and virtual worlds
Hybrid between the real and virtual worlds
Twitter spaces are awesome. Even the metaverse has its cool moments….
We know the metaverse still has a long way to go, but the fact that people are trying NEW things in this space is what makes it exciting.
But physical spaces can also be an awesome way to encourage more interaction as well. But the event formats usually fall so short.
The issue with many physical events is they usually revert to tired formats like panel discussions. It feels like we haven’t progressed at all, yet we have such amazing opportunities to include people from beyond attending in the physical room to also attending via the virtual world as well.
Many physical events and conferences need a complete shake up.
The entire structure of just having individuals speak on stage, the audience listens to the speakers, followed by the Q&A session…
I would really like to see more innovation in how we exchange information.
I want to empower the audience to interact more with discussions, just like they can with Twitter spaces.
Whilst speakers are talking, the audience should be able to “react” in real time (in Twitter spaces we can use emojis to reflect how we feel with what is being said) and polling the audience/ asking for their thoughts in real time would also be awesome.
I don’t want to see the exorbitant prices that many NFT conferences are charging just to attend…
We need to be more inclusive and understand that there are people who are genuinely talented in the web 3 space but may not be able to afford to…
Take time off from their jobs or personal commitments
Pay for their flights and hotels, plus an exorbitant ticket fee, just to attend an event and be in the room.
I now understand how costly it is to host gatherings.
You really want to make sure that you have the best people at the event, not just because they can afford it.
So how can we fix this issue?
- We need to change the ownership structure of these big web3 conferences. This is still very stuck in web2 where we have a central body organising the events and then selling tickets. Guess who pockets the profits. This is not web3 and we should be experimenting with different ownership structures with a contribution model that benefits those who help to organise and add value to making the event happen. There are some incredible large players in the NFT space for example, who UNDERSTAND web3 (like Gary Vee, Bobby Hundreds, Betty NFT) and I believe with their vision and communities they could come together to help pull off better experiences. Plus, this space loves to experiment, so why wouldn’t we push ourselves here?
- Create a hybrid event combining physical with digital: We need to encourage more interaction from people who are both online and offline. This will help in terms of lowering the barriers for people who couldn’t afford to spend all that money just to be there in person at these events. However, since they merit being there, I don’t believe you should permit access depending on pricing, to put it another way.
- Go beyond paying for access to these events: There are events where you’re able to gain access if you hold the NFT, but for some of these NFTs, they’re also really expensive. So, in the web3 space, I believe we need to think more creatively about other ways to enable access. If you contribute more of your time, you could get access. Perhaps you’re a really talented artist – you could donate a piece to be auctioned at the event and those proceeds are distributed (some to the artist, some to cover the event costs).
The Ultimate NFT Conference?
Forget traditional formats
Let’s do away with boring panel discussions that greatly limit interaction between the majority of people in the room.
I like the idea of having many “clubhouses” spread around, with the idea that people could visit different houses depending on their current memberships and interest.
With NFTs, all these wonderful communities have emerged. Each of these NFT collections could have their own clubhouse (or they could collaborate together!).
I would like to see creativity unleashed in a blank space with the ability to express the mission of their brand, their current project, and other important information to reveal the collection’s true character.
I’m considering how some of the Doodles activities are organized. It’s motivating to participate. It pushes the boundaries on what a conventional event should look like! I want to see all of this in one location – now THAT’s an NFT conference! I would actually look forward to going to that event!
In these fun spaces you can still host informational sessions, but do it differently. Invite people into your space and have a real conversation with others, rather than talking AT a group.
The real secret I believe is in the cross-collaborations between these clubhouses (aka NFT projects) and the magic that comes out of these collabs. If you have so many artists under one roof for example, what would happen if they collab on a piece together, in REAL TIME at the event? How could they even get more people participating in the creation of that art?
Web3 is all about encouraging the participation of the community to get together to BUILD together. And for those who contribute, they should benefit (rather than a central body who takes majority of the projects for themselves).
For more ideas (including how to make these conferences and events more inclusive) check out my full video below.