#042 - Welcome to another episode of Quorum, where we glimpse into the future — uncovering the ideas, technologies, and people that are shaping our decentralized world of tomorrow.
In today’s show, Sam and I explore the role of brand collabs in Web3...
#042 - Welcome to another episode of Quorum, where we glimpse into the future — uncovering the ideas, technologies, and people that are shaping our decentralized world of tomorrow.
In today’s show, Sam and I explore the role of brand collabs in Web3, and we use Sam's upcoming DAO Anthology project (with Metalabel) as an example of how to do it right.
We also discuss the power of curating in a world overflowing with AI-generated content.
DAO Anthology Drop Deets:
Print copies can be purchased on the Metalabel website with a credit card (coming next week). Onchain records can be purchased on the Metalabel site with a wallet (coming next week). Also few weeks after launch, a free copy will be available as an IPFS link.
🎙️ Sam Marin
This show is brought to you by KORIS — a app built to help Web3 projects better leverage their communities. Join the waitlist by signing up below👇
🔹 KORIS: https://koris.io/
Hey podcast listener, welcome to Quorum, where we explore the ideas, technologies, and people
that are shaping our decentralized future.
Join me, Brandon Nolte, as I interview the pioneers, brands, and communities thriving
in Web3 and uncover the secrets behind their success.
If you'd like to learn more, please check us out at podcast.quorummedia.xyz.
All right, Sam, welcome back to the podcast. So glad to have you back. It's probably been
maybe four months since we've talked. Yeah, thank you. Really excited to be back,
excited to hear you back on the mic too. So yeah, thanks for having me. Awesome. Yeah,
and I got to meet you at ETH Denver, which was my first crypto conference. That was so cool.
Yeah, that was super, super fun. It was also my first crypto conference and meeting so many
people that I've only known through the internet was really, really crazy. So yeah,
that was super fun. Definitely a little overwhelming. Did you get to meet some bankless people?
Yes. Yeah, I met a ton of bankless people, which was great. Yeah, people who I only know
through their NFT profile picture. So that was pretty cool to be able to kind of put a face
of my name and just see the other side of the crypto world, which I hadn't really been a part
I don't live in like a major crypto city like New York or something where there are lots of
DAOpeople around all the time. So yeah, it was really, really cool at ETH Denver. We also had our
big product launch with Aragon there. So that was like a whirlwind time.
I know you looked like there was a lot going on there for sure.
Yeah, there was, there was.
Well, that's cool. And how have things been going at Aragon recently?
Really good, really good. So yeah, we launched our new stack at ETH Denver. So that's our new
stack to build Dals on. We have a no code front end, which is super easy to use called the Aragon
app. And then if you are a developer, you can use the protocol and the SDK and kind of dive into the
weeds a bit more. But yeah, it's been going super well. It's basically like a modular design for
Dals so that instead of having kind of like a monolithic organization on the blockchain,
you can use these things called plugins that are basically apps that you install and uninstall to
your DAO. So yeah, that's been really cool. And seeing what people are building, seeing all the
new plugins people are creating has been pretty awesome. And yeah, it's been fun. It's been really
fun. Yeah, it sounds like y'all are building more of an ecosystem. I know when I talk to Yuri
Lifshitz from SuperDAO, they're also trying to do something of that as well, similar to an app store
where people can build different extensions on top of the SuperDAO platform, just to give it some
more functionality. I think that's just smart. Yeah, yeah. And that was kind of the original
Aragon stack built back in 2016 was built to be like that with apps that are modular and
you can install them and uninstall them and stuff. But just with the technology back then and the
gas fees and lots of different reasonings, it was kind of hard to get that to catch on. So this is
more of like a simplified version of the older Aragon stack. So it's a lot easier to use and
a lot leaner gas savings, all that good stuff that we need in DAOs in 2023.
Totally, totally awesome. Well, I'm glad to have you back on. I know you reached out maybe a month
ago and told me you were working on something really cool with the MetaLabel team. And I was
like, well, this coincides nicely with us bringing the Quorum podcast back. Let's talk about it.
And so I think that's kind of what we want to focus on for this episode. Can you give us an
overview of what the DAOAnthology project is? What have you been working on at a high level?
Yeah, for sure. So the last couple of months, I've been kind of headfirst working on this
pretty huge project with some of the MetaLabel team where we're basically creating a DAOAnthology
zine. I never know if it's zine or zine, but I think I've heard zine more. But basically what
I'm working to create is this curated kind of book of a lot of great DAO essays that have been
written in the last roughly three years. So it's a collection of 15 essays by 15 different writers
across the DAOspace who represent different ways of thinking, different types of DAOs.
We have people writing about Bankless, for example, or go all the way up to Bitcoin and Ethereum.
So the whole spectrum is kind of represented in this anthology. And it's just a collection
of just great DAO writing because for me as a writer in the DAOspace, I've always found that
writing in crypto generally is super, super fragmented. So you have mirror pages, medium
pages, substack, personal blogs, company blogs. People are writing across so many different
platforms. And I feel like it's really hard to kind of find like a canon or just a curated
list of really great DAO articles. I really love what the State of the DAOs team, Bankless DAO
does with their newsletter. They curate really well. Yeah. And then also the boardroom newsletter
This Week in Governance, they curate pretty well with their weekly kind of list of DAOarticles
comes out in that newsletter. But I wanted something that wasn't just kind of a list of
links or summaries, but was actually the printed articles. So this is a zine with
all the articles side by side. And why was that important? Yeah, I wanted it to be
read kind of like a magazine or a book because something I feel like that really gets lost in
the digital world and the web three world is like an edited kind of, I'm going to keep saying the
word curated, because that's like the basically the theme of this, but a curated collection
of pieces. So think about reading like the New Yorker, like that's a magazine that's curated
with a lot of different writers in it. Think about reading like, I don't know, like Reader's
Digest or something like these things are not really part of the kind of new media culture.
And I think losing those like really professional and highly curated
kind of publications is a shame in web three. And I think we should make our own versions of them
that reflect this current culture around media. Like I don't think we should be
reading and writing articles that are kind of published in silos by themselves. I mean,
this is what, you know, how I started my newsletter, just publishing articles kind
of into the void on my own platform. I think that's fine. As with every other blogger who starts off.
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Exactly. I think that's like, that's good. And that's fine. And I love
kind of the independence that the internet web three brings us. But I think at the same time,
if we kind of overturn the wheel for independence, then we lose the really rich experience of
sitting down with a magazine or a book or an anthology and just kind of getting lost in like
this curated list of pieces, this curated book that was so common, you know, in newspapers and
magazines before the internet. So yeah, it's kind of like a retro throwback to a certain extent.
Also an experiment and yeah, that's what it is. What do you think is added to the mix? You know,
I'm hearing you say that there's a lot of great content out there, but you got to find it and
then kind of bringing it all together. You know, obviously there's the convenience factor, but
what else is there? Like why go through all the effort?
Yeah, yeah. So the media world we live in today is a world of kind of terrifying abundance.
Like we have so many options, so many choices out there, whether it's articles and blogs,
whether it's Twitter threads, whether it's YouTube videos and TikTok videos, there's just so much
content out there that the act of curation is becoming even more critical. And we're seeing
this right now in this present moment with basically the dawn of consumer AI, right?
Where anyone can make anything with AI. I mean, last night I was listening to the Drake song made
with AI and trying to discern, you know, could I tell the difference? And I definitely could not.
So this just goes to show that in this current age of creation, like creation is becoming kind
of a dime a dozen, which is a bit of a shame. It's been commoditized almost.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. And it definitely feels like a bit of a shame, especially for me as a writer.
I'm like, oh man, you know, if anyone can write an essay and chat GBT in like four minutes,
that kind of is unfortunate. So that just means that the curators need to like kind of rise up,
I guess, like curation needs to become more of an important act than it has been in the past,
because there's so much more content we need to rely on curators to kind of bring the best of it
together. And some of the best of it could be created by AI, right? It's just looking at
the media landscape and just being an editor, basically.
It makes me think of going to a grocery store. When I was living abroad, I didn't see these
huge, massive grocery stores like we have in the US. And then when I came back,
I went to a grocery store in my hometown. And I was kind of shocked at the just the serial aisle
alone, you know, 4050, I don't know, seems like hundreds of different types of cereals. It's
like that with content now. It's like, you want a podcast about DAOs, you want a YouTube channel
about, you know, ZK sync, like you can get as niche as you want. And there's still you pull back the
layers, there's more and more and more. So I like how you phrased it, this terrifying abundance,
and we're only seeing the tip of the iceberg with, like you said, with AI creation. So I'm
right there with you. I think there is power to that. And, you know, another thing that I thought
of when you were talking about this work that you're doing with Yancy Strickler and the
meta label team is this idea of collaboration, right? We talked about meta labels and the purpose
of them and why they even exist, right? And I'm wondering if you could talk more about like the
importance of collaboration and in doing this work and how it's been to collaborate with them and
their team. Yeah, absolutely. So I, I've really loved working with them on this project. They've
been super great. Also been working with a really great designer. So that's been really fun of
just getting to see these articles have like a different kind of life when they're designed
in a different way with different graphics, different colors. And that's been really,
really cool and rewarding. I think I was thinking a lot about kind of short term meta labels or like
ephemeral meta labels. So I've been working with these writers to essentially like pull out like,
okay, like what is one of their greatest pieces they've written in the DAO space? And essentially
just reprinting that sometimes, you know, if it's a super long one, sometimes with a couple
redactions or things like that. And it's, it's really kind of an interesting for me to think
about all these writers who previously probably, you know, didn't know each other knew of each
other who are now going to be able to hold this zine and like see their work kind of next to each
other. And then everyone is going to who's included is going to get a revenue split of the sales of
the zine. So we have a print version and an on chain mint version. So it's kind of like an exercise
in collaboration with all these different writers, but also there's like an element of kind of
retroactive funding for these articles that I feel like have made a big impact on, you know,
my life as a writer, and probably lots of other people because I pulled kind of some, you know,
like some bigger popular pieces that have been written on DAOs. So yeah, it's been super rewarding
to kind of think of these writers who kind of created these pieces just because, you know,
they're interested in them or just because it was a topic that they wanted to write about,
who then we're going to see them get like retroactively funded for this piece. So I'm
really stoked on that. But yeah, it's been like really rewarding all around. Definitely,
definitely the most kind of unique thing I've done in media recently, I think has been this
collaborative process with getting to, like I said, work with a great designer and then like
just interface with all these different writers and then the meta label team helping me figure
out like the logistics of using their protocol and stuff. It's been really great and definitely
eye opening in a lot of ways. Tell me more about the meta label protocol. I don't think we've
talked about that either on or off the podcast very much. Yeah, yeah, definitely. So it's super
cool. It's similar to Mir in the fact that you can mint NFTs that are sort of writing NFTs. But
the way that it's really different is that it's really, really customizable for what you do
mint. So you can mint in an NFT, which they call a record. You can mint music, writing images,
a zine, which is what I'm doing, like a podcast, you can mint podcasts on there,
tons of different stuff. And then when the record goes live on their protocol,
the record is kind of the project. Yeah, it's the NFT basically. Oh, I see. Yeah. So when that goes
live, then you can purchase it like you would an NFT on OpenSea or Zora or Mir or something.
And they do a lot of really cool stuff with, I guess, digital scarcity. So they'll say,
okay, we're going to have this mint live for one week, and we're going to have 100 print
editions. So if you want to get a print edition, you better mint it really quickly, right? So
what I love is that they're really playing with kind of digital and physical scarcity,
where they might have an open edition mint that's time bound. And then they have a print edition
that gets mailed to your house, which is so sick. Because how often do we actually hold the items
that we purchase on chain? Very, very minimally. Exactly. I know. I'll give a shout out to Infinite
Objects, which I got one of my NFTs from the Moonbird collection put on there. And just to
have it in my room, in my house, and not on a computer. Obviously, it's on a screen. So
it's basically a picture frame that shows the NFT of the little owl, and it moves. Somebody had
animated it, and it plays on a loop. So it's this video that plays on a loop. But yeah,
it's these moments where you're like, wow, so much of what we do in Web3 is online. And then to take
a piece of it offline, and in real life, I think this is why the conferences are really meaningful
to Web3 as well. It helps just experience things a little deeper. So it sounds like that's kind of
what y'all are doing with the anthology as well. Yeah, absolutely. So that was one of the things
that really drew me to their protocol was the physical aspect of it. The fact that you can
kind of bake in to the sales a way to have a distributor and have your printing a physical
edition. I just thought that was so, so cool. Do they take care of the printing? Do they have
that all on the back end? They've got partners who do the printing, or is that still something you
have to set up? So it's kind of a case by case basis. But they are helping. So they don't have
a single distributor, single printer they always use. But they're based in New York and super well
connected with a lot of printers. So they helped me find one that is going to print the zine.
And because the metal label team kind of like, just quarterbacks, I guess, all of the drops that
happen. So right now they're doing roughly one a week, I think. And so they just kind of like,
help the creators ship it. So it's not as much of like an open sea where you just, you know,
drop an NFT. Yeah, it's more like white glove kind of helping you use the protocol,
which has been really cool. I don't know, like, I can't speak to their future plans,
if it'll always be like that, or if it'll eventually be totally open. But right now,
that's kind of what they're doing, which has been really awesome. Helping with like the revenue
split stuff. And all of that's been really awesome. So yeah, yeah, it's just like a more
kind of like, advanced way to look at just like a writing NFT, for example. So yeah.
Yeah, I think that's awesome. And one of the reasons why I was excited to do this podcast was
because collaboration is kind of the name of the game in Web3. And as part of my role at Chorus,
I do business development, which was not really something I did in an official capacity. Although
as an entrepreneur, you obviously have to make connections and network and find partners and
etc. But in Web3, it just seems like partnerships are everything. And almost to the extent that
it's a meme, like it's overused at some point. But what I like about this, the platform of
MetaLabel and this project and why we're talking about it is that it's kind of a great
use case for collaboration in this industry. Like I could see an area where somebody out there has
a project, you know, they're building a software platform with their course or something else,
and they want to just collaborate with other people in the ecosystem. They want to make a
physical zine around the topic that's relevant to them or just an NFT drop or something.
And MetaLabel helps you facilitate that collaboration. I think that's really cool.
Yeah, yeah, it's been awesome. And especially navigating the aspects of creating zine,
creating, you know, just any kind of artwork that is like foreign to me has been really helpful.
So I feel like something that we kind of miss in Web3 and in the super
individualistic era of Web2 creation is this kind of like human-to-human help or service.
And it's been really cool because I'm like, you know, I've never worked with a newspaper distributor
to print my zines. Like what? And they're like, oh yeah, we can like help you and show you how
to do this so that now I sort of have the skill for later on of how to kind of like ship in like
quarterback a project like this. So that's been really cool too. It's definitely more of like a
human touch than something like YouTube or OpenSea, for example. Okay, this might be a bit of a
sticky question, but how did you handle like any potential biases when curating
like the essays for the Dao anthology? Oh yeah, it's a hundred percent my biases.
Yeah, I mean, I think just like leaning into it is my answer. So I wanted to curate essays that
have been like meaningful in my journey as a writer and as someone who works in the Dao space
full-time. So yeah, I mean, there's like definitely an over-indexing of like articles that like I'm
interested in, right? And articles. How would you describe that? Like if somebody was to think
about, you know, what the anthology is about, can you give some like overarching themes that evolved
or stuff like that? A hundred percent, yeah. So I'll dive more into that. So the anthology is
organized into three categories. So it's theory, practice, and future. So the way I see the Dao
space, and honestly, Web3 in general, is that we're very theory heavy. Like everything starts
with theory. We're not necessarily starting with, oh, I'm just going to do this random
experiment and see what happens. Like we start with our values and, you know, why we're building
in Web3. We're very kind of value-centric. So the first section of the zine is, it's about that. So
all the essays in the theory section are kind of laying the foundations and laying the groundwork
for why we're in this space and what our values are. So I pulled essays that I felt like did that
super well. And then in the practice section, that is when we put the theory into practice. So
this is the most articles are in this section because they are, like I really wanted to show
the variety of experiments that are happening in the Dao space. So whether it's a super small scale
experiment that happened in one guild in one Dao and someone wrote about it, or it's someone
writing about the experiment of the Ethereum hyperstructure, right? And you can argue that
Ethereum is a Dao. So that is the practice section. Those are shorter, more actionable.
Those pieces are mostly kind of boiled down to the most actionable insights from them.
So they're brief, slightly redacted because of the limitations of print. And I also just wanted
to get across like, okay, what was this experiment and what came out of it? So that's the practice
section. And then the final section is called future. So these are essays that go into
learnings from experiments. They go into what we hope the Dao space could become. They go into
guessing and theorizing on what the next kind of iteration of Daos could be like.
And my idea is that then those essays in the future section, eventually that could become
the theory of the future, the theory of the next iteration of Daos and then spur the next
set of experiments and the next practice. So I really see the Dao space as this like
kind of constant loop of starting with theory, testing it, seeing what we learned,
and then going back again. And so I see Daos as like kind of constant beginnings. Like we're
never ending. We're always beginning something new again. And that's why it's so fun and exciting.
But yeah, that's essentially how it's organized. And yeah, that's it.
That's cool. Talk to me about some of the future articles. Help me peer into the future here,
Sam. What stuck out to you? If you can give any specifics or articles or
ideas that are not yet on the table, but people are pondering right now.
Yeah, sure. So for these articles, I wanted to look at, they're almost ones that could
fit into the theory section, but they're more things that haven't really been tested yet.
That was kind of my goal. So the articles in the theory section, it's like, okay,
like we're working on this actively. In the future section, it's more of, okay,
this could be what Daos are. So I looked at different governance methods. I looked at-
What's one? Just one that stuck out to you and why that stuck out to you, maybe?
Yeah, yeah, yeah. So I had one piece in there that was really focused on kind of learnings
from Teal organizations in kind of the web two world. So a Teal organization is kind of like
a Dao of the web two world. So it's like very flat, non-hierarchical, very purpose driven,
very values driven. And I just haven't seen any Daos that are really applying those learnings
directly. So there's really interesting article that was focused on like, okay, what is going
on in the web two world that we aren't applying to the Dao space right now that we totally could
in the next iteration of Daos and the next Dao experiments. So that one I really liked.
That's cool. How about the most controversial article or perspective?
I don't know. I think as far as controversial, there was one that was pretty focused on what
the product of Daos could be that I was super interested in that was basically arguing that
the credentials that you get from Daos are the product, which I was like, oh, that's kind of
cool. Like your reputation?
Yeah, yeah, yeah. It was a slightly a reputation one. And I think that on-chain reputation,
I don't know. I don't know if controversial is the right word or more just like unexplored.
Like I've heard it talked a lot about on like podcasts and stuff, but I haven't seen it really
in action working. So I thought that was pretty interesting and like a different perspective than
Daos need to ship a product that makes money, right? It was more like Daos are a way for people to
develop an on-chain reputation that then they take elsewhere rather than people come to the
Dao to create an external product. It's almost like you are the product of the Dao,
which could be slightly controversial. I don't know.
Yeah. Yeah. That is quite interesting. Yeah. I wonder how that can be married with
the fact that some Daos just aren't sustainable. If not generating revenue through that,
how are they doing grants? Are they getting... It maybe kind of opens up another can of worms,
but perhaps that's why I needed to read the article. Yeah. Yeah, definitely.
Okay, cool. Well, so after going through this exercise, you're still working on it. Do you
have a launch date yet for this? Yes. So I think we're aiming for around May 21st,
roughly kind of towards the end of May. So it'll be an on-chain mint and then a print option. So
I'm not 100% sure how long that mint will be live for, but there'll probably be a time constraint
on that. And where would people go to find this? It would be on the MetaLabel protocol. So it would
be on MetaLabel.xyz, but I would have to share an exact link. But if you go to the MetaLabel.xyz,
you could find it there. And then also on Twitter, you could find it as well.
Sounds good. Yeah, we're recording this podcast a little bit early just to have it prepped in time,
but by the time this show comes out, we will have hopefully everything in the show notes for you.
So if you're listening and you want to take a peek, I'm definitely interested. I've been curious
about the physical printed version of this magazine. I think it's really interesting. I'd
love to have even as silly as this is, maybe it has a coffee table book, something that just
looks nice in your house. I'm imagining that's something that's very unique. It's nothing wrong
with home gardening books and interior design books and all that, but something from Web3 would
be really fun. Yeah, that would be super cool, actually. That's giving me more ideas. I think
printing that could be a little more complicated, but I really like that. That's cool.
Well, let's expand this a little bit. If somebody wanted to take advantage or follow in your
footsteps, so to speak, I know this podcast isn't necessarily about the MetaLabel platform, but
what would be some tips you would give to people who are thinking about trying to collaborate
and partner with people in a new way like you have here? What are some of those learning
lessons and tips you might give them? Yeah, definitely. So I think something that
was really effective for me was just making it as easy as possible for writers to say yes.
So the way that I went about that was I was handling a lot of the backend stuff,
coordinating with the designer. Also, on top of that, the writers will get a revenue split,
so just making it very attractive for people to join in the collaboration.
How does the revenue split work? Can you talk about that too?
Yeah. So it'll just be all the writers get an equal portion of the sales of the zine,
and that's baked into the protocol itself. So you can think of how a mirror writing NFT,
you can do a three-way split or something. You'll see the addresses at the top of the
mirror article where it's like, oh, these three writers collaborated on it. So then they
three-way split this or the ETH that's made from this piece. So that's how it is on the
meta-label protocol. But you can get a lot funkier with it with the splits. They don't
necessarily have to be even. You can just get a little more playful with it. So yeah,
that's how that works. So just making it easy for writers to say yes, making it
attractive and exciting and making it so that people want to be a part of it. So yeah,
kind of like selling your idea. A bit of sales and marketing skills can help. Yeah,
that would be my advice. That's fair. And you're a writer,
and you're a good writer. So I know you had a nice sales page. You sent me actually the Notion page,
which was talking to the writers, which kind of laid out the plans for the whole magazine
and why they should be involved. I thought that was really nicely done, a nice touch for people.
Yeah, thank you. Yeah, that was having a little mini sales page was helpful.
And yeah, just kind of showing them the intention and giving them an example. So I was able to show
an example of something that had been minted on the meta-label protocol previously. And honestly,
I think the physical print aspect of it got people super excited just because that feels so
different and special in Web3. So I feel like for anyone trying to do something like this,
I would highly recommend exploring a print side of it because it just feels more,
it feels like a bigger deal kind of, which I really like.
That's awesome. Okay, cool. Well, I'm really looking forward to it, Sam. I think it's going
to be a great drop and looking forward to more. Do you have more plans to collaborate with
meta-label? After having done this, what do you expect to do in the future with meta-label or
in future collaborations? Yeah, so I definitely hope to, if the drop goes well and everything,
I definitely hope to do more of these drops with them using this protocol. I also really want to
have a lot of the writers who are featured in this piece, have them write on the quorum
newsletter and kind of do some cross-posting and more of that. I really want to do that.
And then I think just exploring more interesting ways of collaboration using blockchain is just
something that's super exciting to me. So yeah, I think kind of a combination of all those things.
You mentioned that you could do this, you could do a drop with podcasting. How would you do that
exactly? Yeah, so in the record, you can put anything. So the record is the on-chain NFT
and you can have inside the record a collection of five podcasts. So yeah, that's like a hundred
percent something you could do and explore. I don't know the full details of how that exactly works,
but yeah, it's possible. Sounds good. Okay, awesome. Well, I think that's a great place to
stop. I really appreciate you hopping on and sharing more about the DAO anthology. I'm looking
forward to it. Yeah, looking forward to more creative pursuits from your side. And thanks
for coming on and sharing a little bit more, like a nice use case for how to do some creative
collaboration in Web3 using the MetaLabel platform. Yeah, 100%. Thank you. Thank you
for having me on and yeah, can't wait to share it with the world. Sounds good. Thanks, Sam. Thanks.
Thanks so much for listening to the Quorum Podcast. If you enjoyed this episode and you'd
like to hear more content like this, then open up that podcast app and click on the follow or
subscribe button under the Quorum listing. It takes less than five seconds and it's the single
best way to both support the show and to make sure that you stay up to date on all the latest
content about Web3 and DAOs. Okay, that's all for now. Have an amazing day and I'll see you in the