Back in 2017 I wrote the following in ‘Tell Me A Story‘ :
If you can’t code and you can’t tell a story, life will be harder in the workforce as the robots keep keep coming.
Here we are in 2021 and the need for storytelling has accelerated. Packy McCormick has a fantastic essay on all this that everyone should read ( also – do read his Ethereum piece as well when you can).
As Packy starts out he frames the essay with:
But as things get more and more abstract, as we move evermore towards a world of abundance, and as more and more of what we do and buy is for things beyond survival — like social capital, entertainment, and utility — the ability to weave a good narrative out of a tapestry of little stories is more valuable than it ever has been. How best to do that has changed and gotten a whole lot more complex.
This is no easy task as Packy points out
I was reminded of how hard it is to spread a message in a conversation I had at a wedding last weekend. A few friends were talking about why the Olympics’ ratings were so bad. Sure, it was weird not having fans, and sure, America’s best athlete competed less than expected, but the real challenge was, we didn’t know any of the other athletes’ stories. In the past, there would have been months of build-up, with profiles on America’s athletes all over ESPN and The Today Show and in the local newspaper. We all would have been watching the same shows, and those shows would have told stories that convinced us to care. They would have crafted a narrative.
One smart friend who works in media asked: “How would you get those stories out to everyone today?” Hint: you can’t. And that’s the Olympics! It’s bringing one of the world’s most beloved brands to the table.
On the other hand, in my small corner of the internet, NFTs have completely dominated the conversation. Not everyone in the world is talking about NFTs. Even in the midst of NFT-mania, only 109k people have bought an NFT on OpenSea this month, according to rchen8 on Dune Analytics.
Packy’s lessons from crypto is on point:
We don’t need most of the things that we buy or spend time on today. Even the best, most useful B2B SaaS is a nice-to-have, however important it seems. The beautiful thing about NFTs, and why they’re such an interesting case study, is that they’re the purest, most honest distillation of that trend. Of course we don’t need a $10k jpeg. Duh.
The thing that people scoff at — these are just stupid jpegs! — is the same thing that makes them so rife for narrative building. They’re largely empty vessels into which the community of owners and supporters can pour stories that turn into a narrative. Studying what makes certain NFTs valuable is instructive for anyone trying to build a narrative today.
The narrative in the media is ‘this is a bubble’, ‘this makes no sense’, ‘investors are going to get burned’. This Narrative took hold after the great financial crisis. It’s easy to tell a ‘Big Short’ story because that’s the last great crisis story.
The real story has been what I call ‘The Big Long‘.
I don’t have the skills or time to get that narrative going so my 2016 thesis just sits there on my blog.
Today, as Packy points out, we have ‘bottoms up’ narrative petri dishes.
I loved this post from Justin that does a good job of capturing this moment and era and the crypto/NFT story – ‘Everyone is Having Hilarious Fun and You Are Not‘.
The financial media narrative has been wrong forever. I’m not sure why people still watch and read it.
It is easier than ever to find storytellers and the right narratives to create incredible alpha.
PS – This ‘proof of history’ video from Solana ($SOL.X) is a fantastic piece of marketing the blockchain and the platform. The Solana world looks fresh, wild and fun!