A Little Ludwig Goes a Long Way

A smattering of opinions on technology, books, business, and culture. Now in its 4th technology iteration.

On Web3 and Mission

09 November 2021

I came of age and started my career in the early stages of the PC revolution. And my gosh was this exciting — the wresting of computer power away from controlled impersonal computer centers and delivery into the hands of free individuals. An explosion of creativity followed. It was thrilling. I went to work at Microsoft not because of the financial potential — I didn’t even know what a stock option was. I went to Microsoft because I had to be part of this revolution.

I felt this excitment again during the web revolution — letting anyone create a website and making it dramatically easier to reach audiences. The web was empowering and freeing. And then the mobile revolution — pushing computing off the desk and into the hands and pockets of people, freeing and empowering again.

The greatest technology revolutions all share this sense of freedom and empowerment. And during these times, mission-driven orgs pop into existence, and people commit to missions, creating career highlights.

There are smarter people than me who have articulated the problems with web3/crypto. Complexity, unnecessary technology, scams, criminality, etc.

But ignore all the problems for a moment. The web3 folks are articulating a vision of freedom and empowerment — freedom from giant corporate walled gardens of identity and content, freedom, to take your data anywhere. These are good things. I get why people are excited about freedom.

Is anyone else articulating a vision of freedom, empowerment, opportunity?

Meta is at least talking about the metaverse, but it is all locked up in Meta’s hands. But there might be something there.

What bright future are Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Apple talking about? They are are incrementalling their current tech, but what breakthrough are they driving in freedom and opportunity? No one gets excited about the 723rd AWS service, or Windows/Office/Teams version 27, or iOS version 19. Drudgery.

What are web3/crypto critics presenting as an alternative? It is not sufficient to say “web3/crypto sucks”.

Some of the smartest people I know are moving towards space startups, which has a great mission, but it doesn’t have the freedom and opportunity vibe.

We have to articulate an alternative vision that leads to more freedom and opportunity. Or people will continue to go down the web3 rabbithole.