Mint Season 7 Episode 13 welcomes Sam Sends, Co-Founder of Glass Protocol, the home of video NFTs. From owning your content to the latest developments in music NFTs on Solana, we’ll explore the benefits and detriments of these technologies and their potential for mainstream adoption in web3. We’ll also take a closer look at how web3 will impact the future of media consumption, fan engagement, and creation, and get valuable insights into product building from Sam. Additionally, we’ll discuss when we might expect established platforms like Vimeo and YouTube to make their entry into the world of web3. This is an episode packed with fascinating insights and predictions!
I hope you enjoy our conversation.
- 00:00 – Intro
- 04:02 – When Did You Start Building for Creators?
- 07:16 – Is Your Curiosity Driven by ADHD or Something Else?
- 09:08 – What Is the Importance of Glass in the World?
- 10:39 – Benefits and Detriments of Owning Your Content?
- 14:53 – What Makes Music NFTs on Solana Exciting?
- 16:33 – What’s Needed for Mainstream Adoption of Web3?
- 27:16 – What Is the TikTok Equivalent in Web3?
- 28:29 – Favorite Creators Who Have Used Crypto to Monetize and Own Their Audience Well?
- 30:29 – How Will Web3 Influence the Consumption, Interaction, and Creation of Media?
- 32:58 – What Does Product Building Look Like in Practice?
- 33:59 – When Will Established Platforms Like Vimeo and YouTube Enter Web3?
- 45:53 – What’s Your Favorite Item in Your Wallet?
- 47:30 – Outro
Support Season 7’s NFT Sponsors
🌿 Enter for a chance to win a Lens Profile
Lens Protocol is an open-source tech stack for building decentralized social networking services. The protocol was developed by the Aave Companies and launched on Polygon in May of 2022. Through Lens, web3 developers can build decentralized social media applications and marketplaces that leverage NFT technology to form a fully composable, user-owned social graph where the connections and interactions between people are owned by individual users and creators rather than established networks.
Complete these steps for a chance to win a Lens Profile: https://adamlevy.io/lens-protocol-season-7-campaign/
(🍄,🔍) Bello: The #1 for blockchain analytics tool for web3 creators
Bello is the no-code blockchain analytics tool that empowers web3 creators and communities with actionable insights on their collectors through a simple search.
Join private Beta: https://www.bello.lol/join
All right, so we’re here another episode featuring Sam Sends. Sam, when I was curating the season seven lineup, and I was thinking who can speak on the topic of creating content worth collecting? You came up. How are you doing, man? Thank you for being on.
Sam Sends: Hey, Adam. Thanks for having me. I’m really excited to dig into kind of the nature of decentralized media, something I think about a lot. And I know you do as well, exploring podcasts NFTs and lends to men all of these different ways to kind of connect these pieces together. So excited to dig into it.
I’m excited to learn more about your background, the start of Glass. When we first met, it was in San Francisco, at one of the conferences, which conference was it? You remember?
Sam Sends: I think it was circle, circle conference. Yeah.
Circle. Yes. Yeah.
Sam Sends: And you were moderating this panel on the creator economy, I believe.
And you were speaking on the panel on the creator committee. And here we are today. I made it easy. And you know what’s cool, I’ve seen sort of like the progression of Glass from your origin on Ethereum to now transitioning on to Solana and that day of the conference was the first Solana drop. So, I can say that I was there. I don’t have the NFT to prove it. But we have that physical moment to share.
Sam Sends: Yeah, I remember we were excited backstage just watching it, like fly off the presses. Yes.
Literally. Literally, Sam. Sam, I wanted to understand who are you man? I always like starting with primers in a brief on the individual that’s on the podcast. When somebody asks Sam, who are you and what do you do? How do you respond?
Sam Sends: Oh, it’s a hard question to answer. I feel like I’ve lived a lot of different weird lives. In high school, I actually went to an art school. So I was like, really focused on music, and like visual art. And then the only way to be a rebel and like art school is to go into the sciences. So, I got really deep into science. And then, right after high school, I got a really good job as like a government contractor. So, working for like NASA, the Department of Energy, doing like really, really deep applied science, but then kind of got out of touch with like the tangibility, I really wanted to get back to like helping people directly. And that kind of led me to entrepreneurship, and thinking about crypto and these new changes, and like ways to scale helping other people. I think that core concept of like making people’s lives better, has always been there. Just different types of.
Timeout, NASA and government contracts, then transitioning into crypto web three and helping creators like completely different worlds.
Sam Sends: Different worlds. Yeah, really different worlds. Yeah, so right out of high school. I was like making samples that actually flew up to the space station.
Sam Sends: So, I guess it’s like, we’re switching one moon for the other moon now. We’re just going from.
I love that. It’s really well put. Okay, so when you’re building for this new moon, okay, help me understand that sort of like the similarities between sending rockets to the moon and trying to send tokens to the moon? What are the similarities?
Sam Sends: Both are really hard. Both are really, really hard in different ways. I think the really exciting thing, just from working on Glass that I’ve seen, is like the tangible impact that it’s had on so many people. I’m blessed in the sense that I get to, like, you know, talk to creators and work with creators every single day. And, you know, not every job goes perfectly or not, every NFT sells, but there are those rare occasions where it’s like, this is really transformative technology that allows you know, creator to feel either more seen and like valued from their community or able to like actually really financially change their outlook or get some new equipment or something like that. And just those little moments of like, really tangibly impacting someone’s life. Like that’s the best thing.
When Did You Start Building for Creators?
But how did you get your start building for creators? Like when did that come into the picture?
Sam Sends: Yeah, well, dude, I was in art school, I was a creator. And I got really far away from that kind of in science. But I think actually, it’s, there’s this like stigma that science isn’t very creative, but I think really good science is actually like a super creative process, where you’re designing experiments or trying to do things that haven’t been done. And that’s really true, like creation of content as well. You’re like experimenting, trying to like, you know, stand on the shoulders of the giants before you but then like ultimately push the ball a little further. And so yeah, there’s a lot of like similarities there. Ultimately got the start because I missed it. I missed like, creation and creating content and film. So yeah, just really getting back to like the origins there of my person, like wanting to be more creative.
And then have you always been an entrepreneur in some respect?
Sam Sends: Oh, Yeah, I don’t know if I should say this on the podcast.
Yeah, reveal it.
Sam Sends: Yeah, I had an early business when I was in like seventh grade. I was a, I sold weed.
All right. Honestly, that probably teach you some of your best lessons.
Sam Sends: I think a lot of, there’s like this juvenile delinquency to like crypto people, I feel like good entrepreneurs.
Listen, so many people that I talked to have told me that they got started on the silk road, you know, just like, they’re buying shit or trying to sell shit. So. it’s either that or they got started by playing RuneScape. And that’s sort of like transition their love into the world of crypto. They probably fall between those two buckets, but you sold weed. Tell me about that. Why did you sell weed in high school?
Sam Sends: It’s not that I was expecting our conversation to go.
I’m kidding. I’m kidding. I don’t want to talk about drugs. But okay, real talk though. Okay, understanding your entrepreneurial path, starting very young, okay, doing all sorts of activities, and then going into art school, going into art school, studying the arts, but then transitioning out of that to work into government contracts, NASA rockets, but only to come back into the creator economy. I want to understand that timeline better.
Sam Sends: Yeah, for sure. I really think like, throughout all of just my life, I’ve been following curiosities. And I really think like creativity is a product of curiosity, like following those curiosities leads you to, like discover new information or create synthesis. And so, I think I’ve just been like these whole-time following curiosities. I don’t know if that’s a flaw or not. But it’s definitely a really powerful tool for like, being able to really just like, work hard and push towards something. Yeah, I think like the biggest transition was like really one missing the arts, and then to wanting to have a very tangible impact, like directly help people at scale, rather than, you know, just helping one person individually. So that was a big transition.
Is Your Curiosity Driven by ADHD or Something Else?
That makes sense. That makes sense. You brought up this element of curiosity. I can relate to that a lot, Sam. A lot of the things that I sort of decide to do and spend my time and energy on is things that make me curious, but my curiosity is derived from my ADD and ADHD because I need new things to focus on to keep me stimulated. Do you struggle with the same thing? Is that where your curiosity stems from? Or does it stem from a different factor?
Sam Sends: You know, and it’s really interesting. I’ve been reflecting a lot on like, the crypto cycles as well. I think like crypto attention is really driven by like this ADHD, like fervent, like new thing, new thing, new thing, new thing, new thing, new thing. And I don’t know, I think that’s really interesting to think about like how does, for context, you know, we’ve been working on Glass for like a year and a half, almost two years. So how do we like continue to, how do we get mindshare and continually do that without being like the people that are like forcing that every single time. And something I’ve been really thinking a lot on and like reflecting. Just like to date, we’ve kind of taken this more platform approach, where we were very, like curated very like prescriptive over how things should be done. And I realized, like now that that might have, that’s actually like something we’re trying to roll back and change. Actually, specifically for like the ability to open up more curiosity or more abilities for people to like, build on top of. So, I was kind of going back to this like, you know, new cycle with crypto, where it’s like, the next new thing is like super hype worthy, and that’s where the attention flows. For the longest time, we’ve been trying to, like be the innovator and like, that takes a lot of work. And now we’re really trying to like to shift our directions and figure out how to just like empower other people to create on top, build on top, and like, use that to kind of be like the new thing. That’s something I’ve just been reflecting on. I’m not sure that.
What Is the Importance of Glass in the World?
No, that makes sense. And I think it’s a perfect segue, you know, fully answers it because it’s a perfect segue into talking about Glass, because we’ve been hinting at this platform that you work on for like nine minutes now. And I think it’s a perfect time to introduce the concept of glass, what is glass? And why it’s important to have glass in the world?
Sam Sends: Yeah, I mean, I think ultimately, it comes down to a few really, really important concepts. One is having ownership over content, and media and being able to like, basically reduce censorship, and increase like the amount of ownership that a creator has over their distribution channels, like information can change people’s lives. And right now, platforms have a lot of control over what information gets to push to a certain person. And so, I think, just personally what really inspires me, is the prospect of creators not having to rely on a platform and actually being able to fully own their own content. And then the same is true for monetization, like YouTube creators get demonetized all the time. And there are legitimate reasons for that, copyright is one of those. But I think ultimately building at least some source, or some way, where a creator who that’s their livelihood, has full control and sovereignty over like the thing that they depend on, which is creating content, and people watching that content, and then also the monetization around that. So, I think those things are really just valuable for the world and videos, you know, really important format for that too.
Benefits and Detriments of Owning Your Content?
Definitely. And when you think about Glass, the first thing I think about is like the home for video NFTs. And you brought up a comment in your sort of explanation of us trying to understand what Glass is, creators can own their content. And it’s a very new primitive for the most part, like what does it really mean to own your content? And what are the benefits or the detriments of doing? Can we dive into that for a minute? Like, what are the benefits of owning your content? What are the detriments of owning your content? And what does it really mean as a whole?
Sam Sends: Yeah, I think the biggest benefit to owning your own content is like, you’re able to create on your own terms as a creator, so you have a lot more creative freedom. That’s one major benefit. And then other aspect is just stability. Like if you really rely on creating content as your main source of like income, or that’s something that you’re really deeply passionate about. Having ownership over that just gives you the stability and the kind of the peace of mind that, like that it’s yours. Another This is a little more like heavy, but I think the idea of like permanence and archiving moments in time, specifically, with video, video is such a great medium of like capturing a moment in time and perspective await. You know, people are thinking, historic moment, whatever that may be. Video is really good at like capturing that. And it’s widely accessible in the sense that like, everyone has a camera on their phone. So, being able to like record that in the history book of humanity, I think is really powerful. One of the detriments I would say to owning your own content, there’s a couple. One is the permanence. So, like permanence is good in certain ways. But it’s also kind of intimidating, in the sense that you can’t go and like, delete that tweet, or you can’t go and like, delete that video. It’s like really, actually legitimately, decentralized, it’s permanent. And so that comes with like tradeoffs, being really careful about, you know, are you comfortable, you know, posting this forever. That’s one aspect that I think can be kind of intimidating. And then the other is, just like the notion of copyright. We haven’t really run into this yet. But as we like, progressively open up the platform, I think what we’ll see is content uploaded, you know, someone else’s content that’s uploaded to the platform and made, you know, decentralized and permanent, that could potentially just be harmful for the creator that actually is the one who created that piece of work. So, we’re really trying to like to figure out how to strike that balance.
When I think about owning content, I do think about those elements and points of discussion that you mentioned, I also think about the idea. And this is something that’s the most exciting for me as a creator of interoperable audiences, and being able to take your audience with your platform to platform and curating experiences that I otherwise could not do across these gated silos that exist in web two. Do you have any thoughts around that?
Sam Sends: Yeah, honestly, I think this is like a massive change in our thinking recently. To date, we’ve been a lot more focused on kind of like being a platform and being really opinionated on how things should happen. And just reflecting on what we’re doing, I think that’s actually, it’s been a misstep. And we’re really trying to actively like in the next few weeks, in the next month, we’re rolling that back and really focusing way more on interoperability. So, full candid like, I think we kind of fucked up there. But we’re rolling it back. And I agree that interoperability is super important. That actually, that brings us to like the Solana versus Eth debate. We move to Solana for some pretty significant improvements to user experience, like the fees are cheaper. It’s way, way, way cheaper to like to create an NFT for people to purchase those NFTs. But the downside is like the tooling and the audience aspect of going from Eth to Solana is very difficult, and they’re very incompatible. And that was an important piece of learning for us. Really learned from that. But exactly what you were saying that ability to take your audience from place to place to place is really, really important.
What Makes Music NFTs on Solana Exciting?
You brought up a great point that I wanted us to transition to, is sort of your merge from Ethereum to Solana. And you mentioned that gas fees were a big sort of indicator for creating a better experience for users. And I feel like the second you made the transition to Solana, video NFTs got a refresher. And more people were collecting, and drops were selling out faster. And maybe it was just like the economics of figuring out what price to quantity really was. Anything that sort of stood out to you that could explain the excitement and the, I don’t want to say hype, but sort of like the build up around music NFTs on Solana versus Ethereum?
Sam Sends: Yeah, I’m actually like looking at our numbers, what we’ve seen is user growth is four times faster on Solana, literally four times faster. And I think the reason is just the economics, as you’re saying, it’s a lot cheaper to like, get your feet wet, you can try collecting an NFT for the first time. And we’ve had actually quite a few people like collect for the first time, we offer like, basically the custodial wallets and credit card payments, just to like to reduce that friction. And so, like trying to reduce the friction of just trying an NFT for the first time, I think, really promising. And that’s where like this cheaper fee really matter. Also, what like lenses doing with their dispatcher, where you have the fees just completely abstracted away. I think it’s really powerful, kind of hinting at like the long tails, like for mainstream adoption. That’s super necessary. It’s just timing, like whether we’re at the point where we’ll hit mainstream adoption, or whether that will be a little bit later.
What’s Needed for Mainstream Adoption of Web3?
What do you think we’re actually missing to achieve mainstream adoption? Are there any things beyond gas fees, beyond education? Anything that you sort of see being a driver that people are missing out, that we can improve on as a community as a whole?
Sam Sends: Yeah, that is a great question. It’s a really hard question. It’s a question I’ve been trying to answer for quite some time. And I don’t think I have like the perfect answer that cracks it. But one thing that I’ve been really thinking about a lot is the importance of like, social consensus around value. I know that sounds really weird. But like, if you think about money, it’s really just the social consensus tool. Like we’re all just agreeing that this thing has value, the same for like Eth and Solana. It’s like we’re kind of all agreement, this thing has value, and it takes time to build that movement. Right now, we’re like, still in the very early phases of like the idea and the concept of collecting content, collecting digital items. And I don’t think that idea has fully proliferated out to the mainstream, but with time, I think that idea will just grow. So actually, I don’t know if there’s like a specific thing that we need to adjust, it’s more so just like understanding that these things take time. And that it’s like a mental and cognitive shift for how mainstream consumers think about digital content. Because granted, we’re coming from like an internet where everything is free, like literally everything is free to consume, and you just get hit with like ads, which is how they’re like making money. And that’s a big, like cognitive shift for the mainstream consumer.
Well, everything is free, because you end up being the product of the things that you enjoy consuming. And the, I guess, the argument of web three is that everything is still free, you can still consume, but now you have this layer of, I guess ownership, right? And only a few people can own either one, or limited few can own what everyone then consumes for free, right? Do you believe in that sentiment, or do you envision a different thesis?
Sam Sends: You know, I used to really believe in that sentiment, and I could be completely wrong on this, you know, we’re still so early. But recently, I’ve been more inspired by open additions and kind of like moving past, you know, artificial scarcity. That really has inspired me more, just like kind of the concept of instead of thinking about it too much like it’s money and you’re spending money to collect things. It’s more so about collecting the things that you like and love. And I don’t really, there’s something that just disconnects with me about like closing the axis for people who can like, collect things that they love, or at least within like a tolerant down, it’s difficult to strike that balance between like making money, and also just like providing widespread accessibility. I’m curious, like from your perspective as a creator. Like, what do you think of open editions, like fully open editions versus doing more scarce drops, like what has been successful for you?
So, I can speak about my experience doing like podcasts NFTs. And I can also tie it into my experience of just seeing like the general market for creators and how they think about things. For me, I’ve been experimenting with like limited editions for podcasts NFTS and I just did my first open edition last week for podcasts NFTs, which funnily enough was the first open edition for a podcast from one I can see out there.
Sam Sends: That’s huge. Congrats.
Which is sick. That’s, I know, thank you, I’m really excited about that. And when I think about, like from a pure monetization perspective, I was able to make more money from the open edition, that I was from the close edition. And in the grand scheme of things, like for my limited-edition ones, they’re typically between 25 to 33 editions. For my open edition, it was 250 editions, 102 unique collectors.
Sam Sends: Yeah, that’s amazing.
And for me, it’s like the more I can grow my community of collectors, which is essentially my audience, right? My on-chain audience, the better it is, for me. My struggle is, is trying to figure out how to do it in a way where I can also incentivize my collectors, to reap the value as collectors like expect to do, right? And typically, from open editions, there’s a history of value, kind of like diminishing. And we saw this very clearly in the nifty gateway era, of all these digital artists coming in from Instagram and their corporate worlds and finding NFTs as a tool for creative freedom, issuing open editions and their economic value sort of declining. And you have the maxis that say, forget that. It’s not about that. It’s about creating art and finding your collector base. But also, if a collector is going to keep supporting you, like the economics need to make sense. So, I don’t have a definitive answer. And every time I do a podcast NFT, I always say this is a new experiment, because it’s like you’re accumulating data points to learn throughout the process, right? So, I’m constantly trying to remind myself that I’m a student in this, I think additions are more exciting, right? They have more room for scale. But also, the price for an addition is typically less than the price for a limited amount, right? Like a limited edition. An open edition price is less than a close edition about, right? Like so, I don’t have a concrete answer. I know when creators, they drop open editions after they have so many limited editions out there, or one of ones, they get paranoid, and like a lot of anxiety around how that’s gonna affect their collector base. But in the grand scheme of things, we’re still so early, and the rate of adoption for NFTs and just like cryptographic tokens is so minimal, that even if you mint 6000 additions, and you consistently provide value and values vary arbitrary, whether it be through content monetization, imagine what that may look like five years from now, when we increase the number of users in web three, like your open edition is going to seem relatively small in the grand scheme of things, you know. So, there’s all these different points of discussions and debates.
Sam Sends: Yeah.
What do you think based off that?
Sam Sends: No, that was such an interest. So, this specifically is the stuff that I like, love talking about. I’m really curious about, you know, like how do you like design these economic incentives, where there’s like collected retention, but then there’s also this like widespread accessibility. And they seem like these two opposing forces. And we’ve been like, we’ve done a lot of experiments in this from like, hybrid inked NFTs to additions, to auctions, to milestones, we’ve done a bunch of experiments. I mean, we still are trying to kind of crack that balance. One thing though, I wanted to, like what you were saying reminded me of a conversation I had with Arweave Sam, Sam Williams, the founder of Arweave. And he was talking about how, like content usually scales linearly, like this is kind of a math thing. But like, as a creator, you can only create so many videos in a day, or so many, you know, songs, you’re just kind of like limited, so that growth is like kind of linear, but audiences actually exponential. So, as you start picking up like audience, you get more and more people really quickly. And I think there’s something really interesting about like that divergence. So, as it grows in popularity, you have a larger and larger audience. And so, like those earlier pieces, those earlier open editions might actually be very scarce in the future. That’s something like I think it’s pretty interesting.
Definitely, I definitely see that. Another thing that’s like in the back of my mind, is like what is content remixing look like? Like how can you incentivize your collectors to remix your content and create like mountains of I guess like affiliate links, as we call them in like the web two world, where you can have a percentage. Like if you remix the content, it becomes popular and your version of the remix is more popular than the original version of the piece of content. Like how can you create the right dynamics, incentivize, the right engagement in the right sort of like reward reaping through that. I think there’s, if there’s an ecosystem that does that well right now, it’s the lens ecosystem with like their mirror effects and how you can kind of like attach like a curator royalty on it. Sound just announced curator royalties, right and like the affiliate system for people who love music, so that’s something that I’m also interested about. Because on Tik Tok, you have all these creators re mixing other creator content, right? And creating their own versions. And oftentimes, like if you see a dog howling, and like it hits like a C and E and a D, or whatever, whatever the keys are, I’m not a musician in that sense, like I just hit things on the drums. But then you see like a trumpet player come in and like remix it and add his own solo, and then the guitarist jumps in, adds their own solo, and then the drummer comes in and adds the backbeat. And then you have like a singer come on, and like you have this entire piece of content that was originally like seven seconds long become this insane song, from like 30 different artists just contributing to it. So, what do splits look like around that thing? So, the other things that I think about too, I don’t know, I’m rambling, but my mind is going in a completely different direction.
Sam Sends: No, 100% like that. I feel like that is like the end goal, like we nailed it as a community. Like as an industry, if we get to that point where you have just this web of content, and people are being creative and building on top of like content, like they build on top of protocols Now. I think like that, that is like minted, like literally the perfect experience. Because imagine like taking a sound NFT, being able to take that music, put it into like a Glass video, add something on top of it, like that ability to like to interoperate is something we’re really missing. And we kind of missed it on Glass as a platform, but we’re really trying to work towards that.
I think we’re still too early to even implement something like that. Like there needs to be a platform that exists, that has the virality of Tik Tok and has the creative tools in simple tools like Tik Tok, that then acts as like an application Lego across all these protocols, and applications, indexes all that data, provide simple tools to remix and organize and whatnot, we’re so far away.
Sam Sends: We’re so far away from it, I will say like what Tik Tok killed is really the creator tool, like the ability to make videos so easily on your phone, they really, I mean, the algorithm is obviously the top in class, but just making it, like reducing the friction to making a video is like, I think, really where they like excelled. And then you know, being able to make a split super easily, being able to layer over that dog. And we really don’t have creation tools like that, and still seems like pretty far away.
What Is the TikTok Equivalent in Web3?
So, if you think that Tik Tok ability to kind of allow anybody to be a creator, using their simple video editing tools, like they did that really well. What do you think the equivalent of that is in web three?
Sam Sends: I think part of it is the indexing piece, actually. Like blockchain data is really hard. One shout out like minute metaphor, they do an amazing job of aggregating all of your collectors. So, I was using a site like a couple days ago. And they’re able to take collectors from contracts that I’ve deployed, contracts from, you know, like manifolds, contracts from all over the ecosystem and like grouped together all of your collectors. I think that sort of like data indexing is super powerful, though, because now your audience is like portable, but you’re also able to, like run on different platforms, I think that we almost did the same thing for like, the actual content itself. So being able to, like take, you know, sound NFTs and merge them together with metaphor NFTs. And I think that indexing piece is still kind of like lacking. We’re seeing a lot of like improvements in that indexing infrastructure, though happening right now.
Favorite Creators Who Have Used Crypto to Monetize and Own Their Audience Well?
That makes sense. I want to ask you about, someone like your favorite creators that have used crypto as a tool to build, monetize and own their audience really well. Specifically, in the context of video, tokenized videos, any creators come to mind that you can share some examples that sort of stood out to you. And the reason I’m asking to pick favorites is because, those who are listening, I want to provide some context, right? On how video NFTs are different than like music NFTs, are there other creative ways that you can implement them? Or is it just like uploading a video to YouTube, but now you can collect it? I’d love to hear more of your thoughts around that and maybe even reference a couple, one or two creators that come to mind that do it really well?
Sam Sends: Yeah. One creator that I have to mention is Jamie Cornelia. She works with us at Glass, but I’m really inspired by her ability to just try so many different things and really just take shots. Exactly like how you’re kind of like experimenting with podcast NFTs and just every time trying to like to learn and iterate and just like improve the speed of learning. Jamie does a really good job of just trying all the different tools and different strategies ways to like to click together these things. Lack honey as well or Ally. Now, I just feel like he’s great at like multimedia composition and being able to kind of build experiences around taking music but then weaving it in and building community. Another creator that I really liked is 27 Deli. One thing I was looking at like the really old glass site, and he ended up like referencing old Glass NFTs in his newer videos, so there would be like, homages, like cultural homages back to his old NFTs. And that kind of gets to this like remix culture a little bit. But I think that that’s like super dope, referencing content, and other NFTs like in the actual video.
How Will Web3 Influence the Consumption, Interaction, and Creation of Media?
You mentioned earlier in the conversation that you often think about, like tokenized media. Do you have a specific thesis around the general theme of tokenized media? I know we talked about video, we talked about music, talked about digital art, but I guess media as a whole from a macro perspective, what do you think the influences are in web three, now that will change the way we consume media or the way we interact media or the way we create media and everything in between?
Sam Sends: Yeah, I will say I’m going through like a big change in thesis currently right now, so I’m kind of like working on that. And reevaluating from everything we’ve learned and trying to look forward. Just for context, the way that I previously viewed it is like, you would collect an NFT like a like, and you would use all of that NFT data as like recommendation algorithms. Obviously, you can see like, this is the type of content that Adam likes and then recommend content from on chain. That was kind of my like, original pieces. And then we experimented a lot. We tried some shit; we tried some other shit. And eventually I think I’m at this point where I’m trying to make minimal standards is like the best thing we can do. So, really focusing on just like, making it very easy to just create like a video NFT that a lot of people can understand and like reference, and then leaving a lot up to the creator. So, like having maximal flexibility and allowing like, like someone to build a new experience on top of this, just kind of like very base minimal protocol. And the reason I’m saying that is because I think that like for video specifically, there’s so many different types of videos, you know, there’s like a 32nd gift clip. There’s an hour long documentary and kind of the way that that content is consumed and potentially collected. And tokenized, I think it’s very different, like, take like a feature film, for instance, someone could like crowd funds, you know, the actual production of that film and they get tokens. And then the film goes on and like maybe those tokens are tickets to watch it or something like that. But there’s all of these different very, very interesting used cases. And we’re so early, where I don’t think I can be like, oh, yo, it’s like, open additions hallway. That’s it. I think a lot is still yet to be explored. So just trying to focus on the minimal, the foundations, really come back to foundations and just make that as like standard and simple for everyone to build on top of.
What Does Product Building Look Like in Practice?
So, what does that look like in practice now, now that your thesis has sort of shifted, your mindset has shifted. Now when you’re building product, what does that look like in practice?
Sam Sends: Really it has to do with like the NFT metadata standard. Right now, video support is really bad for those NFT standards. Basically, you’re limited by size. So, you can’t do longer form content. You can do shorter videos, no problem, but longer form content is very difficult. Just because the files are so massive, so really like the next kind of immediate thing for us is just to create a nice standard, that supports like longer form content. And anyone can use that to create NFTs that won’t be like a Glass exclusive thing. It’s just like okay, we’ve learned a lot about how videos work and how to decentralize them and then we’ll just add a couple of lines to like that NFT metadata, so like a CDN to make it play fast. A certain file format that allows for like longer form content, but that’s just like a foundation and then kind of like working up from there.
When Will Established Platforms Like Vimeo and YouTube Enter Web3?
At what point do you think like the Vimeos in the YouTubes are gonna come in and start seeing an opportunity? Like tokenized video being a great format to experiment with and explore?
Sam Sends: I don’t know if Vimeo, well, we’ll see. I think they’ll start coming in probably in a year or two, would be my guess. And I think it’ll be like an added form of monetization. So, it won’t be their explicit form. But it’ll just be an additional way to like to help a creator monetize. Historically, just like with YouTube, they’re very open to trying to integrate as many different ways for creators to monetize.
I feel like collecting a video. If they were to integrate collects, it’s like, not enough. I feel like this new path for tokenized videos. It needs to come with a new experience for consuming that content, to be a differentiator in somebody’s mind. Because if the differentiator is collecting the content, then they have to go down a rabbit hole of understanding, why is ownership important? Why is collecting content important? Why is this important? Why is that important? What is Meta mask? But if there was another incentive to get them there, to consume that content, right? Maybe that would be an interesting indicator and interesting driver. Do you think I’m losing my mind? I’m just like thinking out loud.
Sam Sends: Yeah, yeah. No, honestly, I think that’s like a lot of the things that we’ve run into with Glass, is that we’re like really similar. It’s like YouTube with NFTs strapped on, and we’re kind of realizing like that isn’t, it’s not differentiating enough. And I really feel you that like where it comes. The gold is in like a different form of consumption, or something that really extends the experience and makes the experience of consuming that video much, much deeper and much more meaningful. I think also, just as an industry like with content NFTs we really just like, we’ve started to just take content and turn them into NFTs. But we’re still really early in the sense that we haven’t seen a lot of experimentation around like the actual consumption or the remixing as we were talking about. I think that’s where things really start get interesting.
You know, when I had Diana Chen the podcast, I approached her with this idea live and our conversation, basically saying like so many people want to be Mr. Beast and do ambitious videos like Mr. Beast, like his video style has influenced so many people. Like I don’t even know what the word is, like a ton of people to just create similar content. But the reality is that not everybody has the budget to create videos like Mr. Beast, and I feel like crypto is the optimal platform. If you took mirrors golden days of like, I want to say golden days but mirrors older days of like crowdfunding ideas, and then pair that with like video content. I feel like that there’s something that you do, like you know how cool it would be for me to be like, I want to produce this video. I have this idea of this creative podcast that I want to do, high production value, different than what I give you guys on a consistent basis. I’m crowdfunding X amount of Eth to get there, who wants to join me?
Sam Sends: Yeah, stuff like that really excites me too. It’s so funny that you brought up Mr. Beast. One thing that I like really to resonate is what he’ll do, is he’ll like take everything he makes from that video and put it into the next video. And then that makes it bigger and then he just says the exact same thing. And I think that idea is really powerful with crypto, like and also like the communal creation of things together. Like you could basically raise funds but then you can be like, okay, yo, should we do like this, or should we do that? And then like y’all decide and kind of like pick your own adventure. It’s like interactive across like a slightly longer timeframe.
Sam Sends: That stuff is really cool.
That’s so sick, and then you set up a Dao like a multisig, where majority of like the profits get redistributed back to the Dao right. And it’s shared in like a multisig treasury and people can vote on what the creator does with their content moving forward, but it can’t like, it can’t be like boring. Like it has to be really ambitious, that’s like super click beatty and super out there, that an entire community could rally behind, you know. And it takes a certain type of someone like, talk about a creator Dao, like that’s a fricking used case. For creator Dao and we haven’t seen anything like that.
Sam Sends: Yeah, dude, there’s so much you can do in this. That’s kind of like why I’m like okay, we gotta go back to foundations to set the foundation really strong and then just like, experiment like crazy like, I don’t know bear market. I like let’s just go crazy with the experiments and just take a bunch of shots, because like stuff like this is really where we’ll start exploring and unlocking were like, whoa, crypto is like uniquely different. Like this is actually like a value shift. And created as is one of those things, right? Like what if you could like stabilize your income or something with like, it’s like a digital creator house, or like we’re both in LA, you know how creator’s houses but like they’re all coming together and then like making content, it’s kind of like doing that but across the world.
Literally what I’ve been talking about on the podcast, even told us the Diana on the podcast was like, what does the web three hype house look like? In like is it like a digital experience like digital, physical, like what does that look like? Are we getting house in Melrose? You know, with a bunch of software engineers and creative people just get crypto. And we’re just always just throwing shit at the fan and seeing what sticks. What does that look like? What does that look like? That’s something that I want to explore so bad.
Sam Sends: Yo, let’s do it.
Let’s do it. I feel like it’s such an obvious concept. It’s such an obvious sort of things like create this environment, where you can be a home of creativity and innovation. Yeah, right. And then our sole role is to just be the people who stimulate that energy, set the environment to motivate that energy, and curate the right people to build in that energy, right? And who knows what projects can come out of that?
Sam Sends: Yeah, I think actually, like, dude, this has been a huge like, pivot in my shifts, oh sorry, like a shift in my thinking. But like moving past this idea of like, like oh, I know best, like this platform is this way and just being like, yo, we were like, we’re just trying to build tools that other people can build on top of and then like, build on top of and build on top of. It’s been like a massive shift in my thinking on how to like, actually accelerate and enjoy crypto and explore it more effectively. Just being a lot less like rule based, a lot more experiment based.
Definitely. Wow, so many light bulb moments happening. My brain is just sparking with ideas now. It’s literally sparking with ideas, and I want to, Sam, I want to hang up the call right now. I just, that’s what I want to do right now.
Sam Send: All right, folks. That’s a wrap.
That’s a wrap. We’ll catch you next time. Maybe not. Okay, so you have all these ideas. You seem like a very creative person. Where are you in the world actually?
Sam Sends: Physically, just moved to LA, packed everything out from New York.
Okay. In the hub of the creator economy. Wow. What a place to explore all these ideas then.
Sam Sends: I think like, yeah, it’s something I’m just really excited for in the next three to six months. It’s just really getting deeper into this culture and starting to also create. I mean, for the longest time, like the earliest versions of Glass, I was like I’m gonna make a video and put it on this. I’m gonna make a video on put it on this. And I just had, I never did that because I never thought like my video would be good enough. And I think at this point where it’s like yeah, we just need to create. So, I’m really excited actually, to just explore like creating content, and really just experimenting with it on top of that.
Why don’t you think your videos are good enough?
Sam Sends: I don’t know. There’s a lot of good video creators out there, like we’ve worked with a lot of really good videos.
I feel like you’re like The Godfather like video NFTs at this point. Like you should understand like, maybe that doesn’t translate well into creating content, maybe just translates into providing a foundation for people to create content.
Sam Sends: No, I really think like dude, actually the Mr. Beast idea of like taking the proceeds and doing like just reinvesting everything into like the next like crazy stunt. That’s something I really want to do. It would be fun to like, try doing something like that together. Yeah.
That’d be sick.
Sam Sends: I think like that’s really, I feel like I need to be a scapegoat. A little bit like just do you like that stupid as weird as shit. Just see, like what’s possible.
I’ll tell you what, web three has this energy of enabling the craziest stupid shit. And typically, it’s seen as innovative and people applaud that, people like that, people like being a part of crazy ideas, especially in the cycle of adoption that we are in today of, it’s just mainly innovators. Like I don’t even think we really crossed the chapter chasm of the early adopters just yet. We’re still the people that are going to wait in line for the iPhone. And like think that’s the coolest thing ever, you know? So, who are we to not experiment with the idea. You know, that’s super far-fetched out there of raising 1000 for a video, and all proceeds of that, from all the sponsorship deals in all the promos or whatever happens in between for monetization, gets filtered back to down, then it gets reinvested. We’re onto something here, Sam, we’re onto something.
Sam Sends: 100%. That’s a really exciting time. Oh, yeah, this is such a cliche question. But what’s your favorite thing that’s in your wallet currently?
My little noun, with the 100%. Yeah, the little noun behind me. If you’re watching on YouTube, you’ll see behind me, but if you’re not, go to YouTube and watch it. But yes, my little noun. Like I love that thing. I don’t know why, I love it so much that when I was in Thailand, I had somebody painted for me. And I came back here and framed it and made it my background thing. My background image. I don’t know why. I have no idea why I love it so much. But I just feel like an utmost connection to it. I think maybe because I was in the midst of like a bidding war to get it. And there was so much attention, not attention, emotion, just intertwined with that process. And I swooped it at the 00:00 mark, and I managed to like squeeze right in And I was like, yeah, you know, like, that was my moment right there. That was freaking moments amazing. But I don’t know. Beyond that, there’s, I have a friend Queen George. We’ve been like good friends for the longest time. And we always butt ideas off each other and I was a first collector. And there’s something significant of being somebody’s first collector and showing them the ropes of letting them to the space. I really valued that NFT, and I don’t know if I could ever sell it. Maybe that just might be like a Richard punk thing, or somebody puts like a 10 million offer and accept it. Who knows? I don’t know. But that’s probably it’s my, it’s the content that I collect, is my favorite thing in my wall. That’s what it comes down to. And yours?
Sam Sends: Yo, I love what you were saying like, the little noun and it’s partially, you know, identity around like, that’s yours, but also like the memory of the experience, you know, like the experience rained a lot. I think that’s super cool. I think that hindsight like were web three can be or Web Plus can be like really golden, is like augmenting those experiences and making them just infectiously fun. Yeah.
What’s Your Favorite Item in Your Wallet?
What’s your thing? What’s your favorite thing in your wallet?
Sam Sends: Dude, probably the lack of Eth. I think when I was like first deploying my first smart contract ever, I totally botched it, like fucked it up and deployed this contract like three times. I ended up spending like $3,000 and this is like peak bull market, like just trying to get this contract up but that’s probably like one of my favorite experiences. It’s just like deploying a contract there first time. The interest is not in my wallet, but I guess it’s on the ether scan.\
Yeah, it’s all the ethers, it’s signified and imprinted forever on chain, but you can verify. Interesting, there aren’t any NFTs that can represent a moment in time. Rather people like create a token around a file and then mint that and collect that, right?
Sam Sends: Yeah.
But there’s no real way to visualize what you just explained right there.
Sam Sends: Have you seen, there’s this, I might butcher the name, but I think it’s called Birth clock. I think it has to do with the age of your crypto wallet. It’ll like generate an NFT, something like that. Based on like how old your wallet is. So pretty cool.
Interesting. That is pretty cool. Like they mail it to you. It’s like it’s like a sheet metal or.
Sam Sends: That’d be amazing if they mailed it to you.
Is like a kidney stone or something? Like here’s your birth blog. Alright. We’re getting to web threes, I’m done. We’re done. See you next week, guys. No real talk. I’m actually having a blast on this conversation. And there’s so much more we could talk about, but we’re coming close to the end. Sam, where can we find you? Where can we find your Birth blog? Where can we learn more about Glass.xyz. Just show it all away.
Sam Sends: Yeah. 100% on Twitter. I’m Sam_Sends. On chain, I go by SPF.Eth. So, you can peruse all those transactions and then yeah, glass.xyz @ glass.xyz.
Wait, did you say SPF.Eth?
Sam Sends: That would be legendary, bro like SP.
What did you say? Oh, SPF.
Sam Sends: You see how I’m like really.
Sam Sends: Yeah, exactly I need sunscreen. It’s a reminder.
Amazing. This has been great, thank you for your time, we’ll have to do this again soon, but till then. Yeah. Wish you well.
Sam Sends: Thanks. Adam. Easy.