Mint Season 7 Episode 25 welcomes Nick Hollins, a journalist, podcaster, and co-founder of the artist collective Voyager and the UFO project. We discuss Nick’s background in journalism and music, his interest in crypto, and his involvement in various web3 projects. We also talk about the importance of community building and marketing in the web3 space, the role of writing NFTs in building his community, and the unique aspects of writing NFTs compared to other forms of digital content. Nick shares his mental model for using different web3 platforms and his vision for the future of web3 native audiences.
I hope you enjoy our conversation.
- 00:00 – Intro
- 01:16 – Nick’s Background
- 07:46 – Counterculture in Crypto
- 08:39 – Documenting the Web3 Space
- 11:33 – Creating Content Worth Collecting
- 15:48 – Marketing and NFTs
- 19:17 – Building a Top-Level Funnel
- 22:23 – Community Building in Web3
- 24:39 – Writing NFTs and Collects
- 27:41 – Building an Audience with Web3 Tools
- 29:23 – Minting Podcast Episodes as NFTs
- 30:54 – Challenges of Starting in Web3
- 36:29 – Curation and Web3 Social
- 38:37 – Navigating Web3 Platforms
- 39:51 – Different Use Cases of Web3 Platforms
- 43:07 – Building Web3-Native Audiences
- 49:07 – Missing Tools for Web3 Creators
- 50:23 – Integrating Platforms and Tooling
- 53:03 – Nouns Builder Projects
- 54:28 – Outro
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Nick Hollins, welcome to the Mint Podcast. Incredibly excited to have you on. Thank you for taking the time. Welcome your big debut. I’m kidding. It’s a pleasure.
Nick Hollins: Of course, yes. Thanks so much for the invitation, man. I, I appreciate it. Um, been listening to plenty of podcasts for quite a while now, so it’s, it’s really cool to kind of loop in. We’ve had a few conversations before already. We’ve kind of met each other a few times, but yeah, this is nice.
This is very nice. I like when, when, uh, when two podcasters come together, I’ve done it with rehash. I’ve had Lucas from Bankless, and it’s only right that we continue the love with the UFO podcast. Um, so it’s an honor to also have you on. I think that it’s, the feeling is very mutual because you’ve been killing it in your own respective, right? You’ve, you’ve figured out a really cool niche, a really cool pocket that, uh, you’re owning. And it’s really, really fun to see how other creators like yourself are owning Web three, building an audience, monetizing an audience, and navigating the trenches of crypto. So, Nick, before we dive into this entire conversation, who are you, man? Like, what does a world need to know about you? But more specifically, take this question from giving us an introduction on yourself, like how did you get your start into Web three?
Nick Hollins: Uh, sure, absolutely. Um, so I’m based over here in Australia, at least for the time being. Um, but I’ve been here for most of the, of the time. I’m from Sydney originally, and when I started out, it was, uh, you know, I went to journalism school and did a lot of like radio and broadcasting over the years and all that kind of thing. Um, very involved in, in the music scene in Sydney as well. So it was kind of, you know, playing in bands, being about music, hosting a, a radio show focused on independent music in Australia for a few years. Uh, also helping to organize like live shows, small festivals, all that kind of stuff. So that was up to about 2017. And then, uh, with my family moved up the coast to Byron Bay in Australia, which is like a, a surf town kind of thing. And so when we moved out of the city, I was no longer doing a radio show. You know, I’d been at this station in Sydney for like five years, uh, at that time. And so it was right at that time that I also got interested in crypto and started really delving into it, kind of been on my radar earlier. Um, a friend of mine from high school invented Dogecoin, you know, so , it was, um, strange trivia, uh, from my hometown. Um, cool. And so I’d heard about this stuff as early, I guess Dogecoin were like 2013 or something, so I was like, oh, that’s weird. But it wasn’t until 17, uh, and I guess in that kind of wave of crypto that was happening that I got really interested. And so from 2018 onwards, I started like attending some events, uh, overseas hackathons and conferences and stuff like that, and kind of meeting the people that were actually in the space and building stuff. And so as I started doing that, the first thing I did was I’ll create a podcast and talk with these people. And so yeah, launched a show, uh, back then, got to meet a lot of like, really amazing founders, uh, and stuff like that. So I was doing that through 20 18, 19, also starting to, um, you know, put, uh, contribute to various projects and, and things like that as well. And then the last thing I did was like Berlin blockchain week in like 2019. I was recording over there, uh, collaborated with the team at No, and recorded like a pop-up podcast through Dcon. And so it was hanging out around Dcon and ETH Berlin and all that stuff. And then of course, uh, the world shut down from like 2020, right. So I was pretty much back in Australia from like 2019 until mid last year was the first time that I’d been overseas, uh, in between. And so like a lot of people over the last few years, like kind of slipping into that very online, extremely online thing, getting into more into NFTs and Dows and, and all that stuff. Um, in I think the beginning of, uh, 22, we launched an artist collective called Voyager that we’re still, still working on, um, and been experimenting with that, some really amazing people that are part of that community. And then with UFO, uh, it was myself and Ivan, who’s a co-founder from Voyager as well, uh, came together to do the UFO project. And so bringing back, like doing a podcast and stuff, but also we’re kind of, I don’t know, we’re kind of building out, like UFO was a, as a counterculture project basically. And our name comes from like the UFO Club in London from the mid sixties, which was like a venue that existed for about a year and a half. And, you know, pink Floyd was the house band Yoko performed there, Jimmy Hendrix, the Kinks, like all this incredible, uh, music from that time, which I’m, you know, huge fan of. And so got to thinking about that as like, how cool would it be to hang out at the UFO Club in the mid sixties, all the people that you would meet there and stuff like that. And so with this project, we’re essentially think of it, thinking of it as another manifestation of the counterculture, which I feel like crypto and web three, that’s what it is. You know, it’s the same, same kind of people that would’ve been into counterculture type stuff in any previous decade and like here in the 2020s, like, amazing things are happening. Um, and so yeah, I guess that’s a brief of what we’re doing.
Why do, why do you feel like you have such a strong affinity to the sixties? Like, okay, you mentioned Pink Floyd, you mentioned the music, but like, what is it about you as a person that connects or that era so well
Nick Hollins: Yeah, I th I think, um, my childhood and then coming up through, like, I’ve been a Beatle fan and a music fan since I was very young. And so, and just being, you know, know super geeky about it. Every band, every record, and reading plenty of books over the years and all that kind of stuff, like identifying with what was happening at that time. And I think like the sixties very interesting with the, the kind of post-war situation. And so all, you know, the members of the Rolling Stones or the Beatles or all these bands, you know, they grew up in like the rubble of these cities and stuff. And so the societies that they’re in, also in, in the States at the same time were kind of everywhere. There was this kind of like the rigidity of the fifties and kind of how tamp down society was. And in, in England, um, you know, they still had, you know, rationing going on and, and all that kind of stuff. So they grew up in this kind of environment. And then the Beatles were the first thing to kind of start to blow the doors off the place and be like, you don’t need to have a certain accent and look a certain way to get on radio, which was the case back in the day. So just how all this stuff just completely broke out, recreated the form, uh, and, and all that. And, um, I don’t know, I, I just think a lot of my favorite music is from that time, the sixties and the seventies and, and, and onwards. And, um, yeah. Yeah, I love that. A lot of favorite writers and stuff as well. Publications, you know, you kind of, the, the cultural impact that Rolling Stone had at the time, you know, long before the internet, it was like through Rolling Stone and through the records that musicians were producing. Like that was how that generation was communicating with each other, you know, protest sounds about the war, um, and, and stuff like that coming outta like, like, you know, San Francisco was another, uh, major spot and inspiration, uh, LA and Laurel Canyon and, and all that stuff. So I’m, yeah, I’m super about all those things I suppose.
Counterculture in Crypto
Do you think crypto is still in its counterculture phase?
Nick Hollins: Uh, yeah, definitely. I mean, cuz like crypto as a whole is such a broad, uh, tent and umbrella and main different things that go on within that. But I think there’s definitely a lot of counterculture, uh, type energy in various, in various forms and how these tools can now be used for, uh, artists, creatives, musicians, like just new ways to kind of get their stuff out. And I guess the fact that these are like open tools without an intermediary or whatever is kind of fits nicely with people that are doing stuff independently and, and things like that. So yeah, I think, I mean, like, the counterculture is kind of always, always happening. Like, it, it’s always there. So this is just the new forms of, of distribution, you know, maybe in the eighties it was radio and, you know, tapes and things like that, and it just keeps, keeps evolving.
Documenting the Web3 Space
One thing that stands out to me about Unique as a creator is, and now that I’m hearing more about your background, your interests, um, where you are today, I feel like makes a lot of sense in terms of the things that you’re documenting and the things that excite you in Web three. Um, when you look back to all, all your professional experience and you try to connect the dots, does it make sense to you, like from an outsider’s perspective, like, I think, oh, okay, it makes sense why he is a podcaster, why he is documenting the space. Like, but does that, does that resonate that same feeling resonate with you as well looking back at all your experience and all your interests?
Nick Hollins: Yeah, yeah, I think so. Um, you know, like years before I didn’t mention, but sort of when I was in the music scene back in Sydney, I was also producing a website and we’re recording a lot of like, live performance and stuff like that. Cool. So that the kind of, um, the, the instinct to document what’s happening and, and record and stuff I’ve been interested in, um, for a while. So yeah, I guess it kind of makes sense. It’s similar to what this project is now, but just with more of an opportunity now where you can open it up and a bunch of people can be contributing into a shared shared space. Um, but yeah, as for various sort of experiences in crypto and how it, how it led to this, like, it, it took a while to kind of get a bit of a sense of what was happening and the differences between different, even crypto scenes around the world, you know, how things happen in Europe is a little bit different to the states and, and stuff like that.
The types of projects that people are interested in, um, and all that kind of stuff. So, um, you know, I’d, I’d met really interesting people building all these amazing things, and then since you’ve seen them build these giant crazy, uh, protocols and, and huge things and, um, a lot of them are just like, these are super young people having like a huge impact in, in the world. Um, and often, you know, they’re hanging out at a hackathon a few years ago and now they have these like, enormous projects and, and stuff like that. Um, but yeah, it, I think it’s interesting to kind of just snapshot and capture what’s happening you’ve been doing, right? You’ve been doing this for years, you know?
Yeah, I think there’s something beautiful about being able to document and like creating long form content around certain stages of where we are in cycles. Um, I really enjoy that process and having individuals like yourself on learning about the things that you guys are doing, um, whether it be documenting music artists, photographers, digital artists, whatever may be founders at our building, investors that are taking massive bets, you know, and then coming back to those bets a year down the line and seeing where that was based off where their mindset was that we documented in that time, right? So there’s something beautiful and there, there’s an art to it. Um, I feel like, which kind of brings me into Season Seven’s theme, which you’re a part of, right? Is the art of creating content that’s worth collecting. Like, that’s the theme that I’ve been going into every single conversation with, for the most part, for people that I’ve had on for this period in season seven. And if there’s one person that understands what it means to create content that’s worth collecting. Nick Hollins, I feel like that’s you and the UFO podcast. Um, you’ve had a really cool journey coming up in the web three social scene, um, selling out like podcast, uh, not podcasts, but uh, writing NFTs like consistently. Um, and it’s a world that I don’t know too much about, and selfishly something that I want to learn more about. And I think the experience that you have could be incredibly valuable for more writers, uh, more content creators. So let’s dive into it, shall we?
Nick Hollins: Absolutely.
Creating Content Worth Collecting
Let’s do it. Okay. So when you think of the phrase create content worth collecting, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind?
Nick Hollins: I think of like a lot of the great open edition drops that have been happening lately. And it’s almost like people who are starting to produce with this concept in mind and like the kind of the conceit of the thing Min podcast has been doing great stuff with those, like animated kind of blocky, uh, things around like podcast content that you’ve created. And so here’s this other artifact that’s interesting of itself, not just the fact that it’s linked to this particular podcast, but it all kind of like loops together like that. Um, and also content worth collecting. It’s also, we may decide what was and wasn’t worth collecting after the fact or later. It’s like we don’t actually always know what’s gonna be the most impactful stuff in the moment, uh, especially as at any given moment, we’re missing personally 99% of what’s happening on the internet that day.
There’s actually no way to kind of be across all of the things. But, uh, so yeah, I feel like it’s this whole interesting new field where people, the mere fact that we can collect stuff to kind of signify what we’re into, um, to, you know, I was chatting with Nia from Yep. Uh, recently and he had the phrase of um, essentially like, one of the only things that is verifiably true on the internet is being early to things, you know? Um, and so yeah, I I think it’s like a shared knowing between like the creators and producers of some of this stuff, and also how we as a community or an audience or collectors are starting to interact with media itself in completely different ways.
It’s interesting you bring up that, that phrase that near said. Do you find yourself following that as like part of your, your big picture playbook of trying to find ways to provide people with ways to prove that they were early to something, especially around the UFO brand?
Nick Hollins: Yeah, we have been actually like, we, so like UFO all altogether, I think we launched about six months ago. Um, and so we’ve been playing with multiple platforms at once between publishing posts for our episodes, uh, on Mira, but then also publishing a lot on lens and experimenting with different, different forms over there. And then more recently we’ve collaborated with coin bias a bit to create some like NFT drops that were, you know, free mints for say lens subscribers, for example. Um, and all these things started to play, play off each other. We also had the UFO Genesis Pass drop on Mira, uh, uh, mint did a similar thing as well. And so with that, it was like a subscribe to Mint, um, on, on there and we, you know, we had like a crazy response to that. So all these things kind of playing, um, off, off each other. But we did a thing with Lens in particular where quite early into the project just tweeted out, like, I think we had about 700 ish, uh, followers at the time on Lens. And we said, Hey, like we’re gonna do, let’s do a free collectible NFT, like let’s, let’s capture who was here early just cuz you know, interesting. Um, and then we had a huge response of many, many people, uh, coming in and, and fol following the account on Lens cuz we just announced each day like, okay, we’ll first one K, three K, 5k, uh, followers will get like a collectible NFT along the way. And then we open that up for 15 K as well, and imminently we’re gonna be dropping a 30 30 K. So we ended up like, um, uh, minting minting those NFTs on, on Coin Vice and people could just go and claim it and sort of verify. So we would go get all the wallet addresses for everyone that had, uh, subscribed to UFO on lens and then capturing, which were in the first thousand, 3005, all these blocks, and then throw them in the allowers for these NFTs to to claim. And so, uh, I think there’s just interesting things that can happen in the future based on who holds a certain one of those things. Uh, and the same kind of thinking with, you know, dropping open edition mints or different things like that. Um, essentially just, you know, giving giving things for the community. Right. And then the potential, um, I suppose utility or, you know, interactions that can come through holding a, a certain certain token.
Marketing and NFTs
How marketing conscious would you say you are? Like when you, when you try to divvy up your mind and how you, how you think about things, how much of a marketer would you consider yourself to be?
Nick Hollins: Yeah, it’s probably a pretty high number. Okay. Um, like I’m quite, I’m, you know, I’ve read, uh, quite a bit of like Seth Golden type stuff I’m interested in, like, I’m really interested in brands and design and, um, you know, modes of communication, creating like stories and, and stuff like that. Um, so yeah, I, I would say I’m like fairly marketing conscious. I’ve, I’ve also like worked in that capacity in the space a little bit, uh, like at XX Labs and, and stuff like that. So. Cool. Yeah, I I’d say that’s in there.
So this, this is sort of like, uh, a primer to my next question, like a follow up to my next question, which is when you understand the concept of programmable social okay, and you think of where we are today in terms of web three, social building, interoperable audiences, either measured by collectors or a new follower factor, where do you think marketing and growth marketing gorilla marketing sort of fit into that category, and how are those keywords sort of looked at differently in the context of web three?
Nick Hollins: Yeah, it’s, it’s interesting, like often it feels like, uh, sort of running old plays, like things that you would’ve done in other contacts years ago in terms of trying to build like an email subscriber list or whatever those kinds of things are. And then like, let’s say you are, uh, I don’t know, a music venue or a magazine, maybe a magazine that has X amount of email subscribers. Um, and then there’s like a value in that. So potentially you can engage with brands or events or whatever it might be because you can, you’ve reliably had distribution to reach this audience. And I feel like it’s a lot of the same thinking in terms of Web three and crypto publishing and what we’ve been doing at U ffo just in this early run. We have like a lot of evolutions of the project that are coming up in the near future. But just in this sort of opening thing, it was, it’s almost like, and I’ve heard other people talk about this, like just trying to reach as many wallets as possible, like make really great assets, really cool NFTs, and then just like give them away as much as possible. Um, and there is an interesting affinity that comes from the things that we collect, the things that we have in our wallet, uh, and stuff like that. So kind of playing in that space too. It’s like we can create stuff that people will own, uh, even if it’s free for them to get it. So, uh, that’s proven like quite effective in building like a decent social media following for UFO for instance. So just the, I I guess like there’s an attention that can come from publishing in that, in that way.
Building a Top-Level Funnel
Okay. That makes sense. So this kind of goes into an article that Zion posted of building like an on chain brand and getting as many people to collect something that’s affiliated with your brand, um, as many times as possible for as many people, as many people. Right. Um, I’m a big believer in that as well. I’ve been experimenting with my podcast NFTs, my listener pins for a minute now, and been able to build like quite a substantial reach of emails and wallet addresses and, and, and create more tailored experiences for my community accordingly. And the way I understand this, and I’d love to kind of like riff, riff with you for a minute, is sort of like building like a top level funnel of people to enter your community and creating experiences from there on out, um, through that funnel. Right? And I know people don’t like to be thought out as funnel, but just to kind of like give like a mental model for people listening, for people watching, watching sort of like a visual kind of like perspective. Do you think about it the same way building a top level a funnel, creating sort of like a mass entry point and then figuring out ways as to how to cultivate experiences, whether further free paid or free free experiences or paid experiences? Like how are you thinking about it?
Nick Hollins: Yeah, I think quite often I’m thinking in terms of my experiences, uh, at the radio station Okay. At FBI in Sydney. I think it’s a good mental model for thinking about some of this. So it’s like, if it’s a radio station and this is a, you know, we do a podcast, so essentially we’re trying to reach as many potential listeners as as possible. Um, so in terms of that, you’re just kind of doing whatever it is to kind of, of attract as big a high number as possible. You know, we have whatever, 26,000 on lens, um, and, and stuff like that, which is like useful to have in terms of how things can, can kind of build out. Um, but yeah, I’ve had really interesting conversations with Rafa, uh, Rafa, the builder, um, uh, previously, recently, uh, of Mira and like, uh, savant for a community and, and thinking about all these kinds of things. And he talks about like these various tiers of intimacy with the brand or the project that folks have, which can be translated as like how much they’re willing to contribute or give or interact or whatever, whatever that might look like. And so designing releases for, for UFO, you know, there’s like an ecosystem looking map that we’re gonna publish soon to kind of like share our thinking about some of this stuff. But it’s like, you know, you have various things or like, uh, you know, free mints to collect or like it’s free to subscribe to us on lens or follow us on various social channels and things like that. If you want to engage like a little beyond that, maybe you collect a, a post on mirror or something like that. Um, there may be particular drops that come on lens or other mints in the near future on Zora and stuff as well. And so it’s like you’ve reached as large an audience as possible, but you understand that only smaller and smaller segments of people are actually gonna be quite connected or paying attention to the project ongoing, if you know what I mean. So, um, yeah, it’s almost like more community building approach rather than a sort of top of funnel marketing kind of thinking, if that makes sense.
Community Building in Web3
Yeah, that makes sense. So when you build that entire collector base, um, how do you actually tailor experiences that are aligned with the things that they like, like how do you, how do you build a community and it’s such a buzzword, but I know you have a certain way to do it and you’ve built such depth and growth and value through your community. So when I ask you, when you think about building community, like what is that stage for you? What goes on in your mind when you hear that?
Nick Hollins: Yeah, I think, I think it’s shifting gears to something that is a little more nowish in, in its quality and kind of an opening up of like what this, um, organism or ecosystem kind of is. It’s, it’s sort of community is more about, uh, people being able to come, especially in web three and crypto kind of land. It’s about people being to come in and potentially like, make proposals or pitch things or to, you know, uh, like nouns is a great example. You see that they propagating the noonish meme and the noggles and projects can come in from all over the world and kind of like make proposal and, and do a thing and, and do that in their own context. I think that seems like some of the higher goals for what community building looks like in crypto is not just for people to like be in an audience or we’re kind of viewing, uh, a creator in in the space as we may have traditionally it’s like I watch a YouTube creator, but like, how do I actually interact with this person? Whereas web three community stuff, it can potentially open those, uh, pathways for folks to kind of come in and, and, and initially some of that can be communicated by the people that collect the works the most or engage with the thing the most and, and all that kind of stuff. The people that will reply and comment the most on, on pieces and stuff like that. It’s like people will always let you know from the community if they’re like really keen to kind of bring some stuff through. And I mean that’s when you talk to people who’ve been in crypto for a while, uh, and how they’ve made their way in the space and stuff like that, it’s usually hung out in the Discord. I like this project. And then eventually they hired me to do something, you know, cuz I was really about that. Um, so yeah, I guess that’s part of how I would think about it.
Writing NFTs and Collects
So that transitions into writing NFTs because you say people that show up consistently and collect those bodies of work consistently. Right. I think a good analogy to pair that to, or a good example to pair that to is the writing NFTs, um, that you guys consistently sell out, um, every single time you publish a new episode, which is fantastic. It’s such a cool, it’s such a cool thing to see, especially when like a year ago, like writing NFTs, were not, were not it. So this next phase of the conversation, I wanna talk to you about writing NFTs, um, because they do play a big part in building the UFO community from what I understand, from an outsider’s perspective. Would you agree on that?
Nick Hollins: Yeah, I would say like, it’s been completely surprising, um, to us, like we’re just experimenting with these different tools and ways of publishing and like we didn’t, uh, anticipate that collects would kind of take off, uh, as they have. I kind of think of them a little as like early editions of say Rolling Stone magazine or something like that. So collecting those early editions I think or, um, you know, certainly have the, the possibility of becoming quite culturally interesting, um, a along the way because there’s not many of them at all. You know, it’s like, but it is been wild, uh, to see, you know, um, I think we had a string where we were doing 500 supply on the collect and they were minting out, but then we decided to just like halve the supply and, and bring it back down and just, it’s pretty much been a two 50 since then. And um, yeah, I would say we’re not, we’re certainly not stress, you know, stressing it either way that it goes and some of them will mint out slower than instantly. Some of them are instantly, it’s a fairly mysterious force, like where are all these collectors coming from? We’re just doing stuff, putting stuff out, but it’s not like we have some overarching strategy to drive collects on, on the mirror post. It’s just kind of happening.
Building an Audience with Web3 Tools
Hmm. The way I understand, like as a web three native creator, the way I understand the model working today, somebody that is actively spending hours building out their Web three creator strategy, they use let’s say like a, a platform like Lens as a broadcast network, right? Um, and assuming you build virality and you can also build value, right? You can both capture value and build virality on lens. But very much so when I go through your feed preparing for this interview, I see you very much using Lens as a broadcast network, right? And then when you promote the new podcast episode, you then outlink it back or outlink it to mirror xyz, but also through Mirror xyz people are subscribed to Mint, so they get a notification every single time you publish a new episode. And those people are just trigger finger ready, like they are trigger finger ready and they, they, they go hard, you know? So when you think about like your creator stack, okay, and you think about building the, the tooling or using the tools necessary to kind of see the growth that you’re at right now to build that audience, to understand that audience. What does that look like for you to kind of like see that vision in, in those actions come to fruition?
Nick Hollins: Yeah, I would say like the, the email subscriber piece on Mira has been like a huge driver of what’s going on, as you say, like each time an episode goes out and it drops to, I think it’s somewhere in the range of like 15,000 emails at the moment, um, has a really healthy response and like listeners to the show and, and stuff like that. So that’s really great. And then like on lens we just like, uh, you know, we create uh, a unique poster for every episode that we do and put them out as free collects there own lens as well. So it’s something like that kind of fits the lens world, um, which is really cool. And we also do like kind of short form audio video, uh, type stuff that goes out on on Lens. But yeah, ultimately it’s kind of looping back in with, because on the Mirror publication we have the opportunity to kind of, you know, publish some sort of deeper links and show notes and stuff like that. So if you kind of, if you go back through, um, the catalog of episodes that we’ve done, there’s a lot of links to different, like if you’re interested in one thing, we invite you down the rabbit hole into that and you can kind of go further. So publishing on Lens, but then linking to the mirror that provides like a deeper context for what’s going on. Um, and at the moment we’re, um, setting about building a website as well. So all these things can kind of live, uh, live in a sort of a neat place that’s kind of together. Um, and yeah, and in the near future we’re going to be minting the actual episodes as well. So kind of bringing the catalog on on chain as a project that we’re working on at the moment.
Minting Podcast Episodes as NFTs
Cool. I don’t wanna jump the gun, but I do want to talk to you about Podcast NFTs cuz that’s what you mean by minting the episode, right? That’s what you’re referring to?
Nick Hollins: Yeah, exactly.
Okay, cool. Do you see any, any particular challenges or limitations with writing NFTs either in terms of like the tech or the terms, uh, in terms of how they’re marketed or sold? Like do you see any, any limitations as someone who’s been playing with them for so long?
Nick Hollins: Uh, sorry, do you mean for writing NFTs or Podcasts?
Uh, excuse me. Writing NFTs
Nick Hollins: Okay. Limitations on those things.
Challenges of Starting in Web3
Yeah, like creating, writing, NFTs, deploying and, and, and publishing, uh, uh, uh, blogs, publishing episodes. Um, any challenges or limitations that you’ve encountered by doing so many of these over time?
Nick Hollins: Uh, um, I’m trying to think. Cuz I’ve been having some conversations with people that are focused on writing NFTs. Okay. Just lately, um, I mean in this moment it’s more, I’m finding it easier to think of sort of potential opportunities that are there to an extent. Like, um, recreating something like a sub or do you have a CK Plus and a Web three NFT, uh, aspect to a thing. Um, building up an audience of, you know, collectors of a writing NFT that then that potentially can, uh, fund the creation of like a physical book and stuff. Like I’m hearing of like projects like that going on. Um, but I guess like, I don’t know, problems or challenges is setting out to create in that space are, um, the same as ever before. Okay. Like starting to capture an audience, get a, get a thing going and, and getting started, uh, in, in a new, in a new space.
So I guess it’s like bringing back attention on onto your works. Um, and, and things like that. Building that kind of, uh, relationship between, uh, the community and your and stuff. I’m seeing like Lens, uh, the Lens team do really great stuff with this at the moment. They have like the creator cohort kind of creator, uh, group that they’re setting up. So there’s kind of various groups focused on writing NFTs or podcast projects or music NFTs and all this kind of stuff. So the Lens team doing some really cool stuff as far as, um, where people will be facing those like early challenges of how do I, how do I get started? There’s a lot of kind of, um, you know, the Web three social community is relatively small at this point and quite interconnected, uh, and stuff like that. So I think many of the problems that you may face if you’re just like sitting down your own, you don’t have like the full picture for what you might need to do. Um, there’s some interesting kind of, uh, default knowledge to they’re starting to share about how do I get started on Lens? And they’ll say, do your kind of genesis post first, announce your project and stuff like that. Invite people to collect this thing to be looped in on what you’re doing. Uh, Marcus from the Ethereum Foundation, I think you may, uh, know him as well. Yep. I’m doing some really fantastic work at the moment, publishing on Mira, um, and also minting across on Lens and stuff like that. Um, I think is another great example of kind of this approach to like, how do I get traction and attention coming back onto a work or series that I’ve done. I think Marcus is doing a really great, uh, great job of this, but yeah, it’s like Genesis Post and then leading into Got it. The subsequent series. Yeah.
Makes sense. So what do you think sets writing NFTs apart from other forms of digital content? We have music NFTs, we have podcast NFTs, we have digital art, and now writing NFTs are building up their, their corner in the market. What do you think sets ’em apart from other pieces of content?
Nick Hollins: Yeah, it’s such an interesting one. Um, cuz I guess it’s how we, how we interface with, with media or art or any, any of these things. And it’s like, how, how do I in interface with a piece of piece of text compared to a music? NFT is like a sound that I can play, I can listen to, I can play it for others or whatever Art is immediately pops off the kind of laptop screen, you know, some kind of like glitch art or, or whatever it might be. Whereas writing NFTs or still it’s like, I don’t have, like, there’s less of the having a visual token that captures the writing NFT itself. It’s usually more a token represents ownership of this thing that’s minted on mirror or wherever it might be. Um, so I feel like yeah, almost like our relationship with the content itself is different to these other forms. And so I think people understand a cryp a crypto punk at this point, you know, it has a utility just in that I can look at it and stuff and like appreciate it for what it is, but writing NFTs seems more like a relationship with that creator or something a little bit closer to a sub or Patreon type of thing potentially. Uh, but I think there’s a really amazing opportunity for these things being like really valuable, compelling cultural artifacts in themselves. Um, you know, like if I could pick up like a Hunter s Thompson writing NFT or something like that, do you know what I mean? Um, and I’m not sure how much of that has already started to happen. There’s probably some great examples of it that I’m not aware of. But, um, yeah, I mean, writing is quite a huge field and industry in, in human society, so I, I feel like writing NFTs may well like, have their moment.
Curation and Web3 Social
This makes me even more excited for the curator economy that I feel like hasn’t really had, uh, hasn’t really been empowered in Web two, but is really getting empowered in Web three. And the more writing NFTs I collect, the more of a, a taste making ability I kind of build online the more maybe people will count on my curation based off what I collect to read the content that I collect. So maybe there’s an opportunity to build a, like a, a curation network, like a, a publication network that’s strictly based off curation where people subscribe to my network and then they get notified when I collect things to read the content that I collect so that they can read it as well. Like, that’s a mouthful what I just said, but that’s like those, it’s like layers of like media and content aggregation and now we think about the world of Lego blocks, like there’s so much opportunity to build on the base of content that you’re creating Nick and that many other people are creating that other people can sort of like leverage remix and present and curate accordingly. I feel like it’s a world that we haven’t even, we haven’t even tapped into yet.
Nick Hollins: Yeah, I think it’s one of the more exciting things like happening on the internet in this moment, um, that hasn’t been communicated out super, super broadly yet, but it’s like moving into a web three social environment where it’s almost more horizontal, like where stuff comes from. It’s not whatever content the Twitter algorithm is serving up, or Instagram or something is serving to me on one of these apps. It’s people in my network, as you say. Like they collect something, so that surfaces it for me. Um, you know, like Far Caster amazing, like there’s a an NFT you’ll drop and I can click into this very niche thing that I also minted and it’s showed me the a hundred other people that also collected it. So it’s like, ah, interesting. You can also kind of meet people, make friends and stuff like that based on your kind of very niche interest or it’s having those people in your network so it will, you know, surface more of their, I guess it’s curation. Like back in the day, very early social media people would just, I don’t know, post a YouTube clip mm-hmm. to track that they’re listening to in that moment, and it’ll just be there on the feed. Remember when people would hang out on the Facebook feed , um, very long time ago. Um, but that’s kind of gone out in social I think a bit, you know, like Twitter is just a, like this crazy town square environment. It’s less of the just dropping, sharing a link. The algorithm will squash that anyway. Um, but in Web three, social, just the way these tools work is kind of like bringing bringing that back. Yeah.
Navigating Web3 Platforms
When you think about being a creator in Web three, in all the different social protocols and platforms, you have the choice of spending time on how would you categorize what is what, like what do you spend your time on, on Lens and what is the goal when you, when you’re on Lens, when you are on forecaster, what do you aim to achieve when you’re on Yep. What do you aim to achieve? And when you’re across an active across all these other social protocols and applications, like how do creators navigate this landscape and what’s the mental model that they fixate on every single platform to get the best advantage and the most, the most exposure, the best value out of?
Nick Hollins: Yeah, that’s a great question. Um, I feel like at least on the individual level, or personally as I interact with all these many platforms or web three social spaces, um, you know, I’m, I’m not trying to spend my whole day on the computer or on the screen or whatever. I’m trying to limit that. And as I’m kind of like producing stuff and making stuff, I essentially try to focus as much on my time as possible on actually making, making things and, and whatnot. So when I’m like interacting with those various places, I’m either in discovery mode, uh, reading into things that people are sharing or interacting with drops or stuff like that. I’m kind of, you know, um, uh, what would you say, interacting with the, with the content. But the rest of the time that I’m there, I’m mostly just trying to like publish, publish our own stuff, I guess, you know? Mm-hmm. and I try to like limit my time on screen a little bit. Um, yeah, I like, maybe that’s something for, for creatives I suppose. Like, don’t, don’t, uh, spend all your time on a, on a thing, like focus on getting your own stuff done. But I don’t know, that’s like, just part of my own kind of practice. But I think you’re also asking like how do, uh, what are the differences between these different platforms? Yeah, yeah. And different types of interactions. Like
Different Use Cases of Web3 Platforms
I have my own mental model of when I use forecaster or when I use Lens, or when I would use Yup. Or when I would use Cyber Connect. Like I have my different model and they’ve presented different opportunities and different problems that they solve within me. Right? So I feel like if I was biology and I was creating like biology, like content right? It would perform really, really well on forecaster because that’s just the community that’s been curated over there. Right. Whereas with Lens, I have more flexibility to tap into the element of programmable social right. And cr and create really cool experiences that I otherwise cannot create on Twitter by using smart contracts and token dating and all these really cool primitives to build an audience around to build a collector base around and use Lens in the follower base that I built on Lens or the collector base that I’ve been on, built on Lens to act as a broadcast network accordingly. If I just wanna like mindlessly scroll, I’ll go on. Yep. And see between my writing NFTs between what’s happening on forecaster, on Lens and so on and so forth, if I’m trying to create an event mm-hmm. , right? If I’m trying to create an event, um, either a Twitter space or some sort, and I wanna, I want to gamify engagement, right? And I want to try to bring in more people through that I would use, uh, cyber Connect SL three. Like they each serve their own purpose and in many ways I don’t see them competitive. Right. I see them all complimenting each other, but I know they see each other competitive, right? I don’t know, am I thinking about this wrong?
Nick Hollins: Uh, no, no. I think, yeah, I mean like each of these kind of platforms have their own, uh, culture and, um, communities that, that are there. I agree. Like far Caster feels a little like a, a private Twitter or something like that mm-hmm. and it’s less, it’s less akin to be used as like a broadcast kind of channel. That’s not the space to be broadcasting in feels like mm-hmm. , you know, um, it’s a little more conversational and, and polite, more low key , um, . And, um, you know, with Lens there’s all these like great apps building on the protocol, all these new kinds of potential content experiences and modes of like, you know, minting and collecting and different mechanics that they’re all playing with. So there’s this more kind of creative experimental energy that’s going on there. Uh, lots of interesting opportunities, as you say, to use it as a, as a broadcast space. Um, yeah, definitely. And then, and then, you know, I’m a huge fan of Mira, um, as well and the kind of discovery between all these different, you know, I can be publishing on there, but then I’m also collecting pieces, uh, and stuff and you can kind of, you know, jump on other creators and see what they’ve collected, discover a lot of great work there and stuff like that. Mm-hmm. , um, so yeah. Hu huge fan of that as well.
Building Web3-Native Audiences
I love that. Let’s talk about, um, building web three native audiences. Okay. Um, when you think about, again, the world of program, the, the word programmable social, you think about building, uh, an audience through collectors, right? Where do you think this sort of heads long term? Because we’re no longer building, we’re no, we’re no longer building an audience based off like the follower count. Like quite frankly, our collector count will surpass our follower count. And I feel like it’s more, it’s more lucrative and more valuable long term. Where do you see the future of this heading?
Nick Hollins: Yeah, cuz I mean, UFO launched with this, like we had no existing web two profile or anything like that. We had zero subscribers, um, when we launched in, in September. And then interacting with these various platforms kind of got that early, early ball rolling and, and things. But I, I feel like it’s much more fitting for projects, you know, to essentially be platform less. Like that’s, that’s what it is. Um, and whereas before I keep thinking of the radio station example or something like that, that, or a, you know, a, a Vice Media or Rolling Stone or whatever it is. Okay. They exist across every platform. It’s just a thing like Vice is gonna show up on Instagram and Twitter and YouTube and all, like, it just exists in all these spaces that manifests in, in many different ways. Um, and I, I feel like this is the same thing.
Nick Hollins: Only the new platforms enable, as you mentioned, the sort of like, you know, tokenized social graph, uh, and all that kind of stuff. And it was built on like an open protocol like Lens, for instance. Uh, the mere fact that, you know, I can be posting on lens to, and putting stuff out and then decide to post my first video on Lens Tube and I have all of my followers from that other app or also over here on Lens Tube and stuff like that, and every other app that’s built on Lens. So I think that’s a super, super powerful thing. Um, potentially culturally we’ll see more and more interesting works being done. Um, if there isn’t this sort of, uh, what, what do we say? Curation, borderline censorship of various social platforms or publishing platforms of just like, we’re sorry, we cannot, you know, we cannot have this content on our platform due to our, uh, you know, standards or, uh, corporate relationships or anything like that. Who knows what. Um, but like in this space we kind of, we own, you own your distribution, if you like your connection with these audience members and, and stuff like that. You can reliably reach them, which is kind of the most important part of any media, you know, uh, publication.
Missing Tools for Web3 Creators
Is there any tool that’s missing in your stack as a, as a Crypton native web three native creator?
Nick Hollins: Oh, hmm. Interesting question. Um, I’m sure there’s a bunch there
And I only ask because I often reflect on my operation as a creator, and I think about the way I publish content, the way I tokenize content, how I find my collector base and mm-hmm. , it’s really difficult. Like, it’s really, really challenging to manage all these different platforms, publish across all these different protocols like Mint, make sure you’re relevant, publish your, like, everything. And, and now you’re trying to merge both worlds together. Like the Web two world and the Web three world, it’s very overbearing bearing, and I know you treat your craft full-time. Like I know you’re very good at what you’re, do what you do, you are a full-time creator. So you have insight and a perspective into your operational flow as to as to how you get things done. That many people who, who aren’t in our positions yet, we can share that light with them. Right? So absolutely that tool, that tool, it could be either, um, something that you wish that was automated, something that you wished you could do more of, but you’re restricted mm-hmm. when you think about mm-hmm, that flow of creating content and tokenizing content and doing what you’re doing, do you wish there was something in place that could help amplify what you’re doing today?
Nick Hollins: Yeah, so like o over the past like few months, I guess, like we’ve had ideas for various drops or activations with our community and things like that, whether it’s dropping in a free NFT or a different thing. We did a collaboration with Yep. Uh, like two weeks ago mm-hmm. Or something. Mm-hmm. And dropped this really funky NFT that’s got this sort of like hardware device from a parallel dimension, um, you know, there for like a frequency, uh, receiver, um, sort of thing. But for a lot of these releases, like we’ve had the idea for what it was, but then the platforms didn’t quite allow for that at that point. So we’ve been, um, collaborating with a lot of these teams to kind of, um, you know, encouraged like integrations between some of some of their platforms as well and sort of getting that stuff happening. So that’s been really nice. So we can solve a thing and then do a certain release and then we’re hearing from, um, from Coinbase for instance, or, or others, like, once we did that drop or made that thing work, now a bunch of other creators from Lens also went and did that after the fact, you know, so, uh, I guess we’re helping to solve various of these little tooling things of the ways that we hope they would work, but it doesn’t quite work like that, um, yet cuz it’s, you know, it’s early. So little, little things about how you know collects can work dynamically. Um, different ideas for how collects can work on lens, I think are super powerful. Um, as, as different, different things come on, come on there. But, um, yeah, kind of on the production side, um, I guess we’re building in that direction as well as we intend to like bring the podcast on Shane emitting on Zora. Well then now the episodes will show up on future tape. Um, it’s a really great, uh, project and then potentially we can embed that into the mirror post, you know, and so the kind of the way those things start to flow, like when we started, uh, the first few episodes we just published on Mira hadn’t had a chance to chat with their team yet or anything. Uh, but then when they looped in and, and got in touch, one thing was you couldn’t embed the podcast player on Mira properly at the time. And so they’re like, oh, cool Bubba, like bit of custom code and got that working. And then they said a bunch of other podcasters hit them up like, Hey, how’d they get that m embed working? Or whatever. And they’re like, thanks for that. We shared it with a bunch of people. Like, ah, awesome. Um, so little things like that, like along the way all the, yeah, it’s, the platforms are just being tweaked a bit. Love it. So it just works, works better and better.
Nouns Builder Projects
Amazing. Nick, before we wrap up, um, what’s one thing that’s constantly lingering in your mind that’s new in Web three or that’s different in web three or in crypto that you often think about? Um, anything come to mind?
Nick Hollins: Uh, lately I would say like Nouns Builder projects. Okay. Like, I’m quite, quite interested in, um, I’ve done some episodes, uh, on the show with like a public assembly. Um, uh, she had from Forefront is quite engaged with the nouns type stuff. Raha had a bunch to say about it as well. Uh, had Sesu from Black Hand on a recent episode, uh, as well. So all these nouns builder projects I find really cool and interesting. Various of them that existed before Nouns Builder, but now they’re transitioning into that model. So it’s really interesting to see how those sorts of experiments are, are playing out. I feel like it’s a, it’s a really neat way of creating a doo and then the kind of projects that are picking them up, like what they’re setting out to build and create, I find, you know, really cool. Uh, the park as well. The music music Doo shout out on, on Nouns Builder is amazing. Yeah. Yeah.
I collected one trying to hit the park one Friday. We’ll see if it happens. Really eager to do it. And I’m in LA like I should do it. I think it’s, I’m gonna try to go this Friday. Oh, for sure. We’ll, we’ll see. Um, but Nick, this was amazing. Thank you so much for your time. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and your insights and your learnings. I’m sure we’re gonna look back into this episode that we’re documenting a year from now and be like, wow, look how far you’ve come. This entire journey has come. So yeah, man. Appreciate you. Before I let you go, where can we find you? Where can we learn more?
Nick Hollins: Uh, sure. Um, we’re on, uh, Twitter at UFO Double Underscore Club. Um, is there, uh, ufo club dot lens, ufo.mirror.xyz. In the near future, we’ll have an website all of our own. Um, and I’m on Twitter at Nick underscore Hollands and at Hollands on various web three social apps.
Amazing. Thank you so much. We’ll do this again soon.
Nick Hollins: Yeah. Appreciate the, the invitation, man. Huge Shout out, uh, to everything that you’re doing.