Web3 Galaxy Brain đŸŒŒđŸ§ 

Web3 Galaxy Brain

Nick Hollins and Ivano Salonia of UFO

26 December 2023


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Nicholas: Welcome to Web3 Galaxy Brain. My name is Nicholas. Each week, I sit down with some of the brightest people building Web3 to talk about what they're working on right now. My guests today are Nick Hollins and Ivano Salonia, co-founders of UFO. UFO is an on-chain radio network and a spiritual offspring of indie radio. In this episode, Nick, Ivano, and I discuss the work of creating podcasts that grow on-chain brands and build community. We consider how Web3 communities make use of Web2, how NFT drops create momentum, and how media consumption habits have changed in the last few years. It was great getting to know Nick and Ivano, who are exploring what's possible at the intersection of indie subcultures and the Ethereum ecosystem. I hope you enjoy the show. As always, this show is provided as entertainment and does not constitute legal, financial, or tax advice or any form of endorsement or suggestion. Crypto has risks, and you alone are responsible for doing your research and making your own decisions. So, let's get started. So, Nick, Ivano, welcome to the show. Thanks for coming through.

Nick Hollins: Yeah, this is great. Thanks for the invite. We were talking a while ago to do this, so this is cool. I'm a fan of the show.

Nicholas: Yeah, thanks, thanks. I'm a fan of your show, too, and I think we might do, I don't know what you call it, musical chairs or something. Maybe I'll come on your show soon, too, so that'll be fun. Yeah, definitely. But I'm excited to have you both here. I know, Nick, your background in radio prior to podcasts, right? But, Ivano, I actually don't know much about your background. Maybe each of you could just explain a little bit how you got into the podcasting and the Web3 part of the business. Maybe, Nick, you want to go first?

Nick Hollins: Yeah, I did a bunch of radio stuff back in the day in Australia, sort of the independent music station in the city. Many cities tend to have those, you know. And once I moved out of Sydney, I was kind of getting into the crypto thing at the same time, so I basically created a podcast then as I was going. Yeah. Yeah. So I was kind of entering the space, and it was a good way to talk to people and learn about what was going on. And then flash forward all these years later, and we launched UFO as a new show last year, and we're very much experimenting with all these ideas around on-chain media and Web3 social and, yeah, everything that's going on around the ecosystem. And I met Ivano in, I think, early 2020, and we're working together on a virtual reality summit event. And Ivano comes from an extraordinary, like, design background and stuff in extended realities and all these things, which Amsterdam is a major hub for. But I'll throw to Ivano to kind of share about what he's been working on leading up to us doing UFO.

Ivano Salonia: Yeah, thanks. Thanks, Nick, for the beautiful words. Yeah, my background is in advertising. So I worked for more than 10 years in advertising as an art director. Coming a bit more from... Traditional media, like photography and graphic design and UI, UX. And then, like, since 2018, I'm working in extended reality, so virtual reality, augmented reality. This is a bit my background. I played for many years music in a band, too, when I was back in Italy. Yeah, since 2020, I got to know Nick. In 2020, I guess in 2021, you know, we collaborated on the Artist Collective, Stealing Web 3, and then, yeah, from there on, we kept collaborating and doing stuff together.

Nicholas: Very cool. And Nick, I wanted to know a little bit more about the radio background. So independent radio, I guess podcasts, you know, are kind of a continuation of that spirit. But radio is so much more professional, and there is a professionalism to UFO. I'm curious. I don't know. Can you share? Can you share a little any more about that experience?

Nick Hollins: Yeah, thanks. I appreciate that. I basically, like, I went to journalism school in the mid-2000s kind of thing. So I started in radio in 2007 when I was at university. And the first thing I was doing was, like, talks, news, current affairs, stuff like that, but in the radio format. So I've been reflecting on it lately because I produce and edit a lot of podcasts all the time. And that's what I was first doing all the way back then. You have to research. You have to research for a story in the morning, record some interviews with people and kind of together and go to air late that afternoon. So that kind of format. And then after I've done that for a while, I shifted gears into more music-focused radio shows that I did for a few years. So that was less on the interviewee talky kind of thing. But then, you know, I've always been a huge podcast listener, and I really do enjoy them. So, you know, I also like hosting them. So kind of experience all these conversations and meeting people. And it's pretty surreal. And, like, Nicholas, you've experienced this as well, talking with an astonishing number of people in the run of this show.

Nicholas: Yeah. I mean, it's been like you. I was drawn to do it just to get to meet people and meet all the interesting people and have an excuse to have a more long form conversation than just an intro. But in the end, it's been interesting to be able to create a resource that people find interesting for technical information on subjects they may not know deeply about. But I'm curious, for your show, I mean, I guess UFO is more than just the one show, so I guess maybe pitch to people who aren't familiar. What is UFO Club? Sure.

Nick Hollins: Well, yeah, like UFO launched as the podcast that I host last year, and what we're developing is an on-chain radio network. So more shows are joining over the coming months as we expand out. And we kind of think about it in different ways. It feels like a radio station. But we're also interested in doing magazine-type things and, you know, with what's happening in the community here with projects, kind of like MetaLabel and these various collaborative, collective, people are thinking about art and music and publishing online, like, you know, SongCamp as well. And Matthew's here. Like, all these kinds of things that are happening. So we kind of feel like we're a part of that. And so it's where producing media, like various readers can essentially publish their shows and they can surface in, like. A radio station-type format. And we're also really keen and looking at doing things with music into the new year. So that's the kind of radio station direction that we're headed.

Nicholas: Very cool. But the focus for the UFO show has been kind of Web3 creators. Was that, how would you describe the collection of people who've been guests so far?

Nick Hollins: Yeah, I would say so. A lot of, like, artists and musicians, founders, builders, developers working all across this space. There's been a lot of sort of Meta connections between the people that have come on. Many of them are collaborating on projects together as well. So for sure, it's been mostly, predominantly Web3 focused over the run. And as we've been, like, building and experimenting with UFO, minting things where we're publishing, doing things with Web3 social and things like this, we're kind of documenting our experience with that and recording conversations as we're, like, developing something. So that's been interesting as well.

Nicholas: Do you think that the audience for that show can expand to be more broad than just Web3 focused people?

Nick Hollins: I think definitely with the shows that we have coming on and various things in the future, it won't necessarily be so Web3 focused. There'll be a lot of other things in there, you know, music and art and more general culture type things. That's another reason why I like the model of doing it more like a radio network with different shows and creators. That have different, you know, different focus and themes and ways that they like to make stuff. So I think that sort of diversity, even in where these shows are, like, based in cities around the place, I think will kind of bring, like, a nice variation to what's going on.

Nicholas: More like a, I don't know, vice or something like a culture.

Nick Hollins: Totally. Vice or NPR or NTS or all these various huge media collective type. I mean, it's a lot of different projects, but of course, like, over the last months, we've seen, like, many editorial teams and stuff, like, being downsized at magazines and publications, like, all over the internet. So it's kind of a feisty time, a moment of, like, change and transition. Like, what happens when it's all algorithmically driven curation instead of, like, people actually writing pieces and raising things? And so, yeah, it feels like we're in a transition moment.

Nicholas: Yeah, I feel like one of the values of having a human society. Assembling point, a shelling point is the possibility to meet other people. Of course, algorithms can sort things, but there's kind of like a, I don't know, the possibility to meet someone who's a peer seems easier in a curated context that has a kind of branded experience to it where you know there's going to be other people of like minds. I guess that's part of the motivation.

Nick Hollins: Yeah, I mean, we are experimenting with that, too. Like, we have a thing called the green room. It's like. An invitation that goes out to guests who come on my show, friends, collaborators, people joining the network and whatnot. But it's, you know, it's another thing that you can go and meet somewhere to join that particular group. So I guess that's kind of how we're organizing the assembly of this network and who's here and doing things. But, you know, that's something neat that we're playing with. Me and Ivano are both members in base management as well. This sort of fun group is going on. I'm guessing that you've seen this.

Nicholas: I have seen it, but I haven't. What is it?

Nick Hollins: I would say it's a collective. It was founded by Light and Layton. And, you know, they've been like have that NFC during on-chain summer with base, like base and early. If you recall, it's the kind of 60s pop art style thing. And so and he writes like prodigiously on mirror as well. Many blog posts and things. And so base management kind of sprung up from their explorations with those sorts of ideas. It's been interesting that they've kind of they use nouns. Nouns builder, I think, and pre-minted like 100 tokens or whatever it was. And then the idea was people could come along, mint things, create pieces that were kind of in this base management world or brand world, I suppose, and come. And if you've got a certain number of minutes, like 500 or something, as a base management intern, you would get like a member pass and then join and become part of this collective. So it's a super interesting experiment. One of like many, many examples of that. Kinds of these like creative collectives or project based groups that they can spin up.

Nicholas: And it's kind of connected to base the chain.

Nick Hollins: Yes, I think like some of the folks like Jesse and the other base folks are also involved or, you know, playing around with base management as well.

Nicholas: It's like a mix between a DAO and like a augmented reality game happening on-chain.

Nick Hollins: Yeah, I think a metagame has done well. Mm-hmm.

Nicholas: I guess the biggest question I have for you about UFO and especially as you're talking about putting out other shows, maybe music stuff or expanding the kind of people that you're talking to on the existing podcast is, do you imagine, I don't know, let's say five years from now or gosh, even 10 years from now, that crypto culture will have grown primarily or Web2 culture will have some crypto rails underneath it?

Nick Hollins: Interesting question. I suppose both will be happening.

Nicholas: Yeah, I think that's right.

Nick Hollins: Yeah, the kind of the incumbent huge global brands and everything are already making moves into doing blockchain type things and playing with these tools. And I talk with people, I would say this is like one of the biggest topics on the podcast that I've been doing over the last while. is this question of like, will this space grow? Will it remain like very niche? But even if it's a niche site. If that's such a small base now, you think like the global internet potential audience, I feel like as these sort of Web3 tools and on-chain media or art or all these things, as these ideas propagate, I imagine it could start to look like when SoundCloud showed up or Bandcamp or things like this in the past or YouTube, like it just kind of reaches people. But at the same time, I don't know if there's any hope or resistance to like TikTok and the domination of things like that on the internet, you know? So it's always. It's always going to be a bit of a alternate railer experience.

Nicholas: So simultaneously, maybe the subculture of crypto natives, while the mainstream cultures, maybe if they find use, adopt some crypto tech.

Nick Hollins: Yeah. And it's like they'll be obfuscating the tech and making it so people don't even feel like they need to have a wallet or do any of these things. But it's interesting that they're still choosing to build with like blockchain technology, even though they're not making full use. Of this in terms of, you know, how crypto people would would see it, that's almost like another thing for them to build on top of like an Amazon Web service or, you know, whatever, you know what I mean?

Nicholas: Are there brands that come to mind for you?

Nick Hollins: All those like Nike. Dot whoosh doing that thing. So the major fashion brands are doing this kind of stuff to like have on it. I would I would say to you, like, yeah, I mean, like this, like already.

Ivano Salonia: Several brands, they're experimenting, you know, like Nike and Adidas, too. And I wanted to go back to your questions like, oh, what is going to happen in five, 10 years? I think like certain things will stay the same. I mean, if you if you look at the creator point of view, I mean, if you're a musician, you make music. If you do art, you do art. So that will stay awfully the same. But the promise of WebTree. Tools is like creators will go out of this creator economy with everything that is encompassed in that the idea of pleasing the algorithm, eventually that will go away. And I think there will be like different strategy to connect with audience, both from brand side and art side. So eventually I can see like. Big number of artists and brand just jumping on board and coming up also with different strategy of how to engage, you know, engagement with audience will be deeply different. And I think like this is what we can expect is like changing strategy and then an adoption to what I tell me more about this, because it seems right now like the TikTok strategy remains dominant.

Nicholas: You're kind of seeking to get this kind of top of funnel viral hits. And then maybe. Convert them into, I don't know, YouTube subscribers or something, or eventually podcast subscribers. Why do you think that would change?

Ivano Salonia: I mean, this is just like my, I don't know, I don't even know if it's going to be like this, but I think it will grow in in depth. You know, I think like now we can see numbers, you know, like we know how many followers do we have? You know, it's easy to count numbers, but you don't you don't know how deep this connection truly are. And I can imagine there will be a lot of artists and emerging artists. They don't need a million or two million listed on Spotify. They might need, you know, like a really big, big fund, maybe like ten thousand. And that would be enough for them to produce the art. So I think that would be like creating like micro niche and I guess a lot of diversity in them in the spectrum of what they're doing. But it's music and art.

Nicholas: And do you think that's possible with crypto because you can more easily monetize a small audience with crypto?

Ivano Salonia: Yes. And also you can you can retain the relationship you create with them. So the relationship is not tied to a platform like Instagram or Facebook or TikTok, but it would be with you. So I think that will will open a conversation that is a bit more long lasting.

Nicholas: How do you think people maintain? This conversation now or how are you doing it for UFO, for example?

Ivano Salonia: Maybe I can say, but like for me, like talking with Nick, Nick is a is a is a master in this. I mean, we are we are creating different different stages where people can enter UFO in different in different level, you know, like doing sort of like token gate token gate content is one of it. in the future will be like the possibility. Of becoming a creator, a contributor. And so this is what we what we have in mind. But I'm sure like Nick can explain this way better than me. I'm blushing.

Nicholas: Yeah, Nick, go for it.

Nick Hollins: Yeah, sorry. How are you framing that question again?

Nicholas: Just how? you know, there's this premise that in Web three people will have creators will have a more direct connection with their public than than in Web two structures. But you're kind of. Out in the forefront of experimenting with this stuff. So I'm curious, in what ways are you having success doing that or making attempts that aren't fully achieving it? What's what's the state of the art? And is there really evidence that actually Web three does permit a more direct relationship than something like just an Instagram influencer might have as they try and do like a multi network relationship with their their their public?

Nick Hollins: Yeah, I mean, like there's. there was a story a few years ago, I think it was someone like booked a music festival based on people having. Millions of Spotify streams, you know what I mean? Like, that's how they went and booked it. But then it turned out that there were songs that have been playlisted into things that play into shopping centers and malls or just background music. They didn't have like actual real fans that were. that were about that thing. I had a conversation with Adam Levy from Mint podcast about a week ago for UFO like that. It's not out just yet, but he's also like a very creative thinker. Like in these realms of like experimenting with the ways that he's like putting out his podcast or minting content and things like that, how he's also built an audience, like an email subscriber base and things like that, which we've also done at UFOs. So like me and Adam have had conversations over the last year, like both been experimenting in different ways. I would say many of these things are sort of new and early. I think it is interesting when you can have certain releases like song. You can do this, for example, it's like once a bunch of people have collected C4 in the blank CDs and these records and stuff, that's now like essentially a tokenized audience or a community of like holders that you can now potentially distribute future music to all these kinds of things. So it sort of becomes this immediate exchange point or something connection between wallets that enables a bunch of things. And I'm not sure there's been like a huge media publication. Or an organization that's really done this at a huge level, like the closest I could think of might be like crypto games and things like that, that have many, many players and whatnot. But yeah, I'd say we're still early in terms of these things, but it's seemed to be quite an interesting way to like put media out. Like we've picked up a lot of listeners from doing it in this way, just sort of experimenting and who knows.

Nicholas: Experimenting with what kinds of things? What kinds of experiments? Have you been pulling off?

Nick Hollins: We'll say like, just like minting podcasts on Zora, for example, and then you can have all the episodes of token one, two, three, four, five, like whatever. And then we will also publish on Mira and blog posts to kind of reflect that and then distributing on Web3 social and into various places. So, yeah, things like that and integrations between various apps and products and stuff have also been interesting ways to do things like we have the FM2. Yeah. Maybe two months ago during on-chain summer with base. We were collaborating with Bonfire for this release. And we made like a design that looks like a pile of concert tickets from like the 60s, those kind of monochromatic looking things and just putting that out. And of course, it was amplified by base and by Bonfire and all this. But it had, I think, close to 9000 minutes in a few days. just as like a free collect type thing. but now we're using that as an experiment to then put on like in-person music events or various things record that content and then we can kind of you know relate with this event for audience of collectors.

Nicholas: so basically like building a community slowly or maybe not slowly but building a community through on-chain experiments where people can engage for low risk uh kind of prices but stay involved and maybe see that you're still active through things like interface and lens and other networks.

Nick Hollins: yeah yeah i think the way that the on-chain media thing works in terms of distribution seems really efficient. you know you can have five or six different shows all minting their own contract and then you're surfacing it through the front end of a website. um the fact that it does just show up you know it's like interface and surreal uh and things uh is also indicative of where these things are going to go and i imagine in combination with lens protocol and farcaster and all these things together i think 2024 those sorts of product experiences are moving.

Nicholas: so we're talking primarily about talking to this kind of web3 native audience who are sort of passively consuming algorithmically curated or blockchain transaction based content signals like interface surreal these kinds of things. so it's very much in the pocket of this web3. um culture fan like these are not. it's not. it's not the trading audience really and it's not web2 people it's really this kind of i don't know we need a term for this zora mirror interface etc.

Nick Hollins: this kind of like zora zora and meta label type people.

Nicholas: hmm

Nick Hollins: i think like all these legends making these like huge uh collaborative physical zines through metal label like quality releases or quality drops sorry um yeah i think and and like song camp as well as always such a good example um c club as well you know these like big collaborative releases that are kind of like events and things and like even like metal label on its own and the series they had over the last year with what must have been like 20 releases or something. um it was pretty extraordinary.

Nicholas: so so it seems like very like web3. native audience is very important to the nexus of all these different projects.

Nick Hollins: uh yes yes i think so. um and i mean like another example of like boys club which was put out the second edition of brazilian yesterday or today. um but i think projects like that are doing a great job of interfacing with people that aren't in the space yet and created that kind of welcoming welcoming vibe. um i suppose there's a bit of um education and communication that kind of needs to go on for people to uh get started and involved and happening. and um interesting like looking at the states as well like crypto is kind of a hot button issue over the last year or two. um it's probably.

Nicholas: it's probably fair to say yeah not uh not in the best graces currently or i guess it's recovering now that the price is recovering people's opinion is recovering incompetently yeah and everyone's gone home for thanksgiving.

Nick Hollins: and the old thing of uh your uh your family member asking you if you're still doing stuff with with bitcoin.

Nicholas: yeah how's how's that crypto going? yeah christmas coming up yeah for sure. um i'm curious. you know i i see things like you mentioned the um zora mints um and there's a pattern recognition also i think kind of in my mind pioneered that. i don't know if there were. there were probably others before. that was rehash also in a different kind of direction um but especially around the idea of like nfts that you can listen to and discover through something like interface. i wonder i've always been a little bit skeptical that people actually listen there. but it seems to me like it's mainly for brand building and recognition top of mindness to get people to subscribe in some more traditional podcast app. is that your impression or how do you think about it?

Nick Hollins: i think it's everything all at once everything everywhere a little bit. it's kind of you're you're still playing the the web to trying to build an audience game on on those various apps and things. uh you have your website you have your social stuff. that's going out. i guess social media is less and less effective. all these platforms are not? you know i i follow things on on twitter but i never see any posts from them. whatever's going on with that? um so i think it's everything at once. but you're right that i don't think there's uh analytics that are going to be able to do it for the for plays on you know zora nfds and things um. but so i guess it's sort of a new matrix around how many people have collected it and all these things in terms of social on-chain discovery and things like. you know if you're on the interface or apps like that and you know you follow your friend on chain and then he collects something like a ufo episode that's gone out and things like that. i think that's super neat that it's that sort of social peer-to-peer type discovery of content and i think that's super neat that it's that sort of content um which if you're around for original early facebook when you know you remember the daily feed on facebook like 15 years ago or whatever it was and people were very much just sharing like youtube videos or songs that they were into or that and that was kind of your creation feed um back in those days. but of course we're nowhere near that uh anymore.

Nicholas: i guess it was in the period maybe before smartphones were so dominant that it was like desktop facebook. yeah desktop based where you're not sharing content you're creating as much unless it's text.

Nick Hollins: yeah i also think like some of this zora stuff reminds me of like myspace and other earlier internet times and uh you know like the zora.co update this is the last couple of days it's sort of like turned into a social network looking interface.

Nicholas: yeah instagram kind of right or tumblr.

Nick Hollins: yeah i'm interested in this. like leaning into it's there. you can mint it but also you can comment and like like and share and and whatnot. i think that's interesting that that's coming into the.

Nicholas: are those? my impression was that those were like mint with comment but i haven't actually gone through the flow.

Nick Hollins: i think i think it is me with comment.

Nicholas: yeah so it's they're on chain interactions and even the data is stored on on the zora roll up. i guess yes yeah it is interesting. i mean people have been trying things like that or saying that that's what should happen for the longest time but no one has cracked it. and now zora's coming at it from almost the sort of walking backwards into it from having a good minting product that's popular into collecting them. i know they tried a tiktok kind of design originally trying a bunch of different things. i i'll be curious to see but i think it's very difficult to get people to form a habit around a new instagram like experience. so it'll be interesting to see if the mint possibility especially because my impression is that there's not a lot of uh or people are not primarily minting open editions for the secondary activity. it's not primarily if it's speculation it's airdrop speculation not flipping speculation yeah. and so it'll be interesting to see if people form habits around checking something like that. i feel that's kind of the the deciding factor.

Nick Hollins: i agree i i think interesting with like pieces of media like that and it's like minting is the new life or collect that's more of a social type thing. but then potentially uh a project like ufo or others like maybe you have media that's going out like that. it's sort of you know it's like the network stream type thing. but every now and then you have like a major release of some kind or more of an event or an event that's going to be happening. um which can be you know a different mechanic. but it also reminds me of the uh the article from paradigm i believe um the casino on mars. um i was having a conversation with a rapper from folklore and jihad from forefront a couple weeks ago and we're discussing that article as well and it's talking about like crypto as this early sort of you know settler ragtag kind of and it's like settling a new planet. it's like the kind of the wild west and or like going going west and a gold rush and stuff like this. and so things are going to be messy and breaking and they're a bit crazy and everything and the characters that are there often are a bit more resilient or just willing to put up with the fact that various of these web3 tools haven't been functional or working so well over previous years and stuff right. but i found that article like super interesting looking about uh sorry looking at things like you know early mincing and on chain media and these open collects and whatnot. um i mean yeah zora also just released the little like white boxes of just text um as a new sort of thing. i think that's interesting like a few people have already picked it up and started like posting each day and stuff which is cool. um and like yeah myself and ivana i think like a couple weeks or the week before but we were jamming on various ideas of like. i would be interesting to like min's uh pdfs or written documents and things like that with like a collective of of people and experiment with publishing and then like zora just dropped that thing which is very very on that sort of idea i think like text-based little block communication.

Nicholas: yeah for sure i i in my mind i we always. just come back to this question to me which is does the web3 culture grow because it's so natural to talk to the ct whatever for lack of a better you know this kind of native audience or you know obviously like in terms of financial compensation uh someone like with an i don't know who is it logan paul jake paul whichever one did those horrible pokemon nfts you know they probably made way more money than collectively every little creator on zora has made so far with like one week of bull market converting their web2 audience to web3. so it does kind of i i just i just get curious about this. i guess it doesn't make sense especially for things you know with my podcast too it's very web3 centric. um yeah but it sort of once the technology is ready maybe it will just be someone who has a much more uh mainstream marketable uh content angle that ends up being more dominant within the space. maybe it doesn't matter maybe the relative position doesn't matter. i don't do you think about that at all? do you think about going more mainstream?

Nick Hollins: yeah i mean to be honest like as we think about creating a radio station. it doesn't you know. it doesn't seem like it needs to be bound to the crypto realm. uh necessarily um. but yeah i do think about this stuff. like the joke is if taylor swift like drops a record nft it'll just onboard like 50 million people in a day. um you know. so i i don't know if you would call that like black swan future crypto onboarding moments. that just like things just really take off. maybe it looks like game stop or something like if people are making money and there's a financial speculation things start to ramp up again dogecoin pumping or whatever it is. uh in a couple years from now. but yeah i'm definitely curious of whether you know it'll become really common. day-to-day everybody has a crypto app on their phone they have tokens they have nfts like they're experiencing media. uh you know on-chain media through their phone. uh and lots of people doing that. it's sort of. it sounds a little outlandish to say it now but it might turn out to be exactly what happened.

Nicholas: yeah i don't know. go for it.

Ivano Salonia: yeah no i just also wanted to say that i mean we've been building uh building in in the bear market which gave us like this peace of mind or just thinking about like which kind of mechanic can be implemented in things just like theorizing on things. so this is something that is actually very. it was very good for us because we we didn't get the pressure of meeting a certain number of audience or whatever. we know that the space at the moment is very very small. there's a very few people active right now and this is the best situation where you can just experiment with few numbers and eventually in a couple of years or or less you will see if this experiment are going to are going to last. you know also like. if you think like till last year if you'd make us the question oh what are you doing or like? we wouldn't know. it's like the space is changing so fast that at the moment what we can do is just trying an error. you know like also the idea coming back to zora and the idea that you can comment on something that's really nice. like over there. you have like a tool for signaling that is very different from. you know 100 000 likes on instagram and you know 250 000 of comments. it doesn't matter you know you need to mean to to comment. so i think it's it will be interesting to see people how they want this day to signal their on-chain activity and eventually build a kind of web tree crypto reputation to to access to different groups. and i start to think about like tribalism at the sociological level. it would be just amazing to see what's going to happen but it's very hard to predict.

Nicholas: to be honest yeah i guess one reason it's very different is to think that regular people would pay a dollar to like something or to put a comment. in a web 2 context this is like dead on arrival. so it seems to me very different. one is an ideologically motivated audience who are a part of a niche community where they're willing where members are willing to do this kind of uh financial labor and attention labor to something that has a less uh popular uh set of brands versus like a the complete opposite where it's really feeding a non-ideological almost like a reptilian brain. uh functions uh rather than uh some kind of like. you know there are social connections and in web 2 too obviously but it seems to me like they're actually quite different audiences. so i'm curious about about this.

Nick Hollins: but uh definitely different audiences. but i feel like it's the the same sorts of people who previously would have been like buying friends records on on bandcamp or subscribing to sub stack newsletters and things like. um i don't know. i mean for those of us who've been around even back in the blog era i think it's called now um from between then and now i remember there was an article like pointing out between you know i don't know 2011 2016 something like this um that you had all these like pc funded companies that were sponsoring all the podcasts. back then it was like uh blue apron and some kind of mattress company and yeah squarespace like all these things. and then there was an article showing that you know there were various um. like because of the vc funding they're just pushing for growth. so they're offering all these deals like uh all these sorts of things. and so the people that were in that early like podcast time and listening to all those things their life was supplemented and augmented by the funding that was going through these shows. but then when all those shows went away it's kind of in in relation to the cost of living. this is like a very niche side thing i'm talking about here. but um yeah just a weird a weird sort of freakonomics type story.

Nicholas: is it just how vc subsidy created the disability? yeah i mean you see it all the time

Nick Hollins: um but yeah i guess we're talking more about the kind of the subscriber behavior and stuff with people being like yes like i appreciate this newsletter i read it every day yes i'll give you five dollars a month or whatever. um and so you know various of these projects that are transitioning over into web3 some of them and then experimenting with. that i think is interesting um but many folks are you know still on sub stack and all these things and i'm pretty sure you can't lift your emails from there right like they're kind of locked into the platform. or and can you export them?

Nicholas: i assumed you could export them but i i don't know. uh actually yeah yeah i think patreon is another one that's kind of like that right right and to me it's along with sort of only fans gum road. um there's a bunch of these kind of uh creator direct creator monetization things and then there's also all the sort of merch uh stuff that creators do if they have more youtube audience or something like that.

Nick Hollins: yeah totally.

Nicholas: and then there's branded stuff and then i think the sponsors have largely moved to a kind of shotgun approach where they just do promo codes and then they compensate people based on fulfillment like conversions via a promo code. so they don't need to be as specific about choosing. i mean maybe ivano you know more about this given your background in advertising.

Ivano Salonia: uh yeah i mean i left advertising a bit ago and i i wasn't too much in this marketing side. but uh talking about it it's it's insane like i'm not sure how much money is pushed right now into advertising and that is basically creating banners that bother us so you know to create ads that interrupt us to watching uh kitties on uh on youtube. i think this model is proven. that is wrong and and i can see that uh this is going to change. that needs to change because uh interrupting any experience to shout out your name i don't think is the is the way to go. and if you look at the conversion rate of of banners are stupid i i it could be like 0.01 percent so a lot of money is being thrown away. i think also this could be like the opportunity for brands to redirect that money into new form of advertising. i think that is going to happen for sure because brands since ever they've been pushing so much funds into putting their name out and if they can do it in a less annoying way i'm pretty sure it's going to be a positive outcome.

Nicholas: i guess it's sort of easy for them to do things like allocate uh funds to something like a facebook advertising platform or maybe i guess spotify for programmatic insertion and podcasts rather than establishing some unique a branding. you know like uh it's harder to be red bull or the intel yeah creative thing they were doing years ago than to do something to just buy some ads on spotify on joe rogan's show of course and you know like we have to i mean like um.

Ivano Salonia: advertising is changing quite a lot and you know in the past years what we've seen is target advertising. you know like the idea of that you can show up on a specific incredibly incredibly specific target audience and um but that's part of the algorithm. um i i dream and again we we don't know what's going to happen in the future but i dream about um a different way of of engaging and putting your your things in there and an example also is with them with the you know brandy or with sorry fashion industry. i mean i can imagine easily that um you know webtree tooling could uh could potentially work with um. i don't know a subscription-based kind of um relationship where you know like i buy 10 items from you per year and i don't own it i'm just renting it out and i can give it to you back. because like this we are starting to to become even more eco-sustainable. and i mean you know what nike creates. it's not mine it's nike. so when it's gone thrown away it's of the of the user is the responsibility of the actual brand so that to trash or to recycle what they produce. so i think like i'm super excited for the future and i'm pretty sure we will see different kind of behaviors that brands will adopt into advertising and also in the in their own um friction with the users.

Nicholas: yeah one aspect of this that is interesting and it reminds me a little bit of the apple iphone upgrade program where you always get a new iphone every year and i guess apple just deals with whatever the old iphone is. maybe if someone returns their phone or has a problem it's a refurb one or something. but i i feel that the um people really haven't understood yet that um people younger than us the absolute youngest generation who lived through covid in high school or elementary school really spend almost all of their time online. i think older people can't have trouble understanding that. i was reading. i think it was a pew uh research study talking about how much time uh teenagers these days are spending on youtube and online on their phone in general and one of the measures is like a self-declared uh category is uh nearly constantly. they don't even measure hours. they just say like i'm it's youtube i think is becoming more like a radio was for a prior generation like background noise a kind of parasocial sustained parasocial relationship rather than uh on demand. um do you relate to that at all? or how do you think about changes in behavior of people consuming content?

Ivano Salonia: i'm not sure. i mean i resonate with this idea of youtube being a background background noise. um i mean to be honest it's it's a wild. uh it's a wild guess. it's uh. uh like it's in a generation time people will will uh will use technology. we we struggle we will struggle to understand and i mean and by my experience it's very hard to predict technology and adoption and what people actually do because uh people are very um hard to predict in a way especially when it comes to to new technology. so i have no idea here.

Nicholas: i found the.

Ivano Salonia: i'm sorry about that.

Nicholas: that's okay. i found the study and i'll put the link in the show notes but it's a 2022 pew research study and it says uh 19 of teens in us according to their survey. i'm not sure exactly how many people they surveyed but 13 to 17 years old. 19 say they're almost constantly on youtube. 16 say almost constantly on tiktok. i feel that's like a step change in what the user behavior is. it's it's no longer i like joe rogan's show it's something more. it's like i'm constantly listening to clips of joe rogan or whatever youtube is pushing at me and i never turn it off.

Nick Hollins: yeah it's total immersion and essentially the matrix. yeah it's it's not ready player one just yet although ivano and his friends are working on things like that. um but so you know metaverse was a huge thing a few years ago or that you know that that's home or that sense that this shift was coming in and facebook's trying to make all these like vr sort of experiences and uh calls and and whatnot. uh a thing. but it doesn't have to be that it's just that you have your phone constantly and you're watching youtube constantly and like if you're ever i've noticed like it used to be like in your youtube. it was kind of more showing me things related to my email address and whatnot that you know i'll watch like skateboarding or music or things like this. but like if you're ever logged out of youtube and you just go to the home page there's just the wild stuff that's there like. i don't know what the deal is or why that kind of content like rises to the top on youtube the kind of really sort of wide-eyed crazy youtube host who's showing you this stuff and like for all of that content to be like beamed into like young people and kids and teenagers and stuff like when i was coming up it would be like stuff on youtube or you know it was a little. it wasn't just literally any. any maniac on the internet can put stuff out right. it was more of a. so i think this also like uh it's not interesting ideas of like. we no longer live in the same reality. we don't share the same facts or experience in any way. we all live in our little information bubble and the things that we've been shown and experienced like who knows what 14 and 15 15 year olds are watching on youtube? i can't imagine right?

Nicholas: i imagine it's a lot of minecraft and things but um yeah probably streamers and things but also drama you know rich kids in la pretending to be happy uh all kinds of comedians.

Nick Hollins: i'm very much not in the tiktok and instagram worlds um and thankfully it was up to the age that i didn't. you know that wasn't happening um when i was in high school and things. so uh grateful for that. but you know you look at like the u.s is in another political cycle. uh and i think it's one thing that also struck me in the tv shows was that like some of the like the elements that i had like like that were happening like in real life. so it was to have a very particular place in the world where people were watching and um that's the kind of like the the trouble that i've experienced that i don't know where i've seen people have really like the the oppressive and um people that i've seen. if you're on online I mean the whole whatever media and information environment that we're in is kind of a bit chaotic and confusing and is the matrix. in a way it's like the running program like this is. this is the the values of our society. this is what we believe in. these are the things that we value and put attention on and so on and so on right and that used to 20 years ago. that was just on television and you know front pages and newspapers and and whatever. but now it's like it's the physical and mental reality that you're completely immersed in on your phone or on devices and stuff. so i don't know.

Ivano Salonia: yeah yeah yeah i just wanted to add that i like to think that our generation still didn't figure it out how to use technology. you know like we're counting like we are counting like hours we spend online on our phone. you know like we are clearly fucking it up like it's not the way i want to believe like future generation will understand what will be a better a better balance. um especially when it comes before we were told you were mentioned. uh metaverse you know for me when i when i listened to metaverse i i think okay yeah this this was going to be social media. and and to the questions like how many hours people will spend in there to be honest i think people will spend the entire time or better their avatar will be constant constantly on the metaverse present even without the presence of the of the actual um owner. uh and and again like i dream that people like the future generation will understand to balance a bit better this online offline um time and clearly our generation didn't didn't manage. so hopefully their avatar ai driven avatar will spend 24 7 in there so they they don't need to you know so so they can spend time living in the in the actual reality.

Nicholas: that's an interesting idea. um i mean i feel that uh we got to these things first and then the we had no parents no older generation to teach us how to use these things and in fact they learned maybe 10 15 20 years later. and i don't know i don't know i don't know i don't know i don't know i don't know i don't know. i think the like american political divide for example is a symptom of their inability to cope with algorithmic news. uh any better than us and potentially even substantially worse. but people talk a lot about young the young generation being more interested in maybe even preserving their privacy. uh that some people who are i don't know what they would call gen alpha gen z i don't really put too much stock in these terms. but uh sort of today's teenagers that are more interested. i've heard that said in uh private group communication small like less public facing like a kind of uh mr beast post mr beast skepticism of the the public spectacle at least among some uh niche. uh. do you notice that you think that's true or do you have any thoughts on that?

Nick Hollins: yeah i mean i don't know what the numbers are uh or anything. but because i mean you know ttop is the biggest app on the planet and it's you have an enormous uh look on the web. it's uh. it's like a And it's like a privacy and data nightmare, of course, as most of the major apps are. So to an extent, like people are signing away a lot of stuff in the way that they use that. But that's interesting to hear. if young people are like, you know, kind of masking how they present themselves or having a digital avatar or some other thing or just, you know, like Matthew's here with the CD as his profile picture. I think everybody on this call right now has the digital profile picture. So that's interesting. I don't know. I mean, it's even in terms of like how much you're showing on these apps and whatever. And like many, many people seem to be making dancing videos all the time and stuff. I forget who I was talking to, though, there was this notion of, I think maybe it was Rafa, but about how people are now more willing to make a fool of themselves potentially in the physical world, like someone making a dance video in the subway in New York But they don't care about that because they're actually producing stuff for this digital world, right? So it's like, I will risk being embarrassed on this frame because the video is more valuable so I can put that out to my audience. So it's like people are producing stuff in this physical realm to then essentially beam it into this like digital parallel realm of existence. I find that quite interesting. But yeah, the privacy stuff, I don't know. I would hope that things would go that way because it's underrated. how if you open Instagram, and you've just been talking out loud about a thing like, my pillow isn't so good or something, and then it will show you ads for pillows really quickly, that's underrated. how crazy that is and how kind of, I mean, what are you going to do? So I wouldn't be surprised if people are also going to essentially like concede to various of these data-driven potential overreach type stuff because it's just kind of what it is. It's the matrix.

Nicholas: Yeah, I think the... I tend to think that people want to believe that one or the other thing will happen, but often like an extreme shift in one direction also brings about an extreme shift in its opposite complement. So for me, this was working in a university, doing research into like experimental social network stuff a couple of years ago, talking to theater students who were very skeptical and were saying, I'm trying to use my phone less. And it sort of synthesized for me like, oh yes, I'm going to use it more. And most people are going to use digital experience and be more embedded in digital experience. And at the same time, there will be an increasingly acute interest in disconnection and it won't be one or the other. It'll actually be both. And the more that the one becomes popular, the more that its complement becomes popular also, at least as a subcultural reaction. So the private, it does kind of make sense that as people, like people in tech often complain that the number one most desired job for really a long time, they're kind of late to realizing it, has been to become a YouTuber. And they complain that it's not as ambitious as being an astronaut or whatnot. But if you're empathetic with young people, it's obvious why. I mean, it's a huge leverage position to be an influencer. People are throwing stuff and money at you. You're well-known and potentially loved versus, I don't know, becoming an astronaut sounds grueling and dangerous and embedded in lots of, large institutions with tons of requirements. It's not as attractive to young people. It's understandable why.

Nick Hollins: Yeah, I hear astronauts really about who, you know, really helps to get up to space, I think. There's a little bit of that. But yeah, it's like we're so far down the road with these things. It was, I think the late 90s, or when would it have been even the early 90s, but when reality TV starts becoming a thing. But I think that was really happening in the early 2000s. And so you have people trying to get, you know, on a Big Brother show or America's Got Talent or those sorts of things. They kind of have their moment. Of course, like Ricky Gervais and Steve Merchant made The Office, like a self-aware TV show. It's like a...

Nicholas: They had a great indie radio show too on XFM.

Nick Hollins: Oh, yeah, totally. Yeah, I've listened to so much of that. And like the Ricky Gervais show, Carl Filkington, it's amazing.

Nicholas: But the XFM show, I think, it reminds me, it's what I thought of when you said indie radio.

Nick Hollins: Oh, for sure. For sure, yeah.

Nicholas: And look how creatively productive that was. I mean, it led to not only all of Carl Filkington's career, but also the great podcast, which was, I think at the time, the biggest podcast.

Nick Hollins: Oh, for sure. I think it was like 2006. I was listening to that on like an iPod shuffle. It was like very early podcast times. I think Joe Rogan was already live by then, apparently.

Nicholas: It was before Ricky Gervais jumped the shark. Yes.

Nick Hollins: When was that?

Nicholas: The Oscars, I think, or whatever it was. Yeah, to me, it's like.

Nick Hollins: The XFM show is so good. And I wonder if that's a British thing. Like the Mighty Boosh started out as a radio show as well. Like many things, like Doctor Who, all that stuff. But yeah, the XFM show was amazing.

Nicholas: There's a few different threads I want to pull on here. First, I'm kind of fascinated by the YouTube automation people and thinking about, about sort of industrial social media. It's maybe a cottage industry and not industrial in a sense that there's a lot of independent actors who have very small teams, but they are producing an industrial quantity of social media content. And especially as a podcaster, and maybe you relate to this also, it's become clear to me over the last, I guess, six months that producing video podcasts is just way more efficient for distribution. Do you ever think about video? And do you ever think about things like the clipping, industrial complex, et cetera?

Nick Hollins: Yeah, the clipping complex. Yeah, for my show, I don't record video.

Nicholas: Me neither, obviously.

Nick Hollins: Yeah, I like the audio, audio only radio vibe. And pretty much everyone who comes on is like super into that. Like, I think it's easier to have conversations without the visual component. But I don't think it's that easy. It's totally true as well, I guess. It produces a lot more media if you do video. And, you know, as far as like the UFO network, the shows that are coming in, I think some of them will do video things. And me and Ivano are here in this studio jamming on ideas, thinking about like UFO potentially is a bit of a magazine in all sorts of reality, but we're kind of capturing bits of it in how we're like publishing and designing things. So even though we record audio only, there are ways that you can publish things like that, quite nicely and creatively as well. So I like audio and text-based things. Yeah.

Nicholas: So not driven too much by the distribution potential in the moment, but more by the kind of vibe that you're looking to achieve. Totally. It sounds like community is much more important to you than like influence in the influencer sense of the term.

Nick Hollins: Yeah. Yeah, that's fair. Like of all the people that have come on the show and this kind of community has, that formed itself. Like I was talking to Light the other day and he was just observing like a lot of the people that are collaborating with UFO and other projects that are around in this ecosystem. It's a lot of people that have been building all the way through the bear market and stuff and getting into various new experiments or people who've been interested in minting things and these various like collectives that have formed and all this kind of stuff. So I think we're creating a radio station that is quite a social community. It's a community type thing. That's what I've experienced in the past. I don't know. I think it's just the nature of it. You know, it's like people coming together to do a thing and then, yeah, it doesn't take many people really.

Nicholas: Yeah. Oh, Ivano, you want to jump in? Yeah.

Ivano Salonia: I mean, like, I think like. I just wanted to add that we are really trying to rely on organic growth. You know, I don't think we've ever been too far from having just like thousands and thousands of followers that we don't really know or we don't vibe with. And because the web tree scene is so open and that we feel that what we're trying to do is trying to have like a bit of a crew, friends, that vibe with what we vibe to. And they are their own little... little edge to it. So I guess like for us, we're trying to be relevant, very relevant for certain kind of people than being just open mainstream.

Nick Hollins: Yeah, I think on that as well, like because it is this meta-labelly collective type approach, like we don't feel bound to crypto per se. I'm not sure we have any. those that we're doing that are... that are like crypto trading or price or that... even that kind of degen side of things, really. Something like that could happen. But I don't know, like, to be honest, like we're building this like any other sort of media type thing. And 10 years ago, we would have been doing it in Web 2.0 by ways. But now there's just a little bit of these other elements at play. But ultimately, you know, the path is fairly simple. Like you're just trying to get more and more listeners engaged. We're the radio station and more and more music flowing through it and all that kind of stuff. We're just sort of trying to kick off that little dynamo of energy. And I feel positive that we'll reach a larger audience into the future with various experiments and things that we'll be doing. But yeah, we don't... to be honest, like, yeah, we don't do the pump out a hundred pieces of content every single day, but there may well be people joining the UFO Network. I can totally do things like that. So I think it's going to be everything, everything all at once, really, you know, everyone producing a little bit will create a lot.

Nicholas: And what's the pitch to those people? Why should they join the UFO Collective?

Nick Hollins: Well, I guess a few people already are. They see like a resonance of like dead ideas and whatnot. And like, and to be clear, like we're not at this stage, like creating a platform for everyone to come and do stuff, we're actually taking things quite slow. Slowly, there's a few shows that are joining and all that kind of stuff. And we're collaborating together in bringing that through. So it's a lot of like artists, musicians and builders from this Web3 ecosystem space are coming in and I'm really excited about the storytellers and interviewers, producers who are joining and they're seeing their plans for the kinds of people that they're keen to record with. I think we'll see a lot of really interesting, relevant media coming out over the next few months as that is happening. But, you know, the broader pitch as well is like, I think the shared publication thing is quite cool. You know, each show can come in with its own like theme and focus topics that they're looking at. They can go quite, you know, focused in a series type format, but they're all going to be collected together in this kind of larger, maybe it's NPR or another kind of thing, our own version of that kind of magazine style, like everyone's a columnist or a contributor or a designer or whatever it might be. Yeah. I don't know if that's a pitch, it's more describing what's kind of happening.

Nicholas: If you vibe, you vibe.

Nick Hollins: Yeah.

Nicholas: And it's some distribution through the community, I guess.

Nick Hollins: Yeah, I think that's a lot of the magic, too. It's like a lot of the shows that are joining are brand new, but rather than having to go out and assemble the entire audience from scratch all over again. Yeah. We can help broadcast it through a shared network and all, you know, it's a kind of, you know, Gimlet Media's done this, many other, The Ringer is a great example as well, you know, that publication and podcast network. Yeah. Yeah. It's quite effective, like when a collection of shows come through together and can kind of help, you know, share audience between the shows.

Nicholas: Definitely. We talked about sponsors a little bit and actually you have a bunch of sponsors on every episode. Or many episodes, at least. That's true. What has it been like working with sponsors?

Nick Hollins: Yeah, I can answer to this a little and throw to Ivano, but like what we've been doing as well is that myself and Ivano have like a studio called Apollo where, you know, that's where we kind of we do stuff, we make stuff, we work with clients and projects and things. And so sponsors that are coming through the show, like quite often we're collaborating and building with them as well. And there are a lot of. I suppose, creative Web3 tools or Web3 social or wallets or, you know, publishing platforms and all these kinds of things. So as much as we're sharing about them or like doing podcasts like reads and ads for for the sponsors on the show, we're also like using that tools in a meta kind of way that we can share with the audience. You know, this is what we do. Like, this is why we find this interesting, basically. And it's been like super nice to have like various like collaborations between multiple of these sponsors that once and things. And yeah, it's been great. It's been super. It's been amazing to have that support from all these guys who've been running the project now for a bit over a year.

Ivano Salonia: Yeah, I mean, it's I think I think you said it all, like because we do work with with most of them. So it's just. Like not sponsored for the for the podcast, but it allow us to experiment with their tools. So we are lucky enough to to to play with that and, you know, keep our experimentation with different tooling. And in the past year, we've been a couple of times first doing things. And I think this is where we would like to say just see things together, experiment. And and eventually show other how to do things. That's the other thing. Everything we're doing, it is for us, but it's also to inspire other people. Everything we'll do will be always like open source. And so people can see what we've done. And if if they think it's the right thing to do, just copy and paste and it's done.

Nicholas: And what does sponsors? why do they choose to sponsor you? What are they? Is it brand building or it's really like. Conversion, activation, people trying the thing because you've sort of given some education a little bit on how to use their tools or what's the reasoning?

Nick Hollins: Yeah, we've had a few a few projects that have been like that, like with with Yup, the social app where you can publish everywhere all at once. And so they were releasing the like the alpha for their mobile download for Yup. So we did an experiment where we created this sort of video loop. And if you have this funky looking, what would you call it about this device?

Ivano Salonia: Yeah, like kind of a is a device like old fashioned, but futuristic looking radio with some. Yeah, I don't know. It looks strange. Yeah.

Nick Hollins: So like a device for some other parallel reality. But it was like. so much of the stuff that we've been doing is just an experiment. Like, who knows? Who knows if anyone is going to. Be interested in this thing? But yeah, we put that out. I believe we like embedded a mint into a mirror post that was going out to UFO email subscribers and community in collaboration with Yup. And it was just like, collect this cool NFT and then you can go over here and like access and download. It was like you needed the NFT in order to be able to download and install the app and try it out and get like early access and stuff. But yeah, that was one example of like a project that we did. And they had like a. A really positive result of like loads and loads of thousands of of users joining, which was really cool. Yeah, I'm trying to think there's been various projects that we've done. I'm also happy to announce that we're collaborating with Paragraph, the amazing news letter platform, and we'll be launching a UFO newsletter next Monday. that we're going to be doing weekly. But like perfect example of like, especially we're collaborating with the people with which. Those tools were building UFO network in general, though, like most of it is just because it's super relevant. We're collaborating with that team already. And then for various people, it's like doing a bit of advertising or I suppose brand building or being active and present in the space is a thing. You know, you see that kind of Ethereum events and sponsoring all these all these types of things. That's a bit of that. It's a bit of that activity. But we're also really focused over on the collaborating and building and doing the Apollo type stuff. But yeah, UFO newsletter next week. Shout out to Paragraph. Really excited about it.

Ivano Salonia: Yeah, it's sometimes it comes to using their tool and giving feedback to them. You know, this is something that we often do. is we deep dive, we experiment with things and quite naturally say, hey, we realize this, this and that. So I guess is a is a bit of a feedback from us as you. You see the user experimenting into it. How do we think about things? so it's slightly into into product design.

Nick Hollins: Something else I'd like to approach you as well is that we have a new podcast, joining the UFO network very soon, leaving the next week. We're still here hosted by Alex Guy from Zerian, who, again, like Zerian and Lens Protocol. call. we're sponsoring and collaborating with ufo since before we launched and so we launched in september last year. but i met alex and the zero team at e-plus luna in july. and so like those early conversations about like you know i'm talking about you know media collective a sort of counterculture network type thing and you know inspirations from like old rolling stone magazine and things that's called ufo inspired by the ufo club from london in the mid-60s and that whole kind of counterculture psychedelic art uh and media scene and everything um and yeah. so we've been collaborating working with xerion for this whole year. we've been doing really uh magic things and the xerion browser extension is about eight uh now out which is really cool. but yeah honestly like we've been friends uh since last year. um i really like that kind of uh vibe um and like view on the ecosystem. so like etc. uh xerion did a thing where they put up a large banner that said why are you still here? and i was just getting people's like responses. it was much more of their market vibe in july than it is now in december apparently um. but it was great like they made a video like interviewing or box popping with people about like why are you still here in space? what are you inspired about? blah blah blah um and so following on in conversation with alex was like i have this idea for a podcast was like i have this idea for a podcast. i'm still here perfect so we're collaborating on that. it's been super nice. i think that's out uh like next week. but yeah i mean like that's a lot of how we've been doing things like collaborating with people over over the last year or more.

Nicholas: yeah awesome um there's a lot of australians in crypto that's true.

Nick Hollins: did you? did someone tell you that i'm australian? did you? i'm still here perfect so we're collaborating on that.

Nicholas: it's been super nice i think that's out uh like next week.

Nick Hollins: but yeah i mean like that's a lot of how we've been doing things like collaborating with people over over the last year or more. yeah awesome um there's a lot of like collaborating with people over over the last year or more.

Nicholas: yeah awesome um there's a lot of. i know also um from my time at juicebox. um a lot of the front end devs came from i think uh i forget where they were working previously but anyway a lot of the front end for juicebox also written by an australian a bunch of devs australian a bunch of devs um. so there is some connection. there is there anything uh unique about that? or it's just uh we shouldn't be surprised that there are australians in the mix.

Nick Hollins: yeah there's a lot. there totally is a lot of strangers. the thing like uh anthony stano as well. uh prominent ethereum.

Nicholas: um yeah i don't i forgot he's australian too.

Nick Hollins: yeah yeah but it's like many of the guys from like a few years ago and now based in the states or europe and stuff with a lot of people in berlin certainly in that kind of dev community. There's, what is it there, like ChainFlip? And yeah, there's a bunch of folks. Also New Zealanders as well. They're out here.

Nicholas: Is there something cultural about the Australian perspective on crypto or participating in the cultural side of it? that, I don't know, or is it just, it just so happens?

Nick Hollins: Yeah, I guess it just so happens to an extent, but I guess like the regulatory environment isn't super friendly, crypto in Australia in general, but I'm not sure it's as stringent as the state or it's much more ill-defined in Australia. Like even in where government has attempted to legislate a little bit, it's like impossibly vague. They refer to all of crypto everything as Bitcoin or just blockchain, I believe. It's not really defining anything. So in that like unknown, it's not so helpful, right? So I think, yeah, a lot of folks have certainly like moved over to Europe or the States and things like that. But I do feel like there's a bit of a punk rebel aspect in the Australian thing as well, you know?

Nicholas: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

Nick Hollins: A bit of a like counterculture story, which I feel like.

Nicholas: Yeah, definitely talking, Gami was on the show recently and talking about skate culture. Definitely felt like that. I mean, at least skate culture for him really resonates and that's certainly a countercultural movement.

Nick Hollins: I strongly agree. Like one of, I think one of the, one of the audience's favorite episodes of mine as well on UFO, like I recorded with Light and Gami, who had been buddies and kind of collaborating on things online, but they'd never actually met at a conversation before we sat down to record together. And yeah, we're all having this like really interesting conversation or shared realization of like skateboarding as this memetic hyper object type thing. You know, everyone has the same skateboard everywhere and whatnot, but also experiences of when you were younger, it was part of like a skate crew in high school or whatever. And we're like, that's kind of like a doubt, you know? It's like you'd be buying lunch for your mate or like someone needs a board. It'll just come from somewhere if it's needed. Do you know what I mean? So yeah, they're on some interesting things, those two.

Nicholas: Totally. Your Twitter is huge. How did that happen? How do you relate to your social media presence?

Nick Hollins: Yeah, the Twitter one was, it grew really fast. And then it's just kind of been steady growth. After that, we kind of had like a really rapid early growth on Twitter and also on Lens where we have one of the, I think we've got somewhere over 30,000 subscribers there and also a lot of Mirror and things. Honestly, it was like experimenting with various of these tools and platforms together, like amongst each other. They kind of drove a lot of that early growth in capturing an audience. Like we collaborated with Mirror for their subscribe to me function. Yeah. Do you remember this? I believe we released like the UFO Genesis past in November 22. I'm fairly sure. Alex Levy from Mint was also doing one. A few other projects did them. But through that, like we had, I think it was somewhere around 8,000 Mints in three days of this free subscribe to collect thing. And now we have this neat tokenized audience that we can gate content for and do various things and even sort of enable, you know, subscribe and put content across to them. But somewhere in the midst of all that and doing stuff on Lens, we've got a bunch of Twitter followers. So we weren't doing any Machiavellian, dark arts, growth type, anything. It just really just happened on its own for the most part. We're as surprised as anyone else.

Nicholas: And do you find that, I've heard some people say that actually having a really big audience, if they're not as engaged, it can actually be bad because the people, if the algorithm shows your tweets to originally, if they're not as engaged, you don't get the propagation that allows it to grow into a bigger tweet. Although, frankly, my personal experience is that the algorithm just isn't that friendly anymore. Yeah. Do you have any thoughts on that?

Nick Hollins: Yeah. I mean, it's all a joke, isn't it? So I don't know. I feel like those platforms aren't particularly useful in that way. But I hadn't heard that view in particular of like, you have X number of followers and therefore we show it's in diminishing, diminishing returns, but I'm not surprised at all. Um, you know, cause they're, they're selling space on those platforms. So, uh, yeah, yeah, absolutely. Um, but if we've got some people here, then, you know, maybe it's more useful, uh, to subscribe to an email newsletter or subscribe to a given podcast or whatever, you know, some other, some other things. It's just like, if the social app's not going to be useful, then we need to be on various channels for it to work.

Nicholas: Yeah. Yeah. It just increases the workload to be like spread across. I don't know, our caster lens, Twitter, Instagram, et cetera, mirror, paragraph, sub stack. It's a, it deals at some point one has to choose and not to mention podcast platforms.

Nick Hollins: Yeah. Yeah. I agree with that. Um, I think the web two podcast, well, it's certainly very helpful. It just goes everywhere at once. Uh, and it's that, but yeah, I mean, we're not, like I say, like, we're not trying to produce a hundred pieces of media every day. Um, but it'll be cool soon when we have a few shows doing that. I think, and there'll be, yeah, a bit of media from a few different people.

Nicholas: Awesome. Well, I think we've reached more or less the end of my list of questions. I was going to ask you a little bit about what tools you're using. I know use bonfire and mirror paragraph, things like that. If, if anything jumps out at you as, um, relevant, but maybe we've even covered that, is there anything about the, the, the show or the network that we haven't talked about that or what you two talk to each other about when building this, that we haven't dived into yet? Um,

Nick Hollins: yes, I'm trying to think, I mean, like a lot of what me and Ivana were talking about, uh, is, well, we're getting excited about various ideas for doing things with music as we're creating a radio stations or ideas about like, um, curation and different tools and playlisting and kind of new eyes that you could find for this kind of stuff, I think is really interesting. Like now that it's like, okay, like distribution stuff works with these, with these tools, but now what can we do in terms of how it surfaces and things? Um, and, uh, mincing and creating stuff with our collective degree group.

Ivano Salonia: Maybe the only thing we didn't stretch too much is, I don't know, IRL events. This is something that, I mean, we've done once. we've done the first event of FM tour, um, last month. Uh, but indeed we will try to, you know, just try not to be just online and, you know, have events and be present. Uh, for people IRL, which is, uh, still very, I, I signal for us, you know, like we, we try with people, you know, like exchanging real energy. So this is, uh, this is something we are, we're focusing on as well.

Nick Hollins: Yeah, totally agree. Like thinking about music events, we've got some friends here in Amsterdam who are also keen to start getting things going. So like with a bit of a collective energy, some of them like help to put up, put on FWB. The first FWB event in Amsterdam at the start of November. And so thinking about what we might go on to do, uh, to do next, which is fun, but you know, I, I think projects like voice club and others that are very thinking about this, like IRL meetups being like Steph from the broadcast, uh, events and, and media summits and things that they have. Like, I think that's typical. We're interested in like hanging out with people in person, that's been a crypto meetups and what shops and whatnot.

Nicholas: but uh yeah do you think how do you think about geography for a global audience that way? do you do it in north america? or how do you think about it?

Nick Hollins: uh sorry what do you mean?

Nicholas: like where would you do physical events if you want to bring people together?

Nick Hollins: yeah so like on this like we're going to be doing stuff because we're based here in amsterdam. so your little kind of uh hang out meet up type things putting on some parties and things. but there's a collective that just sprung up in the last couple of weeks called cheeks. uh another australian nick uh from from melbourne from the spam music projects which you're probably familiar with. um. but yeah so like he started tweeting this idea about hey be interesting to like do music events and pop ups in various cities and the people that have already jumped into that group are kind of exploring like maybe this should be a dow or how it can work and uh and whatnot. but yeah we'd be thinking of similar types of things like that of like effectively programming or bringing music to the ufo radio station and some of it. we can do irl events but as we'll have shows like through a part of this network now from cities like all over the world like any of them can also host like chill little meetups with like a dozen or so people at a time or whatever it might be uh and kind of activating uh people in in various places. and then maybe a couple times a year we go to like global big parties or etc. and like hang with all the ethereum friends. and so i think we're going to swb fest next year as well.

Nicholas: um so yeah that sounds wonderful. and there is this built-in network of all the ethereum events which you can sort of piggyback on to have a lot of people in the same place at the same time.

Nick Hollins: yeah we think it'd be really fun to do like in-person music things like. i love when ethereum conferences hackathons it feels like a combination of a hackathon and kind of a low-key music festival. i think like last year did this really well um and i've heard this idea many times. i think yeah bring the music side the dj side. it's going to become more and more present. i think it's already here. it's always been here in the sort of ethereum crowd.

Nicholas: yeah i'm curious. we talked a little bit about australia but what's? what's the amsterdam scene like?

Nick Hollins: well i i only just arrived here um a few months ago but avada has been here.

Ivano Salonia: so the scene like music scene.

Nicholas: uh i guess i was thinking more crypto scene. but uh i mean music scene is also interesting.

Ivano Salonia: well it depends. you know like these are the guys at the fabric and they do do like digital fashion and they are a bit related to to that. uh but i don't know too many dj's. uh to be honest it's not my kind of crowd um but yeah there's a lot of artists as well dutch tide um they're the guys of metamundo. they do like this 3d marketplace. um you know there's a few people who are doing this around? for sure interesting.

Nicholas: so why did you choose to uh locate the studio there?

Ivano Salonia: i decided uh i mean like. i moved to to amsterdam in 2009 after studying the graphic design and i was in love with dutch graphic design. that's the reason why i moved here from from italy um and overall amsterdam is uh is is i mean it's a hot spot for creative people and everyone. you know i'm not sure if you it feels is the center of europe.

Nicholas: it's easy to to go everywhere in europe from here um and it's very multicultural to see how it sort of picks up as the attention on crypto takes hold again and you're rolling out new shows. uh it'd be very cool to see you have lots of success.

Nick Hollins: oh yeah thanks so much for the invitation to come and hang out. we don't often talk about ourselves very much so we're not very. we're not very media trained at this stage aside from the fact of being media ourselves.

Nicholas: but you're a good company. i don't think many people in crypto are myself included.

Nick Hollins: so yeah um but yeah as i said huge fan of the show. it was cool to come hang out and look forward to welcome welcoming you on the ufo podcast at some point. uh in the future fairly soon um. but yeah i'm also excited to see these shows start to roll out. we'll shift gears on the project. we have various other fun things in mind of where we really start to activate and build the community and experiment with that side of things. so yeah next year is going to be a lot of fun.

Nicholas: if people want to keep up with you where should they go?

Nick Hollins: uh like the website ufo.fm. uh that links to everywhere but we're kind of on zora and mira at lens and paragraph. uh predominantly so. we have media going out in various places and uh you can follow us wherever wherever you would like to.

Ivano Salonia: yeah the question should have been where you are not because we have a bit of everywhere but like thanks a lot for for having us. it's been there. it's been a pleasure.

Nick Hollins: i absolutely thanks for today.

Nicholas: appreciate it ciao ciao Thanks for listening to this episode of web3 galaxy brain. to keep up with everything web3 follow me on twitter at nicholas with four leading ends. you can find links to the topics discussed on today's episode in the show notes. podcast feed links are available at web3galaxybrain.com. Galaxy Brain airs live most Friday afternoons at 5 p.m. Eastern Time, 2200 UTC, on Twitter Spaces. I look forward to seeing you there.

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