Memes, design, and the most entertaining outcome is the most likely

oday we live in a world that we can define as “peak centralization.” Gatekeepers always had control over the narrative, and due to the COVID crisis, this is at an all-time high.

What does this mean? If we could ask our old buddy, Newton, he would respond with his third law: “For every action (force) in nature, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

”So what’s the opposite of centralization? Yes, you're right, decentralization.

Most people familiar with the term think about a “bit-” or “shit-coins.” But don't worry, I'm not going to talk about cryptocurrencies; we’ll hodl.

At MOIJ, we try to create a model about what the second and third order effects could be of decentralization. Let's have a look at zora.co, a digital art platform where people sell art via NFTs.

Their manifesto starts like this:

Zora.co continues:

“The big brands, suits, and monopoly men own the revenue, the files, the rights, the email addresses — what’s left for the creator? What’s left for the fan?

We bring meaning, we bring value. We’re what people believe in. What’s Louis Vuitton without Virgil? UMG without Taylor Swift? NBA without LeBron? Adidas without Yeezy? What’s Instagram without you? We bring the noise and it’s time to take it somewhere owned by all of us. The current system is fucked, and we want out. We see the value we create and we want our piece of it, and not just a little bit.”

"We need new infrastructure, something transparent, ownable, accessible, financially sustainable, where we can share the value we create, something for the community, something that’s ours." You get the point, right? Not one, but many. Many in this case means all. The last 10 years transparency was a concept used frequently, but with most ideas, it was more about virtue signaling that it was applied to the real word, no execution. And we see this pattern in many places, that we are done with how things are going.”

Enter memes

In a Clubhouse interview, Elon Musk received a question: It is safe to say that you might be the master of the memes, and in fact you had a quote that, “Who controls the memes controls the universe.” Can you just explain what you meant by that?:

He replied: “It’s a play on words from Dune, “Who controls the spice controls the universe,” and if memes are spice then it’s memes. I mean there’s a little bit of truth to it in that what is it that influences the zeitgeist? How do things become interesting to people? Memes are actually kind of a complex form of communication. Like a picture says a thousand words, and maybe a meme says ten thousand words. It’s a complex picture with a bunch of meaning in it and it can be aspirationally funny. I don’t know, I love memes, I think they can be very insightful, and you know throughout history, symbolism in general has powerfully affected people” [
stratchery]”

We try to understand new ideas or new tech with old concepts, but this is the wrong approach.

New technology will create a new world with its own rules, which is something that has to be seen with a beginner's mind rather than a position based on the past.

Memes are observations of a situation compressed in a short message.

Memes are the language of the internet. They may have a deeper meaning, but they are also easy and fun to consume. It's the opposite of “boomer talk,” which is boring, long, and political. “Boomer talk” contains a lot of noise, and in all that noise it’s hard to create a signal to the mind.

Memes are everything that the past is not; the past is complex, not transparent, long-winded, and full of opinions.

We often refer to companies as something “not human” (with terms like b2b) but people are what form a company.

In general, to be praised, you need to conform to specific ideas.

This can be difficult because we live in a world of abundance; we see many things around us and try to be all the different things at once. But, when you try to be everything, you end up being nothing.

If we follow the logic that companies are nothing else than a group of people (let’s call it a “tribe”), companies, much like individuals, want to be praised as well.

Rather than focusing on being unique and individual, we constantly seek confirmation from others. Brands are no different, with the result we are turning the world (wide web) into boring place 👇

By definition, if you stand out, you’re controversial. If you're not conforming to the mainstream, you risk to be cancelled, laughed at, or rejected.

Memes stand out - they are the visualization of a new way of thinking. They communicate in a way that we humans are, “weird,” but also funny and seeking information.

Where the past was about a central group of gatekeepers; if we follow the logic behind decentralization, the future is most likely about collaboration. The new generation will work for companies who embrace this idea. First, you have freedom from where, when, and how you would like to work and you might end up at a place that it's a company of one, just you.

Podcasts, newsletters, and Clubhouse are all examples of people moving away from centralized teams (e.g., newspapers) and starting their journey by building their tribe together (on substack, with a community).

A group will always try to convince you what is suitable for the group, but the only way out is to think for yourself.

Build a tribe, by documenting your journey.

We need to simplify things, not make them more complicated. This is hard. Even when writing this story, I fight with an imposter syndrome and struggle with the idea to share this (somewhat) controversial story.

But when everyone has an imposter syndrome, no-one has an imposter syndrome. The only way how we can build better (and more fun!) products or services is by creating new ideas on top of previously tried ideas. If we don’t share our thoughts and challenge ourselves to ask better questions, there are no stories to inspire us to do it differently.

Not taking ourselves and the world around us too seriously makes this a lot easier and more fun.As Elon musk tweeted one day about dogecoin:

“The most entertaining outcome is the most likely.”

Where does this end?

Let's observe.

Do you want to collaborate?

We like to work with people who have skin in the game, on ideas that have a positive impact, and with people who enjoy what they do.

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