As a startup founder, one of the first questions people ask you is “What problem are you solving?” The “right” answer usually has something to do with saving people time or helping them make money.
It’s easy for people to dismiss products that don’t solve a rational problem. That’s why many social apps and NFT projects are dismissed as mere toys.
But the reality is that most people are very bored and very lonely. This is one of the most important problems of our generation. For many of the most popular products in our lives, entertainment is the killer feature.
Take a moment to consider the role of entertainment in our lives. Music, video games, TikTok, and Netflix all provide us with essential escapes from the monotony of daily life. As someone who's lived in San Francisco for a few years, I've seen countless people pour their lives into consumer apps focused on summarizing books, habit tracking, and note-taking. But the harsh reality is that the average person doesn't give a single shit about these things. After a long and stressful day at work, most people just want to be entertained.
Entertainment is a killer feature.
It's evident in the success of platforms like TikTok and YouTube, as well as through the popularity of meme accounts, video games, the GameStop phenomenon fueled by r/wallstreetbets, and the rise of $DOGE and Elon's entertaining Twitter persona. More often than not, shitposts get 10x more likes and engagement than a meticulously researched thread.
People crave entertainment as a reprieve from their mundane, often lonely lives. This presents a massive opportunity to build new types of entertainment experiences.
When discussing the benefits of NFTs, most people focus on the technology. Things like ownership, programmability, composability, etc. But these are all just technical features of the NFT / ERC721 standard. What I find much more compelling is the culture that has emerged around NFTs.
NFT culture is all about entertainment.
Because of this, I believe the real power of NFTs is that they’ve enabled a new way to start and scale an internet-native brand through entertainment.
The NFT brand playbook includes:
Growing virally through memes, shitposts, and authentic engagement on Twitter
Establishing a core group of passionate fans that are incentivized to help the community grow
Building deep relationships with community members through synchronous experiences like Discord chat, Twitter Spaces, townhalls, IRL events, and more
Providing massive amounts of value for your community before asking for anything in return
Allowing community members to express themselves and gain status through PFPs
Creating fun game-like experiences that foster emotional memories and friendships
The key to success in today's consumer market is to build a brand centered around entertainment. DeGods, Memeland, and DigiDaigaku are some of my favorite NFT-native brands that have applied this entertainment-first playbook over the past year.
Over the next few years, I believe we’ll see many more NFT-native brands. Not because of any technical features, but because NFT culture is all about entertainment and that’s the best way to build a passionate community of superfans.
Entertainment is a killer feature – and it's time to embrace it.
I’m building a new type of NFT project + web3 brand with a few awesome viral marketers, designers, engineers, and game designers, and will be launching this summer. We have open roles across design and engineering so feel free to DM me on Twitter if you’re interested :)