Today’s episode is from a 2017 conversation with Taylor Pearson, entrepreneur and author of The End of Jobs. We discuss why it’s unwise to consider blockchain and crypto in terms of existing business models or products. For the full conversation, check out Flippening episode 4.
Links Relevant To This Episode
- Nomics on Twitter
- Clay Collins
- Nomics API
- Nomics’ Fully Customizable Daily Crypto Newsletter
- Taylor Pearson
- The End of Jobs
- Bitcoin (BTC)
- Ethereum (ETH)
- Basic Attention Token (BAT)
Clay: Welcome to Daily Wisdom from the Flippening Podcast. These episodes feature short, to-the-point clips from our full-length interviews. We talk to the men and women behind the trades, crypto exchanges, and regulations with the goal of helping you become a better, more informed investor.
Michael: Hi I’m Michael Kaplan, editor of the Flippening Podcast. Today’s episode is from the 2017 conversation with Taylor Pearson, entrepreneur and author of The End of Jobs. We discuss why it’s unwise to consider blockchain and cryptocurrencies in terms of existing business models or products. For the full conversation, check out [00:00:30] Flippening episode four.
Now, without further ado, here’s our conversation with Taylor Pearson, entrepreneur and author of The End of Jobs. Enjoy.
Taylor: When someone asks you what Bitcoin is, or what Ethereum is, what cryptocurrency is, you try to find analogies to things they understand. Bitcoin is digital gold. You explain it’s a store of value, that it’s got some advantages over gold. It’s a lot easier to transfer, it’s currency to your store, it’s more highly divisible, et cetera. [00:01:00] Those analogies can sometimes be misleading. In the case of the internet, we can’t just project our current understanding of how an industry works and just assume that this new technology is going to be like that, but just more of it.
You used to read your Wall Street Journal by opening the newspaper. The internet came along, it was kind of like, “Oh cool, now we can read all the same publications we already like; but I just open a browser and I can read them online.” [00:01:30] Of course, the real story of media on the internet ended up being social media. It was this totally new business model that was facilitated by the internet. All of a sudden, Facebook is the largest media company in the world and it has no editorial team. It has no goods, it doesn’t have any cost of goods, it really doesn’t produce anything itself. It’s just a platform for people interacting.
Thinking about those possibilities with the blockchain, we talk about what’s going to be possible. I’m sure Tim seems to think about it in terms of [00:02:00] “Oh, this is a digital gold. It’s going to be just like gold but it’s going to be on the blockchain or it’s going to be digital.” One of the ideas from this article was a better analogy for the blockchain is actually mechanical time. A lot of historians think that mechanical time was such a big deal because, for the first time in history, you could accurately measure and put into a contract how much time you’re giving to someone else. We think about the eight-hour workday, you work 40 hours a week. You [00:02:30] track your time if you’re a contractor maybe, and you send that to your employer. It probably led to some of the decrease in slavery and servitude.
All of a sudden, you could form a contract around this measurable quality. You could measure how much time I’m sacrificing, eight hours of my day for someone. They know that I know that because we’re able to track it with this clock. It sort of opened up these new business models, potentially, laid the groundwork for the industrial revolution.
[00:03:00] Think about the blockchain as a ledger or cryptocurrency as being composed of all these ledgers. All of a sudden, they let us track all these things which we’ve just never been able to track before.
One interesting one to me is the Brave Browser, supported by the Basic Attention Token, which is this idea that we can now measure attention. You can see how much attention you’re giving to someone and that’s quantifiable. There’s never really been a technology, a [00:03:30] way to quantify or track how much attention you were giving to someone, and then convert that into sort of a tradable resource.
For me, it was mostly just like, okay, let’s try to think about yes, the blockchain is going to let us do a lot of the things we’re already doing in a more efficient way. That’s important and that’s going to make a big impact. I think in 20, 30, or 50 years, when we’re looking back on this and saying, “What’s the really, really big story?” It’s going to be the creation of these new [00:04:00] business models that we didn’t even know existed. No one or very, very few people alive right now have even imagined possible.
Clay: I think that’s spot on. It’s worth noting that every single major internet company was created native to the internet. So Amazon, Facebook, Google, Twitter, Airbnb, all of these companies were started after the birth of [00:04:30] the internet. There hasn’t, to my knowledge, been a single company that existed before the birth of the internet that ended up implementing a business model that made it a significant player in the space; because they were all doing exactly what you described with newspapers. They were just creating online analogs to something that existed offline prior to that.
I think that’s the number one mistake [00:05:00] that people make when they’re looking at blockchain use cases as they’re looking for analogs of things that they like now. They’re looking for Amazon AWS on the blockchain and Google Cloud Compute for the blockchain; and what’s AdWords for the blockchain. Perhaps, they’re missing the point. I believe that the most compelling use cases probably haven’t reared their heads yet.
If you’re looking for analogs to things you know in order to validate this new technology, you [00:05:30] probably could be missing out on one of the biggest shifts in technology in your lifetime.
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