Operating Partner #198

Happy Thursday <<First Name>>

December 2021, how did we get here so quickly? 

People always told me that life speeds up... and I'm absolutely feeling it. I do not know where time has gone...

Speaking of time, this is the last OP for 2021 as with tradition, I take most of December off from writing to get ready for the new year ahead. Hopefully there is enough reading and thinking in this OP - number 198- to keep you busy until 2022.

Did anyone watch the Knicks vs. Nets earlier this week? The Knicks looked pretty solid in the game and liked seeing Alec Burks stepping into his new starting role. I know Julius and Thibs are mad about the officiating but to me, the game was a "win" seeing them get back to their old selves...

Here are some articles to get us started with:

Have a wonderful rest of 2021... looking forward to a fantastic 2022 together and crossing the 200 OP threshold!


A Walk Back to Web 1.0 and 2.0 To Frame 3.0

When I first started in the interactive market, I was an intern at i33 Communications, one of the earliest web development agencies run by Drew Rayman and Enno Vandermeer. We had tons of competition coming from the likes of Tribal (sold to Omnicom), marchFIRST (USWeb & Whitman-Hart), AppNet,, Avenue A (sold to MSFT), and iballs to name a few. We worked in a sliver of Manhattan called Silicon Alley. On the streets were Silicon Alley Reporter, Business 2.0, Red Herring, and various other notable magazines and papers covering web 1.0 news. 

The agencies existed because our predecessors did not understand how to build websites, web technologies, or web advertising. So a group of intelligent tinkerers and thought leaders got together and created new agencies that grew exponentially over the years of web 1.0. These were super fun times when you got paid millions of dollars to build static brochures or splash pages online. 

The historically significant output of web 1.0 was from 1994 - the web’s first banner ad, which scaled and became the native monetization solution for what’s now a billions of dollars industry.

Random fact: Why lots of “A” names? Because the Internet didn’t use dynamic databases back then, and everything was manually listed in alphabetical order similar to phonebooks. So, a quick hack to rank first is to name yourself earlier in the alphabet.

In the early 2000s, we saw the emergence of web 2.0 agencies. Deep Focus, Buddy Media, RGA, CPB, 360i, AKQA, and many others established themselves on the heels of web 1.0. We also saw the public advertising holding companies make acquisitions of 1.0 agencies. These agencies focused on pushing the boundaries of the web in social ways, such as the example of the Subservient Chicken (Burger King) work, doubling down on social platform enablers like Buddy Media, and some of the early gaming work in Farmville by Deep Focus.

And now, with the early days of web 3.0 upon us, we are starting to see a new wave of agencies beginning such as Jam3, Rumfoords, Burrata, and VaynerNFT, amongst others. These agencies are working with brands to help enter them into the world of NFTs, the metaverse, and whatever else may come to us. Some early examples are Coca-Cola, US Open, and Adidas (really interesting). Instead of Farmville or Second Life, we now have The Sandbox. Instead of rich media creative a la Pointroll, we now have NFTs. Instead of collaborations with Facebook, we now have collabs with DAOs.

If history repeats itself, I believe:

  1. What we’ve seen with NFTs and the metaverse is only the first inning. What we start doing in web 3.0 will be much more rich and diverse. Not everything will be about a brand owning an NFT.

  2. Web 3.0 consultant/shops will be acquired by the advertising and marketing holding companies and some of the management consultancies. Need to have these offerings for their key/core clients, and history shows they acquire quite a bit.

  3. Watch Ian Schafer. I have zero information on what he’s doing next, but his experience with Deep Focus is highly relevant to Web 3.0 innovation.

What we know today will change tomorrow. The world moves at pace and continues to change. Web 3.0 is going to push us hard and fast; there are already trillions of dollars in Web 3.0 with 99% of upside as few brands are participating at this point.

If you know of any new web3 agencies popping up, consultants that should be on my radar, or anyone else dabbling in the space from a marketing, commerce, brand POV, I'd love to know about them. Feel free to reach out.

Articles To Read

Here are some articles that I came across this week which you might enjoy. If you have any good recommendations for next OP, do let me know.

The Token Disconnect (Stephen Diehl)

More Chips Will Be Made in America (WSJ)

ESPN Pay-TV Carriage Fell Another 10% (Deadline)

Researchers Use Decades of WSJ Articles To Predict Stock Market Returns (JournalistsResource)

We Need a New Framework for Startup Valuations (Techcrunch)

Twitter To Launch Livestream for Walmart (Engadget)

Private Flying Takes Off; Boosts Demand for Business Jets (WSJ)

Black Friday Store Spending Drops 28% (CNBC)

Advertisers Adjust Holiday Messages To Today’s Realities (WSJ)

The Difference Behind Playboy’s Rabbitars and Warhol Soup Cans (Bloomberg)

Where ConstitutionDAO Failed, Another Wins at Sotheby’s (Bloomberg)

Forerunner’s Nicole Johnson On How The Consumer Psyche Has Evolved (Modern Retail)

What Every Crypto Buyer Should Know About OpenSea, The King of the NFT Market (Forbes)

Nike Postpones Air Max Shoe Release with Travis Scott Following Astroworld Concert (Forbes)

The Coach Behind the Coinbase and Robinhood CEOs (The Information)

Mover Over, GE. The Tech Conglomerates Are The New Leaders of Industry (WSJ)

Jack Dorsey Steps Down as CEO of Twitter (WSJ)

Mr. Beast’s Squid Game Ripoff Is Exactly the Kind of Video YouTube Rewards (Vice)

The End of Super Imperialism (Bitcoin Magazine)

Steph Curry is the New Roger Federer (ESPN)

Thank You for Reading

Thanks for reading OP #198. 

Have a wonderful rest of 2021!  Looking forward to what 2022 brings us and the collaboration on the road ahead...

Darren / @dherman76
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