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For the Love of the Web

Robin commenting on a piece about NFT tech:

It’s art as pure commerce, solely transactional. NFT tech is not a fun and experimental playground like in the early days of the web

That line resonated with me. There’s something about the web of earlier years that I personally haven’t found in “web3” tech— a curious, playful, do it for the fun of it and not for the money, kind of something.

Shortly after reading Robin’s piece, I was listening to the podcast “Smartless” by Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, and Will Arnett where they have Jerry Seinfeld as a guest.

Jerry talks about how he continues doing standup comedy because he loves it so much. He still writes jokes and he still gets on stage at comedy clubs to try out the material.

Sean Hayes asks him about that. What must it be like for you, Jerry Seinfeld, to walk into a comedy club and ask for time on stage? Are the younger comics blown away? “Can you believe it! It’s Jerry Seinfeld!” Imagine Michael Jordan walking into a YMCA to play a game of pickup basketball.

Jerry’s response struck me:

I think [the young comics] think it’s weird. They don’t understand why I’m there, why I would be doing this…I think they think, “you already have money, why are you even bothering with this?”

Jerry’s doing standup—he’s writing jokes, performing them on stage, sometimes making people laugh and sometimes bombing—because he loves it. He loves the art and process of it all. He’s not doing it for the money. But from his perspective, the young comics can’t understand that. You hit it rich, why continue the grind?

He does it because he loves it, “hard” parts and all.

That’s what I loved about web “1” and “2”. That’s what I still love about the web—the protocols, the markup, the styles, the scripting, the infinite ways you can piece them all together to do things that are novel and interesting and empowering, even to just you. No end goal in mind. No plan for (or built-in) method for monetization up front. Just the thing for the love of the thing—and then an open sharing of that thing because of your love for the thing.

I haven’t found that in anything “web 3” that’s crossed my radar yet. It’s possible I just don’t grok some of the technology fully. But I’m always on the look out because I love the web.