Tim Dufault, FAIA – Concert CRO
The latest episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver focused its main topic on the issue of tech giant monopolies. The discussion about the power of the top four technology giants is compelling. It is a clear challenge for a creative economy – can we have creative disruption if four companies control, and profit from, a non-disruptive ecosystem? No, it is not in the best interest of the four controlling companies. What then will create the space for real creativity to thrive and how will that space be protected from the anti-competitive forces of the controlling interests? Enter Web3. Forget about Crypto, forget about NFTs, the real value in Web3 is the Blockchain backbone and the confidence that the record of the information and its exchange is permanently recorded under your authorship.
The simplest of the discussions and definitions of Web3 I found is: Web1 was the internet where you could read the content. Web2 is the internet where you can read and write content. Web3 is the internet where you can read, write, and own your content. This is an important distinction – you own the content you create, and you control how that content is used. With Blockchain as the backbone, your information becomes the currency for transacting your value. The permanent record serves to authenticate your ownership and cuts the risk of others using your information without your permission. You decide when, where, and with whom you will share.
Therefore, we believe that Web3 is the vehicle to support creative disruption. We built Concert on the backbone of Blockchain because of this ability. Are we the giant slayer? We don’t hold ourselves out to be anything more than what we are, a company that believes in the power of the permanent record to disrupt. We believe that having the ability to own your data is far more valuable than simply sharing that data. As creators, keeping control of our known data and guaranteeing the providence of that information is critical to capturing the value of creative disruption.
Monopolistic growth and control are inevitable in every industry. The big four all started out as creative disrupters. However, as an organization grows and captures more market share, there is always a move toward protectionism, a push to keep and capture more market share. It is inevitable and unavoidable if you are a successful company. Thus, in the life of every successful company, there is a pattern of protective actions that increase the risk of creative disruption. Good companies understand this and welcome the disruption, using it to improve their performance. It is a hallmark of long-term thinking and an understanding of the changing nature of the market. Poorly run companies go the way of Kodak.
The design industry is on the cusp of this type of change, and we believe Blockchain can serve as the backbone for that change. We have our own set of “giants” that control and monetize our information on a regular basis, with and without our permission. For those companies that understand the opportunity, Web3 is the platform to support them. They will create the opportunity to set their own value for their data, monetize it in ways that they believe are fair, and control when and where their data is shared. Sharing the right information throughout the design and construction process is critical to improving the efficiencies of the system. But the source of truth always stays the same – the creator of the design. Concert empowers the creator to be that source of truth.
Will Web3 be the David that conquers Goliath? We believe it will, but only when the users take control of their data and actively manage how, when, and where it is shared under their specific authorization. It is not hard to envision this toppling of the giants but difficult to understand when it will happen. When it happens, I am positive we will all hear the shudder of the market collapsing below their feet.