In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interview Brian Clark. Brian is a writer, traveler, and serial digital entrepreneur. He’s the founder of the pioneering content marketing website Copyblogger, the midlife personal growth newsletter Further, and Unemployable, an educational community that provides smart strategies for freelancers and entrepreneurs. He’s also co-founder of Digital Commerce Partners, a content marketing and SEO agency for digital business owners.
Web 3.0 or the spatial web is the collection of applications that use emerging technologies such as blockchain, AI, augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) as part of their core technology stack.
In this episode, I talk with Brian Clark, Founder of Copyblogger, about the shift we’re going through and how the web became very centralized around these tech giant platforms. We dive into how these kinds of technologies such as blockchain, cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and smart contracts allow us to de-centralize again.
Questions I ask Brian Clark:
- [1:41] You’ve been writing a lot lately about the transition we’re going through moving from web 2.0 to web 3.0, so I guess the first question – can you explain the shift?
- [4:17] What are some of the defining characteristics?
- [10:25] Can you make the connection between cryptocurrency or blockchain and why that is powering this web 3.0?
- [11:59] A lot of people are fighting the change or move towards cryptocurrency – do you see banks ever embracing it?
- [14:43] Can you talk a little bit about that idea of what our creator coins are, why now, how, and all of that good stuff?
- [17:25] Should I be looking at developing my own currency if I am a content creator with a community?
- [21:37] Can you talk a little about your coin called $MOVE?
- [23:10] Where can people find out more about the other things you’re working on outside of Copyblogger?
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John Jantsch (00:51): Hello, welcome to another episode of the duct tape marketing podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Brian Clark. He's a writer, traveler and serial digital entrepreneurs is the founder of the pioneer content marketing website, known as Copyblogger, the midlife personal growth newsletter, further and unemployable and educational community that provides smart strategies for freelancers and entrepreneurs. Brian, I don't know how many times you've been on the show. I'm not a lot of people couldn't tell me when I'm on shows. They can say you're on episode three 50, but I know you've been on several times. Welcome back.
Brian Clark (01:24): Thank you. Thank you for having me back. I do not know the answer to that. I don't know the answer to how many times you've been on my various podcasts. So I think this is a very good long-term relationship with God. Go in here, trading off audio guest appearances.
John Jantsch (01:41): So you've been writing a lot lately about this kind of transition that you feel like we're going through moving from web 2.0 to web 3.0, so I guess the first question is just explain the shift. You and I basically grew up in web 2.0, and that was what launched our sort of existence. But to explain this, a shift to start with, what do you call web 2.0, what's the shift.
Brian Clark (02:02): Let's go all the way back to the 1.0 version, because I think we both really got started there and that was basically more of a, oh, it was all about information web 1.0 was the ability to publish webpages and have anyone across the world, access those pages. And, uh, and you could build audiences that way. And so that's what I started doing in 98, ironically, with email newsletters, which are going strong to this day, but I really I'd started three successful businesses using exclusively digital marketing, but they were offline businesses, real estate and law. But the inflection point that where I became me in Copyblogger came into existence. And I think duct tape marketing came into prominence as well, was really a web 2.0, which started really what we would call the interactive web started with blogs. And really, I think those were the good old days of the thing, because then it became a about mobile and apps.
Brian Clark (03:09): And when that happened, social media went mainstream. And so now primarily people think of web 2.0 as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, the huge platforms that have way too much, I would say, sway over our lives and have had certainly arguably bad effects on everything from democracy to the broader society. So in, in the broadest sense, web 3.0 is a collection of technologies that kind of allow us to decentralize again, the web became very centralized around these tech giant platforms. And now we can go back to not exactly where everyone has their own blog, but something that's a good analogy that you own your property. Maybe you get to control your data and who accesses it and the value that's extracted from it. And there, like I said, there's a whole range of converging technologies that are making this happen. So it's early days, but things are really picking up and with the pace of change that we're experiencing right now, I wouldn't sleep on it. I would start paying attention. Now,
John Jantsch (04:17): Some of the defining characteristics, and everybody's talking about cryptocurrency and blockchain and AI and AR and virtual reality, are those kind of the core components that make this a different thing. Yeah.
Brian Clark (04:29): Yeah. So there are, there's various terminology for what we're calling web 3.0, another term is the spatial web or the 3d web where we really move from that page metaphor to a place where if you've ever seen ready player one or way back in 92, there was a novel called snow crash by an author named Neil Stevenson where he coined the term, the metaverse, you've probably been seeing people dropping that lately. Yeah. So again, early days, as far as the fully realized thing, but farther along than people think, because really we live in the metaverse now in the sense that the real world is being digitally reproduced, they call it digital twins of various things. You can think of the cars that go around for Google maps and basically digitize everything. Every Tesla is mapping the, the real world to make their autonomous, uh, features work and pave the way for autonomous cars.
Brian Clark (05:32): But at the same time, all that data is working to merge the physical world with the digital. And then you hear about things, the internet of things, right, where everything has a sensor and is therefore connected to the internet. All of this is happening behind the scenes. And a lot has accelerated because of COVID especially investment in artificial intelligence and automation. But also with the fact that no one seems to want to go back to the office is accelerating, augmented and virtual reality, which had been long promise. But I think we're on the cusp. My, my test for this or the thing I'm waiting for is apple to release some hardware. And I think it will change things like the first iPhone did in 2007 may better and worse. Who knows?
John Jantsch (06:24): I bet you, a lot of listeners have experienced like an Oculus device or something. And I think that's a really mainstream or at least common experience that brings a lot of these things in. Yeah,
Brian Clark (06:34): It's becoming much more mainstream. I am not a fan of Facebook. I keep holding off on experimenting with the Oculus. I should just for the experience, but yeah, I think apple is going to break it wide open. I there's,
John Jantsch (06:47): Uh, travel the world app or game or experience. I'm not sure what they actually call them on the Oculus and you could actually put in coordinates. And so I actually put in my house and I'm on this thing and I'm literally walking up my driveway and it feels like I'm there. And I'm at that point 600. It's so
Brian Clark (07:03): Reproduction of your actual house. Yeah.
John Jantsch (07:05): Because it's using Google mapping technologies.
Brian Clark (07:09): That's what I'm talking about. All of that's been that's amazing. Yeah.
John Jantsch (07:12): So I'm walking like I'm walking up my driveway. It's pretty crazy
Brian Clark (07:17): Interesting.
John Jantsch (07:18): Yeah. So, but that's, that's AR that's the artificial intelligence. That's all of the mapping and the internet of things. It's connected, everything. So it's, I think that's where a lot of people think of these things as Saifai still, that's a very everyday experience that is using all of this technology. So,
Brian Clark (07:34): And it's about to become much more every day in, in industry AI, augmented reality is used a lot. They'll have custom glasses or headsets in say a warehouse setting. And this increases in productivity when you can digitally identify information in location in a analog space is amazing. And there's a lot of applications for the,
John Jantsch (07:57): I saw a heating and cooling person using augmented reality to actually have a schematics of, of a piece of equipment that he was working on that we're basically said, this screw right here happens to be screw C put the red wire on that. And it's boom right there instead of,
Brian Clark (08:13): Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. So just real quick. So people understand the host of technologies that we're talking about here. So you'll have a new interface for being online to the extent we ever call it being online anymore. It's like we're online all the time to some degree. Um, but yeah, you'll have augmented displays that you'll have glasses that, uh, serve information up. As opposed to looking down at the rectangle, we call a phone virtual reality of course is much more immersive, creates an entire place. So imagine the kind of training that we both do, John, that where we're having to grapple technology in order to get people to feel like they're in a classroom with us soon, we'll have a virtual classroom through that interface. There's also that internet of things, aspect where 5g and all these sensors are going to just rapidly increase our ability to do anything anywhere through the commandants of various access points that way in the physical world.
Brian Clark (09:19): Then you've got your artificial intelligence and machine learning, which will be the easiest way to think about that is we have apps. AI is an app that's just way smarter than the apps we have right now. Siri is not AI, but one day Siri will be AI or Alexa or your surveillance technology of choice. And then, but what's happening right now and you can't really escape it. And almost I think in, in a bad way, cause I think it obscures the true potential of what's going on here is blockchain. So you have cryptocurrencies, you've got NFTs, non fungible tokens. You've got smart contracts. You've got new legal entities called dowels where communities can work in a more egalitarian manner together. It's really working to where we go away from these centralized platforms. And yet we have the ability to collaborate almost friction free in a decentralized manner.
John Jantsch (10:25): Let me make the connection between cryptocurrency or blockchain and why that is, is powering this web three point out because it's not just another feature of what three, three oh, I'm surmising. It's really more of the inner workings of what's going to make this go from a finance standpoint.
Brian Clark (10:46): I use the word foundational it's it's the, you could call it the trust layer or the layer that dispenses with the need for trust, where you can do transactions with people without intermediaries, without platforms collaborate with people at using these smart contracts, which are really applications in themselves that are programmed to say, this happens in this happen such as if this proof of work is made, then this payment is transferred out of escrow kind of thing. So right now we have an entire business ecosystem that is really dependent on trusted intermediaries. And what blockchain is working towards when we talked about de-centralization is getting rid of those intermediaries. And you can imagine how many people might be upset about that. So when you hear about reps, exactly, when you hear about crypto regulation and this and that, there are some very powerful legacy players who would rather things stay the way they are, but the inherent nature of the blockchain is I don't think you can stop it. So,
John Jantsch (11:58): And there's sometimes too, though, if somebody like newspapers really fought the change for a long time, because it was gutting their business, but the smart ones, a few smart ones jumped on it and said, no, we're going to be a part of this because it's inevitable. You see banks ever doing that.
Brian Clark (12:14): I do see some banks who understand that defy or decentralized finance is happening and they got to jump in. Yeah, because I was just thinking, it's such a good example, John of the newspapers and they really screwed up. They really did. They fought inevitability and it's sad because journalism is important. And, and then we've had different models that haven't really worked either. So I'm really still concerned about that issue. I'm not so concerned about the state of the legacy, financial institutions, not a fan, but it's the way things have worked, but I'm really excited to see what can be done now. Again, I think my early optimism for social media, I think you were there with me and we saw the dark side of that and pretty spectacular fashion. So this time going in, I'm not Pollyanna about it at all. I'm like, I'm trying to figure out what can go wrong as much as I like to imagine what could go, right? But most of it, because it's essentially democratic and not doesn't allow for some of the shenanigans that can go at a Lehman brothers or what have you going back to the last financial crisis on paper. It seems like it should be better, but again, let's keep our eyes.
John Jantsch (13:35): And now let's hear a word from our sponsor. I talk a lot about tools and strategies to track customer loyalty and satisfaction, whether it's predicting consumer behavior or diagnosing the many Watts, hows and whys of marketing, the HubSpot CRM platform has customizable solutions to help your business go from why not to what's next. I love all things duct tape, as you know, except for when it comes to a CRM platform, many CRM platforms are either over-engineered or clunky and unreliable costing you more time and money than they're worth a HubSpot CRM platform means that you have purpose built solution. That's tailored to your business and your business alone. So whether you're just getting started or looking for a robust system, HubSpot is flexible and customizable, meaning it scales and grows as you do with new features like business units, association labels, permission sets, and more HubSpot admins can tailor their accounts like never before and now with sandboxes admins have access to a production like account, allowing them to test iterate and experiment without risk. Learn more about how you can customize your CRM platform with [email protected]. So a, a branch of blockchain, cryptocurrencies, creator, coins, even further down the branching is something that you are exploring as a way to, I think in a lot of ways is as to create a very practical application, if you will, for people that are in, I think you've called them. I know I've heard Joe Pulizzi call content entrepreneurs. So talk a little bit about that idea of what our creator Koreans, why now, how all that goes.
Brian Clark (15:10): Yeah. It's interesting. So a creator coin is basically a branded digital currency that you effectively, you could have duct or tape I've
John Jantsch (15:19): I've, I've actually applied for duct. Yeah.
Brian Clark (15:21): Is it doc? Not tape. Okay. I didn't know which way that was going, but it's ironic because compared to something like Bitcoin, which people complain has no intrinsic value where neither does the U S dollar, but we agree that it does. So if there's enough consensus, then things have value. But with creator coins, the entrepreneur has incentive to offer better deals in their coin than they would charge in us dollars. And that seems counterintuitive, but it's a great deal for your customers, but it's also a great deal for you. What if they transact in your coin because you own a whole bunch of that cryptocurrency because you created it. So if you own 50,000 of your own coin and people start to transact in it because you offer them a better deal on it, the value of your coin goes up. That means that the value of your store of coins goes up and you're able to trade that for good old fashioned USD or any other currency that you want. So it's one of the weird things that doesn't seem to make sense that does. But the other use of creator coins is similar to credit card points or airline miles. So you can actually give this money to people who send you new subscribers or new customers, or what have you. And again, they can use that to buy stuff that you sell, or they can trade it in and get cash for it.
John Jantsch (16:56): Well, it's funny because they're coins, but in a lot of ways, I almost feel like it's like a membership card or it's like a community things not. So
Brian Clark (17:06): The loyalty program to a certain degree that supports you in a way that gets them a better deal. It's like loyalty programs that almost every business seems to have these days, but it's got the, it's got some fascinating juice to it with the crypto angle.
John Jantsch (17:24): Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So obviously we'll read about the people who became billionaires doing this because that's what will get reported. But is this an in your view, is this something that if I'm a content creator with a community, is this just a no brainer? I should be looking at developing my own currency.
Brian Clark (17:43): I think from what I've seen and we tried to poke every hole we could and it go into it. It seems to work. The only way I could lose is if this coin somehow goes less than zero, which is not possible again, when you create your own currency, you take something that didn't exist and now has a store of value for you. But I think the key here is it works. If you're able to charge us dollars for something, then you're able to make your creator coin work to your benefit and with more upside. But if you're just relying on people to tip you or whatnot, which is the Patrion thing, never did it for me. I know some people, it works for them, but I don't want to rely on the charity of my customers. I want to create things that they want because they add value to their businesses. Know
John Jantsch (18:38): What's interesting about this too. That's an angle that doesn't exist in any other form of payment that, that we use today, at least is that if you do a good job, the people who invested in that coin or invested in your newsletter, so to speak, their investment actually becomes more valuable as well. And I think that's right.
Brian Clark (18:58): Yes. Now you're not crazy supposed to downplay this aspect of it. Cause you don't want to treat it like it's a security or something like that. But yeah, when we launched the coin and it was a buck 50 and now where it's at now, people made money. They made value cause they haven't sold yet. And a part of my job is it's interesting how it makes you more transparent. Like you want to tell them about the roadmap of your business when you might've kept that closer to the vest, because they want to know that the activity in that coin is going to cause what they are holding to go up. So it's really causes you to think very differently.
John Jantsch (19:40): That's interesting because yeah, the, there, one of the things that could hurt your $5 coin is half the people deciding now's the time to sell, uh, because all of a sudden your coin, it's probably going to tank
Brian Clark (19:50): And this is a new space. But by the time we launched our coin there, we attracted speculators who bought thousands of dollars worth of it at the beginning. And the problem with that is we got up to 13 bucks a coin, we'll get back there, but we had one of those whales sell and you get, you have to know that's going to happen. They're in it. They're not part of your community. They're only in it for speculation. And I think that it's so new Raleigh just, you know, rallies, a platform that we get our coin on. It's only been around for a year. And it's amazing. There are people making hundreds of thousands of dollars by getting in early on some random person's creator coin and then, and then selling later. So,
John Jantsch (20:35): And Henri on Raleigh, there are coins that are worth 40, 50, $60. So yeah, somebody bought those at a dollar then.
Brian Clark (20:42): Yeah, no, I own a bunch of Joe Pulitzer. He's tilt coin because he gives you $5 worth of coin for every email subscriber you send them. So I just mentioned him once in Copyblogger and I got a whole bunch of coin and he, I think he's up there around $30 or something, but he's the one who got us into this. He had to basically talk me into it is Joseph, very smart, pragmatic guys. So I'm like, okay, if this were anyone else, I would think you were full of it. But whether it's on rally or on other platforms, the thing we like about rally is they are very serious about vetting. They don't just accept anyone. You don't have to pay cash, right? So you can't buy your way in, but you have to have a certain audience criteria and gotta be a good person. Someone's got to vouch for you. So I'm going to get you in there, John. Definitely good.
John Jantsch (21:36): Yeah. And so explain your coin is called move mov E and obviously people can go to rally. They have to join rally, but then they can invest just like any TD Ameritrade or anything like that. That,
Brian Clark (21:48): That's a great thing with other forms of other than Coinbase. Crypto is difficult to transact in, but you can with rally, you sign up, you can use a credit card, you can use other crypto. So they're trying their best to make something that's inherently somewhat confusing, more accessible. And I think that's an important step where we've got a lot of work to do in this entire space. A lot of people don't know what a crypto coin wallet is. And, uh, I had invested in the theorem quite a while ago, but I was just holding it there in Coinbase, which I was informed was stupid because Coinbase can get act. And it's interesting to me that I don't worry about my stock portfolio being hacked, but with crypto, it's like the wild west a little bit, but it's just evolving so quickly. I'm just so interested to see six months from now, six months ago, my life was completely, my business was different. The way I thought about it was different. Even though fundamentally I do the same kind of stuff. And I find this as positive that it makes you think about providing value to your community, to your people, to your customers at an even more accelerated level than we already have to be a successful entrepreneur.
John Jantsch (23:05): And that can't be a bad thing for anybody.
Brian Clark (23:08): Absolutely not.
John Jantsch (23:10): So Brian tell people where they can, I know people are familiar with Copyblogger, but some of the other things that you are doing as well,
Brian Clark (23:17): A lot of this web 3.0 stuff mixed with it's still like web 2.0, it's driven by audience. And I would take it a step further and say that it's the subset of your audience that could be called community community is a buzzword that's been passed around since the very beginning of the internet. Usually by brands, who'd never had a chance at it, but you're really starting to see these cohesive communities fly, but all communities need leaders. And I think that's the redefined role. The digital entrepreneur is also community leader in addition to product services and whatnot. So my newest project, it's my version of a paid newsletter is called future freedom. But there is a completely free course. If you get a future freedom.com, it's a gist of how we think about things in the creator economy and all that good stuff. So I'll just, I won't give you the whole list. I, I, because I've retained Copyblogger, we launched an agency of a copy. Blogger feels like I got more going on than ever, but thankfully I've got smart partners and many of those who handle it for me, it's a good place to be at this stage of our career jobs.
John Jantsch (24:32): No kidding. So based on today's conversation, check out future freedom.com. We'll have other links in the show notes as well. Great. Catching up with you as always. We'll have to get together. Now that we're both out here in the level of
Brian Clark (24:43): Both in Colorado, I think you're doing it even better and I'm going to come out to your place if you wouldn't mind
John Jantsch (24:50): And come up and shovel some snow. Oh yeah. I carried you stopped by
Brian Clark (24:57): Take care of brother take care.
John Jantsch (25:02): All right. That wraps up another episode of the duct tape marketing podcast. I want to thank you so much for tuning in. Feel free to share this show. Feel free to give us reviews. You know, we love those things. Also. Did you know that we had created training, marketing training for your team? If you've got employees, if you've got a staff member that wants to learn a marketing system, how to install that marketing system in your business, check it out. It's called the certified marketing manager program from duct tape marketing. You can find it at duct tape, marketing.com and just scroll down a little and find that tab that says training for your team.
Speaker 3 (25:43): [inaudible].
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