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Crypto’s ‘Uncreative Camels’ Need To Take More Risks
Greatness and innovation almost always comes by taking big risks. “The greater the risk, the greater the reward” and all that.
Byron Gilliam has an essay on the Blockworks newsletter that traces the remarkable history of Polaroid founder and genius innovator Edwin Land, who inspired so much innovation in the market – from Apple to Snapchat to Walmart. He also explores how the consensus-driven decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) of Web3 can dull that same sense of revolutionary risk.
That’s not to say DAOs don’t have promise, it’s just there are a lot of kinks to work out so that they don’t start functioning like traditional, overly cautious companies. Most importantly, the founders who drive Web3 innovation need the space and authority to enact their bold visions.
Polaroid was the original Snapchat: Part of the instant popularity of the instant camera was that it allowed people to take photos that they, umm, wouldn’t necessarily want the guy developing film at the local film store to see.
Polaroid was the original Apple, too: Like the iPhone, its camera’s mainstream appeal was a product of both science (polarizing filters) and humanities (sleek design).
Snapchat and Apple also had something in common themselves: Their founders were both big admirers of the founder of Polaroid, Edwin Land.
Calling him “one of the great inventors of our time,” Steve Jobs idolized Edwin Land for positioning Polaroid at “the intersection of art and science and business.”
Building that business was a struggle, though: It took Land 15 years to develop the Polaroid camera, during which time his company was perpetually on the edge of failure.
It was a pattern we’d see repeated over and over again: Walmart, Nike, Apple — in each case, a founder was taking huge, quirky, against-all-odds bets on a vision that hardly anyone shared with them.
That’s arguably been the defining characteristic of American capitalism, especially since the advent of the internet and then Web2.
If Edwin Land were still here, however, he would likely tell us it will not be the defining characteristic of Web3.
Land, I’m certain, would be skeptical of the decentralized decision-making behind Web3 protocols because, as he believed, "there is no such thing as group originality or group creativity."
Web3 is governed by DAOs and when groups are making decisions, the results will be neither original nor creative.