An introduction to the new and expansive Web3 space

If you haven’t heard of Web3 yet, you’re probably living under a rock. It’s in the news all the time, and everyone has been talking about it online for a while now! So what the heck is it?

Web3 is a convenient way to package up the evolution of the internet.

It helps to look at the history of where we’ve come from to understand what this terminology means. We can frame it in a way that makes sense based on the progress of technology and its applications.

The evolution of web technology in simpler terms:

Web1 – Websites (static)
Web2 – Social Media (interactive)
Web3 – Decentralization (connected)

This is how I summarize it to make sense of it all.

Web1 consisted of basic websites and eCommerce. Web2 was the next movement, with social networks and mobile-first becoming the priority. Web3 is still unfolding, starting with headliners like blockchain technology and artificial intelligence pushing the boundaries.

The catalyst for Web3 fundamentally has been the extended development of blockchain technology and putting it to work.

Decentralization

Instead of something hosted within a closed system – think “Facebook” or any other similar platform – the data network moves towards different options. An example would be blockchain technology on a P2P network via dApp – bypassing a traditional centralized authority that usually controls who has access. Does that sound like nonsensical tech speak? Think cryptocurrency (Ethereum), peer to peer (direct) and decentralized application (open source software).

Permissionless

Transparency is leading the way. Again, blockchain is an excellent example of this. Data of transactions are stored on a public network easily accessible by anyone to see. It’s simply a record of information. There is no authority in place to meddle with who can do what. Updates are reflected live for all to review.

Connectivity

Dependency on traditional models of hardware and software is less apparent. Signing and accessing things via a unique wallet address is a straightforward way of directly doing something without limitations. Security becomes the primary focus for keeping identity unique, anonymous and safe.

Artificial Intelligence

The options and applications are endless, whether using AI for generating concepts, ideating, or even creating text. Live chat with virtual assistants, creating website copy or creating randomly generated artwork based on defined parameters are excellent use cases we’ve seen out there in the wild already.

What does it mean for your business?

Consider how you might be able to apply Web3 technology for your benefit and your customers.
Do you need to utilize Web3 for your company? Maybe, maybe not. Don’t do it to feel like you’re hip with the new kids in town. Web1/2 is still very much alive. Think of it as layers on top of one another.

Web3 is the gateway to so many opportunities it’s hard not to get tempted and jump right in.
There is a metaverse of people building amazing things.

Brands are finding ways to bridge the gap between Web2 and Web3, you could call it Web2.5 if you’d like. We’ll be seeing a lot of interesting collaborations happening!

While it’s not for everyone, as we’ve learned over time, in general, it’s inevitable and we need to embrace change. It’s happening and it’s here to stay whether or not you like it.

In the least, it serves you to be aware.

The Design Chapel: Ultimate backyard custom built garden home office shed

Private sanctuary, rejoice! What is better than having a separate office for your work-from-home situation?

When I was much younger, building a tree fort in my friend’s backyard was an experience never to forget. Finding old pieces of wood, climbing a tree and hammering rusty nails with little to no engineering experience is a right of passage for learning things by trial and error. And it might not be the prettiest thing you’ve ever seen but it was an exercise in creative freedom and futility that nothing else can provide.

Before we get into the juicy details, let’s take a look at some beautiful photos of the final product:

Fast-forward to today as a designer who appreciates the finer things, there is nothing better than having your own private space to work away on a project.

This time, instead of building it myself, I reached out online to get the help of a professional who gets it.

Thanks to Craft Living and Little Blue House Design, they were able to help realize the vision.

Where to begin: Plans, Permits, etc.

Do not overlook the planning phase. This is the most important. It starts with a conversation and leads to a mood board that provides the direction and atmosphere for everything.

I had provided an idea of what we wanted to do with the backyard space, including rough backyard layout sketches, photos and thoughts with some inspiration with photos for examples of stuff I liked. It’s nice being the client for a change!

It varies from city to city, but generally, you do not need a building permit if your structure is under 108 sq ft (in Toronto). Our concerns were addressed and made sure we created a space we could use confidently upon completion.

Craft Living is not a prefab company. They build everything from scratch, custom for your needs. Think of it as a little home in your backyard.

If you’ve ever explored the world of home add-ons, you’ll see all kinds of use cases for it such as an extra bedroom, nanny suite, play space, exercise room and of course office. The list goes on.

The Build

To streamline the space and transform the backyard, part of the garden had to go.

The deck was phase 1 since this was the foundation for everything. It transforms the space by unifying the back portion of the yard, which was originally a small sloping hill. Now it has a desirable area for a picnic table to lounge, enjoy BBQs and the like.

With any significant undertaking, this project was no exception and had its challenges to overcome. Due to COVID-19, there were some issues with materials (hello lumber prices!!!), project delays (hard to get supplies/pickup/delivery), subcontractors, labour shortages and dealing with a backlog of overlapping projects to contest with. As with most construction work, issues are to be expected, so in the end, all that matters is the final product. And it was worth it.

We ended up on a structure around 10×10′, which provides just enough room for a workspace and a small lounge area. A private space perfect for working on the computer, conference calls, enjoying a fresh beverage or sneaking in a power nap.

The final result

The project began in April and finished in October. And we couldn’t be happier with the final result. The process took longer than expected but it was well worth the wait.

Credits

Remotely Working – The Ups and Downs of WFH

Due to COVID-19, many teams have recently had to adapt and pivot to new working models. 

The remote-first model is the new framework for many companies. Having the option of working fully remote is a godsend to some people and for others, it can feel overwhelmingly isolating.

Empowering your remote employees while having an option for in-person collaboration is the best of both worlds.

As things start to ease up, we’ll see a new way of working where varying options exist. Having it both ways is ideal to embrace the hybrid model (remote/office).

At Jackson Wynne

We have been successfully working remotely within our company for a few years, long before 2020 hit.

With our core team spread across the GTA and with partners and collaborators in other countries, working remotely was in play long before the pandemic would’ve forced our hand. 

While meeting up in person is still an excellent way to work, the average “office worker” who only needs a laptop and access to the internet could, in theory, work anywhere in the world and still be effective.

Pros and Cons

The one benefit of working from home is setting flexible hours. 

If you need to run an errand, there is no need to come up with an excuse or take a day off work for an appointment.

Life happens and it’s sometimes necessary to get things done inside of regular working hours.

Accountability is still in play, definitely not to be ignored. Punching in from 9-5 pm seems almost like a relic where you could instead work hours better for you and get all your work done and then some.

As a business owner, things can be slightly different, but from the perspective of a day-to-day producer, I can still see the plus side.

It starts with trusting yourself and your coworkers to show up and get things done—all without middle managers breathing down your neck to stay on task.

Working from home – with everyone else around

Things like scheduling conference calls can be tricky if you have limited space. If you have a partner, overlapping dialogue can be challenging if you share a home office or small space.

For remote workers without children, count your blessings. Imagine having to work a full-time job and homeschool your children. This is the reality for many throughout the world. Without daycare, school or limited options for assistance, it can put you in a tough spot.

Success with your team

The remote method works at scale; ask any international startup that operates across multiple countries and time zones. Connect when you can and coordinate to create a streamlined company workflow.

At the heart of its success, communication is critical. Have regular check-ins and continue to set goals/targets as you usually would.

With things like Zoom and Slack, internal communication is mostly there. The double-edged sword of that is making sure that 24/7 availability doesn’t become the norm – you still need healthy boundaries to keep your head on straight and stay productive.

Unless you embrace virtual reality meetings, which is debatable as the next best thing, virtual work can leave a lot to be desired.

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows

Working from home can be great, but often overlooked is that it can have a downside.

Isolation from a centralized office can be a huge bummer. It’s great to have coworkers to grab lunch with or bounce ideas off of, which can be difficult to recreate authentically online where things always feel a little disjointed from reality.

It’s important to have systems in place to keep employees connected. Whether that’s weekly virtual meetings or you have an annual summit meet-up. Whatever is feasible.

Bottom Line

For the return to the office, many are looking forward to the environment, social engagement and routines/rituals that come with it. I completely understand those happily running towards it.

For the same reason, many have become accustomed to working from home. To take that away entirely without offering any options is not an ideal situation to have.

Whether you are working from home, in the office or both – whatever works. I say all the more power to each individual.

As I write this from a home office during business hours, I can assure you that remote working has worked out well, at least for me for the past 3-4 years.

We can discuss the 4 day work week everyone has been talking about recently another time.

How does remote work or not work for you and your team?

From lockdown to open for business

The writing was on the wall. Inevitable.

It was January 2020. Nobody *really* saw it coming.
Restrictions in Ontario began in March. An official lockdown didn’t happen until December 2020.

So many industries have been terribly affected by the lockdowns, especially travel, restaurants, events and entertainment businesses, to name a few. Small businesses that are month to month were hit the worst with no way to pay their lease or mortgages, let alone staff. Every week in the news, you heard of a restaurant being shut down.

At first, it seemed fine because it was only temporary and nobody knew the reality of how long this would last.

Fast forward to today, almost 2 years later and it’s still going on. We’ve moved past a pandemic and into the endemic territory.

What does this mean for your business today?

Many are playing catch-up and want to get whole again. Trying to hire back a workforce that is no longer there or hesitant to return or already moved on. It’s decimated progress and we’ll see the long-term effects of this for years to come.

It’s hard to think of the last major event that happened since many of us weren’t around for it, i.e. “The Spanish Flu” in 1918. If you study history, it’s a recurring theme that does happen in cycles. While it feels like something you can’t account for, and in many ways, it did blind-side us all, the truth is this is nothing new. Bill Gates was right when he said it’s not a matter of “if” but “when.”

Even with this knowledge – the whole thing is really surreal and many are still trying to figure out what happened left picking up the pieces.

Is your business pandemic proof? Pivoting and adapting

What sort of techniques have you seen out there for businesses trying to survive?

Whether it’s ramping up a product or service and offering delivery to changing your business model altogether.

We’ve seen entire industries shift to advance their offering. A good example is grocery stores offering delivery (OK, this existed before, but there is no excuse like the present to REALLY make it work).

Despite best efforts, it’s a sad realization that many businesses don’t make it and have to shut down. Take it as an opportunity to learn and regroup or shift your focus to something new.

What’s next

I’m not one to pretend like I have all the answers because who knows how this will all go.

After a better portion of the globe is vaccinated and we’ve mostly managed the virus, 2022 is a year of hope. Of rebuilding. Businesses once shuttered will be flourishing again with a healthy and active, loyal customer base just itching to get back out there.

Living through bad times has presented an opportunity to revisit our priorities and focus on what’s truly important.

Many say people have short attention spans and in a year, it will feel like a distant memory. I personally feel like this is a reminder to all – what’s the most important thing in life? Your health, wellness, partners, friends and family are always going to be number one.

So if you forgot that, all it takes is a pandemic as a friendly reminder to treat each other well. While we’re not all in the same boat, we are in this together and should do our best to make the experience a little better by being good to one another in any way possible.

One small gesture at a time.

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