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

Unpacking the Peloton Revolution

^ OK that is NOT a Peloton.

For the record – this is an unsponsored post. I’m just a huge advocate for the at-home exercise products that they have managed to master and improve on.

I tend to ignore the recent news. Every company has its ups and downs so quarterly results are important but not in the scope of thinking long term. They are a successful company and offer a lot of insight on the perfect storm of several things, most notably: Product, Digital, and Community.

Many see it as an overnight success. The truth is, it wasn’t always a hot product. Founded in 2012, it was a long hard road to get to where it is today. An exercise startup that gained momentum over time, making the right moves and ended up a smash hit globally (as long as you live in the U.S., UK, Germany and of course, Canada).

The exercise industry was ready for a revolution with the marriage of technology with a premium designer-level product and the all too familiar subscription model.

Keeping in mind this is not a bargain brand, the price is a sticker shock for many but it’s the price of entry. The promise it delivers is encouraging providing fresh content for as long as you stay motivated to continue for.

Community

Perhaps the most compelling part of Peloton is its tribe-like psychology. Joining live with your friends and connecting and competing with people all around the world with the live feed. Represent a group through a hashtag, start your own and follow your favourite instructor all from the comfort of your home, wherever that may be.

From a social perspective, you’ll find like-minded friends and family or find new people who get it and are experiencing a similar journey.

Instructors

Part of the main draw is choosing the instructor(s) you vibe with. They have different challenges and music tastes and change it up to keep things interesting.

Celebrity-like personalities in their own right, you have ex DJs, athletes and sports enthusiasts becoming huge names. The cult of personality is huge here and there are opportunities for some that grow their personal brands extending beyond Peloton for multiple revenue streams.

Customer Experience

From a company perspective, the product is digital, it just happens to include a physical exercise bike or treadmill, etc. The experience starts online from your first interaction with live chat asking questions to your eCommerce order, buying with Affirm as an option for monthly instalments.

Picking your delivery day and the friendly crew that comes and drops off your bike and orientates you on everything.

Gamification

Reaching 100 rides gets you into the century club and you get a t-shirt for the accomplishment. It sounds like a small gesture but it makes it real. Milestones are set for you to keep going and hit your next huge goal.

Live feeds show who you are against and what ranking position you’re in.

Hitting personal bests has to be one of the best features. You are competing against yourself.

Getting monthly reports on your stats is a helpful check-in to see how things are going, how you did compared to the previous month.

Subscription

Every business owner loves an opportunity to have a recurring billing structure. Peloton charges a monthly fee for you to access the system. You don’t need to do this, but it’s like having an Xbox without any games – you kind of need it.

Think of it as a gym membership, it’s easier to swallow that way at least that’s what I tell myself. In terms of making it worth it, exercising enough to “earn” your fee is another way to look at it.

Recommendations

Peloton comes with the bike and integrated tablet ready to go, just plug it in and set up your account and you’re ready to go.

Some suggestions to make the most of it:

  • Invest in a good set of wireless exercise headphones
  • A good bluetooth heartrate monitor is essential
  • Yes – get a headband, thank me later
  • Bike shorts provide some extra padding
  • Get a few moisture-wicking shirt(s) for the week
  • Definitely consider a fan – hello Vornado
  • Have a water bottle handy, drink water when you need it

Folks, don’t forget to warm up and cool down. Often skipped, but very necessary.

Down the road

There are some minor issues to consider. For example, if more than one person rides the bike in your household, it’s a pain in the butt to constantly adjust the settings. Make sure you have enough ceiling room height to stand up on the bike.

What’s in store for Peloton? Can they get past the inevitable issues, lawsuits and bad press to continue to innovate the next generation of exercise technology? It’s still early yet but it’s exciting to see where they take it.

Proliferation of Health Conscious Home Food Delivery?

Return of the Milk Man

For those of us that have memories of living in a house that had a small wooden compartment near the side door, we asked our parents… what is this for?

“They delivered milk to your home? Seriously?”

A growing trend of home delivery for food has been booming over the past two years. If Amazon can drop off a book and some gadgets, why can’t Sally sell smoothies through sweet social strategies straight to your stoop? (I tried)

The trend I’m seeing has to do with health conscious, time-strapped individuals who don’t want to sacrifice their busy daily routines to make a better choice in dining.

  • Juice cleanses
  • Paleo diets
  • Organic produce
  • Farm fresh meat and poultry
  • Nut milks

And that’s just the beginning.

Success

What’s going to make these business succeed over others? Aside from having a solid product and adhering to food production and handling standards, my guess would be the following:

Great Brand Identity

A targeted brand with a straight forward message. It doesn’t have to be a cure-all, even if it is. People don’t always buy based on the benefits of a product; some don’t buy on features and benefits at all. How do cigarettes improve your life?

Social Media

Strong social media management that “gets” the demographic. Nice brands need a champion and voice that embodies everything the product and brand are about. Someone with essential knowledge that can react and interact throughout the conversation.

Local Supply Chain

Fantastic local vendors and proper supply chain management: this is going to be of vital importance as many small to medium enterprises are not equipped with the software and programs to track and maintain inventory and distributions channels all that well.

Timely Order Processing and Shipping

There are many tools out there for businesses to get a jump start on taking tender and managing orders but there are several hurdles that don’t come straight out of the box on most commerce platforms. Things like: bounding delivery location, local delivery and schedule management (Delivering yourself? You don’t want to be driving across two cities only to get the order wrong. UPS, FED EX, etc.)

As huge fans of these ventures and the branding agency of record with a number in the marketplace, we look forward to seeing more and more local business develop and thrive in the coming years.

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