Episode 175 Featuring Joseph Ianni

Jason Greenwood - Metaverse, and The Advantage of Retail Today

Jason Greenwood - Metaverse, and The Advantage of Retail Today

In today’s episode, we talked to Jason Greenwood, founder and lead consultant of Greenwood Consulting, which specializes in helping B2B and DTC brands.

He talked about the importance of setting up the fundamental foundations of a business, your operational core, so you can quickly and efficiently onboard on the new channels whether it’s the marketplace, social, or metaverse. If you can’t, then that signals a wider problem in your business, and that’s where they come in to help you.


Businesses always have this feeling of FOMO — fear of missing out. They always want to run the latest thing, latest technology, or channel. These are the most common problems that he faces, and with that he remind us to always have one foot in the present and one foot in the future.

Living off-grid

Joseph: Jason Greenwood. It is good to have you here on Ecomonics, how you doing? What's new with you? 

Jason Greenwood: Oh mate, it's fantastic to be here. I thank you for having me on look, it's been a crazy time. We're back in red as they call it here in New Zealand, which means we're pretty clamped down on things, but you know, such as the story of COVID that you, we go through these waves and, and New Zealand and Australia seemed to be taking a much more hard line approach than many other places in the real world.

So I'm lucky in that I live in an off-grid tiny house and so I work remote with all of my clients anyway. So it's not, it doesn't affect me as much as it does other people that are trying to get into offices and various other things. But yeah, we're in the middle of summer here and the weather is beautiful and we're just trying to enjoy it as much as best we can.

Joseph: I have wonder about being off grid, and this is going to be a pretty bougie question. You know, such as it is, you know, internet access and all of that. Because when I hear out grid, I think like, you know, chopping down trees to make fires and hunting and foraging for. So what is the actual like lifestyle of off grid and how are you still able to stay connected? I mean, I'm over here in Toronto, Canada, and your connection is pretty good. Yeah. 

Jason Greenwood: It's not too bad. It's a hundred percent wireless connection through Vodafone. We have a rural wireless broadband company here called farm side, but they use the Vodafone 4g and 5g network. And they have a wireless rural broadband connection.

So basically a hundred percent, as long as I've got power, then I can connect to the internet and then obviously I can also tether with my cell phone. If that goes down, then I've always got a backup with tethering with my cell phone, which is a 4g out here. Although the standard 4g connectivity out here is pretty pathetic.

So yeah, there's alternatives and it keeps us going, but yeah, living off grid is always exciting. We're on full solar, but we've got a, you know, I've got a four KVA generator as a backup and yeah, we run off lithium batteries and yeah, we're pretty, pretty well.

Joseph: I'm wondering if this will end up being a thread throughout the remainder of the episode. No promises. I'm not saying it will or won't, but having looked into what you're up to and a lot of your future facing a discussion that you have with other people, it is interesting to me to see this not delicate, but intricate balance of, you know, both getting an abundance of nature and breathing, breathing in the fresh air while at the same time making use of tech at its at its best and that, and at the forefront of it. So seeing that balance is something that I find admirable. So we'll see how well we can integrate it to the remainder of the discussion.

Jason Greenwood: My dog definitely has an opinion on that and he forces me. He's only about three years old and he's a mixed breed, but he's basically a Jack Russell mixed with a beagle. And so he definitely is very, very energetic. And so at least twice a day, he'll force me to get out and go for a walk on our, on the property. It's about 15. Semi rural. And so he forces me to get out and go for a walk twice a day. So, you know, whilst I spend a lot of time online, I also am very grounded, I try to make sure that I get out and actually breathe fresh air as often as I can and get sunshine on my face.

Long-term impact of COVID-19 in the industry

Jason Greenwood: Oh, man, I've got a lot on my plate, but it's an exciting time to be in digital, as you can imagine, you know, COVID put a rocket under digital law, unlike anything I've ever seen before. I've been in this industry for over 20 years and I've just never seen anything like it, the demand with, through the roof for digital. You know, and it transformed the way we interact as humans. It transformed retail. It's, you know, it's got long tail effects, but for me, you know, I started my consulting business, my independent consulting business smack in the middle of COVID.

So I've been running that just over a year now, and it, you know, it's been a fantastic run. I don't deal primarily with sort of vanilla retailers. I deal with really, really complex commerce environments, B2B , D2C environments, you know, really complex omni-channel environments, hybrid models, cross-border commerce, you know, omni-channel integration, full stack commerce.

So I don't just work on the e-commerce side. I work across the whole entire commerce stack, you know, ERP, CRM, PIM, CDP. Whereas management order management, the whole, the whole stack, really. And so I found that that B2B primarily, especially during COVID B2B historically has not necessarily had a big emphasis on e-com and during COVID they had to, they had no choice because a lot of their field sales reps and their account managers, et cetera, they couldn't go and see their customers.

And so they had no choice, but to adopt digital ways of working and they had no choice, but to digital commerce. And then they started to realize, geez, this is actually pretty bloody hard because we've got priceless. We've got customer groups, we've got, you know, the quote process that has to be digitalized. We've got all these manual sort of organic processes that have grown over say 10, 20, 30 years of running a B2B business. And now we have to try to digitalize all these processes while at the same time, not alienating our sales teams and our account management teams who feel threatened by e-commerce in many instances.

So how do we walk that fine line with digital enablement, without threatening sales teams and who are the, you know, the lifeblood of a lot of B2B businesses, they rely on B2B sales teams to be able to close deals and be able to have that working relationship with the customer. So it has been a massive transformation during this time. No doubt about it.

Importance of the fundamental foundations of a business

Jason Greenwood: Obviously in 2021, the latest buzz is web three. And what does that look like? And people asking me about that on a regular basis and me trying to wind their expectations back and say, look, this is still very early days of web three. You need to get your foundations, right? Don't snap at the latest, shiny thing we need to get the basis. The absolute fundamental foundations of your business nailed your operational core. We need to get that really efficient. We need to get that digitally enabled, and we need to get that super efficient so that when you onboard these new channels, whether that be a marketplace channel, whether that be a social channel, whether that be a metaverse channel, it doesn't really matter what the channel.

You have to be able to onboard new channels as they emerge quickly, easily and efficiently. And if you can't do that, then that signals a wider problem in your business that we probably need to address first. And that's sort of the things that I've seen is that, is that businesses oftentimes have this, this feeling of FOMO, fear of missing out, right? They want to run the latest thing. They want to run the latest tech. They want to have the latest processes. They want to be in the latest, fancy channels that, you know, and in many cases they don't even have an owned channel right. Yet with a great experience.

And so those are the types of things I'm facing, which is well, I try to tell my clients have one foot in the present, but also one foot in the future. And it's that one foot in the present piece that sometimes is missing. 

Joseph: When you say, you say, own a channel, to be honest, I haven't heard that term yet. And I think what that means is a, whether that is a social media platform or a marketplace platform, whatever it is, it is something that they have a strong foothold in.

And it's something that they're able to build out that is that close enough? 

Jason Greenwood: I would consider those leased or rented channels or in the case of marketing a earned channel. So when I say owned, I'm talking about an own website, so their own commerce channels that they own outright manage, maintain, have control over.

And then obviously an owned marketing channel might be an own podcast. You know, some of the other marketing channels, their own blog, their own channels that they can go direct to market through whether that be from a marketing perspective or a transactional perspective. And then they have kind of these, these rented or leased channels, which are the other transactional channels, like marketplaces and social and other marketing channels that they, that they effectively are pay to play in those environments.

Joseph: So somewhere like a share a channel environment, I guess the reason why I thought, oh, and was it more like, A company where a brand has enough dominance in that channel, that they are not only at the top of their game, but they are actually having influence on other people.

Suddenly you get into this whole ecosystem of like, which brands are, set of the pace on these different platforms. But I understand what you're saying now we're versus, you know, like this podcast over here created by the company, you know, for the company, it's something that we have full control over. 

The metaverse 

Joseph: Okay. So you brought up web three. My expectations for web three right now are like they don't exist just cause I don't, I haven't really been able to wrap my head around it so far. What I've come to understand as least as a part of web three, we're talking about having an empty cryptocurrency and you mentioned the metaverse, that was the metaverse qualified for web three or is the universe like its own lateral thing being built up because. Using the web as a resource, but it's really turning into its own, I guess, world, frankly.

Jason Greenwood: Yeah. Typically the metaverse is falls under that web three umbrella because it's, it's enabled by certain digital technology that is only really starting to mature. Now, obviously VR, AR, XR. So mixed reality. Those have been around for, you know, about a decade now in one form or another, but really they're only starting to hit the mainstream dialogue outside of gaming and outside of commercial and military use.

They're really only starting to move into the mainstream culture now and NFTs have had a lot to do with that easy access to cryptocurrency has, you know, with the likes of Coinbase and Binance and the ease of getting into cryptocurrency now. And I think many of the major digital commerce influencers such as Gary V and some of the other major players, even Tom and some of the other major players going hammer and tongs that pushing not only NFTs, but smart contracts and the influences that all of this emerging and maturing technology will have on commerce and on relationships and on community.

I think because there's some big, big names behind this. You know, hundreds of billions worth of VC dollars flowing into this space. It's gone from vaporware to on the horizon. Like you know, even a year ago, it was mostly just complete vaporware. But when you have, you know, Microsoft announcing in the last week that they're going to spend $69 billion to acquire Activision blizzard.

When you have Walmart in the last week, announcing they're going to go all in on the metaverse and they're going to create their own cryptocurrency. When you have Google saying that they're going to go all in on the metaverse, they see the future there, they're creating a metaverse team within their business to go along with their other VR teams, which have been around since the Google glass whole days.

And so I think there's a lot of technology that is becoming more mainstream because it's more accessible. And I recently had Mike angel on my podcast podcast episode is yet to come out yet, but he's one of the co-founders of fractal, which is a gaming NFT marketplace. So when we look at those marketplaces emerging open sea. And along with the new blockchains that are coming out, that support really, really complex smart contracts. Either the technology is maturing very, very fast. And whenever you have major investors, major retailers, and basically all of the tech community focused on web three and underlying technologies. It may not be on the horizon tomorrow, but if people don't start learning about it today, they'll find their business being left behind.

And I work with clients every day that lament or regret the fact that they didn't get into e-commerce sooner, they regret they didn't get into mobile sooner. They regret they didn't get into, you know, that they didn't get into social sooner or marketplaces sooner. And so am I saying that for example, with my clients, am I telling them, hey, we need to look at this metric. Today? No, I'm not, but I'm saying, hey, look, you need to make sure that you keep your finger on the pulse of what's happening in this space, because it will become mainstream probably sometime in the next five to 10 years. And you need to be setting the foundation right now, so that when that does hit the mainstream, you're ready to go. 

Joseph: You know, this is not a question that I was chambering more towards the end. I was just cause a little bit more fun, but I can't resist the urge to ask you right away. But when you're keeping your eye on this emergent technology, and when we talk about the metaphors, it can not only as a role changing its world creating, does any of this frighten you like in a dystopian sense or in a ready player, one sense where, you know, people are going to start being drawn away from actual reality.

Live the life in there. I'm asking you for fun, but I really am curious to know what what's been your take on that from that point of view. 

Jason Greenwood: Look, I think that's an absolute risk and I think there are dark sides to this that, you know, we could go down a long rabbit hole of, of matrix like outcomes, right. And I mean effectively, if you want to see what the metaverse is all about, just go and rewatch the matrix and you'll start to understand that is for all intents and purposes, that is what the metaverse will be. It will be. It will rapidly become virtual environments that are so lifelike and so realistic that you will not be able to distinguish them between the physical real world or base reality and virtual reality. But obviously in virtual reality, there are other capabilities and functions and experiences we can have in those worlds that there is no analog form in the physical world. There is no equivalent.

So we'll be able to have experiences in the virtual world that there is no physical, current human equivalent for. And so that's going to be, you know, you can almost think like the holodeck, you know, you can think of it through many different lenses and many dystopian lenses, but I think that the technology is coming, whether we like it or not. And from my perspective on what I want to do is I want to have a positive dialogue and a positive contribution to where this goes and encourage people to try to be able to find a better balance in their life.

Now, obviously social media has shown us that we're really bad at balance, and many other things in the digital space have shown us. We're really bad at balance. And I'm hoping that the metaverse doesn't turn out to be an equally unbalanced type of environment that kids go, the kids disappear into because for example, they're getting bullied at school and they actually don't even want to go to school anymore.

So they're going to go to school in the metaverse, where they can control the environment. They'll never get bullied. They'll never get talked down to, they'll never get shamed. They can create any kind of avatar. And he look that they want, they can behave and look, you know, almost like a superhero if they want to in that environment.

And is that going to be attractive for many people to disappear down that rabbit hole of the metaverse and never come out? Absolutely. There's no question about that, but I don't see it as too different to people that spend 15 hours or 20 hours a day in social media. It's not that much different. It's an evolution of that, but it's not that much different. And so I think the same struggle for balance. We already have. It's going to be the same struggle for balance this carried over into the metaverse. 

Joseph: Well, I'd like to contribute to this idea, cause I'm not trying to turn this into a therapy session, but I had a pretty hard time in school. And in doing so turns to video games turned to online communities as a way to feel like I belong somewhere and to be part of a more positive environment. And I mean to this day, I still, I saw a game as a hobby. Although, you know, I'm treated very nicely at works VM stuff. If that part is at least as like, you know, diminished, somewhat the ability to disconnect from, you know, from being on the online world from some of the most highly addictive video games is within our ability to have control because there's only so much encoding that happens.

Like, yeah, we're playing world of Warcraft and we're playing it quite a while and it's designed to keep people stick it around and playing and grinding and all of that. But at least it's still taking place on a computer where, you know, all you have to do is like turn around and you're just taken out of the environment like that. Whereas putting on a virtual reality helmet or even going so far as being in a room where there are spraying different, you know senses at you.

Like these are squirting water or you wish had done a theater is by the way, the amount of encoding that will take place when people are having these like near one-to-one experiences is I think much more, much more prevalent or much more powerful, much more potent. The risk can be that it will be 10 times as hard to pull people out of that addiction than it has been already. And it already has been rather difficult for a lot of people to just basically snap out of it.

And then on the other side, you look at what is so bad about society that keeps people from wanting to participate in it and the rail? It is, yeah, for me, I, this is getting a little political here, but, you know, I think it's worth bringing up once in a while is, you know, on the one hand you do have, people give you a hard time. You do have bullies, but then you have what it's, what's even worse is trying to stand up. And trying to fight back. Maybe you gained the respect. One out of 10 times, the teachers will suspend you in a core expel you, it based on how you retaliate the bullies are calling their friends and the situation gets worse.

So we still have to look into, you know, what is making realities so problematic for so many people and use people's eagerness and time spent on these other platforms as a metric to decide, you know, why are people spending half their life on these, on these games or in these environments and not in this, in this other world that we've worked pretty hard to create so far.

Jason Greenwood: I couldn't agree with you more. I mean, I think that, you know, people around the world are losing faith in government. They're losing faith in community. They're losing faith in many things in their life, losing faith in religion. They're losing faith in lots of things, but you know, I'm 47 years old.

And what I've learned is that the human connection, the love emotion, these things, they are the stuff that make us human. And those things are super, super hard to get in a virtual environment, even across zoom, right? We have even with a call like this, where you can kind of see my hands, you can't see all of my body language. You can't. I mean, we're energetic beings. We know this, you know, I know it sounds woo, woo. And I'm not a tree hugger by any stretch, but modern science has proven that we are biomechanical beings and that we're, we, we have an electrical pulse that pulses through our body that's generated by our heart. And, and so much of our sensory perception is based on these energetic outputs of the human body.

And even to the point where we know that, for example, when we hug our friend or we hug our loved one, there's an instant shot of oxytocin that you don't get. Even if I'm talking to the same person via zoom, I don't get the oxytocin shot, which is actually a moderator for adults. So oxytocin automatically cancels out dopamine.

And so the gaming engines and these virtual reality worlds, they play very heavily in our dopamine system, but they cannot replace oxytocin. And so that, that comes from human connection and human touch and human interaction being in the same physical space. And so I, you know, there is at the moment, there is no replacement for that.

Well VR bodysuits with olfactory sense and haptic capabilities, and ultimately where Elon wants to take us with human, you know, machine brain interfaces and computer brain interfaces, BCI brain, computer interfaces will those where we have direct brain stimulation to where our brain won't literally be able to tell the difference between physical and virtual, because it's triggering the same neurons that it would.

If we were physically in person, will we be able to, all of a sudden now be able to trigger an oxytocin released by hugging someone 10,000 miles away? Because we feel like we're actually hugging them. I don't think I have the answers to that, and I don't think anybody does yet, but for the time being, people need to understand the biology of their body and of the immune system. They need to understand these things better without, before they rush headlong into the digital. I think they need to understand what the feedback loop they're creating for themselves and their physical body. If they understand, I come from a very strong, natural health background.

I ran e-commerce, you know, for new Zealand's largest online retailer of natural health products amended into natural health since I was a kid. So were my parents. And so I guess from a supplementation perspective, from a, from an exercise perspective, from a breadth perspective, there's lots of things that are important to me because they've always been important to me. And they've always been taught to me as being important to me.

What I'm more concerned about is people that don't understand how their body works. They don't understand the endocrine system. They don't understand how every single hormone that they have in their bodies being hijacked by digital technology because that the digital technology is trying to achieve an outcome and an understands our biology better than we do in many cases. And it can achieve that outcome because they've tested to achieve that outcome. And so all I would encourage people to do is to start understanding the biology of the human body better before rushing headlong into technology with reckless abandon. That's all I would recommend. 

Joseph: Well, I think that's fantastic. And I knew, well, I didn't know, but I predicted that what we talked about at the beginning, the balance between tech and living in nature would, would come up again and your bit, your background, you know, working in natural health space and all of that, I could see where you're coming from with that.

And then I, in my mind, I just imagined what would happen if somebody. Enter the VR space and almost have like a magic school bus experience where they are shrunk down to like the molecular level and actually can probably can possibly learn what you're discussing in a much more intuitive way because they're seeing for themselves what, you know, what our cells are up to, what our atoms are up to and the work that our bodies are going through on a day-to-day basis. It's really fascinating stuff. 

So this is another thing that I chambered earlier. So you had mentioned, you didn't mention the metaverse. We talked about it, we've been talking about it, but I noticed something has happened a couple of times in, especially in the, in the digital space, in the gaming space, valve, the creators of half-life, counterstrike, they released a gaming platform known as steam and for quite a while, steam was pretty much the only one in the marketplace and they had a game that was so in demand that players were forced to adopt steam in order to play. It was half-life two. Everybody wanted to play it. It was like the holy grail of gaming at the time. And it still holds up and over time, publishers were putting their games on these platforms and they said, you know what? Nevermind, I think we would rather make our own. And now we have like 50 different gaming clients from, from the different companies.

Same thing happened with Netflix, Disney, for instance, a lot of these major companies where they were just jam packing Netflix with so much content, you would be crazy not to have it. Like it was, there was just so much value in there. And in the end they happened, everybody saw dollar signs in their eyes and said, yeah, you know what? I think we'll just do, we'll do our own thing.

So now we have Disney. Plus you have Netflix, Hulu and all these other ones. I, and as a consumer, you know, from, from, from television, it's not so bad. Cause I could just subscribe for one month exit subscribe for another month. It's not so bad. It's manageable. I'm wondering if we're, if anything, like this is going to happen when we get to the metaverse where instead of, maybe at first we'll start with one shared experience where everybody will have their own, their own space. And then over time, companies are going to say, well, you know what? I think we at Google, we want to create our own version of it.

Or we at alpha want to create our own version of it. This pattern does come up. I had a person, I don't think it's a good pattern. I think, you know, more people stands to benefit from having more centralized, content releases or content release platforms. However, I just want to know, has any of this crossed your mind or are we looking more, what's more likely if we're looking at one singular meta verse that everyone is going to share, or are we looking at, you know, multiple metaverse. 

Jason Greenwood: Oh, I like it to as in a browser. So as of today, we have browser tabs and we have, you know, I can go to an owned e-commerce website of a brand that I like, and I can shop directly with them. I can log into Facebook and I can sometimes see their representation. Maybe they've got a Facebook shop or they've got an Instagram shop and I can log into Instagram on my phone and I can access their shop within Instagram.

I can maybe go to Amazon or trade me or eBay, and I can see their Amazon store on, on Amazon, but they also have their own website. So I think the metaverse will be very similar. I think we'll get to a place where we walk, where we virtually step into this open pallet ID space, where we've got this, these tabs of metaverse , all down the right-hand side of the screen, for lack of a better term.

And we just grab one and all of a sudden now, boom we're or we just are, we just tap that. And all of a sudden we're whisked into that particular metaverse right. Whereas we will be able to create our own metaverses ourselves, in these just like we can create our own websites today on Squarespace, whatever the case may be.

And as businesses, many businesses, at least at first will probably be challenged to create their own metaverse. And so therefore today they can create their own website with relative ease, but it will be challenging for them to create their own metaverse at first, because there's, there's not a lot of standardization, so there's no equivalent of HTML, five JavaScript and all the web standards of today, all of those standards don't yet exist in the metaverse they're being developed, but they don't yet exist.

And as a result, only the biggest, most powerful brands like the Nike's and Adidas of the world and the Walmarts of the world have the capability to create an owned metaverse today with maybe even their own cryptocurrency for loyalty and proof of ownership and all that sort of stuff. That's very expensive today because the technology is so new, but give it five to 10 years that won't be the case. And you'll have templated metaverses that you can adopt with underlying operating systems that run that there'll be standardization that will emerge just like there has all the way from the old VHS and beta days. And then, you know, video discs. And then we moved to, to CDs and DVDs, and then we moved to, you know, streaming over the, over the, our streaming.

So there will be standards that will emerge and no doubt Facebook and. You know, and Google and apple, they will be trying hard to create verses of their own that all the major brands want to be represented in digitally. And they'll have digital assets that can be bought and sold in that place. And also physical goods that can be bought and sold via that.

Metaverse I don't see that as much different as a brand today saying, okay, what are the channel? What is the channel mix that I want to be in? I want to have my own website. I want to sell on Amazon. I want to sell via social. I want to sell through these different digital. I see the metaverse evolving in a very similar way. I see some brands will develop their own website or their own metaverse. And then sometimes, you know, we had a lot of brands today that are what's called Amazon native brands.

So they started Amazon on Amazon and Amazon is the only channel that they sell on. That will be some brands in the future that start out and grow up in, say, for example, the Facebook metaverse and they don't go anywhere else. That is their own channel. And that is the only channel that they transact in. That is the only channel that they build an audience in. That is the only channel that they build a community. And, and that's fine. Facebook is going to create an environment where that is entirely possible. And I suspect that sole Amazon, I suspect so will Google.

I suspect sole apple. I suspect that all these major tech players will create metrics. That brands want to be present in whether that be exclusively or as part of their overall channel mix. And I think as, as users of these various different metaverses, we will be able to pick and choose which ones we go into.

Now, there's going to be a level of interoperability that comes along with this IE NFT avatars, for example. And that will become a standard that emerges there, that I can take my avatar that I own, and I can bring that into whatever it metaverse environment that I'm in. And so that's how I see it. I see it as browser tabs with different experiences in those browser tabs, some are owned, some are rented, some are earned, and I see that exact same plethora of environments emerging in the metaverse world. 

Cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and their environmental impact  

Joseph: One of the things that, I also want to get your take on too, is what are the main criticisms that I see of a cryptocurrency end of NFTs. And I should say, I am excited and enthusiastic about both of these. I own some cryptocurrency, and I'm working on some, some NFT stuff. I have my own personal philosophy on it, at least, you know, for the time being, which is, I like that these things are passive.

So for instance, when I do a little bit of audio editing on my own, and whenever I see an audio signature that I think is interesting, I take, I can take that and turn that into an NFT and just put it on an open seat. You see what happens? I'm not like I'm just doing it anyways, right? An extra five seconds worth of effort. You never know where it's going to go. And then with cryptocurrency, I'm using brave, brave generates VTS. So, you know, a once a year, everything heads into uphold and then I just convert it into Bitcoin and hold onto it. So I don't have to go out of my way for anything.

So that's just so you know, I I'm really, really enthusiastic about this stuff, but again, one of those main criticisms that I've seen is actually the environmental impact on this. Now, somebody who, you know, has quite, I would say like a higher degree of environmental experience, and like the average person that I've talked to is this valid the impact of it, is it a burden now, but it will pay off later as they're able to replace or become alternatives to what currently may be more environmentally or resource intensive methods of payment.

Jason Greenwood: Yeah. Look, I think that's why cryptocurrencies and blockchains like Solano, like polka dot. That's why we have these new layer. One blockchains that are, you know, very, very, very efficient. And if you look at Solano where the gas fees are like a cent per smart contract or a cent per NFT, because they don't use proof of work.

As the consensus mechanism, they don't use the, they don't use proof of work like Bitcoin to create or mind the coins or the tokens. And as a result of that, they have different consensus mechanisms. They have different minting mechanisms. They have different mining mechanisms that are so vastly more efficient than what we've seen, even with Ethereum one.

Now, if their two is supposed to move away from, from it's super ultra high gas fees, and it's going to move to a much more salon like. You know, proof of history consensus environment. And as a result of that, I see, you know, everybody in the industry knows that it is not sustainable if only Bitcoin existed still to this day. And of course, Bitcoin doesn't even support smart contracts. It doesn't support NFTs. It's a legacy crypto. You can think of it as Eagle, more than any silver. I think of the other layer, one layer, one cryptos as more ease silver. IE they have a very utilitarian purpose behind them and they have a very utilitarian use behind them.

And that's what gives the network value as opposed to pure. And so I see a future evolving very, very rapidly where the old school layer, one block chains of the past are simply no longer accepted and used by the community. Applications are no longer built out on them. And we just lose them by attrition or they adapt either they adapt. And so for example, you know, Bitcoin could change away from a proof of work. Model to something else that wasn't as, as, as energy intensive, will they do that? Probably not. Cause they, you know, Bitcoin is not known as being very progressive, but a lot of the other layer, one block chains are very progressive.

And I see a world emerging within the next say, five years where gas fees dropped to basically zero because the, the, the energy required to mine, those tokens is basically zero and to mint and NFT is basically zero for example. And so I really see this as a major issue that most of the players in the space grasp very intuitively and they don't want the old school ways to carry on into the future.

They just don't want that, because remember the high cost is also a barrier to adoption.

So even if they're not in favor of protecting the environment or reduce reducing environmental. They are in favor of reducing the cost and the complexity, because that will dramatically increase adoption, therefore increase the size of the total addressable market. 

Joseph: One point that I want to bring up, because of the way you relate a Bitcoin to gold. I'm not like, you know, flashy, I am kind of seeing gold. Like I I've always appreciated it. And the main reason why I appreciate it is it does have, utility or it is used in computers. It is used as a superconductor. They painted on the sides of spaceships.

So I think that is one of the reasons why gold has continued to be a value and it's, and it's curious. Because it has that bout two sides to it. It has the aesthetic side to it. Because gold also doesn't rust. But then again, it also has immense and future facing potential for it. So to support your argument, I think the way I see Bitcoin is it's more of an antique at this point. It's, it's like finding like an original model T or finding like one of the very first muskets that ever came out credit to Tara Warwick for coming up with that one.

And so owning it as a piece of history and have a piece of the legacy of it. And then the, the, the, the remaining, all of these other ones that are in the market right now are looking to, I guess, molt right. Shed their skin, transform and become a better version of it. So for people who are holding onto a, all these different coins is I know this is like a few of your wrongs to up off track, but, you know, I encourage that kind of thing anyways. 

Is it possible that people can be holding on to, various crypto coins that are just not going to have any value or will they and enter antiquity or do they need to be converted into something else? How do you keep track of which coins are worth holding onto?

Jason Greenwood: For me, like I'm still relatively new to this. I think a lot of people are, and we're trying to change the wheels on the car while it's going down the motorway at a hundred kilometers an hour. So I don't think anyone, anyone that tells you they can predict exactly what's going to happen in the future, I think is, is either lying or delusional. But I think that there are very, very clear emerging blockchain blockchains with underlying tokens that have both current and roadmap. And utility associated with them that give the underlying crypto its value. So I'm not looking at them as a pure store of value. What gives them value is the network capability of those blockchains.

And if we look at Solana and we look at its throughput capability in terms of transactions per minute, if we look at its native capability around smart contracts and what it can do in that area and the types of applications, the types of web three and defy applications or dApps that can be built out on Solano today, and what they have on the roadmap is insane. And when we look at that utility, because all of the apps, for example, that are built on this, a lot of blockchain we'll use for transactional purposes, we'll use the sole cryptocurrency as the underlying currency for all trends. It was on the blockchain. That's what gives that particular cryptocurrency it's value.

It's not like a Bitcoin where it's the scarcity aspect of it that necessarily gives it its value or the difficulty of mining it that gives it its value in the case of Solana and some of the other blockchains, it's their sheer utility in the web three world that gives them their value. And because they are constraining the amount of coins that can be in circulation at any given point in time, that's what controls the inflation rate of the value of those underlying tokens.

And so for me, I'm always trying to look at what is the utility of those blockchains. And so I guess, because I've been in the tech space for a long time, I grasp those utilities pretty quickly. When I start to read their tech specs, what they can do when I start reading some of the commentary from people that are much smarter than me around crypto algorithms and describing what those algorithms are capable of in layman's terms, I can pick those up really quickly and I can.

There's probably only maybe three, maybe four layer, one modern. What I would call gen three layer, one blockchains that I think have such utility value that I can almost guarantee they will continue to grow in popularity and they will continue to grow and use. And they have different levels of utility. I mean, if we compare polka dot for example, with. Polka dot and its ability to create pair of chains, which has chain on chain technology. Solana doesn't have that. And so when we look at Polkadot, doesn't maybe have the transaction per minute capability of a Solano. It maybe doesn't have the flexibility of at smart contracts that perhaps a salon does.

There's some other things that Solana does better than polka dot, but then there's things that polka dot does far better or there's functionality that it has literally no other blockchain has today and others may copy them. But for as of today, there's certain things that can do to no one else can.

And so when I look at the utility or the technical capabilities of these specific blockchains and what that contributes to their token value, that to me is the most interesting part holding cryptocurrency for the sake of holding cryptocurrency. Doesn't really interest me, but I'm a bullish on Solana. I'm bullish on Polkadot. I'm bullish on these cryptocurrencies because of what the blockchain sitting on top of them. 

Joseph: I know I'm not the first person to say this to you. I'm definitely going to have to go back and like, listen to this again, you know, reabsorbed this information credits, you really do know your stuff. I'm impressed out to say the least.

Advantage of retail today

Joseph: I've got to shift gears. Cause there's nothing else that I wanted to make sure that we talked about before we run out of time which is, you know, you do have a hand in the retail space, so we don't get to talk to too many people in the retail space. In fact, I remember the last, no, actually I talked to two people in the retail space.

So the one of them for not to call it retail, I prefer to call it showroom. So suffice it to say, we don't get to talk about it too often. I'll start with the 30,000 foot overview of it. But what role are you playing right now in the retail space with the clients that you're working with helping them.

You mentioned earlier a lot of the clients that you're working with, they're maybe reluctant, too reluctant to adopt some of this digital technology. So I'm also wondering if there is like an opposite of this, where people who are like heavily in the digital space, they have an advantage waiting for them in the physical space that they're not taking. I'm wondering if that's come up. 

Jason Greenwood: Yeah. Both of those scenarios playing out and because I focus on really complex, homeless environments. I don't deal with too many vanilla retailers that for example, are just selling the same stuff as 20 other retailers. Most of the time, I'm dealing with very strong brands that either are manufacturing products, or they are a wholesaler distributor of those products in a given region.

And so therefore they have some element of curation capability of the products that they sell, and they have some element of pricing power over those products in the market, as opposed to just a sheer race to the bottom. So for those brands, what they're trying to figure out in most cases is where is the biggest growth opportunity for my brand? Do I go and spend a whole bunch more money on physical stores? Because, you know, as we start to come out of lockdowns, we're seeing a lot of physical stores starting to do very, very well. Again, as people are going, man, I am so sick of being locked down. I want to get out there and I want to go to the mall.

I want to go to my physical stores. I want to go and sit on physical furniture before I buy it again. Instead of just seeing it as an AR overlay in my house, you know? So we're seeing physical retail rebound very strongly as places come out of lockdown globally. And I think that's been a global phenomenon, but I think that some of the gains that we've achieved, say for example, you know, a 10% on average increase in e-commerce adoption as a total percentage of retail is becoming the common sort of average around the world.

Well, in the case of New Zealand, for example, Australia, that's 10 years worth of e-commerce penetration that that happened in a year or two. So we definitely have seen an acceleration. So to walk back entirely from committing to digital and committing to the e-commerce would be suicide.

I think for brands that that may be started that transition or started that enhancement during COVID, or I think it would be foolish for them to all of a sudden start to cut investment in those areas, because they will only continue to grow. Maybe not at the same rate that they did during COVID because people had no choice, they had to shop from home.

But I think that the brands they're trying to figure out what is the ideal channel mix for us, because we can't invest in everything. We can't get. Build, you know, build 50 extra stores. We can't go and invest a million dollars in our digital channels tomorrow. We can't make all these investments.

And even if we had the money, we don't have the capability. We don't have the internal resources and capability to focus on all these things, because then we'll do none of them really well. And so we want to, we want to focus and we want to do exceptionally well. And so that's where a lot of these brands are starting to bring in consultants, such as myself or they're starting to work more closely with their agency, their development agency.

For example, they're starting to lean on those external resources for perhaps short sprints, short projects, short programs of work, where I come in and like my average engagement with my clients to say perhaps six months, and I help them go through a pretty significant period of digital transformation over that six months. And then I kind of hand it back to them and they run with it, or they may be retain me for a period after that, to kind of handhold ask questions of, keep them on the straight and narrow bounce ideas off of et cetera, and help kind of hold their hand in the medium to long-term. But I help them with organizational change so that I can help them identify the capability gaps within the business so that they can slowly start to fill those over time so that they have less reliance on me or anyone else.

And they can start to build up some of that internal capability, through knowledge, effective knowledge transfer of those external experts, bringing that capability internal to them, and then they can start making these decisions on their own internally based on cause you know, no matter how much they open their kimono, to me, it's not quite the same as being a full blown employee and the business people that are in the business and focus solely on that business, 24/7, they're going to be much more embedded in that business than I will ever be. But sometimes they need help bridging that gap to get from where they are, to where they want to be, or even figuring out where they are and where they want to get to. That's sometimes the biggest challenge that they have.

And so those brands that I'm working with, I'm helping them figure out what their channel mix is. I'm helping them figure out what their tech stack needs to be helping them figure out the organizational design, their process design. How can we take some of these really legacy processes that you've had in your business? How through the use of technology and some of the inherent in their internal processes that come along with that technology, how can we improve.

What you do today and how can we make that lots more efficient?

So lots of discussions we're having, but most retailers are just really struggling with what is the perfect channel mix. And I don't think, I think there's perfect for now, but I don't think that that will always be perfect because we have so many channels that are evolving and emerging every single day that I think the idea for me is how can we build a stack? How can we build an organizational design? How can we build process design in such a way that it makes you infinitely scalable and infinitely flexible? Because that's what businesses need more than being locked in the current way or moving to a new locked in way of doing things. We need to build flexibility and scalability into the beating heart of the business, to where increasing rate of change doesn't break the back of your business. 

Joseph Ianni
Joseph Ianni

Debutify is the easiest way to launch and scale your eCommerce brand.

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