4 months ago
Steve Jobs used to argue with his co-founder Steve Wozniak that computers should be "bicycles for the mind." With this analogy he meant that technology should work for humans, augmenting people's abilities in simple, intuitive and elegant ways. Using a computer, he argued back in the 1980s, should feel as natural as riding a bicycle. This simple insight put people as the center and inspiration for Apple's technology, and not the other way around, changing your life in the process. It seems like we need another Steve Jobs to remind us today that to enhance our lives, technologies like those powering the metaverse and blockchain should feel as natural as riding a bike: simple, intuitive and elegant.
So far they don't feel that way.
Pushing you into their Metaverse
The problem we face is that just like Apple's competitors back then, the established tech companies seem bent on pushing technology on us without putting us first. Have you heard Facebook tell you how will the metaverse - which they want to own - will make your life better? Or the hundreds of bitcoin startups tell you how the new kind of money will make your life simpler? Or the companies making millions digitalizing assets into NFTs explain how this technology will open new opportunities in your world?
Where is the human-centered big doer when we need her?
Here at Swim, we believe that in order to enhance your life in simple, intuitive and elegant ways, technology should be invisible. The role of tech companies like us is to use it to deliver benefits that enhance your life without forcing you to move to the metaverse, trade on bitcoin, or mine NFTs. Unlike Apple's competitors back then, who required you to read fat operating manuals to understand how to use their computers and software, and then expected you to communicate directly with their operating systems via commands you had to write on a black screen. Seriously, do tech giants really think normal people will wear their world-cancelling goggles 24/7 or write directly into the blockchain?
In the sections below, we explain how Swim uses the new technology behind blockchain - broadly referred as Web3 - to deliver our promise, which is:
To connect your favorite places to the digital world of Web3 by empowering you to create networks that allow anyone to engage with, own and monetize the content in them.
Go into any cafe. Open your mobile. What you see is a tool to escape from where you are. All those apps you check dozens of times a day rob you from being present. If the owners of these apps had their way, you would live there, not here and now. If the likes of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or TikTok are precedents we can rely on, what the companies that built these apps want you to do next is to go live in their walled metaverses, not in the world around you. For them, technology is not a bicycle for the mind, but another way to make you the product they sell to advertisers.
Web3 can change all that if used intentionally to enhance your life rather than to substitute it. For the first time in the 'Internet era' we have technology to connect places to the digital world in a way that makes sense: by augmenting them to enable you to live in the present, discovering things you wouldn't know, interacting in real time and engaging with people right there and then. Your mobile becomes a tool for exploring and interacting, rather than a device for escaping.
How's that for being mobile?
You don't own or control your Instagram feed, they do. You get what the TikTok algorithm determines you will like, not what you want. You see the world Facebook creates for you based on ad revenue targets they have assigned to you, not the world as it is. None of these apps we think we love puts our interests first. Again, we are the product they monetize.
An NFT is nothing more than a digital certificate of ownership visible to anyone and impossible to falsify. Using this technology, we can make good on our promise to have you own the geo-tagged Pools you create. Whether you are a cafe, or create a Pool at your house, you will be able to elect issuing an NFT that is tied to you and that Pool. Furthermore, you can choose to issue Tokens to members of your Pool, which they can trade and sell, because they would own them.
Yup. We want you to own your actions.
NFTs and Tokens, when integrated meaningfully into Swim, empower you and your friends to monetize your geo-tagged networks and the content within them the way YouTube has enabled people to monetize their channels and videos. For the first time ever, you have agency, control and ownership of your own social networks. And you don't need to understand blockchain, mine your own NFTs and Tokens, or move to the metaverse. At Swim, these technologies become as simple and intuitive as riding a bicycle: a means to empower you, not an end by themselves.
We're using blockchain technologies like NFTs and Tokens to turn the tables in favor of the people. This technology offers a transparent mechanism to allow you to own your feed and benefit from any monetization that happens there. For example, if you create a Pool, you can choose to issue an NFT that proves you are the owner of it. You could issue Tokens that advertisers buy - from you, not from us - to show ads or even own sections in your Pool. You could share the love with Pool members by giving them Tokens they can trade, tied to the revenues from partners or advertisers.
That's our take on 'sharing'
We're passionate about Web3 technology because we see its potential to finally integrate places into the digital world so people can discover and engage with what's around them meaningfully, owning the benefits of doing so, in a way that makes it easy and intuitive for anyone. Just like riding a bike.