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Web3 as a Hustle – How Gen Z and Millennials Get Ahead

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Sometimes life offers you the rare chance to actually “get rich quick.” I say that in quotations, because it’s not the typical get rich quick scheme where someone convinces you to pay for a course and become an overnight millionaire.

Instead, these opportunities to “get rich quick” are a result of being at the right place at the right time, embracing new technology, and hustling hard to take full advantage of your fortunate situation.

Every technological improvement introduces opportunities for those that embrace the new products. In the 90s and 2000s, as the Internet was just starting to gain traction, domain names were abundant. It’s near impossible to find simple .com domain names these days, but back then you could freely register one or two word domains like “bestlaptops.com.”

Those that recognized the opportunity to acquire these digital property rights bought hundreds of these domains and sat on them. They bet on the increased adoption of the Internet and that the market would eventually realize the value in having the right domain names. Just like how physical property appreciated over time, these one or two word domain names now command millions of dollars.

Similarly in the 2000s, SEO (search engine optimization) was far easier than it is today. Google’s algorithms weren’t nearly as sophisticated. You could get a new website ranked on the first page of any search term merely by having the search term in the domain name. Think “buycheapshoes.com” if you wanted to rank for “buy cheap shoes” and so on.

Plenty of other black hat techniques were also available throughout the years that allowed any half-assed site to rank high. As a result, plenty of webmasters from this era made bank, whether from Adsense, affiliate marketing, lead gen, or other online revenue sources.

Like any hustle, the opportunities eventually faded. There are only so many domain names up for grab. Google’s algorithm improved over time to weed out garbage sites. The lesson, though, is that there is always a new hustle. You just have to keep your eyes open and embrace emerging technologies.

Those that did had the rare opportunity to dramatically speed up their wealth creation timeline. It wasn’t getting rich overnight, and it wasn’t without effort. But getting in early to new tech platforms gives you a chance to participate in that technology’s exponential growth.

Most of us earn money with a linear growth curve. You work a 9-5 job that pays roughly the same salary, year in and year out. When you get the chance to make money with an exponential growth curve, it essentially allows you to skip ahead multiple steps. You drastically reduce the number of years worked, which is why it feels like you’re getting rich quick.

Web 3.0 is Our Generation’s Emerging Technology

The Internet and Web 2.0 provided numerous amounts of hustle opportunities that allowed those in the know to rapidly accumulate wealth. Whether it was SEO, building Zynga games, or developing mobile apps, the opportunities were endless.

Unfortunately for most of us born in the 90s or afterwards, a lot of these opportunities are no longer around. However, blockchain and cryptocurrency are bringing about countless new hustle opportunities for the Millennial and Gen-Z generations.

We are living through the beginning stages of the Web 3.0 revolution. It’s one of the most exciting times to be alive. If we open our eyes and embrace it, the opportunities in front of us are endless.

All of us had the opportunity to buy Bitcoin or Ethereum for pennies or dollars (or even mine for free). If you missed those, you also could have bought any of the other Layer 1 protocols like ADA, DOT, SOL, AVAX, LUNA, ATOM, FIL to make life-changing money.

Outside of those, like Haseeb said, you could have flipped ICOs in 2017 or yield farmed during DeFi summer of 2020. Early 2021 was about buying NFTs. DAOs are the next big thing. The great thing about these opportunities is that all of them are still early – we’ve only touched the surface on all of them.

Adapt or Get Left Behind

Mainstream opinion of crypto and Web 3.0 is still generally negative or skeptical. Most people still don’t fully grasp why Bitcoin or DeFi are important, or why NFTs have value.

Some of this is due to ignorance or an unwillingness to learn. Some of it is due to pessimism and cynicism. For others it’s their defense mechanism kicking in to rationalize to themselves why they’ve continually missed the boat.

Whatever the reason, these kinds of reflexive rejections hinder your ability to learn new things and embrace innovation, even when it’s right in front of you. @iamDCinvestor has a great Twitter thread on the subject, below.

The older we get, the more stuck in our ways we get. We fall back on what we know and what’s comfortable. With this operative, it’s impossible to stay dynamic enough to keep up with new innovations that allow us to participate in exponential growth.

We write off what those younger than us are interested in because we “know better” and are more jaded. This is why every generation has its own hustle. As we get complacent, those younger and hungrier than us find inefficiencies in the system and take advantage. Those that don’t adapt ultimately get left behind.

You see this play out all the time. Web 2.0 developers dismissive of Web 3.0. Live poker players writing off online players. Tradfi investors dismissing Bitcoin and crypto.

Even in my late 20s, I’ve noticed this complacency setting in within myself. I got into Bitcoin and Ethereum relatively early in 2016. Since then, though, I haven’t done as much as I should have to keep up with the space. I largely missed out on other Layer 1s, DeFi Summer, and the start of the NFT craze.

I knew about these things at a basic level, but I didn’t take the time to fully dive in. I will even fully admit that my first reaction to NFTs was that they were just silly pictures. That by itself is fine, as NFTs elude most people initially, but what isn’t fine is letting that initial judgment prevent any further diligence.

What throws many people off is that these new technologies always start off looking like toys. They’re quirky, not fully functionable, and frankly don’t have much utility just yet. However, there is a subset of people talking about them and using them. The group is small, passionate, and a little unconventional.

The default reaction is to write off the new tech or hustle during this stage. It’s easy to be a pessimist. It’s easy to dismiss new technologies because they don’t fully work as intended yet. What’s harder is accepting new ideas and paradigms, especially those that sound farfetched.

As DC recommends, keep yourself engaged by playing new games. Expose yourself to new rules, new structures, and new topics that stretch your thinking and force you to grasp new concepts. Instead of dismissing others’ interests, put yourself in their shoes and try to understand why they’re so passionate about it. Force yourself to fight the inertia of sticking to what you know.

Great examples of successful people who do this are Gary Vee and Kevin O’Leary. Both of them built the majority of their wealth in one industry, but have since expanded into various other verticals at an older age and are now known for their new ventures like vlogging, NFTs, or TV. They are excellent models of embracing new technologies.

We can do the same, if we allow ourselves to remain hungry and curious. Those that fail to adapt will inevitably get left behind.

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