How we are Working Today
The World Wide Web has undergone only a few monumental transformations during its time, and we’re currently in the beginning stages of the latest major shift. Let’s explore what that means for you as a professional and what changes you can look forward to in this tectonic shift in the internet landscape so you can position yourselves better for future prospects.
The internet sprung to life in the early 90s with the first web page editors and the foundations of web 1.0: HyperText Markup Language (HTML), Uniform Resource Locator (URL), and the HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP). The first internet browser (Netscape) came shortly after in the mid-90s. This very early version of the internet brought email, real-time updates (news & weather), and early online finance (banking & trading) to the masses, but these were prehistoric times (primarily when it came to UI and UX) compared to the internet of today.
Web 2.0 brought the user interface and user experience we all know (and love) today. During its 25+ year reign, we saw the complete overhaul of not only the look and feel of the internet but a fundamental change in how the web is used. Interactivity, social connectivity, and user-generated content dominated the new landscape connecting people around the world. Mobile devices and inexpensive laptops made the internet even more accessible. The human race was officially plugged into the new information superhighway.
Web 2.0 also brought the rise of the first wave of mega-corporations to take full advantage of all the internet had to offer, the FAANG companies: Meta-Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google. These giant tech companies exploded in growth and popularity. The group was responsible for creating enormous user data sets (often monetized through targeted marketing/advertising) used in creating a digital advertising age with a new strategy for targeting consumers over the internet. These gigantic companies also attracted and hired huge, highly skilled workforces with palatial campuses (typically requiring workers to be onsite), lavish perks, and bulging compensation packages.
You Have an Opportunity to be in Control Now
Fast forward to the present day: A new internet is emerging, and it’s promising on many levels!
It promotes shared control – a single, centralized entity rules nothing; this internet is community-driven, run by decentralized blockchain ledgers and peer-to-peer networks on distributed sets of nodes (computer devices) across the world. If you have a decent computing device – be it rented servers, laptops, or single board computers like Raspberry Pi – you can also participate in operating such public decentralized networks in return for incentives/rewards similar to how you get compensated for the work you do at your regular day job.
No company or entity owns user data or controls the internet, open source software, IF-THEN statements, smart contracts, decentralized applications (or DApps), and even the source code. Internet users themselves are in control of their data and can decide how they want to utilize it as opposed to centralized entities abusing your data. Further, open source protocols allow you to help develop a product or service along with other diverse community members promoting long lasting innovations. Imagine what could have happened if internet was privatized or commoditized. Yes it would have benefited the innovators for a while but it also would have met a painful death due to lack of transformations and new design-build it requires to keep up with changing times.
Greater User Utility
This internet has its own money (cryptocurrency) and, therefore, cannot be dominated by a single, centralized entity or government that unilaterally makes financial decisions on your behalf, for instance. Consider this example on the subject matter. The gaming industry has grown 190% over the last 2 decades. Market expansion is largely a good thing, so why make a meal out of it? Yes, market expansions are good, but it was profitable only for the gaming companies and not necessarily, for the people playing them. To their credit, gaming companies created a sizable and creative market out of selling in-game accessories to players called micro-transactions.
While many of us did enjoy the company of video/computer games, players did not have a choice to monetize them. Today, you have the opportunity to monetize in-game items as a result of a secondary market enabled by decentralized developers and companies. Take a look at this article that explains it in detail. Make no mistake, this new economy is still young, so I can’t say whether all opportunities created will succeed eventually, but I hope you get the point. It’s about having choices created by open-source systems and not having limited choices created by private or government institutions, which can now focus on utilizing their resources more efficiently and where needed.
What is this New Internet?
This new internet is called Web 3.0 or Web3 more colloquially.
Web3 is here, and it’s starting to take shape. What shape exactly is yet to be determined, but the internet will change. We are at the forefront of a new paradigm shift, a new era of the World Wide Web. Like anything else, there will be early adopters and laggards, and there will also be opportunities. New technologies, new industries, new companies, and innovation will emerge during this era. How things are run, built, played, bought, sold and monetized on the internet will change, and you can be part of this new world.
Web3: What to Take and What to Leave Behind
Working in the Web3 space is probably going to be different:
Those palatial offices have given way to decentralized, global workforces that work and collaborate over the internet from home. Members of these teams are often independent contractors. Web3 companies and DAOs (a community-owned and controlled entity – made popular by Web3) choose to forgo offices and the constraints and expenses associated with them. That way, global team members form their own smaller companies (an LLC or LLP) and work from anywhere and be paid for their time.
You may miss your company-sponsored benefits, 401k contributions, free lunches, and the stocked snack closets, but the tradeoff is the flexibility to work where you want when you want and how you work best. You’ll experience professional freedom with most Web3 companies. Note: a lot of the monetary benefits so far are accounted for in your hourly consulting rate, but now you can choose exactly how you’d like to allocate and invest that extra money. For instance, you are not left with limited investment choices to save taxes or build your future while filing annual IT returns. Instead, you can decide which investment options you want to go with and how you want to make your savings or grow your wealth.
It may sound scary but trust me when I say – this is exactly how early adopters of Web 1.0 would have felt in the late 1980s and ’90s when others around dismissed the idea of the internet. Yes, that is one of the challenges every early adopter would face simply for staying ahead of the curve. And we all know what may have happened to those who decided to stay as an early bird in the Web 1.0 era. Further, you will get rid of a central hierarchy represented by far too few people at top to judge you and decide your annual increments and bonuses at typical day jobs. This is how many of us already in Web3 see it as we envision the future. As long as the community-owned project you work for does well, you are likely to do well, irrespective of whether you are directly or indirectly contributing to the project.
There are new Web3 technologies, platforms, communication channels, tools, and industries springing up all over the world. And this new wave of the internet isn’t just for engineers. Loads of industry sectors are hiring talent of all kinds to come in and help drive new, innovative visions of what this new WWW can mean. In fact, as someone who manages the People Operations on Shardeum, I am getting my blogs published through content creators. Keep in mind that the positive attributes of Web2 will be gladly inherited in Web3, albeit with a tireless objective to restore the power back to where it truly belongs – to common people.
So if you’re feeling a little burnt out with Web2; if you’ve been craving something a little different; if you like to be an early adopter; if you’re excited about a new technological era, Web3 might be for you. You may have to leave some of your past creature comforts with the big corporations of the Web2 era behind, but venturing out into the new frontier has its own set of advantages and excitement. One of the greatest advantages is that you will now stand a good chance to work on something you are passionate about instead of hating every Mondays! So do some searching. Discover what you’re interested in. Find where you fit in. Then take your seat and buckle up for the new version of the internet – Web3. It’s going to be a fun ride!
About the author : Will Smith is the Talent Acquisition Lead at Shardeum. Will has over 15 years of Talent Acquisition experience, primarily in the Crypto and E-commerce space, and he resides in Chicago, IL. Will is excited about the potential of Web3, and supporting the growth and launch of Shardeum to make an impact on the Web3 space. You can follow/connect with the author via LinkedIn and email.
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