What Transparency And Decentralization Could Mean For The Future Of Media

Laurie Segall is a Founding BFF. The Founding BFFs are comprised of more than 100 female and non-binary leaders across crypto, tech, design, business, and more. Just like our community, some are new to crypto, and others are full-on experts.

Who: Laurie Segall, Co-Founder and Executive Producer, Dot Dot Dot Media

Web2 Laurie: A journalist by trade, Laurie created the startup beat at CNN back in 2009 when she was 23 years old. As Senior Technology Correspondent, Laurie covered the tech industry and saw the “good, bad and the ugly” of tech over the last generation.  

Web3 Laurie: The founder of Dot Dot Dot Media, Laurie is bridging the gap between Web2 and Web3 by telling stories that get more people educated and interested in the next generation of the Internet. 

Her TLDR: If you can talk to people about it and say, “Hey, this isn't just about this thing called the metaverse. This is about our children growing up and having more power over their identity and more decentralization.” I think then, people can really begin to understand that. 

Edited excerpts: 

What was it like in the early days covering tech for a major news outlet?

No one cared really at first. It was really trying to convince people that it wasn't crazy. I remember trying to convince my boss to put [Twitter Founder] Jack Dorsey on camera when he was just launching Square. I remember being like, “He created this thing Twitter and he's a respected person in Silicon Valley and I know it sounds crazy to plug something into your phone for this thing called mobile payments. And I know you think it's bullshit, but you know, I think that there's something really interesting here.” People looked at me like I was crazy. 

So no one was really paying attention to the tech industry when you first started covering it?

At the time, people weren't really paying attention and then all of a sudden they were. That happened really quickly. The part that was appealing to me was…

people in tech just didn't fit in the box and that didn't say, “Well, we have to do things because they're like this.”  I liked this creative class that was emerging and of course there were lots of problems with it, but I remember meeting Travis Kalanick, the founder of Uber, for the first time. This idea of getting into a stranger's car was so crazy, and he just rolled up like him. No PR. I remember asking him a bunch of questions. I was always a cheerleader for innovation and for people who did things differently, but you don't get to have innovation without accountability, right? And so having that perspective and being in the room was pretty extraordinary.

Now you’re in the room when Web3 goes through a similar path to discovery. What was your “aha” moment in Web3?

I left CNN in 2019. I saw that tech had disrupted media in a big way and I was operating my production company Dot Dot Dot. At the time, I was contributing to 60 Minutes. I remember getting a call. This was March 2021. A friend who was telling me about this artist Beeple had just sold his NFT for $69 million. A lot of people were really skeptical and The New York Times still had the headline along the lines of, “JPEG sells for $69 million.” But I started digging into it and I saw it was so much more than that. I spent a lot of time with Mike [Beeple] and his family and and the conversation around ownership and art ended up doing a segment for 60 Minutes and then ended up doing a whole other one before Facebook changed its name to Meta and said that this idea of the metaverse is going to be huge as well. 

How did that impact your business with Dot Dot Dot? 

It became clear that we were entering this other iteration of the web that's much more immersive. That's not just about NFT's, and a PFP picture or something like that, but it's really about digital ownership and a reaction towards the last decade of technology that I covered. And if you can talk to people about it and say, “Hey, this isn't just about this thing called the metaverse. This is about our children growing up and having more power over their identity and more decentralization.” I think then, people can really begin to understand that. 

Dot Dot Dot is working to bridge the gap between Web2 and Web3 and helping people understand these worlds as they're being built. We need to get more people understanding the implications of Web3 beyond just kind of the headlines, but the real implications.

What excites you about how Web3 can change media? 

It’s both super exciting and super scary, right? I've always been on the side of innovation is going to come whether or not you like it. I get really excited about it. So, what would a Web3 media company with Web3 principles look like? How could you sell an NFT membership subscription to a media company and give people the ability to have and own in the upside, or be able to participate in some of the content? The idea that you could own part of your favorite media company and have a voice in it and own the upside of it in a new, different type of way is really interesting. And I also think some of this idea of transparency is really important too. 

And if  you think about a DAO, which is almost like a group chat with a balance sheet, right? In the most basic way, think if you were able to have a studio DAO where people can come together and fund projects, almost like in a modern day Kickstarter way. That’s exciting from a media standpoint because in order to get something done in order to sell a show to Netflix, you give up a lot. In order to be able to fund a lot of these projects and use your community in a really engaging community to be a part of it and be a part of that decision making is really exciting.

For More: WTF Is… A DAO

What about how Web3 can impact media ethics? 

A lot of Web2 people are investing in Web3 and so a lot of the people who are getting investment are the same types of folks from the last generation of tech. One of the biggest things I saw in the last generation of tech that went wrong is when you don't have a diverse perspective around the table. No one is asking, “Have you thought about what it's like to be a woman on your platform?” I do worry that if we don't have a diverse group of people around the table asking questions, I think what's going to  happen is too much of the move fast and break things that we hated from the last generation of technology. 

So what do you see as the future for Web3 and the media industry? 

Here's what I'd love to see. You would be able to build out a show concept and instead of having to go to Netflix or that kind of thing, you could have your community vote on it and build it out. You could drop in an NFT. You could have this engaged community who is owning the upside and telling all their friends about it. DAOs are going to be really interesting. We would be able to incentivize contributors. We could tokenize a platform and contributors are actually able to get part of the upside or be incentivized to create content for us and and and the more people that are looking at the more audience there is. 

I would like to see the media become more transparent. There is so much polarization right now. When I was at CNN and 60 Minutes, you had no idea why and how we made decisions. I'd love to see you being a part of our media company and being able to give access to our editorial calls and giving certain levels of access to people being able to contribute to interviews with big people and having that kind of engaged community. I just think participatory media that's still curated where people own the upside is really exciting.

This article and all the information in it does not constitute financial advice. If you don’t want to invest money or time in Web3, you don’t have to. As always: Do your own research.

Caroline Fairchild is Editor in Chief at BFF

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