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Bootstrapping creativity through hypercultures

A letter to LGHT & Boop

I hope all of you had a great start to the year!

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To: Lght & Boop

I don't know how I missed it the last few months, but I'm so glad I finally came across Lght's Hyperculture series after reading Boop's 100 day hyperbrand thread.

Many of the points presented around hypercultures and memetic icons by Lght perfectly articulate the nebulous ideas floating around in my head these past 6 months. Specifically, this sentence:

The simplest way to think of memetic icons are as containers or mental doorways. They act as the entry point to the information/context within them (the culture).

To me, this sentence nails the beauty of what brands such as Nouns, Zorb, and Opepen provide. They're basically providing creativity-as-a-service. Instead of having people come up fresh assets for every little thing, these memetic icons bootstrap creativity. They provide a launchpad for people to explore new ideas and projects in an existing culture that others are familiar with.

In a recent onchain letter to BlueberryDAO, I said this about doing a project with Nouns:

What's great about doing a Nouns project is that you automatically know that you're using Nouns branded assets and that takes away a lot of the friction from just getting started. The creativity part lies in figuring out how you're going to plug in the Nouns brand into the project you're doing.

In the case of boop, he went ahead and took the Opepen silhouette and started merging different brands/logos with it. Some of my favorites are the "If opepen created Mercedes, Home Depot, & Lays" remixes:

They're so simple and fun to look at. And more importantly, the designs spark a sense of curiosity and train of thought that most wouldn't even bother to think of. "Huh, what would that collab actually look like?" And that's how you come to really cool ideas such as this Nike x Opepen shoe:

Nike x Opepen

And this is just one example. The beauty of these underlying memes is that there are an infinite number of ideas that anyone can think of and act on. A Nouns coffee shop, Opepen luxury sunglasses, creative grants through Energy Zorbs, etc. The possibilities are endless.

It's no different than thinking about the infinite number of games, consumer apps, exchanges, trading platforms, etc. that can be built on Ethereum. Or the infinite number of clients that can be built on top of Farcaster.

Hypercultures are the hyperstructures for creators.

The main epiphany I had after reading the hyperculture series was that not everyone needs to make the underlying meme. Of course it sounds incredible to be the creator whose work spawns thousands of other projects in a new ecosystem. But that's like saying everyone should go try to be Vitalik and make an L1. Building a core protocol or meme is difficult and requires strong network effects, years of practice, time, and influence.

The common fallacy here for many in the creative world is that it's "tier 2" work to build on top of a preexisting culture. At surface level, that may seem true. I mean come on, who wouldn't like to be Dan and build Farcaster. But the counter is...who wouldn't like to be Hayden and build Uniswap? Did you have to be Tim Berners Lee and build the internet? In my opinion, it sure as hell would have been cool to have been Marc Andreessen and build Netscape.

If I were to take a guess, it's the startup culture of this past decade that plagued a bit of the thinking around wanting to start with a fresh creative idea. But, that's what makes crypto different than the web2 world. It's not startup culture but hyperculture that matters now. With the hyper framework, it's now possible for communities to grow and win together.

Hyperlayers

I personally believe all early creators and operators in crypto should start out by dedicating as much effort as they can to one or two ecosystems they enjoy. How can you provide value for the community? In the case of Opepen, Boop was so smart to explore his love of brands by simply merging them with Jack Butcher's meme. The beauty of taking this route is that it helps you refine your skills, be part of a positive-sum community, and use the ecosystem resources to learn how to ship ideas quickly. Who knows, maybe the head of marketing at Nike is on crypto Twitter and reaches out to him to actually work on the collab!

And the cool part about the hyper model is that you can plug into these ecosystems however you want. Think of what you're passionate about or a skill you want to get better at and just go for it. It doesn't have to be some grandiose adventure.

In this next bull market, we should be encouraging those who want to get into crypto to do so by picking a hyperculture that speaks to them and just start contributing from day 1. That's the easiest way to reduce friction.

Existing passion or skill + hyperculture = onboarded to crypto

My prediction is that in the next few years, many newcomers will be onboarded through a meta hyperculture dapp. Something simple where you connect your wallet, check out all the unique cultures, and get onboarded in just a few minutes. Or maybe there will be a farcaster client for each hyperculture. Who knows. We're just at the starting line of the hyperculture marathon that's about to start. I'm so excited to see how this meta evolves.

That's all for this letter!

- YB

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