Lessons on Hype from Streetwear

One of the challenging parts of crypto is how big the hype machines for projects can be.

Given the global nature of the technology, the 24/7 access to markets, the mega-connectivity of the participants, and the sums involved, the rewards for creating massive hype can be huge.

Hype is valuable, to be sure, but the real question is of “hype sustainability.” If you create hype, can you deliver on it? Then, can you keep delivering on it? Or, do you end up being a flash in the pan?

For the purveyors of hype looking to get rich quick, one time is enough, but that’s the equivalent of a marketing one night stand. Fun for a bit, but ultimately empty and unfulfilling.

This came to mind as I was reading the article, The Death of Streetwear Culture is a Class Issue, which really focused on how large corporations “culturally appropriated” street culture from lower socio-economic groups and “hyped” it so much that it became unaffordable to the very people who had invented it.

The final quote really stuck with me:

Validation is the engine that keeps the hype economy rolling and the erasure of streetwear culture along with it. Or as Bengtson emphatically put it, “If rich people need to buy expensive, rare shit to feel better about themselves or justify their obscene wealth or just flash their plumage to those who are into that kind of shit, fuck ’em. They’re fucking followers themselves. Why follow them?”

I’m not sure exactly how that translates to crypto/Web3, but I suspect that much of the hype we see is also a form of desired validation, a FOMO of sorts, so people can feel validated that they aren’t missing the big opportunities, but I don’t know.

Or perhaps the bigger issue is when projects get so hyped that they become unaffordable for the very people they are designed to help?

I’m less concerned with that one, given the “hype cycle” that all emerging technologies go through, and more interested in the idea of hype fueled by validation.

The question, for me, when it comes to Radix….

  1. what is the validation that people would want to attain by joining Radix in the first place (assuming that people are emotionally driven)
  2. more importantly, how do I create a legitimate hype machine (a la Apple product releases) that follows the delivery of a world-class product (which we have) and builds off of it, instead of the other way around?

Now that much of the “blocking and tackling” of the marketing engine is getting addressed, it’s time to start thinking about this as we look to the Babylon Beta launch in December and the Babylon release in March.

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