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Steve Beaman Opinion: An Introduction to WEB 3.0

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You’ve heard about WEB 3.0 on radio, TV and social media sites.‭ ‬But what is it‭? ‬Is this the revolution that everyone says it is‭ ‬or is it just a fad that will pass as we return to some form of normal lives‭? ‬The Elevare Club is out to help migrate people through the major transformations we’re experiencing so let’s begin with a quick look at WEB‭ ‬3.0.

In‭ ‬1980,‭ ‬for those of you who remember,‭ ‬PCs had just been announced and the new kid on the block was this start-up named‭ “‬Apple.”‭ ‬IBM had released its version of the PC and Radio Shack still existed with its TRS-80s.‭ ‬It was during this start-up time that I wrote‭ “‬Computers Made Simple‭” ‬with the simple message‭ “‬don’t be left behind in the coming revolution‭.”‭ ‬In the forward to that book‭, ‬I hypothesized that by the year‭ ‬2000,‭ ‬people would be working at home with their home computers and,‭ ‬people’s involvement in the stock market would explode as the new technology would bring the markets directly to people.‭ ‬This was the early days of WEB‭ ‬1.0.‭ ‬To put that concept into English,‭ ‬WEB‭ ‬1.0‭ ‬was the idea that you could enjoy a one-way experience with computers; that is they were great at providing you with information that you needed,‭ ‬but that was the limit.‭ ‬You could read off the WEB information,‭ ‬but you didn’t interact with it.‭ ‬Remember,‭ ‬at the birth of PC’s,‭ ‬there was no internet.‭ ‬The idea of the internet didn’t even come out until the‭ ‬1990‭’‬s at which time it was known as the DARPA Net,‭ ‬a network of computers linked to universities and the military.‭ ‬No emails,‭ ‬no websites,‭ ‬no online shopping; yeah, it was a simpler time.

Enter the late‭ ‬1990‭’‬s and a guy named Jeff Bezos decided to build an online bookstore.‭ ‬Jeff had worked for a hedge fund in New York,‭ ‬D.E.‭ ‬Shaw,‭ ‬that was known for employing the best and the brightest Wall Street had to offer.‭ ‬At any rate,‭ ‬this Bezos guy one day sees this thing called‭ “‬the Internet‭” ‬and recognizes that it’s going to be a game-changer.‭ ‬So,‭ ‬enter WEB‭ ‬2.0.‭ ‬In WEB‭ ‬2.0,‭ ‬the user‭ (‬that’s you‭) ‬could not only extract information FROM your computer,‭ ‬but you could interact with it by buying something.‭ ‬To take that one step further,‭ ‬WEB‭ ‬2.0‭ ‬saw the launch of Myspace,‭ ‬Facebook‭ (‬Now Meta‭)‬,‭ ‬LinkedIn and all the other social media companies.‭ ‬So we now had a technology that you could interact with,‭ ‬but that is limited and growth of AI,‭ ‬computer power,‭ ‬and storage was changing all that.

The notion had been around a long time; what if users could be‭ “‬IN‭” ‬the technology not simply interacting‭ “‬WITH‭” ‬it‭? ‬The most direct examples of this are the sim games of the early‭ ‬2000‭s.‭ ‬Even these, however, were simply an advanced usage of WEB‭ ‬2.0‭ ‬technology.‭ ‬At the end of the day,‭ ‬you were still experiencing the computer by working with it, not in it.

In the‭ ‬2010‭s, enormous growth was experienced in computer memory,‭ ‬computing power and something different called the‭ “‬blockchain‭.”‭ ‬The blockchain,‭ ‬simply stated,‭ ‬is fully distributed computing power.‭ ‬Think of a spreadsheet that has‭ ‬100‭ ‬cells in it, all containing data.‭ ‬Rather than all of that being contained on your single computer,‭ ‬which can be hacked,‭ ‬how about distributing the data in those‭ ‬100‭ ‬cells to‭ ‬100‭ ‬different computers and providing the KEY to unlocking that data only to you‭? ‬Well, now,‭ ‬you have an un-hackable system because no one could know where exactly the‭ ‬100‭ ‬computers are that hold your‭ ‬100‭ ‬pieces of data.‭ ‬This fully distributed processing has been validated by that thing called Bitcoin.‭ ‬Yep,‭ ‬that’s right,‭ ‬Bitcoin was created to validate blockchain technology‭!

So as things continued to grow in all dimensions,‭ ‬it became more feasible to establish WEB‭ ‬3.0,‭ ‬a new way to look at computer power by being IN the technology,‭ ‬not working‭ “‬WITH‭” ‬the technology.‭ ‬Think of the metaverse as a type of this but go further into the augmented reality offered by Oculus and companies like this.‭ ‬Using that technology,‭ ‬you are transported INTO the computer environment in all dimensions.

What does this really mean to regular people, though‭? ‬It’s profound.‭ ‬You can effectively say good bye to bricks and mortar retail as it’s only a matter of time before virtually all retail is done on the WEB.‭ ‬It’s cheaper,‭ ‬safer,‭ ‬and generally easier to use the WEB rather than driving to a store.‭ ‬So,‭ ‬change number one over the next decade or so is the declination of bricks and mortar retail.‭ ‬A second major change is the dislocation of traditional work.‭ ‬It gets a little techno,‭ ‬but you need to understand that the blockchain changes everything.‭ ‬Ownership of capital goods will change,‭ ‬operations of all sorts will change and to that end,‭ ‬I believe we’re heading into the‭ ‬10-10-10‭ ‬post-industrial capitalist economy where‭ ‬10 percent‭ ‬of the people own assets,‭ ‬10 percent‭ ‬operate assets and‭ ‬10 percent‭ ‬innovate on assets and,‭ ‬quite honestly,‭ ‬the rest of the people are superfluous to the economy.‭ ‬That,‭ ‬however,‭ ‬doesn’t have to be as dreary as it sounds.

People are remarkably creative and resilient.‭ ‬I am convinced that the response to this digital capitalism that’s evolving is a grand expansion of the‭ “‬gig-economy‭”‬.‭ ‬The underlying thesis of this is that as people are dislocated from traditional management jobs,‭ ‬truck driving jobs,‭ ‬sales jobs,‭ ‬etc.,‭ ‬they will find new and innovative ways to showcase their personal talents as cooks,‭ ‬musicians,‭ ‬artists,‭ ‬writers,‭ ‬programmers,‭ ‬and a range of new things.‭ ‬So the‭ “‬gig‭” ‬economy will be comprised of individuals with distinct and individual talent.‭ ‬Following on this the small business economy will change.‭ ‬Those dislocated individuals who have scalable ideas will create‭ “‬projects‭” ‬to start and validate their idea and then sell it off to a Private Equity firm that can put the money behind the project to scale it up.‭ ‬Gone are the days of building a company and then‭ “‬taking it public‭.”‭ ‬Why bother when you can quickly monetize your idea‭? ‬Talk about the rich getting richer, though.‭ ‬The days of making money from your investment in Apple computers are gone as the next monster company will be owned by a PE firm,‭ ‬not by the public.

There’s always more to come so stay tuned as we talk about augmented reality applications,‭ ‬the blockchain,‭ ‬and your life‭!

Steve Beaman is a talk radio financial analyst and the chairman of the Elevare Club.


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