NFTs & Grandma Pearl

statue of venus with digital graphics overlay

By Zach Morrison, Chief Executive Officer at Tinuiti 

I’d like to thank my Grandma Pearl for inspiring me to dig in and learn what I can about web3 from NFTs to crypto.

No, my 95-year-old grandma did not use crypto to purchase a digital plot of land next door to Snoop in the “Snoopverse” for $500K. But she is an Amazon Prime member, weekly Instacart user, Instagrammer, and Pinterest aficionado. (An avid quilter, she gets tons of inspo from Pinterest.)

Before she embraced these digital platforms, however, Pearl scoffed at the idea of ecommerce. When I first entered the brand new field as a newbie digital marketer back in the ’00s, she swore no one would EVER hand over their credit card information to this thing called the internet. But, Grandma Pia (my nickname for her) has come around since then.

I bring up this story because I recently realized I was acting a little like Web 1.0 Grandma in my relationship to NFTs and crypto and blockchain. The louder the hype got, the more I wanted to put on noise-canceling headphones to drown it out. But then it dawned on me that I’d been ignoring these things for the same reason my grandmother initially ignored ecommerce. Because it was different and not something I related to personally on any level. I was resisting change in the worst possible way — by not paying attention to it.

So, I spent some time over the holiday break educating myself on NFTs, crypto and blockchain by reading and talking to two totally different groups of people: hardcore experts in the space, as well as people like me who are not steeped in it but have already taken some early steps down the crypto path. In addition, at my last open office hours, which usually have no topic or agenda, I riffed on NFTs and then heard back from our employees who are truly experts in this stuff.

Personally, I doubt I’ll go all-in on NFTs as I don’t believe 99 percent of them will keep their value. But I will look for a unique opportunity that I (or my kids) can personally relate to that has longevity (just like the Shaq-signed rookie card next to my desk that I’ve had for almost 30 years now.)

Professionally, of course, I’m watching closely to keep up with how it’s all going to affect the digital marketing industry. Early days but it’s clear there will be an impact and we are already working with clients on their strategies.

I’m doing what I can to be more like my grandma, who is at her core a lifelong learner — even if she does sometimes put up initial resistance to new things. And the torch continues to get passed as I am learning from my son, who is already more attached to his virtual goods than his physical ones. When he recently lost access to his Roblox account, he was devastated for a full week until we got it back. However, when we donate his toys, he gets upset for maybe an hour, max. So, I’ll be learning from my kids for insights into how the next generation’s attachment to the digital world will affect the world in the years to come.