This episode dropped among a list of NFT episodes, but first the quote.
“In education there is a lot of incentive to fail with the pack rather than to take a risk away from the pack. For example, folks would teach the Prussian Lecture method. We all knew it was bad, we all did it together, and education failed but no one stood out. There were brave people who built flipped classrooms, but a lot of students didn’t like it and they would get bad teaching evaluations and sometimes lose tenure. If in football you play by the book, which isn’t really the book, it’s what everybody has historically done, and you fail then you are failing the same game the way everybody else fails. In a way you are failing in a more honorable space than somebody who does something differently and takes that chance.” – Eric Eager, The Science of Change, November 2021
Failing conventionally is an idea we’ve looked at before. But there are two additional points.
1. Conventions (‘the book’) change.
2. It’s the relative difference to these moving conventions that matter.
In football, for instance, going for it on fourth down is being normalized. If in next year’s season the convention is go for it on fourth and one in the opponent’s territory then the conventions have changed and coaches who go for in in their own territory will have less relative difference from the conventions.
What does any of this have to do with NFTs? NFTs are weird. They’re basically agreements. We all live under a collection of agreements: constitutions, laws, proposals, deals, partnerships, user agreements, contracts and so on. Some of these agreements are more explicit than others. The laws of physics notes Neil Degrasse Tyson are true whether you believe them or not. Contracts more solid agreements depending on the enforcement system. Relationships are toward the softer end of agreements and NFTs are digital agreements.
Like Eager’s flipped classroom and fourth down comments NFTs are novel conventions. And we should expect more weirdness.
Conventions used to be dictated by the physical space. We acted mostly like the people around us acted. Now, we hang out on the internet. The conventions are still dictated by the people around us but now it’s in the digital space. And as we are in the digital space more we will come up with new agreements there.
![Generative art](https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/be/VeKings.png =200×200)
Digital art is an early development for these digital agreements because it’s easy. An NFT is basically a link to a file with an agreement attached. The file is stored in this server which is how website work, AND it is owned by so-and-so.
Our lives are full of agreements and conventions. If the things we do are online more the agreements and conventions in our lives will change. NFTs may be one such example.
Art NFT are a bit overhyped because the price is wrong. The floor on one ape was $200,000 but really the price was 50ETH. But there’s no way whoever buys this ape will pay for it when 200K=50ETH. Rather, part of the NFT craze is that a bunch of people have ETH at prices well below the fall 2021 levels.