The Metaconomy with Matt Garrepy

Since Facebook changed its corporate name to Meta, there’s been an increased interest in the metaverse. Our guest this week is Matt Garrepy, Chief Digital Officer of Solodev, a cloud services company headquartered in Orlando. Matt explains some of the technologies that underpin virtual worlds like Decentraland and discusses why they could become primary channels for consumer engagement and transactions. Matt also forecasts future roles for NFTs in retail and brand marketing.

Episode Transcript

Adrian Tennant: Coming up in this episode of IN CLEAR FOCUS:

Matt Garrepy: Owning something unique brings us closer to an experience, to the content creator, and I think it brings us into a community. It’s also why NFTs, I think, are so important because they speak to a uniqueness about digital art.

Adrian Tennant: You’re listening to IN CLEAR FOCUS, fresh perspectives on the business of advertising. Produced weekly by Bigeye: a strategy-led, full-service creative agency, growing brands for clients globally. Hello, I’m your host, Adrian Tennant, Chief Strategy Officer at Bigeye. Thank you for joining us today. In October 2021, the social media platform Facebook dominated headlines after it changed its corporate name to Meta to reflect its intention to evolve into a metaverse company. In November, Microsoft announced its own metaverse, Mesh, as part of its plan to power the virtual workplace. But brands beyond tech are also planning for a future where life is lived increasingly online. Although a majority of consumers don’t know what the metaverse is, they’re still interested in taking part, according to a survey across nine markets by Bigeye’s audience research partner, GWI. Overall, just 37% of people said they’re aware of the term metaverse and know what it is. In comparison, 33% said they’re aware of the term, but don’t know what it is. And 30% are completely unaware of the metaverse. Despite this, 51% of surveyed consumers are interested in participating, and research from games analytics company Newzoo shows consumers interested in the metaverse are also receptive to branded content. The focus of our podcast today is the technology that underpins these virtual worlds, which for marketers could become key communication and consumer engagement channels. To explain more, we have the perfect guide. Matt Garrepy is the Chief Digital Officer of Solodev, a leading cloud services company, headquartered in Orlando with employees located around the world. By his own admission. Matt loves brands and has worked with hundreds of brand owners from Silicon Valley startups to Fortune 500 companies. To discuss how brand marketers and agencies need to be thinking about the metaverse, Matt is joining us today from Solodev’s offices in Orlando, Matt, welcome to IN CLEAR FOCUS!

Matt Garrepy: So great to be here, Adrian. Great to be talking to you again. I’ve been looking forward to this for the last week, so I’m ready to talk about all things metaverse.

Adrian Tennant: Excellent. Prior to us recording this interview today, you and I had talked a bit about how we should structure our conversation to introduce each component of the metaverse. And you suggested that we start with something abstract. So, Matt, what is art?

Matt Garrepy: That is a great question, right? What is art? And I kind of liked the challenge of it, cause it’s going to be I think a little bit different for everybody. But for me, I’ll answer it the same way I did when you and I were chatting and I feel like art is anything you can get away with. And that’s not mine, I wish I could lay claim to it, but if you’ve been in a mass communications class at a college or university, you’ve probably heard this line. Many people attribute it to Andy Warhol, but it’s actually a guy named Marshall McLuhan who wrote many books, but wrote quite a bit about art and his reactions to Warhol’s art. And he was a student of how art was evolving in the sense of media and how we, as both individuals and culture, respond to that. So, yeah, he started with art, but then he kind of moved into film and television and print and all these different channels. And the line kind of resonates for me because it doesn’t attempt to really define or limit what art is or I think its perceived value. And I think that’s always been our experience with art, right? We measure that value based on how we feel about it, but also how the people around us, you know, society and culture at large. You know, I think there’s a good example in the early 20th century. There’s an artist named Marcel Duchamp who created this piece called The Fountain and he kind of marched it down to a highfalutin’ society of independent artists in New York. And he sort of laid it down in the middle room, or I’m sort of imagining that the whole process, where he lays it down in the middle of the room and it’s just a plain, white porcelain urinal and it’s signed “R Mutt.” And, you know, I can see the intelligentsia sort of like debating, is it funny? Is it a publicity stunt? Is it an insult? It could have been all of the above or none of the above. But the real question is what did it force us to think about in terms of our relationship with it? And ultimately, what did people think about it? And if you fast forward and you think about our contemporaries, like, Banksy and Beeple and how they’re making art. And sometimes it’s very clear that there’s a lot of complexity to it and other times it seems really pedestrian and, you know, it’s guys like Duchamp that forced us to think differently about those ready-made experiences. And I bring this up because NFTs, I think there’s a lot of debate about are they art? How are they being used? It looks like it’s very simple to make this, or we’re just repeating a Bored Ape 2,000 times. I mean, how creative is that? But, I just come back to that observation of what is art, if it’s not something you can get away with? And I wonder what McLuhan would think that people lived in a world where someone paid $69 million for Beeple – you know, a piece of Beeple’s art. And I think he would come to the same realization that this is all about this idea of ownership. Like owning something unique brings us closer to an experience, to the content creator, and I think it brings us into a community. That’s why brands invest so much in that experience. These are human transactions and they’re still gonna be the same transactions that exist in that mysterious metaverse. And it’s also why NFTs I think are so important because they speak to a uniqueness about digital art. They speak to a uniqueness about these assets and how we’re sharing them socially with each other. And there are a lot of questions about how do we regulate that? Or what is our perception of things like copyright that protected artists and the sanctity of art in the past? Recently there was Jodorowsky’s Dune, which was a book that was produced with all these storyboards of a film version of Dune that was going to be produced in the 1970s. It never made it to the screen, but this book is just testament to it. And you know, a group of investors I believe bought the book with crypto and went out and publicly said, “Hey, now we own Jodorowsky’s Dune. We’re going to go make the film. We’re going to produce a new piece for Netflix.” And there was a lot of confusion on their part about what ownership means. And, you know, artists still maintain that ownership of what they’ve created. But I think the body politic – the public – is still somewhat confused about where those lines are and, you know, that’s why I think regulation is going to continue to evolve over time. So it’s a really exciting field when we think about NFTs because it brings in all of these questions about art and what the nature of art is. How we behave as social creatures, how we connect with one another. And I think the meta versus what’s ultimately the expression of that, how we open that up for conversation, and ultimately for the transaction and, at the end of the day, it’s still all about experience and that’s why I think brands really need to care about it.

Adrian Tennant: For anyone unfamiliar with the term, what is a nonfungible token, or NFT for short?

Matt Garrepy: Right. I’ve been referring to NFTs for a few minutes now, but you know, what are they? And, and I think more importantly, why should we care about them? I would go back to what I’ve said already, which is the idea of art is something that we can get away with. I think NFTs embody that. And in technical terms, it’s that uniqueness factor, right? That’s what nonfungibility really speaks to – is that it’s not like something else is indeed unique in the universe. And underneath that from a technical and code perspective, it’s still just a token, right? It’s a piece of data that’s being stored on a blockchain, which is a kind of digital ledger. But by storing them on these blockchains, the owner of that NFT now has a way of publicly certifying or authenticating that they own it. And you’ll hear this term a lot with blockchain, with NFTs, but it’s this idea of immutability. This doesn’t mean that an NFT as an object, as an asset, can’t be copied, just like we wrestle with images being copied from Google and used on social media, on PowerPoint slides. It’s really the provable, documentable sense of value in that ownership, which again is residing inside these blockchains. And I’ll keep coming back to that idea of ownership as we talk about NFTs and the metaverse at large. And the other distinction too is that when we think about NFTs not necessarily being a cryptocurrency, they’re both tokens, right? A cryptocurrency is a token, an NFT is a token. But a Bitcoin sort of has the same value as any other Bitcoin, right? They’re almost identifiably the same. Whereas an NFT, because of its nature as a digital asset, is unique and one of a kind. And like I said earlier, they can be almost anything. A visual artwork, like something from Beeple, you know, a snippet from a song. There’s talk now that people will be able to own a piece of the Rolling Stones catalog. It could be a digital cell from like a classic animated Disney film. We see brands like Nike creating digital NFT companions that kind of ride along with each pair of sneakers and owners can use those as a vehicle for connecting inside a metaverse experience or a game experience. And speaking of games, we’re actually seeing micro games emerge as NFTs. So I think the definition is going to keep expanding, but it’s still about this thing that an individual is able to own. And there’s no question as a cultural phenomenon. It was in the Super Bowl, right? So, we’re talking about this really big concept that’s kind of infecting our social behavior, and I think it started with art because art is collectible. And the other types of assets that are represented by NFTs fall into that collectible category as well. And we’re not just talking about individual collectors, we’re talking about their communities. So art kind of represents a social contract between creators and viewers and buyers. And it sort of lays this foundation, I think, for making stronger contracts, that codify an agreement that someone makes between things. So that could be a buyer and seller agreement as an example. But you know, it just comes back to this idea that it’s connecting, creating a contract concept underneath everything. And then of course that’s all stored in the blockchain and now it’s being purchased with crypto. So they’re all kind of built out of the same promise of trust and having these systems in place that enable users to document and have that immutability. And the last thing I’ll say about NFTs is that right now, it was just a huge center of hype. And that goes back to their debate about their value, the perception socially and culturally, and of course, there are lots of discussions now about the amount of energy or the environmental impact on storing these images, right? Being able to put them somewhere. All issues that we’re going to wrestle with, but I just say that as someone who’s been in technology for a couple of decades, the rise of new alternative blockchains and compression technologies, they’re all going to solve these problems very quickly. So while we might be in the early days, I think we’re going to see a rapid transformation, and we’re going to see new ways to be able to store these things. And we’re going to get back to the real promise of it, which is how brands can leverage it to develop more decentralized experiences and lead their customers to the metaverse.

Adrian Tennant: At the moment, we’re seeing a lot of creative content being made available as NFTs. How do you foresee NFTs changing as the metaverse evolves?

Matt Garrepy: Yeah, it’s a great question. I don’t think we can talk about NFTs without acknowledging that this is the Wild West. And it’s a lot like it was in 2000, 2001. If you remember Webvan, I don’t know if everyone’s gonna remember Webvan, but Webvan was just a really exciting startup in Northern California and had this really radical idea of people sitting down at a computer and ordering their groceries on a website and having a van show up with their stuff, right? So it was this really radical concept and it was all this debate about, you know, whether or not it was going to catch on, how would they build out the supply chain, how would they handle distribution? And ultimately wrapped that up with a big tech fallout in 2001 and the brand didn’t really survive. But I think part of that pushback was just part of the natural evolution. And today we just sit down and expect to be able to buy groceries with an app, we don’t even think about it. So it took time for that to mature. And the difference now is that things are really changing at warp speed. So if we measured the pace of digital transformation and innovation in years before, like when Webvan was coming up, it’s all happening in weeks and days now. And some of that is a product of COVID, right? That we had this general acceleration across digital. But I think the whole field is now able to access the power of the cloud. And that’s enabling us to run through innovation trials and tests and moving into full production much faster. And all of that can feel really intimidating and create a lot of anxiety for companies that are used to running sprints, you know, being very mindful about how they put products into play. If you saw the Larry David FTX ad during the Super Bowl, you can see that the platforms are already creating urgency to adopt because it’s happening so fast. That said, crypto has really been around well over a decade, and just now it’s exponential, right? So it’s kind of Moore’s Law playing out. I think brands as a result have kind of raced to be in the race with NFTs and without really understanding what kind of long-term strategy they should take because we just don’t have the data yet. And that’s creating a pervasive fear of missing out, but, in doing that also sort of accepting that there are risks with it. And I think you can pin a lot of the urgency too on Facebook rebranding itself, becoming Meta and, you know, it’s not just them, it’s GameStop, it’s Walmart, it’s major brands kind of entering the field in a big, vocal way. But what that’s done is it ignited the awareness and the interest in NFTs. And I think other brands are thinking, how do I use this to remain competitive? And how do I get access to these AR/VR – more immersive technologies – that create new kinds of experiences for consumers? So I see a lot of innovation coming. I see more of these bigger platforms and brands embracing new ways of doing this on their own. And NFTs as a result are just going to keep changing, right? As the months fly by we’ll see new ways and new ideas. I think the focus on high utility with these technologies is really key because brands are gonna look for ways to be able to leverage the technology in a way that benefits their business processes and ultimately is measurable in some manner. We’re working with a healthcare provider right now that’s envisioning new ways to leverage NFTs as a means of documenting imaging records and printing them to a blockchain. That’s not data that you want to trust to OpenSea, which is a really big exchange, or any other big public exchange. So I think, companies and brands are going to look for ways to be as secure, in the way that they invest in and scale these infrastructures. And we got to get, I think ultimately, out of the hype part of it. You shared an example with me, about MeUndies, which is just an awesome name, right? It’s just a fun name to say, but you know, they jumped onto the Bored Apes Yacht, and, for a lot of people listening that are familiar with Bored Apes, you know, it’s a brand that’s already so recognizable and it was kind of permeating our culture. But, at the same time, what they didn’t see was the kind of amplified social risk that we’re dealing with when we have new technology. So we’re going to make mistakes and I think brands have always struggled with this. I think Dove had a really awesome campaign a few years ago that focused on a transformation message, but they made some missteps on that and Twitter was not kind to them. I think it’s up to brands to do what they’ve always done, dig in and do the research, but kind of understand that this is a new channel. And these new channels? They’re not all built the same. In the same way that we look at Facebook and TikTok and that heightens the risk. But, in saying that, we’re in this really hyperbolic chamber of highly accelerated technology, brands feeling forced – like they have to react or they have to be part of the story. And then, just a highly sensitive culture that wants what brands offer, but they’re willing to cancel their loyalty, right? So we’ve got to pay attention to all of those things and really look for ways that we can accept that crypto is here, look for the signals that it’s going to continue to be adopted, and take mindful steps by investing in better infrastructure.

Adrian Tennant: Let’s take a short break. We’ll be right back after these messages.

Adrian Tennant: Each month, in partnership with our friends at Kogan Page, The Bigeye Book Club features interviews with authors who are experts in specific areas of marketing and research. Our featured book for March is Using Semiotics in Retail: Leverage consumer insight to engage shoppers and boost sales by Rachel Lawes. IN CLEAR FOCUS listeners can save 20 percent on a print or electronic version of the book with exclusive promo code BIGEYE20. This code is valid for all products and pre-orders and applies to Kogan Page’s free ebook offer. To order your copy of Using Semiotics in Retail, go to – that’s K O G A N P A G E dot com.

Adrian Tennant: Last October, Bigeye published a market research report, entitled Retail Disrupted: What Shoppers Want From Brands Today. We surveyed consumers across America to find out how their shopping behaviors had changed as a result of the pandemic. In a special Bigeye video event, we’re joined by four experts who reflect on the study’s findings and explore the implications for retailers and brand marketers in 2022. 

Doug Stephens: It’s logical to assume that as we see this metaverse constructed as we as individuals spend more and more time in these virtual worlds, the adoption of things like virtual apparel might start to make more and more sense. 

Ingrid Milman-Cordy: I think being channel agnostic and just making sure that you are you know meeting your consumer, where they are is important. To not think about channels as competitive to each other, thinking about them as complimentary.

Andy Sheldon: When you’re watching something as a live stream, that’s linear, there’s no choice but to watch what’s going on at that moment on the shopping television.

Syama Meagher: I see NFTs as an invitation for consumers to join brands on a digital journey and for brands to invite consumers to spend their cryptocurrencies and their time into building a relationship with the brand. 

Adrian Tennant: Join us for a lively discussion about the future of retail and marketing. Bigeye’s Envision 2022, coming soon.

Adrian Tennant: Welcome back. I’m talking with Matt Garrepy, Chief Digital Officer at Solodev, a leading cloud services firm based here in Orlando. And we’re talking all things metaverse. So Matt, how are companies building marketplaces around NFTs?

Matt Garrepy: Well, there are few that are really accelerating their focus on it. And there are others that are clearly being cautious. We talk to companies day in and day out now, that are somewhere on that spectrum. They’re thinking about it, they’re plotting their next step, but they’re not quite ready to make the leap. And again, I go back to the fact that we don’t have enough data to really build a strong foundation for guiding brands, depending on where they are in the marketplace. But it’s obvious that gaming is a big area and probably the most prolific area because they kind of understood natively the concept of rewards. And the idea of a token equaling a reward inside an ecosystem. Interestingly, GameStop has really shifted their entire strategy to focus on these curated marketplaces and they see it as the future. There’s also some talk interestingly about having marketplaces where, quite literally, the assets that you buy in these metaverse experiences in these game realms, so to speak, become collateral for other purchases. So let’s say you had a really valuable asset from a game, like Fortnite, and you were able to use that to borrow or borrow against that to make a purchase of another asset. So this is this idea of decentralized finance inside the metaverse that could really change everything. And I think banks might – they might be the ones that start to open this up in the realverse just given their influence. I mean, imagine being able to go down to Chase with a digital sword and ask for a mortgage on a house. It seems ridiculous. But look at all the other ridiculous things that are seemingly happening right now because of all this new innovation. I think in Orlando, the idea of tickets with companion NFTs to theme parks could be a really amazing use case. And again, I haven’t seen them doing this yet, but they’ve gotta be working on ideas, around this, where let’s say you buy a pass to Disney or Universal. Maybe your ticket has something unique about it, that’s associated with your purchase. Maybe that NFT gets you access to specific venues or, even food access to restaurants. Then it can be used as part of an AR experience as you walk around the park. You get to see characters emerging or people walking around with their own unique tickets. Then there’s this dimension of the Disney fanatics, the collectors who will be seeking out in these marketplaces your ticket and they may be willing to spend more money on that ticket than you originally bought it for. So we’re entering this whole new realm of trade and commerce where even just the purchase of these assets can turn into a profit center or an investment in the future. And like I said, it’s all these things are all happening right now. It’s not hyperbole and this is why brands are going to need to seek out trusted infrastructure services that focus on the two key factors, security, and scalability. They have to be really at the highest levels. We built our Solodev NFT marketplace to meet those kinds of demands. What I think is interesting though, Adrian, is that while we’ve built the picks and shovels for all of this, we’re not coming up with the ideas. Everyone else is coming up with the ideas. They’re coming to us for the guidance and to help get them there. But they’re the ones that are going through that innovation process. We’re working on this high-end gallery that’s going to be focused on social art and these ideas are coming from content creators. They have the roadmap, we’re just trying to provide them the vehicle to get there. And it’s got to enable them with the kind of technology to do it. The other part I’ll say is that brands are looking for ways to differentiate and kind of own as much of the experience as they can. There are lots of creators setting up their NFT library, so to speak, in OpenSea, but they’re giving up all that control around their experience to that platform, which is very Web 2.0. The Web 3.0 idea is that these brands or these creators will be able to build this stuff on their own, build their own marketplace, be able to shape that around whatever their requirements are. And that to me is that’s the next step. The next wave is getting to that decentralization. We’re just not there yet.

Adrian Tennant: Matt, can you help us understand what is the relationship between NFTs and blockchain?

Matt Garrepy: Great question. we can’t really talk about NFTs without blockchain, and we can’t talk about blockchain without the cloud. You know, the cloud has been around for a long time. Now, I think it’s matured to the point where most people kind of understand the concept of it, at least in practice. And even to the point where it doesn’t even matter what the cloud is built of or how it functions or how it works, you just accept that it powers these experiences for you. But the cloud is responsible for what we think of as Web 2.0, right? The rise of these large centralized platforms like Facebook and Google, which by the way, are clouds, right? They meet that definition of being clouds. So if Web 1.0 was static websites and experiences, Web 2.0 is where all that interactivity came in, right? It’s the gaming, social media, e-commerce – all of them developing into big centralized kind of monolithic platforms that are owned by big tech companies. And the cloud is important because it enabled all of these systems to run at really unimaginable scale and to be over time, as secure as they are today. And that’s actually what we try to provide in our marketplace. We use a technology that’s referred to as serverless, for meeting this huge demand of concurrent users. So if we saw that Coinbase commercial, during the Super Bowl, with the floating QR code, I think everyone in America was rifling around to find their phone so they could scan this and figure out what the heck it was. Many people hit an error page, right? They didn’t have enough resources to meet demand at that level. And of course, it was millions and millions of people. But, even the idea that we’re going to have systems like Decentraland, where there may be millions of people interacting and engaging, we need to have systems that can meet that demand. So the cloud is so important in having gotten us to Web 2.0. So while that was growing and expanding, this idea of blockchains re-emerged, which has been around since the Nineties. It was a really elegant idea of creating a way to decentralize how we’re tracking things and push the truth of that out to multiple parties so that it didn’t just reside with one central authority. And that’s that concept of having a ledger, right? A ledger that has all the transactions that you make assigned to you living in multiple places, and then through consensus on servers, in a network, they’re able to codify that that is true. And this concept is largely seen as being unhackable if that we can even say that, but let’s just say it’s very, very secure because it’s not just secured with one authority. So, think of all those servers and clusters and all those transactions, what they’re governed by are these really simple things called smart contracts. And those contracts have automated rules that no entity or even government authority can alter, right? Unless the participants in an organization agreed to alter them. But the idea is that it automates the notion of trust, particularly for organizations like law firms that want to document contracts or we want to have a public sector agency that wants to log all of the transition of deeds from one owner to another. And I call those high utility blockchain apps and a great example of one that’s been documented really well is De Beers Diamonds. A great, identifiable consumer brand. They’re able to log each transaction that a specific diamond goes through on its journey from a mine to a store, to an owner, ensuring its authenticity. Who’s done the authenticating, did it originate in a conflict-free zone? All of that gets wrapped up in sort of the experience of that diamond and that adds value to it. And the cloud is what makes that blockchain, all that data, it’s never eradicated, it’s never deprecated, it just continues building, to store and scale it at just unimaginable levels. And, the whole concept of Bitcoin was built on this, right? It’s the currency of the very first blockchain. And you know, it really envisioned this idea of being a token, which we’ve said a couple of times is core to NFTs is core to cryptocurrency. But this really simple idea of a token having that documented value in it. And Bitcoin really saw the idea of centralized authorities or platforms like banks or central banks, burning those down and having a peer-to-peer payment system. And that’s really when Web 3.0 started – was with that idea that we’re going to eliminate the middleman. We’re going to make it more of a social permission-less kind of transaction, secured by the fact that the block and the blockchain was all being documented on these ledgers. But giving the power to consumers over their digital lives and, being able to, embrace this way of transacting

Adrian Tennant: Where can brand marketers and folks in advertising expect to encounter blockchain in our work lives?

Matt Garrepy: Everywhere. It’s going to be everywhere, like the internet, and in that sense, it’s going to be bigger than the internet because if you can imagine like smart contracts that governments use for, as I mentioned, like documenting their public records, you know, it goes beyond just the way that the internet is functioning as the portal for documenting things and into the business realm, where business transactions are happening. So other computer systems, other ways of being able to store the data and push it out through to a blockchain. There’s a company called Pacaso. It’s kind of a fractional home ownership concept, and they’re creating these things called decentralized autonomous organizations or DAOs, which is something you may have heard of. And the whole idea is what I just talked about, where they’re creating smart contracts that govern the ownership rules over vacation homes. So it’s transparent, it’s immutable, and multiple people can go in on owning a home instead of giving their money to Airbnb. So it’s sort of seen as a disruptor to that sort of Web 2.0 model, right? So this is a Web 3.0, Airbnb was sort of Web 2.0, and because decentralized finance is such a big part of all of this, blockchain is going to weave itself in all these traditional systems. I think the reason why is because of trust and transparency and, if we can then introduce more automation – I don’t think of AI as being Skynet or artificial intelligence, it’s more like augmented intelligence, right? Or automated intelligence. But the fact that these systems can behave on their own so that there isn’t a person, there isn’t a third party, there isn’t someone manipulating the currency, printing more of it. All of those things enable this to be much more trustworthy and transparent. And I think it’s going to ripple across everything.

Adrian Tennant: Now of course, being agency-side, I’ve got to ask, what level of interest are you seeing among agency and brand marketing clients in the metaverse and Web 3.0 technologies?

Matt Garrepy: Yeah. I think we’re seeing a really positive response largely from what we’ll call an industry sector around agencies. And I resist a little bit of the urge to sort of focus just on that as a sector, but I do think that agencies get digital experience better than most other businesses. So they’re able to adapt to this new world and what the metaverse promises, when they’re thinking about customer experience and they’re thinking about how to better serve their portfolio of customers. The way that the tools are beginning to emerge, the idea of marketplace as a service, I think this is very appealing to agencies. They’re looking at ways to be able to differentiate in their own marketplaces, but, having that offering, that service offering where they can build marketplaces from the ground up, have those scalability and security issues, buttoned-down, and part of the way that they deliver infrastructure is going to be really key. But then I think it’s just going back to this concept of brand and how can we use NFTs as part of that mix, that integrated mix. It’s still centralized platforms, but being able to offer to brands, as someone in the agency business, offer to your brand customers, a way of being able to have a signature experience that it enables companion NFTs to have value. Collaborating with them to understand what their customer experience is like so you can map that and build out the right kind of solution for it. But again, it’s all gonna come back to infrastructure, so if you have the right components in place, and have that approach around building these marketplaces, I think you’ve got a real offering, and a real key differentiator in the market. So, again, we’re in the early parts of it as well, in terms of, how we’re offering NFT marketplace as a service. Some of the people that are approaching us, they’ve worked with Microsoft as an example, so have a really strong understanding of crypto, but we have talked to people in the art field, mostly in the high-end side of it. But also people that are focused on digital experience and coming out of the agency side. So it’s definitely happening. And it’s definitely an exciting way to think about how to make brands differentiate.

Adrian Tennant: Matt, if IN CLEAR FOCUS listeners would like to learn more about you and the work your team is doing at Solodev, where can they find you?

Matt Garrepy: You can find Solodev at And then you can find me on Twitter @MattGarrepy. And I’m on LinkedIn as well, same spelling just with a hyphen between the first name and last name. And then there’s old-fashioned email that you can use as well, should you decide to go old-fashioned, and that’s just

Adrian Tennant: Matt, thank you very much for being a guest this week on IN CLEAR FOCUS!

Matt Garrepy: Thanks so much for having me. It was great talking to you.

Adrian Tennant: Thanks again to my guest this week, Matt Garrepy, Chief Digital Officer of Solodev. We’ll be catching up with Matt again in a future episode to learn more about the metaverse. As always, you’ll find a full transcript with links to the resources Matt and I discussed today on the IN CLEAR FOCUS page at under “Insights.” Just select “Podcast.” And if you enjoyed this episode, please consider following IN CLEAR FOCUS wherever you listen to podcasts. Thank you. I’ve been your host, Adrian Tennant. Until next week, goodbye.

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