To leverage Web3 technologies, Web2 companies may start by building the right culture

Left to right: Rachael De Foe (Redefy), Looi Qin En (Saison Capital), Shaun Heng (Spartan Labs, The Spartan Group), Rishi Randhawa (Enjinstarter), Xander van der Heijden (UNL)

Many years ago, in the tech industry, there was this persistent belief that e-commerce would destroy and replace retail in the heart of customers. But fast forward to 2022, despite the prevalence of e-commerce and the challenges that retail continues to face, the two industries continue to co-exist. Instead of competing, they ended up complementing and supporting each other.

According to Looi Qin En, Principal at Saison Capital, at an Echelon 2022 panel discussion on October 28 at Resorts World Sentosa, this would be the direction that Web3 and Web2 companies are taking in the future.

But before they can fully embrace and implement Web3 technologies and business models, there are misconceptions to clear.

“One of the biggest misconceptions we have right now about Web3 is that in building Web3, you can apply the same principles as in Web2. For example, in the matters of how you go to market, how you bring your products, none of the traditional ways of marketing really works,” he said. “There has to be a change in mindset.”

Another common misconception involved what Web3 technologies actually entail. Speaking in the same panel as Looi, Rishi Randhawa, Head of Web3 Innovation at Enjinstarter, pointed out that most of the public today is already familiar with popular Web3-related terms such as NFTs, but that is often the extent of their understanding.

Also Read: Blockchain promises to be as foundational and indispensable as internet: Amit Ghosh of R3

“If I ask the audience, how many of you have heard of NFTs? I’m pretty sure 80-90 per cent of you would put your hands up. But if you ask people you know, how many of you have a wallet? Probably about 10 per cent,” he said.

“There’s a lot more to Web3 than just NFTs. I think every business, every brand will have its own objectives, its own challenges that require them to look at the new set of tools and the new set of ways of working to achieve finance.”

This is something that Xander van der Heijden, CEO at UNL, agreed on. “We’ve come a long way, but many of the Web3 technology and infrastructures today are used for cryptocurrencies when blockchain and distributed ledger can solve real-world problems. But that’s where we need to go.”

Building a Web3-friendly culture

For Web2 companies who are looking to start implementing Web3 technologies and business models, where should they start? According to the panellists, they can begin building a company culture that can help team members shift to a “Web3 mindset” more seamlessly.

As Looi put it, Web3 is about “a change in how we are looking at our community and our audiences.”

For Shaun Heng, Head of Spartan Labs at The Spartan Group, from the organisational perspective, a company can start by setting up a small group of employees who are passionate about the space.

Also Read: Web2 founders, get ready for Web3 before 2025 – Insights from Echelon 2022

“Just having this sense of commonality, stepping up and sharing information is already a good starting point,” he stressed. “You don’t need to revamp your entire business model right away. You don’t need to build everything on the blockchain just because you want to expand to Web3. Start small by having the culture embedded in the organisation itself.”

“Subsequently, you will pick up a new model. Once you get a bit more momentum … the employees are on this journey together. This way, you can take a bit more risk, but you don’t need to start with a goal in mind.”

When it comes to case studies, van der Heijden named Reddit as one example of a Web2 platform that had successfully transition into Web3 —in just four months— with the launch of its NFT marketplace.

“You got to listen to the audience. Speak to that community. Figure out what they could be interested in,” he stressed.

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