In 2013, media & technology analyst Benedict Evans presented “Mobile is eating the world,” looking at how the unprecedented scale of mobile was beginning to change the Internet and the economy at large. At the time, 56% of American adults owned a smartphone (compare that to over 85% today). It was impossible to imagine what was to come in the next decade; as I wrote in an earlier piece, technological innovations often emerge when it seems we need them least.
Evans’ thinking was prescient. He knew that with each wave of tech (railways, software, mobile… dare I say, web3) comes new businesses. And so it came as no surprise when we saw the rise of mobile-native innovations beginning right around the time Evans gave his presentation: Uber in 2009, Snap in 2011, Lyft in 2012, DoorDash in 2013… the list goes on.
Mobile was a platform shift — a paradigm shift in how the Internet worked. It increased scale and consumer sophistication, making applications 10x easier to use. Unlike desktop computers, phones were… personal. You could take them anywhere, access them without friction, and do just about anything: make a call, take a photo, find a location, submit a payment, listen to a song, or browse an app store. Smartphones were inherently social, too, unlike the desktop web. Apps could tap into a smartphone’s address book for a ready-made social graph; they could import photos from a user’s camera roll, or easily grab the user’s coordinates for location-based networking.
I am thrilled to share that I am joining the team at TCG, The Chernin Group, to focus on the firm’s investments at the intersection of consumer and crypto. I’ll be working closely with Jarrod Dicker, Jake Smilovitz, Jonathan Moore, and the rest of the TCG team to support founders building in web3 at the earliest stages.
I have always been deeply curious about the different ways we interact with technology. This informed my decision to study Symbolic Systems — a combination of philosophy, psychology, and computer science — at Stanford, and it led to my finding a voice as a consumer investor at both Chapter One and Bessemer Venture Partners. Over the past couple years, I’ve written extensively about ideas surrounding consumer technology and digital culture: specifically, I’ve spent time thinking about curation, decentralized communities, and this concept of modern friends.
Much of the reason I spent so much time thinking about these ideas is because they affected me — like many of you — so personally. I got my first job in venture through a tweet, and many of my closest friends today were originally just online friends through group chats and Zoom calls. I finally began to understand why people called the Internet the great equalizer.
“If the use of virtual communities turns out to answer a deep and compelling need in people… today’s small online enclaves may grow into much larger networks over the next twenty years.”
— Howard Rheingold, A Slice of Life in My Virtual Community (1992)
Crypto moves really quickly, and it can be hard to keep up. I’m open-sourcing my web3 reading list for those who would like to to follow along:
If you have any recommendations, please feel free to tweet me: @gaby_goldberg
In the metaverse, when we look in the mirror, who do we see?
La Grenouillere by Pierre-Auguste Renoir
cūrāre: to attend to, to take care of.
Last year, I published the piece Curators are the New Creators, arguing in favor of a business model centered around “good taste.” This piece expands upon that previous work by putting a magnifying glass on the relationship between curation and commerce. I’m grateful and excited to be writing it with Jesse Lee of Basic.Space, who’s helped to illuminate the unique relationship between goods and tastemakers.