Transcription Episode 73

Hi everyone and welcome to another episode of Living on Blockchain. Today we are speaking to Cyber Shakti. Cyber Shakti, an NFT artist and now she is also the founder of Lenspost.

She’s had quite a journey being one of, you know, one of the early NFT artists even before the Beeple frenzy in March 21. So she’s been around since, you know, 2020 and she’s actually the only Indian artist who has been sold as SoftBees as well. This was a very interesting conversation just from the creator perspective, how the creative economy is changing the way people perceive Web3 and the way we perceive Web3 and how she kind of imagines the way forward for Lenspost as well as for her own journey.

So a very interesting conversation and all of you NFT buffs and NFT artists, really I cannot recommend this enough, very insightful as well. Hi Shakti, how are you doing today? Hi Tarusha, thank you for having me over. I’m doing amazing.

Awesome, so for our listeners, can you tell us a little about yourself, your background, how you got into the Web3 space? Yeah, for sure, for sure. You know, I think a lot of people just know me as Cyber Shakti in the space and, you know, I’ve been like into Web3 since 2020 and I started out as an NFT artist in the space and when I started out, there were like very few people from India actually doing this and, you know, NFTs were not mainstream because, you know, we all know the NFT boom happened in March 21 after the Beeple sale, right? But I was like sort of, you know, in the ecosystem and present and, you know, making friends and connections and finding collectors all over the place. So, you know, I’ve been like pretty early and I’ve seen the space evolve into what it’s becoming, you know, not my first bear as they say.

Awesome, brilliant. So, you know, you’ve been around for a while as an NFT artist and initially obviously a lot of people didn’t really take NFTs very seriously, right? And I think even I was a bit skeptical about the NFT craze in the beginning and obviously, you know, I kept saying that there might be more use cases that will come out and they have but, you know, tell me a little about your journey specifically as an NFT artist. How did you, you know, decide that okay this is what you want to do and what has kept you going even with so many naysayers around? Right, right, right.

So, you know, I would like to answer this not as an NFT artist but as somebody who has been in the space and observing the space. So, honestly like even in the beginning, you know, when March 21 happened and a lot of journalists were sort of, you know, reaching out to me for my comments because as I mentioned there were not many Indians doing this at the time, right? The problem that I found with the questions that they were asking me, you know, you know the intent of people from the questions that they ask you and nobody wanted to know my journey as an artist about the technology, about why I chose to, you know, be in NFTs and put out my work in NFTs. They just wanted to know how much money did you make, how much money.

Right, how much money can be potentially made, yeah. You know, those were the only questions and that time I backed off. I said, you know, this is like, you know, I do not want to propagate NFTs as a speculative asset as such, but then that is the way most of the market did go eventually, unfortunately and, you know, when the market started dipping, you saw all these people and brands and, you know, no code solution founders sort of disappear and pivot to like AI and other stuff, right? It is only the people who sort of, you know, understood that NFT is an instrument.

It is a technology of, you know, it is a store of value on chain, which is very unique in nature, you know, and even the way that we know NFTs has evolved so much, right, in three years, like earlier we knew that, okay, NFTs are non-fungible tokens, they sit inside your wallet. But now, over the three years, three years is like a lifetime in NFTs, right? We have seen so much pivot happen that NFT as we know it as no longer the same, like now NFT has like new standards come in, like ERC 6551. So, earlier we used to say NFTs sit inside a wallet, now NFTs have become a wallet.

Yeah, absolutely. I think it is quite an arc, yeah. You know, so it is changing and I think only if you, you know, patiently just work with the technology and not just look at it from a capitalist perspective, what can I get out of it, you know, you might do okay, but I think long term is for people who make the most of this technology.

Right, absolutely. I think that is the same for, you know, just decentralized space in general. I do truly believe that, you know, a lot of people obviously came in because of the speculation aspect and how they could perhaps make a quick buck, right? And the people who have actually stayed and kept building are the ones who are infatuated with the technology on some level, because they do truly understand the kind of ramifications this technology can bear for, you know, the population at large, if we are able to do right and give the user use cases which they can use in their day to day life.

Yeah, really. I think we will be there when, you know, say five, six years down the line, our moms go to say like a Reliance Smart and, you know, exchange a collectible token for exchange of sugar. Absolutely.

Yeah, I think that would be wonderful, right? This is, this is, it’s just stuff like this, just hearing it makes me happy, you know, I get just, just imagining that, okay, decentralized technology will become such a huge part of day to day life. And that is what I think all of us aspire, you know, for for the technology, at least that is that is our aspiration. And for us as well, that whatever we are creating becomes like a very inherent part of everyday use cases for the users.

Yeah. So, you know, hopefully, like more founders like us bring innovations that make it more accessible, less scary, more abstracted. Absolutely.

I totally believe that, you know, the, the way we kind of use this technology to make the life of people easier is what is going to really stick. And those are the platforms that are going to see tremendous success. Yeah, you know, in fact, that is why, you know, lately, like since 23.

So I’ll tell you, 2023 has been such an interesting year. I saw some very good, you know, some very good validations and like, you know, like, I actually went to Sotheby’s this year, like my NFT got auctioned at Sotheby’s this year. And like, as an artist, this was a very rewarding year.

But interesting was I also become a founder, the time that I’ve spent on making art has been cut down immensely. I’ve been doing more and more founder things, because I feel like as an artist, I can leave my voice behind. But as technology that I’m building, I can help 100 more cyber shaktis come out.

Absolutely. I think that is wonderfully put, you know, congratulations on the kind of success that you you have seen. And you know, what makes me immensely happy, obviously, that you know, you you are from the subcontinent, and you really made a mark in this space.

So congratulations on all the good work. But I would like to again, take a step back a little bit, because we talked to founders with this whole intent of, you know, inspiring somebody else who’s perhaps listening to this conversation, you started off, you know, you became a glitch artist and a visual art OG, you what kind of made you transition into the world of NFTs? And then once you answer that, I’ll ask you a lot more about Lenspost and the creator video. Sure.

So you know, interestingly, I was working in media. So I’ve been networking extensively, I’ve worked in Times Network, and any, any mainstream media company that you know, in India, I’ve probably worked for them. So I’ve been advertising media, digital marketing, you know, just, just made my way across the ranks.

So the last corporate job that I have, I was senior manager, marketing at Times Network. And, you know, like, well, this need of having a corporate career, because of certain responsibilities and stuff, I could never really prioritize my art, you know, and I was making art in whatever time I had, like, I couldn’t pursue photography, because photography is an expensive hobby. And at the same time, you also need to invest a lot of time in, you know, visiting places and arranging photo shoots.

So because that part of my life had come to a pause, I was just working in my corporate job. So whatever spare time I had, say from Chembur to Lower Parel, if I’m traveling in a cab, in that time, I used to sit and make glitch art with the existing archives that I have. And glitch art is essentially an art form where you’re just playing around with the pixel data of existing JPEGs or files and turning them into a brand new piece of art.

So that was the only time that I was getting to make my art. And it was just a hobby. And what happened is I was just putting out all this work on social media, like Instagram and Facebook.

And you know, glitch art was so unknown in India at that point in time, say 2015 to 2019. Nobody knew of glitch art, it was just me and this underground circle of artists from across the world, collecting on a Facebook group. And what happened is, my Instagram used to get like two likes, three likes, five likes and best because I was just putting it out.

I was not actively approaching galleries, I was not actively, you know, trying to put my work out there. What happened is one very renowned sculptor that I know, in my social circle, he started picking up my concepts and ideas and started making a lot of money for himself. Okay.

And initial reaction was shock. And I was outraged and I was like, I’ll show him, I’ll show him, you know, I’ll claim copyright stuff, you know, I’ll claim it, I’ll file it, I’ll do anything. And then, you know, my smart lawyer friends told me, it’s not direct reproduction.

So there is no way that you can claim anything at all. Wow. Okay.

Yeah, because obviously, you made a digital piece of work, and they produced a physical sculpture, right? You know, they it is apples and oranges, there is no way you can claim anything on it. And if you even if you have solid like proof that this guy is getting inspired by your work, you’ve put out your work in public domain, right? There’s not much that you can do there. Exactly.

And that got me to two thought processes in my head. One is that, you know, the provenance of your work, what you’re putting out is no longer yours to claim, you know, on conventional social media. And two, if a renowned sculptor with like 20-25 years of work experience and name in the circuit is picking up my ideas to keep his boat running, that means my ideas are very potent.

That means my work has value, which I myself have not realized. That was such a huge revelation for me. I immediately started, you know, googling, you know, how can I how can I become an artist? How can I approach galleries? What can I do, but I didn’t find much success, because you know, the gallery scene in India is a little gatekeep.

You know, there is a level of elitism. And if I was approaching galleries abroad, I had very, very deep distrust at this point in people working in galleries, you know, if I give you my file, you can use thousands of it and I will not see any anything come back to me. And you know, while I was battling with all these problems and how to how to explore this, this, you know, space as an artist, they say what you seek is seeking you, right? What is what happened is, somebody approached me and asked me to join the discord.

They said, we really love your work. And we want to collaborate with you. And that was it.

Okay, so I joined the discord server. And I see a lot of my old glitch art friends from my Facebook group in that discord server. And they were talking about NFTs.

And I was like, hey, this sounds interesting. And when they sat down and explained the technology to me, all the problems that I actually recounted to you, right? I don’t know how my file is being used. I will never see NFTs.

I don’t know how many editions they’re going to make. There is nobody who can, you know, claim like this ownership is mine, because it’s a digital file. After the transfer, who knows who created it, right? So all these provenance issues, and the fact that there was no gatekeeping in NFTs, and you know, that was my eureka moment in say, like, peak of lockdown in 2020.

And as soon as I learned about this, it took me about one, one week or so just to figure out KYC and getting crypto in my metamask. But after that, there’s been no stopping back for me as CyberShakti. Wow.

Yeah, that’s, that’s wonderful. And you know, there’s such an organic way of actually getting into the Web3 space as an artist, especially for you. I think this will resonate with a lot of, you know, budding artists as well as people who are trying to, you know, see whether this NFT space is going to resonate with them.

So now moving forward, you know, you, you worked on, you’re working on Lenspost and host of creator tools, right? So can you tell us a little about how did you get around to the creation of Lenspost and the development of creator tools for Web3 socials? Were there any specific challenges or gaps in the market that you were aiming to, you know, resolve, perhaps, or make sure that you know, your solution fits right there that you identified in your journey? Yeah, absolutely. See, you know, for me, I understood that I wanted to make something that I could leave behind, you know, as a legacy, I didn’t want to just do like a PFT project and leave, you know, with liquidity, because honestly, people who buy your NFTs are actually retail investors and maintaining and respecting investor sentiments is a huge task, you know, and I just didn’t want to be in the speculation game at all. I wanted to provide something tangible in this space.

So what happened is I quit Times of India, I actually started working, you know, as a Web3 growth marketing consultant to a lot of amazing startups coming out of Web3 India, and abroad. And during this time, you know, while these opportunities were great, these were not fulfilling enough, you know, and I actually joined Lens Protocol in 2022, December. Okay, and as soon as I joined, I realized that, hey, Web3 social is a whole new ball game altogether.

There are new avenues of how brand marketing is going to take place, there is new way how people are going to create content, how we saw provenance with NFTs, see provenance with content and content creators. So I actually spotted that opportunity. And I realized, hey, there is a Web3 version of Twitter coming up, there’s a Web3 version of YouTube, there’s a Web3 version of Instagram coming up.

But content creation is still happening on Web2 tools, right? Like to just make a shit post, like a GM shit post with my NFT, holding a coffee mug, I need to go to 25 clicks as a user, right? Right click, save as Karo NFT, put it up on Canva, add your cup, add your text, download again, then go to your Web3 social, then upload, you know, so I was like, there has to be a better way of doing things. And there has to be a better way of doing things that is not just rewarding. At the same time, it makes you make the most of the assets that you have.

See what happened. So many people bought NFTs without knowing why they are buying this NFT. Somebody said, haan paise dal do, achha return milega karke, NFTs leke rakh diya hai na, everybody’s jamming in JPEGs.

The projects have run but you still own those, right? Yeah. So if you do not actively try to pump up the value of your own assets, nobody’s going to come and help you. You cannot.

Yeah, see projects have sold you the commercial rights of that assets. You cannot just the project to do tie ups and alliances so that your flow price goes up by like 30%. I’m like a very take charge of your own assets and build your own brand kind of a, you know, person.

So I actually created Lenspost so that more and more people can overcome challenges like, you know, mereko design karna nahi aata hai or, you know, there is no Web3 native tool to create this. And that’s where Lenspost happened. Wow.

Okay. That is, you know, again, I have to say that this is a very organic way like, you saw a problem and you wanted to basically fill in that gap and that what led you to sort of create and make moves on Lenspost as well as on other creator tools. So can you elaborate a little on the one click, you know, remix capability of Lenspost and how it enables creators to enhance with trending art, pop kits and community power templates? What is it that makes Lenspost very different from the, you know, growing ecosystem of NFT tools? It looks very simple, intuitive.

It looks like a tool that you use in your everyday life. It’s not complicated. There’s nothing scary about this tool.

So, A, onboarding is very simple. B, you sign in with your wallet. So it’s a simple, basically, when we are looking at the screen, it’s a simple screen, pretty much looks like a blank PPT page or a Word page and, you know, or a better example would be like a Canva page and then, you know, you’ve connected your MetaMask wallet to log in and then there are a bunch of templates and, you know, NFTs that you can perhaps include in your artwork in your digital design.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. So these are all the NFTs that I own. Right.

Everything you see in this wallet is in my MetaMask wallet. Right. Now, I can simply create content by drag and dropping them on my canvas.

Wow. Okay. And it’s pretty much very intuitive and if somebody has used, say, a Canva or like a presentation tool, they will be able to understand how it works.

The navigation itself is very similar, right? Yes, yes, yes. See, content creation should not be difficult. And, you know, tools that artists use are a little more sophisticated in terms of, you know, like Photoshop is a hard tool.

So a regular user who has NFTs and they want to pump up the value of their, or they just want to have like a digital presence online as their PFP, right? For them, making content is so difficult. Here we give you ready templates where you can, you know, like Canva, just iterate on the template and you’re good to go. Content creation should be easy, fast and rewarding.

And by rewarding, I mean, we have a community pool. So the templates are actually also something that a creator can add and monetize, like never has in the history of blockchain or content creation has a template creator or a meme template creator ever been rewarded, right? Like all our campaigns bank on memes that are organic, but meme creators get nothing out of the deal, right? So here I can actually add my creations to the community pool as a template. And if somebody uses my template, the template creator and I both make money on the chain.

Wow. I just love how easy this process and how you guys have kind of broken it up in a way that even if somebody who is perhaps just starting off, they would not feel completely out of place. While, you know, trying to present their work and share their work with the world.

Yes. So now I’m going to try to share this on socials, Web3 social. See, I picked up something from the community pool in the dApp.

Uske GM ko maine switch karke hi bol diya. Now if I try to monetize this creation, so on the front end, this is like a very simple, fun tool. But on the back end, we have amazing infra developed where the template creators also getting on-chain attribution automatically.

Without me having to search their wallet, without me having to, you know, do like 36… It’s pretty straightforward. Like, you know, it’s easy to basically start with a monetization as well, because that is something that takes some while, usually for artists to, you know, start with the monetization process. Can you tell me a little more about the community aspect? So I think for any NFT artist to be, you know, really successful and do well, one of the aspects of that entire journey is community creation and making sure that you’re reaching the right people.

How are you guys bridging that gap? See, so for an artist or a brand, it’s very important that they treat their community with a lot of, you know, they make them feel special, right? Like with exclusivity coming in play. So I, as a creator, or you as a creator, want to give special perks and rights to your community. So here we actually enable people to do token gated drops as well.

So me as an artist, I pay, I can token gate this creation, and only collectors of my assets can actually use my templates. Now this is, we’re talking about, say, meme templates, but what if it’s an exclusive piece of avant-garde art, right? This is art that I’ve collected from somebody. So for me to be able to access this as a collector, and for me to be able to add my special touch to it, because as a collector, we see value in certain art pieces, right? And till now, the way we know NFT art is you either speculate on it, you hold hoping that it’ll go up, or you trade it off.

There are only two or three ways that collectors can enjoy the art that they’ve collected, right? We’ve unlocked a whole new dimension where collector can now interact with the art and make derivatives easily. Absolutely. This is a fun, easy, quick way to perhaps remix a bunch of art pieces that you might have, or you might own, and further monetize it.

So I do have one question. So because you are giving this remix capability for the end user to be able to utilize the NFTs that they own, as well as some pre-made templates that you have, does this give rise to any kind of copyright issue? Great question. So actually, the thing is, if you voluntarily put it out in the community pool, you are making it available to the public by choice.

We don’t add your pieces to the community pool, you choose to add them. Right. And what happens is when you’re sharing your assets with people, you are also getting attributed on-chain.

So it is a very aware decision that the user is making that it will be in the public domain. But you’re also earning royalties on it. Right.

Okay. So anybody can choose to do this. And obviously, once you’re choosing to do something like this, then you are eligible for some royalties.

And this is an on-chain transaction that is happening. And that kind of makes sure that there is clarity and transparency for everyone involved. Yeah.

And even permissionless collabs, right? We are actually enabling permissionless collabs with pair attribution given on-chain. So if anybody is trying to monetize anything that you’ve created, you will get a percentage of it. Right.

Absolutely. Wow. I think this is a wonderful opportunity for NFTs artists to unlock and to be a part of a community and also to be able to perhaps collaborate with other fellow artists.

You know, it’s all about building bridges, so to say. And you guys are doing it wonderfully with communities, creators, tools and opportunities. So, you know, how are these connections really being facilitated? Like, I think I would love to know a little more about how you guys have been able to build on this community so far, because a lot of people struggle with it.

You know, just the building of community aspect and finding the right people. See, so here on the platform is actually for three different kind of stakeholders. So we are not just B2C, we are also B2B.

So, for example, we’ve already partnered with six, seven different communities and hosted like content creation contests with them. We tied up with Firefly, which is like a social aggregator. So they gave us their branded assets and they gave us some background, some stickers, and they asked people to make memes around the concept of making friends and not FOMO.

And people gave us such wonderful entries. So that was like a fun way in which retail users made some money by participating. But our partner also got a fresh market to capture, they got new users, they connected with the market that or, you know, future community that they wouldn’t have been able to tap otherwise.

And the kind of creation that actually people put out. So it’s a very organic way of, you know, connecting communities with new users, and also rewarding their existing users. Yeah, this seems like absolutely like the feedback is pretty obvious.

And you know, you are able to get multiple stakeholders more involved in this process. But again, to the question about starting off and getting like building a community is a little like a chicken and an egg problem that you know, you might have all of these wonderful artists who are putting out their work out there. But you know, you might not be able to get the B2C or the B2B users and you’re investing in the platform or interested.

And how did you guys perhaps start building on that? Is there a secret sauce there? Did you guys do any offline events? Are you investing heavily in educational content? How are you guys going about doing this? So it’s a combination there is actually you know, the secret sauce is that the recipe is custom made to you. So obviously, there are some existing communities that we leveraged. Like we are a big part of the Lil Nouns ecosystem, Lil Nouns is a subdao of the main nouns.

So obviously, we sort of, you know, did some growth hack there, we participated in their marketing challenge, and we showed them how good the tool can be for prolific, you know, proliferation of your brand, like we are propagating your content very easily because Nouns is CC zero. So there is literally like no, what do you say, barrier to using their assets, right. So they had a market found out and we showed them the kind of organic growth, led by content that’s possible.

And we won the top votes. So obviously, we captured that market. So we got some new creators from the Nouns ecosystem getting curious about this dApp.

And now they do regular drops with us. Wow, okay. Yeah, so I think it’s always about basically finding that one niche or one community where you can shine and that can create a particular network effect, right? Correct, correct, correct, correct, correct.

And through this, we got in touch with a lot more communities, some gaming companies reached out. So we did some contests for that gaming community, the creators from that gaming community, you know, who came just for the contest, you know, we funnel them into using this content creation tool for their personal branding. So, you know, people come by a contest, but then they realize the value that they can extract from this dApp, you know, is very easy to understand.

So they stick around. So the winner of the gaming background skin creation contest that we hosted, that lady sort of brands herself as the mermaid of the blockchain. And now she’s putting out content as the mermaid oracle and every day she uses our tool to make one content piece that she can post out.

Wow, okay. This is wonderful. I think in this day and age, there is always something, you know, one can really find their community, at least in the virtual world.

And they can really figure out a way to perhaps monetize their niche or their strength. And that is what is wonderful about the way tech is growing at this moment. In your view, why do you see decentralized social networks taking the lead over other areas, say the metaverse? How do you envision the role of NFTs in shaping, say, the future of social interactions on the internet? Like you gave us a good example in the beginning where we were talking about some real life use.

But how do you think you know, NFT use is going to change the way users interact virtually? So amazing, amazing question. Like again, you know, we covered ground that the way we know is NFTs are evolving, like NFTs started out as speculative assets. But now NFTs are actually, you know, they can also be used to track who followed whom when on the blockchain.

So, you know, largely, as I predict, you know, NFTs are going to play a huge role in content creation, brand marketing, etc, etc. And Web3 Social is a proof of that. So, you know, the key difference between Web2 Social and Web3 Social, you know, people say data privacy and all that.

It’s not like that. Users don’t care about data privacy. We still use AI and we share our deepest secrets with AI and stuff like that, right? We still use Instagram and we share our content.

People are not really that concerned about data security. Okay, what people want is a connection. And what NFTs do is they make these connections more tangible.

They make it more real. They bring all these social graphs and you know, everything on chain. So okay, to break it down even further, see, we all use Twitter and Twitter is highly centralized.

So what it means is Elon Musk one fine day can decide that, you know, what you put out is not fitting into his community standards and he can block you from Twitter. So all the users that you accumulated, all the followers that you have, your 1 million followers that you’ve grown over 10 years on Twitter, they can go away in one second. And that’s happened to me.

Cyber account was banned by Twitter. Right? I lost all my followers. And in this trustless space, your social presence is the one point of trust that you know, your stakeholders have, right? They’re okay.

This creator is on social and you know, people follow them and people I know follow them and you know, that’s your credibility and, and centralized platforms can take them away. Secondly, my followers on YouTube and my followers on Instagram are not the same. I need to have like a different content strategy everywhere.

And you know, my followers, I need to funnel them from one platform to the other everywhere. Thirdly, what happens is who is making money on socials? Tell me who’s making money? How money flows is brands sort of, you know, you get like these influencers who are putting out impressions, and then there are end consumers who are engaging with the content. But then the users who are actually spending time engaging with your content, you know, commenting on the content that your paid post is putting out, these users aren’t getting anything of it.

Influencers making some money, platform is making a little more money. But that is the end of it, right? Of digital marketing. Everything changes in Web3 social just by the simple technology of an NFT.

Now, let me explain what happens is users are actually incentivized on chain for amplifying my content. So you as a see my content on say, social platform, say online protocol, because I know that the contracts what happens is if you retweet my post, that means you’re amplifying my content. And if somebody sort of engages with my content via your repost, if they end up buying or collecting anything, you get an on chain share.

Okay, yeah. So it’s just affiliate, but put on chain. Right.

And even just for and even if nobody buys it, I can still incentivize you for amplifying it. Because the smart contracts are designed in certain way. But as I said, on the front end, it’s very simple, you’re just retweeting.

If you follow me on a Web3 social platform, you’re just clicking a follow button, you do not have to do anything scary. What happens is back end paid follower NFT here that gets dropped into your wallet, which you will find in hidden corner somewhere in the hidden files. It’s not even on your like, main wallet, it’s not spamming your anything.

But that airdrop NFT actually serves as a proof on chain that you followed me on certain day. And what happens is in future, I will know who followed me exactly when because every token ID is different. So in future, if I get to like, say, 10 million users, and I want to reward my earliest backers, I will know who are my earliest backers and I can reward them appropriately.

Right, right. Absolutely. That is the beauty of you know, all these all of these on chain transactions.

And basically, yes, creating perhaps a social network and social interaction community in the decentralized space because you know, the proof is there and it is decentralized in nature. So it’s not like it can be tampered with. And that that itself, I think, should be a big factor in why people should look more and more at building solutions in the decentralized space.

So you know, as someone who has been an evangelist of the space and delivered, you know, you delivered keynotes on NFTs in the metaverse, what is the kind of key inside a message you often find resonating with your audience quite a bit? And how do you go about educating, you know, people about Web3 or NFTs in general, because even now we are a far cry away from mass adoption and people really understanding this space. So again, it goes back to a breaking it down in simple to understand, you know, anecdotes, simple things, people understand simple things, nobody wants to get into the heavy lifting part, right? So one, keep my conversation simple. We, when I’m educating people, I obviously, you know, emphasize that they understand what the technology, it’s like, it’s like, whatever technology you have given, it’s like your creative tool, right? Like, for a cricketer, you know, it’s having a great bat, right? But you have to, you are the magic.

We always have to remember that technology is just, it’s just a tool. The way for a cricketer, a bat is a tool for an artist, a brush is a tool. This technology as a creator is a tool, you are the magic.

You know, NFTs are not like Aladdin ka chirag where you mint an NFT and then suddenly you are a millionaire. Well, that also happens. Ultimately, it’s how you add value into the ecosystem or how you extract the value from the ecosystem.

So you need to be able to understand the technology fully so that you can make the most of the opportunities that it will bring you. Absolutely. I think it’s all about what is the value that, you know, you’re adding into perhaps the potential users or the potential audience’s life in some way that is going to be the game changing aspect of this entire journey, I think.

And that is also going to define what is going to stick with the end user. So as again, somebody who’s transitioned, you know, from, you know, not transitioned, but you know, you donned a lot of hats. And now as a founder, hat that, you know, you are donning, can you tell us a little about the challenges that you’ve faced so far in your journey? So honestly, because I have worked with some amazing founders in this space, and they’ve given me the opportunity to understand, you know, the challenges that come with sort of, you know, starting a business in Web3, especially in the depth of bear market.

So luckily, you know, my work with other founders had me prepared mentally of what to expect. And I think, again, the whole thing is about alignment. So obviously, you know, the resources that you have, in terms of the people that you hire, you know, just just the fact is that I have managed to, you know, find people that are amazing at what they do, and they’re very passionate about what they do.

And as a founder, I have tried to not make the mistakes that my past employers would have perhaps made at some point. That is, you know, my developers cannot grow if they’re only working for me. So encourage their passions, encourage them to be in more ecosystems than mine, because that’s how they can add more value to my product as well.

So yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, like my refreshing view, like usually people are very, you know, they don’t want to perhaps have their team members be a part of several ecosystems in a full time manner, perhaps maybe what you’re, you know, you’re encouraging more growth and learning, right. And I think that is, that is great.

Because that is something that does help in because an individual’s growth ultimately contributes to the company’s work. Yeah, they feel happy here. They feel working, you know, happy working for me, would you imagine these guys started out as interns, now they’re like my lead devs.

And you know, I probably like show them off in demo days as like, you know, and I think ensuring that I’ve nurtured my resources well, is what makes me very happy as a and you know, that eliminated all my challenges of retaining talent of getting the right people to do the job because they are so happy here. They only bring other people to join. Right, right.

Again, the network effect kicks in, right? If somebody is happy, then they would obviously like, you know, want to get other people involved as well. Wonderful, you know. Beautiful.

Yeah. Yeah. And, and, you know, they sort of joined me knowing that I was a figure in the space, you know, who sort of is always innovating.

So that trust factor also play in a, you know, a key role here because they knew and to me, because see, I’m not like a, like a non in the space, right? Like I am Cyber Shakti and if Shakti is doing something, then she must be doing it with a lot of thought. Right. Because to me, my credibility is everything in the space, right? Right.

Yeah. Yeah. So I had more to lose in that sense.

Right. So, you know, obviously that, that kind of is there and, you know, that can be, can be a driving factor for you to really take on the bigger challenges and move forward. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

But it’s, it’s good that we push each other and, you know, seeing their passion also keeps me, you know, confident that I’m going in the right direction. And, you know, this is how I want to continue going as well. So, you know, just being happy, go lucky, I guess, you know, and we, we do work hard.

So like every day is like two hours, we connect with each other, jam with each other, you know, set goals together. We ideate on when we want to go from here. We’ve already done, done and delivered the MVP and we have a working product.

It’s an alpha, it’s getting closer to meet our launch right now. So, you know, where do we want to go from here? Do we want to focus on the infrastructure? Do we want to focus on the creative tooling? Do we want to add a social layer to this? You know, like I have a team member who was very passionate about doing in the social space. Right.

And I was like, I said, patience, patience, patience. We are already multi-chain. We are present on Solana.

We are present on like EVMs, all EVMs, Optimism, Base, Zora. So we already like integrated into Firecaster, into Lens. I was like, hey, like we ourselves, our product itself is like a social hub, right? So how difficult is it for us to add a social layer to this? And, you know, you know, so it’s like we grow together and, you know, whatever that we’re doing is like, it’s thought through, like we experience these new products and chains and then we identify that, okay, this is where we see a lack and maybe this is how we can add value back to the product.

Right. Absolutely. You know, it’s basically like an organism in itself.

And now wherever you are seeing that there is a gap, you are trying to plug it in. And obviously with an amazing team, you know, one can really move mountains. So what is like a next big milestone for you guys? So for us, the big next milestone is going to be opening up for beta.

So currently, like we are in close alpha and we have about 30,000 clicks on the tool. We have around say 300 users who are recurrent, who are coming again and again and, you know, making different stuff. And we’ve already done like seven, eight partnered campaigns.

So I think the big thing will be to, you know, just open it up for more and more people. And when do you expect to do that? So around Janine. All right.

Awesome. So looking forward to that. I think a lot of people would want to check out the tool and be a part of this movement as well.

So, you know, Shakti, it’s been absolutely wonderful talking to you and I completely lost track of time. I would love to understand from you, like if somebody wants to perhaps sign up and be on a part of one of the beta testers for your platform, how can they go about doing that? Should they get in touch with you? So people can either follow me or Lenspost on Twitter. Lenspost is Lenspost XYZ.

We have a sign up link on the form. You can sign up and we’ll be in touch with you. Awesome.

So that’s one straightforward way guys to get in touch with Shakti and what they’re building with Lenspost. So Shakti, once again, thank you so much for making the time to speak to me, speak to our listeners. And now I would like to ask you the last question, which is something I ask everybody who comes on the show.

You’ve been on the other side. You were an artist. You were in the Web2 space and now you’re in the Web3 space.

What would be your top two suggestions for people to start living on blockchain? Perhaps, you know, one of the NFT artists or people who are hoping to build in this space? Don’t overthink. Don’t over plan. What I’ve learned is Web3 is wild, wild west.

Anything can happen. Yeah, I think that is good advice. That’s short, sweet and absolutely correct.

I think it is the wild, wild west out there. Wild, wild west tech frontier. And, you know, you should just go for it.

Do it. Don’t overthink. Because there is so much, you know, decision paralysis that comes into play and that’s not really taking you anywhere.

You might as well make a move and see what you can perhaps achieve. Yeah, yeah, yeah. You know, see, anything can happen, right? Like a marketing manager, you know, who was a hobby artist suddenly is representing India in Sotheby’s, you know, is suddenly a tech founder.

Right, right. Absolutely. Anything can happen.

And, you know, if you really have a clear clarity of thought and where you want to perhaps reach, you know, just go ahead and do it. Don’t be afraid of failing. Absolutely.

Awesome. Thank you so much for taking out the time, Shakti. This has been a lovely conversation.

Any last thoughts before we wrap this up? No, no, no. I do want to connect with you offline and learn more about dApps. Absolutely.

For that, we can have like a separate conversation. But thank you once again for making the time to speak to me. Yes.

Yeah. Okay. Okay.

Maybe I can add like a quick line. See, you know, I became Cyber Shakti because I kept confidence in myself. It’s not because I’m special.

You know, I am. If I can do this, anybody can do this. I think it is just about going and putting yourself out there and going ahead and, you know, doing what you want to do.

I think that is that is what kind of makes all the difference. There are people who will think about doing something and there are people who will go out and do those things. Just do this and don’t stick to echo chambers.

If you you know, if everybody’s agreeing with you, that means you’re in the wrong room. So go out there, be an explorer, make mistakes. That’s how I put myself and, you know, keep ahead.

That’s the only secret sauce that I’d like to share. Yeah, I think that’s a good secret sauce and a good way to close on the show. Thank you so much for once again for making the time to speak to me.

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