Meet Hammad: The MetaDreamer
An underlying tenant of community is passion. Whether it's displayed in the form of action, altruism or encouragement, finding a group of people focused on creating a promising future is extremely inspiring to say the least.
When it comes to MetaCartel, community takes the form of curating innovative products and services ultimately geared at shaping the digital economies of tomorrow.
In this interview, we took some time to chat with Hammad— a serial experimenter parlaying his product expertise into a suite of MetaCartel-based initiatives.
Upon meeting in person at ETHDenver, I was amazed at how someone could speak with such conviction and belief about the places they choose to spend their time. With this interview, hopefully, some of that energy can be relayed to you.
In particular, we cover a variety of topics including:
- Hammad’s Background
- Calculated Ethereum Participation
- Why DevCon?
- Joining MetaCartel
- Raid Guild
- Time Allocation
- Web3 Accessibility
- Tips to Newcomers
Interestingly enough, this interview was hosted in Interspace — MetaGame’s virtual chat room dedicated to aggregating innovation. Go check it out!
We’ve got a lot to cover so let’s get right into it!
What was your background prior to crypto?
I originally started mining Bitcoin in 2011 after learning about through Runescape forums. Seeing as I was in high school, I was able to sell them for a couple thousand bucks — a healthy sum for someone who wasn’t allowed to get a job. My parents were very adamant about ensuring my education came first, ultimately leading to my time at the University of Alberta where I majored in Computer Engineering.
Seeing as I wasn’t allowed to get a formal job, I quickly found an opportunity to build and sell custom computers. In fact, it’s interesting to note that I’ve never worked a “normal job” in my life. Everything has been random startups + projects that I’ve been passionate about.
From sourcing oil and gas equipment using AI to starting a fashion tech startup, I was lucky enough to try my hand at a variety of industries before I graduated school.
My fashion startup — Nelo — was focused on making apparel in movies and TV shows shoppable and building “experiential brand communities”. My work on Nelo is what sparked my interest in MetaFactory — which is basically Nelo in Super Saiyan mode.
When did you start looking at crypto again?
After selling all my Bitcoin in 2011, I was pretty salty. It wasn’t until 2016 that I fell down the Ethereum rabbit hole, had my “holy shit” moment and started investing in Ether and a suite of shitcoins.
I was fascinated with the technology and its potential, spending countless hours learning the deep inner workings of it all. One thing that really concerned me was the ICO bubble where projects were being funded without ever shipping anything. After the crash, the whole space started to feel pretty scammy and I started to doubt all the “blockchain utopia” kool-aid I was drinking.
This held me back from getting seriously involved for a few years as the whole industry was blinded by the bull market — there was no focus on actual value creation.
That all changed in 2019 when I saw what was going on in the Ethereum community in the latter half of the bear market: the devs never stopped building, and that got me really excited.
It became increasingly clear that Ethereum stood out over every crypto community since it had the highest concentration of talented, smart and motivated people pushing the needle forward and not caring at all about the price. Everything was getting better and products were slowing becoming of higher quality — ultimately aligning with my focus on being lean as possible and building things with a bottom-up approach.
And what was it that you saw during this time?
Anyone who’s built a product knows that whatever you think is a good idea now is going to be trash two months later. That’s how you find product-market fit — You experiment.
My old startups were self-funded which allowed them to go far by being lean and efficient. I saw a lot of similarities as Ethereum’s prime really started to take form during the bear market while the ecosystem was equally lean and efficient.
It was at this point that I quickly recognized, hey, Ethereum is where the intellectuals are and that’s where I wanted to be.
For a while, I thought if I didn’t know Solidity I wouldn’t be able to provide value. It was actually DevCon that helped me realize there are so many more things the space needs outside of smart-contract development to push things forward and make web3 a reality.
After graduating university I was doing freelancing contracting work building native and web applications. I had stacked some savings and had a real opportunity to go experience a tech-based summit for the first time.
To be honest, I really wanted to find a project or a team to work with. I didn’t want to just commit to one team or one thing. I didn’t want to work FOR anyone — I wanted to work WITH people and be able to have a voice.
As if by fate, I met Alex Masmajean and saw that MetaCartel was where my people were.
Here was a group of people focused on making shit useful. There wasn’t a ton of funding and high-quality work was still being shipped left and right. MetaCartel sold me on the idea of DAOs being the future of how people coordinate and get stuff done.
DevCon was the moment I saw a path to where I could actually change the world. It became clear to me at this point that this is what I want my life’s work to be. I felt as if everything in my life was leading up to this point, and that there was some divine guidance leading me to this place and time.
How did you come to join MetaCartel?
I was first introduced through Moloch — I saw Peter fork what would become MetaCartel. I really wanted to join but didn’t really know how. Thanks to DevCon, I realized that anyone could join so long as they wanted it bad enough.
One awesome thing about pETH is that he’s very good about accepting people into space. At a time when I was looking for guidance, he was able to offer it in a very friendly and encouraging manner.
What is MetaGame?
MetaGame is a massive online coordination game. Think of it as LinkedIn x Runescape x Ethereum.
“Why don’t we create a game for everything people are already doing in web3?”
Games can model complex interactions really well, and we love playing video games because game designers have really figured out how to give the human brain the right dopamine hits at the right time to make the player want to keep playing and progressing.
With Ethereum, we can now add these game mechanics to real life, gamifying positive-sum value creation while maximizing the fun-factor through quests, XP, achievements and more.
With MetaGame, our focus is to break silos, dog-food, and piece together all the amazing tools being built in the web3 ecosystem into something that we can use to empower ourselves. We won’t be able to change the world with the stuff we are building until we first use it to change ourselves.
All the action during the internet age came out of Silicon Valley. MetaGame aims to be a virtual Silicon Valley, the epicenter of value creation for the web3 movement, and the entry point for bright-eyed newcomers who want to change the world but don’t know how to get involved.
I first heard about you through SwagDAO — Can you share some insight into how that played out?
I saw the initial 200 DAI bounty for a branding competition and was immediately intrigued. Basically, the goal was to figure out a better name, brand and look for SwagDAO.
Leveraging my experience with Nelo, I thought — this shouldn’t be just swag. Using web3, we can be the source of production for anything. To me, it’s more about the art and design of a decentralized fashion label which really got me excited.
I came up with the name MetaFactory as follows:
- A factory is a place where anything gets produced — this gives us the flexibility to go beyond apparel.
- A MetaFactory leverage robots (tech) to create stuff in a Meta fashion thanks to automation.
- We connect physical apparel to NFT art and crypto games and sell them through auction mechanism to create a Meta ecosystem unlike anything the fashion industry has seen to date.
Let’s shift gears to Raid Guild — What is it and what’s got you riled up about it?
I actually had the idea for Raid Guild while doing contracted work building apps. I always wanted to team up with other freelancers to build a “remote internet-native digital agency”. What was missing were coordination mechanisms like DAOs.
In short, DAOs are a great way to team up with other people online and work as a digital agency that isn’t owned by any one person.
“I knew that if I had a strong team of people working with me, the impact we can provide is greater than the sum of our individual efforts.”
I came across Odyssy (the creators of Raid Guild) who really took the project to the next level. Seeing as I already had a working relationship with them from MetaFactory, it was the perfect fit.
To me, Raid Guild can be the most powerful and influential dev agency in web3. It’s decentralized, meaning we can get top people from top projects to come together under one guild of mercenaries.
With all this in mind, it’s important to note that the true value of Raid Guild comes from the framework we develop to do all this.
Once we have a framework for building a decentralized agency/collective, others can learn and adapt to our flow thanks to it being open-sourced.
What we’re creating is the foundation for the distributed company work environments of tomorrow.
So we’ve touched on three unique initiatives — How do you decide where to allocate your time at any given moment?
The whole idea of MetaGame is to break silos and minimize redundant work. By minimizing competition, we can incentivize cooperation.
As James Waugh said at ETHDenver:
“Instead of competing for a bigger slice of the pie, why don’t we go to the kitchen and make more dough?”
That’s the beautiful thing about all these projects — they’re all intertwined.
The questing system we’re building with MetaGame — specifically how to measure work — will be the same framework used in Raid Guild.
Raid Guild is building MetaGame and MetaFactory. MetaFactory products will be part of MetaGame.
RaidGuild and MetaGame are going to be the first pilot projects for SourceCred, using it as an unbiased “reputation engine” to measure the impact and contributions of individuals and powering the “XP” system.
Over time, we can create a community consensus on how different things should be valued — ultimately creating a blueprint for people to decide how time can be spent most effectively.
What’re some of the key takeaways here?
Don’t try and get the whole world to use your product. We have to make things useful for ourselves before we make it useful for anyone else.
Using MetaGame and Raid Guild as an example, if we can’t use it ourselves, we won’t be able to share it with the world.
The moment we get it to work, the world will see the value and be eager to join.
The end goal here is that it won’t make sense to put your time or money anywhere else than within the MetaCartel ecosystem.
I plan on using MetaGame to onboard new people into web3 and use crypto-economics and game theory to scale it beyond Dunbar’s number.
RaidGuild stress tests DAO coordination and establishes the best practices and standards for organizations of the future to adopt while building at the tip of the spear of the web3 ecosystem.
We need to create a bottom-up instead of a top-down approach. Use the tools we are building to improve our ability to continue building these tools, recursively iterate outwards until we take over the world.
How does someone new get involved now?
Don’t look at what web3 can do for you. Instead, think of what you can do for web3.
Don’t ask people what to do. Use your past experiences to figure out what you know can add value within the greater ecosystem.
Unfortunately, we’ve created a big bubble of like-minded people. This means we really need to encourage more diversity of thought.
If we can create a platform for people to bring their own way of thinking — and encourage that thinking — it’ll be that much easier for newcomers to feel welcomed.
Also, we need more women in space. I believe that if we had more feminine thought from the start we could have steered things in a much better way.
To me, I always think about the humans behind everything — What do you need? What are you going to use? How are you feeling?
It’s inevitable that women are the best at solving these conundrums and I’m super excited about initiatives like Meta Gamma Delta which are looking to encourage more females to join the space.
What are you watching out for in 2020?
For a while, I thought personal communities had been lost.
It’s refreshing to see that 2020 is entirely focused on organic community development. Now more than ever, projects are being pushed to really listen to their users and focus on their needs without worrying about their financial incentives.
Using Cryptovoxels (and the broader NFT art movement) as an example — it’s booming because of its community-first approach. MetaFactory is all about the community. MetaCartel is successful BECAUSE of the community.
Take a look at Consensys burning $5M a month versus how MetaCartel has used $60k. It’s an entirely different kind of energy when backed by a passionate community.
At the end of the day, it’s going to be the tech that brings people in, but its the people that will make them stay.
— — — —
Tying all these ideas together, it’s quite powerful to steer our focus back to focused, organic growth.
Following the interview, Hammad and I jammed about how exciting working within the larger MetaCartel ecosystem has become in recent weeks.
MetaCartel Ecosystem Update 2020
A mere 6 months ago, we had nothing but telegram chats and a DAO that was still in its pre-launch phase:
What’s more is that all these sprints are motivated by purpose rather than profit. As MetaCartel continues to evolve, there’s a non-zero chance that something powerful will stick and cause a huge ripple within the web3 ecosystem at large.
For those eager to continue the conversation with Hammad, we recommend following him on Twitter.
In the meantime, be sure to stay up on all the projects mentioned in this interview via the links above!
Planning on attending ETHLondon or ETHCC? Give me a shout! I’ve got some limited edition MetaCartel pins reserved for those who made it to this part of the article and hit me with the phrase “MetaFam4Lyfe” in person ;)
Until next time!
“If you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far, go together”