The Big Shill


January 27, 2022

Well, guys, we pride ourselves on our laconic, utilitarian style (lol /s) so I’ll be quick. The markets are shit. The use cases are shit. And web3 news amounts to ‘guy famous for having a pixelated profile picture got doxxed’. (But, no, really.) So, trust us when we say, we did everything in our power to make everything important on the Internet interesting today. 

Chad & El Prof


$36,803.99 | +0.77%

$2,390.56 | -2.05%

$1.04 | -2.25%

$88.88 | -3.12%

$0.1403 | -1.99%

$0.00002127 | +1.16%

$2.85 | -2.61%

(Price changes reflect past 24 hours as of 1.27.22 @ 6:00 PM EST.)

The Big Shill

Image: who knows at this point

Woke up this morning to an email from Twitter telling me that I missed a highlight from yesterday: a tweet reading, ‘i need some new NFTs. NFT artists, please shill me.’ A lowlight if I’ve ever seen one. But it’s been a slow news day. And so, thusly, I embarked on my journey into that sunless corner of the web, Shill Twitter.

Some light digging revealed that this voluntary open call for self-harm, in fact, appears to be web3 influencer best practice. Maybe they’re just doing it for the engagement. Maybe it’s the closest thing web3 has to a comprehensive discovery platform — until ours takes off, obviously. Or maybe all the blockchain nonsense has been one big performance art piece and we’re irl Truman Burbankis. (Unless you’re all in on it, too, and existence is one big joke being played on me. Which. Checks out.)

The only way to know for sure would be to scan through 1,000 generative profile picture links and compare them to each influencer’s wallets to see if even those soliciting them are really buying these things. Too masochistic for my blood. However, some casual meandering in the comment section while I debated whether 10:00 in the morning was too soon to crack a cold one did get my mind turning about an underreported dimension to the appeal of NFTs. 

We’ve already debunked most of the common criticisms: you can’t Right-Click-Save the immutable string of numbers and virtual symbolic status that degens are really paying for; it doesn’t matter if you think paying $2k in fake Internet money is ridiculous because people are willing to do it anyway; etc. No matter the memes, it’s fairly well documented at this point how much money gets thrown at the Internet’s fanciest JPGs. But equally bizarre — and far less talked about — are the grown men, women, and everything between who proudly promote them. Like what sort of degenerative nervous system disorder would you have to have to publicly tweet this? (Warning: NSFW.)

Image: black box ours

It’s a disease I will henceforth refer to as syph-shill-is. The sole symptom is addiction to selling shit you know is worthless and still getting someone to enthusiastically buy it. We’ve seen it in snake oil salesmen, slim tea influencers, pop psychologists, and court magicians living it up turning literal piss into gold. Is the easy money a draw of this lifestyle? Sure. But to proudly shill Alpha Dicks, there needs to be more. 

We crave validation. Like, physiologically. The human mind is disproportionately occupied with trying to convince others our perspective is objectively correct, despite overwhelming evidence that every facet of existence is subject to the lens through which it is viewed, and the only true constant is the sameness across all living things we deny endemically. Almost any of us would happily ignore all of the above in favor of someone telling us, ‘you’re right.’ And, failing that, we want someone who will tell us ‘everyone else is wrong except me’, so we can know what perspective to adopt.

Syph-shill-is is simply one manifestation of this tendency. Getting someone to assign monetary value to your idea is a power trip. If it’s a bad idea? Even better — the inherent value, you can tell yourself, is actually just you. And if said idea is a MS Paint picture of a purple penis? Pure Freudian ego fuel. 

I only know this because I have syph-shill-is too. We all do. I’ve been drafting the pitch deck for our Prestige-Worldwide-esque shell company the past week. Turns out, figuring out how to sell investors on a pipe dream is more fun than when El Prof literally tells me to work on whatever I want. Because, aside from being right, what is there to want in life? I’m serious. I want to be told. Shill me… before I shill you.

Ah, to get paid to shill these

Image: @andrewamine

Contrary to Chad’s borderline sociopathic cynicism, my entire belief in web3 rests upon the future utility of NFTs. So, it behooves me to venture away from my static sad boi reviews today on a mission to convince you that NFTs are more than 1-click Ponzi schemes. In fact, I’d go so far as to say they’re a new form of tool in the universe’s infinite box of possibilities that could free human consciousness of enslavement to the dogmas preaching against critical thinking. Some might say that’s a reach. To them, I say, call me Alan Ritchson. Aka Jack Reacher? Anyone?

So, today, I bring you a world class cinematographer with an Instagram account that would easily be worth millions of $SHIB had they been NFT’d from the start: Andrew. I’m highlighting his work today because he’s taking the plunge into this world and we want to support his journey.

He always seems to be capturing the next big thing right before they break through, like this post shoot snap of him enjoying an ice cream with Gigi Hadid that landed on my timeline in June 2014 — mere months before she went viral for God remembers what. Being an ungodly beautiful woman, probably. I remember going back to that post, thinking ‘no way Amine-sky knows her’, then moving on like the rest of us doomscrolling dopamine addicts. Granted, of the two pictured, he’s the one who failed to leverage it into landing 35 Vogue covers or fucking Zayn from One Direction, but nevertheless, whatever he’s seeing behind that camera is pure gold, because it helps his subjects capture the attention they’re actively seeking and blow up.

Another reach? Maybe, although these Google trends results say otherwise. But stalk Amine’s feed and notice the caliber of talent this humble, kind, and unassuming white male with only 2k followers has captured on film, then tell me you don’t get FOMO by association. It’s talented artists doing quality work like Andrew that would be able to retain the full value of their contributions through lead creator credits on the successful campaigns they bring to life. Well. Maybe .MP4s aren’t much of a stretch from .JPEG for NFTs, but we’ll save that for tomorrow’s music letter. For now, I’mma just keep reaching.

Unsolicited career advice from El Prof

Image: CH

Look. I’m aware nobody likes a snob, and no, I’m not talking about our widely despised DAO community, although, yeah, I totally also am. But mostly, I’m talking about my attitude and approach to life in general. 

All my life, people have told me to ‘try the sandwich method’ when giving my critiques, because they’ll be received better. I always knew that this trait or characteristic would be something I’d have to cull if I ever wanted to climb the ranks into upper management somewhere. Luckily, that’s not something I care to do.

Selfishly, I don’t care to waste my time cushioning your ego and stepping around your personal insecurities. I just hope and trust you know my only intention is to help you improve. As a manager that’s not super effective, because the ‘good’ advice is to incept the worker so they internalize your critique without even knowing it and do the required work to make the changes themselves; whether internally in their attitude or externally in their approach to work.

Some people call this a growth mindset, but few people are willing to do the work in their own head to achieve it. Maybe it’s just because I was adopted out of a shitty situation into a great one that I don’t take comfort relishing in my own success or touting them. There’s a chip on my shoulder, whether a figment of my imagination or not, that I need to live up to my opportunity. I’m the guy who’s never happy with my own progress, devising completely unrealistic standards to hold myself to, while also regularly needing to reevaluate them because I achieve the outcomes I set them for in the first place.

But for people who haven’t taken (or don’t have) the requisite time alone with themselves & their past memorie, to be secure in who they are today, the growth mindset mentality that hustle culture preaches is directly at odds with the traits that will enable you to climb the ladder in corporate.

Unironically, the shortcut most people take to compensate lends itself to self censorship and delegating all responsibility out of your own hands as possible. You can see this playout in the efforts or lengths some individuals go to convey a sort of corporate political correctness in all of their written and spoken communications, but at its core its a reflection of individuals not fully owning their ideas out of fear there could somehow be career ending consequences.

Pair that with the fact that we incentivize workers to endlessly aspire to be managers, professional gas lighters of american workers (no offense it’s just how i’m rebranding managerial sciences), who’s greatest contribution is greasing the cogs of our machine, but get paid the most for not getting their hands dirty, and I only see problems bubbling on the horizon.

Few people in this country know how to do anything for themselves anymore and that’s problematic for all of us, because our leaders believe they can solve problems by coercing workers, who aspire to be just like them, to do it. 

Sometimes I wonder how scale capitalism isn’t just a big ponzi scheme, but then I remember it is. Don’t trade your time for a commodity like the US dollar. They’ll inflate you to hell and then turn around and ask you when you’ll be done fixing it.


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