Serious Jokes

Friday, February 4, 2022 by Louie Bacaj

A big reason I landed on the name Memes and Motivation for my weekly newsletter is because, at some point, it became painfully clear to me that the internet was full of big jokes but also deadly serious at the same time.

Not too different from what's spilled over into real life over the last few years.

Take crypto, for example; I recently tried to dive deep into it again so I could learn. As part of my exploration, a friend recommended a game called Defi Kingdoms to help me understand NFTs, where some people are pulling in over $2k a day. The game uses blockchain; it's about 10% finished. You use NFT characters made out of what looks like 8-bit pixels, and you do quests, but behind the scenes, it is powered by complex blockchain technology that allows for trading, the creation of liquidity pools, staking, and so on.

But the fact that a 10% finished game has so much capital flowing through it like this is a big fucking joke. But at the same time, it's deadly serious because real people are making actual real-life money on it.

But wait, that's not even the whole joke yet.

To play Defi Kingdoms, one needs to use a Harmony ONE coin, which lives on some other blockchain that you and I have probably never heard of. It's not the Bitcoin, Ethereium, or even the Solana blockchain that does NFTs. It's the Harmony ONE blockchain; for my life, I have no idea why it needs to exist, but up until recently, their website had hipsters with Xs over their eyes playing basketball and doing other fun things. There is a joke somewhere in there.

More importantly, back to how serious this is, there are trillions of dollars moving around over blockchain technology. By virtue of being around for 10 years, it does seem like the technology has created innovative ways to move money around without middlemen, without banks, and without governments. Which if you think about is crazy serious. And yet in spite of all this very serious technology, the process of buying some Harmony One is terrible.

I can't explain the whole process to you because I gave up long before buying harmony one to play the game. But that, too, is part of the joke.

My friend says that's how they keep the "weak hands" out. It's so hard to get in and out that everyone stays; the large gas and transaction fees help too. Blockchain is now kind of like Hotel California by the eagles, where we can check-in anytime we like, but we can never leave.

But perhaps the more significant point of all this is that the memes and motivations have already spilled over into my real life. Real-life is a big joke and deadly serious simultaneously, too, now. Since I grew up in Communism until ten years old and in the hood after that, real life has only been serious stuff for me up until this point.

But these days, we were locked up for two years because of a deadly virus. We made vaccines to help us against that it, and we spent over a year fighting with each other about those vaccines. Then we got a new strain that didn't care about our arguing or the vaccines. It's going to get everyone probably, it got my family and me over Christmas, and we are all vaccinated multiple times.

You've got to see the irony in some of this stuff.

Then there is social media, where on the extreme sides of the internet, people troll and act as a mob. They can destroy people's lives with their rough banter, hacking, and crazy antics, so while a lot of what they do is a big joke when they impact someone's life, it's deadly serious.

Then as a final example, making content and things online going through the iterations of posting for years that make almost nothing. But some get lucky; eventually, their stuff takes off, and they make millions. It's serious stuff.

Thanks to internalizations like these and the wonderful people and friends I made ironically from the good side of Social Media and in communities like Small Bets, The Minimalist Entrepreneur, and Write of Passage, I suspended my disbelief and became a creator.

I made a course for Software Engineers that I initially charged 15 dollars for and that I hope will help some devs earn tens of thousands more and maybe even hundreds of thousands over their career.

But in that process of playing this game, that's both a joke and deadly serious; I sold over 500 copies and made over 10,000 dollars in the first two weeks.

I hope you can see what I see. That these jokes that are also deadly serious, and some of which look like toys, are remaking the whole world.

How crazy and serious that all is; there has never been a time in human history when single individuals could make millions without allocating large amounts of capital or labor and without needing anyone's permission.

I hope this motivates some people to follow in my footsteps and overcome their fears of putting themselves out there and taking this online game more seriously.