Jan. 17, 2023

Discover how Gianina Skarlett's first NFT hit $2M revenue Ep. 104

Discover how Gianina Skarlett's first NFT hit $2M revenue Ep. 104

Venezuelan Founder, CEO, and Lead Engineer of W3 Learn Academy and CTW, a Web3 community-centric brand that has empowered 20,000+ community members worldwide to take space in Web3. Previous to joining the Web3 industry Gigi was a software engineer for an AI Silicon Valley tech company,

Where to find Gianina Skarlett

Website: www.cryptotechwomennft.com

 

Tech Stack

  • Notion
  • Jira
  • RescueTime
  • Slack
  • Podcasts
  • Udemy

 

SPONSOR

This episode is sponsored by Entire Productions- Creating events (both in-person and virtual) that don't suck! and Entire Productions Marketing- carefully curated premium gifting and branded promo items. 

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Transcript

Gianina Skarlett:

I started just doing it myself. To be honest, the tech I had, marketing, I learned and just creating this by myself. Once we did our initial mint or initial sale in February, we were able to sell out, or all 8,888, and we raised over $2 million during this sale.

Natasha Miller:

Welcome to Fascinating Entrepreneurs. How do people end up becoming an entrepreneur? How do they scale and grow their businesses? How do they plan for profit? Are they in it for life? Are they building to exit? These, and a myriad of other topics will be discussed to pull back the veil on the wizardry of successful and fascinating entrepreneurs. My book, relentless is now available everywhere books can be bought online, including Amazon and BarnesandNoble.com. Try your local indie bookstore too, and if they don't have it, they can order it. Just ask them. The reviews are streaming in and I'm so thankful for the positive feedback as well as hearing from people that my memoir has impacted them positively. It is not enough to be resilient. You have to be RELENTLESS. You can go to the RelentlessBook.com for more information. Thank you so much. Gianina Skarlett is the founder, CEO, and lead engineer of W3 Learn Academy. They have empowered 20,000 plus community members worldwide to take space. In Web three, we talk about what Web three crypto and NFTs are, how she made over $2 million on her first NFT release and how she's getting the word out about her company. Now, let's get right into it.

Gianina Skarlett:

Still W3 Learn Academy. You could say We Learn Academy, so we like to say it, but it could also be Web Three Learn Academy. It's an academy that is focused on web three skills in helping people bridge their web two skills through web three. So as we have been entering this new space of the Web three industry, there are so many people looking to do the jump and we're here to create the content and the paths needed for them to be able to come in and start building and creating.

Natasha Miller:

And so for those that are listening that don't know what Web three or Crypto or NFTs are, can you give a brief tutorial?

Gianina Skarlett:

Yes. So for anyone here who's interested in Web three, web three, what I like to explain to my friends, a simple explanation is the next iteration of the internet. So in web two, we have the idea of, "Hey, we are creating content." And we look at ads, we look at all these things, but we don't really get to own any of it, right? We have a Twitter profile. It doesn't mean we get to take it with us. With Web three, the new iteration, the difference is we are actually owners. So we're able to own our data. We're able to own even kind of our data to share with prospects. If we would like'. So if you use something like Brave, you can choose to select what data to sell. Where in Web two, when you use something like Google, your data just gets sold automatically whether you like it or not. So I would like to just say simple explanation. Web three is the iteration where you get to own what you do on the internet.

Natasha Miller:

I think a lot of people confuse or think that Web three is the metaverse that is interactive, that is artificial intelligence and AR talk to me about that. Is that, so is that part of it or is that not what Web three is?

Gianina Skarlett:

Yeah, so that's a great question. I used to work as a software engineer in a AI company, and I think AI is kind of the web 2.5 in a way where AI is definitely going to be the future, and it's going to continue to be used in web two and web three, but that is not really what web three is about. Same thing with the metaverse. If you think about it, we've all been participating in a metaverse. That's the internet. We go on Twitter, we see people's photos, we interact, but the Metaverse itself, what people talk about is this space that is being created by multiple companies. They're trying to use this concept for us to kind of go back into, I would say like a web two space. I know there were so many platforms suing this, where you go into a website, you have your avatar, and you're able to connect with people from all over the world. That is not what web three is about. Web three is the technology underlying that.

Natasha Miller:

Great. And let's talk then now next about cryptocurrency and just a little bit of a overview for people that have heard the word but does don't have a, not Aask wallet or D or not exchanging money in Coinbase or whatever yet.

Gianina Skarlett:

Yeah, so for crypto, there are so many tokens out there, and I'm pretty sure most of the audience have heard of Bitcoin, Ethereum. Those are kind of the ones that you will hear about the most. Probably the safest one, if we can even use the word safe in crypto. But they're basically decentralized currencies that are not owned by a central organization. So right now we have like, JP Morgan as a bank. We have our money there. We know JP Morgan is the entire company that owns and is able to transact with our money, with decentralized currencies. It's, I'm trying to find like a very non-technical way of explaining it, but basically there are notes all over the world. That all work towards keeping this currency decentralized by not one single point of person being able to own it, if that makes sense. So if I own Ethereum, really I'm not the one person who owns it. There are hundreds of computers that are validating every single transaction. So there's not one person who can say, "Hey, I'm gonna give Linda a million dollars." Just because all of these hundreds of computers will look at it and decide, is this even a real transaction? So it just makes it safer to own money in a decentralized manner.

Natasha Miller:

And banks like JP Morgan are actually getting on the crypto bandwagon. So what business does a centralized institution have in decentralized money transactions. Do they just flat to get their greedy fingers in the pie?

Gianina Skarlett:

I mean, if we think about it, there are stocks, right? Every company out there has stocks if they're public. So meta has a stock. So if we look about cryptocurrencies is kind of having the same interaction where you are buying a stock from this company. Although it's a decentralized one, I know JP Morgan is launching their own stable coin. I don't think it's going to be as decentralized as other currency but I do like the fact that they are starting to participate in this space which will bring in more eyes. And for a lot of people, when you see this big player centering, it does makes it more legit and more safe.

Natasha Miller:

But it also makes it less mysterious and exciting and underground.

Gianina Skarlett:

Yes, it's definitely no longer I would hope, an underground thing. I think this past year was a year where it really came into the mainstream, and now we're seeing brands like Starbucks, Facebook, Gucci, Louis, Vuitton, like all of them come into Web three, which I do think it's for the best, as we are definitely looking for a massive.

Natasha Miller:

And then let's now talk about NFTs. What are they in a nutshell? I own a couple. I was going to do an NFT launch for my book launch and decided my audience was not ready for it, and I was right. So from your lips to our listeners' ears, tell me about NFTs.

Gianina Skarlett:

Yeah, so that's an exciting topic. And I will say for all of my friends that I tried to onboard into the Web Three Wagon NFTs, I just described them as digital collectibles, and we actually saw Reddit do a huge onboarding their users into Web three without even calling them NFTs. They were just digital collectibles and digital avatars. So simplest explanation, it's a digital collectible that resides in a blockchain. So you could use Ethereum as the main token for it. You could use a lot of different tokens. So I'm just gonna stick to Ethereum. But it's basically a digital collectible. It doesn't even have to be an image. It could be music, it could be video, it could be a poem, it could be anything you like. It resides on the blockchain and it has a provenance. Which points to the unique owner of it. It's also unique, so they call it non fungible tokens because each one, it's unique. There will never be a replica of it.

Natasha Miller:

I love NFTs for, I mean, lots of different reasons I love tech, but the one thing about an NFT that is exciting to me, and I'll give an example, is if you buy this book from me for $20, right, and you buy it as an NFT, and then you want to sell it to your neighbor. Then as I understand it, as the original seller and the owner of this book, I get a commission or I get a piece of the pie of when you sell it. That's cool.

Gianina Skarlett:

Yeah. I think that has been one of the things that have brought so many creators and artists into the space, and is that it's the concept of royalties. Normally in art when you sell, something. You get that first paycheck and that's the last time you get money out of that sale. With NFTs, you can ride into the contract. Just to be really simple here and kind of technical, NFTs are basically code, so in that code you can ride. What is the percentage of perpetuity in royalties that you would like to get? For us, a crypto tech onement is 6% and that is kind of like every cell that happens, you are going to continue to get that royalty, which I think for anyone who has been in the Web two world as a creator, it's a huge bonus into coming into Web three.

Natasha Miller:

So let me ask you this clarifying question. So, if we had an agreement that wasn't an NFT where I said, "Gianina, I'm gonna sell you this book for $20, and you're like, thank you so much, I will give you 6% of the book. If I sell it to my neighbor." Then you sell it to your neighbor. but you don't tell me you sell it. I don't get the money. I don't even know you've sold it. But if it were an N F T, am I getting an automatic notification and an automatic deposit?

Gianina Skarlett:

Yes. So with the NFT, since it's written into the contract, you will get it automatically. You don't really have to do anything and whatever is your wallet or your vault, which is the one that will receive the payment. We'll just continue to get it without you having to do anything.

Natasha Miller:

Yeah, I mean there's so many things about NFTs I like, but I really like that. And so let's talk about this. I know from my, I like tech and I'm tech forward, and it's pretty challenging to sift through how many steps you have to take to get involved in crypto and NFTs. Do you see that barrier? To entry, changing in shortening, or do you see us having to adapt to learning how to choose a coin, how to invest in it, how to access it. When you buy an NFT, it goes here and then it's here on meta mask. Like it's easy to see some things on a browser, but sometimes it's easier to see other things on your handheld device like it's maddening. Where are we with ironing all that out?

Gianina Skarlett:

Yes. That's an amazing question. I do think last year it was a hurdle, right? Even for myself when I started learning about Web three, I can tell you so many hours were invested to even understand how to even create one. I do think now as so many organizations like ours, so focused on onboarding movies into Web three, also in a very safely manner, I do see so much more. Evolution in the tools that are being used in the UI experience. I think that was one of the biggest things like UI. UX was not there for anyone who was not technical, but I do see a lot of big companies and small companies now focused on this now. There are no code tools that are free for people if they want to launch their own NFT collection. That wasn't there before.

Natasha Miller:

Yeah. I mean, I think to reach a greater audience, they have to simplify it and make it understandable, and as an audience we have to, there is some work to be done, like, I don't know if it will ever be as easy as a click, one click, or maybe it will one day, but it's far into the future, right?

Gianina Skarlett:

Yes, I am very excited to win. It is one click. I do see a lot of companies like Coinbase, they are developing a lot of like really easy material for people to learn and always bringing rewards. So if you do complete this course, you get some cryptocurrencies with us. We're doing, "Hey, if you do complete a course, you're gonna have an own chain credential." That says, "Hey, you passed this course." So I think one, giving people rewards for actually committing to learn something new, but also developing the tech to be simple to use. So I did see for Reddit, when they did their whole NFT sale, which was digital collectible, they could just buy it with a Stripe debit card, credit card. That is what we should aim for, where people don't even need to know that it's web three or crypto.

Natasha Miller:

Right.

Gianina Skarlett:

It's just a normal experience.

Natasha Miller:

Have you ever thought that you should write a book, that you should write the story of your life to help other people learn from your experience? Please go to memoirsherpa.com and learn how I can help you write, figure out your publishing path and market your story, your memoir, to a best seller status. How are you funding this new endeavor, this new company? Are you bootstrapping? Do you have venture capital? What's it like.

Gianina Skarlett:

Yes, so I did bootstrap it. I started last year. Luckily as a software engineer I had my good savings. So very thankful for that. I started just doing it myself. To be honest, the tech I had, marketing, I learned and just creating this by myself. Once we did our initial mint or initial cell in February, we were able to sell out, or all 8,888, and we raised over $2 million during the sale.

Natasha Miller:

Oh my goodness.

Gianina Skarlett:

Yes.

Natasha Miller:

So how did you get the information out to those people that bought that original mint?

Gianina Skarlett:

Yes. And honestly that is, it goes back to normal web two marketing. You create your profile on Twitter, you start talking about what in web three, I say it's all about utility. Like what is that user getting for supporting.

Natasha Miller:

And what were they getting?

Gianina Skarlett:

So for us it was the biggest proponent is our educational platform. All of our holders have access to it. They don't have to pay any additional monthly fee for it. We also do holders only, or members only events. So in real life events, we're gonna have put in our Basel coming up, it's all about creating that value that you think your audience will like. So it's pretty much like creating a web two. That will have that initial sale that will be really exciting for them to participate in.

Natasha Miller:

So when did you start this company?

Gianina Skarlett:

Yeah, so I started the company this year officially. I started working on the concept in August. So in August I-

Natasha Miller:

of last year? -started creating, yes.

Gianina Skarlett:

So august, you started creating, you started it officially this year, you minted two mil. How did you reach that big of an audience?

Natasha Miller:

I mean, it can't be just from a Twitter profile, and I know you're working with Sally, so talk to me about your marketing strategy.

Gianina Skarlett:

Yeah, so it started back in August. It was just creating a Twitter profile, and then back then I didn't really have any other teammates, so it was just by myself. I will say this, we started a discord immediately. To this date, you don't need a discord. There are other avenues you can use to communicate with your members, but it was creating a Twitter profile, creating a discord, communicating our value, which was, "Hey, I am a woman." "I am in tech." "I want to bring more women in tech." "I want to create a space for minorities." And I want to create a space that feels kind of easy to understand and that you feel like you belong. Because at that time it was a lot of bros in the crypto space, and so I will say, that was something that worked in our favor, which was creating this space that women and minorities felt really comfortable in. Also, just creating that value proposition beyond from, yes, being an amazing community, what else are you giving them? And then the growth strategy was. One Tweets, tweeting, and I know for so many people, they're like, who is even on Twitter? Web three's on Twitter. So we would be tweeting three to five times a day collaborating. So web three's all about collaboration, which in web two, it's more about competition, right? We don't see Facebook and Tumblr as an example, collaborating together. But in web three, you do. So it was finding like-minded communities that we could collaborate and in return, you're sharing your audience, right? So their audience becomes yours, and it was doing this weekly, every day, if possible, finding ways to engage them. So in this score, you have a direct communication with your consumers or with your members. So being there present every day you're there communicating with them, you're creating that tie with them that will really make them believe in you and what you stand for. So it was doing that repeatedly, doing Twitter spaces, which are basically like mini podcasts. There were weeks I would do six, six a week, and it was not only mine, I would jump into other people's. So definitely just being precedent showing up.

Natasha Miller:

And you're working with sally now on mostly Google or Facebook ads. Which one or both?

Gianina Skarlett:

None of those yet. So Sally came in after our Mint. She actually was one of the people that bought our, in our initial sale, and then we met in LA and I heard all about her background and I'm like, I love her. She needs to come in. She's been helping with our overall marketing strategy and honestly also some strategy in terms of business development and who should we partner with. Why? What event should we be in? But we're still pretty much very heavy on Twitter. So that's our main place we are expanding to LinkedIn, TikTok, Instagram. But it's funny because in web three, if you run ads, it looks scammy. So in web two ads are where it is, right? Like I've seen so many business. Number one thing is ads in web three because of the whole essence of it. It's so new. If you run ads for your company, it does look like, "hmm, maybe they're scamming someone."

Natasha Miller:

And why does it look like that? What is the trigger?

Gianina Skarlett:

The trigger is so many companies that came in, running ads and then they would do rug, which means they basically took the money after the sale and disappeared. So it definitely burned a lot of people. And I do know ads are the future and they're gonna stay, but it's so early in web three that they're still not accepted with open hands.

Natasha Miller:

What do you think about the potential of Elon Musk laying off 70% of Twitter employees and the future of Twitter, which has been really the mainstay of your top of the funnel for your business? What are you gonna do?

Gianina Skarlett:

Yeah, so one of the things is because we are looking for non-native audiences, we are expanding to non web three audiences, which are on LinkedIn, like Instagram, TikTok. But for the Elon question, yes, I think it's crazy. He's going in and what I do think it's crazy is that they have 10,000 employees. I do not know what is their strategy, what departments do they.

Natasha Miller:

I have to tell you something right now. Today, my core business is Entire Productions, we're an event and entertainment production company. We're producing an event at Twitter for Halloween. I don't know what everyone does. Sales. Who knows?

Gianina Skarlett:

You should snoop into departments and see what you find. I think the core product will still be there. And he actually came in strong by promising a creator's perk. So now people are really hyped for this and really excited. As a creator, you do want to make some revenue for creating, and I think that has been something Twitter has not done.

Natasha Miller:

Right.

Gianina Skarlett:

Where we see Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Snapchat will do it. Yeah. I'm actually not really worried about the change of structure. I do think that maybe it makes sense. I guess it depends what departments, it's.

Natasha Miller:

So what is your team comprised of, right now?

Gianina Skarlett:

Yeah, so we're still a very lean team, but is marketing partnerships, business development, finance community. So for web three, always have to be in contact with your members. So we do have a community team, and then PR and product management for W3 Learn Academy as well.

Natasha Miller:

So we talked about your marketing strategy. Let's talk about your exit strategy. Are you building this company with an exit in mind or an acquisition, or are you gonna hold onto it for dear life forever.

Gianina Skarlett:

That's a great question. I think for now, I do not have an exit in mind just because I'm so passionate about the cause. I started engineering myself, coding through Code Academy when I was 16, and then coming into tech and actually being a founding software engineer at a tech company. I think I'm just so involved with the mission and. When I see my mission, it's kind of selfish because it's kind of like what I want and what I wanted to see when I was 16. And so for now, no exit strategy. I did hear that question a lot in my previous company was also startup and people would always say, "Do you think we're gonna IPO?" "Are we gonna sell?" But I know the founder were also just very strong believers in the company and they're like, we're doing this forever. So, I kind of feel that way right now. Are they supporting this past job of yours? Are they supporting your new endeavor? Are you partnering with them? Not as of now, just because our companies are still different, but they were very supportive and honestly, when I started building this, I had a talk with the co-founder cuz as you can imagine, if you're doing anything, what a great mentor that would've been. Yeah. You have to let them know. And I was thinking about it, it wasn't even solid. And he encouraged me. He said, if this is something you're passionate about, go for it. And he was really encouraging and even after pose myself becoming a real founder, a lot of issues, right? Or like a lot of things to think about, he was also very opening to giving me advice and feedback. So it was very encouraging to have that too.

Natasha Miller:

For more inform. Go to the show notes where you're listening to this podcast. Wanna know more about me, go to my website OfficialNatashaMiller.com. Thank you so much for listening. I hope you loved the show. If you did, please subscribe. Also, if you haven't done so yet, please leave a review where you're listening to this podcast now. I'm Natasha Miller and you've been listening to FASCINATING ENTREPRENEURS.

Gianina Skarlett (Gigi)Profile Photo

Gianina Skarlett (Gigi)

Founder & CEO,

Venezuelan Founder, CEO, and Lead Engineer of W3 Learn Academy and CTW, a Web3 community-centric brand that has empowered 20,000+ community members worldwide to take space in Web3. Previous to joining the Web3 industry Gigi was a software engineer for an AI Silicon Valley tech company,