Face-to-face interview Arweave ecosystem project - Permaweb News
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Author: Xiaosong HU @ Contributor of PermaDAO
Translator: Xiaosong HU @ Contributor of PermaDAO
Reviewer: Saiee @ Contributor of PermaDAO
Face-to-face interviews with Arweave-related projects members - Permaweb News
The Arweave in Asia event concluded successfully in Singapore in September. As the organizer of the event, PermaDAO had in-depth exchanges with many projects from the Arweave ecosystem on site. Everyone's unanimous feeling is that Arweave's projects are more keen on technology research and development, and are still slightly lacking in sensitivity to market expansion and popularization of their own work to the masses.
That’s why we decided that creating a series like this would be more than welcome - by interviewing relevant members of different Arweave-related projects, everyone, especially the newbies who have not yet entered Web3, can see and understand what each project is doing. It also provides some reference cases and templates for those who want to All in Web3 during the bear market.
For our first face-to-face interview, we chose Permaweb News—a senior media outlet that has long reported on the Arweave ecosystem’s developments. The guest in this issue is Pierre, the senior editor-in-chief of Permaweb News, who will share insights about the project and his personal experiences with us.
Regarding Permaweb News
(Permaweb News homepage entrance: <https://permaweb.news/>)
Could you please introduce the background of Permaweb News and how it was established?
At the moment, I may not be the most suitable person to discuss the founding background of Arweave News because, to clarify, Arweave News was renamed Permaweb News in the first half of this year. The reason is quite simple—I am not one of the founders of Arweave News; I joined the team several months after its establishment. What I can tell you is that it was intended to represent a media outlet overseen by some Arweave community members, covering mainly news regarding the Arweave ecosystem. As you can see, we never quit this goal, and we still deliver news about this ecosystem to this day.
What are some significant milestones in the history of Permaweb News?
From my perspective, Permaweb News wasn't until now a project that could have been subscribed to this "milestone logic". Let me explain: Permaweb News was rather a constant struggle for consistency and rather small, incremental gains in trying to create suitable content for our audience. Most of the projects in Web3 are doing weightlifting - hard pushes to achieve a new feature or an entire product. By comparison, Permaweb News was doing callisthenics - trying to maintain a plank for extended periods of time. It may not look impressive until you try to do it yourself.
I know that everybody thinks that it is easy to take a constant look at an ecosystem and try to get the news out as they happen, or to create a simple weekly summary. However...try to do it each day, each week, without stopping, and you'll see that it takes its toll. Btw, we're glad that permaDAO started its own take on Arweave weekly news; I'm certain that you already understand what I'm talking about.
Also, I know that this kind of constant struggle becomes visible only when, for one reason or another, it stops for a period, and what was considered by everybody as natural as the air, suddenly disappears.
What is the future vision and plan for Permaweb News?
Well, staying in a plank position for more than two years was cool and sweet, but it was the moment to try other types of bodybuilding, also. We'll keep the content creation and the focus on Arweave (we'll even open the publication for any person who wants to write their own articles), but we'll furthermore start to "play" with other areas.
It is obvious now that AI will forever change content creation. Personally, I'm more of an old-school type of guy who wants to play with words and on his own, but an LLM can write an article about Arweave 2.7 fork in the style of Mark Twain in the time it takes me to read the first page of the paper that covers this fork.
So AI is powerful, and we can't just turn a blind eye to this tech, but we won't engage it heavily in our content creation. We'll rather try to harness its power to create insights on big aggregated data sets. We'll create what we call "Permaweb News Research". I can't say more about it, but I think that many people will find it interesting, and that the power of UDL + Arweave's immutability will start to be known by a way bigger audience than today.
Is there a specific timeline currently in place, and what additional resources are needed for its implementation?
Given the fact that I was rather chatty until now, let me be laconic to this one: answering the first part of the questions - yes, it is; regarding the second part of the question: you'll be amazed how resourceful we can prove to be. Staying that long in a plank position makes weightlifting quite doable.
However, we have to grant credit when it's due: we're getting a lot, like a lot of help from the PermaDAO community, the Cascad3 team, and the AIKEK team.
Besides the full-time staff members who are currently working at Permaweb News, what are the ways for others to get involved? How do you motivate these participants?
Well, like I told you, we are planning to fully open the Permaweb news media outlet to everybody who wants to write articles about Arweave. Until then, we offer gated access to individuals or projects that are known in the community or that entered into contact with us through different mediums, but their contribution can enrich this space with different/novel views. For example, right now, we're conducting some sort of experiment that started silently a couple of months ago: we're encouraging three individuals who didn't have previous contact with Arweave (not even with the broader Web3 besides what a "normie" would have been exposed to indirectly), to document their journey into understanding Web3 and Arweave, without any guidance from our part. We let them even assume their own styles and ways to document this journey...one of them started to present it as a Viking saga...it's crazy, I know, but I'm curious about how people who are not biased, as we are view Arweave coming from the outside and how their perception shifts while digging more into it.
Regarding the incentives for participation, we have some ideas, right now, the incentives that are in place for each Permaweb News writer are rather optional and are offered by PermaDAO. (they are optional because one has to upload the submitted article to PermaDAO and go through PermaDAO's approval process to get it; one can publish an article without asking for PermaDAO's rewards, though)
(PermaDAO’s submission group provides incentives for Arweave ecosystem news writers)
In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge that Permaweb News faces?
To finally get an Arweave Weekly report out after a huge hiatus:))))
I'm joking, obviously, but the "straight-face" answer has somehow to do with this, given that the biggest challenge is to actually rekindle the consistency and keep it for an indefinite state, meaning that in the end, we should have a self-sustainable mechanism.
(Pierre at the first Arweave in Asia event, in September 2022)
Could you please share your educational background and professional experience? Have you always been involved in the traditional media industry?
Ok, so, when I was born, I learned that...no, I won't go that far into the past, still...since a relatively early age, I was somehow guided to take the opposite path to specialisation. Call it the Renaissance man, the humanist path, I don't know!
Theoretically, it means that you tend to be a well-rounded individual, to achieve as many skills as possible, that you have both the right and the obligation to create your own path through life by never settling into one field.
Practically, this ideal, at least in the world of today, is impossible to achieve, and what you get is not a Da Vinci; it is a dilettante in a lot of fields that probably got at best to a stage of mediocrity in some of them. The fact that the University I attended taught me a little bit of everything when it comes to social sciences (from political philosophy to macroeconomics, law, sociology, cultural anthropology, etc), didn't help at all in making me want to shift and choose a specialised route. (now I'm doing a master's program in archaeology...so yeah, I'm all over the map)
Professionally, I spent a big chunk of my time in financial and project management consultancy. Does it sound vague? It should, because this actually encompassed a lot of different types of projects and types of clients. One would say that this alone should have been diverse enough to keep me in one place...but it wasn't...I ventured into even more things, but guess what? Never traditional media industry :))
How did you become familiar with Arweave, and how did you join Permaweb News?
It's a rather funny story. My first contact with Arweave was at the beginning of 2021. A friend of mine told me about this cool blockchain that is promising one-time payments for forever storage and I was like, "neah, it can't be; this is a scam; no service can have a one-time fee and be held in perpetuity", and I forgot immediately about Arweave. Then, at the end of 2021, I think that it was October or November, I stumbled again on Arweave, this time, I was searching for a true permanent medium for storing NFT files and didn't really like the way the NFTs on Ethereum were dealing storage. At this moment, I first read Arweave's yellow paper and other informational resources and I was like "damn, this is not a scam, it actually does what it says". A lot of the resources I found back then were from Arweave News/Permaweb News, so I became an avid reader. Couple this with the fact that I was, by each passing day, more convinced that Arweave's use case and implementation are unique, and when Arweave News posted an announcement that they were looking for writers, it was a no brainer for that I wanted to join them and be able to talk first handedly with the builders from the ecosystem.
Regarding PermaDAO and everVision
Previously, everVision organised an NFT auction, and as an artist, you contributed a series of impressive works. How did you come to know about everVision?
Around that time, the ecosystem was rather small and everVision - everFinance back then, was one of the rising stars (I like to believe that I was one of the first from the English-speaking part of the community that saw its potential and started to cover them into the news). I remember that when everVision organised its first NFT auction, I was about to finish my clay sculptures collection and it made sense for me to ask them if they were not taking into consideration to display NFT collections made by individuals outside their team. They were more than open with this idea, so I became, I think, the first individual, not necessarily related to everVision, that displayed his own NFTs in that type of auction. After that, each new auction featured a new individual (this time proper artists :)))
Some of Pierre’s sculptures (NFT + physical objects)
How do you perceive the team and business development of everVision?
I told you, I have known everVision's team for a rather long time. Looking back now, it is hard not to be positively biased because meanwhile, we became friends, we met each other IRL and started to collaborate on a much deeper level than we initially did. However, a thing is certain: everVision's team is probably one of the most hard-working ones in this ecosystem. Proof of this is that in less than two years, it managed to become from a rather new project, the main pillar of Arweave's Asian hemisphere, handling the Arweave Asia fund and constantly providing entire teams of talented builders to this space.
In your view, how should PermaDAO and Permaweb News collaborate in the future?
At least, as we did until now :)). There is, of course, room for even more synergies, but I'm certain that we'll reach those levels. As long as the dialogue flow will remain uninterrupted, there is little we can not do together.
Lastly, is there anything else you would like to say to the audience?
Yes, start doing planks too; don't rely solely on weightlifting. :)
I have known Pierre for more than a year. At first, my impression of him was limited to his Romanian-accented English and the fact that he was an uncle who wanted to smoke anytime and anywhere. I also participated in an NFT auction that showcased some of his works and I actually found them quite artistic.
As the number of our exchanges increased, we finally discovered that he was a middle-aged man with the romantic temperament of a typical artist and an innovative spirit. During the conversations with him, he also mentioned many creative ideas such as cooperating with Web3-licensed financial institutions, conducting training at universities, etc. We also talked about the possibility of bringing his sculptures to the annual conference of Arweave in Asia in 2024.
Regarding his Permaweb.News-related thoughts, I also believe that Permaweb.News is at a crossroads. Their transformation may empower the entire Web3 ecosystem in the future, and it is very likely to achieve true Web3 media status with a high degree of censorship resistance. Let’s just wait and see.