I used to watch Full Size Run on 1.5x speed during my lunch breaks as a teacher. It was a nice break from the day trying to get students involved in geometry and it got my mind in a different place if only for a little bit. Full Size Run (FSR) had topical discussion *at times*, great editing, and a lot of interesting guests. I wouldn’t watch it without the guests. I haven’t spent much time watching the ‘zoom’ sessions throughout the pandemic, though, something about the quality of the audio and the video makes it a bit less interesting…
Those guys from Complex - Dunne, Welty, Trinidad James and JLP - have certainly put together an interesting package of media products… FSR, Sneaker Shopping, and the Complex Sneakers podcast…I think they have quite a few subscribers and seem to genuinely like each other. That’s good for those kinds of shows.
The other day I got a recommendation to listen to the Bobby Hundreds episode of the Complex Sneakers podcast, titled ‘Are NFT Sneakers for Real or Just a Scam’ and - in between shushing my kids while listening, shaking my head at Welty’s comments, and nodding my head with Bobby, I found myself recommending it to a handful of the people I’ve been working with lately.
I know very little about Bobby Hundreds. I’ve never owned a piece of ‘The Hundreds’ clothing, nor followed his ‘arc’ as a streetwear mainstay. I *almost* copped a pair of The Hundreds Adidas collabo sneakers from a few years back, but you’ll never find me rockin’ Lakers logos…ever.
At the time The Hundreds really started bubblin, I was living on the East Coast and was much more interested in Supreme and DQM and RL Polo and North Face and Nike stuff - if only because I learned that streetwear brands seem to come and go a bit too quick for my liking. In other words, I thought it was just gonna be another ‘fad’ brand. When I moved back to the West Coast, I met some guys who were REALLY into the Bay brands - ie: Benny Gold, FTC, HUF - and after after-work drinks one day, they brought me to The Hundreds store around downtown SF (I don’t remember the address but it felt like we walked into a cave). I didn’t buy anything.
But the more I’ve been watching business folks in the streetwear space, his name kept coming up. I want to say I listened to an interview with him a time ago on the Business of Hype podcast (with Jeff Staple), but didn’t really pay attention to him until his first few Topps Project 70 cards in which he chose to focus on the ‘error’ aspect of cards - something we paid attention to in the late 80’s as the error cards were really the only ‘rare’ cards at the time. I thought it was a dope way to look at it. I love the idea behind it all.
I’ve heard a lot about his book - ‘This is Not a T-Shirt’ - and I have it on my Kindle (actually it’s a KOBO), but I haven’t gotten around to reading it yet. But it’s on my list.
Early on in the NFT spring - this past spring - when everything hit me about 2 weeks before it hit the rest of the world…I discovered clubhouse. I think either @superkylefragilistic or @pappy_power_hour sent me an invite and I sat and listened to about 16 straight hours of NFT topics…It blew my mind. I couldn’t sleep for like 2 weeks just thinking of all of the possibilities in the Sneaker world. But the first clubhouse discussion I listened in on started with Bobby Hundreds and Gary Vee. Nothing he said really stuck out in my mind, but I remember that his was the first public voice in the space that I started really hearing.
I started trying to ‘spread the word’ on my IG, but found that a lot of people had no clue what I was talking about. Or…weren’t all that interested. A few people were very vocal against the whole thing, but I let them speak their piece. I mean, what do I know? I mean, look at this…I posted this on FEBRUARY 22nd:
So to see Bobby Hundreds on the Complex Sneakers podcast was a bit of a relief. Like…I’m so happy I’m not the only one going through great lengths to explain the space to whoever I can. Don’t get me wrong - I know @franalations is VERY vocal and very visible in the space and he’s probably brought in thousands (if not tens of thousands) of people into the space - and I watched 2 or 3 of his videos multiple times to figure out how to *mint* a few of the early PFP projects…his reach is tremendous and he’s always up on current drops. But I like Bobby’s approach because IMO he approaches it like a teacher.
If you haven’t heard the episode yet - regardless of your knowledge on the space - I’d still suggest giving it a listen (posted below). You can just about fast forward to the 24 minute mark (unless you’re super interested in how many lbs. Welty can military press), I think Bobby has a great perspective on it all and he speaks in a way to help people understand, not vilify them or their opinions. I hate it when people do that. I understand the whole ‘NGMI’ ethos, but I also know that you attract more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.
He starts it out with ‘nobody really knows what’s going on’ and I really would like to stress this point. For myself and the - literally - hundreds of people who have hit me up to talk about NFTs - I see a wide-open space with limitless opportunity. At any given moment, my mind is racing with what this is, what it can become, what I’m missing, what I understand and everything in between and beyond what it all represents.
(A brief sidetrack as an example to illustrate the above claim - loot. While everyone is busy trying to figure out how to monetize the next batch of 10,000 profile pics with a ‘great roadmap’, the creator of Loot generated 8000 text files with 8 different adventure-related attributes on each file and gave them away as NFTs. No rules, no game, no advice, nothing. And what people did - other than transact a notional value of more than $228M - they ended up building a whole world of possibilities around these files. Games, art, value. The community built it. No one told them to build it. They built it themselves! Wack? Maybe. But tell me of another force that can mobilize the power of a bunch of developers who are just letting their imaginations run wild in creating a world around 8-word text files.)
The most frustrating part of the podcast, for me, was when Welty went into a bit of a monologue about the RTFKT x Jeff Staple collab selling for higher than a pair of Pigeon Dunks and he flat out says ‘it’s not worth that much, it’s just not’. As anyone who knows anything about economics will tell you - the value of something is what somebody is willing to pay for it. Economic value is not a subjective term. It has actual numbers to back it - and the fact is, no matter how much you disagree with it or hate it, the value of what something is bought or sold is actually the value of the item. That’s how things work. So, yes, a NFT that has sold at $50k is actually worth $50k. Will it always be worth $50k? Time will tell. Is that what it’s worth to Welty? Obviously not. Emotional value is not the same as economic value, and to conflate the two is a rookie mistake. And just because we, as sneakerheads, put some sort of emotional value on an 16-year-old pair of shoes - that doesn’t mean that everyone on earth values them anywhere near the same. So yes, Welty, as of today - the RTFKT x Jeff Staple NFT shoe is economically valued higher than a pair of Jeff Staple Pigeon Dunks.
And now…back to confession time.
NFTs are absurd. I agree.
But are they any more absurd than stacking as many little 3.5 inch x 2.5 inch pieces of cardboard that glamorize sports stars?
Or are they any more absurd than spending millions of dollars digging up pieces of metal to just turn around bury them back underground?
And…something we’re all guilty of…are NFT’s any more absurd than spending all of our time trying to stack filthy little pieces of green paper?
And…coming straight from the mouth of The Sneaker Savant…NFT’s are no more absurd than owning a few hundred pairs of shoes (while only having two feet).
Our whole existence as ‘sneakerheads’ is an exercise in absurdity. But it’s just something we accept it because we identify with it.
To me, NFT’s are about to set off a cultural revolution for creators and if you’re not paying attention (or just busy hatin’) you’re going to miss the bus. Am I saying ‘go out and buy cryptopunks and bayc and cryptodicks’? No. I’m saying once you can get past your prejudices and look behind the curtain of what everyone is talking about, you might just understand WHY they’re talking about it.