In a recent installment of EM’s Third Thursday Talks series, Ken spoke with Damon Sununtnasuk, a technology marketer who has lived all over the world working for companies like Microsoft, Google, and Samsung. He is also the founder of a nutrition wellness brand.
Five years ago, Damon went full-time freelance and relocated from the U.S. to Mexico City, where he now lives with his wife and works for a range of clients, from startups and big companies like PayPal. Lately, he has been working in the crypto space.
Here are some key takeaways about the work-from-anywhere lifestyle and the ins and out of marketing in the crypto space.
Working from abroad is great, but a fast-paced nomadic lifestyle is challenging
Damon was apprehensive when he first went freelance and started working entirely virtually from home. He had always worked in an office, but he discovered quickly that you can get a lot done over Zoom, email, Slack, and other channels. He found that as long as you can make the time zones work and be available when clients need you, working from abroad is very doable and extremely enjoyable.
“Layering on top [of your work life] a new environment, new culture, new language, new experiences is really nice,” he says. “It makes your day that much more interesting and intriguing.”
He finds staying in one place to be more agreeable than bouncing around frenetically from location to location. On a recent three-week trip to Europe, he worked from five different countries in quick succession and found the experience quite disruptive: “It took a little bit away from both my enjoyment of being overseas and traveling, and also a little bit for my productivity because it’s really hard to stay consistent and have a predictable schedule when you're always on the move.”
He recommends staying in each place for the length of the visa you can get — whether that’s 30, 60, 90, or even 180 days — to get into a predictable routine.
Marketing for crypto is about leveraging individuals
Crypto is short for cryptography, but Damon says it’s an outdated term that’s used as a catch-all. Other synonymous terms are blockchain, DLT (distributed ledger technology), and Web3, which is the most widely used and commonly accepted term at this point. Web3 is the culmination of a progression from Web1 (in which users consume information via the Web) to Web2 (in which users participate in and contribute to the Web) to Web3, which is the ownership phase in which users can own pieces of the Web via NFT technology or some other mechanism.
Damon emphasizes that Web3 projects tend to depend on who's engaged in the project — such as who's buying into the vision and who's participating financially. So, marketing them needs to be about getting individuals to champion individual projects.
“Gaining visibility to a core set of highly active, highly invested participants is a really key components of Web3,” he says.
This means that the channels Web3 marketers use to communicate may be atypical, such as Discord. Damon describes marketing for Web3 on Discord as “sort of like a hand-to-hand combat” — that is, “you invite a lot of participants into it, and you need to regulate it and police it and ensure that it's not being taken over by bots and unsavory players.”
He sees parallels between the marketing efforts today for Web3 and the way Web2 was marketed a decade ago, seeing similar trends in experimentation, adoption challenges, and reluctance to adapt new vernacular.
“It is a very rapidly evolving and very different, non-traditional space to be marketing in,” he says.
Marketers will need to learn about crypto sooner or later
Damon is convinced that Web3 is here to stay and that marketers either need to learn now — and be a little bit ahead of the curve — or learn later. He doesn’t know when “later” is; it could be one, five, or even 10 years from now. “But you will eventually have to learn,” he says. “You will eventually have to adopt and adapt.”
He recommends listening to podcasts to keep up with the latest in the industry. Some of his favorites are:
- The Breakdown from CoinDesk
- Markets Daily Crypto Roundup from CoinDesk
- Real Vision Crypto by Raoul Pal
- The Scoop with Frank Shaparro
- Deconstructor of Fun
- Blockcrunch by Jason Choi
Start listening now and take control of a fast-moving situation by learning about Web3 right away. “I would rather do it now, on my terms, than in 10 years when a client comes to me, like, ‘Hey, I really need someone to do XYZ as relates to Web3,’” he says. “If I can't… come to the table well-prepared and well-educated, well, gosh, I'm at a disadvantage with them.”
Hear all this advice and more insight from Damon in the Third Thursday Talk recording below.