The Only Constant In Business Is Change: My thoughts about the current state of Web3, business, and finance.
Several friends invited me to be their guest at NFTNYC. During our calls, most of these young entrepreneurs wanted to know my thoughts about cryptocurrency, NFTs, and stock market dropping in value, inflation, and all of the other news affecting business happening right now around the world.
This is exactly what I told them.
Before diving into my post, please know that no legal, financial, or investment advice is being given. My applicable disclaimer is here.
Regarding NFTNYC, it sounds like a fantastic event, but I’ll be staying home. I have several significant court cases over the next several weeks (for those of you who don’t know me, I’m a trial lawyer here in Southern California), and I want to– I need to take care of business. I want to stay focused on what’s in my control. This leads me to the following four thoughts about today’s current affairs.
#1 Focus On What You Have Control Over
If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last 40 years of being an entrepreneur, 36 of which owning a law firm, it’s that revenue and success come from within and not the outside. By this, I mean it’s what YOU do to perfect your craft, products, and services, and it’s what you do to deliver value to your clients and customers that dictate YOUR success.
Founders behind the hundreds of successful startups I’ve helped or represented in court will tell you they focused 100% of their time and effort on their idea and business plan. They didn’t pay too much attention to the competition or to what everyone else was doing. They knew their destiny would be shaped by what they thought about, took action on, and kept improving day after day. For every one of these successful entrepreneurs, their focus was always on the things they had control over.
#2 Change is Normal
Life and business are about change.
Because of COVID, global supply chain issues, the war in Ukraine, corporate profits, and yes, even politics, most of what we’re all experiencing today has been discussed in detail by some of the brightest business and financial minds over the past several years. Established business and financial business and news sites have been discussing and even warning us about the reality of what we’re seeing playing out right before our eyes. The recent tragic invasion of Ukraine added fuel to the fire.
As a result, most of our clients (and yours truly) made significant adjustments to our personal and business investments late last year to prepare for what’s happening now. What we’re seeing and experiencing isn’t a surprise to those who have been paying attention to the right resources.
#3 FOMO, Due Diligence, and Information
The problem I see in the Web3 spaces is that more people are getting their news, business, and financial digital assets advice from Discord conversations and Twitter Spaces “thought leader” recommendations than from established and reputable sources. There’s a big difference between taking advice from moderators and guests on social audio platforms, no matter how articulate they are, than the quality of advice given by established experts with decades of time-tested experience.
Unless you’re an expert at investigations and research, trying to do your due diligence is probably wasted time. The AI and database resources experts use to do due diligence instantly tap into billions of detailed data points. Googling headlines and reading blog posts aren’t the same thing. The bottom line is that your 15-minute Google search will never replace advice from an expert premised upon years of hard work, analysis, expertise, and experience.
Good business and investment opportunities rarely come to you from a random chat on Discord or unexpected DM on Twitter, Instagram or TikTok. That’s just not the way business works in the real world.
Along those same lines, while speed in business is always a factor, taking action because you fear you may miss out on that opportunity is a recipe for disaster 99 times out of 100.
#4 There’s a Difference Between Markets and Investments
The daily application of these first three factors is the norm, and not the exception, to being a successful entrepreneur. I think this is especially true in the new digital spaces. Seeing certain people and companies play the long game, and doing so by the rules, is what impresses me in Web3.
Taking profits off the table while always considering the legal and tax ramifications of each decision are things everyone in Web3 should consider weekly, if not daily. Planning is not an option; it’s required.
Appreciate the distinction between investing in a “market” controlled by rules and regulations (the SEC controls and regulates the US stock market) and putting your money in an “investment opportunity” involving NFTs and cryptocurrency. There’s a big difference between the two.
I’m a glass-half-full kind of guy and have been around the block more than once when it comes to starting companies, investing, and representing thousands of very smart people as a lawyer. I’m sharing the above with you because of what I’m seeing in Web3 and, the people reaching out to me, right now, with legal issues in the space.
I know these constants in business are part of every successful business venture. I also believe these constants are even more important moving forward in Web3.
I believe Web3 and future related technologies are going to change the world. So much so that I shared the tweet at the top of this post last year.
Moving forward, I hope all my clients and friends attending NFTNYC pay attention to the four things I highlighted. Yes, there are going to be many exciting things happening in the Big Apple this week. But at the same time, there will be even more opportunities you will want to avoid.
Be careful, give thought, and take action on the things I share in this post. There isn’t a single legitimate business opportunity you need to invest in or be part of that requires your immediate action.
Use these guidelines to help you make intelligent and rational decisions moving forward. After all, saying “no thank you” to an unknown and unresearched opportunity today gives you the time, ability, and resources to say “yes” to the right opportunity in the future.
As for all of the craziness happening here and around the world, truth be told, I believe it’s all going to pass. Once our supply chains open back up, and they will over the next 12-18 months, I expect to see more growth and opportunities for all of us moving forward.
For now, my clients and I will continue to be patient and careful and allow these four approaches to serve as our compass. I hope you do too.
Mitch Jackson is an award winning 2009 Orange County Trial Lawyer of the Year and 2013 California Litigation Lawyer of the Year. He enjoys applying his 35 years of practicing law to help and add value to clients who are doing the digital dance at the intersection of law, business and technology including the Metaverse and Web3.