November 26, 2022

Left to right: Rachael De Foe (Redefy), Looi Qin En (Saison Capital), Shaun Heng (Spartan Labs, The Spartan Group), Rishi Randhawa (Enjinstarter), Xander van der Heijden (UNL)

Many years ago there was this stubborn belief in the technology industry that e-commerce would destroy and replace retail at the heart of customers. But into 2022, despite the proliferation of e-commerce and the challenges retail continues to face, the two industries will continue to co-exist. Instead of competing, they complemented and supported each other.

According to Looi Qin En, Principal at Season Capital, at an Echelon 2022 panel on Oct. 28 at Resorts World Sentosa, this would be the direction Web3 and Web2 companies would be taking going forward.

But before they can fully embrace and implement Web3 technologies and business models, misconceptions need to be cleared.

“One of the biggest misconceptions we currently have about Web3 is that when building Web3, you can use the same principles as Web2. For example, in terms of how you bring your products to market, none of the traditional marketing methods really work,” he said. “There has to be a rethink”

Another common misconception was what Web3 technologies actually entail. Rishi Randhawa, Head of Web3 Innovation at Enjinstarter, spoke on the same panel as Looi and pointed out that most of the public today is already familiar with common Web3-related terms like NFTs, but that’s often the extent of their understanding.

Also Read: Blockchain Promises To Be As Fundamental And Essential As The Internet: Amit Ghosh Of R3

“If I ask the audience, how many of you have heard of NFTs? I’m pretty sure 80-90 percent of you would put your hands up. But if you ask people you know, how many of you have wallets? Probably about 10 percent,” he said.

“Web3 is much more than just NFTs. I think every company, every brand will have their own goals, their own challenges that will require them to look at the new tools and the new ways of working to achieve finance.”

Xander van der Heijden, CEO of UNL, agreed. “We’ve come a long way, but many of the Web3 technologies and infrastructure are used for cryptocurrencies today, when blockchain and distributed ledgers can solve real-world problems. But we have to go there.”

Building a Web3-friendly culture

Where should Web2 companies that want to start implementing Web3 technologies and business models start? According to the panelists, they can start building a culture that can help team members transition to a “Web3 mindset” more seamlessly.

As Looi put it, Web3 is about “a shift in the way we view our community and audience”.

For Shaun Heng, head of Spartan Labs at The Spartan Group, from an organizational perspective, a company can start by building a small group of employees who are passionate about space.

Also Read: Web2 Founders, Prepare for Web3 Ahead of 2025 – Insights from Echelon 2022

“Just having that sense of togetherness, stepping up and sharing information is already a good place to start,” he stressed. “You don’t have to change your entire business model right away. You don’t have to build everything on the blockchain just because you want to expand to Web3. Start small by embedding the culture in the organization itself.”

“Then you get a new model. If you get a little more momentum … the employees are on this path together. That way you can take a little more risk, but you don’t have to start with a goal in mind.”

In terms of case studies, van der Heijden cited Reddit as an example of a Web2 platform that successfully transitioned to Web3 in just four months with the launch of their NFT marketplace.

“You have to listen to the audience. Talk to this community. Find out what they might be interested in,” he emphasized.

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