Conde’s VP of New Business Innovation on the challenges – and opportunities – of Web3

The latest episode of the Media Unscripted podcast – produced in partnership with PressReader – is now available on general release, and features unique insights from Condé Nast’s Vice President of New Business Innovation, Ciara Byrne, on the company’s approach to Web3. 

“There’s a saying: never judge a technology by its first generation,” says Byrne. “The key is to remain balanced, so not to be overzealous and not to be over sceptical. I think we’re just testing Web3 right now, and being kindof playful with it. We certainly aren’t betting the farm on it, and I don’t think anybody should be doing that at this point.”

In June, we looked at GQ magazine becoming the first Conde Nast publication to enter the metaverse, as the title launched on social platform Discord to discuss hot topics, share daily fits, and update users on upcoming projects. 

So first gen apprehensions aside, Podcast Host Charlotte Ricca asked Byrne if the fact that such a huge media mainstay like Conde is exploring these technologies, means that we are already seeing them shift into the mainstream?  

“The way we see it is, if people will be spending more time – and engaging more – in this space, and using this platform to express themselves,” says Byrne, “then how are our brands relevant in this world? So it’s not exactly like we’re going all in, but I think it’s the responsibility of any company to be looking at what could be coming down the line, and starting to see how their brands could be relevant in that space.” 

Of course with such opportunities often come challenges, and the Innovation expert cites two key areas of concern that she believes the industry will need to overcome before Web 3 technology is universally adopted. 

“I think again from a balance perspective, one of the primary problems with Web 3 at this stage is security. Without a more  secure environment that creates a level of responsibility  both amongst the people in those communities and the people servicing them, I don’t think you’re going to have that larger scale of people coming into the space.” 

“And related to that, at this stage too, the technology of Web 3 can still be a bit inaccessible. So for example to purchase an NFT on most platforms, you need to set-up a wallet, and doing that can be quite dauting to somebody who might not be particularly tech savvy.”

In an action-packed episode – and the last of the three that were recorded live at Congress in Portugal in June – Ricca is also joined by Ralph Büchi, former FIPP Chair and current Chair of the Axel Springer Supervisory Board, and the Reebooting’s Brian Morrissey. 


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