“Stella’s Metaverse Diary” is a series that documents Stella Achenbach’s journey through web3. From the humble beginnings of a whispering interest in cryptocurrencies, over discovering a passion for creating fashion NFTs to building out her own project called Alanatheweb3girl in the “DAO way”. All of those different aspects are lined out in that series not always in chronological order. It is supposed to encourage more people to join the web3 revolution and bridge gaps of information wherever possible in an anecdotal way.
My intrinsic journey to learning (yet again) Parseltongue
While building out the project around Alanatheweb3girl and joining others there was always one common lack: How will we eventually turn the projects into their own economy? We knew it needed a token but how to do that? In the past few months, a lot of great resources have surged in web3. One of the best sites to get a quick overview is called DAO masters:
After going down yet another rabbit hole I found services that would allow you to create a token with their help in return for 1% of the token supply. Honestly, I thought to myself that this sounds quite fine as I know most VCs would want to have at least 6% of your token supply. That said I asked around among my friends and they commented along the lines of: “Even 1% can rug your project, you don’t know those people, can you really trust them?” I am a skeptic by nature which doesn’t really help but I came to the conclusion that web3 doesn’t stand for self-empowerment for advertisement purposes and I remembered something that was recommended during ETH Denver: The Token Engineering Academy.
I was born in 1984 and grew up with a dad whose passion for good German greasy food and machine language were almost on equal levels. Hence early on he started teaching me how to handle a personal computer and write little programs. I have to say at the time, even though excited about it, I couldn’t see the value.
A few years later in middle school, my small amount of skills got me a Summer job at my dad’s workplace. While I enjoyed being able to save up some money I didn’t necessarily deem the work as highly interesting. It ranged from cleaning computers to formatting hard drives and eventually fixing some minor bugs as far as I remember now. But eventually, it lead to me choosing Computer Sciences above French in school. I realized very soon that while I thought all of it was somewhat nerdy but cool it didn’t fulfill me. It seemed so empty, like why would I program a plotter to paint abstract stuff if I could paint it so much better by using my hands. I know pretty unimaginative for a creative person, but it resulted in me not enjoying the subject at all.
When it eventually came to deciding on my future career even the career planning test wasn’t so sure about me (reminds you of a certain hat, doesn’t it). I received thirty-something percent on almost equal amounts for law and politics, design and arts, and computer sciences. I went with the one thing I was sure I understood well and had an inner healing effect on me; design and art.
During my studies, I eventually embarked yet again on a short-lived journey to learning Python for the first time. It was the first time I felt inspired to get into programming again after so many years because Fashion Tech was THE hype around 2009. During those years I had a lot of side hustles to make a living and continue to study. Eventually, it became too much and I ditched learning how to program yet again. Maybe also because I didn’t understand how other than aesthetically it could bring true benefit to what I loved doing: designing.
After graduating from the University of Applied Arts Vienna I followed the common path of interning and almost working for no pay until finally gathering some better paid freelance opportunities in the fast fashion industry. But the more I discovered the inner workings of the industry and how it harms people, the environment, and even social behavior I eventually came to the conclusion that this industry will not make me happy nor will it provide something good to the world as it is right now.
I had just recently moved to Peru and as it was pre-pandemic, freelance clients from Europe had a hard time adjusting to the time difference. While I was frustrated I also saw an opportunity. I was already in the midst of learning a new language, why not continue on that route and level up my skills. But of course, sometimes you need more than yourself to bounce off ideas. In my case, a good friend helped me to go and listen to my younger self from 2003. She asked me: “If you could have studied anything you wanted back then, would it really have been Fashion Design?” And I realized in that instant that the answer was a clear no to my own surprise. It would have been Game Design. At the time high-res games (and yes I am writing this with an inner smile) were quite the new invention. Remember the first Lara Croft — Tomb Raider just came out in 1996 and it was blocky and pixelated to the bone. I am trying to say there was no way to study Game Design at the time at least not in Germany. Either way, all of it got me into an investigative mode on how to change design careers from fashion to game development. I realized I didn’t need to re-study the fundamentals but rather the tools to execute. So I set out on that very journey. (It was a pain! But that’s a story for another time.)
All of these many steps and sometimes even emotionally painful processes eventually led me to become a 3D generalist who loves her work. It has also led me into the web3 space and the fact that I feel excited again to pick up pen and paper and start learning Python (yet again). Now it seems like it fulfills a true purpose or at least I have the necessary brainpower to imagine that it does. The course I have started taking in preparation for the Token Engineering Fundamentals is called “Programming for Everybody” by a charming professor from the University of Michigan. Professor Severance calls Python Parseltongue and why not, it is a foreign language that not everybody speaks. But the point is, we can learn it, unlike in the Harry Potter version where one needs to be born with the “gift”.
I know most Fashion Designers might have stopped reading a while ago but I think it is time for us to take the next step in evolving our skills. I am not saying it needs to be Token Engineering. It could be any added skill to your current repertoire that will empower you in the web3 space to be a force of creation … and after all, that is what Designers are. We shape an artifact to eventually shape the future of humanity.
“Designed artifacts have as much agency as the animal that seemingly produced them. They transform the animal just as much as they are transformed by the animal.”
— from Are we human? by Beatriz Colomina & Mark Wigley