Editor’s Note: This interview is available as both a podcast (above) and a written post (below). The written post is edited and condensed for clarity and includes a number of relevant images.
You may know my two interviewees today by their names. You may recognize them by their iconic profile pictures:
But… did you notice that they are both Bings?
Yes, Ned Ryerson Bing and Mary Pat Bing are one of the few married couples in this space who are both active collectors and who haven’t chosen the clichéd "Main User" and "Mrs. Main User" as their usernames.
I have branched out from interviewing artists exclusively. Artists are, of course, a critical leg of the digital art ecosystem. But it is, indeed, an ecosystem.
The simplified chart below offers a high level map of the digital art ecosystem.
Culture, at the center, is shaped by the key players in the ecosystem: artists, builders, and collectors.
These groups interact with each other, and the sum of those collective actions becomes culture.
Chief among the interactions among these key groups are financial interactions. The chart above also attempts to summarize the key money flows.
…from collectors to artists (i.e. buying art)
…from collectors to builders (i.e. platform fees)
…from artists to builders (i.e. platform fees or a cut of primary sales)
…from builders to artists (i.e. sponsoring and marketing a drop)
(Of course, there are other less obvious financial flows, such as builders “paying” collectors in their native token as incentive for using the platform, or artists “paying” loyal collectors with free or discounted drops, but those are sufficiently niche that they are not very relevant to the big picture here.)
The money starts with the collectors.
Without collectors, there is no marketplace. Without a marketplace, there is no financial incentive for artists to show up and create art or for builders to show up to build platforms or technology or IRL events.
If nobody shows up, no culture is built.
In other words, collectors serve as the lifeblood of the ecosystem. The collectors inject liquidity, which is really just a financialized synonym for “aliveness.” Liquidity serves as the catalyst which brings life and force to the culture-building flywheel.
That is why I’ve decided it’s important for me to begin interviewing collectors and builders, in addition to my artist interviews. If we want this space to flourish, we need to bring in new participants across all three groups. If my interviews can inspire, even at the margin, someone to begin gleefully dabbling with art, or collecting, or building, then I’ve done my job.
(Speaking of which, I will be announcing my first builder interview in the coming weeks - I am excited to share it with you.)
If you missed my first two collector interviews, you can find them here:
Today’s conversation with Ned and Mary Pat is my first time doing an interview with multiple people. It made for a lot of fun and back and forth.
Some of the topics we discussed include:
The story behind their usernames and their thoughts on anonymity
How they have navigated their shared all-encompassing hobby as a couple
The hyper financialization of art (and why it's a good thing)
Emerging artists on their radar
Art they hope to never sell
The bull case for Chromie Squiggles
Their strategies (or lack thereof) when it comes to collecting
Price predictions for one year from now
And a whole lot more!
Now, please enjoy my conversation with Ned Ryerson Bing and Mary Pat Bing.
p.s. If you enjoy this conversation, please press the ❤ button at the top of this post and share it with your friends. If you have questions or feedback, please comment on this post. (If you’re reading this in your email, you can view the browser or app version here.)
p.p.s I recently created an Instagram account. You can find me @montyreport.
A Conversation with Digital Art Collectors Ned Ryerson Bing and Mary Pat Bing
Monty: I have to start with your usernames: Ned Ryerson Bing and Mary Pat Bing.
For the uninitiated who are listening to this or reading this, these are references to the movie Groundhog Day and to a specific scene when Bill Murray's character, Phil, is talking to someone who he went to high school with named Ned Ryerson. In this scene, Ned enthusiastically says "Bing" over and over again and he also mentions that he dated Phil's sister, Mary Pat.
Why did you decide to structure your online identities around this niche scene?
Ned: I would love to tell you that it was deeply thought through and has some prominent role in how I got to where I got to be. But it just started when I got into Top Shot and needed an anon user name.
I don't know why I was thinking of this scene. But I love the movie and just picked the name. Who knows, maybe Phil Connors was taken.
One time I had a younger kid tell me I was an idiot for using my real name. And I was like, “Yeahhh, it's not my real name.” Some people just don't know the character, but when they do they're like, “Oh my God, I love it.”
Then when Mary got in the space she was trying to come up with a name. I remembered that line about Mary Pat and it just totally landed.
Mary Pat: We were looking for a way to connect us, but I didn't want to be “Mrs. Bing.” I felt that Mary Pat Bing was a name where some people might know we're connected, but it wouldn’t be obvious.
One funny thing that came out of this is that you, Ned, had a Zoom chat with the actor who played Ned Ryerson: Stephen Tobolowsky. How did that come to be?
Ned: There is a photographer in the space, Trey Ratcliff , who recognized my username and he actually knows the actor, Stephen Tobolowsky, who played Ned Ryerson.
The character himself is now special to me because it's part of my life. It's my alter ego. And I was like I bet Stephen Tobolowsky would think this is hilarious and weird that I'm building this entire thing off of his fake name. Like which one's the real Ned?
So Trey made the intro over email and it took a while, but Stephen was up for a call. We spent half an hour together and it was great.
It genuinely seemed like he enjoyed the conversation, like it wasn't a chore. We talked about how he met his wife and tips for actors and about his kids. It was just a really cool conversation.
He actually has a podcast that's just him telling stories about his life. I just recently listened to it and it's really good. He's a really interesting guy. It's called The Tobolowsky Files. I think it's done now, but he did 99 episodes.
Why did the two of you choose to be anonymous?
Ned: I started anonymously because I have a job. I had more of a full time job when I started. I didn't want people to think I was not doing my work. It was just freeing. I didn't want to have conversations about what I tweeted and things like that.
In real life I have a Twitter account, but it's not very active, never has been active. I've always been a bit paranoid about saying the wrong thing. So when I came up with a fake name and an anon Twitter account, I was like, “Oh my gosh, I can say whatever I want.”
Months into it, I realized I wasn’t saying anything I wouldn't say otherwise, but I'm just more able to be myself. I've really enjoyed the pseudonymity. There are points at which it's a pain or I wish I could say my real name because of the connections you can make.
I've been somewhat careful about maintaining anonymity, but not so careful. But initially it was just for freedom of ability to communicate and to do whatever I want.
Mary Pat: You have more freedom with anonymity. You don't really worry about what you're saying as much. You don't have a job or coworkers that might bring this stuff back to your real life.
There is some freedom to anonymity. But I also feel like you get to a point where you wish people could know who you were, or you could go to an event and post pictures of yourself.
There's almost this element of, does it still really matter that much? In the beginning, it's, “Oh, we're in crypto, we're going to be anonymous.” But maybe it doesn't matter as much as it did in the beginning.
Let's talk about both of your pseudonymous faces. Ned - you have a Ghxst. Mary Pat - you have a Punk. Can you tell me the story behind those and why you chose the ones that you chose?
Ned: I don't remember exactly how I found Ghxst. I was not the earliest, but I was pretty early. They were impossible to get - it was the gas wars before gas wars. I was new to NFTs and understanding how to work Metamask and all that stuff and also I wasn't comfortable spending a whole lot of money yet on this stuff. It was all very foreign and wild.
But there was an auction for Ghxst 57. I was like, “I can't control if I get them on these stealth drops, but I can control whether I get it at auction.”
I loved this one. It was a rarer Halo Ghxst. But I also really liked the starkness of the red and the yellow and the black.
I had scheduled a haircut at the time of the auction concluding. I brought my laptop to the barber and I had it up while they were cutting my hair and then the haircut ended and I was huddled in the corner on a laptop doing the auction, and I won the auction and that was it.
I think I opened the Twitter account shortly after and that was my PFP.
Mary Pat: My PFP is a bit indicative of my shopping habits.
Ned got into NFTs before me. When I got into NFTs, I guess I came in a little hard and wanted a Punk right away.
I had read about CryptoPunks way before we were in the space. I read a random Vice article and I thought they were super cool. I thought the technology was really interesting and I wanted to learn more about it, but then it just faded and I forgot about it.
Then once Ned got into it, it was like, “Oh, one day we might get a CryptoPunk, that would be super cool.” To me, it was always the ultimate collection.
So we waited. Then ETH dropped to $900 or something like that, and we decided it was a good time. I remember we were on vacation and we needed to transfer ETH and we were trying to hide this from our family because we didn't want to talk about this thing that we were buying.
It ended up being a fun thing that we did while we were on vacation and we couldn't talk about it in front of anyone else, but we would quietly hide in the corner and giggle over the fact that I finally got a CryptoPunk.
You mentioned your family on vacation and I'm always curious — do any of your friends and family know about your collective addiction to digital art?
Ned: Mine do. My friends definitely do. I got them into NFTs for a bit. They've faded off, not all of them, but most of them. My dad has a background in art and my mom to a certain extent is in it through my dad, and my sisters follow what I'm doing.
They don’t really know the details of it, but it's not a secret with my friends or my family.
Mary Pat: Mine definitely don't, and I think that's something that is a little bit sad.
Women in general are just not in the space. If we ever meet people in public and they’re into crypto, it is usually the male side of the couple that's into it.
I haven't really figured out why my friends, when I talk to them about it, just don't have any interest in it whatsoever. It's interesting.
I don't know if it's the money thing that makes NFTs uncomfortable, or is it the art? Because I think I could talk to my friends about collecting art. So I think it does have a bit more to do with the financial aspect of it, or the trading aspect.
As for my family, I don't really talk about it with them and I don't know why. They're not really into art. I don't think they would understand it. They would think it's weird.
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Were the two of you into art before crypto art?
Mary Pat: I've always been interested in art. I never had money to collect it when I was younger. But I had my posters and things like that. When we first started dating, Ned and his dad collected art together. I feel like you introduced me to collecting art, Ned.
Ned: My dad is an academic art person. He works in schools on the art side. So growing up, I actually hated it.
The joke was that I would call museums “the M word” because whenever we would go to a city and travel, we would have to go to a museum and it was the worst part of the trip.
But as I grew older it became a way to connect with him. He's very into photography and the history of photography. I started growing up and needing stuff for my walls and looking at art as a kind of alternative asset.
My dad always says, “You can't hang a stock certificate on your wall.”
Art became this way of putting money to use that I also got enjoyment out of and also connected with my dad over. We would collect photography.
Frankly, understanding the auction houses and the way that things were priced and how it worked I think helped when I first got into crypto art because there is a real learning curve on understanding these kinds of markets.
It's obviously different, but having experienced the auction houses and the way that the art world was, I had a cheat code in my dad. When I came to NFTs, I was like, Oh, my God, this is so much better in almost every way.
The main way it's not as good is the physical art itself isn't there yet, right? Like the physical art on my wall is a better experience than looking at a JPEG on my computer. But other than that, the friction and gatekeeping involved in traditional art is not a feature, and NFTs solve for that and more.
Another big difference is how liquid these markets are compared to traditional art and how these artistic pieces turn into tradable assets. The “blurification" of art, so to speak, in which art becomes just another ticker on a screen.
On one hand, it's great for artists to have liquid markets and participants. On the other hand, you have a lot of people in the space who don't care about the art. They care about the money. Not that you can ever separate the two, but I'm curious if either of you have thoughts on this dynamic.
Ned: Art was already financialized. This is the hyper financialization of it you're talking about — this ability for it to transact so quickly and frictionlessly. There are bad parts of that and there are fantastic parts about that.
Imagine you actually are in it for the art. It was hard to buy these things before.
Imagine you wanted to discover an artist in Brazil and buy his art the next day. You couldn't. You just literally couldn't.
Imagine you wanted to buy 6,000 pieces of art. I don't know if you've seen people's collections on Tezos, but people have thousands and thousands of pieces of art. You could not do that before. You couldn't store it. You couldn't ship it.
Again, art was already financialized. This might take it up the ladder a couple of notches, if not more, but it also opens up the ability to transact for the people who actually love the art as well.
The good outweighs the bad, in my opinion. It is then dependent on the culture to have a scene of people who truly love it for the art.
You arrived to the space first Ned. What was your reaction, Mary Pat, when that started?
Mary Pat: We both got into Top Shot together at first. Ned needed my email address to create another spot in line for some pack drop. Then I found out that you could make money on these and I was like, wait a minute - that's my pack! I just pulled a LeBron James!
Then Top Shot ended and I fell off the scene a bit. I went back to my job and kids and all that stuff. But Ned got a little bit more into it.
At first I was very patient and kind and then I started to get a little frustrated and maybe a little jealous that Ned was spending all his time on his computer with these strangers that I had no idea who they were. I think we got into a couple of massive fights.
I'm sure everyone's had this argument with their partner - who are these people? What are you doing online?
Then I had a talk with myself, and I realized he clearly loves this and so I decided I need to understand it.
So I set up a wallet. I had bought ETH years ago in a random Coinbase account. I transferred ETH and I came upstairs and I was so proud of myself. I told Ned, “Hey, guess what? I set up a wallet.”
I thought he was going to be so proud of me, which he probably was, but his initial reaction was, “What did you do? Did you tell anyone your seed phrase? What have you done? Why didn't you ask me?”
After that whole Intro to Crypto Security, I feel like it took me a little while to get into it. I didn't want to be a part of your crew. I wanted to find my own space. I was like I'm not going to just join your friend group.
I needed to find my own way and my own crew. I did and it's been really fun ever since.
Luckily for Ned, I no longer yell at him anymore for spending hours minting things. Now we just neglect our children together.
Ned : My take on this is she handled it fantastically. I found this other part of my life and world and disappeared and was distracted and all that stuff.
She totally took it in stride. Did she break every once in a while? Absolutely.
But I earned it. It wasn't out of the blue. My memory is that she was super understanding about it. She would get excited with me about something if I was excited about something. All that good stuff.
Mary Pat: I will say if people have partners that are upset — and I get it, I was upset that my partner was spending time doing something that I didn't understand — I really would recommend introducing your partner to the crypto art world and showing them all this stuff.
I'm always sad for people when they're like, “Oh, my wife hates generative art.” But I really would recommend people explain it to your partners and show it to them. It's a really cool world and it's so much more fun to do it together.
Even if your partner doesn't get into it, just have them understand it and try to explain it to them, because you never know… they might like it.
During my Twitter sleuthing I noted that you started your own business Ned. In your own words, you were fortunate to have a “life changing exit.” I'm curious what you can share about your entrepreneurial journey.
Ned: I put that in a tweet?
Mary Pat: I was just going to say, what did you say?
Ned: The “life changing exit” part I didn't remember.
But yes, I started a business a little over 10 years ago with two other people. You might be surprised that someone who's into NFTs and crypto is able to tolerate some risk.
I started the business with these two folks and we bootstrapped it. We didn't raise any money from VCs or anything like that.
We steadily grew it and it became a successful company that had a good culture. Eventually it got to the point that we'd been doing it for 10 years and there was a good offer and we jumped at it.
Are you still at the company or have you moved on fully now?
Ned: I'm still at the company. I've moved into more of a part time role.
By late 2021, I realized I had gotten way more interested in other things — this space being one huge part of it — and I just wasn't as engaged as I used to be. I communicated that to them and I am in a part time role now
Mary Pat, what about you? What can you share about your IRL work?
Mary Pat: What can I share? Ned and I work in similar industries. We met at work. Then Ned left to start his own company. I'm still at the company that we were at when we met.
Basically, I run a large division of a media company. I think that would be the best way to describe it. It's very different from this world. I am not involved in art at all or in trading at all. Mostly people and money. People and profits.
You met at work?
Mary Pat: Yeah, we pretended like we weren't dating for like a year. Everyone knew the whole time, but we thought we were really slick.
And you have kids, right?
Mary Pat: Yeah, we have two kids. They're great. They keep us on their toes. They're both maniacs.
God, it's so weird. I don't know what to share about our personal lives and whatnot.
Ned: They're young enough that they don't really care about NFTs.
I'm a relatively new parent. I have two kids. I'm curious, has getting into this world and digital art influenced the way you think you'll approach art and craft and creativity with your kids as they get older?
Ned: Personally, yes. It's hard to A/B test it. I don't know what my brain would be thinking right now if I never got into this space.
When I was growing up, it was like, “You want to get into the music industry? Like don't try, it's like way too crowded. It's too competitive.”
Or, “You want to get into the sports industry? Oh man, don't do that. Everyone wants to get into the sports industry. It's impossible.”
Now I don't actually think any of that's true. Based on my life experience, I feel like it's possible that I might've been successful in the music industry if that's what I wanted to do.
So with my kids, I'm not one of those people that’s like, “Do whatever you want without thought and follow your passion” or that sort of a thing. I think that is too rosy. But also don't limit yourself. Have an open mind.
One thing that I feel like has served me in life is being open to opportunity and when that happens, jumping. Like being willing to jump. Willing to take on calculated risk and not being closed off to it.
I grew up going to museums - the M word. I hated it. I'm guessing they're going to grow up hearing about NFTs and generative art, and they're probably going to hate it. But then maybe when they grow up, they'll like it.
Mary Pat: I think our kids are going to love it. I grew up loving art. My grandparents were art collectors — not expensive art, but they would go to art shows and buy art from local artists and put it on their walls. I've always loved art in that sense from a young age, and I can see it with our kids.
I think they've got an artsy eye. I love watching them draw. The pictures on my wall here are all pictures that my kids have drawn. I think our kids are going to be into art.
I don't want them to think the museum is the M word because I love museums. So they're going to museums with me and you (Ned) can stay home.
When it comes to collecting, between the two of you, you have a pretty big collection. But of course, ETH is not unlimited.
Do you have a strategy or thesis when it comes to your investing in art collecting or is it just impulsive?
Mary Pat: I would say I'm impulsive. You might have a strategy Ned, but I just buy what I like.
Ned: I'd say that it's a hard question to answer because, I started collecting non Top Shot NFTs in March of 2021. It's been a little over two years, which actually is not that long of a time.
There's a generative art collector and thought leader named Sonso, and he recently posted about how he is struggling with how to think about his future collecting.
I think it is a real thing to think about, because I cannot spend at the pace that I have for the previous two years, but I also think it was important for me to have bought a lot of the pieces that I loved quickly, on the early side.
One of the things I'm doing during the bear market is trying to stratify my collection.
When it was the bull market, everything was up and great. But when the bear hits and you look at your collection, you notice that when some pieces go down in value it bothers you but with others it isn't bothering you.
You realize what you like and what you don't really care about.
To your point about financialization, the bear market strips it away a bit and you start to realize which pieces stand out to you for the long term where you don't really care whether the price is going up or down - you just love having it in your collection.
I think that will evolve over time, and moving forward, unless something great happens to us financially, we can't spend at the same pace and we'll just have to pick our spots a little bit more.
Mary Pat: The financialization of art also allows you to collect more. For instance, if I have something that I loved a year ago, but I don't love it as much right now, then I can sell it and someone else can love it, for whatever price they're going to pay, and then you can use that ETH to buy something new.
So I think the financialization of art actually allows you to collect more than you would traditionally.
We've got a storage room downstairs full of art that used to be hanging on our walls. Am I going to sell those? Probably not. Would I have to take it to an auction house? How would I sell it? It would be very hard to sell. In that sense, the financialization of art is great. It allows you to keep going. You get to continue to collect.
Deciding to buy is one thing, but how do you decide when to sell? I know selling is often harder for collectors than buying.
Ned: It's hard to answer with any sort of broad brushstroke. But I'd say there are probably two main times that I decide to sell.
The first is I bought something and it turns out I just don't like it that much. It could be that I minted something and I don’t really like the mint. It could be that I bought something and didn't care about it, but thought the price might go up.
The second is because I need liquidity. I try to be somewhat disciplined about new ETH entering the NFT Wallet and if I'm low, I'll go through my wallet and find something to sell.
As an example, I have more than one Chromie Squiggle, but I sold my least favorite one, maybe six months ago, not because I don't believe in Squiggles, I absolutely do, but I sold it for 15 ETH because it was 15 ETH and I had multiple of them and I wanted the ETH for other things. This was my least favorite one. I was willing to let it go.
You do indeed have a very nice collection of Chromie Squiggles, including one you bought from me back in the day. Last year you bought a Hyper Squiggle from KeyboardMonkey. Why are you bullish on Squiggles?
Ned: I think that one of the most interesting people in the space, if not the most interesting person, is Snowfro.
He is a killer CEO who started arguably the best NFT company. I think Art Blocks is a fantastic company to come out of the space, disrupting traditional art.
He's also a spokesperson for the entire space. I don't know anyone that doesn't like Snowfro. He's just a thoughtful person who is giving back to the community and building a real company with real revenue streams and real culture and fostering IRL events and meetings.
Obviously Art Blocks is loved by a lot of people in the space. The idea that you can mint something without knowing the specific output — I can understand why some people who are not in the space might go, “That sounds insane. Why would I spend $2,000 on something if I don't know what it is?” But there's a thrill in that. It's really fun.
And then Squiggles themselves are fun. They're like the NFT logo. There's no question if it's a Squiggle. If you see one it's super recognizable, it's super colorful, it's super fun, yet there's enough difference to them all that you can go really deep. And there's enough of them (9,999) that a lot of people can collect them, and they can disseminate and proliferate in a way
There may be more to talk about than that. But high level my bullishness on Squiggles is just that:
The person behind it.
The company, Art Blocks, for which the Squiggle is the logo.
The art itself, which is is really fun and accessible and proliferating
What is a piece or a few pieces from your joint collection that you think you might never sell or that you'd like to pass on to your kids someday?
I’m a huge Ripcache fan, I think his art is incredible. But he’s also very thoughtful and he’s really good at connecting with his collectors and the community. He’s just a really nice person in general. I have really enjoyed getting to know him through collecting his art.
This piece is special to me partly because of the art and partly because of the way I bought it. It was part of the Christie’s auction that coincided with NFT NYC. I was able to go to Christie’s in New York and see the auction preview live. It was really cool to see so many strong digital art pieces displayed in a traditional auction house like Christie’s.
Then to bid on it was cool for me because it connected my old world of traditional art collecting and bidding at auction houses and connected it with this new art world that I’ve found in web3. So that was a very special piece and a great overall experience.
Ned: That’s hard. I feel like I won't sell a number of pieces. Never say never, but there are a few that come to mind.
I certainly hope that I'm never selling the hyper squiggle. Unless it gets to a price where I can't justify holding it anymore.
Another one is my Anticyclone by William Mapan. I minted one with a Guide One trait. I'm actually going to get the physical as well. So I just probably won't ever sell that one.
Finally the other one - and I'm laughing about this one - there's an mfer 1-of-1 I have. For those that aren't familiar, these are Sartoshi's chicken scratch drawings and it's this person walking into a room with someone at the computer. He did versions of the different NFTs of the time. So there's like an ape, there's a punk comic, there's a ringer, and there's a squiggle.
I got the squiggle. It’s ostensibly the dad walking in, and the body of the person is a squiggle and he's saying, “Stay away from NFTs. They're dangero — Oh God No!!!”
That just symbolizes Art Block Summer for me and my entry into the space. Someone would have to throw a pretty silly number at it for me to let it go, because I just feel like it's a great, underrated piece.
Why are you drawn to the artist Alpha Centauri Kid, Mary Pat?
Mary Pat: One of my group chats that I'm in everyone was minting The Great Color Study when it came out. I missed it. I don't know if I was busy with something else, but I just didn’t want to spend the time to understand what was going on.
Then when I saw ACK's piano collection, I just thought it was a really exceptional collection. I remember I made Ned sit down and put it up on our big screen because I wanted to look at every single piece. I loved how many there were, but I also loved how cohesive it was. It was clearly a set, yet one was very individual and they could each stand up on their own.
Then I did not win my auction. I still cry about losing that auction.
After that I decided, “Okay, now I want to dig in and check out Color Study.”
He's got a lot of different styles and yet they all work together. Also, I've gotten to know ACK a little bit just through group chats and then I met him in New York when I bought one of his physicals and he's just a really nice guy.
I think that's something that's really fun about the NFT space - you can have relationships with artists.
I've never had a relationship with an artist I've collected before in the traditional art world. I think that's part of the reason I like Ripcache too. I've chatted with him a couple times. It's just nice when you understand the artist behind the art.
By the way, I don't think artists owe us anything. I think an artist can decide they never want to talk to their collectors ever and that decision doesn't make their art any better or worse. But for me talking with artists and understanding what goes into their work has been a really fun part of my collecting.
Absolutely. Ripcache and ACK are two of the favorite people I've interviewed just in terms of my interactions with them and how kind they've been.
For both of you, if you could go back in time to two years ago and give your past self advice right as they were starting their NFT journey, what would you say?
Mary Pat: Don't buy an Azuki. No, I'm kidding. I would say that, though.
Ned: I'd say transfer more ETH more quickly and buy more of these grail pieces that are going to become inaccessible. It's an easy answer, but that would be one.
I don't have a lot of regrets though.
I’ve obviously lost some money on some things and made some money on some things, but I feel like I've done what I wanted to do in this space.
I spend time in it. I go to in person events. I met so many people that first year. I met more people in that first year in NFTs than I had in the previous 10 years of my life.
It was a crash course in meeting new people. It was so fun for me. That's what I wanted to do and I'm happy I did it.
You're an entrepreneurial person, Ned. Now that you've taken a step back from your company, do you think that you will try to work in this space in the next chapter of your career?
Ned: I think if I started a new company, it would be in the space for sure. I can't picture it not being in the space.
I don't have any particular desire currently to do it. But I am not the type of person that has a five year plan.
I'm willing to not have a plan and just keep my eyes and ears open. If the opportunity comes along and I'm feeling energized enough by it, then I'll jump at it.
One thing that I will say for people starting companies right now is that the Web3 space is very immature, and that makes it really hard to have a lasting winning company.
I’d rather find the little spaces in between and solve problems for people there, than say launch a new NFT marketplace or something like that. That's too mass market for me. That's just too much of a home run swing for me. I tend to like to swing doubles a little bit more.
But I feel like those in between spaces are too immature for me to feel super confident. I really appreciate all the people that are building right now, though, because they’re laying the groundwork for things that will be there in 10 years.
There is no shortage of opportunity for people in the space. I would absolutely, if I was starting something, be jumping over to web 3, because I think if you can find yourself in a space or at a company that has the wind at its back, it just lifts you up. You just have so much more opportunity when you're swimming with the tide, so to speak. I'm a huge believer, obviously, in NFTs and crypto. In 10 years I believe it's going to change the world. I think it has societal implications.
When you're not collecting art and when you're not working what do you both like to do? What do you do for fun or to relax?
Mary Pat: We collect art and we work.
We like to travel.
What else do we do?
Ned: We spend a lot of time with friends, whether it's getting together without our kids or getting together with our kids.
Work, web3, kids, and friends. Of course, like family, parents, stuff like that.
That in itself is a lot. It doesn't leave a lot of room for a bunch of other stuff.
But I like to golf when I get free time. I've recently gotten into cooking a little bit more. I like to learn a lot about a lot of different stuff.
What was the last great thing you cooked?
Ned: Ooh, I made homemade ravioli.
With a pasta maker?
Yeah, with a pasta maker from scratch, and then the filling from scratch. It was the first time I've ever done it. I think it was pretty good.
Mary Pat: I have to say your cooking hobby has been fantastic for me because I mean, I can cook, I just don't enjoy it. I always wanted to be married to someone that loved to cook. So it just took us 10 years for me to find someone who wanted to cook for me.
Are there some lesser known or emerging artists that you're excited about right now?
Ned: I don't want to name someone who people think has “arrived” and I'm going to call them “emerging,” so I am not sure I would call them emerging, but…
I really like an artist who goes by Pale Kirill. He's awesome, and I feel like he's under appreciated it in the space. He’s getting better and better. [Editor’s note: His full name is Kirill Semenovich]
Luke Shannon I'm really excited for. He's got a couple of collections coming out that are going to be great.
I have to ask you about The Monument Game. The two of you had a couple of editions of Sam Spratt's Player edition and you both submitted observations and you created this dynamic back-and-forth where the observations were right next to each other and they were speaking to each other.
Take me behind the scenes. How did that come to be?
Ned: Obviously we’re priced out of the rest of Sam Spratt’s stuff. So when this came along and it was an edition of 256, it was like, okay, we might be able to participate in this.
I actually was the counter bidder for Player #1. This was before Sam had really outlined a lot about it, so we were blind bidding a bit and it got higher than I was planning on, and I lost it to PTM.
I was able to mint two and then we sat down and started working on it. We were just messing around with themes that we wanted to do. I think it was Mary’s idea for two people to be talking.
The idea is that we're in it together and that the person is supporting the other person when they're vulnerable and they're like, “I want to leave.”
Mary Pat: It was a lot of fun.
I remember seeing those two characters in the middle of the painting and something struck me and it was just a very cool place to center in on.
I think what we wrote was really indicative of our relationship. We both have been people that support the idea that you should do things that you want to do, but also don't be afraid to leave a situation when something's not working out or when it's just isn't right.
You're never stuck. I think that's something that we've both tried to help each other with. Don't just be on a path because you have to be on it. Be okay to pivot and support each other.
We can go through some crazy shit together, but that's okay, we'll figure it out.
Ned: A silly representation of the pivot thing is that early in our relationship we would go out on dates to restaurants and we started to develop this habit of if we sat down at a restaurant and we weren't feeling it we would just get up and go.
We would tell the waiter or whatever, but we wouldn't see the dinner through because we just had bad vibes. We would look at each other and be like, this doesn't feel like right, let's go somewhere else. So we would just get up and go.
It's one of those things I think most people would just be like, leaving would be weird, and then see the dinner through.
I love it.
I'm going to wrap this up with some rapid fire questions.
What are you reading right now?
Ned: Friend Tech? No, I'm kidding. The last book I read was The Creative Act by Rick Rubin. It's a great book. Certainly if you're an artist you would get something from it. But it also made me feel like I was an artist, in my everyday life.
Mary Pat: One of our friends is a monk. Last time we saw him, I asked him a bunch of questions about being a monk and he gave me a book called I Asked for Wonder and he thinks will help me understand what it is to be a monk and why he became a monk and things to think about.
What's a show or a movie that you've watched in 2023 that stands out to you?
Ned: The best show I watched this year was Beef. It's a 10 part series on Netflix. I thought it was a documentary on meat when I first saw it come up — the Die with The Most Likes documentary.
But it is an awesome show. It was super psychological. The premise is basically like these two people get into a road rage incident and it all just goes from there.
Another great show that I loved was Welcome to Wrexham.
Mary Pat: Severance. I thought it was awesome. It’s a mind bender.
Who are some Twitter followers you recommend?
Ned: Die With The Most Likes is one of my favorite Twitter followers.
Mary Pat: Put notifications on for him. It's amazing.
Ned: On the generative art side, I think one of the best accounts is Sonso (pronounced “So-n-So”)
All right, if you’re willing to play, let's wrap up with some price predictions for 12 months from now.
Let's start with the price of ETH. For reference now, for anyone listening, we are currently at $1630 right now.
Ned: So I think we're on the precipice of going up, but I don't know whether it's going to be like a rocket up or slow up.
So I'll take the more conservative approach and I'll say $2500 in 12 months from now,
Mary Pat: I'm going $1800. Sorry.
With your respective ETH prices in mind in 12 months, what's the Punk floor going to be?
Ned: Punks are a stable coin.
Mary Pat: I think in 12 months from now they’ll be 55 ETH.
Ned: I agree.
What about Grifters?
Mary Pat: I think Grifters are such an under appreciated collection.
It's XCOPY. 666 unique XCOPYs. Yes, it's a PFP, but it's also art. I think it's such a cool collection. I think people don't know about it that much. I think that if more people knew about it, I think the price would be higher.
I will guess they run a bit and will be at 15.
Ned: Also a stable coin. But I think it'll be up. I'm going to go with 16 ETH.
All right. We're generally bullish around here. I like to hear it.
Ned: Those are all some pretty amazing collections. Hard not to be bullish.
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