The phrase "content is king" is from an essay Bill Gates published on the Microsoft website in 1996 apparently. Here are some striking passages from it given the year (this was before YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok):

Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting

The long-term winners will be those who use it to medium to deliver information and entertainment. And he goes on to include software as content, an extremely important one.

Side note: If I had read this before I guess there wouldn't have been a reason to debate SaaS vs. content path. Or feel strange about calling myself a content creator from software engineer. It's all the same why not.

Okay so back to this essay, I note the mention of online communities in this sentence:

I expect societies will see intense competition-and ample failure as well as success-in all categories of popular content-not just software and news, but also games, entertainment, sports programming, directories, classified advertising, and on-line communities devoted to major interests

He goes on to sort of predict online communities in the form that we see now in 2021. If we people are expected to turn on their computer to read a screen they expect to be rewarded with content that is deeper and an opportunity for personal involvement that goes far beyond that offered through the letters-to-the-editor pages of print magazines. Personal connections between members all of who share a common goal/interests is what successful communities have in common.

So what does all this have to do with web3? (wasn't it web 2.0, this inconsistency in nomenclature bugs me...oh well).

For the Internet to thrive, content providers must be paid for their work. The long-term prospects are good, but I expect a lot of disappointment in the short-term as content companies struggle to make money through advertising or subscriptions. It isn’t working yet, and it may not for some time.

He then goes on to lay out the whole advertising business model and compares that to subscription revenue and the challenges of charging 'small amounts' for content on the Internet.

This is the essay I was originally reading, which references the above "content is king" essay. This one's got all the things - NFTs, DAOs, digital scarcity. It's called The Web3 Renaissance: A Golden Age for Content from Li Jin's newsletter (who I heard a while back on the Indiehacker's pod). The essay itself can be collected as an NFT. Of course.

When I first opened it, it was $700 now it's over $5000. Incidentally, that's what people would spot and get attracted to first in midst of all this stuff. The money and the possibility making a lot of it quickly I think.

But Li's essay does a good job of first principles analysis of the current state of this world. It's a good overview, I'd recommend reading it. (though I have no idea how it compares to other content out there on this topic, I haven't spent much time on it). And I definitely recommend the "content is good" essay for historical reference.

[I spent most of my writing time reading today so will have to continue this tomorrow.]