Updated: Jan 9
Ahead you’ll be reading 4 Lessons Learned After 2 Years As Founders and Creatives within Puerto Rico, the cannabis, Web3 and Metaverse space from the perspective of Danny “The Highgineer” as part of our Insight Blog.
As a quick intro of our journey before we dive into the lessons, Ricardo and myself have been creating 3D assets since our final semester at the University Of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, where we graduated as Mechanical Engineers after successfully clearing our Capstone Project with a Cannabis Infusing Device we proposed. While in college, we learned highly technical skills about 3D designing and printing, 3D analysis, coding, manufacturing and mechatronics. With this preparation, a project management minor, multiple entrepreneurship programs and a passion for cannabis, we set out to create solutions to help people like us.
At that point we started THC Group, soon to become The High Creators Group LLC, with the efforts of creating 3D printed accessories that might help cannabis patients with their cannabis management and handling using PLA (poly lactic acid) filament which can be recycled and often times biodegradable. From there we were able to create a wide variety of accessories from the ones in the Chroma Sets NFT to collaborations for dispensary displays and limited edition sets like the BSW Sustainable Smokers Set. After a year of working tirelessly in the industry, we set out to find new ways to integrate 3D printing with emerging technologies in the efforts of opening up to the creative industries and collaborate with artists and we found NFTs and the Metaverse.
After this huge discovery we set out to create ways to integrate everything we were learning about to add the most value to brands that will eventually work with us. In a matter of a year we created Chroma Sets NFT, composed of some of our 3D printable accessories, Highcoon, a project created by DarkCupcake and myself that was featured in Chroma Highcoon, Totally Hand-Crafted Metaverses, a collection of metaverses with completely unique hand-modeled assets and the BSW Nation Metaverse Project in collaboration with BSW. But none of these were easy successes and took a lot of determination and the right mindset to get us through the lows of the year that would’ve directly impacted the creations and progress of all of these projects and the ones we were creating for other people. Along the way, we learned a lot of very important lessons that will help us take control of this new year and these are the 4 most important ones.
Lesson #1: Quality Over Quantity
It’s more important to do 1 thing as best as you can, than to try everything you see in the efforts of making something stick. Don’t invest too many hours creating something cool if it doesn’t add value to your community or the people closest to you or your brand.
Being eager while starting out, we said yes to any collaboration, project or event that wanted us to do something for their community in the efforts of spreading the word of what we did and generating traction for our brand. When doing this, we tried to give every project the same amount of effort to assure the best quality possible, and we managed, for a while. After a year of making it work, we started to notice that not every YES we gave out was a positive experience that added value to our end goals. With this in our minds, began to understand the value in doing great work with great people, and how when doing so the effort didn’t end up feeling like stress, something we also had a lot of last year. By subjecting ourselves to a heavy workload for cheap to make ends meet and to get the word out fast, we lost perspective of the fact that if we did 1 project at a time without the stress of multiple deadlines, we were able to deliver faster and better.
Sometimes we think that because we’re only doing 1 thing at a time, we’re wasting our efforts, but this only allows us to focus better in the tasks at hand, and as creatives it reduces the amount of ideas swirling in your head.
Lesson #2: People Over Money
People are the most important currency when you’re trying to add value to your community. Sometimes, allying yourself with the right people or connecting with likeminded individuals will get you farther than any amount of money could if you’re interested in long-term growth.
After multiple collaborations and projects we developed for brands, artists and communities, we started to understand the power and value of people. Only people can buy what youre selling and only people can validate how good you are in what you do, since everything a brand does, it does for people. When thinking about this its important to take into account that when trying to establish relationships with new people, intentions wont be clear unless thoroughly discussed, and these might be the most important things you need to discuss to find good people that are worth more than money and are worth investing time and effort in. These people will help you create your community and little by little grow it by becoming advocates of your offering, as you become an advocate for theirs.
A community does not exist without people participating within the same space and creating a conversation around the value that is being brought to the table and the more people you can gather the farther youll get.
Lesson #3: Collaboration is Key
If you want to grow and achieve new highs, you need to connect and collaborate with people that share and respect your vision of the world and understand the value of your time and expertise providing productive interactions making it easier to create together.
With people comes collaboration, the key to success from my point of view and what helps us thrive as we can trust in others our weaknesses to focus even more on our strengths. This only makes the creative journey one filled with more growth given opening up to collaboration allows you to get new and fresh perspectives regarding what you do best and may spark ideas as to way to do better or integrate areas of expertise. When collaborating its very important to have a clear idea of the value each person is getting from the interaction. This can be a breaking point later in the relationship, as it happened to us with multiple collaborators where we were expected to provide time, money and effort in one sided interactions with no clear value to us. After these failed attempts at collaborating, we learned that as long as you have clear intentions and value, as well as executing your part of the agreement giving the extra mile, you will get collaborators that will create by your side for years to come.
Once you successfully gather like-minded people within your space, you will be able to add real value to their communities while gaining unique creative perspectives.
Lesson #4: Value Over Hype
When building your project or brand, pay more attention and importance to the value you want to add and the change you want to spark instead of focusing the engagement of the latest content you posted, value shines over time, hype fades with it, and with it your brand.
Tying everything together is the ultimate value you want to add to the world by caring more about the quality of the service or product youre providing, the people you surround yourself with and how you choose to create meaningful business relationships. The most important thing always will be what drives you daily to create solutions and solve problems, since this is what will help you keep an unwavering attitude when faced with adversity towards your project or brand. The value of what you do and you set out to accomplish will trump the hype of the projects around you if given the time and effort it deserves. Focus on the work that adds the most value to those around you and you will be able to create the only thing better than hype, a community.
Build a community instead of the hype and let them help your project grow while adding value that will make their lives better.
These might be the most important lessons we’ve learned in the past 2 years and may be more relatable if you work alone or with a small group. Even so, no matter the reason you can never jeopardize quality of a project or deliverable, specially because of a bad relationship with a collaborator or misrepresented value. Working a variety of projects at the same time with a different kinds of people can hurt your creativity and your work if not handled properly. Make sure not to invest the only resource we can’t get back in things that wont add any value and could in turn potentially diminish it and start making better moves with this finite resource, time.
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