PorterShed member Cormac Rowe is all about community – so, it’s little wonder he’s the main man behind the Web Three IRL events that have drawn big crowds to the PorterShed in recent times. Whether he’s taking part in Coldtober, helping out as part of the Special Olympics committee, or engaging with the Galway tech community, Cormac loves to harness the power of people. So, Trevor Murray sat down with him to chat about his motivations, how he got started in the web3 space, and what his future looks like.
For Cormac, Galway has played a key role in shaping his shift towards recognising the power of community. Originally from Connemara, he grew up away from the city, but he’s been gradually pulled towards its innovation, activity, and different type of adventure.
“When you have the likes of the PorterShed in Galway city where there’s a great community of entrepreneurs that you can talk with, it’s a great way to meet people and hear about the entrepreneurship scene in Galway. Then, obviously, you have this event space here in Bowling Green that I’ve been able to utilise for my Web3 event…it’s amazing,” Cormac says, adding that the PorterShed continues to be a great place for him to absorb as many ideas from as many people as possible.
Cormac is very interested in breaking into the founder world. He’s also a fan of jumping into cold seawater for fun. These are, of course, two very different things, but they’re arguably inseparably connected by the idea of having to be okay with being uncomfortable, at least for a little while. And that’s something Cormac agrees with.
“You have to get out of your comfort zone to pitch to people and get up on stage. Certain people like promoting themselves, but for me, it doesn’t really come natural to beef myself up and say ‘why am I the best?’, that’s something that I’ve had to learn and be more confident. Essentially, when you’re more confident in yourself, you can almost do anything,” Cormac explains.
Cormac tells me a little about some of his heroes, like Gary Vaynerchuk – someone he really admires. For Cormac, VeeCon (one of the best-known web3 conferences around) is one of the most exciting events happening right now. Cormac has bought the hoody, he’s watched the videos; he’s even had a call with Gary himself. One of his goals is to attend VeeCon as a guest speaker, and he’s quietly working hard to build towards that goal.
So, I’m curious to ask Cormac – what is web 3? After all, there’s a lot of noise around it at the moment, and it’s full of buzzwords that can confuse people and maybe even get their backs up.
To get his definition across of what web3 is, Cormac first gives the lowdown about web1 (the first iteration; reading things online) and web2 (the social media era).
“With web3, you can read, write, and you can also own things online,” Cormac says before going on to debunk the scepticism that some people have about digital ownership (creating an NFT, for example, opens you up to being easily defrauded by a simple right-click and save manoeuver, some might say).
“If you want to take a photo of the Mona Lisa, sure you have a copy of that – but you can never sell that online. It’s the same for any type of NFT, if it’s not in a project that’s associated with the correct artist, then you’re not going to sell it – unless you get coddled.
“I feel like web3 is going to be a huge disruptor in almost every single industry, whether it’s fashion, houses – deeds will be on the blockchain – receipts, art. It’s going to affect so much.”
The possibilities are endless. Cormac explains that the hoody he’s wearing as we’re chatting could have NFTs on it, too; allowing people to scan them as a way to enter into an event, for example.
But what about the naysayers? Well, for Cormac, those people are likely to be left behind if they don’t jump on board the web3 train.
“There’s no going back. Decentralisation is the future, and I’m not just saying that because I’m in the space, that’s where it’s going. There’s too much momentum now for it to go backwards. They tried to regulate bitcoin in the early days, and where’s that gone?” Cormac asks.
For Cormac – whose bread and butter is to work as a videographer – he’s someone who likes to be present and do things for others, but I’m interested to hear about what his own personal future goals are.
“I think of my life in the same that, y’know, you make a movie. So, you know the start, you have an idea about how the ending will go, and then there’s the messy muddle middle. It’s sort of like I’ve got a bajillion goals, and it can be hard to know what direction to take. I’ve got a whole bunch of ideas, and I’m just trying to figure out where to go.”
There’s an openness to Cormac’s perspective. He’s ready for whatever comes, and while there’s still so much up in the air from all angles, he’s confident that web3 will be an ever-present – and for good. From speaking with him, there’s little doubt that he views the fork in the road before him as an opportunity and not a frustrating puzzle, an outlook we could all do with taking on board from time to time.
By Trevor Murray