Just as things were getting serious at Adidas, Tareq Nazlawy quit. He was senior director of digital growth and was leading their web3 initiative. He quit because Bitcoin and crypto were dead.
Let's rewind to late 2020.
Bitcoin and Ethereum happened to be trading on a platform Tareq was buying stocks on, so he decided to do some research. He read The Bitcoin Standard and quickly fell down the rabbit hole.
A few months later, things were heating up at Adidas. Elon Musk had tweeted that Tesla was accepting Bitcoin and Tareq's inbox was on fire. Adidas was trying to figure out how to play this new crypto craze but they had a problem.
There was no ‘Head of Web3’ or blockchain expert at Adidas.
So, Tareq decided to partner up with the Head of Brand Marketing for Adidas Originals and set up a task force to look into it. They sent out an open call to action to the company and waited.
Luckily, several people got in touch who were keen to join in on the exploration. Eight busy months later, they launched the first major branded NFT collection.
It was a risk. It could have flopped and been a waste of resources.
But it ended up being a success.
The key lesson was that this wasn’t an NFT drop - it was the beginning of a new generation of membership. A way to increase interaction between the brand and customers.
Following the drop, things got serious. Adidas wanted to keep pursuing this opportunity and needed to get board support so that they could start attracting the right skills to the organization.
And then... Tareq left.
In the background, there was a new organisation being built.
Raoul Pal (founder and CEO of Real Vision), David Pemsel (ex-CEO of the Guardian and Chair of the British Fashion Council), and Kevin Kelly (co-founder of Delphi Digital) were building something special. ScienceMagic.Studios (SMS), a company designed to help brands do exactly what Adidas was doing.
They approached Tareq about an opportunity. And a few conversations later, he joined SMS as President.
He’s since been building the team and advising brands and talent across music, sport and fashion on how web3 can enable them to co-create new value with the community.
His mission is to show the world what blockchain enables and how it can make a difference in our everyday lives.
Many ideas under the web3 banner will not survive. However, his firm belief is that web3-powered engagement initiatives will change the way brands and communities interact to create and share value.
So much so, he was willing to bet his career on it.
He's currently advising the largest brands in the world, and if anyone can offer insight into how blockchain can improve your business, it’s Tareq.