Don't Hire A CMO
Steph Alinsug

Mon Apr 15 2024

Introducing FWB's first CMO Steph Alinsug.

gm it’s me, Steph.

My life’s work is on the internet. It began in my adolescent home’s computer room where I would meditate on the blips and bleeps of dial up, eager to plug into Xanga, Myspace, Tumblr, Neopets, VLES, AIM chat rooms, etc. I taught myself CSS to customize my micro-sites to suit my evolving teenage interests. I blogged throughout college on self-built Wordpress sites, broadcasting my existential musings to a faceless internet.

Instagram changed everything. I got my first iPhone in the spring of 2012. Equipped with a mobile creation and distribution device, my compulsion to publish content to the internet exploded. I was taking pictures, applying filters, writing captions with such fervor that I asked my employers to let me do it as part of my work. I taught myself Photoshop and Illustrator and studied branding while watching Girls, wearing American Apparel leggings and oversized v-neck tees. Seth Godin books abound.

This early comfortability with creating and publishing content differentiated me throughout my career. I was often the only person in the proverbial office who was manic enough to love the brutal work of creating content and running social media. Digital storytelling via brand identity and content is the throughline across my scattershot career in food, social change, community organizing, goat farming (ask me about this sometime), and even a quick stint in academic administration.

I became obsessed with blockchain at the end of 2021 after listening to a fated Proof interview with Mike Shinoda talking about his excitement for the technology's ability to reward creativity in ways previously unheard of. I stumbled into DAOs and community tokens and haven’t looked back.


I’ve spent the last few years afraid of marketing. I joined crypto at the time when the intro channels of DAO Discord servers were overflowing with new entrants eager to contribute. As a non-technical contributor, I was the odd anon out; literally just a girl offering soft skills at a time when few people wanted to talk about marketing.

I started talking about decentralized media instead.

Like funding, followers are easy to come by during hype cycles. The explosive follower growth of some of our favorite blue chip brands in crypto is directly correlated to the frothy funding conditions of the last cycle. This is not to deny the power of these brands. It’s exactly the opposite – there is immense untapped opportunity for these brands to compound their well-earned hype cycle growth into a new phase of brand maturity. We’ll compound that growth by leaning into the next evolution of marketing – call it decentralized media, call it onchain media – it's all marketing. Always has been.

WTF is onchain media??

During my time leading media and marketing at Seed Club, I couldn’t unsee the potential impact that blockchain technology would have on the future of marketing, brand building, commerce and therefore culture. It’s why I founded Vessel, instigated Broadcast, and produced Seed Club’s Eyewitness Live: The Consumer Crypto Summit at FEST23.

No one could have predicted the way social media and email marketing would emerge Direct-To-Consumer commerce. Instagram and digital marketing channels made previous marketing intermediaries irrelevant. For the first time, brands could market directly to their consumers, bypassing outdated and costly marketing gatekeepers like newspapers and magazines.

Putting media onchain will similarly disrupt our existing trad social distribution channels. It creates even more direct relationships between brand and consumer, creator and fan, all while generating revenue. Think of this as an actual return on ad spend, making marketing a significant revenue center for the first time in history. It’s already happening, but we still have a long way to go to make this future fully realized. That’s wildly exciting to me.

Onchain media is the most powerful application of blockchain technology. It’s the next evolution of brand and marketing, and there will be a time in the future where every major brand’s marketing will include an onchain media strategy. While I’ve deprecated Vessel for now, we will build the future of onchain media at FWB.


At the second annual FWB NYC Dim Sum dinner, we announced my position as FWB’s first Chief Marketing Officer.

Jon Wu recently wrote a viral thread arguing against early stage companies hiring CMOs. He’s right – early stage founders shouldn’t hire CMOs or Heads of Marketing. FWB is not an early stage company anymore, and FWB didn’t hire a CMO. They hired me, a very online storyteller with niche internet interests and a knack for memes and metrics.

Founded by a community of opinionated cultural technologists with a compulsion for subverting trends, FWB is – and always will be – a crypto and culture vanguard. In 2021, we were backed by the leading crypto venture firm, making us one of the first DAOs to be venture-funded. In 2022, we threw our inaugural FWB FEST, gathering the globally distributed cognition in Idyllwild, CA. In 2023, we set the stage for the next phase of DAOs through forming the novel Unincorporated Nonprofit Association around our 5,000+ FWB members. Earlier this year, we spun-out our product studio – Scene Infrastructure Company – making us one of the first DAOs to own a significant stake in a technology company.

It stands to reason that in 2024, FWB’s first executive team includes me, a first-time CMO. We continue our trendsetting trajectory with trendsetters at the helm.

FWB is one of those blue chip brands I referred to earlier. The brand was born at a time when the industry was ripe with money and retail attention. The community persisted through incredible industry odds – overblown valuations, multiple market collapses, Elon’s takeover of Twitter, Nouns mania – and have managed to maintain a viable, highly distinguished community. We also still know how to throw a party.

As the crypto, web3, and emerging technology industries mature, so do we. Now in our fourth year at the very beginning of another hype cycle, we’re paving the way for what’s next at the intersection of culture and emerging technology. Here are the some of the themes driving our brand and marketing strategy for 2024:

Our Saturn return.

It’s our belief that the internet, like other esoteric practices, is a tool for better understanding ourselves. We’re lovingly calling this era FWB’s Saturn Return as we contend with the passage of time, our responsibilities, capabilities, and our wisdom. We are collectively coming of age as a brand and industry at large.

At FWB, we’re deprogramming stale ways of operating and reprogramming with innovative strategies paired with the infrastructure to execute quickly and well. In practice this looks like taking on rebellious partnerships, launching new initiatives, and revamping existing ones.

As we often say in the team slack, “Sorry for shipping.”

I desire anonymity but also attention.

We are a community steeped in duality. Some of our members are obsessed with growth and trend hacking (gm to our founders, builders, and investors) and some are concerned with remaining niche and subverting trends (shout out to our cultural producers, critics, and creatives). We need you both.

At FWB, we want our taste to be known while also protecting our magic. We desire anonymity but also attention. You’ll see this duality reflected in our marketing and brand strategy, informing not only the types of initiatives we take on, but also how we execute and market them. This [sexual] tension between marketing and belonging is core to my approach to storytelling for growth. My charge is to tell the incredible stories of the diverse voices, curators, and tastemakers in the FWB community, signaling to the uninitiated that you belong here.


This is our programmatic theme for FEST24. Naturally you’ll see this referenced other places in our brand.

One definition of validation is testing and finding the truth of something. That’s what we’re collectively doing in web3. We’re pushing at the edges of technology in search of our future. It’s what we do at FWB through being a platform for a better internet by celebrating emerging tech, emerging culture, and the resulting discourse. This discourse and thought leadership is part of what got us to where we are today, and we’re rebuilding that pillar in 2024. Keep an eye on both our newsletter and editorial platform for what’s coming.

It seems dumb but it’s super smart.

“Delulu in the streets, professor in the sheets” is how I described our 2024 marketing strategy with complete sincerity in our Q1 Town Hall. While FWB is posting memes to main, we’re also tracking metrics in a fully coded, many-tabbed sheet to maintain a tight feedback loop on the effectiveness of our storytelling. But this sentiment captures more than just jpegs and data. “It seems dumb but it’s super smart” is our way of saying that even within a maturing industry, vibes still matter because culture matters.


If any of this resonates with you, give me a shout on Twitter or at and let’s chat about it. See you on the internet, friends.

Thank you to Greg Bresnitz for plucking me out of a dark internet hole and bringing me onto the FWB team, and for supporting this creation of this essay.