Interview With Jessie Mongeon, Author of The Ultimate Web3 Pocket Guide
NiftyLit co-founder, Jo Unruh, had the opportunity to interview Jessie Mongeon, author of the The Ultimate Web3 Pocket Guide: First NFT Edition, which will officially be published by NiftyLit on January 31st, 2023. Readers can “advance mint,” aka advance order, their NFTs of the book as of January 20th, and the books will be airdropped to owners on the 31st. Click here to advance order your copy.
Originally published in the late summer of 2022, Mongeon’s book covers everything from blockchain basics to non-fungible tokens (NFTs), to decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs), to the most popular Web3 related podcasts. NiftyLit’s publication represents the “First NFT Edition,” adding a touch of collectibility to a book that could not be better suited for on-blockchain publishing. While the book falls outside of NiftyLit’s regular literary publications and genres, not only is Jessie Mongeon a high-impact player in Web3 and a literary writer at heart (and published poet!), NiftyLit also firmly believes in community education and making Web3 technology understandable and accessible to the masses. We are absolutely thrilled at this opportunity.
Jessie will also be in conversation with NiftyLit EIC Katie M. Zeigler on Tuesday, January 31st at 3pm PT via Zoom. Register on our Linktree or directly with this Zoom registration link.
Jo: How did you end up working in Web3? Was it something you sought out or did you fall into it?
Jessie: To be honest, I accidentally fell into Web3. I was aware of cryptocurrencies, since I spent some time in 2016 and 2017 mining Bitcoin before the infamous Bitcoin NiceHash hack, but I wasn’t familiar with how far crypto or blockchains had come when I came across the job listing for my current position at Filebase. At the time, I was in a role that I felt like was a total step back in my career. I had gone from a system administrator role to a tier 1 call center support role, and it felt like I had done a full 180 with the lineage of my career. One day, I took a strong look at what I loved to do and the skillset I had, and realized that a career in technical writing might marry my love of writing and my background in tech. And I was correct! I’ve loved every second at Filebase, where I get to do what I love every single day–write.
Jo: What drove you to write The Ultimate Web3 Pocket Guide?
Jessie: As I’ve spent the past year and some change writing documentation, blog posts, ebooks, and more for Filebase, I’ve had to do a lot of research. Most of that research time isn’t spent digesting the information before writing, but instead is spent just finding the information. I found that there wasn’t one master resource that covers everything in Web3 on a fundamental level. In general, Web3 education is fairly limited, and tends to focus on current buzzwords in the space. There are plenty of resources that are very narrowly focused, like how to mint an NFT or how a blockchain operates, but there wasn’t any resource that covered everything from blockchains, NFTs, crypto and smart contracts, to decentralized storage and more. I got the idea randomly one day while I was out walking my dogs, and I thought, “hey, this might be something.”
Jo: You have a very impressive professional resume in STEM, particularly for someone so young, but you’ve also done some work in poetry. Can you talk about your more artistic sides and where you see that influencing your more technological work?
Jessie: Yes! I dabbled in poetry when I was younger. I enjoyed writing short poems with very deep, implied meanings. For the most part, my writing style and focus has always been very technical and analytical. My favorite assignments in school were essays that focused on literature analysis for novels like The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Great Gatsby. But creative writing and building my own world with characters has never been something that I’ve found myself doing. That being said, my creativity really comes through in how I interpret and view literature or other pieces of writing. I’m able to take my understanding and knowledge of different literary themes, symbols, and language, and create a cohesive piece of writing that others can digest and understand. That’s really been where my work has shined being a technical writer in Web3. Being able to take several different resources, compile the main concepts and themes, then put it into a format that others can pickup and understand seamlessly has been a skill that I’m very proud of.
Jo: How much independent research did you have to do to write the book and how much of it was knowledge you were already gaining through your job as a tech writer for Filebase? (note for readers: Filebase is a leading decentralized storage and IPFS provider – one can learn more about IPFS by reading Jessie’s book!).
Jessie: At Filebase, we focus on decentralized storage and how users can benefit from the technologies that work on the backend of storage networks, like erasure coding. For my book, decentralized storage is only a chapter. While I was familiar with other technologies, like blockchains and smart contracts, most of what I wrote required that I did a lot of independent research! A lot of it came from reading the documentation for different technologies. When I needed more information than the documentation provided, I went to any white papers I could find on the product or technology. Then when I went to write, I’d have my resource in one tab, my draft in another, and I’d try to reference and include visual aids whenever it made sense, since I love a good diagram myself!
Jo: Do you do any other writing in your free time (not that you have much…)?
Jessie: I do! I have a memoir draft that I’ve been sitting on for over a year now that I keep mulling back and forth with. Since it’s a memoir of my life thus far, with a strong focus on a particular event that was a real pivot point in my adolescence, whenever I remember something that I think is worth mentioning I open the draft and add it, or at least add some notes so I can come back to it. I keep going back and forth about publishing the memoir, since it details a lot of very personal, vulnerable memories and events in my life, but memoirs are my favorite genre to read. To me, the more vulnerable the better the story. I also have this idea for a true crime fiction that I’m beginning to explore to try and develop my creative writing skills a bit more.
Jo: Thank you for sharing that about your memoir–I think that’s something other writers, particularly memoirists, can relate to on a deep level. What about reading? Read anything particularly compelling lately you can recommend? Favorite authors?
Jessie: My favorite genre to read are memoirs. I really like relating to the author’s personal story and the struggles or adversities that they faced in their life. For me, it’s almost like a form of therapy to be honest. Some of my favorites are Coming Clean by Kimberly Rae Miller (which I’ve re-read at least four times) and The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. As far as traditional literature authors go, I am a huge John Steinbeck fan. His way of describing visual scenery is one of my absolute favorite writing styles I’ve ever come across.
Jo: Gotta love Steinbeck! As a California based magazine, there’s no denying his capabilities with landscapes; I’ve always found his writing makes me think about nature in new, thrilling ways. Switching gears: we met a few times leading up to publication of your book, and you mentioned that you were the first woman to graduate from your college’s Information Technology program. How has that experience informed your continued pursuit of a career in tech?
Jessie: When they told me I was the first girl to graduate from my college’s IT program for my bachelor’s degree, it was a mix of pride but also disbelief, and not in a good way. I was confused as to how no other girl had gone through the program, at a fairly well-known college in Western Massachusetts nonetheless. They even went through the trouble of giving me an award for it. If anything, it really fueled my desire to keep talking about women in tech and advocating for women in STEM programs. At that point it had been 4 years since I graduated from a vocational high school where I was the only girl in the information technology program, so it felt like I was right back in high school.
Jo: Your personal journey is definitely impressive and I want to commend you for your continued advocacy for women in STEM. You’re helping a lot of people and making a hugely positive impact. Let’s talk NFTs. What do you see for the future of NFTs? Are they dead? what changes need to happen?
Jessie: I don’t think they’re dead, but I think they’re definitely going to take a step back for a while after the recent events with FTX and some of the other controversies that make the entire Web3 space look sketchy to everyday folks that don’t understand it yet. There’s also a huge gap in education right now about what an NFT is and what an NFT could be. Right now a lot of people see them as tradable images, kind of like trading cards. The thing that I really preach for is that the possibilities of NFTs have barely scraped the surface. Smart contracts have such a wide range of use-cases and potential that I think once there are more applications of them behind the scenes, they’ll be adopted more widely. Most end-users are more inclined to adopt things when they don’t have to think about and understand exactly what’s happening on the backend. How many people that use Facebook understand how a web server works?
Jo: Totally agree. I’m constantly coming across new use cases for NFTs and just waiting for greater adoption once the utilities are more accessible without so much heavy lifting in terms of consumer education. Finally, what’s next for you?
Jessie: Right now, I’m focused on starting the year off strong regarding content for Filebase. I’m primarily focused on our documentation and blog posts that detail our new features and product offerings. Aside from that, I’ve got a few projects in mind but nothing too solid yet. As I mentioned I have a memoir manuscript that I’m back and forth with wanting to publish, and I have an idea for a novel that I’m not sure I’ll ever execute since fiction is really not my style. In the Web3 space, I’m consistently contributing to the education resources that are available, and trying to participate in non-writing forms of content like podcasts, Twitter Spaces, and tutorial videos.
Jo: Awesome. Thank you Jessie! The opportunity to publish the first NFT edition of your book has been an absolute pleasure. We can’t wait to see what you do next. You have big fans in our little NiftyLit family.
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