Founder Fanny Lakoubay: Asking Questions > Taking Action When it Comes to NFTs
Founder of LAL ART Advisory Fanny Lakoubay really wishes people and brands would pause and ask more questions before taking action in the NFT space.
This is a guiding principle behind her art advisory, which assists collectors, artists, and select startups and corporations as they explore the NFT and crypto art space. Mistakes are possible—and possibly inevitable—when you leap into things without proper knowledge, and having an expert advisor to guide you and illuminate which questions are the right ones is invaluable.
“Wanting to Start an NFT Collection Means Nothing”First things first: Not all traditional collectors should acquire NFTs. Fanny points out that a huge misconception by art institutions is that they’re going to convert all traditional collectors to NFT collectors. “That’s going to take time, and way more of it, than people want to realize,” she says.
“Most people who come to me want to start an NFT collection, but that actually means nothing,” she explains. “That can mean everything and anything.” NFTs are not just JPEGs, and the majority of NFT use cases actually are not art.
Something that’s important is to understand what you’re already interested in; that can guide the rest of your decision-making process and help you hone in on what NFTs you ultimately want to invest in.
Questions to start with:
- Why do you want to start a collection?
- Are you continuing an existing collection or wanting to start something new?
- Do you just want more information and education, or are you looking to buy?
- What are your goals with this venture?
- What are your existing interests and how can NFTs relate to them?
Asking questions applies to businesses, too. In February, Belvedere Museum in Austria dropped fractional ownership of The Kiss by Klimt, and it was poorly received by the community. Had the institution done some more info-gathering around what their current patrons and community wanted, they may have been able to realize they were off-track and nix the project before it launched.
“Talking about things can make a big difference,” Fanny emphasizes. “I always advocate for putting education and conversation before the commercial and implementation aspects.”
Community vs Membership
Fanny wishes there was a new word for community because the term has been thrown around so much—and many times, it’s actually used to reference a membership model. “I’ve seen interviews where the questions have the terms ‘community’ and ‘utility’ in the same question, but they’re not the same thing. The interesting thing for me is that, while this is a new space, it’s also a decentralized space, so we can have many people working on different things but also coordinating. The idea of community to me is about coordination between projects.”
For Fanny, that looks like weekly calls with people she might not work directly with but who are doing important work in the industry. “I’d rather work with my competitors and send them work than waste time and energy duplicating work,” she says. “We’re all working in this new industry, where we need to collaborate to make our lives easier and also compete with centralized solutions and the meta of this world.”
To keep the larger community in the know, she maintains her firm’s website. The LAL Art Advisory site is a resource for those looking to learn more about NFTs, with a weekly on-site update providing a roundup of industry news and happenings (you can also subscribe to her newsletter to receive the same info).
Without Artists, Blockchain Would Be Worrisome
Fanny isn’t just advising people on NFTs; she’s actively participating in token-gated communities. When she spoke to LAGO, she had just gotten a tattoo from Bruno Levy, who designed a collection of tattooable skulls and sold them as PFPs, truly bridging the physical and digital worlds. By supporting his project, patrons gained access to events and future projects, as well as a private tattoo appointment.
She’s also currently intrigued by AI-based poetry on the blockchain; specifically, the work of women-founded theVERSEverse. “It might be harder in the traditional art world to find groundbreaking projects like these,” she says. “What I’ve seen with artists is that they get excited and there’s almost this influx of creativity because new things are happening, and that’s going on with blockchain. Technology needs to be functional; it would be worrying if we had this technology and no artists were pushing it or experimenting with it, as this might mean we’re doomed to be consumerists.”
At the end of the day, no matter where your questions (and subsequent answers) lead you, remember to have fun. As Fanny put it, “If we’re not having fun, what’s the point?”