Community//

Karsen Woods: “I believe mistakes are subjective”

I am eager to blow the ceiling off the echo chambers where conversations about the Metaverse and NFTs occur. Mass adoption of blockchain technology will be achieved through collective consciousness and social exchange theories. Everyone must decide which role they want to play as architects of the digital future. There will be good guys and […]

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.

I am eager to blow the ceiling off the echo chambers where conversations about the Metaverse and NFTs occur. Mass adoption of blockchain technology will be achieved through collective consciousness and social exchange theories. Everyone must decide which role they want to play as architects of the digital future. There will be good guys and bad guys, but everyone will leave something in their wake. My way of shaking things up will be carefully calculated but explosive. Few will know I am the brain behind the moments that shape crypto culture — until everyone knows all at once.


As a part of our series about women who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Karsen Woods.

While others have been trying to just figure out what an NFT is, Karsen has been talking about crypto art and media for years. Karsen has concretized her reputation as an emerging but influential voice among various crypto-focused communities and the NFT ecosystem at large. She spent nearly three years with animated entertainment and luxury product start-up, Superplastic as the Director of Brand Development where she was responsible for building the Superplastic community through business development, marketing, narrative, new media, partnerships, growth, and creativity.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

I had, up until April 2021, spent my entire life in Vermont. I have been an obsessive consumer of pop culture from a young age. I didn’t grow up with cable and didn’t have high-speed internet until I was a junior in high school, but I distinctly remember sitting on the grocery store floor reading J-14 and TeenVogue magazines while my mom shopped. It was less of an escape and more of a school of thought for me, even at a young age. In my freshman year at Castleton University, I took “Race, Gender, and Sexuality in the Media,” which was a pivotal moment in my life and in shaping my career. Through the lens of intersectional feminism, I understood the true power of pop culture.

My coursework in communication and women’s and gender studies concretized my new position within the larger framework of popular culture — from consumer to student. I began to study pop culture as a roadmap; each trend, article, headline, and content piece became a case study. I refined my ability to pinpoint defining moments in social movements known as pop culture turning me into the ultimate trend forecaster. This superpower landed me employee number three at Superplastic, an animated entertainment and luxury collectibles start-up headquartered in Vermont. My first “real” job out of college.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

During my two and half years at Superplastic, I held six titles officially, but as is often said related to start-up life, I wore many hats. The concept of positioning animated, anthropomorphic characters as celebrities were, and unquestionably still is, a relatively disruptive idea — especially amidst the peak of influencer marketing driven by the likes of Kardashian/Jenners, TikTokers, and Bachelor Nation. What I think was, and still is, more disruptive is that Superplastic’s animated influencers Janky & Guggimon, were relatable and grounded in real-world trends like the Wipe it Down challenge, dressing in Gucci, and advocating in favor of social justice movements.

I can confidently say that the most disruptive element of my career thus far was my decision to resign from Superplastic. As I moved up in the ranks to ultimately spend my last nine months as the Director of Brand Development, it came as a surprise to outsiders looking in. I had been locking deals with A-list brands and celebrities, rapidly raising Superplastic’s brand profile, and working directly with some of the most talented artists and animators of our time. However, there is a moment in every Hero’s Journey known as “Crossing the Threshold,” where one must leave the world they are familiar with for that which they are not — this is where the story gets good.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I believe mistakes are subjective. Any decision can be interpreted or perceived as a mistake. That said, I completely fabricated my level of experience and qualifications for the role. At face value, one may perceive this as a mistake, but it created a roadmap for my journey within the company.

I created a character and story in my cover letter that was frankly the best fit for the role I was applying for, and in doing so, I was the best person for the position.

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

I have more mentors than I can count on. As they say, it takes a village. As cliche as it sounds, my mom and dad deserve the most credit. Both have always been community-focused and person-first in their personal and professional lives. They each possess the incredible talent to make the person they are talking to feel like the only person in the room. I have always admired them for that and attempted to embody that myself.

Apart from my parents, I have a long list.

My college advisor Sanjukta Ghosh armed me with the rhetoric to challenge injustices and dismantle the patriarchy.

Paul Budnitz, Ryan Hunt, Ioana Banu, Galen McKamy, and Huck Gee, who, as Superplastic’s executive team, not only raised me but introduced me to a world I was built to conquer.

June Lee, Allison Freidin, and Julie Ann Quay taught me to be unafraid and unapologetic when it comes to pivoting.

Legendary artists and friends DJ 3LAU, Thankyou, and Ryan Gill for graciously facilitating my introduction into the NFT community and supporting me as I build my own authority.

And Marty Callner. Who is a crystal ball into my future as a fellow trend forecaster and culture creator?

The list goes on and on…

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

I wholeheartedly believe that being a disruptor is natural and organic. It is not something that you can pinpoint, and if you try to, it becomes damaging. People who are considered disruptors often see the world through a different lens. They have a hunger to shake things up and do things their way. Unfortunately, the most common use of this term tends to be when talking about women in tech spaces. It is almost as if any woman who aims to build authority within the digital future is considered disruptive by default. Historically, women have been digital pioneers for decades– since the very advent of WiFi and Bluetooth technology.

When positioning women as disruptors, it’s vital to address identity politics. Identity politics in the Metaverse must include exploring the protopine promise of the Metaverse and its mission to decentralize power. At this present moment, that mission even appears to be driven by an inherently homogenous group of decision-makers, making female-identifying headliners inherently “disruptive.” This is problematic in that it is because of one woman, Hedy Lemarr, that our society has the power to access the Metaverse.

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

The only thing you have to lose is time. No matter how hard we try, we cannot extend the number of hours in a day or days in a year or years in our life. It’s a double-edged sword. Protect your time because it is the only currency you cannot make back.

Never work with assholes. I owe all the credit for this to Paul Budnitz. There is no amount of money in the world that can buy your respect. I have said no to more than one lucrative opportunity simply because I didn’t like the person on the other side of the table. And I regret nothing.

Assume you’ve already failed. Another Paul Budnitz gem. When you consider you’ve already failed, every stride is worth celebrating.

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

I am eager to blow the ceiling off the echo chambers where conversations about the Metaverse and NFTs occur. Mass adoption of blockchain technology will be achieved through collective consciousness and social exchange theories. Everyone must decide which role they want to play as architects of the digital future. There will be good guys and bad guys, but everyone will leave something in their wake. My way of shaking things up will be carefully calculated but explosive. Few will know I am the brain behind the moments that shape crypto culture — until everyone knows all at once.

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by ‘women disruptors’ that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?

The debt we are owed for centuries of emotional labor.

Patriarchal systems have been built to be sustained by hierarchies that systematically disenfranchise marginalized communities. As women, we have to constantly calculate our approach to infiltrating those systems — making our work twice as hard. The very practice of writing my challenges is an expenditure of emotional labor. For what?

I would challenge men to ask the women in their lives — professional or personal — how they have been subjected to marginalization. It is not a question of if, but how and when. Then do not dispute it; ask how you can correct your behavior.

Do you have a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us?

Mark Groves and To Be Magnetic podcasts. Both have impacted me by capturing shared experiences and theorizing them by examples of low self-worth or self abandoning. Whenever I am down, they reignite my fire. Being in my worth and power is the only key to success.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Nearly all modern inventions are inherently ableist. I wish to live in a world that is more accessible to people with disabilities. This is especially important as we charge toward a future well supported by technology. Even the tech-based apps and platforms we use every single day include integrations that allow people with disabilities to use them. I implore everyone reading this to add alt-text to their Instagram posts right now to make them accessible to people with vision impairment, especially if you run a brand or corporate account. Just do it.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“No matter what, they can never take away your birthday.”

Bill Woods

My dad said this to me many times throughout my life — often amidst a frantic phone call or meltdown. I never knew what he meant by it, and I never got the chance to ask him. But I’ve come to understand my birthday as page one of chapter one of my life. Each birthday marks a new chapter. Without that birthday, my story would’ve never begun. Knowing my next birthday is coming, is confirmation that I’m not even close to being done.

How can our readers follow you online?

www.Karsendaily.com

@karsendaily on Twitter, Instagram, and Clubhouse.

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Community//

Bruno Škvorc: “Don’t be afraid to get creative”

by Fotis Georgiadis
Community//

Danil Krivoruchko: “You need a large, very large follower base”

by Fotis Georgiadis
Community//

Bruno Fruscalzo of NFT Inc: “Be involved and pay it forward”

by Fotis Georgiadis
We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.