Daniel Alegre: An Interview With the CEO of Yuga Labs

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Daniel Alegre is the CEO of Yuga Labs, the company best known for projects like Bored Apes, CryptoPunks, Meebits, and Otherside. He previously served as a Google executive and was the President and COO of Activision Blizzard. In this interview, we discussed Daniel’s insights on Yuga Labs' evolution, the role of gaming in web3, and his strategies for leading a pioneering blockchain and NFT company.
GN: What’s it like to be you?

Daniel: Well, I hope it’s as fun as it looks! I have been pretty fortunate to be able to dedicate my career to building unique and engaging experiences of scale for passionate communities.

My obsession with the relationship between technology and culture, balanced with championing creative firepower has given me the privilege to build at some of the most influential companies in the world. At Google, it was search, Chrome, and Android. At Activision, it was working to create an interconnected back end for our games.  At the same time, I’ve also worked closely with brands to help them navigate the rapidly shifting landscape to find new and innovative ways to resonate with their consumers. 

GN: How would you describe Yuga Labs to someone who is not very familiar with the company and its mission? What makes it stand out in the vast realm of Web3?

Daniel: At Yuga, we are a cohort of creatives at the forefront of web3, with a mission of building culture on the blockchain and creating a thriving ecosystem to transform how people interact with brands and operate businesses by expanding the definition of individual ownership.

GN: Web3 can be complex for newcomers. Does Yuga Labs have any initiatives to educate the community about the intricacies of Web3 and turn them into informed members?

Daniel: Each project at Yuga Labs varies in their respective offerings, whether it be storytelling, merch, or gaming. A common denominator is the ability to capture and hold the imagination of newcomers and inspire them to dive in.

At this early stage, adopters tend to be crypto-aware or at least curious. Other initiatives like Made By Apes, have increased public awareness of Yuga Labs and the broader web3 space through the use of community-driven IP licensing of BAYC, MAYC, and BAKC brands.
 BAYC. Source: Yuga Labs media kit

BAYC. Source: Yuga Labs media kit

In the long-term, we want to serve as the entry point and guide for the 100 million people entering web3.

GN: How did your experience at Activision Blizzard prepare you for leading Yuga Labs? Did you have to take on an entirely different approach and perspective or was the shift natural?

Daniel: My career has been defined by building platforms of scale at some of the most recognizable names in tech. A big component of this has always been navigating a rapidly-shifting landscape.

Both organizations were made of passionate and intelligent people who had either refined or developed a secret sauce to driving connection, engagement, and creativity.

GN: Yuga Labs is a “content and community” company and you often note the significance of the community and how it's the driving force behind Yuga Labs. In your view, what are the shared values that bind the Yuga Labs community? How do you ensure these values are upheld and echoed in your actions and decisions?

Daniel: The passion found at each community across Yuga is the driving force behind what propels web3 to the center of technology and culture.

For example: What you’re seeing happening with the sustained popularity of BAYC and MAYC is a testament to the power of our community. They’ve been able to transform the brand with their vibrant passion. We consider them co-builders in this ecosystem for a reason. The unique IP license that we grant to our NFT holders empowers our community to build and create. Our NFT holders have launched hundreds of community-initiated businesses featuring the images associated with their BAYC/MAYC NFTs, businesses like the Bored and Hungry restaurant chain, Ape Water, Happy Dad’s seltzer product line, Bored Wine Company and many more.
 Otherside. Source: Yuga Labs Media Kit

Otherside. Source: Yuga Labs Media Kit

GN: How does ApeCoin's current market situation align with Yuga Labs' initial vision and future aspirations for the token? How has the ApeCoin community responded to its price movements, and how is Yuga Labs engaging with them during these times?

Daniel: The ApeCoin community governs itself via the ApeCoin DAO. Yuga is excited to see the incredible ideas that the ApeCoin community continues to come up with and self-fund. Yuga continues to accept ApeCoin as payments in its games and other sales, but does not focus on price movements.

GN: Games can be tools for personal growth, teaching skills or resilience. How does Yuga Labs and “Otherside” in particular foresee the role of gaming in personal development?

Daniel: Gaming is one of the next social frontiers, and we have already seen this take place with other prominent titles in both the traditional web2 and emerging web3 spaces.

A key differentiator here is the erosion of web2 gaming’s barriers. Breaking out of this boxed-in model that has been followed for so long affords players the opportunity to own their identities and empowers creators to add to a constantly-evolving landscape and build relationships with companies.

GN: How do you envision the lasting impact and cultural legacy of Yuga Labs?

Daniel: Like we touched on before, Web3 is still in its early days, and much like the internet in the early 90s, it can seem like a very complex idea for the uninitiated. Yuga has the opportunity to be the entry point for people, and I hope that when we look back, Yuga will have been responsible for ushering in a new era of the internet.