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Meet the metaversers: Max Gadney

Max Gadney on starting StoryWorlds Media, and the collaboration between web3 and visual storytelling

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Max began his career working as a UX designer at the BBC, before running a design company for a decade and later founding StoryWorlds Media, a comics publisher. We sat down with Max to talk about the launch of Storyworlds#1, a space where comic book production and web3 collide.

Tell us a little bit about your work with Storyworlds. 
Storyworlds is a new platform for creating media, starting with Storyworlds comic issue 1. We will also be looking at media rights technology using the blockchain in the future. Comics help us start to licence people’s NFTs like a Bored ape from @j1mmmy.eth in Issue 1. We ran competitions with the Avastars and Animetas communities to get competition winners' characters into Issue 1, which comes out as our first token on 18 May.

What was your career experience like before working on the platform? Have you always worked in comic books or storytelling?
I started as a UX designer at BBC News, then worked in digital product strategy at BBC TV. I spent 10 years running a design company at after the flood, and then started Storyworlds, a comics publisher. All I've done is thought about how to communicate different ideas to different people, which is continuing with Hero.

Why do you think it's important to bring strong storytelling to the metaverse space?
Storytelling helps us spread messages and ideas. I am not convinced all the points of the metaverse need stories (the fortnite store is doing fine without storytelling). It is more likely in the shorter term that metaverse tech can enable current storytelling paradigms. For example, POAPs for sports/ music fans, tipjars and shareable content for independent creators. I’ve written more about this here. 

As the metaverse and metaverse awareness grows, has Storyworlds grown or changed? 
We will look to see where the interesting media opportunities are in the emerging space. The good thing about comics is that they visualise IP and ideas quickly - we’d be looking for similar quick to build media like indie games, media, anime to prototype with. We’re also keeping a log of the problems we encounter and those we hear from others - these will be fed into a tech development program to solve some of these and maybe scale some products up.

What has been a career highlight so far? 
Most recently, putting a great team together to meet the unique challenges of web3 has been great. The networks we build over the years help in the most unexpected ways, and I am able to draw on some really good advisors. Before that, the critical acclaim for our launch comics at Storyworlds has been great.

What are your hopes for the future? 
We’re looking forward to our first launch. The main thing will be building a great team of people around this, expanding our network with people both adept and curious around all things web3.

What's your favourite thing about what you do?
Being at a frontier of tech or industry is really interesting. There are plenty of new ideas that require honest, critical thinking and finding people who can help solve these problems is great. 

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