Web3 — Stories from the Trenches
Tuesday; January 18, 2022
"We're going to do what you have been doing for the past decades but at a larger scale."
You see, my purpose is crystal clear — help other people to grow, and I've been doing it for many years. This invitation came at the perfect moment. I was coming out of a sabbatical where I had decided to live a more purpose-driven life.
The cherry on top was that I had helped Pedro, as an advisor, on his previous startup, Landing.jobs. So things came full-circle.
A couple of months after, I agreed to allocate part of my time to improve the product as a contractor. The Web3 bug had caught me. My head started to spin around about all its possibilities. Still is.
To mentor or to be mentored
Tuesday; January 25, 2022
After my first meeting with the tech team, I sent Pedro a message saying: "This guy, Leal, could become a great..." and Pedro completed the sentence "product guy." And we decided I would help him in that journey.
I've been mentoring people for a long time, but It has been a lot more about synergies and learning together than "orientation." Leal is no exception.
When I started working with Leal in his transition to product, I soon discovered that I had a lot more to learn than to teach.
Leal is like a Web3's swiss army knife with a giant heart and an endless curiosity to learn new things. More than mentorship, it's a co-op in the multiplayer journey we decided to embrace.
And that fits perfectly the Web3 spirit — together we are many.
No space for ego
Tuesday; February 1, 2022
If you are thinking to move into Web3 prepare to leave your ego at the door.
There are so many things to learn, and we move at such a fast pace that the only option is to pick the best ideas, work on them with your community, and then validate them in the market.
In the Web3 space, community is as important — if not more — than technology. Even if your core team respects some implicit authority or the like, the community will keep you on your toes and pressure you to change course if needed.
That said, there is space for leadership, but more in a delegated way — leaders need to deliver; otherwise, it will be time to leave.
Come as you are
Thursday; February 24, 2022
Let’s take the elephant out of the room. Web3 has a huge diversity and inclusion problem.
However, although it suffers from the same causes of other fields in society, what bothers me is that it doesn’t need to be like this.
Most people that work on Web3 projects don’t care about your gender, ethnicity, age, or any part of your identity. They just care about whether or not you can bring value to the table. That’s it. And in many projects, you can even be anonymous.
There are also projects with the mission of onboarding people to Web3.
It’s also important to clarify that Web3 is not a "tech savvy" exclusive club. We need lawyers, designers, branding experts, economists... We need people with different backgrounds and mindsets. Period.
So, if you want to enter this world, my advice is to pick a project like Odyssey, read a bit of the basics, join a community on Discord related to your area of interest, and see how you can contribute; buy a small amount of crypto and a cheap NFT to test the waters.
Well, learn by doing, and let it flow.
Building in public
Wednesday; March 23, 2022
My good friend Pedro Moreira da Silva, who works at GitLab, has been preaching to me the “building in public” gospel for a while. And I was eager to jump in, although clients are usually opposed to it.
In one of the projects I’m working on, Talent Protocol, we build in public, and the experience so far has been no less than... natural. Yes, in a purpose-driven project, it just seems right. When you work, side-by-side with an engaged community, who is rewarded for their effort, building in public gives you enormous leverage. Let me give you two examples.
We’re now focusing on reinventing the concept of Professional Identity. We believe it should focus more on the present and future, less on the past, and have on-chain mechanisms of validating career goals. Although we already had some loose ideas about this, among many others, it was our community member Paulo Fonseca who pushed us to dive deeper into the concept.
When the Talent Protocol team started to improve the messages feature, we had launched a couple of tweaks that turned them into an awful experience — yes, sad, but true. When people complained about it on our Discord, we immediately shared a link with the improvements we had in mind (the same doc used by the team). In an hour or so, one community member suggested something that would significantly improve how we notify people about the messages. And we’re implementing it.
Our team is highly experienced, but we are moving fast which can create some blind spots. Having the support of this collective intelligence is something no less than amazing.
But there is a catch... If you don’t create the proper flow for feedback, people will keep reporting things you already know — which is a waste of time both for the team and community members.
How to overcome this? Or setup is built to accommodate both people who just want to understand the basics and active contributors — from macro to micro. Here is an example of a possible path to follow:
There’s a lot to improve, but we don’t intend to stop.
Did I mention that we have bounties so people can be rewarded for their effort? ;-)
These are stories from the trenches, without any filter, about my experience in the Web3 world so far. The intent is to help other people to enter the field by showing them that we are all learning as we go.
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