Video Of The Week: Brian Armstrong at Disrupt
There is a narrative in crypto land that you are either in the “crypto is money” camp or the “crypto is tech” camp. This blog post from Erik Torenberg sums that up pretty nicely.
The interview below is from TechCrunch Disrupt a week or so ago. Brian Armstrong, founder and CEO of our portfolio company Coinbase, was interviewed by Fitz Tepper.
There are a couple points in this interview where Brian is presented with a version of that narrative. For example Fitz asked Brian “are you a tech company or a finance company.”
I like how Brian acknowledges that framework but ultimately concludes that the answer is neither, that Coinbase is a crypto company and that crypto is both tech and money.
I am of that view as well and I am glad to see leaders in the crypto sector articulating it.
In Erik’s article, this part is the most absurd thing I’ve heard for a while:”1 protocol developer is worth 10,000 app developers.”That is protocol elitism. Yes, there are fewer protocol developers than app developers, and protocol developers need a deep knowledge of crypto and game theories, but pretty soon when these underlying blockchain protocols start to mature, their work will be less critical. Ultimately, it’s the App developers that will bring the end-users to the market.As for the Crypto vs. Money conundrum, it’s about BOTH and it’s even more than that. The blockchain has multiple personalities, just as the Web does. Ask anyone what the Web means to them, and you will get a different answer. Pretty soon, the same situation will exist for the blockchain.
this part is the most absurd thing I’ve heard for a while:”1 protocol developer is worth 10,000 app developers.”That dates someone as a ‘newly hatched’. The first time I heard that concept was many many years ago with respect to a developer who was apparently as good as 100 others or something like that. So he is just mimicking the same saying in a different context. Tech types love to lionize. Actually everybody loves to lionize and rank in arbitrary ways and with authority.The use of 10,000 is so arbitrary you have to laugh.
Let’s say I can agree that a great developer is 10 times more productive than a non great but competent one. Incompetent is dividing by zero.But if you build a great protocol and shout in the woods, does anybody hear?
Yup.In reality, that ratio relates more aptly to the number of protocol developers vs. App developers. We do have maybe 1 protocol developer for each 1,000 App developer (not 10,000). But the extrapolation that they are 1,000 or 10,000 more valuable is still an exaggeration.
If you’ve ever run a company you know that if you say things like that you are doing two things:1. Making the protocol developers absolute prima donnas2. Telling the app developers they are worse than second class citizensMy number two management point after great people is orchestration. For instance if you say U/X people just paint pictures or sales people are idiots etc, you are going to have serious issues.
William’s comment was looking lonely for most of the day here so I will give it some company.I like how Brian acknowledges that framework but ultimately concludes that the answer is neither, that Coinbase is a crypto company and that crypto is both tech and money.This is a concept that is popularized and used by the Press and by marketing departments. The idea is this incorrect assumption (the way that I see it) that someone or something has to be tightly defined in an area to be valuable in some way. Otherwise they (or what they do) is seen as ‘jack of all’ rather than ‘master of’. All that ends up doing is making someone (or a company) go up a level by using a broader concept word.  Or we invent a new way to remove the patina.For example GE was in a large number of different business. So with that the word ‘conglomerate’ is used to make it sound important rather than ‘they have their hands in many pots’. Of course GE was a master of many of those pots. For some time anyway. So with them ‘conglomerate’ worked pretty well.Brian has smartly done a similar thing by going up to ‘crypto’ and then saying ‘tech and money’ fall under that.Generally a company exists to make money. A non profit let’s say exists to ‘do good’. How they do that isn’t really the important part and actually isn’t important at all to people who pay them money. Wall Street loves this naming ‘transportation’, ‘utility’ etc. They do it in the movies, entertainment and art as well.I think the saying in PR applies. Something like ‘you can write anything about me as long as you write something’. Other examples ‘multi instrumental’ with music, ‘multiple mediums’ (with art), ‘renaissance man’ (with abilities so as not to be labeled ‘jack of all’ which is a put down).
“Cruel. So CRUEL. HOW can you be SO cruel?”Party pooper!! It’s a party!! You’re supposed to bring the host a nice, elegant, little gift and be nice, complementary, “WHAT a beautiful garden! The gorgeous table setting! WHAT a wonderful party!”. You’re supposed to smile all the time, to sip the Champaign, only tiny sips, with your little finger stuck out and, to fit in!!! Saying anything at all meaningful is a total no-no, social faux pas.Yes, yes, yes, people without anything significant to say may play little word games!!!! You’re supposed just to go along and pretend you don’t notice the vacuous situation!Now you know Lecture 1 in Social Graces 101.Lecture 2.”Anyone who calls a spade a spade is fit only to use one.”Lecture 3.If you are on the guest list, you are supposed to be in the gentry, the elite, likely with some titles, hopefully landed gentry, and in any case above anything like direct contact with practicality. This is all handed down from royalty!!!Lecture 4.Restrict all conversation to everyone’s health and the weather.These four lessons should be sufficient to get you by.
“William’s comment was looking lonely for most of the day here so I will give it some company.”Does the boss publish AVC statistics?
There were a lot of projects. The problem is that there are a lot of scams
Any project says it is completely safe