Random Observation/Comment #787: I survived another round of layoffs. Wrote this while pouring one out for my homies.
Why this List?
My last series of buzzword posts were back in 2021 (30 DeFi Buzzwords), 2019 (30 Smart City Buzzwords), and 2016 (30 Blockchain Buzzwords). Since we’re probably emerging from the hype of blockchains and venturing into modular combination of budding ideas, it made sense for me to cover some of the buzzwords we used inside a successful web3 company.
- Flywheel – This is definitely at the center of our bingo card. The emphasis of this strategy looks at how developers and users can grow together. The 2022 web3 developer report by Electric Capital is positive.
- Money crypto vs tech crypto – Bill Hughes wrote this piece separating the types of innovations across the crypto industry. It really helps separate our world of grifting token shills to what we can build and apply to use cases.
- One team, one dream – During our Sicily retreat, our DevU team came up with the unifying statement for combining the developer experience across Infura, Truffle, Diligence, and CNFT. We say this pretty frequently in meetings.
- Developers United (devU) – The developer experience is key to streamlining application life cycle management. Our set of tools offer a comprehensive end-to-end hub for developers.
- Direct users (directU) – You can’t beat MetaMask with access to users to different networks, especially with swaps, bridging, and staking native to the app. Try out the aggregation features: https://portfolio.metamask.io/
- MMI – MetaMask Institutional has been a solid product with integration to 9 custodians and extra features like pre-trade compliance and aggregated reporting. I think we can do so much as a starting journey for launching projects and treasury management for DAOs.
- Daolationships – I’m impressed with the internal DAO progress we’ve had at ConsenSys. Policies, scaffolds of tools, workshops, templates, successfully incubated DAOs (e.g. MetaMask Grants DAO), and DAO Days encourage us all to participate in decentralized governance.
- Tokenomics design – Designing tokens are more of a corporate finance/governance task of equity distribution and utility incentivization than an exact science. We’ve seen designs through push/pull airdrops, vote escrow, and staking control of circulating supply of assets via governance protocols. The problem with design is it doesn’t necessarily equate to delivery and successful launches. We can stay in analysis paralysis and stipulate how the market will react (but there’s no guarantee as the market will do what it does).
- SWOT analysis – Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats seems very consulting hand-wavy, but I firmly believe in competitor analysis and honest in product assessment before trying to play feature catch-up in the ecosystem.
- Multichain access for dapps – Infura launched 9 EVM Compatible networks in 2022 and this is a core theme to 2023 success. If we treat networks like app stores then having compatible dapps across multiple networks only increases the surface area of different users. Why EVM Compatibility? It’s secure, standardized, and tested for the past 7 years.
- Holistic GTM excellence – Go To Market is such an essential part to products. I’ve found developers to get very focused on work, but very open in re-engaging with platforms that inspire experimentation. This means a GTM doesn’t just have good documentation, but includes partner videos and clear tutorials with accompanied UX considerations.
- Middle of Funnel content – Web2 Developers might be super attractive, but isn’t it so much easier to get free-tier users to be convinced that their projects are worth pursuing? The Middle of Funnel content objective is to get Web3 activated customers to be more engaged with their projects. It could be taking hackathon projects demo’d on Ganache to start TXs on testnet and eventually launch on mainnet.
- Turning engagement into opportunity – This isn’t necessary a buzzword, but I sure do hear it a lot. We’re really just completing the developer journey so you don’t squander the existing market share. I personally believe Web2 Social Networks did an incredible job at making sites a place to post personal data and become a true home page of information. It’s the focus on a repeatable habit of going back to the same page. Especially in devops/API management, you probably don’t have the same statistics of engagement. When you do the analysis, the RPC endpoint provisioning doesn’t take long and then all of the development happens outside of a SaaS application.
- CTAs (call to action) – I honestly used to think this was project management speak to get people engaged at the end of the meeting with actionable things to do. Now I see how important the consumption economy wants people to actually do something and produce material for the movement. We don’t just want you to sit there and read the news feed. We want the development and sharing of the journey.
- Web3 values – This is the most buzzword one yet. I believe in the internet of value, but I don’t know if it becomes better with token models. In either case, personal ownership of data is important for access, but it seems like Web3 values transparency (meaning instead of one centralized company mining your data and selling it to advertisers for attention, your data is just transparently open for anyone to take advantage of). I still value the specific change we can achieve with better control of data.
- Decentralization ethos – I spend more time than I care to admit about decentralization and disintermediation (especially with the latest CeFi fiascos from the contagion of using a floating token for a majority of the collateral). ConsenSys is definitely making the right moves to build innovation that enables the community rather than mines their data or creates a point of centralization.
- Brand evolution – Specifically within ConsenSys, we probably need more brand consolidation. Everything could be MetaMask related since it’s the most recognized product, but we tend to make it all more confusing across new names and exclusive to OGs. I guess this is another aspect of respecting decentralization.
- Operating framework – Our COO loves talking about this! It’s actually quite important in the way we communicate and create feedback loops to our products across channels.
- Productivity zero and productivity 10x – One of the best parts about working at a startup is creating a culture of mental health and respect for boundaries. After being a part of this practice of no meeting Wednesdays for a few days out of the month, I really tend to get a lot of work done during that time.
- Total employee experience – This was an older buzzword, but it was still pretty thoughtful. The People and Talent team does create an environment for employees to learn and grow.
- QBRs (quarterly business review) – The best way to stay involved with the macro part of a company is by contributing to and reading the quarterly business review of the product (and other products). I encourage all new employees to align to the strategy and see results and plans using these recorded meetings. Kudos for keeping the “senior management” aspect more inclusive.
- Scalability trilemma – This was an old 2015 triangle diagram usually accompanied by why a new blockchain network is better than Ethereum. Today, we still see it around, but with a twist about Layer Two networks.
- Modular Blockchains – A blockchain strategy for scaling can actually win across the scalability trilemma if you create multiple chains that has focus on optimizing different things. A modular blockchain is basically splitting technical aspects into very specific containerized activities. For example, in the consensus layer of the network, we’ve started to see block proposers and block builders form their own layers of distinction for pre-settlement decisions. It’s even created Order Books specifically for MEV optimization. I think it does make sense to create some centralization in jobs like block proposals if a block proposer is very limited in their activity. We should still consider how centralization can impact performance and reliability, but the role itself seems viable in a silo.
- The internet of value – Every media article covers how Web3 interactions are allowing users to send transactions for themselves – with that, these transactions transfer value between addresses and identities that transcend a centralized entity.
- Positive feedback loops – Bingo! Another flywheel benefit. Let’s make multiplying and accelerating positive feedback loops.
- Metaverse NFTs – Even though the gaming assets inside of web3 bubbles see their rise and fall, I still feel like the potential of an NFT beyond digital collectibles is growing and maturing with its integrations to real world use cases. Everything starts to look more like Ready Player One.
- Reaching quorum to start a call – Obviously we also reach consensus in decisions.
- “Don’t just trust, verify” or “It’s not ‘do no evil” it’s ‘can’t be evil'”– There’s some corny tagline in here that we can use as a mantra related to trust.
- ZkEVM (so hot right now) – ConsenSys launched a zkEVM testnet and it’s getting a lot of attention. We’re able to do 100x performance from some of our competitors and access is currently exclusive through Infura. Sign up to launch your project onto the network!
- RaveU – We’ll always have Sicily!
~See Lemons Speak in Buzzwords