Avoiding Growing Pains

You’re living in your mom’s basement, you’re CEO of a crypto project you started with your friend that’s now worth $5 million. It’s small fry in crypto but for you, it’s success beyond your wildest dreams. 

You’re scared though, you’re starting to feel out of your depth, but people just want to throw money at you. Moonboys shouting ‘wen lambo’, VCs wanting your LinkedIn details so you can have a sit down with their business development managers. You want more success but worry that people will see through you.

You’re not on LinkedIn because flipping burgers isn’t a key skill in crypto and your qualifications are playing fortnite and smoking bowls. What do you do? Take the money and vanish or push on, scared it’ll collapse in on you, leaving you with nothing.

In this situation the idea of being transparent scares the hell out of you, so what do most people do? They freeze. They carry on trying to grow the project the same way they started it, but that time has gone. It’s easy to be carefree when there’s not much at stake, but when it’s millions the pressure grows exponentially.

The idea of needing to be on LinkedIn is absurd in crypto, but a surprising number of people fall for it. Unless you’ve done 10 years working for a trans-national company, building up a network of colleagues to vouch for your different skills and a proven track record it’s not much use. 

How is someone who’s principally worked in the EMEA markets on a sales or marketing team going to be of any use in crypto? Chances are they don’t even own an NFT, so why would you be bothered about impressing them or networking with them? Let them come to you on your terms, don’t go chasing them on theirs because you’ll be at an immediate disadvantage.

Much better than LinkedIn is doxxing yourself, which adds huge trust to your community and investors. They don’t expect that you’ll know each step to take, but they’ll see that you’re humble and open, key factors when navigating the numerous rug pulls and fake out projects. Invest in your community by trusting them, then invest in your project by hiring in skills rather than trying to learn them.
If you need tax advice speak to a qualified advisor, if you need marketing buy it in, if you need business development, buy it in. By all means, hire from within your own community if you can, but use your resources to elevate your project above the rest. Don’t freeze, act.

When working alongside DJI four years ago the drone industry was facing increased focus from regulators and law enforcement. I worked not only with drone manufacturers but also with civil aviation organizations, law enforcement agencies, and the occasional politician. I felt out of my depth for sure but could hold my own with the most senior people in all those fields for the simple reason that I had expert knowledge they needed and I could communicate it clearly and honestly to them.

It’s the same with crypto. If you’re developing a project you have far more knowledge than any outsider does, no matter how senior their position. You don’t feel like a CEO, especially when you see your surroundings, but that doesn’t matter. People are investing in crypto because they see the intrinsic value of the technology and they understand it’s the bleeding edge. No one knows everything, but they know when they hear BS.

Never be afraid to ask, never be afraid to be wrong, and above all never lie. There are skillful ways to present the truth that protects your project from reputational damage. Hire in that skill because it’s unlikely you’ll have it. 

If you can communicate truthfully, be transparent, and humble, but also accentuate the positives you’ll stand out from the crowd of cookie-cutter projects. In the next phase of crypto, the force multiplier will be effective communications. People are swamped with like, follow, retweet contests, giveaways galore, whitelists, and rug pulls. What they crave now is transparency as they learn the importance of DYOR.

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