The Apprentice: Crypto
tl;dr: I’m looking for a small army of volunteer analyst contributors / collaborators who will work with Messari on cryptoasset research and analysis as we boot up the industry’s “EDGAR database.” The best contributors will be hired full time as our lead analysts. If you are somewhat CS literate, have 2–4 years of experience in a consulting/banking/investments role, and think you’ve got an eye for good crypto projects because you’ve fallen down the rabbit hole, email your resume, linkedin, twitter and best token investment pitch to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I promise I’d be a marginally nicer boss than Donald J. Trump.
At least once a week, I get a DM, cold-email, LinkedIn message, messenger pigeon, etc. from a young hustlin’ finance kid trying to figure out how to claw his (usually it’s a dude) way into crypto full-time. They ask what I did to break into bitcoin as a non-engineer, and I tell them the truth: things were totally different then, and it was almost impossible to get paid for your work unless you had a CS background.
For starters, there were maybe three “business” jobs in the industry for which I was even remotely qualified. All of them were in SF. The people that took the available jobs I wanted were smarter hires than I would have been.
I did kick the tires on starting a company, but I was already nearing the end of my entrepreneurial runway from a cash flow perspective after an unsuccessful two year stint bootstrapping another startup. Besides, the guy I was coaxing to be a co-founder was poached by Circle before we got going.
I was on the wrong side of the “war for talent” x2.
Still, I knew I wanted to work in the industry full-time, and was ready to pass up business school to do so. I didn’t know what else to do, except build a persona and grind my way up the learning curve. So I started writing, and TBI’s Daily Bit was born.
I wrote every single day for a full year before I started full-time at DCG.
Every. Single. Day.
It was agonizing at times, but it was also an incredible learning experience and brand development tool — for better and for worse. I got to know the people building the industry’s infrastructure, and they got to know me. My daily digest was gobbled up by most of crypto’s top brass at the time.
Why do I bring this up?
1) You should write every day, too, if you want to break into this market long-term. Twitter and Medium make this easier than ever, and good content spreads like wildfire mostly because it is so rare. Some other examples of smart young, non-engineers who have used twitter to build impressive analyst brands in short order: @nic_carter, @cburniske, and @aridavidpaul.
2) I’d like to get back to writing long form every day. It’s rewarding, I have fun with it, and I want to ensure that the self-regulatory work we do at Messari will benefit from my social media bully pulpit.
But I am acutely aware that you’re basically only as good as your last post. And producing good, in-depth content is extremely expensive. It’s time consuming, and the stakes for me writing a crappy post are higher than ever.
It took ~15 hours to write my “95 Theses” post even if it read like a stream of consciousness.
It took another ~12 hours or so to write the “I see you, XRP” post. I didn’t want to get the details wrong on such an emotionally-charged debate, or be accused of being too one-sided.
Of course, I initially undersold how long these took to write because:
a) I suffer from every (good) writer’s mental disorder: right before hitting publish, my only thought is “I am quite certain this will be the post that exposes me as a fraud and know-nothing. But I’m so tired of polishing, I really don’t give a f*ck anymore.”
b) If the post underperforms, “at least people won’t think I’ve been wasting away my preciously short life on a stupid, half-baked medium post.”
c) Publishing content, no matter how well-received is almost always a money loser. You will never be directly comped for that time, and need to hope that the indirect benefits pay off. Writing a 12 hour post is 12 hours I won’t be able to pump Tron on my newly registered, and soon-to-be massively lucrative domain shitcoin.biz (coming soon).
If I want to have any chance at writing more regularly while starting a new company, I need help. And lots of it.
3) Fortunately, you, dear target audience of 23–27-year-old-entrepreneurial-fintech-geniuses-who-love-crypto, are looking for a way to break into this industry, but you aren’t a hard-core systems engineer.
Even though others may look at #1–2 and say, “yeah, that doesn’t sound fun, I’m gonna hitch on to that hot new ICO instead.”
You, oh, enlightened target 23–27-year-old-entrepreneurial-fintech-genius-who-really-loves-crypto-long-time — er, long-term — know to seek out companies that have a cockroach mentality in this bubble and position themselves to do well in any environment.
You’re thinking, “sounds challenging, and risky, and I’m probably not going to get paid. Where do I sign?”
Because you know that you can piggyback off of a well-positioned project and build an A+ network in short order, share your thoughts with a broad audience than you’d otherwise be unable to reach with your daily efforts, and may just do enough good work to have an excuse to make this silly movement your full-time focus.
Even if you won’t be able to explain to your parents what you do for work.
[TBI Note: This was tougher to explain to your parents when crypto wasn’t en vogue. Back then, we had to explain that bitcoin was only *mostly* for drugs, porn, and gambling. Not entirely.]
Let’s help each other out!
Here’s the deal:
The single hardest part of putting out good content — stuff that becomes a signal in a sea of noise — is the aggregation work that’s required to get *broad and deep* context about a subject. The white paper doesn’t get it done. The investor and critic medium posts don’t get it done. The interviews don’t get it done. The token economics breakdowns don’t get it done. Social media certainly doesn’t get it done.
Absorbing a combination of all those things normally leads to good stuff, but the problem is that there is no good aggregator of cryptoasset information today. (That’s what we’re building.)
The resource aggregation process is what takes the lion’s share of time when writing a new post / doing a new token analysis, but it’s possible to streamline the process if you have smart people helping you who know where to look.
That’s why I’m recruiting a dozen volunteer research analyst volunteers to Messari. You will not get paid, because Messari is building a free open-source library. You will probably not get your content published (at least initially). And we will ultimately hire only 1–2 analysts in total.
But the cream will inevitably rise to the top! And frankly I’m looking forward to working with the people who are maniacal enough about this market to do 1% of the “free work” that I did when I first broke into the industry.
If not, the full-time position will remain unfilled.
I hope that’s not the case!
We hope you’ll join us, and look forward to hearing from you. If interested, you can email your resume, LinkedIn, Twitter and best token investment pitch to email@example.com and swallow the Messari red pill.