Why Status deserves $100,000,000+
Tl;dr — As an early designer at Ethereum, I’m excited to see someone making an Ether-powered app I might actually use.
Full Disclosure: I joined the Status Slack channel, said “good on ya” to one of the founders, applied to the TestFlight iOS Beta, didn’t get a link, didn’t invest in the ICO, didn’t read the whitepaper, saw the sweet marketing site, watched the slightly weird marketing video, decided to shoot from the hip on this post. This is the hottest of hot takes.
Ethereum has an 11-figure valuation and looks like it was designed by an over-caffeinated, failing startup. The marketing site is terrible. The developer on boarding experience is gritty. The explanation videos are rubbish. The concept of distributed applications (Dapp) is poorly explained. Every single Dapp I’ve used is poorly designed. I don’t use a single Dapp day-to-day, let alone month-to-month. So, who’s to blame?
I am, partly. Soz.
I joined the Ethereum Foundation for a month before they launched their pre-sale. I had about 4 months’ experience with Sketch and I had gone through a couple of online courses. I had no idea what I was doing but I knew I wanted to help. I worked with Gavin Wood to help him visualize a few concepts for what a Dapp browser could look like. Then I helped with the London presentation where he laid out his vision.
Then I had to go and get a freelance gig that paid in pounds sterling because I was totally broke. I stopped following the Ethereum Project and focused on my freelance clients. 18 months ago the Ethereum Foundation made good on their promise to remunerate me for the work I did. They sent over some Ether and changed my life forever. I started diving back into the ecosystem to try and understand why the value of Ethereum had increased so much. What I found was amazing innovation at the blockchain level but absolutely no improvement at the application layer. Dapps are in their infancy.
In hindsight, if I was a true visionary and believer, I would have stuck with the Ethereum Foundation through the dark days and emerged as a unicorn designer who built amazing things. I am not such a person. I am sub-standard designer who loves great products. I couldn’t imagine what great Ethereum products would look like. If I had stayed I would now be able to buy an island. But who actually needs an island? As Charlie Munger says:
The idea of caring that someone is making money faster is one of the deadly sins. Envy is a really stupid sin because it’s the only one you could never possibly have any fun at. There’s a lot of pain and no fun. Why would you want to get on that trolley?
Damn straight Munger — I love your brain.
So, back to the main point: why does Status deserve such a huge chunk of Ether-based change? Status is the first organization that seems to be taking this problem seriously. The creators are doing great things. They are hiring talented people, building a community, being open, and trying to create great software that helps everyday people actually use Ethereum. I have no idea if they will succeed but I am glad someone is taking a crack at this. If Ethereum was a company, it would be happy to budget an 8-figure sum to help grow it’s valuation from 11-figures to 12.
That’s why Status deserves the money. They might help grow the set of people actually using Ether day-to-day from a few thousand to a few hundred million. That is worth many multiples of $100,000,000.
To the Status team and community I say this: good luck and let me know if I can help in any way.