December heralds the end of the year, and with it comes a time to reflect. Join us as we review what went well, what we’ve learned, and the way forward.
Beginnings: A New Year
2018 opened with an invitation for members of our team to attend the prestigious PEER Summit. We finalized the smart contract and sales platform code for our Luna Stars (LSTR) token and the first iteration of our product. On February 1st, we launched the Luna minimum viable product (MVP) and held the [LSTR] Public Sale. An article with lots of data about the token sale is published here.
Our team started as a geographically distributed collaboration. Our product management and design team moved to New York after the public sale, while our engineering team was internationally distributed. This engineering team focused on improving the Luna webapp as detailed in our white paper. It can be read about in our technology stack post.
Challenges related to working with a distributed team across multiple time zones emerged, and for our next phase of development, we sought the benefits of a co-located team for our core functionalities. To that end, we opened an office in Berlin, Germany (covered below). We welcomed new technical talents on site, to be aided as needed by remote developers within the same time zone. We developed our team and hired an engineering manager and an executive assistant in Berlin, as well as a European software development agency. The new engineering team got started releasing incremental updates (v0.2, v0.3) to the dating MVP. As we progressed through these releases, we continued with a hiring plan to better execute on our learning and to improve both our delivery speed and the quality of our iterations.
Though the Luna dating app model addressed and balanced the misaligned incentives of contemporary dating apps, we realized as we built the Luna app that our model would introduce its own lesser perverse incentives further down the line. In addition, it was a model limited by the low ceiling of traditional matching algorithms. As we worked to reconcile this, brainstorming sessions between our Berlin and NY teams became significant product explorations. Inherent to our progress is the testing of our own assumptions through short time-bound user-based experiments, a standard known as the “fail-fast, succeed faster” approach. The long-term validity of our models can be discovered by subjecting them to short-term testing, and subsequent improvements can then quickly be iterated. This approach means that the end result is not predetermined; rather, that result is emergent from the value we’re able to create for users.
Following these principles, we applied our engineering team to two short-term projects: experimental matching apps for The Castle unconference and for the Block Seoul technology summit (covered below). While The Castle app served to connect participants in a more intimate capacity, the Block Seoul app served to connect participants in a more professional capacity. As we engineered these projects we developed new proposals for incentive-aligned matching applications, including the generative grammar of the Luna Connection Engine. These proposals were further refined, and with the help of our advisors, we selected features to user test. The Luna mobile dating MVP is available for beta testing on iOS and Android. It is a backend focused product with an emphasis upon scalability, and its modules form much of the technical base to be assembled into our next product iteration, currently undergoing user testing.
The Castle Unconference
We participated in an unconference-style event, “The Castle”, held in May, to expand, connect, and match our network, and to test new technology. The Castle featured an app we developed that explored novel mechanics of localized location detection through the use of a field of Bluetooth beacons deployed throughout the event site. The Castle app used this in conjunction with our matching surveys and algorithm to let attendees see in real time where the greatest concentration of attendees was located, and let them match with those who they were most compatible with. The Castle helped us improve our reach and understanding by bringing value to our network, and by welcoming new people into it. These strengths provided us with access to high-profile individuals, which we made use of for Block Seoul later in the year. This network was additionally helpful in providing a test and feedback environment to iterate our product.
Block Seoul Summit
From September 17 to September 19, Luna hosted Block Seoul, a multidisciplinary blockchain conference. The conference featured high-profile speakers such as:
- Lt. General James Clapper, Former Director of U.S. National Intelligence
- Jimmy Wales, Founder of Wikipedia
- David Paterson, Former Governor of New York
Block Seoul bridged the divide between the East and the West to create a global discussion about technology. It featured investors and innovators serious about expanding the limits of current technology. The Block Seoul app introduced powerful matching filters for conference attendees to maximize the value of professional connections, and our engineering team delivered the completed mobile app in just two months.
We selected New York City as a base for our operations team while we consolidated our engineering team in Berlin. NYC was chosen for operations due to its significance as a cultural center in the West and the reach it provides to an international audience. Our office there would double as an event and promotional space to establish channels into that culture and into that audience. Though we grew our community and collected valuable feedback on our strategies, we felt that the advantages that New York provided did not outweigh the distance cost from our Berlin engineering team. Notably, maintaining teams in two different time zones added latency to quick product iterations. We clarified our organization by department: Engineering, Product, Operations, Marketing, and Finance, reviewed our staffing needs to be aligned with our product focus, and in November we centralized our team in Berlin. Of particular note, our search for a senior executive concluded in December with the hiring of a Chief Operating Officer (more about this come January).
Token Swap to Ethereum
While we were excited to work on the Qtum blockchain thanks to its friendly community and great ecosystem, the Qtum community is still relatively young and comparably small. This presented us with two issues: many of the the tools we wanted to use needed to be adapted, from a Ledger interface for QRC20 to wallet solutions like MetaMask, and it left us without the option to connect to other projects to use their infrastructure, such as Status.im for messaging and uPort.me for identity. Swapping the Luna Stars token to the Ethereum blockchain connects us to Ethereum’s larger community and ecosystem while putting more tools at our disposal. Extensive instructions are available for the [LSTR] token swap. Active support for the swap is provided via our Telegram channels in English and Korean.
We are currently looking to hire:
- 2–3 Software Engineers
- 1 Junior Product Manager
- 1 UI Designer
For our Software Engineers, we value problem-solving and communication skills more highly than prior experience with a specific programming language or framework.
If you are available to work in Berlin and would like to learn more, click here.