Product excellence, PayPal's crypto play, and what to do with social media
In this week’s episode of Ventures, my guest Jenna Langer and I discuss the nuances of product and growth from the perspective of an early stage startup (Livefyre) all the way through acquisition by Adobe. We talk about Jenna’s entrepreneurial story, wearing many hats, team composition strategies, the skill stack of a product manager, professional life in an enterprise, and lessons for startup founders.
PayPal's crypto play
Check out Coindesk’s article: PayPal Pushes Crypto Further Mainstream With Planned Checkout Service for 29M Merchants
“PayPal’s Checkout will allow bitcoin (BTC), ether (ETH), bitcoin cash (BCH) and litecoin (LTC) to be seamlessly converted into U.S. dollars or other fiat currencies when making purchases, the same as credit card or a debit card would work inside a PayPal wallet, said PayPal – meaning merchants will not actually be the recipients of cryptocurrencies.”
This is getting closer to the Web 3 world that I’m excited about. Still, it’s a baby step. Coinbase allows merchants to actually accept and hold crypto themselves, and in the future there will be much more direct transactions between buyer and seller where the middleman (trust layer) is a blockchain, not a centralized service. I’m watching closely for the software, user experiences, and widespread adoption that will facilitate this more easily than is possible now. Let me know if you are building something that I - and others reading this newsletter - should know about.
What to do with social media
Am I alone in thinking that Web 2 has jumped the shark for pretty much everyone except celebrities (or people who think they are)? The value exchange we all were excited about in the early days doesn’t feel the same anymore.
I’ve been listening to Pomp and Lex here talk about the value of time (the crypto nerds out there will appreciate the podcast episode). Time is a currency we choose to spend on things, and it’s become increasingly evident to me that opening a social media website or app is not a fair value exchange. I - and many others I suspect (?) - am not getting out of it anything even remotely as valuable as what I am giving it (my attention, clicks, occasional like/share/heart, etc..)
If you’ve been reading this newsletter since last summer when I started it (or even some here have been following along with me for much longer, thank you!), you’ll remember I bring this up from time to time. I still haven’t settled on a strategy, and the entrepreneur in me is dreaming up a new product that will help us be more human online.
Is this even possible? I think the answer is “yes”, and the solution lies in a smarter use of trust networks within our social graphs. I think we’ll need the robots - our AI overlords - to help us do this effectively in the long run, but until then I’m experimenting with a few simple experiences within the professional network my partners and I have created with Prota. If you’d like to play a part in helping us test things out, let me know.
Have a great rest of your week!