Archive for November, 2021

Tree Grown Money

Posted on November 12, 2021. Filed under: Uncategorized |

About 6 months ago I registered the ENS (Ethereum Name Service) name jordancooper.eth. For those who are newer to crypto, this is similar to registering a domain name on the web (i.e.…which I don’t own). It took about 10 minutes to register my ENS name, it cost basically nothing, and it was fun interacting with a piece of the web 3 ecosystem that was newer to me. My intention at the time was to have a human readable identity attached to my crypto wallet address because at some time in the future, it feels like that might matter. That was the sole value I was seeking.

Fast forward to today, ENS recently launched a governence token which gives $ENS token holders the ability to participate in governence (decision making) within the system. If I hold $ENS tokens I can vote on the future direction of the system, and there is a value in that. That value, specifically, is roughly $55 per token today. Tokens were recently “airdropped” to anyone who had registered an $ENS name before October 31, 2021. This means, if you had registered a name in the past, you can now claim a certain number of $ENS tokens for free as a function of your historical activity in the ENS system (i.e. buying and using a name). For me, I was allocated 403 $ENS tokens, which in aggregate have a market value of roughly $22,000 today. It took me 5 minutes to claim those tokens, I paid about $90 in ethereum gas fees to do it, and now I have the equivalent of $22,000 that I didn’t yesterday.

As soon as I finished claiming my tokens, my immediate thought was that “this isn’t fair.” I feel like I’ve been desensitized to the ease with which money is accessible if you have a minimum threshold of knowledge and access to the web3 (crypto) world. I fully acknowledge that this may be a moment in time, that today’s levels of speculation aren’t sustainable, and so forth, but it’s hard not to think about how many “analog first people” would KILL for $22,000. It can’t be this easy. It shouldn’t be. It’s the closest thing I’ve seen to money growing on trees. And the reality is that it’s more easy for some than others to harvest it. It’s true that crypto expands and broadens access to financial services and assets, but just because it’s theoretically open to everyone, doesn’t mean it’s actually accessible to everyone. Computer literacy, technical capability, and time are all requirements to participate, and that cuts out a meaningful segment of the population.

I think access to financial gain has been unevenly distributed forever…but at least in the realms I have previously focussed, one would have to either risk capital or do work in order to attain it. In this case, I didn’t have to do either, and it just doesn’t compute.

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Flipping My Script

Posted on November 2, 2021. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Often times when I meet a founder for the first time, the path of least resistance is to follow a standard intro pitch format. Often times a founder will show up, eager to jump into the slides they’ve prepared. Rarely, if ever, do i enjoy this path. I like to focus intro conversations on things i actually want to explore. And the generic competitive matrix slide ain’t one of them. Sometimes I’ll guide a conversation with the following prompt: “I’m always interest in genesis stories, so would love to understand the experiences you’ve had along the way that input to you dedicating your life to this company and I’d love to understand what your initial hypotheses were when starting it, which of those you’ve validated, which you’ve invalidated, and how those learnings inform the trajectory on which you are now orienting the company.” It’s genuinely what i want to know and if someone is willing to engage with that format, you can cover a lot of ground in 30-45 minutes.

I just reread this excellent post by Graham Duncan which is one of my favorite pieces of writing on the internet, and it occurs to me that such a prompt, while efficient, might be routing founders toward a headspace and analytical cut at their business which misses the upside. This prompt doesn’t really lead to the “what if everything goes right” version of the future, which is the question i tend to ask myself when something clears a more analytical initial filter. The flaw in the initial prompt is that I am forced to ask that best-case question ex post facto, in isolation, without the input of a founder.

I think I’m going to change my prompt. The new prompt I’m going to try is “if there were one thing i needed to understand to see as much value in your business as you do, what would it be and let’s talk about that.” I think that question will orient toward the upside thinking that is essential in building conviction. There’s plenty of time after the fact to dissect and analyze, and frankly most of that can happen async, but i sure wouldn’t want to miss the sliver of what’s possible that a founder sees in her own business.

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    I’m a NYC based investor and entrepreneur. I've started a few companies and a venture capital firm. You can email me at (p.s. i don’t use spell check…deal with it)


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