Why I'm bullish on the '23 bear
A letter to the Flipside team, by CEO Dave Balter.
Gm Bears are for Building Readers.
I’ve been thinking about the title of this newsletter. “Bears Are for Building”. The meme’s been around a few years, and at this point it’s more a subconscious understanding than something we say much anymore.
Every Friday, I write a note to the Flipside team. I figured I’d share the last one of 2022 as it provides an insider’s look at building a company while navigating a crypto bear market.
It starts, as all good bear stories do, with, well, dogs. Woof.
- Dave Balter, CEO, Flipside
(P.S. Subscribe here to the newsletter Dave mentioned)
Note to Flipside, 12/30/22
We all know every human year equates to seven dog years.
Or we all thought we knew that.
Because, well, it turns out that the Veterinary Medical Association offers a more complicated equation. Animal docs will explain that 15 human years equals the first year of a medium-sized dog’s life. And year two for a dog equals about nine years for a human. After that, each human year is merely five years for a dog.
Sh*t, I guess let’s just say 7 years and be done with it, ya?
The point (of course) is that every human year equates to roughly 70 crypto years.
Well, everyone knows your first year in crypto equals 200 years of technical, financial and social innovation for moderately intelligent humans.
Within a year or two (by the time the chill of your first crypto winter sets in) you’re likely still partial to cliches like “truth is stranger than fiction” and “you wouldn’t believe it if it wasn’t true.”
And as you near year five, you’re no longer clinging to the cliff wall by your fingertips. You’ve put down the LDH big-flow, low-pressure firehose you were drinking from. A year feels exactly like 382 days (17 extra days due to lack of sleep, friend).
Let’s say, for example, your fifth year in crypto happened to be 2022. Here’s what it might look like:
You close a massive $50M round of financing in April. Yeah, sure. That happened. It’s a free capital market, and this seems a casual crypto stroll in the woods.
In May, your biggest client, Terra, craters in 3 days. You immediately lose millions in revenue for the year. Worthy of a raised eyebrow, but you’re too busy foraging for mushrooms.
In July, the jenga blocks of 3AC and Celsius and Voyager are pulled from the rising crypto tower of babel. <Checks dark sky. Sniffs the wind. Smells like DeFi Summer is finally, truly over>
November sneaks up, and FTX’s fraud takes a cool $51b out of the crypto market. Madoff doppelgänger Sam Bankman-Fried doesn’t even bother hiding in Serbia like Do Kwon.
Somewhere in 2022, Bored Ape NFTs each become worth millions. Punks. Squiggles (mine got phished, RIP,). Tony Fidenza’s Artblocks. By the end of the year, and no serum can save your Ape. Your MoonBird is sub $10k. Hell, your whole NFT portfolio is worth about as much as the beanie babies your basement. Yawn, typical crypto boom-bust cycle of volatility.
But it’s your 5th year, so 2022 didn’t catch you snoozing. Your client FLOW is committed to the retention numbers you’ve delivered and triples its delegation by year end. And Axelar is committing to committing. And you’re winding out Algorand, and any other customer who isn’t committing to committing.
Your Snowflake enterprise data began the year as a light flurry; by year end, it’s become a practical white-out blizzard. Clients are taking deli-line tickets waiting to buy. Fast? Well, you’re moving at crypto pace (because, well, it’s not your first year anymore, child).
And what do we have here? Well, the very first DAO you instigated transformed from a few discord peeps and draft white paper into a full blown Labor Market and groundbreaking protocol. Designed from the inside out (which takes a few crypto years to figure out how to do), you’re nearing escape velocity, with a platform that will be a leading indicator of how DAOs will be designed in the years to come. Year 5, at your service.
And all the while, five years in is really about the best damn team in the entire crypto industry. A team comprised of Event Horizons; a team who threaded deep into very fabric of the crypto economy. The next phase sets in motion the glory of the bear-market, badger-inspired year 6 organizational design. Holy hell this is gonna be sweet.
While I’ve been blathering, I know all you can think about is the age equation of your 1 year old ferret (hint: it’s 22 human years).
And if ’22 was your first year in crypto, you may still be asking yourself what dimension your spaceship traveled to. If it happens to be your fifth year, well, it’s just been another typical year of challenges and opportunities on the footpath to changing the world.
<Holds watchless-wrist to ear, and (of course) still hears the ticking of crypto time>
Entering the Flipside 5 year club: Jim, Eric, Omkar, Avi, Angela and me.
Rest up natives, 2023 is going to be something else; it’s the ride we’ve been preparing for all along.
(Thank you for reading Proof of Data. If you enjoyed this note, share it with someone!)
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