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I'm going down the RabbitHole!

5/26/2021

Going down the RabbitHole

šŸ‘‹ Hey! I couldn't be more excited to announce that Iā€™m joining RabbitHole team as a Frontend Engineer.

Before I talk about what we are doing at RabbitHole and why it matters a lot in the crypto ecosystem, let me talk about the WHY, how I got there, and something about my journey so far.

A short recap of my life until now

Caution! This is going to be too much about my own personal life and probably the most selfish blog I've ever published. But I just thought of sharing this story anyway. Please bear with me. šŸ™

I have always been excited about solving problems and doing things differently. Maybe this is something I developed during my school days. If someone would give me some piece of thermocol, a cutter, a fevicol packet, and some all pins, I could build them beautiful 3D monuments like the Taj Mahal or Lal Quila. Thanks to my school, I was able to develop this craftsmanship. But that's a whole different story which you can read here.

Fast forward to engineering which I joined by mistake. I swear it was never a conscious decision. I barely knew how to use a Computer until the first year of my engineering. And in fact, I didn't have a laptop until the 2nd year of my engineering. But something which I had is craftsmanship, creativity, and the most important, boundless curiosity. This helped me stay afloat and thanks to a lot of people who introduced me to communities like Utkal Techies Forum and Google Developers Group, Bhubaneswar where I met a lot of interesting people and a hell of new opportunities. This is the initial push that helped me start our community called Emisha.

Contributing to Emisha, gave me all the skills I have today. The first website I developed was our community's website and it was literally shit but it was the spark I needed. Then I learned design, copywriting, marketing (yes, I used to manage our Twitter handle and I still do) and the most exciting thing was getting sponsors for our events & hackathons. I believe sponsorships are no less than VC funding. I mean at least the experiences are so damn similar. First, you find the right kind of prospects who align with your community's values, then pitching them why it's a great opportunity for them to partner, delivering the values and building a relationship and at the same time being pure honest & transparent the entire time. Sponsorships taught me a lot of things I couldn't have learned other ways.

I consider myself a T-shaped guy. I am neither a generalist nor a specialist. Maybe I hang somewhere in the middle. I love marketing, even building APIs also excites me. I love reading voraciously & share my thoughts by writing them down. I love building communities and sharing all the little things I know. But above all, what I love doing the most is designing components & interfaces. I have always been very close to Art & Crafts since my schooling. Maybe that gave me the foundation of what I love to do today.

I wanted to start something on my own and that's the only thing I was trying to pursue after my graduation. But maybe I was not so good at consistency. To start something and continue doing it, requires consistency. That was something I was not good at. And it took me a while to realize this fact that maybe I need to join an early-stage company. This is the only logical thing I could do to stay connected to the startup ecosystem and what I love to do the most.

On finding the right kind of opportunity

I had been interviewing at many early-stage startups like OSlash, Locale.ai, Timeswap, & some other product-based companies like Hasura, RazorPay, Postman, BuilderX, Clarisights, Flock etc. From the very beginning, I was very conscious about the companies I was applying for. I was never really interested in MNCs or joining a big team. This is something I have always been distant about. Just because I love working with a small team for many reasons. I'm the kind of person who would do the best work when he has autonomy & freedom. I believe bureaucracy hinders creativity and is the biggest barrier to individual growth. I'm someone who would want to continuously measure the impact I create for the entire product and the team. I love the uncertainty, the rapid learning opportunities that startups provide. I could go on and on but I'd rather point you to my last blog where I have shared "Why it's so enticing to join an early-stage startup!"

What it takes to do what you love and get paid for it:

When you look at all the companies I applied for, you could probably notice how diverse each company is. I knew I could never apply to all of these companies with the same Resume and Cover Letter. I had to create 4 different Resumes and 7 different Cover Letters that are unique to each of these companies. The idea is pretty straightforward, each of these companies was expecting some unique skills and had seemingly different roles & responsibilities. So you would have to notice what each of these roles are expecting then align your experience to match up with the role you are applying for. Iterations after iterations! It's such a deliberate and tiring process. But it's worth the effort I promise.

Screenshot (39)

But that's not the end, once you get shortlisted, the tasks you receive are even more diverse. Believe me, I learned a ton doing these interview tasks. When I applied to Hasura, that was my first time with Postgre Database. It was a full-stack role so I had to build a CRUD API and a web interface to fetch and insert data back into the database. It was kind of a simple task but then I had to deploy the API, Database, and the Frontend. All this within 7 - 8 hours at max. This is where it felt slightly challenging to make everything production-ready. I still have the API and the Frontend running live. You can also check out the Codebase of the API and the Frontend. Then I got shortlisted by the OSlash team where I had to build a Calendar app from scratch. Believe me, working with dates in JavaScript and building a Calendar component from scratch could be so much tricky and yet a fun task once achieved. You could also check out the entire codebase for this task here. Then I applied to Locale.ai and that was my first time doing Map Visualizations. And finally when I started applying to crypto companies that became my first time coding something with Solidity.

With each application, I was learning something entirely new to complete the tasks successfully. The entire process took me 5 months but I learned a lot of things during this period. Everything becomes priceless once you reach where you always wanted to go.

Huh! That's a lot of things I told. Let me tell you how I went down the deep RabbitHole.

Interviewing with RabbitHole

I met Brian Flynn on Twitter and from his profile I got to know he is hiring for Frontend Devs for his startup, RabbitHole. I didn't know anything about the role at all and neither about the incentives. I just hit him a DM the moment I saw the opportunity. Because I wanted to get into a crypto-based startup so much I didn't wait to think for a second. Here's the DM:

Cold DM

This is the DM that got me into a call with the co-founders, Brian and Scott. The call was mostly about my practical experiences and how I align with the role. They probably reviewed one of my project Molecules - A collection of React components/hooks that are accessible, composable, and customizable from low level to build your UI & Design System. And that's it... No tasks and nothing... This is the first company where I didn't have to do any task. I literally felt like I'm being directly picked up by the founders. Like they knew I was the one they are looking for. Maybe it's my good luck. They immediately offered me a paid 1 month trial from April 28 - May 28. Since then I've been working on the entire redesign of the product and we are excited to launch the new interface very soon.

Why RabbitHole

Let's now talk about why I think RabbitHole could contribute a lot to my growth and why I'm so excited about this team.

In the last week, $1T was erased from the crypto market.

This crash is a reminder of consequences when users and protocols are led on with speculation. Tokens/Coins prices are now less a bet on the future and more a reflection of real demand. And people aren't even educated about what they're buying and are not sure about their use-cases. For any currency to hold value, it must have use-cases and needs wide adoption.

Participation is greater than Speculation!

Bridging this gap is where RabbitHole comes in. Shifting the mindset of users from speculation to participation. To achieve this, there must be a pathfinder: navigating the common skills and jobs that are needed by protocols to make them sustainable.

As Mark Cuban says, marketing in the crypto universe is beyond awful. There must be a CURRENT network effect and significant user growth.

He also quotes, "Without users what value does a blockchain or L2 solution have? But, they still haven't figured out how to sell. They pay premiums to developers and for liquidity and validators. But invest little Marketing to attract users."

Crypto projects need participation. When participation is high, decentralized governance can be a thing of beauty. But there is little marketing being done to emphasize the impact governance can have on platforms, and their products/services. Which leads to confusion and less involvement. There are so many things in crypto that are least understood and that's is stunting some platform's growth.

Like all generational technologies, it takes a generation to grow up. And that's why what we are doing at RabbitHole matters a lot to the entire crypto ecosystem.

Pseudonymous Reputation:

While marketing & education might seem the major thing that we do at RabbitHole but it's not the only thing. Let's talk about pseudonymous reputation...

Any activity we do on-chain could represent one's identity & reputation. Dozens of financial products are being built on public blockchains like Ethereum. This financial data is open & accessible to anyone on earth who has internet access.

As soon as we create an address, we start building our on-chain reputation associated with that address. Any transactions we sign, contributes to our on-chain reputation. As the RabbitHole Manifesto states, this can include any of the following:

  • Staking in Synthetix
  • Minting synthetics in UMA
  • Voting on proposals in Aragon
  • Supplying liquidity in Balancer
  • Creating digital goods on Rarible
  • Indexing data in The Graph
  • Curating data on Ocean Protocol
  • Transcoding video on Livepeer
  • Perform a job in Keep3r Network
  • Creating strategies for Yearn

Whenever we participate in a crypto network, we demonstrate our understanding of how it works and our willingness to be a contributor. Rabbithole takes this a step further and rewards users for participating in crypto networks via specific on-chain transactions.

Learning and completing tasks on RabbitHole will help everyone build their on-chain reputation. People will be able to just apply for a job or bounty with their address or ENS name. RabbitHole Profiles could generate your on-chain resume and validate if you are qualified. Learning and earning will open doors to more learning and earning. And this is something that we will be building next. I'm super excited to do my best work at RabbitHole. :-) Thanks a lot for reading about this story.

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