Episode 459

DappCamp – Becoming a Web3 Developer

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DappCamp is a 21-day cohort-based course for Web2 developers making the shift to Web3. It offers hands-on experience on how to architect, develop, and scale a Web 3.0 app on Ethereum. Participants are given the opportunity to collaborate with like-minded peers to learn and build together, and also meet world-class founders who built some of the most successful apps on Ethereum to understand best practices and common pitfalls.

Preethi Kasireddy, Founder of DappCamp, started her crypto journey while at a16z and later joined Coinbase as a software engineer. After teaching herself Ethereum Dapp development during the 2017 ICO boom she built smart contracts for various crypto projects and created TruStory where she and her team built a blockchain on Cosmos. She also writes a great blog which often see her posts go viral. Preethi joined us to chat about how her journey in crypto has evolved, her love of writing, learning and teaching, why she created DappCamp, and being a woman in the crypto space.

Topics discussed in the episode

  • Preethi’s background and how she got into crypto
  • Her early days with Coinbase and TruStory
  • Preethi’s love of writing which led to her blog
  • DappCamp
  • What are the major struggles people face with learning web3 development?
  • Opportunities for DappCamp graduates
  • How DappCamp will evolve in the future
  • Being a woman in crypto
  • Keeping up to date with the crypto industry


Brian Fabian Crain: So, with that, Preethi, thanks so much for coming on. 

Preethi Kasireddy: Excited to be here, Brian. 

Brian Fabian Crain: I know you’ve had an intense hectic time. We had to reschedule a whole bunch of times. Congratulations. 

Preethi Kasireddy: Thank you. Having a newborn, it’s oh wait, I think I’m going to be free that hour.

And it’s like never mind, he needs me right now. But thanks for your patience appreciate it. 

Brian Fabian Crain: I have now had quite a few friends that have babies, and I think sort of witnessed from afar a little bit the unique challenges that come with that.

Preethi Kasireddy: Awesome. 

Brian Fabian Crain: So, well let’s, maybe we can start. Just share with us about how did you get into crypto and what your kind of initial journey into this space? 

Preethi Kasireddy: I kind of came into space, dabbled into the space on and off in the beginning.

So, I was working at Andrews and Horowitz on the deal team there. We didn’t really have a crypto team back then, because this was way back in 2013, 2014. But I witnessed Chris Dickson making the investment in Coinbase and I remember him being super excited about Coinbase and he and Mark kind of selling the firm on why Coinbase is a great investment. 

And I didn’t really understand it at that time. I was what is this crypto thing? It’s like a big, because Coinbase was like a Bitcoin wallet and I had no idea what the hell they were, what that even meant and why that’s a big deal.

And then Balaji joined A16Z, and he was also a very crypto enthusiast. And I remember him telling me to read the Bitcoin white paper because it’s going to change the world. And I read it and it was interesting, but it didn’t really catch my attention at the time, I got some exposure at A16Z, but I wouldn’t say that’s when I got into the space.

And then after I left A16Z I taught myself how to code and I was trying to figure out what I want to do afterwards, I remember asking Chris Dixon for advice and he was you should join an industry that’s growing, and the two industries that are really growing right now are machine learning and crypto. Although machine learning was very saturated at the time. 

And so crypto felt very nascent. Then I looked at what crypto companies are even available and Coinbase was one of them. So, I got in touch with them and did a few interviews and long story there, I got an offer there.

I got an offer at several other tech companies that were doing cool things and I was trying to decide what I want to do. Ultimately, I chose Coinbase. And the reason I chose Coinbase was not because it was a crypto company, it wasn’t because I was sold on crypto yet.

It was because I just liked Ryan, Fred, the team, the engineering team at Coinbase, I felt they were very quirky and weird doing something different that no one else was doing. So, for you to be in crypto in 2013, 2014, you had to be kind of weird. You weren’t a normal person that was going to join Coinbase and be excited about it.

So, it was like a bunch of cool quirky people who were together, and they were very mission oriented from day one. And Ryan kind of did that very intentionally where he hired people who were super passionate about crypto, if you weren’t passionate about crypto, you weren’t joining Coinbase.

So, I joined, and I honestly loved it. Learned so much from the people there, I was not even doing crypto engineering, I was doing react development. So, I was doing web development at Coinbase. Because obviously Coinbase is not a decentralized company, but still, I was learning a lot.

And I still wouldn’t say I wasn’t deep into space because again, I was doing web development at Coinbase. It wasn’t until after I left Coinbase, that I started to dabble into Ethereum development. So, I learned similarity smart contract development. And then I worked for a small ICO company, which went bust, was embarrassing.

And I thought I was working on something super cool and everyone at the time was super optimistic about all these different projects and so was I. And I ended up joining one and ended up being a complete failure, but I learned a lot in the process, I learned about smart contract development, I learned about space, I learned deeply about Ethereum.

I decided to go deep into the Ethereum rabbit hole, the main reason was because I just really love the community. I’m sure you can attest to this, in the early days, the Ethereum community was so strong, so passionate, they still are. 

It was one of the most entrenched, passionate, global communities and I just really liked that. So, I decided to just learn about Ethereum, and that’s how I got into space. I got obsessed with Ethereum, I just really found it super interesting how the whole blockchain worked, how their consensus worked, how state management worked how Solidity worked.

I liked programming and solidity and that’s Kind of how I got into it. And then I just kept going and learning about different things, learning about things like Cosmos, and I met Zaki and people like that. I kept going deeper down into space and eventually I started my own company in crypto.

Brian Fabian Crain: I remember, one of your articles you wrote this long article about Ethereum. Sort of Kind of how Ethereum works, that I think was widely read and I kind of skimmed it. I never fully read it, but at least I remembered the article.

Preethi Kasireddy: That was a viral article that just explained how Ethereum worked in a detailed and intricate way. 

Brian Fabian Crain: And so True story, I remember True Story because I was working in Cosmos, I guess you were one of the early projects that started building on cosmos. I think one of the early projects that raced from venture capitalists.

What was kind of impetus for you back then to say, okay, I want to start my own company or my own crypto network? 

Preethi Kasireddy: Honestly, it had to be totally honest. I would say someone else decided for me.

And what I mean by that is after I left Coinbase, I was just kind of doing random smart contract work for different companies and then my seed investor found out I’m kind of a free bird and I was exploring things and she reached out and she was like hey, if you want to start a company, I’ll fund you, and that’s how it started. 

I didn’t even have a company name, I didn’t have a company formed, nothing. It was just me and the company name was actually Preethi Kasireddy LLC when she gave me the seat check, because I didn’t know what I was going to even build. She just thought I was a smart person and she wanted to find me to go do something interesting. That’s kind of kind of how it started.

And then I just started exploring different things, problem spaces that I was interested in. I couldn’t imagine doing something outside of crypto because I’ve already spent so much time invested in crypto by that point that I was just mostly focused on doing something in the crypto space.

I just wasn’t sure where I would, what I wanted to do. And then the things I started, I started to gravitate towards were identity and reputation type of things, like using tokens to build some kind of identity or reputation layer on the blockchain. So, I started going deep into that rabbit hole and then, true story kind of emerged out of that where we were trying to build a social network where you can use a token to basically curate the “truth” and you kind of build your reputation identity based on how good you are at curating truth as well as making truthful statements. And then we hired a bunch of people and we worked on it for two years, it didn’t work out in the end. We shut the company down in 2020. 

But it was a fun and important learning experience. I think we were one of the early people who went pretty far deep into the rabbit hole of trying to use this token to build a social network and a reputation system. Most people kind of just shrugged it off as an impossible problem.

But we spent two years going deep. I would say we learned a lot and the takeaway from that was I felt like we were a little bit too early to the market. I felt that there were so many things that we wanted to test with the market, but the market wasn’t ready for it.

Meaning Getting tokens weren’t mainstream, if we had built something like that today, maybe people would be more willing to even try using the product. But back then in 2018, the idea of downloading a wallet to use a social network app with a token, building a social network on its own is hard, building a social network with a token was a hundred times hard. 

There were a lot of things that I felt like were too early, tokens weren’t mainstream yet. And then secondly, the infrastructure was not there yet. We were using Cosmos and trying to build on Cosmos because it’s more scalable than Ethereum.

There were just so many bottlenecks to that, the idea that users must go through a worse experience than they’re used to in web two was not acceptable or accepted yet because again, this is before Defi even started, this is before NFTs, and people started to accept this poor UX a way to do things because they can make money on the other end.

At that time if you had a poor UX, why would people even use you? So, we just ran into a lot of different challenges that I felt like timing. Timing is everything for a startup and we were not at the right time for it. 

Brian Fabian Crain: You mentioned a whole bunch of issues that came up, but I’m curious if you sort of think in terms of what are the lessons and learnings from it that you’d try to generalize and they’re like going forward, in o in other contexts, in other situations, they will sort of shape in how you would approach things. What are those?

Is that this timing one, and can you go a little bit deeper there, and what else is there? 

Preethi Kasireddy: I think in hindsight, as a first-time entrepreneur, I think someone had a tweet on this, I forget who, I think it was Justin Kan, he’s had a tweet along the lines of first-time founders focus on products, second-time founders focus on market. And I think that’s true. L

As the first-time founder, I probably spent six months to a year trying to build the right product. But in hindsight, now that I’m building other companies, the first thing I do is test the market. We can build, I can hire great engineers and build a great product if I can validate the market.

So that’s one huge learning for me. It’s like flip the order of how you do things, make sure there’s a market for rebuilding and then build something. And the other thing is, I thought I was doing it development and building an MVP, but as a first-time founder, we spent way too much time getting that first product out the door and not really scoping down to a true MVP.

There’s founder-ish entrepreneur type, first time founder lessons kind of that I can go into, but those are the two big ones. It’s validating the market and not having fast iteration cycles. 

In terms of just crypto related learnings. I would say 2018, again, the infrastructure was just too early to build any kind of user-facing app we needed. We were in that cycle, Fred Wilson talks about the app infrastructure cycle, first a lot of people build infrastructure, and then once that infrastructure is built, entrepreneurs go in and build applications on top of that, and then those applications reach a limit, then we realize we have to build infrastructure to meet those requirements.

So, we go back to building infrastructure and then we build more apps, then we hit limits, then we build infrastructure.

We kind of go through these loops, I would say 2018, 2019 was probably more of an infrastructure timeframe where people were really focused on building more scalable blockchains better and cheaper blockchains and things like that, so that they can be more user friendly. 

And that’s why you saw the wave of Defi and NFTs happen in the last cycle. And then we hit limits on that as well and now people are continuing to build infrastructure. I would say timing was not the best in 2018. 

Another learning about crypto is that I think in terms of my team because it was 2018, because it was a bear market, the people I hired, I wouldn’t say they were, I don’t think they were a hundred percent crypto native.

And in some ways that was a good thing, because they challenged me, and they were like why would people use this? Or why would people do things this way? But the con of it was that it was hard to get them to truly embrace a crypto native product. And so, in hindsight, I wonder if we had everyone on the team who was truly crypto native, would we have built something more different? Something that was usable, et cetera.

I’ll think of more, but those are some of the things that come to mind. As a second time founder you just do things so much differently, I feel if I had the knowledge that I have now, maybe we could have been successful.

Brian Fabian Crain: I wanted to talk a little bit about your newsletter, I’ve been subscribing to your newsletter for quite a long time. Probably a lot of listeners are aware of it as well. But tell us a little bit, how did you end up starting a newsletter and what’s kind of the role of the newsletter and writing in general in sort of your own journey and especially around learning, because I think that’s that feels to me this big recurring theme that kind of weaves through what you’re doing and what you’re writing. 

Preethi Kasireddy: I’ve always just been a good writer and I don’t like brag, I just enjoy writing because I find writing is a very powerful way to articulate and form your own thought patterns and sort of crystallize what you think.

I find that if I try to learn something and I don’t write about it, I don’t learn anything. I haven’t truly learned it, it’s only when I’ve written something about it that I feel I’ve really tested all the gaps in my knowledge because as soon as they put pen to paper, you start to realize what you don’t know.

So that’s kind of why I started writing is because as I was learning programming, when I was teaching myself programming writing goes away to kind of test what I knew and test what I was learning.

And I just started writing blogs every week and writing about different technologies that related to JavaScript and stuff. And continued doing that in my early days of crypto, and that’s how I built an audience and so forth. And so, the newsletter now honestly is just a fun way to interact with my audience.

And my audience is kind of broad, I have people in crypto, I also have people on my newsletter who follow me from my JavaScript days or from my Instagram or just different things I’m interested in, like fitness, food, all these different interests that I’ve kind of built up over time, people kind of follow me for different reasons, my list is kind of diverse and I don’t write just about crypto. 

I write if I feel like writing about my life or something related to something completely outside of crypto, I’ll write about it. And I think people do find that interesting because even though it’s not a crypto topic most people can relate to what I write about.

Nowadays having a newsletter and a paid newsletter and the subscription-based newsletter is a huge thing now, but personally the only reason I have is that newsletter is just more of a hobby. It’s like I write when I feel like it to that newsletter, but I also definitely use it for marketing for Dapp Camp as well, which you know about.

You’ve probably read some of my newsletters, I was writing a weekly newsletter before the baby was born. I’ll continue it, but I was writing about different things I do in a week. Like I dance, I’ve been learning how to dance, and I have a dog and now I have a kid.

So, there’s a lot of interesting things that come out of come out of that. And it’s fun to write about it. 

Brian Fabian Crain: I feel what you said, if I learn something and don’t write about it, I don’t learn it, that really struck with me because I was like writing a bit on a blog, especially at some point I was getting into the rhythm of like I was different from you. 

I wouldn’t write these long posts, but I would try to write something short and just put it out and I find it so it’s so enormously satisfying, but then I would kind of get stuck again and not right for a while.

But I feel the way you face it, of this kind of connection between expressing ideas about something you learned and the act of learning. I feel that’s a really nice way of thinking about it. 

Preethi Kasireddy: You do podcasts, so that’s kind of your mode of expression.

Speaking is also one way if you’re trying to explain something through your voice, that’s also another way to crystallize your thoughts, but everyone has a form, some people like to write, some people like to talk some people like to do both, but there must be some way that you have to force yourself to articulate what you think.

And that’s the only way to test your knowledge, whether it’s written or voiced.

Brian Fabian Crain: I do think writing is very powerful in this way. Podcasts are an amazing tool to learn, it’s an amazing tool to have conversations with different people and learn about lots of different topics.

But I think there’s something a bit different and a bit harder in having to condense it in a written form. 

Preethi Kasireddy: Especially when you sort of publish it, putting your ideas out in the world is a scary thing and not many people are willing to do it.

So, if you’re willing to do it, that’s why you reap a lot of benefits from it. You can build an audience, make friends by writing publicly, have strong connections. My husband is an example of someone who basically wrote his way to like famed him, I guess.

He has connections now all over the world based on his interests and he has followers from all over the world and anywhere we go, people start to recognize him. So, there’s cool benefits to writing and publishing things online. Definitely encourage more people to do it. 

Brian Fabian Crain: The thing you said about publishing, I think that that’s right.

Because there’s like a world of a difference between writing some kind of draft of a blog post, because it always feels like a draft of a blog post if you don’t publish it. It’s the actual act of putting it out that changes something.

Preethi Kasireddy: It’s kind of like an artist, I have a lot of respect for artists who are willing to put their art out because there’s a lot of people who paint or dance or do stuff, but they don’t publish it. Whereas it takes a lot of guts to put that out because you know you’re going to be critiqued.

There’s going to be someone out there who doesn’t like what you’re doing or what you’re saying or what you’re writing. And it takes a strong-willed person to be able to put that out and receive that kind of criticism. But you also received positive responses as well, so it balances out.

Brian Fabian Crain: That was the amazing thing when I was. I mean, I wrote maybe 30 blog posts last year, and really my goal was, I didn’t really publish, I didn’t really promote it much at all. The only thing he did was they retweeted it automatically through my account, that’s the only thing I did. 

And my only goal was just to publish stuff, so I got sort of in the habit of putting something out and not sort of censoring myself and getting into some sort of writing habit, especially also sort of saw myself like, okay, I’m happy to publish bad blog posts because, and I’m not going to promote them, I just want to publish stuff.

So, I’m okay with publishing bad posts. And then I was still amazed that how many people somehow found it and gave feedback about it and said, oh this is really great, and they really like it, it was very interesting to see that, even though I’m definitely nowhere near your level of writing.

And a lot of it was very quickly put out, but it’s such a powerful thing. 

Preethi Kasireddy: And, like you said, even though podcasts and other forms exist, I still think written form is one of the most powerful because it can like, once you write something it’s out in the world forever.

You read written stuff from hundreds of years ago, and I think people, what you write today, who knows if people from a hundred years or 200 years or 200 years could read your writing? I think that’s a very powerful thing. And so, you have a way to kind of make a mark and world by putting your thoughts out there.

Brian Fabian Crain: Let’s talk about Dapp Camp. So, how did you decide to start that camp? How did that come up? 

Preethi Kasireddy: So honestly it was a side project.

I took some time off from work just to focus on how life is, all different things. And then I missed doing crypto stuff and I was like how can I get into crypto without going full-time into it?

And I was like, let me just do a little course where I teach people how to do smart contract development because that’s something I already know, I’m just going to leverage the skill I already have and do a course on it. I started that Dapp Camp on Maven, Maven is like a cohort-based online platform where you can run cohort-based courses.

And so, I used Maven as a platform to launch this course, and we had 60 people during the first cohort. And someone in my network had reached out to me and he said Hey, can I help you with the course? I’d love to work with you on it. And so, me and him, we were co-instructors on the course.

It turned out to be a successful course, the students loved it. We loved teaching it, was so exciting. We walked away with so much energy. We were just so energized by teaching these students. And we just felt like there’s so much we can do beyond what we had done in that first cohort, so much potential for what we can do in cohorts 2, 3, 4, and so forth. 

And that’s when we were like okay, let’s keep doing more cohorts, so we did a second one and then we did a third one. And then every single time I feel we get better and better and better. We find so many cool things that we can do beyond just what we just did in that cohort.

And both me and my co-instructor, we both love teaching, and we love the experience of having to sit down and teach that live course because it’s different from what you see out there in the market, most of the online courses today are kind of asynchronous and you’re kind of having to passively read on your own and complete the things on your own.

Few people are doing live courses, and for us creating that live course was unique. We got to have a room full of 60 developers who were asking us deep intellectual questions and we were answering them live and everyone was getting to hear the answers and learn from their peers.

So, it was cool in that way, we kind of started it and it just blew up and we just kept doing it. And now we’re going to be on our fourth cohort at the end of the year and we are making some big improvements for what we’re going to do going forward. In a nutshell, we’re going to make a lot of the course a lot more Web three native.

Meaning we’re going to experiment with things like signing. So, everything that as a student you’re represented as an Ethereum address. So, you basically apply with your meta mask address, and everything is tied to your meta mask address. We give you badges for completing certain milestones in the course.

We have a reputation score for each student based on the different milestones they reach, different cool things that we’re doing just to explore. Can we use some of the primitives that have been built in the last cycle, like NFT badges and identity and things like that to build a web three native experience for the cohort. But it’s been fun. 

Brian Fabian Crain: I’m curious, you speak with so much enthusiasm, about this experience of teaching this course. What do you think it is that makes it such a wonderful experience for you? 

Preethi Kasireddy: It’s seeing the student’s kind of thrive on the other end.

This is knowledge I already know, there’s no point of me holding onto that knowledge, if I pass it down, then it’s super interesting to see how other people use that knowledge, then do cool things that I would never do in my lifetime. And then just seeing people who maybe never had an opportunity to come into this space to get that knowledge and now be a full-time web three engineer. 

I think the best part is seeing the outcome of what happens to these students after they graduate. Not everyone is successful, of course, and people just end up going back to their current jobs. But a lot of people do make strides towards becoming full-time web three engineers and you guys I think, hired a couple people from our grad list.

And so those women, it was hard to find them, but it was cool to see them go from it’s my dream to be Web three engineer to them taking the course and then a few weeks later, them having a job offer to be web three engineer or just an engineer at Web three company. So that’s probably the most rewarding thing.

Brian Fabian Crain: So just the explanation here. So, with chorus one, I guess I saw at some point in your newsletter there was some company that did some scholarships for Dapp Camp. And then we were oh, this is cool, we want to do this too. And we also focused the scholarships on women.

So, we have been doing these scholarships for a few cohorts, we did three cohorts, I guess not the first one, but I think the ones after that. And we ended up carrying two people out of it, Maria and Talita, that joined us full-time, and it was very cool.

They’re both amazing. So, I’m happy that we hired them, they’re also very different backgrounds, very different from our sort of normal applicant pool and bringing very different perspective and approach to it and very deep enthusiasm for crypto, which is something we look for a lot, it’s been great for us to work with Dapp Camp on that. 

Preethi Kasireddy: They’re so eager to learn and so eager to contribute, it was cool to have them be part of the cohort and then go on to do cool things like join Chorus One. And it’s also good motivation for other women too.

Because then they see Talita, they see Maria, and they’re oh, I’m just like them. I could do what they could do, so more people come in and just kind of follow their lead. So, it’s cool to see you guys open doors like that for them. 

Brian Fabian Crain: So, when it comes to learning web three development, what’s hard about this? What do people struggle with? 

Preethi Kasireddy: I would say the engineering part of it is not that difficult, learning solidity and that piece is not that challenging. The challenging part is obviously crypto is very multidiscipline, meaning you must understand a lot of different things to truly understand the right use cases for it.

You must understand economics, blockchain engineering obviously, you must understand politics in some way. There’s a lot of different subject areas that crypto kind of touches and I think as an engineer, the challenging part for them is being able to see that bigger picture and think about product from that angle and not just thinking about product from an engineering side because just building, just engineering a product doesn’t make it useful.

You must think about how you are going to use incentives to basically align the different pieces of people in that network, these are all just big and thorny problems that engineers are not really used to thinking about. And so, a lot of people that take the course, they kind of tell us that blockchain engineering feels a lot more entrepreneurial compared to other engineering because other engineering, you’re just kind of like engineering.

Whereas crypto you’re thinking about the bigger picture and thinking about a lot more different things. And so, you are being a lot more entrepreneurial in that way, and some people are not that good at that, that’s also the other challenge I would say. 

There are people that come to think that because they’re good engineers, they’re going to be successful, but sometimes they’re not.

We had a strong engineer who we thought would crush it, but it was clear that he was just too stuck in the engineering side of things and not able to see the bigger picture of how to build a good product that people can use.

Brian Fabian Crain: I think this political and philosophical dimension of crypto is something that’s very crucial and a lot of people really get it right and they kind of understand it on some deep level, but then other people really struggle with it, and they can even work in crypto, but somehow. 

Preethi Kasireddy: They don’t quite get it, I think it’s an acquired skill. 

Brian Fabian Crain: Well, what I want to say is I think it has also to do something with fundamental values and way of looking at the world, especially people who maybe don’t like authority so much or look for freedom in some way or more sovereignty and autonomy, I think often they become interested in crypto because of that.

If you think about the keys and who controls the keys and the trust assumptions and all of that stuff, I think that’s very deeply intervene with that. I remember in the 2017 or 2018 bull market, there was a lot of these people who came and then they do these ICOs, but clearly it just didn’t, it was maybe an opportunity for them to raise a bunch of money, but it missed the point of what it was all about.

Preethi Kasireddy: That’s a good point. And the other thing that I would add to that, it’s not easy to figure out where a token is useful and where a token is not useful. And that’s I would say, a skill that you only learn by seeing a lot of different projects, and really trying to understand what the purpose of that token is.

And I would say no one’s truly an expert on this still. There’s still debate about whether certain projects should have a token or not. So, that seems to be something that I think the engineers sometimes struggle with because they’ll like to put a token into something that probably maybe doesn’t need a token and could be done without.

And it might be a good engineering experience for them, but it’s not a good use case for a token. 

Brian Fabian Crain: So, who came through Dapp Camp, what do the people who made it successfully and they’re working crypto, what do they have in common?

Preethi Kasireddy: I would say, number one is they’re strong engineers, because we do a strong screening on them before they take the cohort.

They’re strong engineers, so they have a strong fundamental baseline set of engineering skills. Secondly, they’re eager to learn and they’re super passionate because, crypto, if you’re coming into space, you must just be willing to just drink through the fire hose.

And if you’re just kind of slow and trying to take your time, this is not going to work, you have to be very on top of things and eager to learn. I would say most of the people that are most successful are the ones that are very eager to learn, and then they learn fast too.

And third, I would say the point we’re trying to make is they have a good grasp on the bigger picture of things. And they’re not just a code monkey, for lack of better words. 

Brian Fabian Crain: That makes sense. 

I think one thing that also have stood out to me a bit, that I see sometimes people struggle with a lot is, if you’re in another industry, then you want to work in this industry, you maybe research a bunch of companies and then you apply there and you try to get a job of those companies, I guess that’s kind of the standard way.

But in crypto, because the information’s all open, and a lot of this more kind of community driven, that’s not the best way, it’s a better way to sort of figure out what do you actually find interesting?

And then learn about that and get involved in that community and maybe go through a conference, write about it, write blog posts, or contribute in some way and then things will happen, I think this sort of, I’m going to start with trying to get a job.

I think can be a big obstacle also because people don’t want to speak with you if you could just go ahead and get started but you don’t, and you just want to do calls with people. 

Preethi Kasireddy: That’s a good point. That’s a good way to put it.

Brian Fabian Crain: I guess we’re still at quite at the beginning of that, but I think this whole, working for a DAO is another thing that there’s probably, maybe right now I don’t know how well those start.

Maybe some of the DAOs work well, but it’s probably still a better option for most people might be to go for work for a normal web three company, but it’s becoming something where it’s just an entirely different way of working.

Preethi Kasireddy: I think whether you should join a DAO or whether you should join a regular web three company just depends on your personality. If you’re entrepreneurial to begin with and you have a high-risk tolerance, I think you can join a DAO and you have I guess the financial cushion. You can join a DAO and be very exploratory that way. 

Have a few different DAOs that you’re part of, where you have different roles in those DAOs. But if you’re more like Employee mindset, then I think joining a Web three company and going, spending maybe a year or two years there to truly understand the space and have the time to build your confidence before you go the DAO route is probably what makes sense for you.

If I try to come into crypto and join DAO right away, I think it will be confusing. And maybe depending on what Dao I joined or what DAOs I joined, I might even be discouraged or have false starts or whatnot. But because I joined Coinbase, for example, it gave me a really strong foundation and time to spend learning about crypto before deciding to go out and explore and do my own thing, whether I start a company or join DAO or whatever.

And when people graduate Dapp Camp, I tell the same thing to them. If I were in your shoes, the first thing I would do after graduating a bootcamp is joining web three company, even if it’s boring, spend a year or two years there and then go do my own thing, go be more entrepreneurial, join a DAO, start my own company, whatnot.

There are some people who are ready to start a company right after graduating and usually those are people who’ve either started companies in the past or they’re just naturally more entrepreneurial minded, there’s exceptions, but I would say for the most part, join a web three company. 

Brian Fabian Crain: And for Dapp Camp you talked a little bit about fourth cohort building in more of these crypto elements. What’s beyond that? 

Preethi Kasireddy: There’s so much we can do, right now the cohorts are Less than a hundred in size and mostly in the US and some parts of Asia markets. So, one thing, I think we can scale this to be a lot bigger and reach a lot more people for one, especially people in emerging markets.

I continue to hear about how certain countries in Africa, like Nigeria and so forth are apparently very crypto friendly and have smart people. They just don’t have access to the best education and the best platforms to learn and get off of.

So, I think the bigger vision is just to scale it to a lot bigger audience and be able to bring this to people that can use it as a tool to jumpstart their career in crypto. Basically, what we want to be is like the bridge for people who want to get into crypto, if you’re an engineer and you are lurking in the background, we want to be that bridge so that you don’t have to go on it on your own.

Just like when I started learning how to code, I could do it on my own, but it’d probably take two years, instead I did a coding bootcamp, which was a powerful way for me to learn in a very structured way, meet other people who are also learning to code, and then go do my own thing.

Brian Fabian Crain: I think that’s true. Learning with others is a key thing, I also once, spent time learning to code on my own and I was consistent with it, for maybe two years. I spent most days, spent a bunch of time coding. But it was actually very slow progress. 

And in the end, I was kind of oh, I also need to do some kind of coding bootcamp, then I discovered crypto, and I just focused on crypto instead. But I felt very much just kind of lack of working alone makes it very hard. And I think working with other developers is clearly such a powerful thing that dramatically accelerates. 

Preethi Kasireddy: It is, makes a huge difference. 

Brian Fabian Crain: Maybe talk a little bit about, the aspect of it, is a topic right in industry a lot like Chorus One and in many different contexts. But being a woman in crypto, what are your thoughts on that and what has experience been kind of seeing the unique challenges of women through Dapp Camp.

Preethi Kasireddy: I think compared to when I was joining crypto and there was zero, I think it’s gotten a lot better. There’s a lot of diversity now, lot more female in the space, especially with NFTs, which are more related to art and culture. So, it brought a much more diverse audience into space.

But in terms of engineers, female engineers, there’s still a huge lack of them, and I didn’t realize that until you guys gave us the opportunity to give scholarships to women to join the cohort. And we were okay, awesome we have five or ten scholarships to give to women. And we realized there’s very few female engineers who are one interested and two who are qualified.

We did have people who were interested, but they didn’t know how to code, so we couldn’t really accept them, it’s hard to find female engineers who are qualified and who want to do crypto. That’s kind of a big challenge that we continue to be forced to meet and deal with every cohort with the scholarships that you give us.

And it’s been a great thing because it’s forced us to go outside of our networks and reach out to networks where there are female engineers and try to see if they are interested in doing the cohort and just try to reach a broader audience beyond what my following. Because it seems most of my following is male or female who don’t know how to code yet.

The funny thing is the female engineers who do end up joining are very capable. They’re sometimes strong or stronger than the male. So, it’s not like they’re not capable. It’s just that sometimes, they don’t have the resources to do something like this with scholarships help, sometimes it’s just that they’re almost intimidated to do something like this.

And so, some of our marketing efforts have to kind of show that hey, you can do it too, we kind of encourage them to apply. 

Brian Fabian Crain: Is there something specific about crypto do you think that stops women from applying the Dapp Camp in general, female developers of wanting to work in the industry?

Preethi Kasireddy: Some of them just don’t feel like they’re qualified even though they are. So, there’s a little bit of an intimidation factor and this is just a female thing sometimes where we’re not as confident as the men are about our skills, we can sometimes underestimate ourselves and be a little bit more reserved or shy about our skills.

I think there’s a lot of studies that prove that men will apply for a job even if they don’t meet all the qualifications whereas women, they’ll want to meet every single qualification before they apply. So, we have some of that, a little bit of that dynamic going on. And secondly, I think just the nature of, there’s not that many women who are mid-level senior engineers to begin with, because most people by the time they’re in their late twenties, they might start families, or they might have kids.

And so, there’s just a lot less female to begin with in the market, there’s kind of both factors playing into it. And so, I don’t believe that we’re going to have equal 50 50 ratio, and that’s not our goal because that’s not realistic. Women and men, they just play different roles in society and sometimes women don’t want to be engineers.

But our goal is at least for the women who are engineers, to give them access, and how do we reach them? How do we find them? Is kind of our goal, each cohort and we’re slowly trying to discover different networks where these women exist and trying to get to them as efficiently as possible.

Brian Fabian Crain: Well, let’s do one last question before we wrap up. Because I was asking, I think Maria and Talita were like oh, we should ask Preethi and both to mentioned one question. Which is not the question that I expected, how do you stay up to date with all that’s going on in the crypto industry?

Preethi Kasireddy: I think everyone has their own way. Personally, I will listen to podcasts, but it’s more just to pass time than to truly learn. It’s kind of passive knowledge, the best way I learn is by reading. And so, for me, the way I keep up with things is if I’ll have friends or Twitter, whenever they’re interesting, whenever some of the big blog posts drop, I’ll read those.

And I’ll just read stuff that people I trust or that I like their writing, I read their writing. So that’s how I keep up with things I like to read. Other people like to use podcasts to keep up with things. That’s totally a fair way. It’s just that for me I get distracted easily and like I’m listening, but I’m half listening because I’m doing five other things while listening to a podcast.

So, it’s not really the best way to learn from me. And I can’t sit there and just listen to a podcast and take notes like that. It doesn’t work as well, it’s just like reading. In terms of what sources, how I find the sources mostly. I don’t really read mainstream sources like Coin Market, Coin Gecko or whatever.

All these different platforms that exist, that proliferate news. It’s mostly individuals that I follow, that I like and that I trust. So, I read their newsletters, and everyone will be different. Who you resonate with, who’s writing you resonate with will be different from mine. So just go down the rabbit hole and find people that whose writings you really like and read that, and follow their writing. 

Brian Fabian Crain: Well, thanks so much Preethi. Thanks for coming on, taking your time, thanks for all the cool work you’re doing with Dapp Camp. I’m excited to see where it goes and all the new developers that are going to come into the industry and also of course, to follow along and see where your journey will take you next, I’m sure you’ll go on to do lots more cool things in crypto and beyond.

Preethi Kasireddy: Thank you. Awesome. Thanks Brian. 

Brian Fabian Crain: So, thanks again for our listener for tuning in. If you want to support the show leave us now to interview share the podcast or let us know on Twitter what you think. And of course, we’ll put links to the things pre-mentioned, our newsletter, Dapp Camp, et cetera, in the show notes.

And thanks so much for tuning in, and we look forward to being back next week.


  • Tally Ho

    Tally Ho is a new wallet for Web3 and DeFi that sees the wallet as a public good. Think of it like a community-owned alternative to MetaMask. Try Tally Ho and join the community on Discord. Their community calls feature a new partner each week and have about 500 uniques joining. All the info you need is at tallyho.cash

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