CSS Week 1 Recap: Brian Armstrong, OODA Loop, Hiring + more

Adam Levy
March 13, 2023

We just completed the first week of Crypto Startup School, and are thrilled to share our experience with you. As creators ourselves, we thought it would be valuable to document our journey as we navigate this three-month accelerator program. In this blog and podcast, we will share some of the insights and ideas we gained during the first week of CSS and how they are shaping Bello. Specifically, we’re taking note of where we are today, and where we’ll be at the end of May when the accelerator commences.

Throughout the week, we got to meet the other teams in our cohort and had the incredible opportunity to learn from some of the most experienced minds in the crypto space like Coinbase’s Brian Armstrong, a16z’s Chris Dixon and Sriram Krishnan, Stanford’s Dan Boneh and more.

The program kicked off with an inspiring talk by Chris Dixon, who discussed the evolution of the internet from Web 1 to Web 2 to Web 3. He emphasized the importance of owning the digital things we create online and building communities in the ownership layer of the internet. This resonated with us because we are building Bello for creators and want to empower users to own their data. Dixon's concept of creating an ownership layer of the internet has significant implications for the future of the web, and we are excited to explore this further.

Probably the analogy that stuck with us the most had to be Dixon’s perspective on building a town hall and eventually expanding into a city, which in part refers to you that’s consuming this content right now. From finding your first few users that align with your purpose, and spreading that gospel to grow the town into a city is a concept that really resonated with us.

Another speaker that stood out was Sriram Krishnan, an expert in product development. He stressed the importance of iterating quickly and building a feedback loop to respond to user insights. He coined this cycle as the OODA Loop where teams must Observe, Orient, Decode, and Act. Teams who fulfill the loop consistently as fast as possible win above all. This is something we are constantly working on at Bello, and Krishnan's advice was incredibly helpful. He also highlighted the significance of building a product that users love, which requires continuous improvement.

When Brian Armstrong (and his bodyguards) entered the room, you could feel an uptick in energy. Throughout the hour, he spoke about being cautious of attending conferences, growing your team while finding product market fit, and shared his advice with hiring your first few employees. TLDR, if the candidate is not a hell yes, then they’re a hard no.

The week commenced with an awesome social event with drinks and catering where the cohort came together, met one another in an intimate setting, and spoke about our goals for the accelerator.

The biggest takeaway for us was getting a glimpse into what the structure and agenda would look like for Bello for the next three months. It felt like being back in school, except this time, we can directly apply what we learn in the classroom to positively impact you guys.

We consider the first week of Crypto Startup School to be a success, so stay tuned for our next update, where we will share our insights and experiences from Week 2 of the accelerator program.

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