CSS Week 2 Recap: UX in Web3, New Features, Advisory Sessions

Adam Levy
March 20, 2023

Welcome to our weekly recap where we document the progress of Bello’s journey through a16z’s Crypto Startup School!

Week 2 was jam-packed with tons of valuable speakers, multiple one-on-one sessions, cohort round tables, plus much more.

Here’s what went down.


Understanding the Crypto Landscape

During the first session of week two, Tim Roughgarden, a Research Partner on the a16z Crypto team, provided valuable insights into the ever-evolving crypto landscape.

Roughgarden discussed the importance of multi-disciplinary individuals working together to create a cohesive ecosystem and emphasized the significance of having individuals with different skills, such as economics, cryptography, engineering, game theory, and finance, working together to make the entire ship float. Roughgarden also discussed the different areas of innovation in the crypto space, including infrastructure, financial applications, and gaming.

Following his lecture, we had a quick lunch break only to return to Tuesday’s magic shortly after.

Building Efficient Products with User Experience in Mind

The second session of day one was led by Ben Scharfstein, the Co-Founder of Stelo wallet, who spoke about UX’s role in Web3. Ben provided a framework for building products efficiently and shared six principles of UX and Web3. From making complex things simple to building product experiences, he went all out. One of the most interesting principles is the effectiveness of using buzzwords like “NFT” for marketing strategy and branding, and how it can be a double-edged sword.

A good example is looking at music NFT company Royal.io and their approach to branding, where they do not use the keyword NFT anywhere on their site to avoid overloading their audience with confusion. The session highlighted the importance of understanding user needs and building products with a user's perspective in mind.

Roundtable Sessions

After the morning sessions, the afternoon was filled with roundtable sessions where the cohort could engage in informal discussions with subject matter experts. The topics included web3 media, wallets and payments, security, and gaming and the metaverse.

The web3 media roundtable was led by Stone, the Co-Founder of CryptoPunks, and Elf J Trul, the Co-Founder of Forgotten Rune Wizards, who shared insights into the birth of NFTs, the importance of building community, and how to think about IP and ownership onchain. There was also a discussion on the challenges of bringing the next 100 million users into Web3 using NFTs.

The wallets and payments roundtable was very informative for us as we were able to learn more about traditional wallets and auto payments for crypto. We were able to ask questions and gain insight from the heads of Coinbase Wallet and Loopwallet.xyz allowing us to better understand the payment infrastructure of Web3.

The gaming and metaverse roundtable was led by Carra Wu, a gaming expert, who discussed the different projects that are building gaming platforms and metaverses. Carra provided valuable insights into the gaming industry and the potential for Web3 to revolutionize it, highlighting the importance of building a community around interoperable media, IP, and ownership onchain.


The Importance of Company Values and Culture

Day two of week two of CSS started with a session led by Mary Catherine Lader, the COO of Uniswap, who spoke about the importance of building a company and putting values in place. Lader talked about the transition from being a product-focused company to becoming a business that establishes values and culture. She emphasized the importance of building something that is built to last and how this idea is still at the core of Uniswap.

We also had one-on-one sessions with Partners Elena Burger and Michael Blau where we walked them through our roadmap and got their insights on how to solve various challenges we were facing.

The day concluded with a happy hour in Venice where partners, fellow cohort members, and friends of the firm hung out, discussed each other’s challenges, and shared opportunities where we could help one another.


Thursday we shipped a new feature! It’s a small W for the community, but something we’ve been asked a few times already from you guys.

Now you can let the world know about your community's top supporters in one click across Lenster and Twitter by following these three simple steps:

  1. Step 1: Open your searched collection
  2. Step 2: View your entire Collector List
  3. Step 3: Hit Actions and select the platform you want to share to

We'll automatically generate a post for you to distribute across your socials so you can show grace by tagging your top supporters.


On Friday, we had the opportunity to connect with Sriram Krishnan, a former Facebook and Snap executive, now a General partner at Andreessen Horowitz. He had previously given a talk during the program's first week about product development and the Hero’s journey, though Friday’s session consisted of a more intimate one-on-one where we got to show him our Beta and get feedback on our envisioned next steps.

There was so much energy packed within those 45 minutes, from talking through our go-to-market strategy, partners that we should connect with to complement Bello’s efforts, and product insights he learned while working at leading web2 companies.

What's next

Week 2 was exhausting yet incredibly rewarding. Next week there are no scheduled sessions for CSS, though we’ll be hanging out at Outer Edge (formerly NFT LA) hosting a panel on “Data in The Creator Economy.”

If you’re around, come through and say hi! We’re speaking on March 22nd from 1:55 PM to 2:25 PM PST at L.A. Live (800 West Olympic Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90015).

You can expect a recap next Monday outlining Outer Edge, and our preps for Week 3 of CSS.

Week 2 out of 12 successfully completed.

See you next week.

Subscribe to our newsletter
Submit your email to learn about the latest from Bello.