Lessons In building web1 to web3
Sam Yagan, CEO Corazon Capital
Victoria Bills, Allos Ventures
Sam Yagan is co-founder and managing director of Corazon Capital since 2014. He recently served as the CEO of ShopRunner, Inc., which provides its millions of members free two-day shipping and seamless checkout at over 100 leading online retailers. Before ShopRunner, Sam served as Vice-Chairman of Match Group (Nasdaq: MTCH), a position he assumed after leading the company as CEO. Sam also co-founded OkCupid in 2003, which he led as its CEO through its sale to Match Group in 2011. Sam has earned recognition on TIME’s “100 Most Influential People in the World,” Fortune’s “40 Under 40,” Crain’s Chicago “Tech 50” and “40 Under 40,” Billboard’s “30 Under 30,” and Silicon Alley Insider’s “Most Inspiring and Influential People.”
Victoria Bills is an associate for Allos Ventures. Based in Chicago, Victoria assists with their deal flow and due diligence for investing in Illinois based companies. Prior to joining Allos, she was an Investment Analyst for the Illinois State Treasurer’s Office assisting in conducting investment due diligence, analysis, and monitoring external program managers on the Illinois Growth and Innovation Fund. Prior to starting her career in finance, Victoria graduated from Babson College where she concentrated in global business management and economics.
Sam grew up in an immigrant family and came from a math and science heavy background. He stated that a big part of his entrepreneurial mindset came from his parents as immigrants. The quality of being comfortable with risks and failure, and being able to always get back up from failure enabled him to become an entrepreneur to build SparkNotes while turning down offers from fancy consulting firms. Sam proved that risks and failures are the norms of entrepreneurship with his life story.
Fundamental needs don’t change
From Sam’s takeaways of building in Web2, he pointed out that human fundamental needs don’t usually change whereas technology is always changing. He used the example of SparkNotes: It did not change the fundamental need to study but instead move the study experience online. To build great products, Sam suggested that adding value to consumer needs should always come before leveraging a certain technology.
Features → Business
A lot of times, founders have insights into features but not businesses. Sam claimed that builders need to have the ability to turn features into products and finally into businesses. Here at Decasonic, we help founders to build with accretive value add. Our battle-tested product experience helps founders to improve use cases for real people, obtain product market fit, and ship with speed.
Web1 → Web3: Leadership
There are many challenges faced when transitioning from Web1/2 to Web3. “The biggest personal challenge is to scale organizations”, Sam shared with the audience. He mentioned that the experience of leading a small team of ten people is completely different from what it takes to scale an organization. Coordinating with people in a decentralized fashion is still very new and needs collaborative effort to discover the best solutions. Running product in a Web3 company is extremely hard because the product roadmap is often decentralized and requires much more interdisciplinary collaboration from engineering teams and product leaders.
"How do you lead in a highly decentralized way? I think we're still figuring this out... I don't think we're talking about it."
At Decasonic, we solve large problems, such as decentralized leadership, through long-term partnerships. We collaborate with other key players to strengthen the broader blockchain ecosystem as a whole. We believe teamwork and partnerships scale efforts 100 times over.
The HOT TAKE
Did you remember any of the data breaches that happened in the past such as Facebook or Yahoo? If so, did you do anything about it? Most of the answers are no, according to Sam. He spoke about his observation that most users continued using the products and disregarded prior data breaches.
“Don’t blind yourself, just go build it”
Sam suggested to the audience that things will not always work out, and fighting perfectionism is very important for innovations to come to fruition. Sam loves the journey and messiness that often comes with solving large problems at the bleeding edge.
However, that does not mean we don’t need to build with good intentions. At Decasonic, we build with the goal of lifting living standards for all. Innovation for the better is how we will improve billions of lives with blockchain.
Sam leveraged his entire life experience of entrepreneurship in the internet space and provided us with many great opinions. He added that he is very excited about the ability for Web3 to enable frictionless micropayments.
The most insightful entrepreneurs are becoming investors to help build the world of Web3. There is no better time to start getting involved with Web3 than now. The space is very new, and according to Victoria, the top trait VCs look for is whether the founding team can grow and scale.
“WANTS are nice, but NEEDS are what drive revenue at the end of the day”
Victoria also mentioned most products VCs look for are needs in society as opposed to wants, a great advice to take away as well. At Decasonic, we work with outlier founders to redefine the market with disruptive applications. Contact us to learn more about the opportunity.