When Fernando asked me to join Balancer Labs, I expressed my passion for scaling culture in decentralized ecosystems and my desire to join a team with the same aim. I doubt I will ever forget Fernando’s response, “until we started speaking with you, we didn’t realize this is something we needed. But now that we know, even if we can’t hire you, we will keep looking for someone to fill this need.”

In the year leading up to that conversation, I was intrigued with answering one question: How can we focus on, and scale, culture in decentralized ecosystems?

Although largely…

The vision of the entity which is my work last year (2019) and my work this year (2020).

I see them as coming together in unity; very much as yin and yang.
Last year was about rest. Last year was about emptiness. Last year was about not quite good enough.

This year is about abundance. It is about more than enough and more than I can handle. This year is about the interconnections that create more than we can handle.

Last year was about the space between the words and this year is about the unfolding story.

The Social Construction of Reality was written in 1966. It took the stance that our world is not simply given, natural, or revealed. It is made of and made up by humans. It assumes that understanding, significance, and meaning are not created within the individual but in coordination with other beings.

It looked at the question: How does anything come to be accepted as real?

As a human, a product manager, and as someone deeply invested in seeing cryptocurrency be accepted, on a large scale, as real, I often come back to this.

Dr. Dennis Hiebert does an incredible job

A hypothesis of mine is that products are a direct reflection of their founder(s). As an individual deeply engrossed in self-awareness and curious about consciousness, I’m interested to see if this hypothesis is true.

Nothing qualifies me to ask how a founder is reflected in their product. I spend half my year studying the unique programming of my own brain and the other half utilizing sociology and phenomenology to understand how human consciousness has developed.

In my remaining time, I support crypto companies in consciously shaping their product departments. …

“The future belongs to those who transcend a single story or identity.”
- Ozan Varol

Pablo Picasso, Les femmes d’Alger. An artist well versed in transcending identity.

It’s known in sociology that labels create expectations about role behavior, resulting in people behaving in ways that reflect how others label them (aptly named labeling theory).

In other words, labels create behaviors.

Labeling theory is the reason some avoid ‘defining the relationship’ when dating because the label boyfriend implies a behavior change. These behavior changes have massive implications on one’s life, like not dating other people.

Some chase labels, like wealthy, narrowly focusing their behaviors on accumulating money. …

There are multiple “ways of being” when you are lost.

Two for us to compare:
(1) ‘Lost & disoriented’ Disappointed but relieved face
(2) ‘Lost in exploration’ Hushed face

Lost & disoriented is like being lost in the mall.
Looking for the way out, looking for a specific store, or looking for mom and not getting where you want to go.

Lost & disoriented is wanting something and not feeling able to get there.

Lost in exploration is like being lost in a good book.

We are attuned to the book, uncovering what is happening, merging with the story. …

Read from left to right

When I sent it to a friend, he responded: “Wow, who hurt you?”


Uber hurt me when I tried to rent JUMP bikes in LA, and every single one broke. Airbnb hurts me when the price triples at checkout. Even Apple hurt me when the Catalina upgrade deleted two years of notes after I clicked “sync with iCloud.”

This illustration doesn’t apply to all technology companies. Google, as an example, doesn’t give me nervous tremors. I attribute the “Get Fucked” phenomenon partially to the fact that Google’s core product is exclusively in the virtual world. …

In late 2019, I spoke with multiple protocol teams and a handful of application companies as I considered where to work next. Given the unique perspective of being a candidate, I was able to receive a felt sense of the organization while learning about their challenges directly from leadership.

The state of crypto is, as expected, dejected. Companies are distressed by the markets, and the prevailing feeling I experienced was confusion. Team members often pointed to missed milestones or miscommunications as the problem seemingly missing the root cause of issues.

Based on my experience, two fundamental challenges appeared across the…

“You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end, which you can’t afford to lose, with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your reality, whatever they might be.

- Stockdale

When I was younger, I held an idealized view of the world.

I figured the many adults who seemed jaded by reality throwing around statements like “that’s just how life is” and “you’ll understand when you’re my age” had just given up, and I vowed never to be like them.

Then I got older, and reality set in. After 3 hours on the phone…

It’s no secret many protocol teams are missing deadlines and struggling to find product-market fit. Shipping on time and pleasing users are typically the responsibility of a product manager, which begs the question, “Should protocols establish product management?”

In pursuit of this question, I had conversations with 7 protocols and the groups who work closely with them. To my interest, devs, VCs/investors, product managers, CTOs, founders, & foundations¹ working on the same protocol had differing opinions, anecdotally shown below².

Generalization of common opinions by role & not meant to be a representation of every role or every opinion.

Note that the roles responsible for building the technology believe problems should be solved with technology. In contrast, disciplines adjacent to…

Kristen Stone

⛓️Crypto Product Manager focused on connecting to consumers around the world 💜 🌍🚀 Previous: 5 yrs @Coinbase

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