Defi

How DAOs are Changing Business with Simon Judd from Index Coop

Jun 07, 2021

Share this article:

HOST:  Hey everybody.  Welcome back to the Unstoppable podcast.  I’m your host, Diana Chen and I’m here today with our guest, Simon from Index Coop.  Index Coop is a DAO focused on building and governing crypto indexes for those of you who aren’t familiar.  And I’m really excited to have Simon here today to talk more about it.  I’ve been seeing it all over Twitter, it’s been blowing up and so I’m excited to finally be able to speak to the source and learn a little bit more about what it is and chat more about DAOs and share all my learnings with you as well.  So, thank you Simon, so much for being here.  Really appreciate you taking the time.

SIMON JUDD:  Diana, thank you for having me.  Unstoppable Podcast family, good to see—good to see everybody.  Super, super excited to talk about all the awesome things going on in Index Coop.  It’s been an absolute rolling couple of months and I’m excited to break it down to you all.

HOST:  Awesome.  I can’t wait, but before we dive into Index Coop, I want to learn a little bit more about your background and how you got into crypto.  So take me all the way back to when you first got interested in crypto.  What was it that like drew you in and how did you start learning about it?

SIMON JUDD:  Yes, okay.  So my, my crypto story would go, go way back.   You know, sophomore year in college, I kind of—in 2011, I like, remember stumbling across the idea of Bitcoin and trying to set up a wallet but just did not have the technical background and then I just put it in the back of my head as a cool idea and moved on.  I graduated from college in 2013, and I joined the United States Marine Corps as an Infantry Officer.  Spent the first two years of my career as a chief commander in Hawaii, so, you know, led small teams of Marines and I—crypto came back into my life following a deployment to Japan in 2016.  

We got back to Hawaii and, you know, we got off the plane.  I remember we were like cleaning off our rifles and cleaning up all our gear, getting ready to like go back to Hawaii for like, some, you know, post-deployment leave.  I remember, like hearing two of my Marines be like, “Oh, I bought Ripple at $0.10”, you know, and now it’s at “$0.12” and “have you heard about this thing called Ethereum?  It’s going to be the next big thing” and I was like whoa, what is this?  What are they talking about?  So, got off, you know, went on leave for bit and like spent just kind of like the whole summer of 2017 just reading about crypto, learning about it.  Had a couple of the buddies who were super into it.  But I had a like a military background, I didn’t really have a super, super strong understanding of finance or technology at that time.

 So yeah, I spent two more years after that in the Marine Corps; got out in 2019.  I went to Business School at NYU Stern and that is where I focused on finance. I was very, very into kind of that space.  And when DeFi summer hit, that was like the third time crypto came to my life. All of a sudden it synthesized a lot of things. You’re learning all this finance in school, you have this interest previously in this technology and I just, you know, really dove in from there.

And then got, got very involved with Index Coop as a community member in late November, mid December and have been incredibly humble and incredibly proud to be part of that community since then, and now I am one of the full-time contributors at Index Coop.  I lead a lot of our efforts with this development, and everyday working at Index Coop is, is awesome.  I'm always, always excited to get—to go to work in the morning.

HOST:  That's awesome, yeah.  One thing you said in there is like, you, you know, coming into crypto can be pretty intimidating when you don’t have a background in finance and technology, because a lot of the concepts will seem so foreign.  And so how would you—how would you explain what DeFi is to a listener who is brand new to this, maybe doesn’t come from a finance background and is, is just really staring from ground zero?  How would you explain DeFi sort of in, you know, your one-minute page of what DeFi is and why it’s really awesome?

SIMON JUDD:  Yeah, so if I think of DeFi, I think of getting rid of somebody’s barriers that prevent us from doing, you know, economic actions, right?  So, if I want to, you know, trade A for B to another person, you know, right now I have to go through this massive system that is in the middle, that is made up of people, institutions, regulations, and that really like slows down the whole process and makes it really difficult.  You know, what DeFi does really is, it enables those transactions right; that A to B, and just puts a lot of code in between to facilitate that and takes away that whole infrastructure that previously existed, though slowing that down.

And so, you know, if I’m a normal person and I’m trying to interact with this technology, you know, think about when you go to your bank and you want to withdraw like $2,000 to make an improvement on your house.  Taking that right—doing that right now takes weeks.  You have to be at the bank multiple times, you have to sign things and you have to follow up.  It is a painful process.  What DeFi does, is it will allow you to take that $2,000 loan instantaneously as long as you have enough collateral to back it.  And what was a process of weeks becomes a process of 30 minutes.  And that is incredibly powerful for everybody in the world.

HOST:  That’s amazing.  And then I’m just wondering too like, what are some of your sources of truth in the space for learning more?  For people who are just getting into DeFi, just getting into crypto and they want to learn more.  Do you have any go-to blogs, go-to people on Twitter that you follow for learnings or newsletters or anything like that?

SIMON JUDD:  Yes.  So I, you know, first of all, I want to just give an absolutely huge shout out to Anthony Sassano DC Investor, DeFi Dad, Krugman.  I think those accounts are just doing an incredible job of bringing people in the space and educating them with a good perspective.  And, you know, not only that, but they are also huge voices of positivity for our community and, you know, really rallying points, and, you know, consistently, consistently provide great information.  I think, you know, that is, when it comes to day-to-day news - - for much of the truth, but I, I think at the end of the day, the only way to learn about this technology is by using it and interacting with it.

Every single time you interface with the blockchain, you learn more about it.  You gain experience interacting with it.  You understand the technology slightly better.  Like so—like, my real source of truth in this space is, you know, directly, you know, using decentralize exchanges, using op-ed, using protocols and understanding how they work.

HOST:  I 100% agree with all of that.  And so, I think this will be a good bridge to getting into Index Coop.  But having worked so closely with the community in this space, what do you see as some of the biggest barriers to entry for newbies in this space?  Like, what, what’s preventing everybody from using DeFi today, like your mom, your grandparents, your next-door neighbor, what’s preventing all these people from getting into this space?

SIMON JUDD:  In my eyes, DeFi right now is--like, we're waiting for the iPhone moment, right.  Like, cell phones existed for a very long time and then, you know, all of a sudden cell phones became ubiquitous.  And they became ubiquitous because of, you know, a few design decisions that were made at Apple at the time that, you know, really culminated in what was a number of different technologies all being synthesized into a truly seamless interface.  Like, Crypto is slowly, slowly moving towards that and I think like the, the—so the true barrier of entry right now, right, is that interface, that ability to seamlessly interact with it from, you know, really any perspective, right?  You can be eighty-years-old and pick up an iPhone and figure it out.  You can be three-years-old and pick up an iPhone and figure it out.  Like, that’s what our technology is kind of missing right now.

But in the meantime, as that is getting built, I think we are at an unprecedented time in history where everybody has access to this information as they pick up themselves on it.  And yes, like crypto may not be, you know, incredibly mainstream tomorrow, but, you know, people can understand this technology before its fully deployed.  And I encourage people to understand this technology.  And like the more you learn about how it works, how its structured like, the more efficiently you will be able to, you know, seamlessly transition to using this technology in the day-to-day when it does become a day-to-day technology.

HOST:  Got you—got you, yeah.  All right.  Well, let’s go ahead and dive on into Index Coop.  So, I gave a brief intro in the beginning; I don’t know if all of that was accurate if did Index Coop justice, so I’ll just let you go ahead and gives us sort of the high-level, big-picture, what is Index Coop?

SIMON JUDD:  So, Index Coop is Decentralization Autonomous Organization, a DAO, that is focused on, you know, releasing the world’s leading crypto financial products.  We see ourselves as crypto BlackRock, so we release index funds, we release leverage tokens, we release, and you know, these, these products that allow, you know, institutions and then everyday investors to get exposure to, you know, really sophisticated DeFi strategists.  You know, we were—we were founded in September of last year by Set Labs and DeFi Pulse.  Set Labs is one of the leading solidity, solidity teams in America.  They've done an incredible job supporting us.   And then DeFi Pulse is our methodologist for some of our Index and have been just a real advocate over the last several months.

HOST:  Gotcha.  Okay.  So, I want to break down a lot of different moving pieces that you just mentioned there.  The first is for people who aren’t familiar with what Index funds are, can you maybe give some background about how traditional Index funds work?  And then how is that different from how it would work with Index Coop?

SIMON JUDD:  Yeah, absolutely.  So, you know, traditional Index funds are awesome.  I think that’s a good starting point.  They did an incredible job, you know, bringing a vast number of people in American society into middle class.  And the way they did that is they gave a really effective way for everyday people to invest in the market without being exposed to the high level of, of volatility that happens in equity markets.  You know, how they work is it is essentially a fund that holds a number of different stocks.

And, you know, as, as like the, the value of stock changes, it re-weighs based on whatever methodology it has.  Like a very common one would be market weighting, so based on the size of each company in that portfolio.  So, what Index Coop does and like how we've kind of upgraded this model is we are built using tokenized infrastructure which is essentially a way of holding a basket of underlying tokens in one token.  Not only does it hold it but that one token can be redeemed from the underlying at any time.

So that means that you can, you know, essentially trade a basket of Aave, Uniswap, SushiSwap, Maker, you know, in exchange for ETH and then you can hold and be exposed to the, the price upside of all of the underlying.  On top of that, the thing that you can do with our Index that you can't really do with traditional funds is you can lend them out, you can borrow against them, you can, you know, take leverage positions on them.  There are a number of, you know, additional things you can do with our products.  And the way I look at it is a traditional ETF Index fund is like a 1970’s Honda Accord and Index Coops products you can think of is like a 2021 Tesla.  Like they are both cars, they will both get you there and they will both do generally the same things, but they are very, very different technologies.

HOST:  Great analogy.  Love it.  So, I want to also talk about the DAO component of it because I know that's a big part of what Index Coop is as well.  And so, for people who aren’t familiar with a DAO is, a decentralized autonomous organization, can you maybe start by just explaining what that is and how that’s different from traditional companies and traditional institutions?

SIMON JUDD:  So, like a DAO—a DAO is a number of things and obviously we can talk about different aspects of it.  Like when I think of a DAO, the—really the first word that comes to mind is open community.  It is an organization that anyone in the world could join, that anyone can be part of and it’s really tied together by a governance token Index which allows you to vote on, you know, the major changes that occur in the DAO.

And the beauty of this open organization model is like we can really attract people from all over the world, all different experience levels and they can find different ways for themselves to contribute.  Like we have financial professionals, we have, you know, graphic designers, engineers, and based on their contribution, some of the revenue that is generated by our products is used to pay them for their contributions.  And, you know, the DAO is just a beautiful way of aligning incentives across a broad group of people and getting everybody to move in the same direction and, you know, just make awesome things happen.    

HOST:  Gotcha.  And I guess like, what are some of the other advantages other than being able to attract talent from all over the world.  Like what are some other advantages of, you know, say I’ve got an idea, I want to accomplish something?  Why would I want to maybe form a DAO to accomplish this task versus forming a traditional company?

SIMON JUDD:  So, the beauty of DAOs and the thing that makes them so cool is that they can move super-fast and you can take and you can move super-fast and you can move it scale, that isn't really possible with a traditional company.  So, I think a great example and, you know, the thing that really highlights this is like our relationship with Set Labs.  So, as I said, like, Set Labs is the arguably the leading solidity team in America, right?  They are doing incredible, incredible work and it's very, very technical and it requires a high degree of focus and competence.  And it doesn’t need a big team, right. It doesn’t like scale, you know, you don’t need a 200 people working on these problems, you need like 10 really smart people very focused on. 

And the DAO, right, like the community is, you know, really like this, you know, peer organization that exist around Set Labs, right like the product they built and is able to execute all these different initiatives on behalf of the protocol and really free up that core team to focus on like the engineering task at hand.  So, a great example of that is that, we have a massive structure run on marketing to get, you know, a Twitter presence, to establish relationships with custodians, with centralized exchanges, with institutional investors.  To, you know, do fundraising from venture capital and angel investors to take care of, you know, our entire product pipeline. 

And, you know, because its decentralized, we're able to scale all of these capabilities incredibly quickly in a way that if you were, you know, relying on just hiring, you know, hiring a new person every two months or something, you just would not be able to do.

HOST:  From a contributor's side like are they making a lot of money by doing this?  Like the revenue that goes back to them to pay for their contributions?  Is it something where, you know like where somebody could go and work for a DAO instead of looking for a traditional job somewhere?  And actually, we have a, a question that we got from the community on Twitter is David Silverman asked, you know, why should people work for DAOs over companies, like is especially thinking of high school kids or college kids that are looking for internships and jobs in career paths.  Like why—should they—should are people going to start, you know, looking to work in DAOs instead of going after those traditional jobs?

SIMON JUDD:  Yeah, absolutely, I, I cannot recommend telling you that more.  You know I personally turned down an investment banking—a post MBA investment banking job to come and work at Index Coop.  That, you know, the people who are contributing full time to Index Coop.  You know, we have engineers, we have, you know, financial professions with 10 to 15 years of experience.  We have, you know, we have, like true professionals we are working with DAO.  And, you know, I think the compensation, how we pay - - right, that's evolving.  We're trying to optimize ultimately to make this as effective as possible in compensating people.

But, you know, part time contributors can earn, you know, anywhere from $2,000 to $4,000 a month in Index Coop—in Index governance token.  Many, many do, is all public information and then, you know, full time contributors are, you know, earning up to $8,000 a month in our—in our governance token; it’s a very big deal.  Like we are very, very focused on attracting, you know, really the best talent in crypto and, you know, making sure that this is like a real win-win for everybody that's coming to this protocol is just a massive priority for us.

HOST:  Then how does that work, like when, when a contributor decides to join a DAO, how does it work in terms of—how do they identify what their tasks are going to be and then how—like who determines how much they are going to be paid for?  Where does the money come from?  Walk me through like the logistics of how all of these can happen?               

SIMON JUDD:  So, the shortest answer is, is complete chaos, Diana.  It is—and that’s not actually what happens, but it is, you know, it’s, it’s very complex it’s very—always evolving, we're always improving on it.  I’ll tell you—I guess I’ll generally walk-through kind of like the process of joining our community and what it looks like and, you know, and kind of how we—how we see bringing people in at the contributor level.  So usually, what will happen is somebody will find out about us on Twitter or through, you know, DeFi Pulse's website and, you know, will get more interested and they’ll come to our Discord.  They’ll like answer--ask a bunch of questions, they’ll be on our Discord for a while and, you know, just kind of be learning about what’s going on.

You know, from there, we hold a weekly new joiner meeting on Tuesdays and that’s where like, the people who kind of learn about it, getting evolved like they’ll come and that’s kind of like their first like welcome to the community.  This is kind of how—this is how we operate things; this is how we think about it.  So, they’ll, you know, at that point, they have, you know, pretty basic like new joiner questions to complete that just gets them like kind of oriented on the community.  Like have a couple of one-on-ones, introduce yourself here, you know, write a little article here and that will get them kind of like the—once that’s completed that’s like the baseline.  I think they get five index tokens for completing that and what we call the bronze house, which is like our newest like community members.

So that’s like the basic process where it’s kind of like going from I have no idea what a DAO is to I’m like kind of—I just got paid a little bit in crypto.  And that process, like it usually takes like a month or two, three months.  Like it takes time.  Like a, you know, you can’t—these are complicated programs, these are complicated systems.  Like you can’t just learn about it overnight.  And then, you know, from that point, once they’re kind of integrated into the community, they’ll start and you have context, they’ll probably start going to a few of our weekly meetings for our different—our different verticals, like business development, growth, marketing.

And you know, once they start you know kind of getting oriented on, you know, the direction of these going—what’s going on, at that point, they’ll start to pick up some little works and help out here, help out there.  And, you know, once, once they kind of get in that rhythm of understanding how to contribute, understanding what to contribute, you know, people really just can take it and run with it and go as far as they—as far as they can.

HOST:  Gotcha, gotcha.  And then who determines like, how, how many index tokens you get paid for doing like X job versus y job?

SIMON JUDD:  Yes.  So, we have a treasury committee, which essentially is made up of two members of the Set team and then one member of the Index community.  And at the end of every month, basically everybody submits all their work they did through the month and that is, you know, they just go through and, you know, we don’t really care about how many hours people work.  We have lots of people who are part-time, like what we really are looking for is impact.  And, you know, when people come in and they submit their end of month of work and it’s obvious that like what they did really moved the needle for us.  Whether it drove more users, it got our name out more, it increased our AUM, like that’s what we really compensate for.

HOST:  Gotcha.  And so just like digging a little deeper into the community that you have now, how would you describe the community that you have both like, you know, talking about both like the people that are active contributors within the community, as well as people who are sort of just like hanging out on Discord, you know, chiming in here and there, how would you describe your community that you have right now?

SIMON JUDD:  So our community is awesome.  You know, I, I don’t say this lightly.  I, you know, I spent six years in Marine Corps, I have been on some very, very good teams in the military.  I’ve been on some very good teams in college and high school, like this is the absolute best team I’ve ever gotten.  And like bar none.  Our contributors, our community is incredibly supportive, incredible positive.  Like you'll notice on our calls every time somebody new joins, everybody is like introducing themselves, like building them up, glad to have them.  Every time somebody in our community does something awesome, there’s 20 people on Twitter, they be like “hey, great job, you did a good job” and like that culture, you know that culture is really important to me.  I’m very, very proud to be part of it and I think, you know, in my eyes like, that’s, that’s the biggest attractor for Index Coop beyond, you know, the baseline financial product is that community and that culture you’re joining.  And that is incredibly, incredibly powerful.

And then in the—at the individual contributor level, like we have, I think—I think that in crypto in general right now nobody's really like sure who is in these communities, right?  It’s like kind of a mystery, like.  It’s just a bunch of anonymous people on Discord.  You don’t know if it’s like a bunch of 18-year-olds, or like new savvy investors or like who it is at all; it’s just anonymous.  But like our community is, is—it’s real professionals.  We have, you know, every single person who is a full-time contributor has, you know, at least six years of work experience working like for a major, major corporation or organization.  That’s kind of the same—that’s the exact same caliber of talent we have, you know, in our part time contributors.

But like we also, you know, we’re open.  So we, we—it’s very easy, say if you’re, you know, 20-years-old and you wanted to get involve, like there’s somewhere to step in and it’s also global.  Like we have an incredibly strong team in Africa.  And, you know, we talk to them almost daily, like it’s constant communication and like, everybody is, is pushing this thing forward.  It’s not just like a bunch of guys in San Francisco or these finance people in New York or these guys in Nigeria or, you know, our people in Singapore.  It’s like this truly global movement where people from all over feel comfortable, you know, introducing themselves in the community and, and getting involved.

HOST:  Sorry, I have to ask because, I’m sure a lot of people listening who are community managers or maybe founders at new projects are very curious to hear your—your community building strategies and how you’ve been able to build such a strong and welcoming and just like the, you know, the seemingly perfect community.  So, what have been some of your strategies for building community?  I think both—and I think—it’s probably different from when you’re building from one to 10 verses when you’re building, you know, now that you’re at a, a decent size and you’re trying to expand and maintain that same sort of vibe and that same sort of feel when you expand from 10 people to 100s.

What have been some of your most successful community building strategies?

SIMON JUDD:  So, it’s a number of things, but in my eyes, it really starts with positivity and this, this idea that we’re like always helping each other out.  You know, I like, so I’m not like a super big sports guy, but I was like watching, you know, just some good—I think it’s good NFL team, NBA team the other—the other month.  I noticed like every—like, the, the winning team, the best team, like every time a guy like fell over or tripped, there are like five teammates there to like help him out.  Every time a guy like, you know, scored a basket or, you know, the whole team was over there clapping, the whole bench is excited, and you just juxtapose that against the bad team where, you know, a guy falls down, nobody runs over to help him out.  Nobody claps when they make a basket and like, that’s like the culture of winning teams, right?  And when I think of building a community in Index Coop and culture, like that’s the kind of culture want.  Like we want it to be where if you are, you know, if you do something awesome for Index Coop, the community recognizes it.  They applaud you, they’re, they’re, you know, they’re highlighting what you’re doing.  And then, you know, if you’re struggling with something like the community can come and, you know, they help you out and pick you up.

And if that happens all the time, like I get very, you know, I’ll have some weeks where I’m busy or I’m trying to work on something that’s just like out of my depth and I don’t understand or that I need help on.  And having five people that you know you can message right away that will, you know, collectively get you over the hump is just this incredible, incredible tool.  

And then, you know, what I think about scaling it, that’s like—that’s a very good question, right?  And I think at some level like, you know, when we were three people or four people.  I think the thing that is very easy when it’s that size is it’s very easy to have everybody know what’s going on.  You’re very much on the same page.  And then as it gets bigger and the system moves in complexity, that kind of becomes impossible after a certain point.  So, you know, I think the only thing you can really do as a community is like maintain that culture, maintain that momentum after you grow to a certain point is you need to instill the systems that will allow like all of that to continue when you go from 10 to 1,000.  And like that’s what we’re doing right now.

HOST:  Gotcha, gotcha.  Awesome.  And so, I’m just wondering to like what your day to day or week to week looks like.  It sounds like you’re doing everything, you’re talking to the team in Africa every day, you know, like you’re doing all of these different things.  So, if you had to describe, you know, your day to day or like what every week looks like, can you describe that for us?

SIMON JUDD:  Yeah.  So, my--it’s kind of a rolling, like a rolling is the only way to describe it because—and like remember and maybe it’s not—I, I know these are rolling for all your listeners, Diana, because they’re probably like much more tech savvy than me.  But like, remember I came from a very, very slow organization and we were, you know, totally ran on e-mail and, you know, e-mail alone kind of slows things down.  So it’s like a very, very fast organization and, you know, where everything is basically ran on Discord, which is essentially instantaneous 24/7.

So, it’s an incredibly fast pace work environment.  I will, you know, our weeks are just—I, I think the best way to describe this.  So, our weeks are, you know, we, we work Monday through Friday.  We have like a big, you know, community meeting on Monday and then throughout the week, all the smaller teams will, you know, meet in their kind of individual working groups, like hash out problems.  So, I would say we probably like 4, 5 hours in meetings a week and then outside of that is, you know, kind of constant, constant calls, constant Discord chats and just like moving—really moving different things forward.

So, you know, same initiative is on the forum and, you know, there’s a big going on like are we talking to the other project?  Are we, you know, interfacing with marketing treasury?  All these, you know, kind of like the day-to-day blocking and tackle that, that happens in any business.  Just really, really fast and 24/7.

HOST:  For sure, yeah, I totally feel that and I—and I think—and everybody has been feeling that a little bit over the last year with everything moving remotely.  And I think it’s been good training to for people, you know, just adjusting to this new normal of everything being online, moving superfast.  So, shifting gears a little bit, I, I have another question from the community on Twitter.  This is from Crypto Texan. He wants to know, does the Index Coop have a multi chain strategy?

SIMON JUDD:  So Crypto Texan, shout out.  Thank you for all the love on Twitter.  Do we have a multi-chain strategy?  Yes, and it’s a strategy that we’re continually improving.  You know, so, so right now there’s, there’s definitely a race to, to really figure out.  Like there’s a race—there’s a race for knowledge and then there’s a race for action, right?  Like we’re trap—everybody in crypto is trying to figure out “hey, what does a multi-chain world look like from say today to three months from now and like what are the implications of that for my product, right?  Or our products?"

And I think then there’s the race for action which is we are, you know, everybody is like, we need to be the first mover here.  We need to be the first mover there.  We need to be the first ones there and that’s like great, right?  But like we are operating like kind of an information constricted environment where there’s just not a ton of information to make these decisions.  So, when I think of our like our L2 strategy it really comes down to, you know, are we narrowing it down to a few good options.  Are we, you know, evaluating the pros and cons of - -, the cost of - - and then are we making, you know, a smart business decision on like allocating across, you know, kind of like the leading three or the leading two and, you know, setting ourselves up to have a really deep liquidity, a really strong product outlet across all of those chains and, you know, be able to kind of continue to monitor it as it evolves?

HOST:  Gotcha, that totally makes sense.  So, zooming out a little bit.  I’m curious to hear your thoughts on what you would predict, you know, that happening in the next year or so in the space of DeFi and DAOs, like where do you see us being in a year from now?  And then looking out even farther, which I know, is so hard to do in crypto because things are moving so fast.  But if you had to give your best guess as to where we’re going to be in 10 years with this whole ecosystem.

Can you try to paint that picture for us?  And, and, you know, like, tell us how Index Coop fits in a—fits in as well, you know, that’s going to drive the—drive the cause for more and more and more DAOs being formed, more and more DeFi platforms being formed.  Just try to envision the future as much as you can?

SIMON JUDD:  So, I’ll answer the second question first, but, you know, 10 years from now, Index Coop will be the world’s leading crypto asymmetric platform.  And we will be an absolutely powerhouse global institution when it comes to the, you know, the financial products in the future.  So that’s where Index Coop will be 10 years from now.  But, you know, so what I think of like the next year and I’m going to—I’ll, I’ll stay away from crypto generally and I’ll just talk DAOs because that’s what we’re talking about.

So DAOs—I think the crypto community is slowly starting to wake up to the power and strength of these organizations.  They are seeing, you know, DAOs like badger or yearn, just do incredible things in a fully decentralized way.  A good example of that is, so yearn launched 178 vaults in the last year or since inception, right?  And these are sophisticated strategies, these are sophisticated products.  Like, I don’t think—I don’t think like Facebook couldn’t do that, right?  Like, I mean, maybe they could, but it is a serious challenge same as google.

Like these decentralized organizations are able to move so quickly and so efficiently and as they’re around longer, they just get more efficient.  And, you know, people are scared—we are scared of scale when it comes to decentralization, right?  Like people are—they’re okay if it’s decentralized and it’s 10 people because like you conceptionally, it’s easy to think about it and you’re like, okay, I can control it, it’s just 10 people are like we can—we can control it.  But like people get scared when it’s like a 1,000 people, right?  Like 20,000 people, but there’s no reason it can’t be 20,000.  Like there’s no reason that—for example, a—like a CEO and a 20-year-old working on Twitter like they, they can happen decentralized. Like they can both be working towards the same goal in a decentralized way.  Like think about Elon Musk and then like somebody on Twitter posting about Bitcoin, right?  So, like Elon Musk the CEO there that person like the normal person posting and they’re both doing the same thing.  They’re both trying to make the same thing happen like increase the price of Bitcoin, but they don’t need to coordinate between each other.  And it’s just—it’s happening decentralized.

And like as we grow, as these communities grow, they’re just going to get better at it and they’re just going to get more efficient at it and like that’s happening every single day.  It’s happening faster every day and I think a year from now, we are going to see these organizations operating incredibly efficiently at scale.

HOST:  That is super exciting.  Can’t wait to see that.  So last thing about an Index Coop before we shift gears. I have a couple of random questions from the community about—asking about Index Coop.  What do you guys have planned in the next year at Index Coop or the rest of 2021 that’s like new and exciting and that you’re able to share with the community?

SIMON JUDD:  Okay.  So, I think—so the—our first quarter, right, was our like, get everything going quarter like, from November to, you know, early April it was like, what is going on?  How do we set this up?  Like who’s in charge here?  Who’s in charge here?  How does it work together?  Like let’s play?  Like this, this—we have to figure this out and that was like six months.  And that was really a fun period and then, you know, we kind of came to the end of that period and we answered it like about a month and a half or two months ago I was like, okay.  All the structure like everything we need to keep the lights on, the structure is in place now, like it’s time to sort of roll up our sleeves and like just do the work, right?  Like it’s been built out, let’s just do the work.

So, we’re kind of in the middle of our like do the work phase where everything is more or less structured how we want it.  And people are just sleeves up, out in the sun and putting in the work.  And like what that work looks like to me is that is us like building out how we do all these like structural things.  Like we how do we get Goldman Sachs to buy $25 million in DPI or $100 million dollars in DPI.  How do we, you know, get our marketing so the next product Index Coop launches is on the, you know, the business section of the Wall Street Journal.

How do we, you know, grow our community so it can function at 10 million community members instead of—or not 10 million, 10,000 community members instead of 1,000, right?  And so, like when I think of the next, you know, kind of quarter is like really putting in enough work.  And then at the product level, like we are working on a number of super exciting products that will, you know, I think really continue to push what is possible with index funds, what they need, you know, including some volatility indexes, shorting products, the ability to have, you know, very easy access to DeFi token to longs and DeFi tokens.  I, I think it’s really super exciting lineup.

HOST:  Yeah, you have some very ambitious goals there and now that you’ve said it on the podcast, I guess everybody can hold you accountable to hitting your goals for the next quarter.

SIMON JUDD:  Exactly, exactly that’s the—that’s the trick.

HOST:  Yeah, exactly.  All right.  Well, awesome thank you so much for sharing all that about Index Coop.  It’s super exciting stuff and hopefully some of our listeners will hop onboard and join the community on Discord and start contributing and all that good stuff.

I do have another question from the community on Twitter.  This is another question from David Silverman.  He wants to know, how do you handling going by pseudonym versus by your real name?  And I know this is like—this is like a pretty hot topic nowadays with, you know, everybody shifting to the Metaverse and a lot of people going by your pseudonyms are going completely anonymously verses using their real name.  And I think there’s a lot of advantages to this, but for you personally, why did you decide to go by pseudonym instead of by your real name and what do you see as being some of the advantages of doing that?

SIMON JUDD:  So I, I would say I’m more soft cords like I am not—I, I would I don’t have a clear line in the sand drawn or like claim to be any level at anonymity.  It’s more like I like the—I like the Twitter handle bigsky and the Discord handle bigsky is cool.   It’s, you know, nice to have that kind of distance between, you know, your personal life and, and your professional life, but it, it, it really comes down to I think—I think what’s happening and I think why I don’t have a good answer to this question is everybody is still kind of navigating this.  Like—and people are being cautious, right?  Nobody's sure what—like the internet is changing a lot and kind of our digital personas are changing a lot, like who—how we interact with this technology is changing a lot.  And I think people are being very cautious with it, right?  Like they aren’t sure what anonymity means in the next, you know, in the next like 10 years.  What, you know, being out there mean?  Like how much information you can have out there safely and this anonymous, pseudonymous, fully out there.  Like I think its people just kind of trying to navigate it.

And I like—so for like personally, obviously, like any AI could take this video and figure out who my last name?  Who I am like instantaneously, right?  And it's more just like different people taking different efforts to try and kind of navigate these, these really open questions.

HOST:  Yeah, 100 percent.  I mean, I think it definitely will be interesting to see how this plays out with, you know, in the future like whether—I, I kind of wonder, you know, is everybody going to have their, their like real identity, which is what they use maybe for LinkedIn, for applying for jobs or resume, things like this.  And then they have their pseudo name which is, you know, sort of their like online persona.  And this is maybe for, you know, like you don’t necessarily want everybody knowing what your real name is and being able to dig up anything about you --

SIMON JUDD:  Yeah, exactly.

HOST:  -- and so if you just—if you just want to talk about DAOs, for instance, on Twitter, then you could be like the DAO guy on Twitter and that’s like your pseudonym, and that’s all --

SIMON JUDD:  DAO mage.

HOST:  -- people really know about you.  Like there’s—yeah, exactly, but like there’s no reason anybody needs to know more information about you than just that, right?  Like it’s not relevant for those purposes and then maybe for other things you might go totally anonymously.  I don’t know, I, I, I think it’s interesting and I’ll be interested to see how it plays out as well.

SIMON JUDD:  Well, like the DAO resume questions kind of interesting, right?  Like how do we—how do people like prove that they contributed when there, you know, picture is, you know, some emoji or something, right.  And it’s like how do I—so five years from now, what is my DAO resume?  What is my crypto resume?  What does that look like?  What needs to be on there?  And like no one knows what that is right now and were trying to figure that out, but I think that sounds like a very, very open question.  Maybe, maybe Diana, maybe this video will be on like the headline of my new—of my future DAO resume.

HOST:  There you go.  There you go.  Well, I think that’s another very compelling used case for blockchain technology, right.  As if we can record all of our work on the blockchain and say like your—are any of your contributions, if I sign up for Index Coop—if I join Index Coop as a community member, as a contributor and I’m like I’m going to create content for you guys.  I’m going to write all of these blog posts for you.  All of this can be recorded on the blockchain.  Maybe I can mint all of my blog posts as NFTs and all of this is recorded and I think all of this would be part of my DAO resume.

So whether I do that as Diana Chen or as DAO chick, you know, or whatever, whatever pseudo name I come up with.  I don’t think it matters, because all of it will be recorded under that pseudonym.  So that’s kind of how I see it playing out, but you know, I, I guess time will tell and we’ll just have to see.

SIMON JUDD:  I, I, I mean, you know, some of these problems you just have to talk to—pray to the blockchain, right?

HOST:  Yeah, exactly, exactly --

SIMON JUDD:  Just pray to the blockchain.

HOST:  -- the blockchains gods.  All right.  So, this last segment, I always close out every podcast episode with a segment called Explain Your Tweet.  This is where I dig through your Twitter account, pull out some cryptic or interesting tweets and give you a chance to explain them.  So, you’ve actually got like a ton of good tweets.  So, I didn’t have to go very far back, but this first one I’ve got is from May 15, 2021.  You said, “I’ve, I’ve been having a ton of crypto conversations with people from all walks of life.  The level of conversations and knowledge is out of this world.  People are starting to get it.”

And so, I've definitely had this, I have shared this sentiment before, but for me it’s like a constant juxtaposition of like being on crypto Twitter, doing these podcasts, talking to people like you and being like, “Wow!  This space is full of just brilliant people who are really driving the charge.”  And then I go back to my real life, where my real-life friends don’t know anything about crypto and they’re like, “What’s a—what’s a wallet?” or like, “Oh, I read about like Dogecoin, like what’s with the Dogecoin?”

And, you know, they’re—so I have—I share this sentiment and then I revert back to my real life and I’m like, “Man, were not there yet, like we are not even close.”  So, I guess like what prompted you to tweet this and, you know, share a little bit more about that?

SIMON JUDD:  So I—Diana, like that such a hard—like that the balance between Twitter or not or like crypto and your like normal life, right?  That’s like—this hard balance because like this technology that we understand that is changing the world, but not everybody fully understands that at this point.  And you’re kind of like dancing back and forth between that, it’s very, very difficult.  Especially when, you know, like we are so passionate about this space.  Like I imagine like there’s nothing that you would be doing right now than this podcast and like I feel the same way, right?  Like this is what, you know, wakes us up every day.

But when I think about the level of conversations, I think—I think more about like the level of questions people are asking.  And so, I went back --I'm from Montana.  I'm from a small town in Montana, Butte, Montana and I was back there briefly, you know, in April and they’d just started a Bitcoin mine south of town and like nobody like my town is certainly not a tech hub, right?  And I don’t people—there are many crypto users in my hometown right now, but I’m sure, obviously that will change over the next decade.

But, you know, as I was home and I was talking to people, people asking questions about, you know, like how is it held?  Like where does it go?  Like tell me the borrowing mechanisms, the trading mechanisms.  Like how does it fit into, you know, this?  How does it fit in with that?  And like there was questions like maybe they—I don’t think they necessarily indicate that the level of information has drastically changed over the last few years, but I think they indicate that the level of curiosity and the level of openness has changed drastically over the last three years and I find that incredibly, incredibly exciting.

HOST:  Yeah, 100 percent.  All right.  This next tweet I’ve got is from May 27, 2021.  You said, “The perfect job in DeFi doesn’t exist yet.  You have to invent it.  Even the most experienced pros have only been doing this for a few years.  Work hard, learn, discover passion and build your future.”  I’d love to hear more of your thoughts on that.  I mean, there’s a lot—there a lot.  I love envisioning in the future and like, you know, thinking about how things are going to be in the future.

And so, for you, I guess like how do you see the DeFi landscape developing?  What do you see as being some of maybe the cool new jobs that develop in the space that don’t yet exist if, if you had to envision it or imagine it?

SIMON JUDD:  So it’s like—so like when I came—so when I to Index Coop or any of us came to Index Coop, at the start it was very Morpheus, right.  If kind of do anything and it still is that way.  And when I think of like create your job, the space is moving so quickly, like we are inventing this as we go.  We are building the plane as we are flying in.  That—like there is no—like people try and latch on to like, oh, I’m going to be, you know, business development person and that means do x, y and z, and that’s like who I am and like that’s the box you fit in.  And like that just doesn’t work with DAOs, it doesn’t work with DeFi.

Like, yes, we need these kind of loose verticals that you know, help us group work, but the best community members and the people who really get it and really move the ball are the ones that can kind of do everything.  They’re, they’re the, the foxes.  They can jump around and they can understand the whole system and they can, you know, pretty seamlessly be like, “work needs to happen here.  I’m going to direct my full energy here.”  Then they’re able to, you know, shift to something else and kind of invent the jobs as they go along and that’s like such a valuable skill.  And we kind of miss that skill when we trying like put these jobs in like these really narrow boxes.  And I, I think that’s kind of like the holdover of 20th century corporations, right?

These mega corporations that were super big and the only way to make sense of any of it was just to put it all in these little boxes, but like DeFi can be bigger than that and I really encourage people to, like as they join Index Coop to be like, “what does my dream job working for DAO look like?   How am I contributing it?  How is it driving value?  And then, you know, work really hard to create themselves.

HOST:  I love it.  If I had heard this speech when I was in high school, I would have been so much more motivated and excited for the future.

All right.  And then last tweet I’ve got—I think this will wrap up the conversation really well.  This is from May 26, 2021.  You said, “The most impactful community members at Index Coop are the people that show up and put in work.  Anyone can show up with a great idea.  We need people who can stick around and contribute.”

So, my question for you is where do you need the most help at Index Coop right now for people listening who really want to join the community?  What are like—what kinds of contributors are you looking for the most right now?

SIMON JUDD:  So, either changes a lot, right?  It’s very dynamic.  Like what we need changes all the time.  Not in the sense that like people’s skill sets are becoming outdated, it’s just like as we learn more about running these protocols, like we identify needs that we didn’t realize were needs previously.

And, you know, what I was really getting at with that tweet is, this is an exciting space, there’s a lot of cool things happening and I think people get this, you know, have a tendency to immediately like think that contributing to these communities means that you’re like immediately driving this like massive strategic push or this massive initiative.  So somebody will come to our Discord, you know, introduce themselves and then immediately like do a big post on our forum saying we should do this.  Which, you know, that’s great, it’s encouraging. we love the new ideas, but the thing that really drives value in this community, that really drives contribution is the people who, you know, show up to the meetings every single week.  They show up to all of our events.  Like they promote, you know, they push it forward on Twitter.  They contribute on the forum.  They contribute on the Discord.  They take all the responsibility and, you know, that process of building trust overtime, is how you build organizations.  And the thing that enables you to scale this organization, like to go from 100 contributors to 1,000 to 10,000, is creating like those deep bonds of trust between people that allow them to, you know, work towards the same goal in an autonomous way, but also be able to rely on each other and, you know, really, you know, utilize the best of what human team work is.

HOST:  I love that, I love that.  All right.  Well, thank you so much, Simon, for being here today.  Before you go, just tell people where they can find you if they want to connect with you personally and then also you said the best way to join Index Coop is to get in the Discord and meet everybody there, right?  So, tell people how they can find your Discord and, and join there.

SIMON JUDD:  So, yeah.  So first of all, Diana, thank you so much for having me, this was an absolute, absolute blast.  I hope you, you listeners enjoyed it as much as I did.  You know, when, when—let’s say a couple shoutouts before we go.  A huge shoutout to Set Labs and DeFi Pulse, you know, we’ve worked really closely with them and that has just been an incredible relationship to see it grow over the last nine months.

And then also, I want to give a huge shoutout to Verdo, Dark Forest Capital and LemonadeAlpha.  My other, the other three full-time contributors.  I am always incredibly humbled to work with them.  They have helped develop how I think about the world in, in many ways and I am always just, you know, incredibly impressed by their energy and time and value that they bring to our protocol.

If any of this sounds interesting to you, if you want to get involved, please come to our Discord or and you can also, you know, find us online at indexcoop.com.  Please introduce yourselves, we would—we would love to have you come and say hi.

HOST:  Well, and then if want to have Simon, go follow him on Twitter bigskyunderscore7, right?  Did I get that right?  Bigsky_--

SIMON JUDD: Yep

HOST:  -- underscore7.

SIMON JUDD:  Okay.

HOST:  Yep, go ahead and hit up Simon there, all right.  Everybody, thank you so much tuning in.  Thanks again, Simon, for being here and we’ll be back again soon with another episode of the Unstoppable podcast.

SIMON JUDD: Awesome, Diana.Thank you.

Join our community

Help Center