Nitya Subramanian: Products and also Method

Nitya Subramanian, product manager at Celo, discusses “Protocols and Products,” focusing on how building products is different in blockchain vs. more traditional centralized products. The key question for builders: What is the need I’m meeting, and who are the users? For projects seeking control over the end-user experience, such as with cryptocurrency wallets, typically the goal is to build the full stack, so that every layer can be changed to meet new use cases and find product-market fit. For products built for developers, such as decentralized lending protocols, the focus should be on identifying a range of objectives that will bring developers to your platform while giving them the flexibility to customize and innovate. No matter the end user, the rigorous focus at all times should be on what will bring people to your product and avoiding a “build it and they will come” mentality. As an example of the full stack approach, she closes with a case study of the digital payments system Celo, which includes a blockchain forked from Ethereum that includes a native asset, topped by a layer of native smart contracts encoding a stablecoin, with a wallet and a developer SDK at the top of the stack. While each layer of the project has separate development roadmaps, having the application layer allows Celo to identify issues with user experience and informs the development of lower layers of the stack.

Andreessen Horowitz’s Crypto Startup School brought together 45 participants from around the U.S. and overseas in a seven-week course to learn how to build crypto companies. Andreessen Horowitz is partnering with TechCrunch to release the online version of the course over the next few weeks.

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