What is your background?
In 2018 I graduated from Vanderbilt with degrees in computer science and organizational psychology. Out of college, I joined the Crypto engineering team at Coinbase, where I did both engineering and product. In October of 2020, I left Coinbase to be the first hire outside of the founding team at Zora, the NFT marketplace protocol. And I have been here since.
How did you become interested in web3?
During my summer internship in 2017, I told myself that it was time to make a decision on which depth of software engineering I would choose to specialize in. I just wasn’t interested in working for a large SAAS business. I wrote down three disciplines that might be interesting, machine learning / AI, virtual reality, and blockchain. Lots of buzzwords in my 21 year-old brain. For whatever reasons, I decided that both machine learning / AI and virtual reality were not for me. I started listening to some Bitcoin podcasts during the working days of my internship and immediately became enthralled. I went to every crypto conference I could find in the bay area and committed that I would spend my entire senior year working on crypto engineering projects. First semester, I worked with a team of undergraduate and graduate students to design a new system for shared data storage amongst hospitals. Second semester, I worked with a team of graduate students on a startup that leveraged the stellar blockchain to initiate international money transfers via text message. We piloted the program for a week on the border of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and won an award at the SXSW pitch contest. Upon graduating from college I joined the crypto engineering team at Coinbase to learn how to properly build systems that interact with blockchains at scale.
What is your role and what do you do?
By day I am a backend crypto engineer at Zora and by night I am an angel investor and admin for Dao Jones, an onchain investment group I helped found. At Zora, I write backend services that read and interpret onchain NFT data on primarily Ethereum based blockchains. At Dao Jones, I source investment deals and operate and manage funds as a signer on behalf of the Dao.
How did you approach your web3 job search?
In 2017 the job search probably looked a lot different than it does now. I went through the regular hoops of hustling on Twitter dm’ing founders that I liked, introducing myself to people at conferences, and spam emailing people if I got an email or business card from them. Ultimately those initial conversations helped lead to interviewing opportunities!
What was the hiring process like?
The hiring processes for engineering in crypto is fairly standard. When I was interviewing for a spot at Coinbase, I did a technical phone screen, pair programming, and a hiring manager interview. When I was at Coinbase, I did two pair programming interviews a week. At Zora, at least for the first few engineering hires our hiring process was a bit different. Rather than investing in long interviews we did paid work trials with engineers. Now that the team has grown, our engineering interview pipeline is maturing into something that looks more like Coinbase’s, or any standard tech company in the Bay Area.
Any tips for people looking to make a similar transition?
The easiest way to make an impression with people is via Twitter. If you want to be in web3, you should be finding ways to put yourself and your thoughts out there, and twitter seems to be the primary meeting place for the minds of web3. You will also find that twitter is an easy place to reach out and dm people at the web3 companies that you like. So many people pay it forward in the space because odds are a few months / years prior they were on the other side of a dm reaching out to a founder or OG that was parlayed into something more.