1 week and 20 years

Product-market fit is the most important target for every early project/company/protocol.

In crypto, we forget this periodically.

Whatever you’re trying to make happen, if you want your thing to affect the world, you must have something that humans rabidly flock to (even if those humans are an infra-customer like ‘developers’).

And if you want that, I posit that you should only focus on the hyper-short-term (1w) and the hyper-long-term (20y).

Until you get it.

a case study in misallocation: conference jockeying

Large crypto conferences are a great place for post-PMF projects to get things done. Much of the jockeying at conferences involves activities that can be very high leverage for a project that is scaling a working operation.

Activities like:

  • narrative building + talks

  • traditional BD/partnerships

  • capital formation

  • generic networking

I still see many pre-pmf startups going to conferences to do these things. This is unfortunate.

mid-term plans are mid-curve

There are two issues with engaging in these types of activities:

  1. they suck attention and energy away from hyper-short-term plans/planning

  2. they’re planned on mid-term assumptions, which (in crypto) are extremely volatile

Every startup person forever has proclaimed (correctly) that pre-PMF, projects need to be focused on velocity of iteration above much else. What’s less obvious to those who haven’t engaged in the grind is that there’s a good deal of cognitive load in ‘iterating.’ Every iteration involves:

  • shipping quickly

  • talking to users and interpreting feedback quickly

  • deciding what to ship next quickly

Doing this intelligently while executing on a mid-term plan is playing an olympic sport with a handicap.

Furthermore, mid-term assumptions in a fast-moving frontier industry like crypto change quickly. Plans that involve BD usually assume a bunch of things about the future of the industry.

An evergreen example is projects who take grants/make partnerships with a blockspace provider (L1 or L2) that never gains adoption and in doing so, commit to building a local maximum.

Long-term invariants can inform hyper-long-term plans

If a project is only involved in the hyper-short-term, how will it compound towards anything? A random walk brings one back to the starting point.

Plans beyond the hyper-short-term are necessary to create PMF that compounds into larger and larger markets, which I’m assuming is what my readers want.

The funny thing about technology is that while medium-term assumptions change constantly, hyper-long-term ones don’t. All great technology endeavors seem to be based on invariants that were ‘obvious’ to a select few for many many years.

Hyper-long-term plans, in their unchanging-ness, pair well with hyper-short-term ones. They direct the chaos of the iteration sprint without distracting.

1 week and 20 years

Which brings me to the point of this ramble: the only things you should be focused on as a pre-PMF founder is the hyper-short-term and the hyper-long-term.

1 week and 20 years.

In the next week, what’re you shipping and who are you talking to to decide what to build next.

In the next 20 years, what’s the impact you’re trying to make.

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