§ We're NOT A Startup

§ 2021-09-21

In less than two months, on November 13, 2021, RPI will celebrate its first anniversary. Being someone that loves playing around with ideas and never having the patience to commit to any project long-term: Rug Pull Index is special.

But it started as was typical for any side project of mine: I read an issue on GitHub and thought, "Hey, that's something I wanna work on." And so, just a few days later, the first version of rugpullindex.com went online. In fact, if you keep scrolling down on this page, you'll find that very first entry I made on November 13, 2021, on this document.

During those days, I set out to solve a specific problem that the Ocean Protocol community had: I wanted to enable users to stake OCEAN with less rug pull anxiety. And so, from day zero, when I first launched the app: I ended up doing exactly that. I hosted a website where Ocean Protocol stakers could go to compare data sets using the Gini coefficient.

I'm expanding the context of what my goal was here to highlight a particular property: I shipped a viable solution to users from day zero. I chose an ultra-iterative approach towards building product. I find it important to make this distinction as I'm now seeing more and more people discover the speculative value of a product like Rug Pull Index.

Others ask me what the company's vision and mission are. There's an expectation of raising funds from venture capital. And in general: I've been confronted with the idea that the project's future value is influenceable by taking more risk now and investing funds into its growth.

But I'd like to vehemently push back on these ideas: Rug Pull Index is not a startup. It needs no vision, no mission, and no explosive growth. The last thing I want is to be a spineless digital coordinator of yet another tech startup.

I'll admit; I've fallen prey to these ideas too. I've raised money over the last year by over-focusing on vision rather than execution. Now I regret doing so. I should have known that predictively galvanizing others with potential can't satisfy my ideals.

What I'm doing now is backtracking. Changing course.

I don't have a name for what I want Rug Pull Index to be and in which direction I want to steer it. I know the path; I just don't know what it's called.

For the dramatic purposes of this article, I think calling Rug Pull Index an anti-company may provoke some interesting thoughts. And no, I haven't done any Googling for the existing definition of what an "anti-company" describes; I'm assuming to be the original creator of that term, and I'll now go ahead and explain what it means to me:

An anti-company has no employees; ultra-lean operating costs, and technically it doesn't even exist on paper. An anti-company measures the value it creates in the present; it doesn't leverage the future for growth. It has no salaried employees because it hates liability and unbalanced risk. It minimizes liabilities.

An anti-company manages risk very carefully: Its major goal is to guarantee ongoing operations over a very long period. It creates value now. That's why the anti-company has no sense of urgency, deadlines, or future expectations. It just is and was; it never will be.

An anti-company is not a startup.