Kyle LaRue The Graph Delegator Indexer Curator Advocates Graph Advocates AdvocatesDAO

GRTiQ Podcast: 114 Kyle LaRue

Today I am speaking with Kyle LaRue, a Graph Advocate and member of Graph AdvocatesDAO. Since joining the Advocates program, Kyle launched a very popular Advocates newsletter, called Advocate Spotlight, and other educational content.

Kyle’s story will resonate with many listeners – he’s passionate about web3 and The Graph, but he has a career and has to pursue his web3 ambitions while being productive and attentive to his day job. During this interview, Kyle talks about what he does for work, how he became interested in crypto, the path he took to learning about The Graph, and then his journey into the community as an Advocates and DAO member.

The GRTiQ Podcast owns the copyright in and to all content, including transcripts and images, of the GRTiQ Podcast, with all rights reserved, as well our right of publicity. You are free to share and/or reference the information contained herein, including show transcripts (500-word maximum) in any media articles, personal websites, in other non-commercial articles or blog posts, or on a on-commercial personal social media account, so long as you include proper attribution (i.e., “The GRTiQ Podcast”) and link back to the appropriate URL (i.e.,[episode]). We do not authorized anyone to copy any portion of the podcast content or to use the GRTiQ or GRTiQ Podcast name, image, or likeness, for any commercial purpose or use, including without limitation inclusion in any books, e-books or audiobooks, book summaries or synopses, or on any commercial websites or social media sites that either offers or promotes your products or services, or anyone else’s products or services. The content of GRTiQ Podcasts are for informational purposes only and do not constitute tax, legal, or investment advice.



We use software and some light editing to transcribe podcast episodes.  Any errors, typos, or other mistakes in the show transcripts are the responsibility of GRTiQ Podcast and not our guest(s). We review and update show notes regularly, and we appreciate suggested edits – email: iQ at GRTiQ dot COM. The GRTiQ Podcast owns the copyright in and to all content, including transcripts and images, of the GRTiQ Podcast, with all rights reserved, as well our right of publicity. You are free to share and/or reference the information contained herein, including show transcripts (500-word maximum) in any media articles, personal websites, in other non-commercial articles or blog posts, or on a on-commercial personal social media account, so long as you include proper attribution (i.e., “The GRTiQ Podcast”) and link back to the appropriate URL (i.e.,[episode]).

The following podcast is for informational purposes only. The contents of this podcast do not constitute tax, legal, or investment advice. Take responsibility for your own decisions, consult with the proper professionals, and do your own research.

Kyle LaRue (00:14):

It is the best. The graph community is hands down the best. I’ve stumbled across quite a few crypto communities and there’s a lot of great ones, but I’ve never really seen anything like it to be honest.

Nick (00:56):

Welcome to the GRTiQ Podcast. Today I’m speaking with Kyle LaRue, a graph Advocate and member of Graph Advocates DAO. Since joining the Advocates program, Kyle’s gone on to launch a very popular Advocate’s newsletter and other educational content for the community. Kyle’s story will resonate with many listeners. He’s passionate about web3 and The Graph, but he has a career and has to pursue his web3 ambitions while also being productive and balanced to account for his day job and other commitments. During this interview, Kyle talks about what he does for work, how he became interested in crypto, and the path he took to learning about The Graph, and then he shares his journey into the community as an Advocate and DAO member. As always, we start the discussion talking about Kyle’s educational background.

Kyle LaRue (01:44):

Yeah, so I grew up in between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe in a place called Placerville. I went to middle school and high school up there. I briefly went to Chico State and, like many folks, dropped out. And then after that it was all lessons learned through work and outside of school. So yeah, not much college experience to speak of.

Nick (02:03):

Kyle, you’re not full-time in web3. You’ve got a full-time job, and this is pretty common with a lot of the other Advocates that I’ve interviewed. What do you do for work?

Kyle LaRue (02:11):

Yeah, I’m a director at a nonprofit. We’re a workforce development program, so I run a zero waste program. We basically bring people in, young adults, 18 to 30. They do conservation-based work, so they get different types of certificates and skills. They also get to work on their high school diploma with, they don’t have it, and then after they complete the program, typically takes about a year. We place them in a career, so it’s a great program. I’ve been there for about seven years and yeah, love every minute.

Nick (02:36):

Wow, that sounds incredibly rewarding, helping people find their own path and journey in life. Has it been rewarding for you?

Kyle LaRue (02:43):

Absolutely. It’s been probably the most incredible opportunity I’ve ever had. It’s a head scratcher at times. It drives me up a wall at times because you’re just working with all different types of folks, but I’ve got an incredible team and seeing the core members that do get it and complete the program when that light bulb goes off, it’s a special feeling, for sure.

Nick (03:02):

I want to talk to you about success rate. So you have this program where you bring people in, you train them up, you educate them in hopes that they’ll find a career and be able to go to work, and some percentage of those, I imagine, succeed and some don’t. What would you say are the key characteristics of people that succeed in a program like this?

Kyle LaRue (03:23):

That’s a great question. Yeah. I think typically it is a sense of accountability, not taking feedback negatively and blaming everyone else that’s really owning the process and having that growth mindset instead of a victim mindset. And then putting the work in and being willing to participate in the program and trust that if you do the right things, it’ll get you where you want to go. I think in general, those are the tools that make people successful.

Nick (03:46):

You’ve probably learned a little bit about the nature of work and the type of work that appeals to people. If you have that perspective, what would be your advice to people listening to the podcast who are exploring their own careers and they’re not in a program per se like you are involved with, but they still face the same decision, how do I find meaningful work in life? What’s your advice to them?

Kyle LaRue (04:07):

Man, it’s tough. I do feel very blessed to have stumbled into the program that I did and the job that I have, but I think in general, if you put in the work and really commit to anything and are willing to trust the process and not necessarily have expectations on when things are going to go your way or how they’re going to go your way, but just work, work, work. And typically I think good things happen to people who take that approach.

Nick (04:30):

Well, similar to the question I just asked you, there’s another variant that I think would be interesting, which is you’re obviously taking people and getting them ready for the workforce and they need to improve themselves and they need to make themselves attractive for future employers. What have you seen or what do you think are the most important characteristics or methods that someone can undertake to make themselves more attractive in the workforce?

Kyle LaRue (04:55):

Yeah, I would say going the extra mile in general on every little task. Even if you don’t think people are watching, just always making sure that you’re putting in the best amount of work ethic that you can and also being team oriented for sure. It’s easy to, even if you have a good work ethic, to just isolate and want to do your own thing and not deal with other people, that certainly is the path of least resistance, and it’s tempting for all of us to do at times, but it can really be a part of a team and contribute to that larger picture and that larger group. I think you’ll be way more appealing to people hiring.

Nick (05:26):

Kyle, if we threw those seven years of experience working with people, getting them ready to join the workforce, what skill or characteristic do you think is the most valuable and the most rare? Meaning that it seems like every employer wants someone to possess this skill or characteristic, but so few have it.

Kyle LaRue (05:47):

I think being able to really overcome challenges and obstacles. Every day, no matter what you’re doing, there are issues, there’s grievances with other employees. There’s always all this stuff going on, and I think not necessarily to ignore those issues, but to just be able to put your head down and do the work and also address them appropriately and don’t pretend like they don’t exist, but just really be present and try to push through all that stuff. To me, it is very rare. I think a lot of us, it’s easy to get caught up in what’s going on and get distracted and get upset and kind of get off track. So when I see that, and we have folks like that on my team that I’m just so impressed with.

Nick (06:30):

Well, Kyle, you and I are talking today because you are a Graph Advocate. You’re also a member of Graph Advocates DAO, and we’re going to shine a light on some of the contributions you’re making and the experience you’ve had, and for longtime listeners of the podcast, they note that I’ve been featuring many Advocates recently to help shine a brighter light on that program, but also the amazing people and contributions that are coming out of Graph Advocates. Before we get there, I want to ask you about when you first became aware of crypto. Do you remember when that was and what those original impressions were?

Kyle LaRue (07:01):

I do, and they were not positive. So I got into personal finance and investing in a big way probably about six years ago, seven years ago, and I was very conservative, I’d say. And never a trader, never really went that path, was always just about the beauty of indexing and all that. So when I first heard about crypto, it was definitely like, oh, this is a total scam. This doesn’t make any sense, no value. And then I think the summer of 2021 happened and the prices were just getting insane, and at some point I was like, okay, I got to check this out. There has to be something here. For the most part, I was still pretty unimpressed, but I, one by one, went through the top 50 coins in Coinbase and was just kind of reading up on each one briefly and didn’t really see much there. There was a couple that interested me, Ethereum in a big way, and then The Graph really, I did the Coinbase earn and learn and I was hooked. I was hooked after that. So that’s pretty much the crypto entry point for me.

Nick (08:02):

What was it about crypto that signaled early on this is most likely a scam, this can’t possibly be true?

Kyle LaRue (08:10):

Yeah, I mean, I think just the exponential price growth. It seems so artificial, and I guess looking back, a lot of it kind of was. And then also just for me personally, not understanding really what it was. I mean back then I had no idea what Ethereum really was or what a smart contract was, so probably just ignorance on my part, not knowing what was going on and just seeing number go up.

Nick (08:31):

You mentioned that you went through the top 50 coins on Coinbase and just started reading, and I presume you’re trying to figure out if there’s real utility behind some of these projects. You mentioned specifically Ethereum. We’ll talk about The Graph in a minute. Do you remember what your thoughts were or what the aha moment was when you started reading on Ethereum that signaled, well, this is different than maybe what I thought it was?

Kyle LaRue (08:55):

Yeah, I think once I started reading about programmable money, I really started to second guess my previous thoughts about what crypto was. To that point, I’d really only heard about Bitcoin and the digital gold narrative, which made some sense, but just wasn’t that compelling to me. But I think the idea of having your money be programmable and composable and all these other things really was a light bulb moment for me and got me incredibly curious and wanted to learn more.

Nick (09:21):

I think that first domino of recognizing the value in Ethereum juxtaposed to other crypto projects, and particularly Bitcoin is a common theme on the GRTiQ Podcast. Additionally, you said you found The Graph and you started reading about that, and there were some aha moments there. Walk us through that. What was it specifically about The Graph that signaled, hey, there’s something here?

Kyle LaRue (09:44):

Yeah, I think the more I learned about Ethereum and blockchains in general, kind of what a blockchain is, basically just a big ledger database with a ton of information. Once I saw The Graph’s mission prop, which is basically to organize that data and provide it to people who need it, that made a ton of sense to me. I mean, otherwise, all this information’s kind of useless if it’s just a sea of numbers and transactions, and I really didn’t see anyone else that was doing it at a high level so that he made me more interested in the project just because without much real competition, it seemed like it was well suited to succeed.

Nick (11:26):

Kyle, I’ve have had the opportunity to speak with a lot of different people and their stories kind of sound similar to yours from the perspective of step one being this idea related to speculation, what’s going on in this market, look at these prices and all this volatility, to a second step, which you explained very well, which is research. What really is going on here? Are these protocols and these participants creating real value? But then there’s this third step, and I think this is largely what people like you are most motivated by, which is this disruption, either the emergence of a new industry entirely or the reinvention of the internet with web3. And I’m curious if you could just share your thoughts on that third step going from, wow, there’s some really important projects here to, oh, wow, this is the emergence of something entirely new.

Kyle LaRue (12:14):

Yeah, so once that light bulb did go off, I definitely started to get this opaque picture of what it could all lead to. I mean, I still have no idea exactly where we’re going because the possibilities are endless. But a few of the unlocks that made sense just really clicked with me, especially I think we have a harder time understanding it here in America because the financial system is more stable, not entirely stable as we’ve seen recently. But for other countries, money isn’t as concrete, it’s not as safe. There’s way less trust than we have. So I think that thinking more globally helped me put the pieces together a little bit. And then just, I think we’ve seen it in history as well, whether it’s with smartphones, whether it’s with the internet, these things are always kind of mocked at the beginning, and there’s no use cases or value anywhere to be seen, but ultimately they’re this unlock for creativity that is an explosion of new ideas and new economies.


I think the smartphone and the app store specifically is a perfect example of that. People were not fans at all when that first got released and now look at us. So I think when it comes to crypto in a similar way, I mean we can look at the payment rails that clearly need updating. I know you had a guess how recently that did invoicing. I think there’s clearly a need for invoicing to be upgraded and on and on and on, whether it’s Livepeer for videos, I think there’s so much room for value to be accrued by the people that are actually generating it instead of middle men, for lack of a better word, taking a larger portion than they probably deserve. I think that’s what crypto really hopefully brings to life is value going to where it’s being created and in a more decentralized fashion.

Nick (13:53):

So let’s talk about the journey you took. You became aware of crypto, you moved into a more research mode and started realizing the real value in some of the protocols, specifically The Graph. You mentioned Ethereum. Then you must have taken a journey to where you are today, which is very involved within The Graph community. Can you share what that journey was and what the steps you took from Coinbase to Advocate at The Graph?

Kyle LaRue (14:17):

Yeah. So as I said, the first thing was the Coinbase earn to learn, and then I jumped onto Reddit and found the subreddit for The Graph and started checking out different resources, reading as much as I could. Like I said, I really got enthralled pretty quickly, and then I stumbled upon GRTiQ Podcast, and that was truly one of the ignition points for me where I just listened to every single episode sometimes more than once. And then after a while I kind of started to think like, man, is this project really alive because the Reddit isn’t as popular as some of the other? And finally I jumped on the Discord, The Graph discord, and it just blew my mind. I’ll never forget that moment where I was like, holy hell, there’s so much going on here. These people are so friendly and engaging and brilliant, where it just blew me away.


And then after that, I kind of spent the next few months just watching the discord streams and kind of learning and learning and learning. And then there was one moment where someone had asked a question and I actually felt confident enough to answer that question. And it was just this, I had this big dumb smile on my face for the rest of the night. I was like, yeah, I’m actually a part of this now. I just answered a question in The Graph Discord. See, that was pretty much the path. Then almost shortly after that, The Graph Advocates got launched and I was all in on applying.

Nick (15:30):

So Kyle, I’m humbled by the impact that the GRTiQ Podcast had in your journey and really appreciate the kind words, and I’m thrilled to have you as a guest. I love the fact that you went from listener to guest. Are there any episodes, when you think back to going through all of them and like you said, you listened to some of them more than once, any of them a highlight for you that really sparked more interest in The Graph?

Kyle LaRue (15:55):

Yeah, the two Brandon Ramirez episodes really absolutely blew my mind. I mean, just from a technical perspective, but also his view on the protocol, on the ecosystem, on crypto in general. I was just so impressed and so blown away. And then also Honorable mentions to Eva Beylin and Kyle Rojas. Those episodes really were just awesome. And I think the more I listen and hear some of the people in the core devs talk about The Graph just getting started and being this platform, I think it’s just so exciting.

Nick (16:25):

Longtime listeners of the podcast know I like to ask this question frequently, so you will also recognize it, I’m sure, which is, what do you think it says about The Graph that someone like yourself, who’s just interested but not fully participating, joins the Discord, reads a bunch of stuff, is educating themselves, and then finally sees a question and gets the confidence to say, “I’m going to try to answer that,” posts an answer, pretty simple, and then just months later, finds themselves as a really important member of the community everywhere, in Reddit, in Discord, member of Advocates, member of Advocates DAO. I mean, what does that say about The Graph and The Graph community?

Kyle LaRue (17:08):

It is the best. The Graph community is hands down the best. I’ve stumbled across quite a few crypto communities and there’s a lot of great ones, but I’ve never really seen anything like it, to be honest. It is, again, it’s a technical protocol and there’s really no reason that it should be as welcoming to non-technical folks as it is, but everyone is here to help and here to try to get more folks aware of what The Graph is doing and help them contribute in any way that they can. And again, I’ve just found everyone to be so kind and engaging and focused on contributing and improving the protocol. It’s really impressive.

Nick (17:40):

Since answering that first question, you’ve started to contribute a lot, and I know personally that you must be putting in a lot of time, weekends and nights, being a contributor within The Graph ecosystem. What are you telling family? You’re already busy, you’ve got a full-time gig. I’m sure you have friends and family that are curious, where is Kyle and why is he doing so much of this crypto work? How are you explaining it to them?

Kyle LaRue (18:04):

Yeah, the narrative has definitely changed a little bit since FTX, for sure. At first, it was a lot of, “Oh, that’s cool. What token should I buy and how much Doge should I get?” And after FTX, it’s like, “Oh, you’re still doing that. What are you doing? And for me, it’s just been a constant. I believe in this protocol, I talk about what The Graph does, I talk about Ethereum and where I think this is all headed. I’m never super vocal about any investment or anything too much in my personal life, to be honest. So I don’t bring it up on my own, but people certainly do see me working nights, working weekends. So yeah, for the most part, it’s just trying to, if they ask, trying to convey what I believe and where I think the power in crypto lies and the beauty in it and leaving it at that and trying to leave out the speculation piece.

Nick (18:49):

So how do you explain The Graph to people that have no idea what crypto is and what you’re working on?

Kyle LaRue (18:54):

Yeah, it’s tough because it is technical. I mean, a Google of blockchains really is the start point for me when I talk to folks, although I try to go a little bit deeper and say, “Imagine instead of the way you operate online now, or just you open up a web browser and you type in a keyword to search, or you type in a URL and it takes you exactly where you want to go, instead of that, imagine if you opened up a web browser and you every website that had ever existed was put in sequential order, and all you had was a Next button and you just had to click that Next button until you got to the website you wanted. So The Graph is taking that version, that terrible version, and turning it into what we have today, trying to organize data and get it to the people who need it.”

Nick (19:37):

Well, let’s also talk about work-life balance, and this has come up with other Advocates as well. You’ve got a full-time job, you’re obviously passionate about the work you’re doing there, and it’s clearly important work, and now you’re chipping in on the weekends and at nights trying to be an effective contributor within The Graph community. You’re a member of The Graph Advocates DAO. How do you balance everything that you’re doing?

Kyle LaRue (20:00):

It’s tough for sure. Yeah, there is not enough time in each day. First and foremost, I’m blessed to have a girlfriend who lets me put in this much time on both my day job and The Graph contributions. She’s been phenomenal, and I could not be any of this without her. Other than that, I really think it comes from a place of caring a lot and wanting to see this protocol be pushed forward and getting to work with the folks in the DAO and the Advocates has been a ton of fun. So yeah, I mean, it’s a lot of time commitment for sure, but ultimately it’s time well spent in my eyes.

Nick (20:33):

Well, I have to ask you then about the conviction. You’re clearly making trade-offs in your personal life, in your work life, how you spend your time. What is it then that drives this interest? Where does this conviction come from?

Kyle LaRue (20:47):

Yeah, I mean, I think getting to work with The Graph community members, whether it’s a DAO member, an Advocate, people just getting started and interested in The Graph, just trying to spread that awareness. I think creating the content that I’ve created this far has been a ton of fun. There’s a lot of time put into it, but I get to learn so much by creating this content and I get to meet so many cool folks and different people at dapps that are using The Graph. So it’s this cool circle of learning and putting out content for other folks to learn at the same time. That has been really rewarding, and it just kind of pushes me to do it over and over and over again.

Nick (21:22):

Well, let’s turn our attention then to the contributions that you’re making as a member of Graph Advocates. Before we get specific on the two things you’re working on, let’s talk about your interest as a graph Advocate. You were making contributions, you were in Discord, you were in Reddit, you were posting answers to questions. What was it that compelled you to take that additional step to formalize your role within the community and become an Advocate?

Kyle LaRue (21:48):

Yeah, at first, I didn’t think I would be accepted because as I looked at the roles, there’s the content creator role, text translator, and on and on. But as I looked at the roles, I realized I don’t speak any other language. I can’t translate information. I’m not a technical person. I can’t help out there. And at the time, I had never created any type of piece of content in my whole life. So that seemed like it was off the list, and I’d only answered a few questions in The Graph Discord. So community care seemed a bit presumptuous on my part. So I mean, I went for it and applied to be a community carrier, assuming that I could learn and grow into the role. So yeah, I really was just wanting to expand that feeling of being able to help in the community and help answer questions and leverage some of the things that I had learned at that point about The Graph and just wanted to be a part of the ecosystem that I was.

Nick (22:37):

Well, that makes sense to me. And surely you are already kind of a community care Advocate before formally applying. After applying and being accepted as a graph Advocate, you evolved though. And presently, what type of Advocate and what type of contributions are you making?

Kyle LaRue (22:53):

Yeah, so now mostly I am a content creator Advocate, and the large portion of my contributions are The Graph Advocate Spotlight Newsletter, and the Sub Graph Signal Threads.

Nick (23:03):

Yeah, let’s talk about each of those for a moment here. So Graph Advocate Spotlight, what can you share with listeners about what Graph Advocate Spotlight is?

Kyle LaRue (23:11):

Yeah, so I mean, the original idea was to try to connect Advocates and get more knowledge about what folks are interested in. Maybe they have shared interests and they’re living nearby and might be able to connect and create their own regional communities. When the DAO first started, there was clearly a gap there, so the hope was to try to connect Advocates, and I hope we’ve done some of that so far, the last 37 issues. And then beyond that, it’s kind of grown into the front page is now a roundup of all the latest news each week in The Graph ecosystem. Also for Advocates and anyone else to stay up to date because there’s always so much going on and so much shipping happening. And then lastly, we have some different spotlights now, whether it’s subgraph spotlights, so dapps that are using The Graph, contribution spotlights, which is basically typically an Advocate or a non Advocate that have built out some contribution for The Graph ecosystem. So just trying to showcase these efforts because there’s, again, so much going on and great work being done by lots of folks in the community.

Nick (24:12):

Given that unique perspective, then I would be remiss if I didn’t ask you what you’ve learned about Graph Advocates. And for listeners that don’t know much about this program, we’re talking about an international community of individuals who want to contribute to The Graph in one of the roles available for Advocates. And you’ve met most of them and you’ve shared their story and published it in the newsletter. What can you tell us about that community?

Kyle LaRue (24:34):

Yeah, they are inspiring. I mean, the the diversity of people who are in the program and that are contributing in different ways has been incredible to see and to get to learn the stories of a lot of these Advocates has been really special. I’m just blown away by how compelled folks are to contribute towards The Graph in different ways, and they’re bringing their own skillset, like I said, whether it’s translation, The Graph website, whether it’s subgraph documentation, helping out these gaps provide documentations for their subgraphs for free. It’s just been really cool to see the passion that people are bringing to the advocacy.

Nick (25:39):

And now let’s talk about Subgraphs Signal. You mentioned that this is a thread that you publish regularly on Twitter. Tell us about where that idea came from and what you’re doing there.

Kyle LaRue (25:49):

I guess the idea was to try to highlight the dapps that are migrating the subgraphs from The Graphs hosted service over to the decentralized network, try to give them some extra shine, and also maybe give graph community members a glimpse of what each app is doing and how they’re using The Graph. I’ve quickly learned that I cannot keep up. There’s more subgraphs migrating than I could’ve possibly predicted back in January, so that’s been cool to see. But the subgraphs spotlight that we do in the newsletter is really focused on the dapps and subgraphs that have the most signal on the decentralized network. So they’re kind of the most popular ones, whereas the Subgraphs Signal tweet threads are really just kind of immediately after some of the more smaller signal subgraphs.

Nick (26:32):

Well, similar to the question I asked you about Graph Advocates, I want to ask it about your work on Subgraphs Signal. What have you learned about either the dapp community or subgraphs dapps as you’ve published that content?

Kyle LaRue (26:45):

Yeah, I think first and foremost that the passion and the fandom for The Graph does not stop within The Graph community. I mean, so many devs and so many dapps are big fans of The Graph because they know how critical it is to their projects and to their protocols. So I think that’s been really cool to see kind of getting confirmation that I’m not just in an echo chamber where everyone’s talking about how cool The Graph is because we’re all Delegators or community members. So that has been really cool to see and just to see the different ways that The Graph can be leveraged and the excitement for where we’re going, whether it’s Layer 2 or the billing improvements, things like that.

Nick (27:18):

On that point, have you researched or come across a subgraph or a use case for The Graph that kind of shocked you and said, oh, wow, I had no idea that The Graph had application or use there?

Kyle LaRue (27:31):

I think for the most part, the subgraphs that I’ve seen are leveraging The Graph and defi, but I think one of the cooler ones I’ve seen has been Live Pier. I love the idea behind Livepeer. I think there’s being able to disrupt the YouTube era and try to provide more value to the creators, I think how Livepeer is using The Graph has been pretty special and unique, probably different than how most folks are using it.

Nick (27:53):

And I’ve had the opportunity to interview two members of the Livepeer community before. For the podcast I had Adam Soffer on and then Yondon Fu. So for listeners who want to learn more about Livepeer and how they’re using The Graph, there’s two episodes there that you can go back and take a look at. I want to ask you this question about Graph Advocates DAO. So we’ve talked a lot about the work you’re doing as an Advocate and the experience you’re having there, but at some point you made the decision to level up and contribute in the capacity of being a DAO member. What was that experience like?

Kyle LaRue (28:24):

Oh, man. The original acceptance email into the DAO was an all time moment for me, which I know may sound dramatic, but I was just so excited. And since then, it’s been starting from scratch with a lot of processes and with a lot of initiatives, and so it’s been certainly messy at times, but a ton of fun. And we have people who are fully committed to bringing the best possible Advocates program that we can. Yeah, so I mean, it’s been, whether it’s the Bounty Program that launched recently, getting the grants fully up and running and starting to distribute some of those has been really cool to see. I work a lot with grants in my day job, but we’re on the receiving end, and it’s certainly not a public open grant process. It’s all very behind-the-scenes and competitive. So to be on the grantor side and being reviewing grants and having it all be public has been really a neat process for me to be involved with.

Nick (29:19):

Let’s talk a little bit about that. You mentioned that where you work full time you are a recipient of grants, and so you’ve seen from the perspective of maybe traditional grant application of funding, how that process works, and now you’re working on Advocates DAO, which is awarding grants to members of the community at The Graph. How is the approach taken by DAOs either better, and obviously I’m sure there’s situations where it’s worse than traditional grants from your perspective?

Kyle LaRue (29:49):

Yeah, I think the parts that I’ve been really impressed with and think are improvements from the traditional process is the openness of it. I mean, basically someone’s applying and the whole community has eyes on the application, so they can ask questions, they can do their own research and maybe poke holes in certain claims, but also the applicant then has the ability to answer those questions from the community, from The Graph applicant’s DAO members, and to modify the application as it proceeds through the DAO vote, which is very different than my experience with traditional grants. You submit your application and that’s pretty much it. You don’t hear back for a few months with either a yes or a no, and that’s it. So it’s been a much more collaborative, open, welcoming process in my opinion.

Nick (30:34):

And what about DAOs themselves? What have you learned about DAOs by virtue of being a member of Advocates DAO?

Kyle LaRue (30:39):

Yeah, I think DAOs are still so nascent, we’ve got a lot to learn. There is certainly, in my opinion, room for improvement, but also I’m positive that DAOs will be around a long run. I think the lack of hierarchy and the communal part of it where everyone has a voice, everyone can bring ideas, and it’s really up to your ability to convey your ideas and to be convincing and try to push things through that makes a difference instead of trying to convince your boss’s boss’s boss that you have a good idea that we should bring online. So yeah, mean it’s tough. The lack of hierarchy makes things a little slower, I would say at times, but also probably more thoughtful and more collaborative.

Nick (31:21):

How has your experience working in Advocates DAO informed your opinion about the future of DAOs?

Kyle LaRue (31:27):

Yeah, it’s made me more convinced that they will exist in the future, I think, in a certain niche. Less convinced that they will be used for everything they’re used for now. I think something like the Constitution DAO, which I know didn’t ultimately succeed, is a great example of a great way to get folks engaged and all moving in the same direction on a singular mission, which is, I don’t think, possible without something like DAOs. On the other hand, I think from a governance perspective, they can be really unwieldy and we’ve got a lot of learning to do if we’re going to keep DAOs a part of governance.

Nick (31:59):

Kyle, in addition to the work you’re doing as a Graph Advocate and in Advocates DAO, you’ve also been attending some of the events in the House of web3, which is a project that Edge & Node launched in San Francisco with a lot of really cool events. What can you tell us about your experience going to the events at House of web3?

Kyle LaRue (32:17):

Yeah, I’m very lucky. I only live about an hour and a half away from the House of web3. I’ve got the chance to go to two or three events now, and they have been fantastic experiences. The space itself is beautiful, and the environment is equally as beautiful. A huge shout-out to Noelle, who I know played a huge part in putting that all together. I mean, I’ve met so many people at just a handful of events that I never would’ve had the chance to meet otherwise, and it’s been really neat to see as well, the progression of the types of events. Early on, it was a lot of meet and greets and kind of just getting the space off the ground, and now I’m seeing more and more of really bringing in different types of communities, whether it’s a Lens meetup about decentralized social gaming. I know they have philosophy discussions now, so it’s really, really neat to see where they’re taking the space. If you’re nearby, I would highly, highly recommend checking some of these events out.

Nick (33:08):

Well, you mentioned Noel. I’ve had the opportunity to interview Noelle for the GRTiQ Podcast, and she doesn’t get enough credit for the beautiful design of that space and encourage any listeners to want to hear that interview to go back and download and listen to that interview with Noelle. I also want to ask you this question about advice, and it’s a two-part question. So the first piece of advice is what do you say to listeners who are listening to your story, they have a full-time job. They may be a little reluctant to apply to Advocates, but they still want to make contributions within The Graph community. How should they get started? What should they do?

Kyle LaRue (33:45):

Yeah, I would say definitely don’t be hesitant to apply. Just go for it. I mean, using myself as an example, there really is so much flexibility in how much time you can give and what types of contributions you’re interested in. But really, I mean, we are looking for all kinds and we can use so much help in different areas. So there’s really no reason to not jump in, ask questions, see how you can contribute and go from there.

Nick (34:08):

And the second part of this question is advice to yourself, but not present self, past self. If you could go back knowing what you know now and give advice to Kyle who was looking up on Coinbase and stumbled across The Graph, what would be your advice to yourself before you got started on this journey?

Kyle LaRue (34:26):

Wow, breathe. It’s a long game. I am the type of person that I’m pretty skeptical of most things. I don’t get too invested emotionally or otherwise in a lot of things, but when I do, I’m all in. And that has its pros and cons, and I would just say, yeah, just maybe take a breath and know, I mean, this is a long, long road. Crypto is really just getting started and we’ve got a long way to go, and The Graph is included in that. Yeah, so as we talked a little bit earlier, that work-life balance is important, so just trying to make sure, keep all things where they should be.

Nick (34:59):

You’ve mentioned a few times these are early days and this is a long-term commitment for the industry and people like you who are contributing. What are some of the signals or mileposts then that you’re watching for that might say, hey, we’re ready for the next phase. This is no longer early days, we’re now moving into something maybe more substantial in terms of adoption or growth?

Kyle LaRue (35:21):

Yeah, I think the obvious answer, to me at least, would be more general use, not getting the public to be using an application or a tool of some kind that involves crypto and likely without them even knowing it. Right now, all anyone thinks about that isn’t really in web3 or crypto is the price. So if we can provide that killer app that everyone talks about, which I think we are on our way, whether it’s Stable coins, I think NFTs and token-gating have a really great shot at being those use cases that people use not even thinking about crypto. I think that’ll be a huge hurdle for us to get over and really find more respect, for lack of a better word [inaudible 00:36:01].

Nick (36:01):

Kyle, when I get the opportunity to speak with Advocates like yourself who have a very similar story, I always want to get a sense for how going to work in The Graph community has impacted their lives. So we have a sense of the type of contributions you’re making. We also know that you’re making trade-offs with time and what you’re doing with your nights and weekends, but in terms of the impact to you as a person, how has being an Advocate and being a member of The Graph community impacted your life?

Kyle LaRue (36:28):

Yeah, I would say it’s made me think way more globally. Obviously I live here in California, but whether it’s through The Graph Advocate spotlights, or just interacting with Advocates all over the world, getting a sense of different interests and issues and challenges all over the world has really made me think on a much more global scale than I did before.

Nick (36:47):

Kyle, whenever you think about your future, you must contemplate how you’re going to spend your time. You’ve got a full-time job, you’re also finding time to be a contributor within The Graph community. What’s your game plan or your vision here? Do you eventually want to go full-time in web3, or do you want to continue what you’re doing now?

Kyle LaRue (37:03):

Man, I’ve given so much thought for this question. I have thought long and hard about making a potential pivot to web3, but ultimately I don’t think I can make that switch. I work with some of my best friends, have an amazing team doing rewarding work, so I don’t think I would ever make the switch to web3, at least on any time soon. So right now, I mean, this is one of the beauties of the DAO is that I get to commit however much time I can in that given space. So it’s kind of perfect right now. I may have to scale one or the other here pretty soon because it is a lot. But yeah, for the time being, I’m sitting tight in web2 land, I guess.

Nick (37:43):

When you think about web2 land, as you said it, and the future of web3, and you’ve heard this question asked before on the podcast, but do you see that as a zero-sum game? I mean, when you project out into the future, do you see it being either all web3 or all web2, or do they coexist? I

Kyle LaRue (37:58):

Definitely think they coexist. I think there will be more and more projects that currently identify as web2 that will use web3 in the future, but in the same way that not every product needs an application on your smartphone, probably every project doesn’t need to be on the blockchain. So I think web3 will eat more and more of the world’s finance and data and identity, but I don’t think it’ll take over web2 entirely.

Nick (38:23):

Well, Kyle, I only have two more questions for you before I ask you the GRTiQ 10. The first question is, how has your perspective of how important or the type of utility that The Graph creates evolved since coming across it in your own research on Coinbase to where you are presently as a contributing Advocate and member of Advocates DAO?

Kyle LaRue (38:47):

Yeah. I have never been more excited about where The Graph is headed than I am right now. I think with all the upgrades that are constantly getting released, I think if you look at something like GIP 42, World Data Services, there’s so much potential for where The Graph will go and how critical infrastructure it really is for crypto. I think it’s just going to get more and more important and more useful for different apps along the way.

Nick (39:12):

And the final question I want to ask you is about what you do for a living and the things you’ve learned about web3 and how it’s disrupting a lot of industries. And so in your particular case, you help people find jobs, get them active and trained for the labor market. Has your experience with blockchain, web3, or The Graph taught you or had any aha moments where you thought, “Oh, wow, this really is going to disrupt even what I do presently day to day”?

Kyle LaRue (39:40):

Yeah, definitely. I think first and foremost, I would say from a nonprofit’s perspective, I think donations, having transparency about where money goes and how it’s spent will be probably the expectation and the standard in the future, and that’ll be powered by blockchains. And then from a more just labor force, workforce perspective, I think it’s a little too early to tell. I’m confident that things will be changed by crypto and by blockchains. I’m not totally sure how yet because we’re so early. But yeah, it’s coming for most things, I think.

Nick (40:12):

Well, Kyle, as you mentioned you’re a longtime listener of the podcast, and so you know the GRTiQ 10, but for listeners that are listening for the first time, these are 10 questions I ask each week to every guest of the podcast in hopes that they can say something that will help a listener learn something new, try something different, or achieve more. And so Kyle, are you ready for the GRTiQ 10?

Kyle LaRue (40:32):

Absolutely. Let’s do it.

Nick (40:43):

What book or article has had the most impact on your life?

Kyle LaRue (40:46):

A Course in Miracles, it’s a book I read about 12 years ago, and I’ve been reading it ever since. The opening line is, “Nothing real can be threatened, nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God.” And ever since then I’ve been stuck, so.

Nick (41:01):

Is there a movie or a TV show that you think every human should watch?

Kyle LaRue (41:05):

I’ve listened to every single episode of GRTiQ, and I’m so happy to be the first person to give you the right answer on this. It is 100% The Office.

Nick (41:13):

If you could only listen to one music album for the rest of your life, which one would you choose?

Kyle LaRue (41:17):

I’m going to cheat a little bit and say the discography for Morgan Wallen.

Nick (41:21):

What’s the best advice someone’s ever given to you?

Kyle LaRue (41:23):

Life’s hard. Get a helmet.

Nick (41:25):

What’s one thing you’ve learned in your life that you don’t think most other people have learned or come to know yet?

Kyle LaRue (41:30):

Yeah, I think similar to the last question, just the fundamental nature of this life and the universe is very metal, very ruthless. And I mean, if you can really accept that, you can find a lot of gratitude in the good times and the blessings you do receive. So just leaning into that.

Nick (41:45):

What about life hacks? What’s the best life hack you’ve discovered for yourself?

Kyle LaRue (41:49):

Practicing forgiveness for sure, which I know is probably a bit of an odd answer, but it is the best release of distractions, of grudges, of emotional baggage that I think you can find. And it’s a lot like going to the gym. It’s usually the last thing you want to do, but when you bite the bullet and you get it over with, you’re always glad you did. You feel way, way better. So once you start letting go of grudges, you can start working on goals.

Nick (42:12):

Based on your own life experiences and observations, what do you think is the most important characteristic or habit that best explains why people find success in life?

Kyle LaRue (42:21):

Yeah, I know a lot of your guests have already said what I would say, which is grit, determination, and resilience. But to mix it up a little bit, I would just say learning how to curate the people you spend your time with and you surround yourself with. I think that’s so important, and it really helps define and shape who you are.

Nick (42:37):

And then the final three questions are complete the sentence type questions. The first one is, the thing that most excites me about web3 is…

Kyle LaRue (42:44):

The freedom and the centralization and just the opportunities and possibilities.

Nick (42:50):

And how about this one? If you’re on Twitter, then you should be following…

Kyle LaRue (42:53):

Chris Burniske. If you are interested in crypto investing. And me, if you want to stay up to news on The Graph.

Nick (43:00):

And I’m happiest when…

Kyle LaRue (43:02):

I’m achieving goals and when I’m spending time with the people I love, ideally over a couple cocktails,

Nick (43:16):

Kyle LaRue, thank you so much for joining the GRTiQ Podcast. Thank you for making the podcast part of your journey, but also being willing to come on and share your journey as a way to inspire listeners and people who want to get more involved. Your story is another incredible template for anybody who’s curious and energized about what the potential of crypto, web3, or The Graph is doing, how they can get involved. If listeners want to follow you, stay up to date on the things you’re working on. What’s the best way to do it?

Kyle LaRue (43:47):

Yeah, Discord. It’s Kyle.LaRue.1776, and on Twitter, it’s KyleLaRue11. So yeah, feel free to reach out.


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DISCLOSURE: GRTIQ is not affiliated, associated, authorized, endorsed by, or in any other way connected with The Graph, or any of its subsidiaries or affiliates.  This material has been prepared for information purposes only, and it is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, tax, legal, financial, or investment advice. The content for this material is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The Graph token holders should do their own research regarding individual Indexers and the risks, including objectives, charges, and expenses, associated with the purchase of GRT or the delegation of GRT.