Today I am speaking with Mable Jiang, Chief Revenue Officer at Find Satoshi Lab, a rapidly growing web3 product development studio renowned for its impressive lineup of dapps, including STEPN, one of the most widely used dapps in the Solana ecosystem. In addition to her pivotal role at Find Satoshi Lab, Mable has recently been announced as a new member of The Graph Council. The GRTiQ Podcast feels incredibly fortunate to introduce our listeners to Mable today, following our recent introduction to the other new Council member, Julien Genestoux.
During this interview, Mable takes us on a journey through her unique background, which encompasses degrees in Art History and Statistics. She shares her firsthand experience of when she first discovered crypto and her subsequent venture into the industry. Mable also reflects on her time at Multicoin, providing valuable insights into her professional trajectory.
We then dive into an in-depth discussion about The Graph, where Mable offers her perspective on the protocol and its significance. She shares her captivating insights into joining The Graph Council, shedding light on the responsibilities and opportunities that come with this role. Along the way, Mable provides us with remarkable insights into Asia’s role in the industry and her vision for its future in that part of the world.
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Mable Jiang (00:00:18):
Even if you don’t know what apps are going to be built on top of blockchain or use blockchain, at least you know this tool is regardless what is being built, this is going to be used. So, that’s when it comes to The Graph or similar type of things that I would think of.
Welcome to the GRTiQ Podcast. Today, I’m speaking with Mable Jiang, chief revenue officer at Find Satoshi Lab, a fast-growing web3 product development studio with several well-known dapps, including STEPN, one of the most used dapps in the Solana ecosystem. In addition to her role at Find Satoshi Lab, Mable was also recently announced as a new member of The Graph Council, and the GRTiQ Podcast is fortunate to introduce listeners to Mable today, just weeks after introducing you to the other new council member, Julien Genestoux. During this interview, Mable talks about her unique background, which includes degrees in art history and statistics, when she first became aware of crypto, and how she went to work in the industry, her time at MultiCoin, and then we talk about The Graph and joining The Graph Council.
Along the way, Mable shares some incredible insights on Asia and the future of the industry in that part of the world. As always, we start the discussion talking about Mable’s educational background.
Mable Jiang (00:02:04):
I went to school in the U.S. I went to school in the Columbia University in the city of New York for undergrad, and I only did undergrad for my educational background obviously. My major was art history and statistics, so it was two very seemingly different majors, but that’s really just two areas of my interest. I thought, actually the random choice or whatever go with heart was impacting me quite a lot afterwards in career as well as the way, I think about things. So, it was definitely a very fulfilling four years for me studying in New York, and then was able to do a bunch of internship and research, whatever during this time of school.
Do you remember what drew your interest in studying art history? It’s not necessarily at GRTiQ first. I’ve had other guests that have actually studied art in their background as well. So, I’d be curious what drew your interest.
Mable Jiang (00:03:00):
So art and art history are different things. Art history is something that’s more related to study the history, the sociology, all the politics and even economics-related things during that period of time. So, it’s actually a full scan of I should say the society of a certain period of time, because a lot of things will be reflected from the work as you can see. If you look at the Bruegel, as a Dutch painter, he depicts a lot of details in that society, and then it was a perfect, perfect source of materials for people to understand like, “What about the 18th century Netherland?” That was just one example.
I think the interest really is about the fact that I was interested in a lot of the human aspect, the societal aspect of history, and then I wanted to learn from that. I think one additional point that was interesting about our history is that you are learning from someone else’s angle. It’s not a macro angle. It’s someone’s eyes. You are seeing the world through their eyes, and I think that’s a very interesting perspective. It shaped a lot of my way of thinking in the future as well.
That’s a very interesting answer, because I recently had James Hall on the podcast, and he’s a UX designer over at Edge & Node, and he studied architecture. He was talking similar things about how architecture reflects the things that are happening in society at the time. I wanted to ask you this question that I asked him, which is do you think that’s true for crypto and web3? I mean, is the revolution or the advancement we’re seeing when it comes to technology a reflection of something happening in society?
Mable Jiang (00:04:51):
Very good question. You know what, I was not going to answer. This was not just the focus on the tech itself. I think for crypto, what’s interesting is that it’s reflecting how the world has become democratized with information access. That’s exactly what this industry is about. People always “complained” about the siloed of information in this industry, and then how decentralized all kinds of opinions and whatever people can get. There’s never such a thing called… Well, maybe we’ll have with the help of large language models, but definitely right now, we don’t have enough aggregated centralized source of information that was impacting a lot of people’s opinion about the market itself.
Obviously, I think it’s also interesting to see how all of these Layer 1s or some of the other smart contract platforms, they were doing a lot of grassroots type of effort to get more people into the ecosystem. That’s just very different from how a lot of the large companies acquire partnerships and stuff. It’s a lot of bottom-up things. I understand that this is not a direct tech perspective on answering those questions, but I would say yes.
Do you then see web3 and everything happening with crypto as a natural step in the evolution of what humans are doing with technology, or do you see it as this revolution against the sins of web2?
Mable Jiang (00:06:27):
I think I was probably not exactly clear about one point when I answered the previous question. What I was trying to say is that I think the certain… You are basically taking off the intermediary in the society, and then a lot of people have direct access to information. They can use the frictionless payment rail on crypto instead of going through, I don’t know, Alipay, or there are some other, a big platform for it to pay. All of those things are definitely reflecting what we are going through, which is I think individual powers. Because of the empowerment of technology, you can do a lot of things on your own instead of with a group with a large platform and this and that. I think that’s definitely very, very interesting.
So going back to your education, as you mentioned, you studied two divergent disciplines, statistics, art history. At the time, what did you plan to do with that education?
Mable Jiang (00:07:28):
I mean, the thing, it’s very simple, right? It doesn’t matter whether you’re Asian or not. You tend to think that, “Oh, STEM means statistic, technology, engineering and math can help you find a job or whatever.” Then the other part is just for your own interest, but the reality is what’s that, and our history is quite similar is they both study a lot of aspect of something without drawing immediately to the conclusion. It’s always about confidence interval. It’s always about probability. How likely does this getting to the closest possibly you could to the truth? It’s not about 100% this is… When you look at a bunch of evidence in, I don’t know, Athenian architecture in the past like relics, there’s no way that you can say, “Oh, I look at these five things, and then I just immediately draw a conclusion that this absolutely happened at that time, but you can say it’s very likely something happened.
So same thing for stat. I answered this question from one of the interview. I think it was from BlackRock or something back in the days. They were like, “Why are you studying these two things, and how are they related?” I basically answered this, and I still think so. That’s why I said it shaped a lot of my way of thinking afterwards just because I think it helped me really think about, “Okay, if I’m drawing this conclusion, how confident I am, or can we get more close to the reality?” I think that really helped in terms of the way I think, and obviously when you are getting close enough, you can also tell yourself you can stop probing, because it’s marginally less beneficial.
Do you think generally speaking people don’t appreciate or comprehend the nature of how probabilistic life is?
Mable Jiang (00:09:21):
I think so. I would actually even say one thing that came to my mind. So, a lot of people were complaining about how the world has become worse, and obviously the past, especially for China, the past 30 years has been really, really great. Well, I mean for U.S., not to mention, since the last centuries, 1970s all the way to very recently, I think it’s always going up, but people get too used to the fact that the world is always getting better without thinking about in history, having consecutive 30 years or even 60 years of growth, it’s just never happened before. So, that’s a probabilistic thing. Oftentimes, I think people should appreciate the fact that that just was magic happened.
Well, I wasn’t saying that… Again, this is not anything about nihilistic or anything, but it’s definitely something that with that kind of mindset, you can better appreciate all kinds of volatility in life.
You spent some time as a research assistant at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, so you are putting right to work your degree in art history. What was that experience like, and did you fall in love with it immediately and think, “Yes, I studied the right thing, and I found my passion?”
Mable Jiang (00:10:36):
Good cue. I think what happened is that after doing the research, I knew exactly I could not work on anything that’s really business related to art, because I felt like that’s just dampened my passion. I think my pursuit of art history or anything academic was pure interest in the research itself rather than using it, selling it as a real estate agent almost. That was just my opinion, not trying to say which profession or whatever is good or bad. So, I wasn’t able to really work in gallery or auction house, because I felt like that’s just a different type of thing when it comes to researching art history or whatever.
But going back to your question, that wasn’t even a summer intern. That was during the year. So, I go to the MET, the Upper East Side, every Thursday and Friday for the whole day, because that’s a requirement. If you want to do it, you have to at least do it. I don’t know. I was like 16 or 18 hours in total per week. That was the requirement. The work I did was also quite simple. It’s just repetitive work of transcription. You’re transcribing a lot of the things written on the painting or words, and put it in the database, and you look at a lot of the work directly closely. That was a really interesting experience, because I think in our history and also in a lot of things in life is that you have to keep doing it many, many times, and then you just have it with you.
You just intuitively know what is good work after you’re seeing so many new… the good things, and then you do it again and again by going through it in detail. Although the work itself is not as interesting I’d say maybe for a lot of people, I enjoyed it a lot, because I like looking at things closely, but I think realistically speaking, that was just really good foundation training. I think that’s something people would have to have, and not many people could have the opportunity to look at all the work in, what do you call it, the inventory place closely. So, that was definitely a very interesting experience.
Before we move on from your art history background, I do want to ask this question about what’s your favorite time period if we look back historically on art and what people created?
Mable Jiang (00:12:56):
19th century, absolutely 19th century. There’s a lot of interest. Sorry, I keep wracking on this topic, because this definitely hit my interest. 19th century is a time where people first time interacted with the idea of modernity, the first time they interacted with a lot of technology that can improve our efficiency drastically in human life, and also the notion of weekend, the notion of the capitalist. You have workdays, and you have weekends, but that’s actually the first time it came to people who spend and awfully enjoy leisure. You enjoy the “leisure,” and during the weekend, casual life, whatever, those kind of things. Then so you see a lot of artists probing the relationship between human and tech.
They probe the relationship of whether humans are objects of capitalism, or are they really an integral part, like what Maxist has been discussing all the time, right? Capitalist has been exploiting people, whatever. A lot of those very interesting notions were discussed very densely in 19th century art. Of course with a lot of the thinkers, the philosophers, they also do that. So, you can see a very, very interesting period of time where people… Even early 19th century all the way towards the end of it, the thing that people were discussing are already very different. It’s a really nice mirror of a very important transition period in human history.
It’s good to see how people are reacting to, and I think now we are getting back into the same kind of time in history. We are also facing a lot of new things. So, I’d be curious to see what we would be getting in today’s art world or generally creation world.
No, I appreciate the answer there, and I’m sure like many listeners, I’ll be googling 19th century art after this interview, and learning more about that and looking for those themes. So after college, what did you do?
Mable Jiang (00:15:02):
I started my first job at Citigroup doing institutional restructuring. I know this is a relatively foreign concept, but you just think, “If my actual day-to-day job is doing valuation for different companies that were relatively distressed,” so those include I guess gas, oil companies. There’s also some casino and also solar-related companies at that time, all related to the commodities related things. I learned a lot, well, just primarily because I don’t think I’ve ever done something as detail like that. So, the valuation process really, really I should say hang sticking, because you have to… For example, if an oil company have to go into look at all the hundred rigs that they have, and then get differentiated types, and then giving some estimate on the drilling capacity, all of those based off how much depreciation they have.
So, those things, I personally wouldn’t say I’m the best at. I would say I’m very bad at those kind of things, but definitely trained myself to be more meticulous.
Was that a difficult move for you to make?
Mable Jiang (00:16:13):
Yeah, so going back to what I said about I was positive that I don’t want to work on auction house or gallery, because previously, what I thought was, “Okay, maybe I can work in the intersection of art and business,” but then I realized that I would rather keep art at something of my lifelong hobby or interest rather than just treating it as an object. Sometimes I’m a little bit idealistic in a sense. I can talk about that, like why I joined crypto at same thought, but I would say yes in terms of the skillset, I have to pick up compared to my financial engineering colleagues, whoever learned operational research or FE. Those, it’s definitely easy for people who study those, but it’s not very hard.
I think at city, one of the most important life lesson that I grabbed was that what you learn in college or whatever may not matter at all. It’s more about the methodology that you learn during the college. You learn how to learn. So, that’s a perfect example of I think I got relatively well-trained on how to learn, how to ask the questions. So, a lot of things can be just picked up during the work.
So, was it around this time at Citi that you first became aware of crypto, and became interested in what was going on in that space?
Mable Jiang (00:19:36):
2017, people started to trade obviously on Coinbase back in the day, a lot of the colleagues were doing that. Sure, that was the first time I hear about it, right? I never had… Because I went to school in the U.S., and at that time, 2017, China was absolutely a booming market for crypto. A lot of projects came out of there, but I don’t have any connection to those people. So, the only source that I got was people who are trading in our office at their leisure time. Also, in terms of equity market, we just can’t trade much. So, crypto become another thing because there’s nothing that you have to disclose much at that time, just Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, whatever.
But after that, 2018, and I went back, I didn’t get my visa, so I went back to China, and then I started to make a lot of friends who were in that VC, Venture circle, or the tech circle. I got more dragged into deep in the weeds of what it is about. It’s not just about the markets or money or whatever.
What were your first impressions of crypto? Did you think this was just a speculative asset?
Mable Jiang (00:20:47):
I initially only thought of it as a asset. People traded on Coinbase. That’s it. Only after I started to get to know people, and then started reading things myself, because at that time, there’s not much conferences. I mean, there were conferences, but I think people were still in the information asymmetry in the sense that people who speak different languages, they won’t be able to access others’ information sources, but I think I had a relatively edge in terms of being bilingual. I read a lot of either white papers or articles wrote by USV at that time and a bunch of other. It’s just a lot of things that you can read on the internet at that time, and only since then, I started to develop my own worldview about what is web3 or what is crypto. At that time, people even don’t call it web3. It’s just called crypto.
Do you remember the light bulb moment that you had where you did make that jump of like, “Oh wow, there’s a lot more going on here than I initially thought?”
Mable Jiang (00:21:47):
Absolutely. When that happened was when I watched Ready Player One, and that Oasis “Metaverse,” I started to think about the ownership of people’s data. The biggest thing that it hit me when it comes to crypto is really about data sovereignty. I knew at that time 2017, it was very hard to really get something that’s 100% data sovereignty in a sense that no one can really own their data per se. Things are… If you are putting data on-chain, everyone can query it. It just doesn’t make sense, but the idea that there’s a chance that you can at some point allow people to earn and benefit from their own data instead of being used by the large company without paying you, that notion, that’s absolutely crap.
So in 2018, you make the move full time into the space, and you go to work at Nirvana Capital. What’s the backstory there?
Mable Jiang (00:22:49):
Yeah, so the backstory was I got to know a lot of people in tech and venture world at that time back in China. Then I was very keen to learn about it. I was like, “I just need to start somewhere. It doesn’t matter where it is,” because I think I already realized that it was a forest where you can probe yourself, but you have to again… You need to know how to learn, so where you start doesn’t matter at all. It’s more about what you’re studying and then who you talk to. You just have to be proactive. I remember back in 2018, I went to Silicon Valley. Well, I went to Bay Area, and then I just reached out to all the people from compound, from Dharma, from DYDX.
I met the co-founder now for Magic Eden, George, and he just joined UIDX the first week. He was the first non-engineering high. He just talked to people like that. Everyone was willing to talk to you, and then all of these projects. Now obviously, they become very big, but then I didn’t really have any concern about not joining a big firm. It doesn’t matter, whatever. I made immediate recognition about the fact that in this world, it’s just about you being proactive, and you try to learn a lot. You have to also write it all as well. So, I got an intro from a friend, and then got this job at a family office, and that family office primarily does crypto.
I was like, “Yeah, okay. This gives me a good position to start, so I will start here.”
Did it feel like at the time you were experimenting with your career, and maybe taking on some career risk, or did this seem like you were jumping on the future and the opportunity to participate in something that could be really big for the world?
Mable Jiang (00:24:32):
It’s definitely a lot of risk. Everyone around me was like, “What are you doing?” It’s already over to the bubble exploded after peak of 2017, and I was working at DiDi, which is the company that acquired Uber China, which is relatively booming at that time. It’s funny that people were saying afterwards, in hindsight, it was the right move, but I didn’t think of that anything. So, I think people were just too obsessed with their credentials, like Ivy League or whatever, investment bank or Unicorn, but all of those things doesn’t matter. I think what matter what would go with you is really when you learn, when you own yourself.
So, I didn’t think of any of that, but a lot of people were not understanding it, but I was trying to see like, “I’m so young. I can spare three years. If all of these effort that I…” I spent going into studying and researching. It didn’t work out. It’s fine. I can still find a job. It’s not a problem. I think I was relatively confident on how much space I would have in the back. Even if the worst thing happened, it’s not going to be the worst. That’s why I was like, “Yeah, let’s do it.”
So similar to my question, I asked you about going to work at the Met, and applying your art history degree. When you went to work at Nirvana, and started learning about crypto, and had those first impressions of the industry and working in the industry, did you think, “This is it. I found my home. This is definitely where I want to spend the rest of my career?”
Mable Jiang (00:26:03):
I would say so. It’s interesting that you asked me. During that period of time, I didn’t think of that. You’d be surprised. I was actually now thinking back. Sometimes, I’m surprised by my own courage, because in that family office, it’s just myself. No one was teaching me anything, so I have 100% liberty to do anything I want to learn. I’m like a sponge absorbing whatever I can absorb. But, I mean, after mid 2019 when I started to meet more people in the West, I think in 2019, I got to know a lot of people in the U.S. and Europe or whatever, and I realized that, “Oh, over the past two years, it seems like I’ve already accumulated quite a bit of not only the connection but also the understanding insight because of the language, I guess edge, that I realized that I truly brought myself into a world that can be extremely, extremely powerful.”
Then since then, I just never thought of… I guess it never crossed my mind at all in the past six years that I would leave this industry.
Where do you think that courage comes from, by the way? Is this something you were born with, or is this something you had to learn and build up to?
Mable Jiang (00:27:16):
I don’t think I learned it, or it’s definitely not born. I’m a very conservative person, or I’d say I like to do things that I plan very, very much in detail. I like to be repetitive in my work, and then try to deliver something over a period of time after putting the work in. But I think one thing was that because I was born like that, meaning I like to be working very hard every day, and then without seeing any result, that’s fine for me too, even for a long period of time. So, I was almost encouraged or convinced that for anything that I wanted to do, as long as I put in the effort enough, I would be able to do it. I almost had a… Now thinking of it, it’s funny, but then I sometimes told people in the past that if you don’t get something, it’s just because you didn’t work hard enough.
But obviously, it’s not true. Like I said, it’s all about probabilistic. A lot of the things in history happen because of luck, because you are lucky. You are successful not because you’re very good. I think a lot of people would think they are very good. So, I definitely also went through that period of time, but for a long time, I also felt like if you work hard enough, you’ll definitely get something. So, I think that was the reason.
Well, eventually, you find yourself at Multicoin Capital, which a lot of listeners will recognize the name of Multicoin. In fact, longtime listeners will know that I had Tushar from Multicoin on the podcast before. How did you make your way and eventually land at Multicoin?
Mable Jiang (00:28:56):
I met Kyle 2019 summer. I think he’s been looking for someone in Asia for almost four months. He got a lot of people introducing him all kinds of candidates. I think he just wants someone who speaks relatively fluent English, and also can write or whatever, and then understand all the insights and the whole industry as well as having all the connections on the ground. So, his starting point was that he realized that there’s such information asymmetry in this market that he think he should absolutely grab it. I think Multicoin was truly the first. I mean, sure, there’s a few other ones that they claim that they connect east and west, but I think they were the first American firm that started American, and tried to build a strong presence in Asia.
I think I should confidently say that after three years there, I think Multicoin is absolutely, absolutely almost one of the most known venture firm in Asia. But going back to your question, so I was always very obsessed with this idea. Like I said, I realized that there’s also this information of symmetry in this industry. So, I was obsessed with building a brand that can connect east and west. I was already doing a lot of those. When I was in Nirvana, I was writing a lot of the English posts, whatever, and also tweeting a little bit, not a lot. At that time, I didn’t realize the power of Twitter until I get to Multicoin, but I definitely get a little bit of those, primarily just because I realized that a lot of the information that people were talking about, the trends that are popping lot, and New York and Bay Area, and no one knows in China and vice versa.
A lot of interesting, the mining ecosystem, or there’s a few other things people talk about in Asia. No one talked about it in the West. So, I was always obsessed with that. After we met up, we talked about this, and I think that was the major, major reason I wanted to join Multicoin, because I realized that these are the people who I can definitely be partnering with them being in the U.S., myself being in Asia to build what I wanted to build.
Talk about what you did at Multicoin and some of the projects you worked on.
Mable Jiang (00:31:14):
When I joined Multicoin, Multicoin was a very… I mean, it’s still a very small firm in terms of number of people. So at that time, it’s also that, right? So, we do whatever we need to do. I think all of us, we’re hustlers. We just try to do whatever we can to grow the firm and grow awareness ,and also getting the deals, and also letting people know about what we think. We are very public about a lot of our opinion, and that obviously we’re not favored by everyone, but I still think it is the right way of doing it. It’s only that you get feedback. You only that you get… Of course, some people won’t like it, but the best projects would also reach out to you, and know about you.
So, my job ranging from obviously deal sourcing, investing, doing the analytics for the project itself on the venture side, I do touch the secondary as well. We don’t really separate. That was just the nature of the business at that time. Then we also do portfolio management and support, meaning we work for our portfolio trying whatever we could do to help them be successful. I also did fundraising, so I think it’s like every single aspect of the company. Well, other than financial auditing, obviously, I’ve touched upon, because at that time, there’s no one else with myself in Asia. I just have to do everything, but I also enjoy that because I think it gives me a lot of different perspectives of the business from finding the LP side of things like, “What do you tell them? How do you not just inundate them with too much information, and what do you want to show to the founders? How do you get the best founders to talk to you?”
Also obviously going through all the information sources and finding the right moves for secondary markets. So, every part of that, I was able to touch. I thought that was interesting.
Well, as listeners will know, Multicoin is a Goliath within the industry, and that must have offered you an incredible perspective of the industry. If we look back on your story, it began at Citi, and seeing colleagues speculate on this new asset. Then you had this aha experience on your own research where you recognized there was something bigger going on, and now you’re working at one of the biggest VCs in the industry, and you’re building out everything they’re doing in Asia. What did you learn about the industry at this time, and how did it evolve your thinking?
Mable Jiang (00:33:34):
I think the time I joined was a perfect time for us to really build close relation, and connect the dots between east and west, because right after 2019 that I joined, in 2020, I think a lot of things happened, and then things starting to tick off. I think the graph also took off around 2020 and 2021 because of the DeFi summer, thanks to that. So, I think one of the biggest observation, or I’d say my personal experience was that, say, Solana or a bunch of other very large project, which are also big portfolios of Multicoin, even including the graph, right? Because I was in Asia, so I recruited the employees for these companies. One of the person who is working at HNO right now, I interview her, and then helped Tegan Kline hire her or whatever.
Then same thing for Solana, I identified the first few employees for Solana Labs at that time. So, a lot of those, I think, definitely was showing one thing about the globalization of that time. People need to be globally present in terms of growing the projects, and finding the developers and this and that. I think that was one of the biggest thing that I wouldn’t say I only discovered after that, but definitely something I experienced through. Then it re-convinced me that the thesis that I joined Multicoin is absolutely correct. Bridging east and west is truly important, and that comes to awareness. That comes to BD and also the way you market. How information structure, we like to use this word in Multicoin, looks like lays out in that specific region, and you have to have the people on the ground to do that.
What do you make of the criticism that VC firms like Multicoin receive in the industry whereby because of their participation, they introduced centralization risk, because maybe they fund a project, and they get a bunch of the tokens, and they’ve centralized it? I mean, how do you respond to that type of criticism or stereotype of VCs?
Mable Jiang (00:35:39):
I think first of all, people have the interesting perception about VC is… Well, there’s a few stages. I think the type of VC that takes very active participation in a network is actually the ones that should be respected and even be thanked, because I think a lot of the companies would just want to put some money in, and just lie there, and do nothing. That’s even worse, I think, because they did get the stake, but they don’t work on it. So, that’s interest misalignment. Going back to your question, I think everything before it starts going into flywheel, there needs to be a force to be pushed. Where does that force come from? It has to be one or two big players.
Just like at the beginning when Solana was, well, not heated, but definitely not favored by the e fans, but after SBF started to talk about it, people started to change their mind not about Solana itself changing anything, but rather it’s just that it introduced a bunch of neutrality to other people’s minds like, “Oh, Sam started looking at it. Maybe I should be looking into it.” That’s just a change of perspective. I think similarly, I think when a lot of people do not know about a project, but then a large VC firm went into it, and started to promote it, and even talk about what it can do like how bright the future can be, that just introduces a lot more exposure to that thing.
You can even argue the other way that because more people, more grassroots know about it, then it actually introduces more decentralization, because you have a broader base for the foundation of the consensus.
I want to ask you two questions about the bridge you built into Asia at Multicoin, but the first question is you talked about information structuring, a strategy you would use at Multicoin. What do you mean by information would need to be structured differently?
Mable Jiang (00:37:35):
Not to be structured differently, but it’s rather structured. It lies at different channels and vehicles in a different region. So, the way people get their information in crypto say… Back in the days in China, people use WeChat. It’s not OpenNet there. Then people don’t like to use Twitter. I think a lot of other things like how the media here work, how you develop a relationship versus in the west, you just go through a formal [inaudible 00:38:07]. All of those details are things how information flows. That would matter a lot when it comes to a project wants to think about its go-to market strategy in a different country, in different regions.
Even I think how Southeast Asian market work is very different from the East Asian market. I wouldn’t say I know the Southeast Asian market very well just because I don’t have enough information about how information flows. I think understanding how information flows would help a lot when it comes to getting true adoption for a project, or getting developers understanding, starting to learn about it.
The second question I want to ask is what do you think the West is getting wrong about the East when it comes to the future of this industry and the adoption of crypto?
Mable Jiang (00:38:55):
I think one thing about it, I wouldn’t say it’s getting wrong, but I think people have this stereotype of Asian teams are only better building applications versus anything that’s protocol level or a more infrastructure level should always go after the European and American teams. I think I understand where that come from, because in historical stats, it is true that way, but I think there’s also reasons because a lot of the Asian teams, they just don’t speak good English, and all the relatively powerful VC firms are in the West. So, then you don’t have… Again, you just don’t get to go into all of the important information sources and vehicles when it comes to finding the people who can actually truly impact the market opinion or developer opinion, but I think this is definitely if not 100%, at least it’s something that can be slightly tweaked.
I think people should still be open-minded when it comes to like, “Oh, what kind of founder should I be looking for when it comes to different type of projects?” I think at the end, it’s all about whether this person is the hustler, whether this person would try to do whatever they want to do. Then obviously, language barrier, it is a true thing. It is a real thing, but it’s case by case. I don’t think region or race or ethnicity matters in that sense.
Well, Mable, you and I are speaking today because it was recently announced that you’re a new member of The Graph Council, and I was fortunate enough to interview Julien who is also a new member. Listeners will know that I interviewed Chris Wessels a long time ago who was also announced as a new council member. I want to talk to you about when you first became aware of The Graph. I have to assume it was probably during your time at Multicoin, but can you take us back in time and tell us when you first became aware of The Graph, and what some of your original impressions were of what the protocol was doing?
Mable Jiang (00:40:56):
I know about The Graph actually even before that just because I think back in the days, all the earliest DeFi project used The Graph. I remember, I think the website at that time were even featuring Compound Uniswap as well and some of the other ones, because at that time, there weren’t that many DeFi protocol anyway. Curve wasn’t even around. Then I joined Multicoin. I learned about a story how Kyle flew in to Bay Area multiple times, and then at that time because Yaniv Tal, he’s a tech founder. Maybe not all the VC would understand that, and obviously, people don’t see the future of DeFi at that time. So, it’s definitely a relatively harder thing to fundraise in a bid market, so that’s what I learned about it.
When you think back to those first impressions of The Graph, what was your observations about the importance or the nature of the problem that Graph was trying to solve?
Mable Jiang (00:41:54):
It’s actually as simple as blockchain is decentralized ledger. There’s naturally going to be a lot of information, sorry, stats or whatever being stored like data on top. So, you then really just need an Indexer, and something that you can sort out how the information were arranged and placed and displayed and this and that. One article that really impacted me quite a bit was it’s one article by USB that wrote about different phases of protocols and applications in history. Really, the idea is that if you have a platform full of information, the next natural thing you should think about is that how you sort and curate those information. It’s as simple as that.
So, I think going back to the history of internet, you are seeing a lot of these different apps being built on top. At the end is really how you are using human information and all kinds of data being stored on the open web, and then curate them, and to allow those information to be more easily consumed and accessed by users. So, something like The Graph at that time when nobody can imagine what people can be doing with blockchain, that just become absolutely important, because I think Kyle like to use a very first principle way of thinking, which is even if you don’t know what apps are going to be built on top of blockchain or use blockchain, at least you know this tool is regardless what is being built, this is going to be used.
That’s when it comes to The Graph or similar type of things that I would think of. This is absolutely going to be the layer that people would need to use the indexing layer, but who’s going to be building it? Whoever the first may just have the most mantra. I think that is Graph right now.
Mable, we haven’t talked about what you’re presently working on, and we’ll do that in a minute, but you’re clearly very busy. You just took on this role of joining The Graph Council. What was it that compelled you to take on that additional responsibility, and begin working on the council?
Mable Jiang (00:44:11):
I think earlier I mentioned that I introduced one of the Asian hire to the graph, so I always had a really amicable relationship with people who are from the foundation and also from Edge & Node, obviously one of the more important player in the ecosystem. Then I think when they were looking for someone additional to join the council, I think one part that it hit me was that The Graph was truly thinking about adoption and go-to-market. I think for a period of time, there’s definitely a lot more focus on a protocol level itself on the developer community. But I think once you build the protocol, you need to think about the application layer, and you need to think about adoption.
So, I think the rest of the council thought I could probably bring a little bit different perspective compared to some of the other players in the council, and also the fact that I was a Multicoin. Multicoin was one of the larger investor of The Graph at early stage. So, there are just a lot of very close relationship. So, I think they felt comfortable that I can provide a relatively interesting value that could be slightly more differentiating. Then I thought because I feel closely I can contribute a little bit, I would love to see The Graph going further.
In the brief time that you’ve been on the council, you must have learned some new things about The Graph community, the ecosystem or the protocol itself. What are some of the things you’ve learned that has excited you about the potential of The Graph?
Mable Jiang (00:45:51):
I think people who are following a lot of the upgrade closely probably would be able to speak much better, so I won’t go into those details. But the fact that I think the whole development community was thinking about the priorities of different chains and also going to different EVMs, and discussing which one is the priority is a true example of thinking about adoption actual use, because when you were doing those prioritization, obviously you were thinking about like, “What are some of the developer activities or user activities on top of each chain like Arbitrum, or there are some of the other ones?” I thought those were interesting, and there was constant debate about whether certain notions should be prioritized, whether that being decentralization or monetization and those.
I mean, those conversations obviously I don’t want to share, but I think it’s definitely good conversations to have for any protocol projects that are working in this industry, because I think at some point, we always need the interest alignment when it comes to, “Oh, can this protocol to be robust for a longer period of time so that it is not losing money? It can actually self-sustainable, right?” So, things like that, I think that’s something that I was excited about The Graph community started to think about, and then truly pay attention to.
Well, as I mentioned, your full-time work is now at Find Satoshi Labs, and you’re the chief revenue officer at STEPN. What can you tell listeners about the work you’re doing there and the relationship, by the way, between those two entities?
Mable Jiang (00:48:02):
So, STEPN doesn’t have an entity. It’s just Find Satoshi Lab. It’s the studio behind STEPN. We have a few other products, one of them being a non-custodial NFT marketplace. There’s a few other things that’s very exciting that we are building, but my role as the chief revenue officer of Find Satoshi Lab and then STEPN is just the first flagship product that we built. In a nutshell, what STEPN is, if you’re describing to a five-year old or completely non- [inaudible 00:48:33] people, is just like a fitness app to help incentivize you move with certain rewards. That’s it.
We don’t want to expand too much on the fancy stuff that you can do, but I think a truly interesting web3 app that can get mass adoption should be easy for people to understand in one sentence. So for us, really, the mission and vision partially is to help people adopt a better, healthier lifestyle. The way we did it through leveraging crypto is to have more incentive alignment through the design. That’s what we are growing when it comes to STEPN, but for Find Satoshi Lab, I did mention there’s a few other products.
STEPN is one of the largest or most used apps in the Solana ecosystem. Do I have that right?
Mable Jiang (00:49:21):
That’s correct. We are actually on multiple chains, but our major population are still on Solana.
I don’t know if a lot of listeners of the GRTiQ Podcast are familiar with everything that’s going on in the Solana ecosystem, but if you don’t mind, what can you share about your experience and observations about what’s going on over at Solana?
Mable Jiang (00:49:40):
Right, it’s definitely a very interesting period of time. I think one so interesting story is that I also sit on Solana Foundation, so since the very beginning, 2020. I think one thing that I felt like they did very well compared to many other Layer 1s or smart contract platform is that they build very organic developer community. They run very good hackathons, and then the quality of submission, I think primarily because their lineup for the post hackathon support was just in incomparable. So, all the ones that won prizes were absolutely truly quality projects. So even for Multicoin back in the days, we always sourced the projects from the hackathon.
I think that was the bread and butter of Solana. Obviously, I think they had a relatively good job when it comes to BD, but I think Polygon is very good at BD too, right? I would say they’re even better. But I think Solana when it comes to the growth, a lot of those were driven from the active organically growth developer community. Then I think the NFT side somehow was also quite vibrant. I think that was definitely thanks to Magic Eden. They spent a lot of time making sure that the user experience was great for a lot of the NFT lovers, so they built out this marketplace, and from there, it truly grew a lot of very interesting NFT projects as well.
Then another one was obviously Fantom, which is the previous, I think, OX team back in Bay Area. They also… Because they built Fantom Wallet with a very, very smooth and sleek user experience, a lot of people started to use Solana back in 2021. I think, a lot of those are definitely worthwhile mentioning milestones.
Well, I only have a few more questions for you before I ask you the GRTiQ 10. The first one is if we were to put all your skills and experience of go-to market strategy, growth and bridging the east and the west capital markets, investing all of it, what would be your observations or priorities for the industry over the next, call it, five to 10 years? What are the most important priorities or mileposts that you’re paying attention to?
Mable Jiang (00:52:05):
I would say so building on top of all the skills that you just mentioned, I think being able to understand, from first principle, how the tech work is very important, but what’s more important is how to leverage the certain type of tech to be working in the real world. I do think right now we have filled out a lot of interesting infrastructure or some of the problems that people imagine it will be, but I think what’s more important is that you need to really bring audiences to use and see, test out whether something is actually needed or not. So, I think all of those that we were mentioning, I think investing is not a skillset. I think identifying the opportunity that still needs to be fulfilled is the skillset.
That comes with the ability to understanding information of symmetry, and understanding information structures in different places, and try to fill those holes, and find them still unfulfilled holes for different projects and companies to be delivering a lot of those works. So, I think that’s where we really need. I think in order to get to that space, the projects should probably, at least from my perspective if I were to [inaudible 00:53:22] or anything or whatever, is really thinking about what problem do I need to solve rather than what kind of thing that could be interesting that falls into one of the web3 sub-sector bucket that I wanted to build. Then think about that problem, and think what tech I need to leverage to get to that point.
So, it’s more of a first principle way of building rather than just building on different tracks of the industry. I think that’s absolutely the most important thing.
Then the second question is your foray into crypto, the conviction was learn something, and find out what’s going on here. You self-educated, and you went to work in the industry. What’s your conviction now if it’s not to continue to educate yourself or learn more? It must be something else. What is it?
Mable Jiang (00:54:12):
No, I think I wasn’t saying that I was trying to educate myself a little bit more. I was saying that I think I was obsessed about data sovereignty, and although I know there’s very low chance at that time to be solved like that problem, because a lot of the thing is just not there. Even if you… Sure, you can store the data on-chain, whatever. Everyone can still access it, so it doesn’t really make sense at that time, but I know there’s the fact that people could actually be more aligned when it comes to the contribution they do. So, I think it’s more than just the data sovereignty piece to be honest.
I think I would like to maybe now send it to what people have contributed to certain things, and then how blockchain infrastructures can really empower, and help them to easily get their reward through leveraging the smart contract execution, right? Now, you have account system, and then it’s all very simple notion. It’s nothing really complicated. You work on something, and then you want to make sure that, “Oh, if this thing you delivered, you got your therapy.” Then you threw a curve, not curve five, but through a curve you design, and then you make sure at different period of time, different types of contributor get the amount that they should be getting based off your time differences and when you started to contribute and all of those things.
I think that’s the most important, because at the end of the day, I think blockchain, what it really does is lower a lot of friction when it comes to human labor distribution. You wanted to make sure that when this whole world is going into a granular arisation of human labor, it’s like you’re… A lot of people are no longer on the nine to five payroll. So if we are already entering to that phase, then how do you correspondingly leverage blockchain to help them get to that phase where people can be paid with certain small chunk of things with their granular work? I think that’s what I felt now.
The final question I want to ask you is about sediment and interest in crypto in Asia. As you look back over your career from when you went to work there to present, what’s the trend? What are you seeing?
Mable Jiang (00:56:38):
I think there’s two faces changed quite a bit. I think before 2018 or even 2019, I think a lot of projects were building there, but I would say it’s interesting to see a lot of the founders. They started off their team in Asia, and then they went razing in the west, but they tried to find the speculators in Asia. That was definitely the wild west period of time. 2020 all the way ’22, I think that’s when U.S. regulator were relatively friendly. So, I think a lot of the emphasis go there, so the builders are there. Hackathons are their. Investors are there. Now with the recent change of the regulation, I think there’s an interesting move of reemphasis back to Asia.
I think what’s different between this period versus the first period was that a lot of these people now started to really think about building. People who are doing these work now are the ex, I don’t know, Tencent people or ex-Alibaba people or all the people who are relatively well-trained and have a relatively nice career path, if you may say. Then these people, because obviously they’re probably not seeing too much hope or whatever, continue doing things in the large company, or maybe they just want to embrace this whole web3 trend. They came in. So now, I actually think it’s not just about people starting to try to raise from the west, and then doing something that they imagine can be working.
Now, it’s actually a bunch of engineers who were well-trained, and identify certain problems they want to solve with the blockchain technology. I think there is a chance that they don’t have to emphasize that much on the investor from the west. They can through… If they raised something, that’s good, but then if they could monetize for themselves without raising that much, that’s also another option. So, I think there’s such change, definitely, I observe.
Well, Mable, now we’ve reached a point in the podcast where I’m going to ask you the GRTiQ 10. These are 10 questions I ask each guest of the podcast every week. It’s a way to let listeners get to know the human side of each guest, and some of their interest as well as to learn something new, try something different, or achieve more with their own life. So, are you ready for the GRTiQ 10?
Mable Jiang (00:59:05):
What [inaudible 00:59:17] article has had the greatest impact on your life?
Mable Jiang (00:59:19):
Three, if I May. 1st one is Three-Body Problem. The second one was Debt Crisis by Ray Dalio, the one that he wrote in 2020 absolutely impacted me quite a bit when it comes to not just investing, but generally about the world. Third is Diamond Sutra. I meditate a lot, and I think that was one book that helped me with a lot of how I think of all the volatility in life.
Is there a movie or a TV show that you would recommend everybody should watch?
Mable Jiang (00:59:49):
I think Blade Runner 2019 and 2049. Was it 2019? The first one, I forgot the series.
If you could only listen to one music album for the rest of your life, which one would you choose?
Mable Jiang (01:00:01):
Honestly, this is a really hard one. I think Hans Zimmer’s album, the ones that he created for all the movies.
What’s the best advice someone’s ever given to you?
Mable Jiang (01:00:14):
Just follow your heart and actually do… This is very cliche, but truly follow how you feel instead of how other people feel, because you only live for yourself.
What’s one thing you’ve learned in your life that you don’t think most other people have learned or know quite yet?
Mable Jiang (01:00:30):
A lot of times, it’s about repetition. I think I mentioned this one of the thing that earlier I talked about, but there’s no sick results or anything. A lot of the time, as long as you repeat enough, you would probably get it.
What’s the best life hack you’ve discovered for yourself?
Mable Jiang (01:00:48):
Based on your own life experiences and observations, what’s the one habit or characteristic that you think best explains how or why people find success in life?
Mable Jiang (01:01:00):
People always focus on their own problem, who do not try to source problem from their external world.
Then the final three questions are complete the sentence type questions. The first one, Mable, is The thing that most excites me about the future of web3 is?
Mable Jiang (01:01:16):
The second, if you’re on Twitter, then you should be following?
Mable Jiang (01:01:22):
Lastly, I’m happiest when?
Mable Jiang (01:01:26):
I can provide value and empower other people.
Mable Jiang, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me. You’ve been very generous with your time. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know you, and I know listeners will as well, and as many members of the community will be watching The Graph Council, and certainly interested in the work and the contributions you’ll be making there. If listeners want to stay in touch with you, and follow things you’re working on, what’s the best way to stay in touch?
Mable Jiang (01:01:58):
Twitter is Mable_J.
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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.