Rodrigo Coelho Edge & Node Web3 The Graph San Francisco

GRTiQ Podcast: 153 Rodrigo Coelho (Part 1)

Today I am speaking with Rodrigo Coelho, Chief Spirit Officer at Edge & Node. This is Part 1 of an intriguing two-part series recorded at The House of Web3 in San Francisco, California, during The Graph’s recent 3rd birthday celebration. For those interested, a video recording of this interview is available on The House of Web3’s YouTube channel (link in show notes). I must also extend my apologies in advance for any audio issues, as certain parts of this interview may be challenging to hear.

For those well-versed in the history of The Graph ecosystem, Rodrigo requires no introduction. He holds the distinction of being the first hire made by Yaniv, Brandon, and Jannis when they launched The Graph. Since those early days, Rodrigo has played an important role in nurturing The Graph’s ecosystem and growth.

In Part 1 of our conversation, Rodrigo talks about his background, sharing pivotal life experiences and challenges that have shaped his journey. These formative experiences ultimately guided him towards web3 and his current role at Edge & Node. Be sure to tune in next week for Part 2, where Rodrigo reflects on memorable encounters, including the serendipitous meeting with Yaniv at a San Francisco co-working space before The Graph project’s official launch. Rodrigo also shares insights into being the project’s first employee, recounts the early days and pivotal moments that set the direction for The Graph’s remarkable journey.

I’ve long anticipated recording an interview with Rodrigo, and I’d like to express my gratitude for his time and to the House of Web3 for providing the space and equipment necessary to record the interview.

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.

Rodrigo Coelho (00:19):

… and, yeah, “What are you [Yaniv] working on? What are you working on? Cool, cool.” He’s like, “Yeah, I’m doing this project,” and actually showed me the pitch deck for The Graph.

Nick (00:57):

Welcome To the GRTiQ Podcast. Today, I’m speaking with Rodrigo Coelho, Chief Spirit Officer at Edge & Node. This is part one of a two-part series we recorded at the House of web3 in San Francisco, California, during The Graph’s recent third birthday celebration. You can watch a video recording of this interview on the House of web3′s YouTube channel, and I want to apologize in advance for some of the audio issues. Some parts of the interview are difficult to hear. If you’ve been around The Graph ecosystem for a while, then you already recognize Rodrigo. Rodrigo was the first hire that Yaniv, Brandon, and Jannis made when they started working on The Graph. Since that time, Rodrigo’s been instrumental in growing The Graph ecosystem and community.


During part one, Rodrigo talks about his background and several experiences and challenges he faced early in his life to help shape his life and ultimately lead him to web3 and his present role at Edge & Node. Next week, during part two, Rodrigo talks about meeting Yaniv and going to work on The Graph after meeting Yaniv at a co-working space in San Francisco, what it was like being employee number one, what those early days were like and some fun stories, and a lot more. I’ve wanted to interview Rodrigo for a very long time, so I appreciate the time he gave me, as well as the House of web3 for providing the space and equipment to record this interview.


Rodrigo, first of all, this is incredibly cool. I’ve been hunting you down for a long time for this interview, and that’ll become apparent in a minute, why I’ve been trying to get this interview for a long time. We should let listeners know that we’re doing this recorded at the House of web3, so this is going to be made available by video as well as audio, so super exciting. First and foremost, shout out to the House of web3 team for having us here and letting us shoot this podcast. The reason why I’ve been wanting to interview you for so long is you were employee number one within The Graph ecosystem, at Edge & Node now, and we’ve got a lot to talk about. People want to go back in time and hear all about this. Before we do any of that though, let’s get to know you a little bit. Where are you from?

Rodrigo Coelho (03:01):

Originally born in Brazil, and we basically moved to the United States when I was a baby, basically. My dad was a doctor, my mom was a nurse. His brother had come to the States, and his brother was a physicist, and he’s like, “You need to come.” He came out, I think San Francisco first, if I recall correctly, liked it, came back, and then we came out, but the intention was never to stay. It was going to be a few month thing, and then we ended up staying. It’s really interesting that one of these key decisions changes the trajectory of life. Had my family, my parents decided, “No, let’s go back to Brazil,” I mean, where would I be today? It’s one of those sliding door moments. We moved to LA, and then we moved to Houston, and then Toronto, and then we landed in Phoenix, Arizona. I was there from, I think it was around first grade, and spent the bulk of my life there. I went through schooling, and one thing I want to mention about that kind of era of my life is, so I have this Brazilian name, Rodrigo Coelho. Being a young kid, it was always hard for kids to say Rodrigo, and they’d tease me. Fun fact, a lot of my life, I can’t remember how the moniker came, but people called me Ricky, growing up.

Nick (04:40):


Rodrigo Coelho (04:40):

Yeah, it was like, “Ricky, Ricky Ricardo, Ricky.” Imagine, elementary school age, “Ricky Ricardo.” Also, I was sort of like a person without a home, I guess. At home, it was like, we spoke Portuguese, it was Brazilian food, Brazilian culture. We responded in English, and then I’m in Arizona, which is kind of like suburbia, and I played soccer. I didn’t play football or baseball, so I never felt like one of the guys. I always felt like this kind of outsider, in a way. Yeah, it was like, where do I exist in this world? I had that experience kind of growing up, although it was a great childhood and I had friends and whatnot, and made my way. Then when I … I think it was around high school or maybe freshman year of college, I went back to Brazil and spent a good amount of time there. We had gone a few times to visit family through my childhood, but then I really reconnected with the Brazilian aspect of me. That was when I was like, “Okay, I’m going to go by Rodrigo now.” Oh, when I was there, “Wow, this is really who I am and part of my identity,” that I had sort of put on the back burner, I guess, or hadn’t really explored, so I made a real effort to speak Portuguese more and really go back to my roots.


Yeah, in a way, I’ve sort of integrated both of those things now, because yeah, for example, when I speak to Brazilians, they’re like, “Oh, you’re not Brazilian. You have an American accent.” Then Americans are like, “Well, you … ” Yeah, so I had that experience through my childhood and life, and that was defining, I guess, part of my identity and who I was.

Nick (06:48):

You talk about struggling to kind of connect, as you said. You weren’t part of the group until you reconnected with your roots. What are the artifacts as an adult of growing up that way? I mean, does that make you more open to experiences? Does it make you a little bit reserved on certain things? How does that manifest?

Rodrigo Coelho (07:05):

Yeah, so I do appreciate that background, for … I feel like I’m more worldly. When I go to Europe, for example, I really connect more there. I was like, “Gosh, if I had grown up in, instead of Phoenix, but a more metropolitan, global city like Paris or Rome or New York or something where there was people from many different cultures and whatnot,” I was like, “Wow, I would’ve felt way more like I fit in there.” It’s also made me, yeah, definitely more open to lots of different perspectives, too, because I wasn’t tied to, “Okay, I’m an isolationist in a way, I have this culture and whatnot.” I was sort of split between two, so I got to see the aspects of both. Then subsequently, in my later years, I did spend time visiting other cultures but studying different religions. It was a period in my life where I went through a lot of reading spiritual texts, we’ll get into later. I looked into and explored many different avenues, so it has made me more open and interested in many cultures.


I’m a student of language. I speak five languages, so I really enjoy that aspect of etymology, too. The roots of words I find really interesting, because growing up, you have a different language background. You start to see, especially with the romance languages and Latin, where it comes from, and that really fascinates me. Like, “Oh, historically, a word was used this way, and then it metamorphosed into something else.” I have an interesting little tidbit on that. The word Rodrigo, doing the etymology on that, was that in old Spanish, the word Rodrigar or something, it’s the stick you put next to a sapling tree to hold it while it grows, right? That was interesting.

Nick (09:28):

It is interesting.

Rodrigo Coelho (09:28):

Then, my last name, Coelho, was actually the word for rabbit. I think historically there was … Apparently there was, I think it was a similar thing. Maybe I have a Jewish heritage way back when, I’m not sure, that I think there were people, when they moved into Portugal, took on names of animals and plants, when they changed their names. I think that is the backstory on the name Coelho, but it’s a very popular name in Brazil and Portugal. It’s like Smith, almost. There’s tons of Coelhos, and I get asked all the time, “Are you related Paulo Coelho?” The Alchemist, it’s sold 100 million copies. Everyone’s read that book. I get asked all the time, “You related to Paulo Coelho?” I’m like, “I wish.”

Nick (10:15):

Well, that book’s come up a lot on this podcast.

Rodrigo Coelho (10:17):

Oh, really?

Nick (10:18):

I’ll be very intrigued to hear your GRTiQ 10 based on your background and a lot of these different interests, but let’s jump forward just a little bit here and kind of land in university. Just a typical question where I start the podcast, but what can you tell us about your educational background, what you ended up deciding to study?

Rodrigo Coelho (10:35):

Yeah, so I tell this a lot, is that Arizona, I never felt truly connected to it. I always had been wanting to leave it, multiple times, and one of those times was going to university. I’d originally intended to go to another school, and part of my upbringing was, my parents were immigrants and so they didn’t know anything about how to … I didn’t have college prep tutors or counselors, like, “Here’s what you should do.” I had to figure it all out myself. I was like, “Oh, I’ve got to do the SAT,” and I had to study it myself. Kids these days have it all lined up for them, but no, I had to go to the library, literally get an SAT book out of the library, do practice tests on my own, time it, take it, and take the test multiple times.


I scored really well, and so as a result of a really high score at that time, so I had gotten into really good schools, but it was going to cost me a lot of money. Then ASU actually sent me a letter, like, “Hey, want to come here? We’ve started this honors college, we’ll give you a full ride. We’re actually going to give you all these tuition.” Dating myself a little bit here, but college back then was 1500 a semester, I think.

Nick (12:08):

Is that right?

Rodrigo Coelho (12:08):

Yeah, it’s not like … ASU back then was, yeah, I want to say 1500 or 2500 a semester. It was ridiculous, so anyway, they’re like, “Full ride, National Merit Scholar, we’ll get you, everything’s taken care of,” and so I ended up choosing to go there because they offered this sort of small liberal arts experience within a big school. They had professors that had come from top universities and were teaching there, and it was a humanities focus, and they had kids graduating there that were Fulbright scholars, Rhodes scholars, so they had a real emphasis on that. I ended up going there and spent a summer abroad through the honors college program. I think for me it was a good choice, because I realized that it’s where … You make it. Where you go in college is sort of, you make the most of it, and so I really feel like I made the most of it.


I studied industrial engineering. At the time, I wasn’t quite sure directionally where I wanted to go, and at that time I was thinking I was going to go into management consulting, and then was considering grad school. I’d applied, took the GMAT, got into schools again, wanting to leave Arizona. I had a really good friend, classmate. Senior year, he started to work at this financial firm and he was doing consulting work. I was sort of figuring out what I was going to do, and he was starting to see at that time, “Wow, there’s a real opportunity here in sort of bringing business processes to the internet, that was just fledgling at that time. This was ’97, so businesses at that time were really interested in taking what were paper processes and faxing and whatnot and streamlining those. He was already seeing as a consultant, in his experience there as a contractor, the amount of work that just in this one financial company was needed. He’s like, “We could start to do something here,” and we had a class project together that was actually building a database for a video store like Blockbuster, back when you’d go into a store.

Nick (14:41):

Sure. Young people won’t know what we’re talking about, but I know what you’re talking about.

Rodrigo Coelho (14:44):

Yeah, young people, sorry. I learned SQL in that class, and that was one of the great things I got out of college, is I learned SQL, which has been really valuable even today in what we’re doing with The Graph and understanding databases. That was fundamental, I think, and I encourage everyone to learn SQL or learn that, because it helps you understand tables of data and relationships, and everything flows from that. If you think about it, every user interface we use today is a user interface onto a database. You’re scrolling Twitter, at the end of the day it ends up in a database, and Excel is sort of like a database interface on a database spreadsheet. We had this class project, we crushed it, we blew everyone away when we did our presentation in class. We had it, we did a demo and people were like, “What?” No one else in the class went as far as we did, and we’re like, “We have a knack for this, we should do it.”


He and I said, “Let’s start,” so I opted, instead of going to grad school, I was like, “Hey, I’m going to be an entrepreneur and start this thing.” He and I, we started working out of his little apartment, and it was a tiny room and it was hot and sweaty because we had computers in there, and we got our first project, and it was to develop … One thing was a retirement calculator we did for Oppenheimer Funds, which, I don’t know if they’re still around, but it was-

Nick (16:24):

You’re kind of putting in your age, how much you got, how much you’re going to invest, and it’ll project something out?

Rodrigo Coelho (16:28):

Yeah, and it was like this online web-based calculator. You’d go on Netscape or Internet Explorer. That was the era we were doing it, and then, yeah, we ended up doing work for the financial company, and it ended up … It was called The Inteflux, and we ended up hiring, I want to say it was around 30 people, and this was before offshoring became a thing. We hired a lot of college … First we had our friends who we’d graduated with in engineering, and then it was sort of more local back then, so yeah, we all learned to code. I started out coding, back in the day it was ColdFusion, which was a language that’s not around anymore. Interestingly, ColdFusion was started by, I think it was Jeremy Allaire, who is now the founder of Circle. Yeah, so he goes way back to that era. Yeah, I think he started Macromedia, which was bought by Adobe, and then he did this ColdFusion.


We were programming in this language, ColdFusion, which also gave me the background understanding now of front end development, and how web development and app development works. I had this way prior knowledge, and language has moved on from then, but the fundamentals are still there. Having done it myself and building user interfaces and connecting database, bringing the data in, showing it, displaying it, interacting with the database, yeah, that was a wonderful experience. That was from 1997 to 2001, and in fact, we had sold the business literally four months before dot-com crash.

Nick (18:18):

Oh, good timing.

Rodrigo Coelho (18:19):

Yeah, so we got out of that, and then my life took a turn, an interesting turn there. I had just sold the company. I was like, thought I was the bomb dot-com, right? I think I was, let’s see, I was probably 26 at the time. Let me just rewind a little, getting into this part. During the stint during my company, I was dating this Colombian water-skier and she was competitive, did slalom and jump and everything. She was training at this camp in Barstow, California, and she’s like, “Come out and visit and we can water-ski.” I was starting to go out and water-ski a lot. I was doing slalom, I was getting pretty good at it. She’s like, “You should try the ramp.” I’m like, “Yeah, okay, I’ll try the ramp,” and they didn’t set the ramp for my first time. They didn’t put it on baby level. They didn’t go slow. They went full tilt ramp, full tilt speed, and mind you, I had the full wetsuit on, and this [inaudible 00:19:38], and I was like, “Yeah, I’m going to do it.” Helmet. I was like, “Yeah,” and so we go and do it, and you’re going for this ramp 32 or 36 miles an hour, and from the water it looks like a wall you’re coming at.


I chickened out the first time. I was like, “That is scary,” and then I was like, “Yeah, I’m going to do this.” Second time I go, and they gave me no instruction. That’s another thing. It was like, “Here’s what you’re going to do. You’re going to do this.” No, it was just like-

Nick (20:06):

It’s like taking an SAT all over again. Just show up and figure it out.

Rodrigo Coelho (20:07):

Yeah, it was like, “Just do it,” so we go around, I go and I get on it, and they didn’t explain to me that the friction on the ramp is like ice compared to the water. It’s slick, and so basically I hit the ramp and my feet went out from under me. I fly through the air, and I land on my side, and I literally felt like I’d snapped in half backwards, and I felt like I broke my back. I was floating in the water, like, “Oh my God, I’m so screwed.” I wiggled my toes and I was like, “Okay, I’m not paralyzed,” because literally, the pain in my midsection was like … They pulled me out of the boat, dragged me to shore, and I’m trying to catch my breath, and sitting up, I was literally about to pass out, and I lay down and I was like, “Guys, I’m not good.”


We’re way far away from … We’re in Barstow and it was far, and I was like, “You need to call an ambulance. I don’t know what’s going on.” I was about to pass out, shivering. I don’t know how long it was, 45 minutes. Ambulance comes, they take me to, 45 minutes to hospital. I’m there trying to figure out what’s going on. CAT scan, and then they’re like, “You ruptured your spleen.” Your spleen is right here, and it’s a major … Two hours have passed. Now, they had to wait to get a CAT scan guy in, and wait hours. Imagine cutting your arm, a major, and just bleeding. I’m bleeding for hours, right, and I’m starting to slip away. I didn’t know this … I do remember they’re like, “You should call your parents.” Called home, and I’m sort of in and out and my dad gets on the phone. I’m like, “I ruptured my spleen.” He was like, “No.” It was the scream heard around the world. He’s like, “No.”

Nick (22:07):

He’s a doctor. He knows.

Rodrigo Coelho (22:08):

Yeah, he knew how serious it was. They were like, “We’re getting in the car right now,” and they drove. They didn’t think I was going to make it. Yeah, I literally started to drift. I was kind of in the bardo, floating above, and they had to wait for the doc. It was a Saturday. All this time waiting, and I’m just bleeding literally into my intestinal cavity. Bleeding, bleeding, bleeding. Yeah, so I had this experience of total [inaudible 00:22:41]. This was my first kind of really in-depth spiritual experience of just … There was literally no fear, nothing to worry about. It was pleasant. I didn’t have the tunnel experience or anything, but it was definitely, I was in between, and then slammed back to reality. I wake up and I’m like, tubes. It was the next day or whatever. I was like, “Oh,” and so yeah, recovered from that.


I tell that part because, so going back to what I was saying, I sold the company. It was like 2002. I’m on top of the world and I’m out on a weekend, my girlfriend at the time, trip in LA, and I get this intense stomach pain. It’s like four years later, literally in the night. It was wrenching pain, low abdomen. I was rocking and I’m like, “This is not getting better,” and I’m like, “I need to go to the emergency.” When the sun came up, it was in the worst pain of my life. Go to the emergency room there. They thought I had a stomach ache. They’re like, “Are you sure?” They thought I was faking it, but I’m like, “No, this is serious.” I had to force them to do a CAT scan. They did a blood test, urine test, they’re like, “We don’t see anything.” They’re wanting to send me home. I’m like, “No, this is the worst pain ever.” I had to basically insist to get a CAT scan again, because I’d had one before, and I was like, “Something’s not right.”


I wait hours, and then they’re like, “Sorry, there’s no radiologist here to read your results. You’re going to have to go home.” I’m like, “Are you kidding me?” At that point, I’d been there half the day, six or eight hours. I’m like, “This is insane,” so I was so frustrated. I should have insisted at that point to get something read, but I was young, I didn’t know at the time. Came back, drove back to Phoenix, and then the pain was getting worse and worse and worse. I had learned this trick from … I’d been into yoga at the time, and one of the cleansing things they do is you drink a warm glass of water with a ton of salt in it as a means to flush everything out, so I was like, “I’m going to try that,” because I hadn’t had a bowel movement in days. I’m like, “Something’s wrong.” I took it, and then that ramped up the pain to level 100. Basically, it was trying to push, and what happened was I had an intestinal blockage, a volvulus.


Yeah, so then it got worse and worse. I had to go back to the emergency room again, and then they were … I said, “You’ve got to send the results.” I told them I’d gotten a CAT scan days before. They get the results from the California hospital and they’re like, “You need to go into surgery now.” Like, “What?”

Nick (26:00):

Another very serious thing.

Rodrigo Coelho (26:01):

Yeah, “This is serious. Your intestine was the size of a football and it was about to rupture. If it did, you’d get sepsis and die.” Very serious. They were rushing me to surgery, and that was the last thing I remember before waking up a month later.

Nick (26:18):

Oh, wow.

Rodrigo Coelho (26:18):

Yeah, so basically what happened was my intestine twisted, probably as a result of the first spleen surgery. They have to go in there and move everything around. Your intestines are tight in there, so they closed everything up, and I was doing yoga and twisting a lot, and they don’t have a real reason, but basically my small intestine kinked, as if you were blowing a balloon animal, kinked like that. It was blocked and days had passed, which made it really serious. They go in, surgery, they cut a piece of the intestine and put it back together, and they’re like, “He’s going to be fine.” Well, in post-op, was not fine. Fortunately, my dad being a doctor saved my life, really. He had actually worked at the hospital before and he went in to see me. They normally wouldn’t let family go into post-op when you’re recovering. He goes in, because no one … I hadn’t come out in hours. He’s like, “What’s going on with my son?” He reads my charts and he’s like, “Oh my God, we’ve got to … ” He sounded the alarm, because basically my oxygen levels in my brain were super low. What had happened was, apparently I’d gotten a blood clot, and my intestine was swelling and my lungs, it was switching into my lungs and I wasn’t breathing fully, so my blood oxygen level was way low.


Because of him, they sprung into action. They had to take me into emergency surgery again. They opened me up. This, I found out later. They had gone in and a new doctor had come in, because the other doctor had left. Basically, my entire intestine was black, like gangrene. Basically, when your flesh starts to die, it turns black, so my entire intestine was black. The guy told me later, he said, “I had a decision at that point. I literally could have cut your entire intestine out, because it was dead.” He’s like, “No, he’s young. We’re going to undo the thing, cut a little more here, and leave it apart and leave it open, and let’s see if it recovers. Maybe the blood supply will get it back to life.” That was another sliding moment where one person’s decision could have changed … I could have literally been fed intravenously the rest of my life. That was a saving grace there.


Basically, they intubated me and put me in this sort of drug-induced coma for a month. I had my intestine open, and they had to go in for four more surgeries to cut out more, make sure it was okay. They ended up cutting out subsequently more each time, and they ended up cutting three feet out of my intestine. Fortunately, I have 30 or so, so the end of my small intestine and my ascending colon … I still have transverse, and then they left it separated and I had an ostomy for … I ended up having to have that for nine months while they let it heal, and talk about a humbling experience, right? You go from top of the world, smack down, and just flat.


I also had experiences during my coma period where I was like … I mean, it’s kind of out there, but I had past life experiences. One, I was literally in a military hospital in World War II, and I could hear the boots of the guy walking the hall, and my legs had been blown or something, and I was laying there and thinking to myself, “I am screwed. I’m not getting out of this.” I heard Germans speaking, and there were a couple other flashes of different lifetimes, which was just so bizarre. Yeah, I came out of that and I had an ostomy, so it was crazy. I had to drink, and within 20 minutes, it’d start spurting out.

Nick (30:45):

Yeah, that’s wild.

Rodrigo Coelho (30:48):

It was crazy, and it’s so humbling, right? You take health, we take it for granted, but I was like, “People have to live with this, their whole lives.” I had that experience of being fully humbled by life, being here to just wiped out, and I had to build myself back. Then, so they corrected everything and sewed it back together after nine months, but it took … I weighed 120 pounds at the time, and I couldn’t get enough nutrition because your intestines, they weren’t absorbing. I was fed intravenously every night. I’d have this bag of liquid food, basically. At that point, after the nine months, recovered, and it was during this period of time that I mentioned earlier, where I read, over the course of a couple years, read 1000 books, all these spiritual texts. I was really exploring that aspect of my life.

Nick (31:58):

Are you doing that to understand the experiences you had, or are you doing that because you had this paradigm change where you thought there was some more fragility to life that maybe your younger self didn’t understand?

Rodrigo Coelho (32:07):

Yeah, it was a bit of both. It was an attempt to sort of bring context to the experiences I had had and build language around it. It was interesting to me because I started to see that through all these different texts and different cultures, it was all pointing to the same thing. Yeah, I felt like, yeah, it was a time of really unifying that experience to me and putting languaging around it. Yeah, that was a really transformational time. Then, from that point is where I started the next business I worked on, which was called Couture Book, and my ex and I were partners on it. She was a model turned photographer, and was making … She had handmade one of these books for one of her clients, like a coffee table book. At the time, all you could get were wedding type of photo albums, and her idea was to make the type of published book like you’d buy at a bookstore, like a Tom Ford coffee table book, but that you could do one-off. This was early days. Shutterfly wasn’t even around at that time, and HP had come out with these new printing presses called The Indigo that allowed for you to do offset quality printing, kind of one-off, and so we were early in that space, and built Couture Book where we were working with professional photographers and they would make books for folios, for weddings.


Yeah, and so she and I ran that for many years, out of Arizona. Yeah, did that until 2016, sold that, and then subsequent to that, the college classmate I had met, which I started the first company with, we had sort of been in contact and had this idea for building … This was pre kind of Signal and everything, but it was an encrypted communications platform, and so it was called cSuite. We started working on that, and that’s what got me kind of out to San Francisco. I was in Phoenix at the time. My relationship was kind of coming to an end, and so I wanted to get a new change of scenery. I’d been in Phoenix for all this time, and again, I’d been wanting to leave. I’d been wanting to come to the Bay Area for a long time, and so I sort of looked on a map, and, “Where should I go next?” Looked at Boulder and Austin, like, “Where’s the startup scene?” I ended up on San Francisco, and so yeah, moved the headquarters here, worked on that.


This is part of the tale, is I’m working in a coworking space called Galvanize in Soma, in San Francisco, and I happened … It was around Christmastime in 2017. I happened to see this guy with a Ethereum Christmas sweater on, and I was like, “Hey.” I had been interested in crypto for a while, had been following Bitcoin since pizza time, and so, yeah, I struck up a conversation, like, “Hey, you’re into crypto.” This was 2017, not a lot of, yeah. Here we have House of web3 and there’s crypto all around. Back then it was like a unicorn.

Nick (35:58):

Yeah, still very early.

Rodrigo Coelho (36:00):

It was early days, so we struck have a conversation, and yeah, “What are you working on? What are you working on? Cool, cool.” He’s like, “Yeah, I’m doing this project,” and actually showed me the pitch deck for The Graph.

Nick (36:12):

Oh, no kidding.

Rodrigo Coelho (36:13):

Yeah, so he was working on the deck, and I was like, “Wow.” I could see immediately this was a massive idea. This is huge. You could tell he was really happy to see somebody that really got it, and was like, yeah, “It’s great.” This is a fellow entrepreneur. I’m still working on my other company. I was like, “Hey, let me know if you want any intros to investors, I can help you with your deck.” Was just being helpful, because we’re in a coworking space, and that’s sort of the vibe there, is you just help each other out when you can and make intros. Yeah, I offered that up, and did make some intros to people who actually ended up investing.

Nick (36:56):

We should say, the guy’s name was?

Rodrigo Coelho (37:03):

Which guy?

Nick (37:04):

The pitch deck, the person you met at the workspace.

Rodrigo Coelho (37:07):

Oh, you Yaniv Tal. Yes.

Nick (37:09):

An important part of the whole narrative.

Rodrigo Coelho (37:10):

Yes. Yaniv Tal.

Nick (37:11):

You bumped into Yaniv.

Rodrigo Coelho (37:12):

Yeah, so it was one of those fateful-

Nick (37:15):

Yeah, another one.

Rodrigo Coelho (37:16):

Another fateful moment in life where, right place, right time. Yeah, so then later in December, Jannis and Brandon came out, and it was the first time that they had met Jannis in person. They came to the space and I met them and they were working on things. Yeah, I was fortunate to be there early days. Then, yeah, so this was around Christmastime, and then a few months later, I ended up exiting business and I was kind of thinking about what I wanted to do next. There’s a little sidebar here I want to mention. My wife and I took a little weekend trip to Palm Springs, and I’d never been there. We’re sitting by the pool and she is listening to this audiobook called The Success Principles by Jack Canfield. He’s this guy who wrote Chicken Soup for the Soul, and there’s a chapter in it called 30 Things, or something like that.


Basically, you do this exercise where you write down 30 things you want to be, do, or have in your lifetime, but you do it stream of consciousness, no filter, no censoring or saying, “That idea is too big.” You write down your biggest, greatest dreams, and that’s all you do. You just kind of put it down and then kind of release it, and just kind of watch what happens, sort of like putting this intention out into the universe. My wife’s like, “Yeah, we should do this,” and I was like, “Great, yeah, let’s do it.” We do this whole exercise and we share what we’ve written down with each other, and a lot of things match up. I was like, “Hey, let’s go to Joshua Tree.” I’d never been to Joshua Tree, and we’re like, “Okay, let’s do it.” We drive up to Joshua Tree, and if you’ve ever been to Joshua Tree, it’s just this mystical, magical place.


I don’t want to get too woo, but there’s alien vibes there, the plants and the rocks, and it’s just like, there’s an energy, there’s an energy there. We drive through and just have this mystical experience, driving through. Sun was setting, and it was just this weird … It was like entering this portal, and so we come out and then … Kind of, one of the things I’d written down was, “I want to flow into my next, into what I do next effortlessly and just have it be super successful.” The next day out of the blue, I was like, “Hey, I’m going to text you Yaniv and see what’s going on,” so I was like, “Hey.”

Nick (40:10):

How much time has passed?

Rodrigo Coelho (40:12):

This was around March, so I had met him in November, December, so this is a few months later, but we had seen each other on occasion still at Galvanized, but then kind of randomly I’m like, “Hey, what’s going on with your project? I’m kind of free. I’m looking for my next thing.” He’s like, “As luck would have it, we just got our first check, and why don’t you come? We need a community guy. Why don’t you come work for us?” I was like, “Sweet, I’m in.” That was one of the things I’d written down, and then the next, on Monday, my wife gets a call from her friend who’s a realtor, and she’s like, “Gabby, you’ve got to come look at this house.” We had been living in the city and she had been looking for a place for three years. She wanted to move out of the city. She’s super into real estate and interior design, and had never found the right place. She goes Monday, walks in this house. She’s like, “This is it,” and that was one thing she had written down in her 30 things, “I want to find a forever home,” and da-da-da.


Anyway, Monday rolls around and by Friday we had an offer in and bought it. It was fast a close, because five other people were wanting the house and we had to move fast. That was just, we, being spiritual woo people, were like, “Oh, the 30 things exercise of writing … “

Nick (41:38):

Starting to manifest.

Rodrigo Coelho (41:39):

Yeah, just starting to manifest your dreams, and not putting ceilings on what you can accomplish. It was a magical experience for both of us, and subsequently, a lot of the other things that we had written down subsequently happened. I do recommend that exercise to our listeners, to try it out. It’s actually a really powerful thing, and we’ve taken groups out to [inaudible 00:42:05] experiences and done that exercise and had really powerful experiences out of doing that. That’s a cool little manifestation trick I learned. Yeah, so started first as a community lead, and yeah, I set up the Discord and the Telegram and was …

Nick (42:32):

Was there a community at this time? I mean, you’re employee one.

Rodrigo Coelho (42:34):

No, it was like shouting to wind, like, “Hey, we’re here.”

Nick (42:37):

Sure, but Jannis is working from Germany.

Rodrigo Coelho (42:40):

Jannis was in Germany.

Nick (42:41):

You, Brandon, and Yaniv were in San Francisco.

Rodrigo Coelho (42:45):

Brandon was in East Bay, so he would come out on occasion. He wasn’t there every day, but yeah, me and Yaniv would go in every day, to Galvanize. He was living across the street at the time, so he would just walk over.

Nick (43:00):

This is super early stage. Nobody really knows quite what The Graph is yet, so what are you prioritizing at this point?

Rodrigo Coelho (43:09):

Yeah, so at this time they brought on another guy, Arsenii, at the time, who was a smart contract developer, and then I think soon after that Ford came on. They were working on a proof of concept at that time. It was really Jannis that was doing the heavy lifting of building I think the core of what is Graph now, essentially building the Indexer kind of single-handedly, almost. Then, early days, I think maybe May. I started March, maybe around May there was EDCON, which was in Waterloo or in Toronto. It was a conference, so he and I went. We didn’t have a booth, we just went to meet people and talk about-

Nick (43:52):

Is this your first web3 conference?

Rodrigo Coelho (43:54):

First web3 conference. It’s really interesting. A lot of the people that are still in space were still there. That conference, I met Rick Burton, shout out to Rick, and a lot of great people that are still around.

Nick (44:11):

Very early days for the industry, what are those first contacts with the market like?


Thank you for listening to part one of my two-part series with Rodrigo Coelho, Chief Spirit Officer at Edge & Node, and be sure to tune in next week for part two.


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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.