Rodrigo Coelho Edge & Node Web3 The Graph San Francisco

GRTiQ Podcast: 154 Rodrigo Coelho (Part 2)

Today I am speaking with Rodrigo Coelho, Chief Spirit Officer at Edge & Node. This is Part 2 of our captivating 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. I extend my apologies for any audio issues; some sections 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 2 of our conversation, Rodrigo takes us back in time. He shares anecdotes of serendipitous encounters, recounting the memorable meeting with Yaniv at a San Francisco co-working space before The Graph launched. Rodrigo’s unique perspective as employee #1 provides valuable insights into The Graph’s early days, shedding light on the challenges, triumphs, and pivotal moments that laid the foundation for its incredible growth.

Just as I mentioned last week, I’ve eagerly anticipated this interview with Rodrigo, and I’d like to express my heartfelt appreciation for his time and I also thank the House of Web3 for providing the space and equipment necessary to record this 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 (00:00:18):

Yeah, it was slow-going initially, but we did start to get people that were interested in what we were doing. And so the first real kind of breakout was East Berlin.


Nick (00:00:59):

Welcome to the GRTiQ podcast. Today I’m speaking with Rodrigo Coelho, Chief Spirit Officer at Edge & Node. This is part two 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 the audio issues. Some parts of this interview are difficult to hear.


Rodrigo was the first hire Yaniv, Brandon and Jannis, the founders of The Graph, made, when they launched The Graph. And since that time, Rodrigo has become an instrumental part in growing The Graph ecosystem and community. During today’s episode, Rodrigo talks about what happened after he met Yaniv at a co-working space in San Francisco, and what he was working on right before the formal launch of The Graph.


He’ll also talk about some of the experiences he had being employee number one, and going to work on The Graph long before anybody really knew what it was, and attending different hackathons, and getting a sense of some of the excitement and enthusiasm for what the team was building.


As I said last week during part one, I’ve wanted to interview Rodrigo for a long time, so I appreciate that he gave us so much time. And I want to shout out the House of Web3 for providing the space and equipment to record this interview.


What are those first contacts with the market like? You’ve received the pitch deck, you met Yaniv in San Francisco, and now you’re out actually communicating it.

Rodrigo Coelho (00:02:22):


Nick (00:02:23):

What are you hearing?

Rodrigo Coelho (00:02:24):

Well, in that, an interesting part of the story, and back to Rick Burton, he had written a medium blog post, that was like he was building Balance at the time, which is like a wallet, and it was sort of this article that was just… He was highly frustrated about how he couldn’t get a wallet balance. He was like, “Why can we not figure this out?” And he explained the problem with blockchains is that you have to go back through the entire history of the blockchain, go through every transaction, to just get the current state of one particular address.


And so we had caught wind of that article while we were working on it. And then, yeah, we planned to meet in person in Toronto, but it was like, “Hey, we’re working on this.” He was like, “Thank God.” So he became one of our big supporters at the time, and he was spreading the word, and solution is coming, we need indexing and querying.


And yeah, the problem hadn’t really been apparent, where it had just a few people had started to realize the problem, and that’s what Brandon and Eve had realized. They were doing consulting projects prior to starting, where I think they were hired to build something as a project, and that’s where they encountered the indexing problem that led to The Graph. It was like, “Hey, this is a problem that every developer is having. They’re having to reinvent the wheel. They’re having to build their own kind of custom cloud server that’s ingesting all this.” And they were like, “This is crazy. Why don’t we just make a protocol out of this?” And they looked around and no one was doing it, so [inaudible 00:04:13] just do it.


So then, at the EDCON, it was telling people, so the reception was really good. They were like, “Yeah, we need this.” So it was validating to the idea of what we were working on. So yeah, met great people there. So yeah, it was slow-going initially, but we did start to get people that were interested in what we were doing. And so the first real breakout was East Berlin, I want to say maybe that was a year later, and we’d had a larger team then a lot of the original team there, Carl, [inaudible 00:04:57], Dave Ford, et cetera.


And yeah, we all went out as a group, and that was kind of the first time we had put out in the wild, graph node, and let people build on it. So yeah, we got teams that were building on it at East Berlin, and we were up all night fixing bugs. Jannis was like, “We were in the code, making it work. You’ve got to get to work, but it was a real-“

Nick (00:05:01):

You guys are hackers.

Rodrigo Coelho (00:05:23):

We were hacking all night, and there’s great photos from those days, where people are passed out on the floor, you know, get sleep wherever you can. We were definitely those people that were doing that. And so we got a great reception there. And it was just sort of building strength on strength.

Nick (00:05:47):

When did you kind of capture a vision for what you were working on? Because as I understand the context of it, you were at a pivot moment in your life. You had gone out to Joshua Tree, you had this experience of manifesting some dreams and ambitions, and you made contact with Yaniv. So you were a little bit looking for your next thing, but you probably didn’t know you were walking into something that would become what The Graph was.

Rodrigo Coelho (00:05:48):

I had no idea.

Nick (00:06:10):

When did that happen? And did it happened slowly? Or was there a moment where you’re like, “Well, wow, this is more than I thought?”

Rodrigo Coelho (00:06:16):

Yeah, I did actually, I have to say, I kind of was a believer throughout. I did think it was going to be a big thing, and I felt the importance of it. And actually, I don’t think anyone realized, or at least for me, I felt, yeah, my sense of scale of it was, yeah, definitely I was way under where it’s gone, and where it has been. In terms of like, today, we have parties happening around the world, and I’ll see on social media, people in Graph swag, and taking the initiative on themselves to host a gathering and meetup to tell other people about it.

I mean, that just still blows my mind to this day that people care, are just so interested and believe in it enough. So yeah, thinking back to those ages now, it’s going to be seven years here in March, which I can’t even believe.

Nick (00:07:18):

Which a lot of people don’t fully grasp. The Graph has been around, in its form, seven years.

Rodrigo Coelho (00:07:25):

Yeah. We celebrated the third birthday, but that was when we launched the network. There were years prior, leading up to that, of building. So to see it today, where, like yourself, you were doing the podcast on your own-

Nick (00:07:44):

Yeah, eight months-

Rodrigo Coelho (00:07:44):

No pay, just like, “Hey, I…” You’re a perfect example of this. Someone who has a full-time job, but is so intrigued by this on the side that they’re like, “I’m going to do this for… Because I love it and I’m interested.” And then it becomes a thing. I’m like, here we are today talking about it.

Nick (00:08:03):

Yeah, one of the hooks for me was when I was researching the project, how long people were working on it. So that’s something I’ve never talked about publicly. But for sure, when I came across The Graph, and I looked up the founding team, and realized how long they’d been working on it, I thought, “Well, there’s something here.” In addition to the fact that I thought that the problem they were addressing was super interesting.


But yeah.

Rodrigo Coelho (00:08:24):

And you were… Because I remember when you were just getting started, we had a conversation, like, early days. It might’ve been before you started, or after you just hired-

Nick (00:08:34):


Rodrigo Coelho (00:08:35):

Yeah, it was early. And I remember you were in a totally different industry. You were in like-

Nick (00:08:40):

I a was normie out there in The Web2/traditional investments, just trying to see what was going on here.

Rodrigo Coelho (00:08:48):

Yeah. So I was really taken by that. And I still, to this day, am taken by stories of people that are just so passionate and interested in it, and we’re changing… People’s lives are changed as a result, and it really is humbling to see this, and how far it’s come, and this is one of kind of those out there concepts. But for me, I sort of reverse what’s happening here, that we’re in service to the idea.


So The Graph where this actually wanted… The universe, or whatever, wanted this to exist, and we were all sort of the vehicles in which this could become manifest in the world. So who could have predicted that me bumping into Yaniv at that time, and all the things that had to happen in order for this thing to happen, it’s [inaudible 00:09:57], it’s incomprehensible, but here we are. And when you take it all in, and just see all the connections and people that it’s brought, and the things that have happened, yeah, it’s [inaudible 00:10:12].

Nick (00:10:12):

So you’re this interesting guy who’s an entrepreneur, and you’ve told your story well, of how you kind of got started about that in college, in university, and eventually found your way to where you are now. What drives you towards that startup environment, right? Because you’re clearly a smart guy. You probably could have just gone gotten in a nine to five job, and taken a little bit of an easier path, but you’ve chosen a lot of entrepreneurial ventures.

Rodrigo Coelho (00:10:36):

Yeah, that’s a really good question. And the way I phrased it, actually, I heard this, I think it was from Mark Cuban once, and he’s like, “You only got to be right once, and so you might as well swing for the fences.” So that was kind of my sort of thinking about it.


I didn’t want to bunt, or to use baseball terminology, or just go for a single. I wanted to just knock it out of the park.

Nick (00:11:03):

Big impact stuff.

Rodrigo Coelho (00:11:04):

Yeah, I was going big or going home. So I had three different startups. So really, working at The Graph was my first job. I’d had an internship in college, but I’d been a founder three times. So it was the first time I actually had a boss. And there’s a funny part of this. Yaniv can be a tough manager, and for the first six months I literally felt like I was going to be fired. Every time I’d meet with him, “Okay, is he going to fire me this time?” He’s really hard on writing, and part of the community guy thing, I was supposed to write blogs, and my first attempts were not great.


I wasn’t as versed in Web3, and he was just like… Yeah, he just shot down my writing, and other people on the team know how hard it is writing-

Nick (00:11:46):

Yaniv’s got a very high standard-

Rodrigo Coelho (00:11:58):

He has a high quality bar.

Nick (00:11:59):

… because he’s got such devotion to this vision you’re talking about.

Rodrigo Coelho (00:12:01):

Yeah. So that was part of my role, is to be blog writer, and he’s like, “Oh, great. Well, you can’t write blogs for us. What is he doing?” So fortunately, they all felt like, “Okay, maybe he’s not great for community, but let’s switch him into ops, right? We need an ops person.” So fortunately, that’s where I found I hit my stride, and so I overtook accounting function and all of that. I’m still, to this day, still involved in financial matters and admin, slack admin and things like that.


So I took that role on more, and then in subsequent years, got more into people ops and culture as we scaled. Because we had 15 people on the team when we launched the network years ago, and then there was a massive growth. We went from 15 to almost 60 people, fast-

Nick (00:13:02):

And this is just Edge & Node?

Rodrigo Coelho (00:13:05):

That was just Edge & Node. So I was doing recruiting and managing all the interviews and getting people on board. It was a lot of work and-

Nick (00:13:16):

You hadn’t had that scale experience in your other endeavors?

Rodrigo Coelho (00:13:19):


Nick (00:13:19):

They grew, but this was like a rocket.

Rodrigo Coelho (00:13:20):

Yeah, this was, yeah. So this was all new and exciting and fun. So it was cool to have that experience of not being a founder. When you’re an employee, all those kind of worries, “Am I going to make payroll this time?” Or fundraising. As founder and CEO, those were like off… It’s like, “Wow, it actually is great to be an employee.” You just get your paycheck and you don’t have to worry about these other things that fill your brain as a founder. And yeah, there’s a little note here. Many people don’t know this, but leading up to the network, we had raised just X amount, and the network launch was taking longer and we were like, “We don’t have any more money.”


So everybody had to take a pay cut for six months. I took an 80% pay cut, basically. Number one, when I first started working, I took less of a salary than I’d made probably since college, and then took an 80% pay cut more than everybody. And we all were just heads down, focused, working nights and weekends until the network launched. But yeah, so a lot of sacrifices were made on many people’s parts.

Nick (00:14:41):

Stressful as well, right?

Rodrigo Coelho (00:14:42):

It was stressful. We never had a doubt we would make it, and it just goes to the determination of the team, and working tirelessly, and that still lives in the ethos of the culture of the team. And everyone we brought on is mission focused and will do whatever it takes.


We obviously put an emphasis on mental health and taking time, but people work nights, late, to get something done in time. That’s part of it. So we still have some of that startup mentality, even though we’re a lot bigger now, and that still lived within us.

Nick (00:15:26):

How has your perspective of the impact of Web3 changed since those early days? So you go to your first conference up in Waterloo, and you’re getting an introduction to Web3 crypto, and what this whole industry means. I think this is back in what, 2017, ’18, somewhere in there? And here we are now. How has your conviction, your perspective of what Web3 is, changed since that time?

Rodrigo Coelho (00:15:54):

So the fundamentals remain the same, in terms of why everyone’s doing. I think to me what’s changed is, maybe back then, I felt like this would come a lot faster, and now that I’m further into it, it feels like there’s still a long road. So in terms of this Web3 becoming an integral part of how businesses operate, and governments collaborate, and financial transactions happen, so I think maybe we thought, “Oh, it’ll be like five years and everyone will be transacting.”


Maybe it’s like another 10 years from now, who knows? But these sort of massive sea changes, I think, are harder to predict in terms of timing. And I always give this example of the transition to credit cards. So back in the early days, my mom used to write paper checks, going to the grocery store.

Nick (00:16:58):

Sure, I remember.

Rodrigo Coelho (00:16:58):

Yeah. And then there was a huge marketing campaign on Visa, they sponsored the Olympics, and American Express commercials, there was a big marketing push to get people to get used to the idea that this card was money, and you don’t need paper checks [inaudible 00:17:13] this. And that was kind of a multi decade transition. It’s not like everyone’s like, “Oh, we have credit cards.” And I mean it took decades for people’s habits to change.


And so I feel like we’re in another sea change like that, and maybe 2008 with Bitcoin starting, so we’re a little over a decade to that, and it might be another decade or two, and maybe where virtual currencies like Stablecoin, or maybe people get more used to transacting that way. Maybe it’s like the older generation moves on, and the younger that have grown up with this and it’s more native, that you’re paying… Credit cards are now going away, and you’re using your phone now, like Apple Pay. That’s been a more recent change.


So then, this notion of different currencies… I think what needs to happen there is instant swapping, like, say I’ve got a wallet with a certain currency in it, but you want to receive it. Or say Bitcoin to Fiat, I think they’re doing that. You pay in Bitcoin and then the person in the end gets Fiat dollars, and the swapping and everything happens seamlessly behind the scenes.


So that, no telling when that time is coming, but everyone’s marching towards that, and more applications and usage. I think Strike was doing something for merchants, where, on the same device that you used to pay, they were adding a QR code [inaudible 00:18:55]. So those things are coming, but I do think it’s the timeline is stretching out, but still, in terms of what we’re working towards, and decentralization, unstoppable applications, censorship resistance, self sovereignty, all those principles are still there. I think that that hasn’t changed.

Nick (00:19:19):

What about that original pitch deck then? So if we were able to go back in time and see that original pitch deck on the graph that Yaniv shared with you, first, what The Graph is today, and of course listeners know, the new era was just released, which is a revised road map for the future of The Graph. How has that vision changed? And how much of it has stayed the same?

Rodrigo Coelho (00:19:39):

Yeah, so I think back then there wasn’t this whole notion of [inaudible 00:19:44] chains, the fact that there’s hundreds of chains now, and I think that was probably not in the original [inaudible 00:19:52]. I think back then it was [inaudible 00:19:55], but no, I think it was early days at Cosmos was becoming a thing. I remember that, being at EDCON, but it was still early days. So now, the notion of many data sources, many different chains, file data sources, I think eventually, it’s even non blockchain. Why not? Why not include all this data?


I think the brand grand vision is that it’s indexing all the data, every bit of data that’s out there-

Nick (00:20:21):

The world’s data.

Rodrigo Coelho (00:20:31):

The world’s data. That may have been in the pitch, I can’t quite recall exactly, but yeah, I think the vision then remains is like, yeah, index and organize all the data, and make it available. And that, with what New Era, what’s happening there, different data services, and modular, and that people can build onto and add to graphs [inaudible 00:21:03]. Yeah, it does seem to be expanding the scope.

Nick (00:21:06):

Any new venture, anything that launches into the world, it has what I think is an initial DNA or fingerprint that it sort of has. And of course, things evolve and grow, and a community builds around these types of things, but there are some initial artifacts that will always persist.


What would you hope, based on the fact that you were employee number one at Edge, what do you hope persists through The Graph forever, from those early days? I mean, are there certain things that you wish the community will hold onto, as part of what we’re all about, and what people are building in Web3?

Rodrigo Coelho (00:21:38):

Yeah, I mean, I’ve got to hand it to the founders, especially Yaniv, to stick to his guns on the vision, because there were people that were like, “You’re crazy, you should just do this as a centralized business.” And he was adamant, like, “No, we’re not doing this.” And they were dangling, here’s lots of money, if you take this money. And so sticking to principles and mission, and saying, “You know what? Thanks, but no thanks. We’re like, this is what we’re building.” So yeah, adhering to the core values and [inaudible 00:22:22] of decentralization, of missionless lists, and building community, building in an open way [inaudible 00:22:31].


That’s been an interesting ride too, to just see how that whole sausage is made. Normally, in a business, you work in a closed environment, and you keep trade secrets, and it’s competitive, and this is different. And it’s like code is all out there, anybody can look at it, can run it themselves. And so it’s been really interesting to say… To be more community focused.


And I think that’s another artifact too, is we’re always saying, “Hey, if you want to come join and help, raise your hand. The more people involved, the better.” We’ve seen that with hundreds, thousands of people now around the world that are playing different parts, and people adding to the code, and people hosting events and podcasts.


And so that’s the part I really love about it too, is that it does feel like we’re all doing this together, versus we’re just trying to make as much money as a company, and extract as much value, and hide what we’re doing and compete, and it just has a better feeling, in terms of being right with the world, I think.

Nick (00:23:55):

When I think about the story you’ve shared thus far, you’re a guy in university who comes across data, picks up SQL, just kind of serendipitously given the moment. I see that as a first hook into the importance of data. So naturally, it’s serendipitous, if you will, you end up at The Graph, which is obviously all data focused. But then you have these spiritual experiences as well, and things related to your personal health.


And now you find yourself in this Chief Spirit Officer at Edge & Node. Do you see that as a culmination of all that experience? And if you don’t mind, just tell listeners what you’re doing.

Rodrigo Coelho (00:24:31):

Yeah, that’s a really good question. And yes, I do feel like it is the intersection of all my life experiences coming together in this moment in time. In a way, it’s like what I was meant to do, in a way. I mean, life experiences has led me to this, and here I am. And how it happened was, in this role, actually my former title was Chief of Staff, which wasn’t a perfect fit for what I was doing.


And then last year we went, we had a CEO change, and Hagen came in, and she was kind of rebuilding the exact team, and she was the one that actually made the suggestion. She’s like, “I don’t really think Chief of Staff is appropriate.” She’s like, “What do you think your title should be?” I was like, “I don’t know, Chief People Officer? But it’s not, I don’t just do HR.” And she’s like, “I think you should be Chief Spirit Guide. How about Chief Spirit Officer?” I’m like-

Nick (00:25:32):


Rodrigo Coelho (00:25:34):

… that’s interesting. So shout out to Hagen there. So yeah, I gave it some thought. I’m like, “Yeah, this is actually perfect.” And I did write a blog post about it, which is on Edge & Node’s blog. But in summary, the word corporation comes from Latin, back to etymology-

Nick (00:25:51):

Another code, back in your background.

Rodrigo Coelho (00:25:52):

So it’s like corpus, corpse, it’s a body. And so we talk about a corporation as a body, like an entity. It is a person per se, even according to law that it’s a person. And so in that respect, you could think of the people as making up the cells of the body. And so who’s tending to the spiritual and emotional [inaudible 00:26:23] that person? And that’s what, essentially, the Chief Spirit Officer is.


When we talk about a company, what’s it like to work there? It has a personality, it’s really fun or it’s really serious, or… So it becomes this living entity, per se, based on the actions of the collective group. And so, yeah, the Chief Spirit Officer is like, “How are these different groups working together?” So I check in with everybody every quarter. I do calls with every single person on the team.


So it’s taking a pulse of how people are doing, how different teams are functioning together, things escalate with people, issues, being like… I have to be a mediator or just a sounding board for Hagen or [inaudible 00:27:11], they come to me with their concerns. So it is sort of allowing people to have a voice, that they’re heard. I guess, being a wise elder, if this were a tribe, it would be like the shaman of the group.


So it suits me well. And yeah, I’ve told this to many people in the business world and they’re really intrigued. “Oh, this is actually a good concept that I’ve never thought of before.” And maybe it is something that, for companies that are more future thinking, or more-

Nick (00:27:49):

Hopefully it does.

Rodrigo Coelho (00:27:50):

Hopefully it does, yeah.

Nick (00:27:52):

When you think about, then, this framing of spirit in an organization, and you think about some of the challenges to that spirit of an organization, in Web3, I would put enemy number one being burnout. So how, in this role, are you sort of thinking through, or trying to combat, if I’m right, that that’s kind of enemy [inaudible 00:28:15]?

Rodrigo Coelho (00:28:15):

Yeah, so I think we’ve talked about this a lot, but we place a very high emphasis on mental health within Edge & Node organization. We take a lot of steps, ensure that people are taking care of themselves mentally. We have a stipend that people can apply to mental health for therapy. We’ve got a membership to Calm, a meditation app that people can avail themselves of. We ensure that people take ample time off, like a flexible policy there in terms of getting the time they need.


And burnout comes from different things, but it can be also from frustration, maybe, of being blocked. You’re working on something you care about passionately, but maybe you have a boss that’s [inaudible 00:29:11] you, or your ideas [inaudible 00:29:14]. So we really take that to heart too. We have ways for people to do quarterly engagement surveys, and one of the things we ask is, I feel safe to speak up, that my voice is heard. And so we’re always ensuring that people do feel like they can speak out and have their opinion heard.


And yeah, we’re really paying attention to all these things, and we have had people that have taken breaks, like mini sabbaticals and stuff, to just clear their minds, and we certainly allow for that when needed, and it’s very important to us.

Nick (00:29:54):

I want to ask you the GRTiQ 10, but before we wrap up, I do want to ask you a couple of just final questions. So the first question I want to ask you is, stories or anecdotes from those early days. And I’m sure there’s a list, in fact, I’m already thinking I want to do another interview with you, where all we talk about is stories from the early days.


I mean, even in my own mind, I’m already thinking about this Ethereum Christmas sweater, and what this must have been like. But what are some early stories or anecdotes that will live on in your mind, from your experience of [inaudible 00:30:25] number one?

Rodrigo Coelho (00:30:26):

Yeah, I mean, there’s so many funny jokes and inside jokes, but one of the classic stories was… So leading up to the public sale back in 2020, we decided to host the platform ourselves. And typically, what projects will do will be to outsource that whole portion to an outside party. We use the platform for a part of it, but then handle the sale function. We built a custom app, and so taking any need, we’re kind of negotiating on it. And it was on the KYC portion, that was a large cost, and we were cutting costs, saving costs, like, “Oh, we’ll handle it.”


But they agreed to that, not knowing what it would take. And so they’re like, “Oh, Rodrigo will handle it.” Well, I didn’t know either what it would take, and so we get into it, and we have it set up, and the platform’s set up, we start getting send out the information for people to start up. We start getting people signing up. And I’m watching it, and it’s like that commercial where they see people, the sales come in, it’s like ding, ding, ding, ding, ding.


And it was just literally, it was like a few hundred, and I was starting to do them as they were coming in, and it would take a couple of minutes, each one, and then they started coming in, and it was like [inaudible 00:31:59]. And I was like, “My gosh, whoa. There’s no way I’m going to get through this.” I had two weeks to get it done, it was a hard deadline, and the numbers kept coming higher, in the thousands. And I started to panic. I was like, “Oh my God.”


And it was all on me, and I was literally realizing it’s possible there’s physically not enough time to finish the amount of people coming in, and had to quickly call on every favor scrambled, get people, build a team of people to get them trained and get through this process. And literally, I was working nights, weekends, and I remember I was so stressed out.


I got a strange shoulder injury where I literally was in a sling, in my bed, doing the KYC. So anyway, it was this intense two weeks that we literally finished, it was down to the minute, where we just wrapped our final ones, because it was gathering from everyone else, delivered, Yaniv actually went through all… We had a questionnaire that was part of it, so we were asking people’s involvement and things like that.


And so Yaniv actually, to his credit, went through all of them, thousands of them, and picked… We had different peers, I think, it was one, two, and three. And so, putting people in different buckets, a ton of work in a compressed amount of time, and so stressful, but we got it done. And that’s just one example. The Herculean efforts that we had to put out, to get things done throughout.


Another time was, early days, everyone was working remote, but we would do these off sites, and we were a small enough team to fit in one Airbnb, and I was always in charge of going to get groceries, and being the house mom, and, “Guys, pick up, can you pick up your [inaudible 00:34:18]?”


And yeah, I recall one trip, we went to Lake Tahoe, and it was Eva’s first day, so she had just come on. And I remember another, the next one after that was Martine’s first time. And so it’s been really cool to be in this position to have seen the first days of everyone that has come on, really, because I’ve onboarded everyone that’s come on the team.


And so that’s been a really fun aspect of being here so early, is seeing when they come on, and are excited and bright-eyed and bushy tailed, and then to see how far they’ve come, like yourself included, where coming in, not knowing, and then just being experts in whatever they’re doing, and speaking on it so well, and people that weren’t crypto native are now super into it. And yeah, it’s super [inaudible 00:35:21] part of that.

Nick (00:35:21):

I think, from doing all these interviews, when I think back to kind of the superpower, the unlocked, early days, it was that talent acquisition, the ability to identify talent, and of course, Yaniv got it right with you, and it’s followed downstream from that ever since. So, super impressive.


I want to ask you this other question about spirituality, and you are Chief Spirit Officer at Edge & Node. We’ve talked a little bit about how you got that role and why that’s meaningful. I want to ask you, based on the experiences you’ve had, what’s the one thing that people most misunderstand or neglect about spirit? Whether they’re religious, whether they’re spiritual or not, there is an essence that you might call spirit in everybody. What do we most misunderstand about that?

Rodrigo Coelho (00:36:11):

So I think what people should understand is that all of these different major religions, spiritual texts, are kind of pointing to the same thing. So the Bible, the Quran, they talk about… They name God or whatever, but it’s sort of speaking about the same essence and unknowable things in different terminology. And so that was one thing I gathered from everything, and we all kind of experience it and feel it ourselves.


And there are atheists that don’t believe, but there’s an undeniable presence and awareness that we all have, that we’re aware of, and it’s just a matter of language on it. And so, one of the areas, the rabbit hole I went down into, was this non duality. Non duality, it deals with the fact that it says there is no other, there’s only that, I am that. And that’s the only thing that is, is that awareness, presence awareness, is kind of what it’s called.


That visible manifest universe exists in presence awareness. So that is what is primary. Without presence awareness, there would be nothing, right? You need awareness to perceive something that’s there, like a plant, a table. There’s an awareness there. It’s almost like the surface of the mirror upon which the reflection happens. That has to be there, and that is what’s primary, and that’s what’s even primary to thought itself.


And so, you couldn’t even have a thought without a manifest, base level of presence awareness. And so, with non-duality, the only thing that language does is it separates. So when you’re a child, one of the first things that happens is you get a sense of I. A toddler is sort of, or a baby, is flowing with its awareness. There’s no separation between itself, and then there’s a period where there’s a distinctive sense of I that comes up [inaudible 00:38:44].


And then there’s me, mine. So there’s this separation that happens. And language itself is devised in such a way in which it divides, that there’s subject and object. So I see this, and then it all harkens back to what is this I I’m talking about? And most people say, “Well, I am my body and my mind.” But we see, cut off your hands, your arms and legs, are you less of you? What is you?


And when we deal with language, it’s like there are words to separate what is, in essence, a sea of energy, of different waves of energy. So I can say, “This is a microphone and this is a table.” And we know from the study of quantum physics that nothing ever really touches. When I touch my finger, if you zoom down in to sub microscopic levels, there’s literally just an interaction of two fields that are repelling. There’s no touching happening, it’s just this repulsion, and you register it as an electrical signal, blah, blah, blah.


But yet, so when we use words, we’re separating what is a field of this invisible energy. And it’s similar to like, you look at the ocean, there’s a continuous ocean with ripples, and you see, say there’s a curling wave on it, and you’re like, “That’s a wave.” But where does the wave start and where does the wave end, out of the continuous hole?


So that’s a metaphor for we are like that. We’re like a wave in this continuous hole. You, Nick, the chair, the table, we’re almost like different ripples on the surface of the water, and it’s like the vibratory pattern form thing, but it like really is a continuous thing, and that’s what presence awareness is. But that’s also the feeling… It ties back to the feeling that we get inside, of awe, of love. These are, to me, of reverence. I think that those are fundamental to the universe itself.


I think creation happens out of this blissful experience, and different traditions talk about Ananda, like in the Hindu tradition, this sort of blissful state. Even if you think of the act of procreation, it happens in this orgasmic, blissful experience. So I think… And there’s a tie to that sort of energy, that sexual energy and creation, and that goes into different cultures, from [inaudible 00:41:49] et cetera, of tapping into this life force.


So I think we all have an experience of it, and it’s just the wording on it varies. But I do think we’re all one and the same. We all have this understanding, it’s just how we mentally put our frame on it.

Nick (00:42:11):

And I think the last question that I want to ask you is about, again, relating back to spirit, but the spirit of Web3 then. So you are working within The Graph at Edge & Node, one of the core dev teams, but The Graph exists within the Web3 ecosystem, the Web3 industry. How would you describe the spirit of Web3, and why that’s even important?

Rodrigo Coelho (00:42:35):

So if we were to talk about Web3 as a person, a thing, I would say it has this youthful spirit, to me. Definitely [inaudible 00:42:48] younger in terms of just age of people that are in the space that are attracted to it. It has a certain idealism, a certain principled nature to it. So definitely hyper intelligent and not stagnant, so eager for change. And so, I would describe it as a person of that kind of nature and spirit.


And it is an outgrowth of things that have happened before it, and a reaction to things in the world. So governments and censorship, and how money is handled, and Fiat money. And so it’s like… It’s an awareness of its space. And similar to how a tree in an environment would grow in a certain way, because of where the environment it’s in, or Web3 is a natural kind of evolution of growth, of simply the world that we’re in, and where technology came, and understanding of different things.


So it is, to me, something that… I had mentioned earlier, it’s something that wanted to exist and needed to exist, and everyone that’s come to it is the ways in which it can become manifest.

Nick (00:44:33):

Incredible. Yeah. Well, super exciting stuff. I really appreciate that you would come and do this interview. I want to do it again. I want go through all the stories from the early days. And of course we didn’t have time to cover it all today, but if I would’ve interviewed you when I first asked, I wouldn’t have had the GRTiQ 10. It’s a newer thing.


And by virtue of the fact that we were a little delayed, I get a good fortune of being able to ask you these questions. And so I created the questions because it gives listeners an opportunity to learn more about you, but it also, I think, provides listeners with a way to learn something new, try something different, or achieve more in their own life. So are you ready for the GRT IQ10?

Rodrigo Coelho (00:45:09):

I’m ready.

Nick (00:45:14):

So what book or articles had the most impact on you?

Rodrigo Coelho (00:45:26):

So early days, I got into yoga. That was one thing I forgot to mention in my college experience. So freshman year, I took a yoga class, and it was like before yoga was cool, it was in a gymnasium, and this old teacher who had studied in India, and dah, dah, dah. And so, around that time I picked up a Booker autobiography. So that book was really influential in my life. Interestingly, another fun fact is Paramahansa Yogananda has my same birthday. So I remember reading that and I was like, “Whoa, that’s an interesting coincidence.”


And so that book was kind of one of the first spiritual books that subsequently led to many others beyond that. So yeah, I would say [inaudible 00:46:29].

Nick (00:46:28):

How about this one? Is there a movie or a TV show that you think or would recommend everybody should watch?

Rodrigo Coelho (00:46:34):

Yeah. I always like to say the Matrix because that movie was based on Buddhist philosophy, the whole red pill, blue pill thing, and that we exist in this kind of dream state. And then you take the red pill and you wake up to everything that is actual reality. Yeah, so I feel like I kind of, through my near-death experiences and whatnot, I had this red pill experience of [inaudible 00:47:14] the truth behind the scenes.


Then we’ve seen it more recently with what’s happening in the world and whatnot, and information coming out, and it is like, whoa, like a red pill. Okay, this is what’s really happening behind the scenes.

Nick (00:47:33):

If there was only one music album that [inaudible 00:47:36] of you, what would you choose?

Rodrigo Coelho (00:47:39):

Yeah, anything from Zero Seven. It was actually probably early two thousands, era band Sia was in it actually, before she was Sia. Super IB, chill music. They have an album called Simple Things, or just, I could listen to that, whatever.

Nick (00:48:07):

Incredible. And how about this one? What’s the best advice someone’s [inaudible 00:48:10].

Rodrigo Coelho (00:48:11):

Man, there’s so many. One of the more recent ones… There’s a couple, I’d say. One of the more recent ones was this video from Jocko Willink, who’s this Navy SEAL, all tough looking guy, and he has this short clip, you can find it on the internet, or Twitter, saying, “It’s basically good, whatever happens, good. Didn’t get the job? Good. Didn’t get a promotion? Good. Broke your arm? Good.” He’s like, “You can do better.”


So it’s a philosophy of whatever happens, we immediately go to like, “Oh, this is so terrible.”


And there’s this Zen story. I don’t know if you heard about the farmer story, I’ll tell it really quick. So there’s a farmer, and one day his horses break out of this stall, and they go off and run off, and the neighbors come by and they’re like, “Oh my God, your horses got out. How unfortunate.” And he’s like, “We’ll see, we’ll see.” And then, the next day, the horses come back and they had brought back a herd of other wild horses.


They’re like, “Oh my God, you got 50 more horses. How amazing.” And he’s like, “We’ll see.” And then the next day, his son goes out and tries to get on the horse and tame the horse. The horse bucks the son off and he breaks his leg, and they’re like, the neighbors are like, “Oh no, your son broke his leg. How unfortunate.” And he’s like, “We’ll see, we’ll see.” And then the next day the army comes by looking for people to draft in the army, and his son’s leg was broken. And so they’re like, “Oh, we can’t take him.” And move on to the next house. And the neighbors are like, “Oh, your son didn’t get drafted in the army. How fortunate.” “We’ll see.”


So that’s the idea, that everything that happens is neutral. There’s the notion of good and bad in the universe is actually another mental construct. But really, to the universe itself, it doesn’t make judgment calls, in terms of this is good or bad. So death, we label death as so horrific and bad. But there’s a balancing life principle, and it’s a neutral thing. In the cosmic scope of things, dinosaurs lived and went extinct, how horrible. But is it? They lived for millions of years and then they’re no longer around, and it’s just part of the natural order of things.


And this is a hard one for people to get around, is like, “But what about war? And what about people dying?” And in this school of thought, is like, “Well, war is part of the whole cosmic thing, and the cosmic order of things that has to happen.” There’s a destructive aspect, like [inaudible 00:51:18], the destructive force, and then the Shiva and the Shakti and the creative force. [inaudible 00:51:23]


And so that’s, again, where different philosophies use different words and terminology, or gods, to describe the cosmic order of things. But in this presence awareness, like cosmic consciousness world, it’s neutral and everything that happens.


So one tactic or way to deal with… Another piece of advice is, “Life is one damned thing after another.” So if you take what comes to you in life, “Good, okay, I didn’t get that done. Good. How can I make this better?” So it’s a really good philosophy, or tactic, or strategy, of picking yourself up and just getting on with it and going. I’ve found it’s actually really been… I’ve given it to some people who have used it, so… Stops you from that initial, “Damn.” Going negative, and getting into a downward spiral. And that can become disempowering, when you have to keep going and [inaudible 00:52:34].

Nick (00:52:35):

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

Rodrigo Coelho (00:52:40):

Yeah, so this goes back to the whole spiritual philosophy of non duality that I talked about earlier, which is, there’s no… It’s not you doing it. So let me unpack that. So when I went through my couple of near death experiences, I would say that Rodrigo died. So I had an experience of dying, but in a way, and what these spiritual texts talk about, is a dying to oneself, a dying to the ego, sense of self. And what that means is that you sort of hand your life over to this presence, awareness, a power greater than you, God, universe, whatever you call it. And that it’s just a slight shift, but it’s like, “I’m not actually making this decision here. The universe is making this decision.”

And there’s so many examples of that. Why did I decide to move to San Francisco? I don’t know. Was it me or was it like the universe? Imagine The Graph wanted to happen, and you could go back even further. Why was Yaniv even born? And why does his parents even meet? You know what I mean? And so it’s then becomes like, “Okay, I can then be part and parcel of what’s happening, but knowing that it’s all in the natural order of things, and everything’s happening perfectly, and it’s not really me doing it.”


There’s even the Institute of Noetic Sciences, they do a lot of study into the supernatural and phenomenon and stuff. And one of the tests they did was they hooked people up to brain electrodes, and then they’re on a timer, and they’re like, “At any given moment, just raise your hand randomly, whenever you want. Just sit there. It can take no time.”


And so they do it, and they do it a couple of times, and then they look at the brain scans, and the brain activity in the area that moves the hand happens milliseconds before the hand actually moves. And so again, it’s like did they decide to do it? Or was there some signal from somewhere else that was like, “Move the hand”?


So them registering that they moved their hand was actually after the decision was made. So it goes back to where does thought come from? It’s coming out of this zero point field, this emptiness, and it feels to me like there’s some higher implicate order of coordination happening, that we’re just not aware of. It’s like a super [inaudible 00:55:51].

Nick (00:55:52):

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

Rodrigo Coelho (00:55:56):

I’m super into biohacking and nootropics. I take a stack. And in the morning I do this mushroom coffee with Chaga and Reishi and L-theanine and caffeine.


So L-theanine and caffeine is a good combo, which you get the brain stimulation, but without jitteriness. So the L-theanine calms on that, but also cold exposure. I do the cold shower thing. I am working on getting a cold plunge at my house, but super into all the biohacking things. Tried out peptides recently. I’m super a fan of those.


So yeah, I’m definitely into biohacking and optimizing health and-

Nick (00:56:59):

Based on your own life experiences and observations, what’s the one habit or characteristic that you think best explains why or how people find success in life?

Rodrigo Coelho (00:57:10):

Yeah, it’s a great saying. It’s like it’s never empty. It’s never crowded on the extra mile. So I think that’s a great philosophy to live by, is like, people I’ve found overwhelmingly that are successful, are always going above and beyond the call of duty or action. Yeah, so I’ve seen it throughout my career, and just those that just excel, and those that don’t. Or just have the… If they’re asked to do something, it’s like how do they… They go a little bit more, like, “I need this by five.” “Well, here it is by three.” Or, “I got it to you early.” Or yeah, those kinds of actions are definitely rare.


It’s like the less than 1% of people do that. Another thing is, it goes back to leaders or readers. I think there’s a stat that less than 5%, maybe less, have actually read a whole book in the last year. So I do think there’s something in that too. People that read books are a step ahead. Even if you pick up one thing out of a book, it was well worth it, and it might change the trajectory of your life.


And nowadays it’s easier, I think, with podcasts, those are great, because a lot of authors come on and they share their thoughts that way. So audio makes it a lot easier for people. But yeah, I’d say those.

Nick (00:58:52):

And then, Rodrigo, the final three questions are complete the sentence type questions. So the first one is complete the sentence. The thing that most excites me about Web3 is…

Rodrigo Coelho (00:59:02):

Unstoppable application.

Nick (00:59:05):

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

Rodrigo Coelho (00:59:11):

Cultural Tutor.

Nick (00:59:13):

And the last one is, I’m happiest when…

Rodrigo Coelho (00:59:17):

I am skiing in fresh, knee or thigh deep powder.

Nick (00:59:32):

Rodrigo, thank you so much for doing this interview.

Rodrigo Coelho (00:59:34):

Thank you.

Nick (00:59:36):

It’s been a long time in the making. I’ve said that multiple times, but it checked all the boxes, and everything I hoped it would. And for listeners that want to stay in touch with you, follow some of the things you’re working on, especially in this really cool, innovative role you have at Edge & Node, what’s the best way for them to stay in touch and [inaudible 00:59:52].

Rodrigo Coelho (00:59:52):

X is the best way, Twitter. @rodventures.


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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.