Agora - Year One

Agora - Year One
Charlie, sitting and Yitong at the whiteboard mapping out a protocol in April of 2023.
Agora is a software business that I started with Charlie and Yitong. We recently raised a $5M round led by Haun Ventures and are excited about the next chapter of the business.

You know that feeling when you start a new job. You are sitting there at your computer, a new one, reading something or typing something, basically trying to look busy. You have this realization that you have no idea who these people are beside you. I mean you know them, but you don't really know them. You are reading these words and the feeling turns into panic, you don't know what the words mean. I mean you know them, but you don't really know them.

The feeling turns from uneasy to downright dread.

You were at your last company for nearly 5 years. You knew everyone and you knew everything. You were top dawg, you were the man. Now... you are nobody and you don't know crap about nothing.

You start getting scared, and the voice kicks in.

What have I done?

What am I doing here?

What if I don't like these people?

What if I don't ever learn these words or what they mean?

What if they find out that I don't really know anything?

What if I find out that they don't really know anything?

I miss my kids.

I miss my wife.

I miss my cat.

Why did I leave that safe, easy paycheck?

This is never going to work.

We have so many problems.

We have to hire.

Oh god we are so screwed.

Why did they build the app this way?

Is crypto even real?

I want to go home.

How much is my mortgage again?

What the hell is a zk circut and why is it going to help scale the EVM?

Maybe I should start working on that screenplay I've been thinking about...

Then, all of a sudden you recognize that voice for what it is... Resistance.

You have picked the thing that scares you the most, you have planted a big tree and it casts an equally big shadow. All you need to do is walk out of the shadow, stare at the tree and the beautiful yellow gold light glowing through the leaves and remember, that these words you don't understand.. you will.

In a few months when you are on calls, you will hear yourself saying them and it will sound almost like you know what you are talking about. Fast forward a year, and you will leave your body during a pitch and realize that you have integrated these words and ideas and concepts into your conscious and subconccious mind. You will know the deep truth that all experts know, no one really knows what they mean, but you, yes you, the person that spends more time thinking about them than anyone else, you know more about these words than 99.99% of other people on the planet.

Then you think of your wife and how amazing she is for holding down the fort while you make frequent trips to Tecca. She even has a more demanding job than you and she does all the things that Moms do that sorry Dads, we just don't do as well. What clothes do your kids need for next season? What time is the party next Saturday? Is the French assignment due this Tuesday or next? Need to phone a friend? Your wife maybe... exactly. While you are listening to advice, here's a great life hack: marry up.

Then you think of your kids, and the life and example you are trying to build for them.

  • Do hard things
  • Do things where you can't beleive you are getting paid to do them, but still, get paid to do them.
  • Build towards an optimistic future vs. accepting the one you will get by default
  • Create something

You are starting to feel better now, maybe it's just the kicking in, but you look around, still in total bewilderment of some of the words on the screen and then the deeper, more peaceful realization sinks in.

These strangers... they are your brothers.

You will learn their greatest strengths and their biggest weaknesses. You will get mad at them, and they will get mad at you. You will laugh. You will fight. You will agree and disagree. You will go to their weddings. You will be there in good times and bad. You will watch their kids grow up and they will watch yours. You will ask them to buy you a bedframe for the matress that you sleep on when you come in to visit. You will drop whatever you are doing to help them. You will love them, and together you will write a new chapter of your life together and with a little luck make the world a better, more open and decentralized place one block at a time.

Thank you Charlie and Yitong. I can't wait to see what year two has in store.

Kent, Charlie and Yitong. Agora Co-founders. San Francisco CA, April 2024..

Thank you to Martin, WINTΞR who helped pave the way for me and my technical contributions to Agora, I am standing on your shoulders.