April 14, 2023

Episode 238: Robert Neir & Siddhant Kasat, Co-founders at Layer3

Robert Neir and Siddhant Kasat, Co-founders at Layer3, a research and development studio focused on Web3 building and consulting.

Robert Neir was a video game programmer since he was 14 years old. Went to USC (University of Southern California) for computer science (video games emphasis). Graduated and went straight into a full-time position at Microsoft video game studios as an engineer. Worked as a gameplay programmer at Forza under Microsoft for 3 years. Then found a passion for Web3 and quit Microsoft to work on DEXs within the Web3 space and manage a development team to build UIs for these Web3 projects. Now he is focused on R&D to build out new projects in the Web3 and Web2 space.

Siddhant Kasat has finished his computer science degree from the University of California, Irvine where he founded a blockchain organization focused on education, consulting, and development. He works as a software engineer at Microsoft and has previously worked on the Xbox Royalties team using enterprise blockchain. He is a web3 enthusiast and likes to keep up with emerging technologies and work on quick proof of concepts based on different ideas.

Julian: Hey everyone. Thankyou so much for joining the Behind Company Lines podcast. Today we have RobertNeir & Siddhant Kasat, two of the four co-founders at Layer3. Layer3 is aresearch and development studio focus on Web3 building and consulting Robinson.It's so exciting to chat with you, and especially with the exciting world ofWeb3 and, and really a lot of the, the communities and, and all this kind offacilitated building and all these process.

It's though nuanced in terms of whatwe've been familiar with for, I would say the last 10 years of technology and,and now we're able to really kind of, it's, it obviously there's a bunch ofinnovation and a bunch of movement in this space, but it's more fascinating tothink about the communities and how there's this kind of open source type ofconcept around building and, and creating amazing.

Whether it's apps, protocols or, orwhether web-based apps or even phone-based apps as well, and, and what thateven means for the grander space and where it's gonna reach consumers at somepoint. But before we get started, I'm gonna go with you, Rob. First, what wereyou doing before you started the company?

Robert: Yeah, I was actuallyworking at Microsoft as a video game developer. And I've been programming videogames for many years throughout middle school and high school, and also just.Other types of programming as well. But yeah, I was working on Forza atMicrosoft at the time and then quit directly from there and started Layer3 withSid.

Julian: Yeah, it's amazing.And Sid, tell us about your journey. What got you fascinated about the projectand what got you particularly interested in joining Rob and the other founderson this journey to start building out Layer3?

Siddhant: Yeah, for sure. So mybackground is in computer science and I've always been like super interestedabout like emerging technology like blockchain.

Starting like 2016 had worked on studentorganizations and then. While I was working at a, at a big tech company I, Ifound Rob and we were just like discussing like different ideas. Like, Hey,let's explore this together. We'll love to like, build out like like a productwith you. And then you gotta like jump straight in.

Julian: Yeah, it's incredibleto think about, how co-founders meet and connect and start building out. And,and the initial building process is so fascinating because it takes a lot of,you know, strategy, brainstorming, a lot of different ways to find the problemset and then start to build towards that.

And I'll go to you, Rob. First, how areyou in particular thinking about what you wanted to tackle with the, with theWeb3 space, um, and how you essentially cared? Strategically go after theproblem set and what you were looking to solve and build and start, make, startbuilding this community around the technology.

Robert: Yeah. At first it kindof more started, what can we do successfully? We think at like what scaleversus what's the, end goal. I think we were just trying to build. Thatsomebody would use. So we were like, let's, because we both, we both hadfull-time jobs. We all had full-time jobs and we were like, we don't have toomuch time to dedicate to this.

So with the time that we have, let'sbuild something, even if it's really small and not that useful to the Web3Society, just so we can get our foot in the door. So that was the first idea.And it ended up being an N F T project That was essentially your classic. NFTproject on open sea, like percentage traits images that were profile picturesthat you could buy and, and not much of a contribution to the DeFi space.

Like it's, there's a bajillion of those.Some of them have a lot more impact than others because of the timing in whichthey were released. Sure. But that was our first go at it. Uh, Do you want meto continue past that?  

Julian: No, no, no. Yeah, no.That was a solid answer. And, and I'm curious. Okay. Shifting to, to sit alittle bit, and when you started, Rob kind of starts talking about, breakinginto the space building and, and starting to just get your foot in the door.

What did you see that was particularlyunique set in terms of the technology? That had not been seen before. And, andwhat kind of components did you have to really bring together to get the fullidea around what it really means and, and to build in, in, in Web3, and a lotof people think like the Minta Coin, and then all of a sudden you have to usethat tokenize and create this whole system.

But recently we're obviously seeing thata lot of the, the, the larger, say Polygon and other foundations have a lot of,of tools to be able to connect with. What's particularly unique about the spacethat you saw and, and what did that initial build lead you to kind of believeand, and start to utilize on the team and when you started building otherprojects?

Siddhant: Yeah, for sure. Sothat's a that's a loaded question. So I'll, I'll break it down into like twoparts. The first part being how did we start and like, what did we see in thisspace? As Rob mentioned like we were all kinda like just wanting to do aproject together, see like what the space is about.

We had all been in the space. Like I wasa blockchain developer. A couple of our co-founders have been like doing DFAfor the last three years. So everybody like knew this space. Everybody hadlike, experience in with, like, with projects and protocols. So the first thingthat we learned was managing communities.

Like I feel like Web3 is all about thecommunity. Like we spent hours on discord managing people, managing likepeople's expectations, questions. It was fun. Like, it was like, it was hectic,but it was fun. So that's the first big thing that we learned. In the last twoand a half, three years that we've been working together.

We've seen like the space like grow andlike mature where we are like. Kind of like more focused on like adoption morelike mass adoption in a way. How do we make it easier for the end users? Thatwas always not the plan when we started. Like, it was like, Hey, get whoever isusing DeFi or our, like crypto today.

How do we get them using our project?But now it's more like, okay, how do we get like the next like million users,next billion users? Without having to like, go through the whole process oflike a setup, get a Coin and whatnot, how do we make that easier for them?  

Julian: Yeah. And thinkingabout, to you thinking about that whole community aspect that, that Sid justbrought up, it is so critical to a lot of companies building in this space.

And describe why that is and also whatkind of almost superpowers do you gain having a community of people. In yourproduct building and then really just getting an insight to how to iteratequickly on things that are useful, not useful, and to continue to foster thatcommunity. What do you think about fostering that community?

What strategies do you use and howcritical it is, is it to your business and, and what you look to pursue andbuild further?  

Robert: Yeah. I've alwaysthought of a strong community as like your hedge against a bear market, likehaving a really good community. Has pushed so many projects through bad times.

Yeah. And also has made the projectsduring good times Excel. Yeah. I'd say that is a lot because these people put alot of energy into your product. They use it every day. They're probably thebest people to ask when it comes to what would you improve? What other featureswould you like to see?

And so yeah, these communities areextremely important. It's good to get one started before launching a project. Ithink people often make the mistake of, yeah, thinking if I make somethingreally cool people or useful people are really gonna want to come use it rightaway. But the community aspect is probably more important.

And getting marketing out there and peopleunderstanding what you're doing, not just, yeah. Hey, this is really cool.Cause the tech is also very new, right? I'm, I'm going a little bit of atangent now. The tech is really new and it's tough to explain some kind oftokens to people. I, I am not the tokens expert on our team, and half the stuffthat you talk about Sid can tell you just goes right over my head.

I need ex, I need 10 times explanation.We have other people on the team who are really good at that. One of them isnamed Hisham. He's not on the call right now, but he's basically the technomicsexpert and DeFi expert on our team. So anything DeFi he handles anyway. Yeah.Communities are important.

Bear markets, they'll get you throughthem. Yeah. And they're the best people to ask when you need feedback onthings. Yeah.  

Julian: And, and just to ask afollow up question there, before we had to sit, is, is how does it kind of helpyou with the community? It's like they, they're involved in the buildingprocess.

They're involved in kind of theirdirection for a lot of the different products you're building through. How, howdo you think of, of utilizing that ecosystem and then doing something differentwhere it's like adopting and getting more users on it and really putting theseproduct out to get more feedback?

How is that different than say, like,working at a traditional fast company or working at a company that has aparticular service or product? Whereas it, it got a very clear direction, clearvision. Whereas I think a lot of the, the beauty of Web3 and theexperimentation and seeing what actually works, how do you view kind of thatprocess and whether it's building partnerships or getting new users totroubleshoot things.

Siddhant: Yeah. So one thingthat you asked Julian was about like the, the feedback aspect of it, right?Like, this is a big prop or like a change that we have seen where in a, in abigger enterprise or like a end like a SaaS company, as you mentioned, it isdifficult to get your feedback across.

Like you don't know what the priority isgonna be. As a web pre-com, you have a whole like roadmap planned out. Peoplecan give feedback. There is voting there is much more transparency. Like youget to like, see like the projects like treasury, all of that stuff is superopen and like, it's kind of like govern by the community in a way.

So that's one big thing that we see. Atthe other point that you mentioned was about partnerships. We felt that was abig kind of like, like change in scenery. Where, let's say you wanna like talkto a company in web two, you have to know somebody at the company. You have tolike, put in a lot of effort to just get in touch with somebody at the, at abig company.

Whereas with Web3 projects, like I canreach out to like a CEO of like a Web3 project. Like instantly. People arethere on Twitter, on telegram, discord. It's just amazing. Like the, the, thechange that has happened in terms of like communication and like, like what thecommunity.  

Julian: Yeah. And, and whatwould you both say would be like the common trends for what people are lookingto build?

Is it, all FinTech, products that are adjacentfrom web, two products that are servicing and just kind of transitioning, is itconsumer products? What in particular are you seeing a lot of just, quickadaptation in terms of, the transition from Web3 to to web two to Web3, and thetype of product people are looking to actually build in the ecosystem?

Robert: Yeah, for sure. So,sorry, go for it. Go ahead. I was gonna say number one, yeah, FinTech isprobably the most obvious use case thing. Everybody would agree on that one.Not having a middleman is huge when it comes to any kind of financialtransaction, so that's number one. Sid and I and Layer3 has started to explore.

We, so we, we explored that space for abit. We got pretty good at that area and we wanted to expand the horizon andsee what else Web3 had to offer. Sid is, is more well versed than I'm in this,but I'll start. We're looking and building in the d i d and decentralizedentity space. Yeah. So we hope that Web3 can become a useful tool in thatspace.

Yeah. We're banking on it. We're trying.We're just, you gotta try. We're working with other d i d builders, peoplebuilding a decentralized identity space, and we're trying to find real usecases right now. Find a way to make money doing it as well. Cause you have toactually survive.

Right, right. While also providingvalue. So that's kind of where we're at. And we've identified a few things.I'll stop there though. Sid, do you wanna add anything else?  

Siddhant: No, I think, I  

think you covered most of it. One, onething I would add in like the, the DeFi or the finance sector, the FinTechsector is like the, the change of.

Like the speed like not relying oncentral like organizations, let's say. I, we, we did like a, a transfer, like aswift transfer like last week and it took like eight days to get to like theother country. And I'm like, that is insanely slow. Like we are so used tocrypto, like it doesn't even feel like real, uh uh.

So yeah, just like that change is gonnalike, like less reliance on like central like authorities or central, centrallike governments is like needed. Yeah. And touching upon like the second partthat, that Rob mentioned is the, the problem in the space of like verification,like today on LinkedIn, if you go.

And if you put like a job like, Hey, Iworked at Beyond Company Lines, there is no way to verify, like, you can't,like you as a company can't even go in and say like, Hey, this person did notwork. At, at my, at my company.  

Robert: Yeah. For example, wehave four people working at Layer3 right now on LinkedIn who don't work at la.

Yeah, right. We have, yeah. Anyway, keepgoing. Syd. Yeah.  

Siddhant: No, but how, how doyou ratify that? Like how can, how do you get like the authority to revokesomebody's like experience but at the same. Like you not being a bad actor. Sothis is where like we have, we are kind of like delving into like the space ofverifiable credentials and the IDs, as Rob mentioned.

Julian: Yeah. Yeah. Ravi, youwere gonna add something, I think. But I, I'm particularly interested in, inthe access to like new technology. And what I mean by that is it seems likepreviously before, let's say open source, there was a lot of gate keeping forwhether it's API protocols or, really tying in other technology into, say, aplatform play or, or anything that kind of centralizes, for lack of a betterterm.

A lot of different technologies buildon. What has Web3 changed in terms of the velocity that you can really build atand with this kind of fundamental philosophy that everything is gonna beshared, all the information is gonna be shared. What does that change in termsof the speed and how quickly is technology evolving in this space that we justhaven't seen before?

For those of us who don't, no. Sid, doyou wanna take the tech speed question?  

Siddhant: Yeah, for sure. That'sa big, big one, Julian, that he touched upon. Web3 is all open source. Likeevery project has their core contracts. Most of them have their UIs like open.Yeah. And this is a big shift from like web two.

And like the speed, as you mentioned,like if you release your project today, You open like your UI and like your,your smart contracts in two weeks. Like if your project is doing well, you willsee 20 different like forks and clones of your project. Just the rescannedrenamed everything like new on like a different chain or like just doingsomething.

But with that, it actually enables moreinnovation because maybe you missed something. Maybe there was a gap in yourmodel that somebody else got and then they've like kinda like tweaked to makebetter. So we've seen like this with, with one of the projects that wasreleased they released a very crude version, like it was the idea of school,but there was a lot.

Bugs and, and gaps and like the wholethinking. So a lot of projects have gone through like multiple iterations and Ithink like we are at like the fifth generation of like iteration in just like,I would say like six months. And like, wow, every iteration has just gone likebetter and better. In terms of like, of that project's  

Julian: like essence, Yeah.

Yeah. And, and Rob, what, what do youthink this means in terms of, when you think about, you mentioned monetizingand I don't, I don't think a lot of us understand kind of the mechanics behindbeing able to run a company, build with developers, have everybody kind ofinvolved in this ecosystem, manage a community.

But how do you keep the lights on as aWeb3 company building in its space? What are, what is extremely unique aboutthe structure of a Web3 company in the sense that you are able to monetizebased on, community output work, all these different things that traditionallyit was like, go get clients, and then pay for your product, and then scale thatas high as you can.

How do you kind of, how, how, how wouldyou describe that to, the mechanics behind that for us that don't.  

Robert: Yeah, I mean, you're alot more free to decide how you want to make money on your, on your protocol atyou're building. You could literally go the old classic web two route if youreally wanted to do something subscription.

Like, yeah. But what people usually do alot, from what I've seen and Sydnee can correct me here, I'm not the DeFiexpert on our team, but people usually skim fees off of things. Like if you'reexchanging tokens, right, you'll skim a fee. If you're depositing into a vault,you'll. Deposit fee, withdraw fee.

But the one thing that I think isextremely interesting about what Web3 offers that Web two doesn't offer when itcomes to revenue models is the sharing aspect of it. You can really create somenew types of incentives for users of your protocol or your project where youcan give them a portion of whatever you're.

So it's almost like everybody is, is isearning together or succeeding together, and that really ties in extremely wellwith DAOs because if no one's owning the protocol who is actually whose bank isthis going into, who's, who's earning all this money, right? It's nice ifyou're a token holder, you're like an equity.

Stakeholder in let's say a web twocompany where you earn X amount from profits from the company or something likethat, like a payout or a dividend, same kind of thing, um, with Web3 now, butit's applied to DAOs. Yeah. And you can buy into that really easily, evenwithout being, this is the, this is the whole regulatory part.

Like without being an accreditedinvestor. Yeah. You can get access to these interesting projects. And if youare smart enough to read through the docs, you have a computer sciencebackground, you can understand. This token omics model actually seemssustainable. And these people aren't just another classic boom bust ICOproject.

You can invest in something like thatand that's the coolest thing I think personally, Syd, you can, you can take,you can add to that if you want, but uh, in the Web3 space versus web two.  

Julian: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. And,and tell us a little bit more about the traction of, of Layer3. So you've beenworking on quite a few different projects, said you, you get a lot of work inthe, in the financial space, and now you're, you looking at the transition.

What's been exciting about the tractionyou've had thus far in terms of how many people are building on it, how many,how big the community, how many users. And then also particularly excited aboutthe next chapter of Layer3 and what you're aiming to build and continue thatprogress. Tell us a little bit.

Robert: Yeah. Sid, do you wantme to tell him like the structure of like Layer3 real quick? And then do youwanna talk about gatekeeper a little bit? Yeah, go ahead. Okay. So I mean, I'lljust jump in real quick. Start. Yeah. So Layer3, we've worked on a lot ofdifferent projects and the current, focus for us is a project called Gatekeeperthat we've built internally.

When we started Layer3, at first wethought we would be a consulting, um, a Web3 consulting cuz of our experiencefor the past two years in Web3 business. And development firm alongside beingan r and d firm, building new ideas, coming up with things, building them,trying them out, seeing if, investors want to invest, seeing if we can raisemoney through what I was talking about with the sharing stuff with like DAOsRight.

And community members. So right nowwe're working on a project called Gatekeeper, which is in the decentralizedidentity space. And our, our model is kind of, We've gone, we're building inWeb3, but our model for revenue is more towards, I'd say, web two. Anyway, I'llstop there and Sid can talk about traction for gatekeepers specifically andlike how we're feeling about it in the space.

Siddhant: Yeah. So Layer3 is Iguess journey. Kinda like we, we went through like multiple clients. We feltlike it was school to like work on different projects, but we always had thatitch to like work on our own idea and like our own project. So we kind of.Stopped, like taking like on like more client projects.

And we have all kind of like focused on,on our internal project, which is gatekeeper. And it's been fun, like we'vebeen building for the last five months like doing this day and night. And it'sjust kinda like a web 2.5 product. Like it's not just Web3 nots, web two, itkinda like ties both worlds together.

It's kinda like an aggregator platformfor access controls and identity points. So like, let. Beyond company lines. Ifyou want to only give access to people like who are paying like a subscriptionor who hold like a Julian nft, you can gate this podcast pretty easily for frompeople to like listening to it.

This way, like we are helping creativesmonetize their own work. We can help like give access to like exclusiveproducts. Like maybe I'm like a listener of your podcast. 10 videos in a row, Iget like a hot streak. I get like a exclusive merch that I can buy from yourstore could apply in multiple places.

But the idea is giving more to theidentity, like data point. And like not selling of like the data point. So likethe user is still in control of like their own data. Yeah. Like movingforward.  

Julian: Yeah. And I said, Iknow you have to jump into a sentence here, so just to double up on this, on,on this next clip.

How, how does the, the identity fence isso fascinating. Web3 being that you can validate and also the whole, the wholeidea behind you can kind of, opt in your information to then be monetized orutilized by the application and, and kind of maybe they're training AI modelsto, to really understand your user preferences and things like that.

And then you can collaborate betweendifferent brands. How are, how was it done before? In terms of identifying thedifferent, points of proof for that individual and what does the change reallymean for people wanting to own their own data and validate their identity andreally kind of avoid any bad actors who want to steal their information.

How does that level of, of security andsophistication come with the Web3 and in that whole transit?  

Siddhant: Yeah, for sure. So thelike, like take an example of like Ticketmaster. We, we take this to explainthis super easily. Let's say Taylor Swift concert tickets went live, like 80,90% of them were bought it and they were bought by a scalpers.

And like nobody, like not a fan couldlike get in on like those tickets. And that's like a huge problem becausethat's creating like a secondary. That is the easy way to stop it is like,let's say Ticketmaster could have given early access to, let's say, top oneperson fans on Spotify for Taylor Swift.

This means early fans would get likeearly access to get in. And like the users data, like the problem we here isthere's two big web two companies, like two giants and they don't wanna likeshare like data across. And this is where like Web3 is connecting both thoseplatforms because Spotify could issue like these NFTs verifiable credentials.

Hey, I 50 now I just go on toTicketmaster and I, I verify like, hey, I'm a Swift, I hold this from Spotify.Give me early access to, to purchase this ticket. So it's connecting likebigger enterprises who normally wouldn't share this data across so yeah,that's, that's one, one gap that we are seeing that we are trying to solve.

That is the aspect of security, like thedata privacy part of it. I won't go into too much details, but, but it's allkinda like using like new technology, like zero knowledge, proof andcryptography to kind of like hold the user data within, like with, withourselves rather than storing it and submitting it to like some other company.

Julian: Yeah. Yeah. And Syd, Iknow you have to jump for in in a second here. So real quick is there anythingabout Layer3 that the audience should know that you're particularly excitedabout? Something that did just train our eye or keep our ear out for somethingyou're building. Any update? Is there anything cool that, that we should beaware of?

Siddhant: Yeah, for sure. SoGatekeeper is our, our, like, our current project and we are starting to kind,like go live pretty soon onboard. Like people hope to see like gatekeepers,like access controls being used in multiple places. That's, that's kind likeour focus right now.  

Julian: Amazing. Amazing. Itwas such a pleasure having you.

You have to jump first and pleasurehaving your time. And then and we'll make sure to share this and let leteverybody know what you're working on. Appreciate that, sir.  

Siddhant: Pleasure. Yeah. Thanksso much. Nice job.  

Julian: Get outta here.  

Robert: Si  

Julian: Rob. Yeah. Route backto you. I'm, thinking about external factors, thinking about internal, what aresome of the biggest risks that Layer3 faces today?

Robert: The number one thingis funding. Yeah. So we have. Been self-funded since day one, like we've beenfunding our own thing. And from revenue we've, we've made from previousventures, we've built up a treasury. Treasury has a certain, a certainlifespan. Certain runway. And so, we are a startup and we're not currentlymaking any money from our product that we're building.

Yeah. But we do think it has potential.So we're, we're, we're betting on it, right? Yeah. So, That's the existentialthreat that exists, but at the same time, I, I don't think I'd change it. Ithink we're learning a ton from this. Yeah. Like, I have never had some of theconversations before in my, in my life that we've had in the past, like three,three months or so, needing to get rid.

It really sucked, but need to get rid ofpeople who've been with us for two years. Yeah. Two and a half years. Trying tobe more efficient with the time we have, cutting back on what we think is worthspending time on, but it's really grounded us again. And I think if we wereliving back in the bowl market where everyone was spending on all sorts ofstuff, we would kind of still be in that ferry land and mode.

Yeah. Mentally where I think we, even ifwe. Let's say four times the amount of money that we would have currently todayon our treasury, we would probably have burned through it at the same rate.Like we would've, we would've scaled up to a point where it was unnecessarybecause we were so used to it.

But now I'm, I'm pretty grateful forwhat we've gone through because our whole perspective has changed. We'd pullback on spending and we go, okay, anything that we're spending on it isextremely deliberate. Yeah. And so as we scale, I am pretty. I, I wouldn't doit with anybody else. Our team, we have, we all balance each other out.

We hold each other accountable. We'retrying to watch out for the budget and shout outs to our CFOs. And he's not onthe call right now, but he fought against the other three of us when we weretrying to spend, he was like, guys, nope, we're not spending, I'm not lettingyou guys do this. We gotta, we gotta hold our ground.

He's gotta hold his ground there. And hedid. I'd say if we scaled now, we would do a much better job at scaling. If wehad started scaling Yeah. During the.  

Julian: Yeah. Yeah, it's, it'ssuch a good perspective and I, I've heard a lot of founders echo the samething, which is, because of the circumstances really helps you operate andmaximum efficiency, keep things lean and also be super intentional about theother, whether it's resources or, tools that you bring in to really kind of thinkof, of what's gonna be valuable and what's the ROI of everything to.

Be, not only operationally effective,but cost effective as well. And thinking about, if everything goes well,what's, what's kind of like the long term, vision for the company?  

Robert: Yeah, that's a greatquestion. we're all pretty like-minded people in that we, in our respectivefields have all built something and like building.

Regardless of what field we were inbefore we worked on Web3 together. Yeah. And we're all friends in real life aswell. And our, when, when we talk, like what we get excited about is, hey, wewanna be able to come up with a, a new idea. We want to see if it's worthworking on. We wanna build it, we wanna try it out.

Go through test runs, iterations. And Idon't think we would wanna change doing that regardless of the size that we getto. I don't know if Amazon's a good example. I'm in Seattle right now, Amazon'sbased here, but I don't know if Amazon's a good example. Maybe it could be.Their slogan is every day is like day one or something like that.

I mean, whatever. It's a good slogan, Iguess. Right? And so I would like us to not stop building new things regardlessof the product that we end up building. Yeah. Um, of course, in. Time period.We do need to focus on one thing. Yeah. And I think we've realized. We tried tobuild two or three products at the same time, actually, and that went horriblywrong.

Word of advice to anybody else? Anyfounder's trying to build something as a team? Multiple things. And hedge,don't do it. Don't even bother trying. Yeah. Focus on one thing. It probablysounds obvious saying out loud, but I, we didn't think so. We were like, we'rean r and d firm. We can build three things at once.

Mm-hmm. And then whichever one doesbetter, we'll pursue, but it's. Yeah, it doesn't work that well. Yeah.  

Julian: Yeah. It, it's likewhen you're building a company, even if it's a singular product, there's somany ways you can go even within that. I, I assume you're, you're focusing onother products, it stretches you a little thin in, in a lot of different ways,but it's hard when you see so much opportunity, so much possibility and othernew technology, I'm sure is just, you're, you're, you're chomping at the bit toactually get involved with it and start using it and learn more about it.

I love this next section of, of, of theshow. I call it my founder F faq. So I'm gonna hit you with some rapid. Andwe'll see what we get. Okay. Sure. First question is, what's particularly hardabout your job?  

Robert: Ooh relationships.Yeah, I'd say so for me, I don't know if somebody else on the team might bedifferent for me, relationships between everybody on the team and relationshipswith employees.

Yeah. Yeah, it's a tough balance,especially with a small team and a remote. People can feel really isolated. Theclassic remote stuff. Yeah. But also just trying to be, trying to be a normalhuman. When you're talking to somebody over the phone, they're not just youremployee, it, it doesn't, some people say yeah, they are somehow, I don't know.

I don't feel like, I don't feel likethat. And I feel really responsible for a lot of the people. Working at Layer3and who were working at Layer3. And it sucks when you know someone for twoyears, you talk to 'em every day and then you have to tell 'em like, yo, wedon't have enough money to pay you anymore, and they gotta leave.

Yeah. That's the worst. The, everybodywho has, they're doing great. They're doing fine, they're doing good things,but I would like to be working with them. So that's always a bummer. And younever know if they can come back because people need full-time jobs. They havebills to pay, they'll go somewhere.

By the time that you can pay them or youhave bandwidth, they might not be a. Yeah, it's a relationship, say.  

Julian: Yeah. And what's part,you, you've mentioned kind of a, a common experience a lot of founders talkabout, which is just having to hire in fire and being that it's just a lot of,stress, it's a lot of different kind of feelings and emotions that come alongwith this, especially if you've been working so intimately for, that amount oftime.

And what's something that, you'velearned through that process that you think, you're better at, but you wish youwere better at? Earlier on as a.  

Robert: Yeah. Oh, okay. Yeah.Hmm. One thing, actually, let me think specifically through the firing andhiring process.  

Julian: Oh, you can open itup, you can, you can even talk about other things that, in terms of the founderexperience has been extremely, extremely, valuable to learn.

Um, I'll start with the firing  

Robert: and hiring  

Julian: process and or how,what I've learned from that.  

Robert: I've learned it'snormal. You, it doesn't feel normal when you do it for the first time becauseit isn't normal for you. But in the grand scheme of things, it is very normalthat that kind of thing happens. And to detach self a little bit from it andnot blame yourself too much, but blame the situation.

Yeah. And the circumstances is better.And then also along those. Not drawing it out and like apologizing like crazyto the person that you have to let go. Just tell them straight up how it is.Right. Um, Having like a why is good, like we really just don't have bandwidth.If it's because of their performance, then it is because of their performance.

You should tell 'em that. Yeah. Onething I've also learned from that is I think I actually made a mistake on thisone the first time I did it. But you need to continually tell people if they'reperform. Poorly before you fire them. You can't just come in and fire somebodybeing like, Hey, you didn't do all gone.

Yeah. Because they need to have chancesto improve. I think I made a mistake. I did. We did. Like I was somebody and Ithink it was my fault in not. Taking enough of the blame for their performanceto the rest of the co-founders and to me to, when I reported them, I was like,Hey, this person isn't doing well.

But I didn't really tell the personenough. Sure. They were doing well throughout the way. Yeah. And then when Iended up firing them, I thought about it more. I was like, man, I actuallythink like I was the one who didn't help them get any better. I don't thinkI've told the guys that either actually yet.

But ever since then, it wasn't importantfor them to know at the time. But ever since then, Better about giving littlecheck-ins to people.  

Julian: Yeah. Yeah, it's so,it's so important. I feel like, through that learning process, but also, it'soften that you kind of saw the, the level of impact I guess you could have witha lot of different touchpoints and, and reevaluating them skills or theprogress and, and giving people a chance.

I think that's something a lot offounders do learn along the way. Awesome to hear that it kind of has created anew perspective forward when going through that process. And I'm sure it helpswith hiring too and thinking about who you can communicate with and all, allthe, all the things that create a positive ecosystem.

I always like to ask this question causeI love how founders extract knowledge from anything that they ingest. Whetherit's early, near career or now, what books are people influenced you the most?A other co-founder, because that's a shitty. Oh, what books or people haveinfluenced  

Robert: me the most? I have avery unique, lucky, well, yeah.

Unique and lucky situation. I'd say Myparents Infl is having, is that a bad answer? I mean, everyone's i's, parentsinfluenced them the most, but my parents specifically, so my dad and my mom,they started a business together. A long time ago in Hong Kong, actually, ofall places. Mm-hmm. They started a coffee shop in Hong Kong that's where I wasborn.

And so they, yeah, they ran a coffeeshop in Hong Kong. They've started other businesses. They're just very businesspeople, business oriented people. I guess a good lesson that I learned is totry to have someone that you can talk to who's. And it's so basic and such asimple piece of advice who's gone through it before.

Because for example you might get into anew space you've never been in. Like for me and the guys that was law and legalstuff. Cool. Yeah. As a developer, no one on our team has touched anythinglegal related. And I remember the first time that happened, it seemed like theend of the world we had, we thought we'd have to shut down our project.

We thought things were we, it was like abomb went off and I didn't know who to talk to. And so I called my dad and mymom and I was like, Hey, have you guys handled something like this before? Haveyou heard this from a lawyer before? They go? Yeah, yeah, yeah. We've heardstuff like that. Like don't worry, don't worry.

Go talk to, go talk to another lawyerand get a second opinion, like a second doctor's opinion. So we did that. Thatwas the first piece of advice they gave me anyway, and ended up getting anopinion. Went down a different path, everything was fine. But having someonelike that is extremely helpful for sure.

Yeah. Terms of books and other peopleoutside of family. This is my favorite podcast. By all time, or by all time ofall time. The All-In podcast. Yeah. Yeah. Do you know the All In podcast? Yeah,yeah, yeah. Familiar. Hands down. Any founder, any founder who's out thereshould listen to the All-In podcast. I, I believe that is true.

Yeah. These four guys what the two,Davids Chamath. Baha, and Jason. Canis, I believe they run the podcast. They'reall friends. They have different, they all have very different opinions,different backgrounds. They remind me a lot of, a way more intelligent and wellspoken version of our team. Yeah, yeah.

Because we're much younger. We're, we'regetting into it. Right. And I feel like we were kind of at where they were at inthe past. Yeah. And I'm seeing all these things they've, they've done, they'veexperienced they challenge each other all the time. It's a. Podcast to listento. If you wanna understand how to have a debate with somebody in a productiveway.

Sometimes they don't have productivedebates, but they call themselves out. And they all have very differentopinions and you can see how maybe working with, even though they're notco-founders at the moment, but working with your co-founders might feel orsound cause you become that close to them.

Like they're your friends, like thesefour guys on the All in pod. And they talk about similar topics and they talkabout macro. And how that's affecting venture capital, how it's affectingfounders tech, all sorts of stuff. Yeah. I would suggest that podcast to everyfounder. Yeah. It's amazing.  

Julian: And I mean, you echoso many similar responses in the fact that you have to have the network ofpeople to be able to rely on in situations where you're unfamiliar and thenalso the, the finding the resource that connects with your currentcircumstances or.

Is money and it, it, it helps you, helpsguide humans, love, extract the anecdotal knowledge to add to their life. It'sawesome to cue that you kind of used those two tools to really kind of take onthe, the difficulty, even the growth with, being a founder with, with othersto, to kind of help expedite maybe a lot of the learning that comes withexperience, but you kind of balance that, balance that out a little bit more,effect.

And then we're coming through the closeof the show here, so I always like to ask to make sure that we didn't leaveanything on the table. Is there any question that I didn't ask you that Ishouldn't have or that you wanted to answer? Anything we left on the tablehere?  

Robert: No. No. You did agreat job, man.

Yeah, this was a pleasure. Thanks forhaving me on and for Sid. I  

Julian: appreciate it.Appreciate it, Rob. It's so exciting to not only learn about three, what you'rebuilding, the different, projects that you were working on, but how you'vetransitioned, how you really focused on, the current project and what it reallymeans to the evolution of the product, but also the company and, and where youare headed and the direction you're looking to go.

So, last little bit is. Where can wefind you? Where can we support the founding group? Give us your plugs. What areyour LinkedIns, your Twitters, your website? Where can we be a fan of not onlyRob, Sid, and all the other founders, but Web3 and Layer3? Yeah.  

Robert: Um, I would go tonumber one, go to Layer3.software.  

From there you can kind of see everythingwe're working on. You can also jump to, I believe, our LinkedIn profiles fromthere. And we have a Twitter on there. We have a discord. You can jump into ourdiscord. It's not extremely lively at the moment. Usually our project Discords,like our specific projects become more lively versus our business discord isn'tas lively.

There's no real reason for people to jointhat unless they're working with us as partners. Right, right, right. But youcan jump in there if you want, and ask questions or follow us on Twitter andthen check out Layer3 dot.  

Julian: I may think. Robert'sbeen such a pleasure chatting with both you and Sid, and I hope you enjoyedyourself on Behind, Company, Lines, but thank you so much for taking the timetoday.

Robert: Thank you so much.Really appreciate you having us on. Of  

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