Chewing Glass – pencil flip

EPISODE SUMMARY

Chewing glass is what Solana developers do. Introducing the second episode in a new series on the Solana Podcast, Chewing Glass. Chase Barker (Developer Relations Lead at Solana Labs) talks shop with the most interesting builders in the Solana ecosystem. It’s for devs, by devs. Today's guest is pencilflip, a Solana dev who joined the Solana ecosystem just a few months ago, and in addition to contributing tools, guides and twitter threads for fellow developers, recently founded Formfunction, a marketplace for 1/1 NFTs. DISCLAIMER The information on this podcast is provided for educational, informational, and entertainment purposes only, without any express or implied warranty of any kind, including warranties of accuracy, completeness, or fitness for any particular purpose. The information contained in or provided from or through this podcast is not intended to be and does not constitute financial advice, investment advice, trading advice, or any other advice. The information on this podcast is general in nature and is not specific to you, the user or anyone else. You should not make any decision, financial, investment, trading or otherwise, based on any of the information presented on this podcast without undertaking independent due diligence and consultation with a professional broker or financial advisor.

EPISODE NOTES

Chewing glass is what Solana developers do. Introducing the second episode in a new series on the Solana Podcast, Chewing Glass. Chase Barker (Developer Relations Lead at Solana Labs) talks shop with the most interesting builders in the Solana ecosystem. It’s for devs, by devs.

Today’s guest is pencilflip, a Solana dev who joined the Solana ecosystem just a few months ago, and in addition to contributing tools, guides and twitter threads for fellow developers, he recently founded Formfunction, a marketplace for 1/1 NFTs.

  • 00:39 – Intro
  • 01:51 – pencilflip’s background
    03:30 – Working at facebook vs. web 3.0
  • 07:31 – How pencilflip got into crypto
  • 08:52 – Views on NFTs
  • 10:45 – Getting into Solana
  • 15:29 – Experience working in lower level
  • 17:56 – What was his method to learn Solana?
  • 21:01 – What’s the hardest concept on Solana?
  • 23:53 – How fast did he move from Rust to Anchor?
  • 27:35 – Building on Solana
  • 33:24 – Advice to people moving to Web 3.0

DISCLAIMER

The information on this podcast is provided for educational, informational, and entertainment purposes only, without any express or implied warranty of any kind, including warranties of accuracy, completeness, or fitness for any particular purpose.The information contained in or provided from or through this podcast is not intended to be and does not constitute financial advice, investment advice, trading advice, or any other advice.The information on this podcast is general in nature and is not specific to you, the user or anyone else. You should not make any decision, financial, investment, trading or otherwise, based on any of the information presented on this podcast without undertaking independent due diligence and consultation with a professional broker or financial advisor.

Chase: (00:38)

Hey everybody. And welcome to Chewing Glass the show where we talk to Solana developers building in the Solana ecosystem. Today, we have Matthew Lim, aka pencilflip. Matthew is actually one of the young bloods in the Solana ecosystem. I think I met him maybe two or three months ago. He was doing some really cool threads on Solana. So I reached out, we set up a call. He really dove into everything that has been going on in Solana and produced some really cool content. Everybody’s been watching and just really interested in what he has to say. So with all that, Matt welcome. And how’s it going?

pencilflip: (01:21)

It’s good. Thanks for having me on here, Chase.

Chase: (01:23)

No, this is great. I know you and I have been trying to plan this conversation for quite a while. We just kept pushing it back. Things happen. Crypto happens fast. So it’s great to have you today. I guess we’ll just go ahead and jump right in. One of the first things that I think probably really cool especially somebody coming from Web 2.0 into Web 3.0 is really just, what’s your background really interested to hear?

pencilflip: (01:51)

Yeah, so I guess before I dove fully into Web 3.0, I majored in computer science at Caltech. And then I went to go work at Facebook for a few years or Meta now, I guess. And so there I was working on a few different teams. First, I worked on integrity building out Facebook’s content moderation platform, which is the biggest in the world. We have like tens of thousands of content moderators, so building out the tools and services for them. After that, I switched over to AR VR, whereas helping build Ray band stories, like three band glasses with a camera and a voice assistant. And that was a lot more like a lower level protocol work, basically working on the communications protocol between the glasses in your phone. And then finally I was at Facebook NPE. It’s like an incubator inside Facebook, a bunch of smaller teams working on more zero to one projects outside of Facebook’s main family of apps. And for that, I was doing more full stack web development.

Chase: (02:43)

I mean, that’s pretty amazing. What languages are you actually working in when you’re working on this project at Facebook?

pencilflip: (02:51)

Yeah, so I guess it varied from team. When I was doing more web stuff, the backend is in Hack, which is like Facebook’s typed version of PHP. Front end is JavaScript or like Flow typed with flow. And then when I was working at AR VR, it was basically just all C++.

Chase: (03:11)

So C++, is that the only low level language you would work in at the time?

pencilflip: (03:16)

Yeah, at Facebook, it’s the only low level language I worked with.

Chase: (03:20)

Obviously Facebook Metaverse lots of things going on there, crypto. So how was that? How was your experience working at Facebook and then to follow up, how was your experience working on Facebook compared to what you’re doing right now in Web 3.0?

pencilflip: (03:38)

Yeah, that’s a good question, I think. To just in general, how I liked working at Facebook, I think it is like in the beginning, when I first came into the company, I was learning a ton, basically experiencing for the first time building products that people are using at scale. And then I think over time, my learning curve got flatter or I start learning things as quickly and then stop learning as much, which is a big part of the reason why I eventually chose to leave. And that was like, even though I was switching teams pretty frequently and switching to different text stacks. At the end of the day, you’re still working at this really big company. And back when I was at Facebook, there wasn’t as big of a focus on the metaverse and all that.

Although AR VR was a pretty big focus and in general I’m pretty bullish on AV VR. So it was really fun to work on that stuff there. And I’d say in terms of the differences between working there versus now doing some of my own stuff in Web 3.0, I think now I’m just moving a lot faster. Web 3.0 in general moves so fast. There’s new stuff happening every day. Huge things happening every day. Obviously on the regulatory side, things move a little more quickly too, because Facebook is bogged down by all these laws and GDPR and the FTC consent order. And in Web 3.0, most people, I think we’re ahead of the regulation and the regulation needs to catch up to crypto. So yeah, just like the speed at which things happen, I think is a big difference.

Chase: (05:06)

That’s actually… I don’t know. I was a little more surprised whenever I heard you say that Facebook is slowed down by regulatory things. And I guess it took me back a little bit for a second. I was like, wait, crypto, there’s lots of… Wait a second. People just ignore those for now until there’s actually something going on. So it was pretty funny to hear that. Yeah. So, I mean, that’s really cool in general, did you enjoyed working at Facebook up until the point where you ended up, I guess plateauing, as you say, like technologically?

pencilflip: (05:38)

Yeah. I think there’s a lot of pros and cons of working there. It is really cool to see how one of the biggest companies in the world runs thing. Just to give you an understanding of what the infrastructure looks like at that level, how things are organized. And also when you build stuff, you’re shipping it to build millions, if not billions of people, which is just a really cool thing. But on the other hand, right, you’re at a big company so the overall impact you have is a lot smaller. And also as you go into a big… Working at a big company, there’s a lot more processes in place too. So it’s a little harder to get things done, because you have to go through maybe multiple layers of people or multiple layers of processes. So yeah, overall I’d say there’s definitely good and bad parts, but I did enjoy working there. And I learned a lot of stuff.

Chase: (06:26)

The layers involved in the middle management and above middle management, below… All the different levels of management in this corporate… I mean, I came from the corporate world. I’m so glad I found crypto because that was somewhat the vein of my existence, to be honest. And I did a tweet the other day, just really thinking about that. And I was saying if somebody tried to sit me down and show me their spring NBC app, I literally might just die by having to deal with it. So it’s the experience going from that world has been really, and coming to Web 3.0 has been incredibly great for me personally. And it sounds like it’s the same for a lot of other people, but to your point about seeing how an organization like Facebook operates and being able to execute at scale like that, is pretty incredible.

And having people from that industry come here, hopefully what they learn is how to leave the bad and bring the good into crypto because there’s probably tons of lessons learned from Facebook, how things could be done better in crypto, but also how to keep the things that were not super efficient out of there, but it’s all very interesting stuff to me. So moving on, I would say the next thing is how did you get started in crypto in general? Like whether it was… You could start with how you got found out about crypto when you found out about it and then like how you actually ended up starting to get involved more on the development side of things.

pencilflip: (08:09)

Obviously the first thing I heard about was Bitcoin back in college and I read about it and I was like, “Oh, this is cool,” but I didn’t like pursue it that much. And then maybe fast forward to 2017 when CryptoKitties was a thing again, I was like, “Oh, this is cool.” And I got a CryptoKitties or two. And then I got-

Chase: (08:26)

Well, that nostalgia right there, man, CryptoKitty’s holy cow.

pencilflip: (08:30)

And then at the beginning of this year, one of my best friends was basically telling me about NFTs. And then I started looking into it more also based on all the activity that was happening. I actually did try to find my CryptoKitties, but I forgot my C phrase. So it’s gone forever.

Chase: (08:47)

Well, at least you didn’t give it away to somebody else who ended up stealing them. So I mean, maybe that’s a little bit better.

pencilflip: (08:52)

Yeah. That’s true. That’s gone forever. I’ve never getting that back. But anyways, yeah so at the beginning of the year I started looking more into NFTs and following things more closely. And then it was only really until a few months ago though maybe September, I think around September where I really started going in really deep and learning and reading and also building things and trying to figure out what is web 3.0 and how does crypto work and what stuff could be built on it?

Chase: (09:23)

What did you think about NFTs? Did you actually see value? And then when you started diving in, how did that change your mind?

pencilflip: (09:29)

A lot of people immediately get it. And then a lot of people are like, “Well, it’s weird.” And I was actually more on the latter side. I was like, “Huh.” I mean, I got the fact that, okay, it’s like people collect stuff and now you can collect digital stuff. I think that’s the most straightforward explanation for me, but I was still confused about like, okay, why are people paying all this money for it? In general, it was a little confusing, but I was kind of like dove into it more and both started using the products and like talking to different artists and creators and developers in this space, it started to become more clear what the utility was and why it’s actually a really awesome technology for both artists and collectors. So yeah. That’s how, and as far as like NFTs go.

Chase: (10:16)

Yeah, for me, I was never actually really skeptical. I just wasn’t completely sold on them as what they were. The art thing was great. But then as time went on, I’m like there’s communities forming around this. You now have this visual identifier on social media platforms. It’s where before maybe it was a sports team, you see this guy with his shirt and he likes the Chicago bulls, just like you do, so now you connect. Now you, simply scrolling through your feed on social media, like Twitter, you see an SMB or you see a thug birds and you’re like, “Oh, we’re friends now.”

It’s the community building aspect that’s has been pretty incredible to me. And then now beyond that, we’ve starting to see things with utility, like Genesis Go and different things like that that are trying to take it to a different level on how these things can be used. But it’s been really cool to see. So when you got into this NFTs, what was your next step in terms… You dove into… I’m pretty sure when we spoke about this prior a couple months ago, you didn’t go directly into Solana. Obviously, you started playing around elsewhere.

pencilflip: (11:32)

Yeah. And I guess just your point about the whole community thing. I think one thing I forget who said this, but so someone is talking about people have really expensive paintings in their house and the point is just people can look at it, but you know, realistically you probably only have 10 or 20 people over to your house, or I don’t know 50 people over to your house every year, as opposed to having a Twitter avatar and like literally thousands of people can see that. And so that’s like, well, actually these NFTs… More people are… They’re much more visible to many more people than traditional art just hanging in your house.

And yeah, as far as getting into Solana, I first started on Ethereum because that’s the biggest one. It’s the most resources, is it’s like the one that the people I knew were working on. And so I did crypto zombies and I started learning solidity. And then I eventually ended up building this pixel art marketplace on polygon, like a layer two for Ethereum, where you can draw and mint pixelar on the website. And so I was doing all that before I got into Solana.

Chase: (12:38)

Now that you’ve gone through all the experiences of Ethereum, at what point in time did you actually find out about Solana?

pencilflip: (12:46)

Yeah, I think I had heard of it when I was exploring Ethereum. I knew what it was, it was another L1, but I hadn’t really dove too deep into it. And the point at which I started looking more into it is when my partner and I, Catherine, we wanted to do an NFT collection and we were exploring which blockchain to do it on. And so that’s when I started looking into Solana more seriously because we didn’t want to do it on Ethereum. It’s too expensive. We didn’t really want to do it on polygon either because there’s not a great community on polygon as far as NFTs use this art collections. It’s more about gaming. And so even though it’s fast and cheap, we felt like Solan would be better because Solana’s also fast. It’s also cheap. And it also has this really thriving NFT community.

Chase: (13:34)

Yeah. You’re an Ethereum developer. Then the next thing is you’re like, okay, Solana’s the one. It’s cheap, it’s fast. It’s what we want to do. You started diving in and then where did you start and what was that experience like?

pencilflip: (13:49)

I think for me, my approach was, and this may be different for a lot of people, but basically I was like, okay, if I want to build on Solana and really dedicate a lot of time to it, I want to understand it pretty well. And actually have justification for me spending all this time on it as opposed to just relying maybe on like, “Oh, it’s market cap is going up.” Like coin price is really high. I want to know the tech behind it and know why it’s supposed to be better.

And so at the beginning I spent a lot of time just reading through the white paper, which actually is not that detailed. Reading through the medium articles about all of Solana’s different technologies and how it makes sense.

Chase: (14:30)

The core innovations.

pencilflip: (14:31)

Yeah. The core innovations exactly. Also, reading through Shinobi Systems, which is a validator on Solana, has a really good reference on proof of history and how it ties together with Solana’s proof of stake. And so really just trying to understand how the blockchain actually works, how it’s different than Ethereum and why the architecture allows for higher throughput, cheaper transactions. And that was really important because I wanted to understand that if I was going to spend all this time actually building on top of the blockchain.

Chase: (15:07)

Yeah. So you’ve you really deep dove into this, just to give a quick TLDR on the things that you were doing. You did some diagramming around accounts, you wrote some threads on PDAs, program derived addresses. You’ve done tons of deep dives into a lot of things like these exist and the documentation, but they hadn’t really been broken down into these bite size, digestible chunks that are easy to understand for newer developers or web 2.0 developers or people who really haven’t taken a dive into blockchain or an Ethereum developer, because lots of people try to do these one-to-one comparisons for accounts in the programming model.

And there really just aren’t that many. So it’s really important. And everybody that’s probably watching this, that knows who pencilflip is super appreciative of that. But through that process, you have a lot of experience with lower level languages. What was that experience like for you? I’m assuming you enjoy doing this or sorts of things. So maybe would you call that eating glass for yourself or do you just enjoy this so much that it’s not really that for you, this was just a fun little project to understand how Solana works.

pencilflip: (16:24)

Yeah, it’s an interesting question. I think, and I think PaulX was talking about this too on the podcast you do with him. But I think the hard part is not really learning REST. I mean, I think it can definitely be maybe more difficult, especially if maybe you’ve never programmed before then you’re probably going to have a hard time learning REST. But as like if you do know other languages then picking up another language, at least enough to write some basic programs and not too hard especially because… And Paul X also mentioned this, there’s no multi-threading in these programs, you don’t have to deal with race conditions.

Most of it is serial logic. You read some data, you write some data, you do some business logic. So the rest part is not super complicated, especially because Anchor provides you this very nice framework within to operate. Yeah. Like the C++ stuff I was doing at Facebook was way more painful because we were doing a lot of multi threading. You have to do all this address sanitization, thread sanitization to catch all these weird racing editions, which I haven’t done in Solana yet.

Chase: (17:28)

So working at Facebook is also chewing glass as well.

pencilflip: (17:33)

Yeah. They are definitely some engineers there that are… They’re chewing a lot of glass. So yeah, basically I was just going to say, I think just understanding Solana’s programming model and the way accounts work and the way that programs are structured was a little more difficult than the language part.

Chase: (17:51)

How did you work your way through that whenever you were trying to understand these things? Did you just take a one step at a time? Did you have a game plan or did you just dive in randomly all over the place? Because one of the biggest challenges right now, currently with Solana is we’re starting to have a lot more content, thanks to people like you and Paul X and many others who are creating, creating lots of content, but there’s no clear path to understanding those things.

And we’re doing something at Solana labs. And my dev team’s been working on structuring the actual path for understanding things and the order of operations in which to learn them, because that’s the biggest challenge. The information’s out there, but people have to cherry pick when and where, but it’s a lot easier if somebody says, this is the order that you learn things. It’s a lot more helpful, but then there’s some engineers who were open to just straight up diving code, but like, what was your method for really understanding these things? Or you just went along with whatever happened on the day.

pencilflip: (18:56)

Yeah. Yeah. It’s definitely a good question. And I think there’s like a lot of valid approaches. So mine isn’t like the right one, but basically the way I usually like to do things is, I read enough to get a basic understanding and then I’ll try actually building something. And then I can just reference things that I don’t understand or things that I need more information on as I build the thing. And so specifically I think Nader Dabit tutorial was really helpful. I followed that to get some basic scaffolding and a basic app up.

Also, Brian Friel wrote a bunch of really good guys and writing the front end and writing the Solana program. And so I followed those, built something on my own. And then as I’m building stuff, I would like maybe modify it or maybe I ran into something that I didn’t understand. So then I would look at the documentation and I think, one note too, is that for Solana, it’s really important to be able to actually understand the source code and look at the program library or look at Metaplex’ code because yeah, things are so early, it’s not really well documented. So I think that is just something you’ll have to do if you want to build in the space is get used to reading the source code. Yeah.

Chase: (20:04)

I, 100% agree, but there are definitely different types of learners out there. And I think we can still make that a little bit easier by going to that source and pulling out some of these smaller little snippets of code and walking through it, instead of just saying, “Hey, here’s a massive program. You can just walk through this yourself.” Not everybody’s used to learning that. Web 2.0, especially in the younger generations, like we’re in snippet heaven here. Like if it’s snippet, then I don’t want to touch the thing sort of, which is why we started to create the Solana cookbook.

It’s never going to solve all of your problems, but what it will do is give you some really good references to find it. Maybe it’s not because you’re finding out how to do it for the first time, but because you don’t want to have to dive that code again. And here’s a reference to something very normal that you would have to do on Solana and have to go back. So that’s what we’re trying to solve, but it’s always interesting for me to just ask these questions because parts of my job is developer relations is to just ask developers what sucks and what’s good and do more of the things that are good and do less of the things that suck and try to just continuously iterate and improving on this.

pencilflip: (21:19)

I mean, don’t get me wrong. I don’t think the status quo should be like, “Oh, everyone has to look at this source code.” And I think the cookbook is really helping with that. Obviously it would be preferable, if you could just look at some docs, the interfaces are clearly documented. Like, “Oh, here are the accounts that get passed in. Here’s the instruction data.” We’re just not at that state yet. But yeah, I do agree with you. It can definitely be improved and I think you, and all the stuff you’re doing and everyone else is doing with the Solana cookbook is a big step towards making it easier to onboard.

Chase: (21:50)

We’ve already discussed, what were some of the challenges, but if you had to pick the most challenging thing through your experience, which one of those would it have been? Which concept on Solana was the hardest to just fully wrap your mind around and be like, “Okay, I get it. But it took me two weeks.” Or however long it took you to figure it out.

pencilflip: (22:09)

Yeah. That’s a good question. I don’t know if this was maybe the most… Actually yeah, I think this was probably the most difficult and also the most important was just understanding how the account model works because after you understand that everything follows after. Like PDAs, it’s the same thing, except it’s derived from some seeds. So understanding how the cap model works and basically how the program state is separated from the program execution, which coming from Ethereum was a little confusing, I think just understanding that was the most difficult, but also the most important be because yeah, it’s underlying the entire programming model. The way accounts work.

Chase: (22:53)

I think in software in general and I’m guilty of this as well, is that a lot of people actually come just really looking for shortcuts. And it’s always important to know which pieces are the most… Which pieces are the hardest. Once the hardest stuff is understood, the accounts model, the PDA and the CPIs. Once you just can grasp these concepts, then your life gets exponentially easier because everything else is easy if you just buckle down and make your way through that.

pencilflip: (23:24)

And I think another key thing is, you don’t necessarily have to do the rest part of things in order to get as in the Solana. You can be writing front end code and just interacting with existing programs. Although you still probably have to understand a little bit about how it works, but the build space course, a lot of it is just interacting with existing programs and writing JavaScript or type script. And that can also be a very, or at least a little bit easier of a way maybe to get started initially.

Chase: (23:51)

Yeah. I think that it highlights a point that I’ve been trying to reiterate for a long time, is that you don’t need to know Rust to build on Solana. There’s so many projects out there or even if you just want to play around, but there are projects that are just hiring specifically for the front end Dapp side of things, where it’s just very similar to talking to a centralized API, as long as you know how to use Web 3.0.JS or any of these other front end clients. You don’t need to know Rust to build on Solana, because the thing is, you start on the front end building in talking to a blockchain or a centralized database. It’s very, very similar.

Then once you understand how it works and communicating using the RPC client that defines all of the methods that used to talk to those blockchains after you get that, then you’re like, “Okay, now I want to write my own program.” At least that’s the hope and buildspace has done an amazing job. They’ve had… I know at least over 10,000 people have done that getting started and they love it. And you mentioned Nader and he also has done an incredible job with his tutorial. That’s one of the most popular for sure. How quickly did you jump from doing the Rust bit moving to Anchor or did you just do that almost immediately?

pencilflip: (25:12)

Yeah. I think when I was getting into things, Anchor was already pretty popular and so I started out by writing Anchor programs, like toy Anchor programs. Yeah, this was actually a big question for me when I was starting out. I was like, “Should I learn Anchor first? Should I learn how to write programs with add Anchor? And I remember asking some people in the discord and getting their opinion and looking back at it I think, I mean, either one is fine to be honest, I think it’s easier to start with Anchor obviously, but I do think it’s super important to be able to understand programs written without Anchor just because so many programs are written like that.

Like the Solana program library programs, a lot of them aren’t written with Anchor, although they’re Anchor rappers or the Metaplex programs, a lot of them are not written with Anchor. So if you need to like… you basically need to be able to understand those programs if you’re doing coding on Solana. And so you need to be able to understand programs that aren’t written with Anchor as far as writing programs though, I think just default to Anchor.

Chase: (26:13)

Yeah, for sure. And I think as Anchor matures, I know the Anchor book is now out and Paul X has been working on that, which is going to be incredibly valuable to that. There was mostly minimal examples in the past and just like Solana has been working on… Solana labs has been working on all things like Anchor has been really cranking up the heat with getting out content and making it easier to onboard to there.

I think this year is going to be huge. I said it the other day on Twitter that I think that in one year, probably less than that, Armani says two weeks, whatever that means, but that the developer experience on Solana is going to be completely unrecognizable as it is today. People are not going to have to really ask much questions. We’ll get to a… We’re probably going to be at a place where you would have to be at least a junior developer who understands programming concepts could come in and within a certain amount of time, maybe two weeks, maybe a month, be able to self onboard to Solana without having to just constantly ask questions.

Chase: (27:19)

That’s the ultimate goal. My ultimate job is to put myself out of a job by making the developer experience good that there’s no need for Chase anymore.

pencilflip: (27:29)

I think that’s a very hard job to accomplish. So I think your job security is still is fine.

Chase: (27:36)

No, I agree. I always make that joke, but the reality is like it’s somewhat of an unachievable goal to an extent and I’ll never achieve it, but we just keep striving to get there, but yeah, I’m super excited for this year and to look back on this year, next year, to see this conversation, the last conversation, all the things that have happened and how easy it is for some new developer to basically onboard to Solana. So, and again, this is thanks to people like you and Brian and Colin, all these different guys who are just altruistically contributing to the cookbook, writing their own content. I could not have scaled myself and developer relations without that. It would be 100% impossible because by the time that me as one person writes a piece of content, it’s outdated in like a week.

So that’s how fast things are moving. Yeah. Just to move on, this whole series of Chewing Glass is really to have the conversations we’ve been having. Like what was your experience like and how you got into it? But what I understand is, even though you started out as just a noob engineer on Solana, you actually have recently formed your own company on the Solana blockchain. And definitely, we’re not going to talk about it too much, but I will definitely let you talk about what you’re building.

pencilflip: (29:08)

Catherine and I… Catherine used to be a designer at Instagram. We are starting this product and this company called Form Function. And basically it’s the best way for independent creators and artists to make a living off of NFTs. That’s the longer term vision. The shorter term, we’re just building the best marketplace for high quality, one of ones, high quality, one of one art, and for these independent artists and creators on Solana.

And so you can think about other marketplaces like Magic Eden and Solana as more catered towards collections. The things most people are buying on there is collections like DJ AVEs or Solana monkey business, or et cetera, et cetera. And it’s not so much focused on these more independent artists or photographers who do their own art. They don’t really have basically a class seat at those platforms. And so we really want to build a place where those independent creators can be really showcased and their high quality art can be displayed and featured on our platform.

Chase: (30:12)

Like you said, the Magic Edens and the Solana arts and all the other ones out there they’re… I don’t think their platforms specifically is for collections, but that is where the world is. And there’s Holaplex and Metaplex’s spin up auction platforms are doing that. But to have a marketplace, that’s almost who knows? This is like an art gallery kind of of 101 creators who can come in here and create their own art. And it doesn’t have to be this big marketed thing. People can just… Those collections are not.. They’re community builders and some of them have utility, but this is like just shining a spotlight on these creators that have been gate keeped out of being able to get involved because of lack of technical knowledge and that’s how it’s been.

 

And I think this is going to… I’ve seen a couple people talk about it on the Twitter sphere lately about like 2022 being the year of creator NFTs, or like one of one NFTs for creators, and it’s super exciting. I’ve seen some really awesome art out there that I have really been eyeing. And there’s so many ways to do it. I’ve seen augmented reality pieces of NFTs. I’ve seen people doing paintings or photography and it’s happening more and more because tools like, it sounds like what you’re building are going to enable that to be a lot easier to happen.

pencilflip: (31:42)

Yeah, for sure. Yeah. Really excited for all the one of one stuff that’s been happening on Solana. I think it’s been growing, it’s going to continue to grow and really a big part of what we want to do is just improve Solana’s maybe culture or almost reputation, because I think sometimes people look at Solana and the NFT ecosystem and they see these board app derivative, where they see these soul planks.

And it’s just like, well, is everyone on Solana just copying the popular projects in Ethereum, and that’s definitely not true. There are a lot of awesome collections that are Solana native, but we also want to make it like a blockchain that’s known as well for this really high quality art like Ethereum has become and have it be associated with that because that’s good for artists. It’s good for collectors. It’s good for the entire Solana ecosystem. And it also gives these artists who maybe they don’t want to list on Ethereum for environmental worries, or maybe the gas fees are too high for them. It gives them a really good place to go and sell their art that otherwise, maybe they wouldn’t list at all.

Chase: (32:45)

Yeah. The, I do have some opinions on that and it’s definitely the case that there were some collections that are just straight up clones and a lot of people outside of the Solana ecosystem that don’t… They aren’t really following it. They look in there and they’re like, “Hey, why you guys just keep copying everything?” But if they actually were in the circles or bubbles that a lot of us are in, they would realize that the majority of these communities are also on the same page as them. They hate it as well.

There’s actually campaigns that campaign around these collections that are just straight up clones telling people, “Please don’t buy them. Please don’t buy them.” The reality is I have, maybe it’s a conspiracy theory, but I feel like people who are doing these sorts of clone things, they’re not necessarily Solana natives. And there’s no way to actually verify that. But these are grifters. They are traveling around seeing where the money’s flowing into and they’re doing whatever they can as quickly as possible to hopefully capture some money. And then they disappear.

It’s happening on Near as well. And I also spoke about this. I have a lot of sympathy and empathy for Near because it’s happening there. Those clones are moving to them. It’s going to happen. People are going to end up losing money. And the best thing that Near and or Solana still can do is to educate your community as quickly as possible, because otherwise lots of money is going to be stolen from people when these rugs are happening and a lot of them are. And if you see a project that’s a direct clone of something and you think, oh, this is going to be great because I can get it for cheaper. It’s not going to be great. I can promise you that. It’s going to be the opposite of great. It’s going to be very, very bad for you. So if you’re listening, don’t buy clones on any blockchain because it’s not going to work out. So that’s my little-

pencilflip: (34:42)

Totally agree with everything you just said.

Chase: (34:44)

That’s my little feel.

pencilflip: (34:46)

It was a great feel.

Chase: (34:47)

Exactly. So this was a great conversation and to hold round the whole thing off, what would be your advice to people to future builders on Solana, whether it be how they learn or what they should do, or where they focus their time? What would be the one thing that comes to mind to you right now that would be your greatest advice to people looking to get into Web 3.0 blockchain and Solana?

pencilflip: (35:11)

Yeah, I mean, so first of all, I love what Paul X said here was basically like, “Get started, dive in, build something, read something, try something, how just like gets started. I think that’s super important. And I’d add on that, get involved in the community. The Solana community is really welcoming and everyone’s like… I think everyone I’ve met is super nice and friendly and like wants to help. And that’s one of the best things you can do, both for the community, like give back to the community.

And also the community will get back to you. You can ask for help in these discords. If you DM them, people will probably help you out. And then it obviously helps when you’re building your own things because then you have a network of people to ask questions, to bounce ideas off of et cetera.

So yeah, I think it’s a great time to do it too, because Solana’s still relatively small. It almost feels like a family where a lot of the people who are really into it know each other. Yeah. It’s a really awesome place to be. So that would be one of my key pieces of advice, is just get involved in the community, make some friends and build some cool stuff.

Chase: (36:16)

Yeah. That’s amazing advice and it’s always just go build something and share it with people and just have a good conversation and send DMs to whoever you can find because they’re going to answer. This is a very strange time where you can DM a CEO of a protocol or whatever and they’re going to probably respond if it’s somewhat reasonable and to have that accessibility is a pretty powerful and don’t just sit back and submit resumes everywhere and think that’s going to be the best choice.

Because I get a lot of messages to myself saying like, “Hey, nobody’s responding.” I’m get involved. DM people. Strike conversations. People are literally getting hired to really amazing companies simply just by being consistent, persistent building things, being involved in a discord. And just, if anything, just start answering questions and helping people. Somebody’s going to pay attention to you and it could change your life in a very short amount of time so.

pencilflip: (37:18)

Yep. Totally agree with everything you just said.

Chase: (37:21)

Well, Matt, AKA pencil flip. It has been great. It’s been about a month and a half since we’ve been talking about this. It finally happened and I think the listeners are really going to love it. So thanks for joining man. It’s been a pleasure.

pencilflip: (37:37)

Yeah. Thanks for having me on Chase. It was great coming on and chatting with you. Always enjoy talking Solana and everything with you it’s always a ton of fun.

Chase: (37:44)

All right, everybody. Thanks for listening.

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