Mint Season 6 episode 26 welcomes Bello’s Co-Founder and CTO, Ellie Farrisi. Ellie and I have been working on Bello for the last 6 months and we’re excited to debut our genesis episode explaining the role of data in the web3 creator economy and our grandiose vision for Bello.
I hope you guys enjoy our conversation.
- 00:30 – Intro
- 05:30 – The Story Behind Bello
- 19:48 – What We Have Been Up to Since August 5th
- 23:53 – The Day-to-Day Building Bello
- 26:44 – The Macro Problem We’re Solving With Bello
- 30:08 – Why Should Bello Exist in the World?
- 46:38 – Thoughts On Privacy in Web3
- 50:59 – What’s Next For Bello?
- 52:54 – Outro
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Ellie Farrisi, on the podcast, live in action. What’s going on? Thank you for making the time.
Ellie Farrisi: Of course, hello there. How’s it going?
Hello there. This is a very special episode. Very near and dear to our hearts. I guess this is like the official sort of introductory episode to Bello. And what Bello is and why we’ve teamed up to build Bello.
Ellie Farrisi: I’m excited. Let’s do it.
I’m excited too. So, I think a good place to start Ellie is, who are you? What does the world need to know about you and how did you get your start into web three? And I think we can start with your intro and then introduce Bello; I think that’s a good place.
Ellie Farrisi: Yeah, would love to. Yeah, so about me, I am a full stack engineer. I’ve been coding since I was in high school, took my first programming class, then ended up going to school for that, I studied at Temple University in Philadelphia. So, I’m from the East Coast originally. During my time at Temple, I had the opportunity to intern and then work part time at Lockheed Martin. So doing sort of way opposite of web three stuff, way more on the government contract, work very bureaucratic and slow paced, but learned a ton got to work on some pretty important projects. At that time, though, I decided I was going to take my next role, which was working at Comcast headquarters in Philadelphia, where I went to school. And so, at Comcast, I learned a ton of different things, front end, back end, CICD, DevOps, all that sort of stuff. Really, you know, great opportunity there, getting to work for big enterprise and see sort of all this how those systems work. And during school, I kind of always been really passionate about like education and teaching and diversifying computer science, as you, we all know, computer science is not a very diverse field in terms of gender equality, or at least it’s getting better, but has a long way to go, in my opinion. And so, I was trying to do my part to help expand that. And so, I actually was had the opportunity to start a student Oregon School, to teach computer science and so, to local high schools and do workshops, and those sorts of things.
So, organize a group of about 30, 35 students to go to different high schools, lead, mentorship programs, all that sort of stuff, which was a really amazing opportunity and experience to be able to, like, oversee so many different amazing, talented individuals. I guess that’s kind of also when I got my intro into crypto a little bit, was in like 2017 2018. I remember everyone’s talking about like this thing called Bitcoin, in my math building. And I was like, kind of curious about it, but didn’t pay too much attention. But then I had the opportunity to do a semester long project on emerging technology. And I actually chose blockchain and looked at it more from like the enterprise side, looking at distributed ledger in general, looking at peer to peer networking. I spent this semester really focusing in on that, but I decided to go more of the traditional route post college. And so, I actually took a position with Comcast, NBC Universal, I was one of 15 people selected to join this rotation program, where we got to travel to different cities, work on different projects. And so, my first rotation was actually an at NBC, in Los Angeles doing cloud engineering. So basically, building out the back end, AWS microservice architecture for all of peacock and their content delivery that they had. So super, super fun, learned a ton there as well doing, you know, taking big data sets, transcoding them, updating metadata, all that sort of stuff to deliver to the client. But that’s kind of when I really fell into my love for web three.
So, I talked a lot about my engineering side of myself, but I think the other side of me is my passion for music, and sort of my involvement in music and how that’s kind of formulated to where I think Bello, why it’s such a passion of mine now. But in college, I also was around a lot of musicians and surrounded by a lot of people in the music industry. And so started doing some music management, sort of running a little local venue, doing all sorts of odd jobs. And then moving out to LA. I had a music collective, where I had a podcast and also was like interviewing different people in the industry, very web two stuff, though. And interviewed, actually, Jeremy Stern, the founder of catalog, who told me all about music NFTS, and I was just like, oh, my God, this is incredible, I see the vision immediately. Like, it made sense from the engineering side, from the music side, I just, it clicked, right. So, I started learning more as much as possible. I started learning solidity on the side, started doing some Eth global hackathons, tried everything in my power to bring like crypto into NBC, which is a little too early for them at the time, but I did get the opportunity to pitch a patent to universal theme park for this, like in park gamification of digital assets through like a Pokémon go as experience and they actually notified me as a few months ago that that patent is in the process of getting developed, everything so.
It’s been a fun, was fun to be able to have that opportunity to do that. But I kind of realized that my heart was in web three and I wanted to jump full time, so I left I VC and that was like in 2021, I believe in full time to join web three, working for a company called lunar crush, which does, which obviously, you know, Adam, you’ve had Joe on the podcast and obviously, will allude to it. That’s how we got the opportunity to meet each other as well. But yeah, so I worked there for about a year or so, a little over a year, doing full stack, front and back end. All sorts of odd jobs, everything, wore many hats there. And it was amazing opportunity and now I’m here working with you, my guy, Adam Levy.
The Story Behind Bello
Right. So, I’ll try to keep up with that. Because you have a lot of experience underneath your belt. And one thing, when we initially met ally, that I loved about your background is that, you’re very much a creator at heart, like you very much are. And I think it served as a great sort of advantage, when we were thinking and putting our heads together to basically build out Bello and solve problems for creators, especially in web three. It works in your favor, or at least that’s what they say, when you are the user and you understand the pin points. And I love that. And like you said, Joe has been on the podcast, big fans of lunar crush, Joe is I guess, like one of my indirect mentors as well, right? And sort of when I left my job working at a fund, help sort of navigate my way through the thick and thin. So yeah, a lot of connections. And the reason why I wanted to do this episode specifically and why I put you on the lineup, and part of it was one, we introduced Bello to the world on August 5, right? And then on August 8, we announced the new lineup of the season. And the entire season was focused around like web three social and demystifying data for, yeah, demystifying data for web two creators. And I wanted to have you on, so that we can sort of share the backstory of Bello, and talk about why we’ve been spending so much time talking to users and why we’ve been spending a lot of time building Bello, and how Bello came to existence. What do you think?
Ellie Farrisi: Yeah, I think for me, like the earliest conversations, I sort of remember was after Eth Denver, that was kind of I think that was the first time we officially met. And I remember getting lunch and everything. And then you had this music NFT event, right? At Eth Denver, and you had Queen George perform there. And I remember during the show it which she killed it, it was incredible. I was dancing the whole time. It was amazing. But I remember during that show, there was like a QR code, that you had all over the different the venue or the tables and all this sort of stuff and people could scan to get an NFT. And I remember, like, that was such a unique experience. Like I’d never been to an event where you know, you connected on chain and off chain directly while being in person. And I think it was after that, that we had been just doing calls like catching up with what we each other were working on. And that’s when you had brought up this idea of like, well, there’s no way that that her as a creator, who had people attending our events, like, she knows nothing about those people, right? And she has no way to identify like, what are these wallet addresses like people, real people attended this event. But all she sees out of these like numbers essentially.
So, I think that was for me, though, the earliest time that I remember us discussing this. And it’s kind of was just a back-and-forth conversation. And I think you especially can probably share more about like, and most people who’ve listened to mint, probably have or if they haven’t, should collect Adam’s season participation pins, because I think that’s a really revolutionary idea to be able to like track your listeners and your engagement season to season. And so, I think the same way that Queen George had this sort of issue of like, okay, I’ve given away these free things to people just to like, show that they’re involved with me, right? You did that with your community season preseason to season. And you also were faced with the same issue of like, well, I just have all these addresses. They’re just a bunch of like numbers and letters put together and there’s no clear way to really understand it. And I yeah, I believe that was like back in the springtime sometime and we were chatting about it. And yeah, it was definitely a problem that was very interesting for me to think about from the technology side.
So, that episode, so we did that February 2022. And I remember that specifically because that was the initial idea for Bello because we, like you said we were putting this event for Queen George and we connected the offline with the online and vice versa. And it kind of hit me because we minted like 200 plus free tickets. And those tickets were minted by Ethereum like oh geez and like passionate ecosystem and community members. And then they were going to come watch her in person. And it was like a weird sort of like, mix between tying together wallet addresses from online and then creating an experience for them offline person. And Queen Georgia, we were talking and I asked was like how much do you actually know about your listeners on Spotify? And she’s like, I know very little, I have like geographic data, so I can sort of see, like, if there’s a lot of listeners in New York and Kansas in LA, I know where to tour, right. But beyond that, it gets very weird, I was like, wow, interesting. Now you have all these collectors, 200 plus that collected your NFT, then came and watch you perform in person, you have all this interesting information that lies on chain, if you aggregate that data, you could probably learn something new about the people that come and watch, perform, and create better experiences for them, right and eventually find better ways to monetize in aligned ways. And then I sort of like sort of thing, I was like, wait, I have the same problem too, like you said, like, I give out all these pins. And it kind of hit me, I felt like if I knew more about who my collectors were, I could probably create better content for them, and find better ways to monetize them. So that sort of led to the entire sort of spiral spot on. And if you listen to that episode, Ellie, you’ll hear me talk because I published that episode, like late February after Eth Denver finished, you hear me talk about this problem, like you know nothing about your listeners, you know nothing about your collectors, who’s building this, right. And nobody was building it and I guess that’s sort of like the introduction, like, let’s go try to build this. So where do we go next?
Ellie Farrisi: Yeah. So, after that, you know, we continue conversations back and forth. And at the time, I was, you know, still full time working at lunar crash and pretty busy with just, you know, passion projects and stuff on the side. And so, said, Adam, why don’t we take this idea? Why don’t we go to Eth Amsterdam, work on it for a weekend, do a hackathon project and see what we can make out of it. And of course, you know, us both being travelers and people enjoy that we packed up, went to Europe, it was just the two of us with this idea. And you know, if anyone listening has ever done a hackathon like you can hack by yourself, you can hack with another person, or you can have up to five people, at least for Eth global and most of their events. So, we found two, three other engineers, and sat there for a weekend and basically recruited them around this vision. And I think I don’t know, I just remember that the energy of being there, and just staying up for like, hours, like, I don’t think we, I don’t think I left that chair for like, I don’t know, 12 hours straight, just sitting there coding and working with one or other engineer that was helping us at the time. And just like really banging out sort of the vision for this. And I think one of the things that I remember the most to is that, like during a hackathon, you obviously have a condensed amount of time. And when building a project, I feel like a lot of people, you have a million ideas, right? Like, it’s like, well, here’s this thing, well, we could do this thing, we could do this thing, or this thing. But I think one of the beauties of a hackathon is just trying to be like, what is like the most condensed version, concise version of this idea and how can you execute that? And I remember, Adam, you really like keeping everyone like, aligned with the vision and saying, like, No, this is the problem we’re solving, let’s run towards that. And so, we did, we kept building and I think within I don’t know, it was like 36 hours total, I forget the total amount but we, I think I got like two hours of sleep. Let me present the next day at like 8am to the judges and ended up being one of the finalists at the Eth global event in Amsterdam there. So was an amazing opportunity. The first time I ever spoke in front of like, I think it was like thousand something people there.
Something like that. I remember I was like sleep deprived. And like my heart was beating because I drink too much caffeine, too much coffee, and I was trying to like just like, control my heart rate by laying on a beanbag, before we went up. And it was it was the first time I participated in an in-person hackathon, I did a few of them during COVID. And yeah, I guess like online, like effed up and whatnot. But I remember after we did our first sort of pitch at like, 8am, to the initial court judges are like that was cool. Everybody has a good night, like 8:30 in the morning, have a good night.
Ellie Farrisi: I remember almost going back to take a nap.
Literally, literally. And then I get this email, you guys are finalists, and I sent it in our group chat and everybody started freaking out. We went and we did it. And it was one of the most memorable experiences for me, I still have that T-shirt from that hackathon.
Elli Farris: Oh, yeah.
I learned so much and we made a really great experience from it. And I think there was 165 projects that submitted, 12 or 13 were selected as finalists, and we were one of the 13. So, what happened next?
Ellie Farrisi: Yeah, I think from there, it kind of just like, formulated in, at least my mind, and I’m sure yours a little bit as well just like, oh, this was a real problem, like and I remember getting hit up by like tons of people who saw the presentation, or people who came up to afterwards like talking about like, how could they access? How can they work with it? And it was yeah, just solidifying that, like this is a need for the communities that we’re all involved in, this is a need for web three and was just also so exciting to work on and kind of being like hands in all pieces of it as an engineer, like I was just so you know, in thrall to keep building and yeah, I think from there it was, the three of us from the hackathon, you myself and Juan, who had kept working on it. And it was something we realized that like, okay, we want to get this to people as soon as possible, we want to get feedback on this as soon as possible. So, it was a next, you know, I don’t even, I guess like two months or so, we just were heads down building. And I remember, our goal was like before NFT NYC to have like, a beta version available, that we can start taking in waitlist and just getting something out the door. And I just remember, like, every night staying up really late, working on it nonstop, and all those sorts of things just to like, start being able to talk about this at NFT NYC. And I do remember that was the first time for me that I actually got to show, I think it was Alec King. I sat down, we got to like look together at his dashboard. And I remember was the first time I like I didn’t spend so much time just like coding and you know, whatever room I was, always night and I think that’s one thing as an engineer, you kind of forget that who you’re building for sometimes. Or it’s like, you’re just doing all this code or you see two lines of code that you forget to like, oh, yeah, there are people that actually benefit from this. So, I remember sitting down and like actually being able to show the dashboard and being like, wow, like, see the reaction, see the impact that the information that we were able to derive had on an individual creator’s life. So that to me was really impactful.
Yeah, I also recall when we did the presentation, too, we used Snoop Dogg from sound dot XYZ as like the premiere example. And when we played it, and we went on stage, we started playing like Snoop Dogg’s track from sound dot XYZ, to sort of like warm up the stage. And building that entire MVP on what ether scan APIs, just to sort of show the proof of concept. And then getting all these DMS, from Twitter, getting really great replies on the post and my Instagram story, kind of realizing wait, there is something over here, let’s keep picking at it and let’s see where we can take it. And then like you said, yeah, and NFT NYC came around, we did a very soft, like a very soft, soft launch. And we basically ran around, NFT NYC with QR codes on our phones, sneaking into these parties, trying to register for last minute, to them for last minute and just getting people to sign up and anybody that would listen to us, we just share what we were up to a Bello. And I remember that’s how we sort of built up our initial like beta test list, Prior to launching the product, you know, the private beta version of the product, August 5.
So, I’m Ellie, I’m trying to think back and it’s all blurry to me because from NFT, NYC, which I think was like in June, July to August 5, I’m trying to figure out like what went down during that month. Oh, you know what it was? At NFT NYC, we met this group called door hacks. And Dora hacks gave us our first grant, essentially, to bootstrap Bello because we weren’t in like the fundraising phase. And we just needed a little bit of dough, to keep up some infrastructure costs and to sort of like pay some outstanding fees that we had for maintaining the product. And Dora hacks was a first group that saw our vision, and we met at that coffee shop. And Steve was like, we love it, we want to give you guys a grant, no strings attached. And then that really kind of, like propelled us to the next phase to kind of prepare us for beta launch, private beta.
Ellie Farrisi: Yeah, I think it was and going that route for us was super beneficial. Because, you know, we were at a position where we were kind of, at least at the time, I was doing a part time and you’re you know, you’re still part time doing it with mentors, etc. But we weren’t on a stage where we were like, okay, let’s like quit everything and run and do this right this second. But we wanted to prove that this thing was real and this thing, like had users that needed it needed to use it or wanted to use it etc. And I think my experience now having like been able to create something and launch something out into the world, without having to go seek out funds from like fundraising, doing all this sort of stuff initially. It does allow you to have like validity to yourself, validity for the user base, validity as co-founders to be able to say like, okay, this is something that we build pure the X amount of people have used and have benefited from it right. And I think that’s something that, yeah, again, grateful to have that a little bit of funding that we got from grants early on. And we had a few other grants that we also received, that helped us sort of get to that stage. So definitely super beneficial.
What We Have Been Up to Since August 5th
Yeah, shout out to polygon and shout out to lens protocol, who also gave us grants. And yeah, sort of like using that fuel to keep the fire alive. And what have we been up to the last few months? So, it’s November 4 today, we did a private beta of private beta launch sort of bello. What have we been up to since August 5th?
Ellie Farrisi: I mean, I think you can take that part a little bit and talk about the I don’t even know how many people you’ve sat one on one with, talked, looked up their contract addresses. Ask them about what they’re working on, their pin points as creators and done like tons of these one-on-one interviews and like direct beta questionnaires, I guess with all these people. What was, I guess what for you, what was the biggest, like, takeaway feedback or thing that you saw, either repeated or just pin points that you saw from creators?
Yeah, so I don’t want to reveal too much, because a lot of is alpha for what’s to come at Bello. But I feel like I’ve at this point, I’ve talked to hundreds of creators, and whether it’s just me, sort of like pre queering their collections. And because I see that they have a drop coming up, and pre queering their existing collectors and sending them screenshots of their, in their Twitter, DMS be like, yo, I see you have a drop coming up, check out this data that’s really, really interesting on your existing collectors, have you thought about reaching out to this community, maybe doing a Twitter space, because you guys have collectors in common. And like doing that repetitively for a bunch of creators, you know, or sort of like centering the new season of mints, the mint podcast around on chain data and web three social and driving traffic from there to having people sign up to Bello, right? And kind of like getting their feedback like that, like I feel like it was like, not an automated process, it felt like very one on one, and then getting on calls, like 30 to 45 minute calls with all these users and pre queering their dashboards and walking them through the insights and showing them the power of what it means to build an audience in web three, right and the value that, not only do you get to create, but you get to keep and now unlock and get insights into, was very rewarding and seeing sort of like the aha moments on people’s faces, as I went through their dashboards. For me, it was a very tiring to be frank, like very tiring, but also very rewarding. As you can imagine, I do enjoy talking to people, hence the podcasts. So, kind of like sitting in the back seat and playing the podcasters role, you know, asking questions to users, but in a non-biased way to see how they feel about a specific, like early stage, private beta MVP, was an invigorating experience, to be honest. It’s also like my first time, this is my second startup that I’ve attempted. The first one failed in crypto, this is the second, this is sort of like the first one that I’ve been able to bring a product to market, right, and couldn’t have done it without your help and sort of like seeing what we built and seeing the naked bare bones version of it. But seeing how it’s validating some of people’s problems, right? And validating a lot of our initial hypotheses, right? Has been really cool to see.
Ellie Farrisi: Yeah, and I think from my standpoint, you know, I’ve gotten to do a few of them. But I think just taking all the feedback, and you’ve, you’re great about note taking and all that sort of stuff. And just being able to say like here are, you know, 100 people’s opinions, whether it’s new features that they’re interested in, or ways that they use the product themselves, like being then the engineering side and actually saying like, okay, here’s how we prioritize our group together. Because sometimes it’s like, people want this thing and this thing, but it’s actually can all be accomplished by like, one greater goal, I guess, so to speak. So that was really, I think, impactful for us for building Bello, and deciding, like, what’s our roadmap look like? What are we actually focusing on? And I think for any person building a product, the most important thing is getting that direct, like feedback loop with the people that are actually engaging with it or using it, because those are the people you’re building with. And whether it’s, you know, only 10 people to start or 100 people to start or 100,000 people, you’re gonna want to, like those are the people you’re working to please, right? And so, if you can please those 100,000 people, who’s to say you can’t please 100 million people, right? And I think that was really yeah, really beneficial to have all that and still have that right now, that when I, like I have, you know, 20 things I can go and work on because I know that these are going to be beneficial things and keep building in that direction.
The Day-to-Day Building Bello
Yeah, the process for I guess, for us as a duo was sort of like talking to all these users, getting their feedback, creating a complex Google spreadsheet of all these things that people requested, and all the tweaks and interesting things that they’ve sort of discovered that we didn’t even think of, and then you and I huddling together and be like, alright, this is what people want. Let’s create a roadmap around the requested features, and sort of like push it out one by one. And I’m curious from your perspective Ellie, like what’s it like building a product like Bello? Like, I feel like I contributed to an extent to a lot of like the UX UI initially, but you’ve definitely taken that over at this point. And I’d love to hear more of your perspective, like what is the day to day look like and how is that building Bello? Right, like walk me through that.
Ellie Farrisi: I think it’s honestly been probably the most fun I’ve ever had working on a project. And that, I guess, kind of stems from the fact that, what I talked about a little bit early on, was just like my music side of me and that I had the engineering side, but I also like teaching and I think as an individual, I thrive when I feel like I’m multifaceted. do it and I can actually have my hands in different places. And so, now being the sole technical side of Bello, my hands are everywhere. Like, you know, if there’s no part of Velo that doesn’t come through something that I’ve typed out or created, and I think that’s a really rewarding feeling for one. And I think it’s been interesting to be able to play everything from like, you know, you’ve done a ton of like, the sigma designs and all that stuff, but now getting to even go in there and play with myself and do some of the graphic things, and then take that directly and translate it into the front end, and then build out the features in the backend that we need. And right now, we’re working on a huge infrastructure revamp. It’s been challenging for sure, like there’s, I’m learning stuff new every single day. But I have never been more excited to learn these things. And I think my experience in the past has kind of led me up to having all of these different skill sets in these different areas, to be able to like, maximize the output here.
So, my day-to-day changes almost every day, I have a to do list and I organize it by like front end, back end infra and then like business. And so of course, like we’re doing a ton for the actual development of the BD side of Bello. And so, there’s work that happens there. And all these different little features, it’s usually for me, either taking it by a feature level and saying, okay, like, we want to add this new feature that someone else just talked about, in one of the beta interviews, and it’s like mapping out like, okay, where all the pieces go to actually complete that. And I think it’s from my side, also done doing tons of different research talking to other intelligent people in the industry, to sort of get feedback and make sure we’re building this and building it in the right way. And so, it’s been, for me a very rewarding experience.
The Macro Problem We’re Solving With Bello
Yep, I want to talk about sort of like, what’s happening on a macro level, that kind of like justifies and motivates us to build a product and a service like Bello? And I’d love to get your take. But also, I want to hit it off with like a few sorts of like data points, even fresh this week. It’s again, Friday, November 4, earlier this week, Instagram announced that they’re basically building out an NFT marketplace, and that it’s essentially live for a select few creators that they’ve curated, right? Reddit recently, I think, like two weeks ago, introduced 3 million new crypto wallets on Polygon. Twitter is teasing in feed NFTs, right for people to collect, despite them already integrating the PFP, the hexagon PFP, right? Web three social is having a moment, applications like lens protocol, right, are getting tons of users, tons of engagement. Other social applications are seeing interesting growth, different sub communities forming across the internet, realizing that web three users have different needs and wants, and maybe a new social experience is suited for them, right? There’s a lot of sorts of, like big, big picture, macro data points that I’m kind of like, hooked on to as, wow, this is like that, like the light is right there, right? Like we need to follow the light we need to pursue that. Because if we do it right, there’s an opportunity over here, to help a lot of creators understand who their collectors are, and basically help them sort of like tap into the complex data, that is otherwise being generated on chain and help them make sense of it.
Ellie Farrisi: Yeah, no, absolutely. I think Instagram, we were chatting about it just before this, but I think it’s definitely an interesting push that’s happened and curious to see how it plays out. I think it’s definitely and it’s not, you know, most people who are native to web three, don’t think of Instagram and I don’t think those are going to be the people that are running to go join and buy NFTs there, right? I think what it does, in my opinion, is kind of open up the doorway to a lot of less native people to maybe onboard them, right? And that’s actually funny, I even had, like, I’m sure, Adam, you get hit up all the time, people who are not that you’ve known from your past life of non-crypto, who hit you up, and they’re like, hey, this thing about this NFT and always asking questions, like what do I buy? But whatever. But I had a friend of mine, hit me up, who I, someone I when I went to high school with and hit me up about their Coachella NFT and they’re like, hey, I went to Coachella, I have this NFT but like what do I do with it? Like, where do I have it? And it was just like, to me, it was like, really cool to get that that message because they know me, I’m like a crypto person, whatever. But Coachella doing that was just such an on ramp to somebody who wouldn’t meet me probably never have even thought to have an NFT before or felt that they were capable of like going through the steps to get one, to now have one and maybe do something next with that. And so, in that sense, you know, I’m personally an advocate for the expansion of education and expansion of like, diversifying and giving people a level playing field for understanding things and I think again, that’s kind of why Bello super, I’m super passionate about what we’re building there. But yeah, I think to me, it’s a beneficial thing to have. I’m curious to see sort of how it plays out. I think it’s all positive in my opinion though.
Why Should Bello Exist in the World?
Yeah. When you think about the purpose and the underlying why, like the reason why something like Bello should exist in the world, right? How do you rationalize it? How do you make sense of it? I have my own sort of like, take, but I’d love to hear yours.
Ellie Farrisi: Yeah, no, I think that’s a really good question. I think there’s a few things for me personally, like I guess, I was just talking about briefly. Historically, my life like being an engineer, being a female engineer, there’s a lack of diversity there. Joining, being a female crypto engineer, there’s even a far greater lack of diversity. And I think just in general, for me, a passion has always been, spreading education to underrepresented groups. And so in college, being able to teach computer science to different local high school students, and all these sorts of things, or do workshops for middle school girls, to teach coding, was always really rewarding. And, and my sense, taking that to the music industry, it was, working with these artists, like when I started doing management was just because like I saw where I could help them, like, I thought that they were creatives and I wanted them to be able to go out and make music and do the things that they were good at. And I was like, well, I can take care of all this other stuff. Like I can organize, I can make calls, I can schedule like bookings, etc. So let me do that. And I think then even taking that now with like, the past year, I’ve done so much like music, web three consulting for artists, and something that I now get the opportunity to do, is take the love for that I have for music, the love that I have for technology, and like, and that love for education and break it down to like really simple terms, right? Like, if I can explain what Bitcoin is to my mom, like, you know, I think that that’s an amazing thing.
And I want to be able to do that for every artist, or every individual that I talked to, like, how can I break this down to the most simple way humanly possible. And I think a lot of times what you find with creators, is that they’re not super technical. And this is generally and I’m not saying for everybody, but like, there are individuals that may look at like a chart of metrics, or all these different things and get kind of like scared or uncertain of what it means and not data mindset at people. And so, I think a passion for me is being able to take something that is super complicated, and break it down as simple as possible. And so, when building bello that’s like always kind of at the forefront of my mind is like, how can we make something that’s no code, it’s simple to use, simple and easy to understand, and give people like direct like, even frankly, English language of how they can interpret and use this information. And so, I think for me that that’s definitely like, a big why of what we’re doing. And I think, on the other side, is more, a little bit more macro, on the sense of like, what is data and what is people’s rights to data. And I think that as individuals, we all have a right to our own data and we all have right to access information. And by utilizing blockchain, this information is out there. And it’s no longer siloed by the individual platforms that you decide to put your content on.
So, for instance, like if you’re, if you’re active on Spotify, or Instagram, or Tik Tok, or any of these mega tech giants right now, they own your data. And they house their data, that your data and they decide when in which scenarios they show it to you, right? And so. what we believe, I think both of you and I aligned on that is that, this is your information that you should have the public and all the access to. And so, we’re building tooling that gives you all of this information and all the diverse ways that you would see it beneficial for you to build. But yeah, that’s kind of where I see it. Adam, what about yourself? Where do you sort of align with like, why is this a problem? What are you aiming to solve?
Yeah, the way I kind of understand it is, as a creator myself, who makes a living by being a creator, right? In our case, like a crypto native, web three native creator. I’ve sort of tasted the sugar of what it’s like to build an audience and to monetize in web three. And my bet, not only from me doing it myself, but also talking to a lot of other people, that to some extent, at some point, every creator is going to be crypto native, right? Crypto enabled, whether they know it, or whether they don’t, right? And the reason why they’re going to do that, is because I think there’s, the reason why I think that’s gonna happen, excuse me, is because I think the underlying tech of being able to build an audience on chain, is super valuable, this this zero to one primitive of follower, equaling a collector. That’s sort of how I see it, is so much more powerful in web three, than it is in web two, right? And the reason being is because, if you remember 2018, Tik Tok started having it’s moment, where Kylie Jenner has now about like almost 400 million followers on Instagram. She tried to pivoting to Tik Tok, I think she has a little bit over 20 million followers. So, this concept of basically being able to bring your community and your fan base from one platform to another is very limited. But in web three, you have this element of interoperability. So, the innovation here is that instead of being the product of the platform, not being able to take your audience and be interoperable with your time and your efforts, right?
In web three, you could do that, you could do that very simply because you are the platform, we creators, we are the platform, and these projects, applications, these protocols, they’re building around us, they want us to bring our collectors to their platforms, right? So that’s sort of like the innovation here. And that’s sort of what I realized myself going through this experience, minting NFTs for free, just so I can build some type of collector base, right? I think that’s sort of like the innovation here, right? And typically, when you build an audience on a platform on like an Instagram, Snapchat, that data is siloed. It’s gated, right? And the problem is, is like, Google doesn’t have the same data that Snapchat does, or Instagram, and respectfully, it’s made them sort of like the powerhouse that they are today. But in web three, works a little bit differently, because creators build audiences interoperability, they mint NFTs on chain, that content is tokenized. And not one person owns it, right? It’s not like the product of a platform. It’s the product of the creator, right? That’s sort of how I see it. And with that, there’s a lot of data to understand and to unlock. So, when you think about like, what is that intelligence layer? What does that analytics look like for the creator economy? I want people to think about Bello. I want Bello to help people understand who their community of collectors are, and how they can take action around that information to become better creators, help them grow their audience and make more money, because that’s all creators want. They just want to build an audience and monetize doing the things that they love, right? And I think in web three, there’s no better place to do that. And a tool like Bello becoming increasingly more important, as we sort of like, go down this crypto enabled world.
Ellie Farrisi: Yeah, I think that that’s, you touched on a lot of really great points there. And I think it’s especially like prevalent to look at like, what do the top creators in web two do to be successful, right? And so oftentimes, like, if you’re a big YouTuber, or you’re a big like, top chart streamer on Spotify, all these different things like, you are most likely your team, is not just like making decisions Willy Nilly, frankly. And like sometimes there’s a gut feeling. And I think that’s, that is part of being a creator, is being able to tap into that creative outlet and just try things but in my opinion, as an engineer, and the experience that I’ve been able to do working with creators, like data is important, like whether the some of the things you were talking about briefly earlier with like, tour booking, or shows, all that sort of stuff. It is obviously like, super easy demographic data to get. But when you can start looking at behaviors and start mapping those to sort of like, what is the general profile of your audience look like? You can make better decisions around that and that does exist in web two. And there’s a lot of tooling that has sort of these tapping into some of your social media or your Spotify or streaming data, all these different things. But I think in web three, you need that. And you have actually better data in web three, because it is public. And we, I think, as at Bello, and I think in general, the beauty of web three is that, it’s less about like, hey, this is this wallet address, and I’m gonna go wallet watch them, right? We’re looking at like, what is the profile of your collectors look like? What is the general behavior of them look like? Because that is the way that you can tap into to make better content. Right. A great example of this is, is an interview I think we did with like a music festival, web three music festival, right. And they are, you know, having people come and attend. So, do you want to talk about it a little?
No, go ahead. No, I’m getting excited. Because this is one of my favorite stories. Yeah.
Ellie Farrisi: Yeah, so I think it’s a great example because it shows on all spectrums. But you have people that come attend, and you have people perform, like that’s basically a music festival, right? And how do you actually set that up? You usually have to have funding in some degree. So, if you’re a music festival, and you’re coming in and you’re just trying to decide okay, like number one who was playing at this music festival, well, if your web three native and you’ve bought purchase tickets, that were NFTs, you now have all of these different addresses and you can plug them into Bello or you know see based on chain information, what other communities are these people a part of? What other NFTs are they purchasing? And especially if they’re music web three people, now you can see that here the top of their, like actual artists that they collect and those are more likely not going to be the people that you want to invite to come perform at your festival and the fans are gonna be excited about that, like people who purchase etc. And then you have the flip side of that is like I said earlier like, you have fun this thing, you can look at these different projects, whether it’s a big PFP project, or it’s a like L two chain or these different protocols or different things. And you can say, hey, like, it seems like our communities overlap here, like a lot of people that purchase my ticket as a music NFT festival, also are active on your protocol, well, maybe you should actually come and be a sponsor for us. And we can drive even more traffic, because while it was only maybe like 15, or 20% of people that overlap, like there’s a good chance you could get or tap into that other, like, 80% of people, right. So, I think that that’s a really prime example of how this data can like be actively used to make a more productive output.
So that’s in a, it’s a real-world setting, let’s talk about digitally too. So as a content creator, right, just talking about that one feature and Bello, like the assets in common, right? The relationship queries, one thing that I learned is that, there’s a lot of overlap between my collector’s slash listeners, and let’s say Zora’s protocol. Right. And I noticed this distinctly because a lot of them were collecting different elements from Zora, and they were just like active on the protocol itself, based off what was in their wallet. And at that time, when I discovered that, I never really created content with Zora prior. I think I only had like, Latasha on, but we talked about web three social, right, we talked about web three music. And then, fast forward a few months, as I built a bigger audience and a bigger collector base. I then brought Erik Ripple on and then I then brought Tyson Battistella on, the head of data and the CTO respectively. And those episodes got 40 to 50% more downloads and a typical podcast episode, right? It was really cool, because seeing that on chain data gave me a glimpse into what my community liked. And I was able to take an action to deliver and create better things for them, based off that, you know. Similarly, I saw large overlap between like Ave holders, and people who are also a multi chain on Matic, holding Matic token, right? And lens protocol came in as a sponsor for season six. And it was great because it was a very fruitful collaboration, we were able to drive a lot of new users to their protocol, and to their various applications and it was just like a win, win, right? I made money, they got new users, and then that that kind of like, that relationship extend even more now, right? And we’re doing a bunch of different things. So that’s like on content. Let’s talk about music, right? Music is really cool because as a music, music web three native music artists, you can plug in your collector base into Bello and see what other music artists or collectors are collecting. You never know, there may be overlap between, let’s say, Daniel Allen and Grady, for example. And I know they’ve done music together, but for assuming they haven’t, right, and they see an overlap between their collectors, it may make sense for them to do a song together. A web three exclusive song, doesn’t maybe have to be distributed across Spotify, the DSPS. But if your collectors like you guys, create some content together, create some songs together, if that makes sense. And make more revenue, right and build and grow, cross collaborate and cross, I want to say cross contaminate, but cross collaborate your collectors. So, there’s all these like interesting things that you can do just by having very simple access to what’s happening on chain.
Ellie Farrisi: Yeah, I love that. I’m curious, from your standpoint, you talked about, you know, you going to minting season six and making your lineup and being able to use data to solve that problem. How has building Bello been for you as an individual, who’s solving a problem for themselves, right? Like, you’re creating this to solve your own needs and it also extends to other people’s needs. How’s that experience been for you?
It’s really challenging, because one thing that you consistently hear and that I read online, and from people that I look up to, right, like other entrepreneurs and whatnot, there’s like a stigma or like, there’s a saying of, don’t necessarily build for yourself, like, don’t get too lost in the sauce and stay hooked onto your assumptions, right, go validate them, right. But then there’s the other balance of, if you’re the person that’s having the problems, go solve them, right. And maybe other people are facing the same problem. So, I’m constantly trying to figure out the balance between both, right, and I don’t want to assume too much and implement and spend time building out too many assumptions, without validating them, but also taking into consideration as I am the user that I’m building for. And I need to recognize that and a recent trend, not a recent trend, but something that you see across like creator economy based crypto projects, right, they typically end up hiring a creator, as their community manager, so that the team of developers and the CEO can be as close knit to the pulse as possible for the user that they’re building for. And also, that community member brings a breadth of other creators because they get the culture, they get the conversations, they get the lingo, they understand what creators need, and they can tap in through that user. We see this across the Zuora, we see this across borne fire, we see this across Showtime, all great strategies, right. And also lens protocol, there’s a bunch of others. So, I think like, our advantage too, is like I am the creator, right, you’re very much a creator yourself, I’m actively trying to build an audience, I’m actively trying to make money in this space as a creator, using my creative love. And it’s like finding the balance between the two. But it’s worked, I feel like it’s worked more in my benefit than my detriment. And it’s helped us get a lot of great conversations and a lot of progress on our private beta.
Ellie Farrisi: Yeah, and I think it’s especially relevant, that like the origin started from like, using it with Queen George, you’ve seen it with yourself. And then like us taking that, you know, pretty rudimentary beta, and just like talking to people nonstop, and getting the validation from them, and then also iterating on it and keep building on it. But I think you as a creator, probably more than most people sit at it, like sit at it advantage for building a product like this, in the sense that you’re like, you have your own opinion as like the creator that you are like, you’re a podcaster, right, and you make content for people and whether it’s written or audio, etc. But you’re also like, actively talking to every type of creator all the time and every people in this industry all the time, and you see the pin points of their ecosystems and the different types of artists or musicians or big PFP projects or protocols or platforms list goes on, right? Like you’ve been able to sort of tap into all of that, and focus back into like, okay, how does it feel as an individual, but also, how does this look on like the grand scheme of things in web three?
Thoughts On Privacy in Web3
100%. And I hope to leverage that as we continue to sort of grow Bello. I think I also want to touch upon the element of privacy, because it’s something that I very much care about, and it’s something that our community cares about, right. And one of the sorts of the biggest criticisms that we get when we talk about Bello was like, oh, don’t you feel like could this be too intrusive, right? And I think, number one, the way we built Bello, is so that it doesn’t track every single thing, right? If anything, it provides, like aggregate analysis into a certain wallet selection. But I want to sort of touch upon like, what does privacy really mean? And what’s the history of privacy when it comes to the digital world. And as sort of being products of platforms and web two, and then coming into web three, and having the choice and the ability to opt in whether or not you want to Doc’s yourself, right, you can still create an anonymous address, you can still create a proton email, and live this anonymous digital life that you want to live, without attaching an ENs and DOCing yourself and posting the NFTs that you collect on Twitter, right? How do you feel about the element of privacy when it comes to web three? What comes to mind for you?
Ellie Farrisi: Yeah, I think you started touching on a lot. And we kind of brought it up a little bit earlier. But yeah, we have the opportunity now with web three, to define our role as an individual, right. And so previously, where you go on social media, you start plugging in your email, you start doing these different things, like people can start to identify you publicly. And in web two, I think it’s almost like required to have some sort of like public identities, that people can hold accountable. And I don’t think accountability is necessarily a bad thing. But I think we also have a right to be able to decide what information is put out there to the world. Like, I don’t want to give people my address, although I’m nomadic, and I don’t have an address, but I don’t want to give people my phone number, I guess that’s a better example, like just any random person, because that’s private information, I don’t have any reason that I need to share with anybody, right. And so, I think with web three, you’re now providing people to have this either pseudo anonymous, or totally anonymous profile. And if they so choose to, they have the opportunity to put into that as much as they want, right. And so, in terms of like the pseudonymity, like you can have a creator or an individual collector, who someone who just involved and just be a wallet address, and be maybe completely anonymous, and they don’t have any sort of ties to anything and they just act integrate with like defi protocols and do the stuff on their own. And then you can have the layer, where maybe you purchase a ENS name, and maybe that ENS name is like, monkey rocks. 12456, right. And you can go and live as monkey rocks, do something over there, right and you can interact all these things. And maybe that’s your identity now, as you have a monkey avatar, you do something with.
Are you speaking your alter ego here? What’s going on?
Ellie Farrisi: May have been like my first email something equivalent to that, along the line.
Ellie Farrisi: I think it was Yahoo at the time.
Ellie Farrisi: But you could essentially build that identity out and interact with that and that could be who you are, right? And there are plenty of people we all probably can identify that fall into that role. And I think the beauty of that is that, you can still map a behavior and a sort of, like correlation between that activity of that pseudo anonymous Individual, to your collection as a creator. And I think that’s where it’s, it is a beautiful thing to be able to say like, okay, we’re not focusing in and trying to find who this individual is, largely, we want to show you what is like the aggregate behavior of individuals in the movement in this space. Because that allows you to unlock a lot of different information about what steps to do next, right? And where you can actually take your community because, like we said, earlier, creators and like people building want two things, they either want to grow their community, or they want to make money, and how can we actually use behavioral analysis and the intelligence layer to give them actionable insights and information that they can do on it?
What’s Next For Bello?
Yep. 100%. Ellie, I want to talk about sort of what’s next for Bello. And without revealing too much, and I know when we were talking behind, before we started recording, we’re like, what do we say about what’s next for Bello but how do we also keep it very, very, very exclusive? I think our whole thing is like, we want to, under promise over deliver, right? Like that’s the goal. I think I can say that, we have a bunch of stuff sort of rolled lined up, in our roadmap, that we’re going to be announcing soon. We’ve been very relatively quiet on Twitter intentionally, because we’ve been doing a lot of behind the scenes sort of prep, talking to users, revamping the product and bringing it making it ready for for public launch very soon. But I guess anything you want to add, that I didn’t really mention to what’s next?
Ellie Farrisi: Yeah, I mean, I think it’s a few things, a lot is taking in, again, all that feedback from the individual people who are going to be the ones benefiting from Bello, whether it’s a small-time creator, a big brand, a platform, etcetera, all these different kinds of tiers of what we still classify as creators in web three, and building a roadmap that fits their needs. And so, we have a bunch of different metrics and features we’re planning to be rolling out, as well as, you know, a big push on our actual internal infrastructure side. So, in the near future, we’ll also be expanding our team, to bring in more engineers and to push product faster and do all these different things. So, I think for us, it’s going to be when we launch publicly, having a very unique experience for the individuals who join and sort of their own personalized feel to it. And being able to actually take that and and scale it out to as many people as possible.
Let’s frickin go, Ellie, this was great. I’m glad we did this. It’s been on the calendar for a minute now. But before I let you go, because I do this for every episode. Where can we find you specifically? Where can we learn more about what you’re doing? And show it away?
Ellie Farrisi: I’m sitting in my room making bello PFP alternatives. I spent so much time on Canva, I don’t know if anyone, if you listen to it, please go check out Bello sites on Twitter. Our little mascot I guess, is this little mushroom called, we call it belly, when I need like a break from coding, I go on Canva and I make like alternative, maybe we’ll post one out later today or something like that. But aside from that you can find me on Twitter @Ellie Farrisi, DM me on there if you have any questions, we also have our telegram group, I think you can get to from our website Bello.lol and you can join in definitely, like if you’re interested in learning more about what we’re doing, definitely sign up for our waitlist, hop in our telegram and we’d love to have you chat about data and everything that we’re building. So, looking forward to talking to more you guys soon.
Yeah, flexor’s hearings really quick. For those that are not watching, you have really cool mushroom hearings on and Ellie, this was great, till next time.
Ellie Farrisi: Thank you, Adam.