Please tell us more about your background, how you got interested in blockchain & DeFi and what you are currently working on?
My name is Jade Darmawangsa, I am the CEO at X Media and I am working on building products to help Creators and Animators to monetize on Social Media.
Where most kids in sophomore year in high school were worried about AP exams, I was on YouTube making videos. I dropped out of high school and relocated to Los Angeles at 17, without a plan. I grew an audience of 350,000 subscribers and 15M views, categorizing her as one of the top creator economy Youtubers.
I got into blockchain and DeFi as I have always been someone who is interested in Aetherium. A few years ago I went to a little blockchain meetup and ever since then I was sucked into the vibrant community of people wanting to create decentralised products and give long term wealth to people. I think it’s really cool.
What is this slight moment which changed everything for you?
I think the moment that changed everything for me was when I saw Jess from Seed Club, which is a token incubator, create a product that helps creators in Web3. My background has always been in monetizing in an Agency in Web2, and when I saw that people are creating amazing products around Web3, I thought Daymn, that’s really cool and I want to do the same.
What have been your most important failure and what did you learn from it?
I think my biggest failure has always been trying to be something that I’m not, and rushing the process when my business model wasn’t ready yet.
For example I used to run a company called FoodLike, which was a food subscription box.
I struggled with wanting to scale it and make a lot of money before it was ready, and then what happened was I didn’t have product market fit and essentially I tried to grow the product without a market fit. A lot of Entrepreneurs will really try to push it to the edge, but it is really important to know your limits and be patient, because the worst thing you can do is rush something that needs time.
Here’s is my YouTube video where I talk about this more:
If you could change anything from the past, what would you do differently?
I wouldn’t change anything in the past, I think everything happens for a reason, and all my failures became great lessons.
What soft & hard skills have been most helpful in helping you succeed in the DeFi ?
I think the soft skill people need to know is empathy, whether you’re a developer or you’re creating an app, or creating your own token, you have to build your product with the community. A lot of people in the tech or creator space will have a very narrow minded mindset, where they think it’s my way or the highway, but you have to have empathy for others.
In terms of hard skills, I definitely think that community building is really important. That could be on Discord. Building communities and building events is really key to succeeding in the DeFi space.
What is a typical day for you? What are your work habits?
My typical work habits are to wake up and start brainstorming, and treat my brain as if I'm doing genius work. I think it’s really important to have at least 3-45 minutes a day to think, we need to make thinking, work. A lot of people think that working just consumes a lot of ‘doing’, when in reality, thinking and brainstorming is super productive use of work time.
I also love to use surfing as a tool to workout, exercise and clear my mind. I love to surf before starting my day.
Which tools do you use in your daily life as a Maker?
I love Notion as a tool to organize my life!
What are the best resources (media, blog, influencer, podcast, nl…) you follow to be always up to date on the DeFi and your niche?
What is your favorite DeFi Project?
I would say my favorite DeFi project would be Her Story DAO, which helps POC creators sell art. It’s amazing, it's an art collective, preserving and incubating the stories of POC artists, female founders and marginalized crypto creators.
Among the people you’ve interacted with in DeFi, who do you admire most and why?
The people I admire most would probably be Reuben. Reuben is a crypto lawyer and advisor. He is also an investor at IDEO Venture, and is one of the most down to earth advisors, who helped me early on with my project CRE8, and really believed in it at its early stages. He takes a very mindful approach to his projects and investments and is overall just a super admirable individual.
What is your vision for your niche? What do you expect to come in the next few years? What developments in the field do you find to be the most exciting?
My vision for my niche is for creators to not just be able to monetize their community, but with their community. What I find really exciting is the tokenization of things like merch or crypto currency, creating long term wealth for creators. How I imagine it is like everyone having a wallet, and your money is not just a fiat, but you could have 5 different currencies that you’re investing or have equity in. You’re diverse in a sense of having a bunch of tokens in your wallet, and these tokens have value. Instead of taking a salary or getting a brand deal, you can take it out of your community treasury or get paid through a DAO, and that’s the way you would get financial, long term success.
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What kind of challenges are you looking for today? (on a philosophical level)
I think the challenge I am looking for today is to really be okay with the unknown. A lot of DeFi projects we are looking for a roadmap and it just doesn’t exist.
The kind of challenges I am looking to overcome is being comfortable with the uncomfortable.
What problem does your project solve?
Our project at CRE8, really solves the number 1 question, which is, ‘how do you take a Web2 audience and get them familiar with Crypto and Web3?’. GenZ is a huge demographic to be excited for this new industry. There is a lack of education, and we really want to shine a light on that.
How do you find DeFi customers? If you already have an audience, how do manage to convert your audience to customer?
We don’t try to find DeFi customers, we just try to convert Web2 audiences into Web3. The way we do that is by having slow tiers of touch points, for example, for a creator we are working with called Nutshell Animations, we first take his 10M TikTok follower audience and convert them into a discord community. Which at the moment has around 10,000 users. From there, we have something called the ‘Cool Kids Table’ which is taking his top fans out of his discord, and educating them first, by recording tutorials for example, and overtime we expand. But it’s all about starting with a core fanbase first.
What is different building a project for the DeFi industry?
I think the biggest difference for developing a project on DeFi is the fact that no one else is doing it, and it's new. It can sometimes feel kind of lonely, but the fact that it’s new is also kind of fun!
What is something you're working to improve?
What inspires me to keep making things is the fact that when I was a kid, all i wanted to do was make YouTube videos, and for that to be my full time job, and what inspires me to make things is just to keep living my younger self. As someone who dropped out of school and has given everything I had to make content, and help others make content, I am just really trying to make things that I am proud of, and working with people that I respect. Working with creative people is really important to me and motivates me.
What inspires you to keep making things?
If you want to be a maker on DeFi, I recommend first be a follower, join projects, join a DAO event. You could contribute to CRE8 DAO, or join something called Rabbit Hole GG, which helps you find projects to be a part of. You need to find your tribe, a group of people that collectively you can seek advice from and join something cool in.