Tim Wu // Episode 105 // Season 2 // Bringing NFTs to the Masses With Origin Protocol

Welcome to Episode 105 // Season 2 of the Asian Hustle Network Podcast! We are very excited to have Matthew Liu on this week's episode.

We interview Asian entrepreneurs around the world to amplify their voices and empower Asians to pursue their dreams and goals. We believe that each person has a message and a unique story from their entrepreneurial journey that they can share with all of us.

Check us out on Anchor, iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play Music, TuneIn, Spotify and more. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe and leave us a positive 5-star review. This is our opportunity to use the voices of the Asian community and share these incredible stories with the world. We release a new episode every Wednesday, so stay tuned!

Matthew is the co-founder of Origin Protocol, a blockchain project founded in 2017. Origin’s mission is to bring NFTs and DeFi to mainstream audiences.


Matthew is a serial entrepreneur and has founded several companies previously. He served as co-founder of PriceSlash (acquired by BillShark) and as co-founder and CEO of Unicycle Labs. Earlier in his career, Matthew was an early employee and one of the earliest Product Managers at YouTube (acquired by Google), leading multiple products on the consumer, partnership, and monetization teams. Later, he was VP of Product at Qwiki (acquired by Yahoo) and VP of Product at Bonobos (acquired by Walmart). He has a MS and BS from Stanford University.


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Intro: (00:00:00) Hey guys, welcome to Asian Hustle Network Podcast, My name is Bryan. 

And my name is Maggie 

And we interview Asian entrepreneurs around the world to amplify their voices and empower Asiansto pursue their dreams and goals.

We believe that each person has a message and a unique story from their entrepreneurial journey that they can share with all of us.

Maggie: (00:00:23) Hi everyone. Welcome to the. And that word podcast today we have Avery, especially guys with us. His name is Matthew, Luke. Matthew is the co-founder of origin protocol. A blockchain project founded in 2017. Origins mission is to bring NFTs and defy to mainstream audiences. Matthew is a serial entrepreneur and has founded several companies previously.

He served as co-founder of the price lash, and as co-founder. CEO of Unix cycle labs earlier in his career, Matthew was an early adopter and one of the earliest product managers at YouTube leading multiple products on the consumer partnership and monetization teams later, he was VP of product equity and VP of product epinome bows.

He has Ms. MBS from Stanford university. Matthew, welcome to the.

Matthew: (00:01:12)  Okay, thanks so much for having me really happy to be here and excited to chat with you.

Bryan: (00:01:18) Yeah, Matt, we’re super excited to be here. I mean, your journey has been pretty crazy gray being one of the early employees at YouTube and working in your current company yet, it’s pretty much pioneering, absolutely new space.

And before we kind of get to that story, you want to understand. How did you become the person you are today? Where’d you grow up? What was your childhood like? How did your parents teach you that it’s a K take risk and become an early adopter in so many different platforms is it’s so game-changing across different industries, right?

What was that? What was your upbringing light?

Matthew: (00:01:46)  Yeah. So it’s actually funny that you mentioned that because my parents think that I’ve way too much of a risk taker and that, um, I’ve, um, Done a lot of big gambles with my career. Uh, but ironic thing is that they’re immigrants, right? So when they were young, they took the risk as well.

So they immigrated to the us for grad school, um, had no money to their name, whether, you know, living in, you know, um, Yeah, I would say like pretty poor conditions, um, and just, you know, hustling and scrapping, uh, to be able to make it. And so they kind of, um, climb their way up, um, as, you know, starving grad students, um, that then got, you know, their earliest, um, jobs in technology, um, and still like, they had to face a lot of hard.

Um, you know, not as strong in the English language, um, dealing with, you know, new workplace culture. Um, but eventually they, um, they, they made it right in the sense that, uh, they had civil careers and trajectories, um, and both of them had engineering backgrounds and were into technology. And so at an early age, I think that was a area of interest.

Um, I grew up in New Jersey, um, spent the first 15 years of my life there. Um, you know, very education focused, um, to be honest, like when I grew up, I was like pretty shy and, you know, quite introverted, which is very different than what I am today. Um, but, um, yeah, there’s just a lot of focus on, um, working hard and also, um, trying to, you know, treat people well.

Um, so I really, you know, um, say that, I think like my parents and my. Um, grandparents, um, health, you know, shaped who I was at an early age, um, later on I’m new to California. Um, my dad got a job at a startup. Um, so you’ll notice the trends of, um, a bit of a risk-taking there. Um, and I just stayed in the bay area for, um, about two decades.

So, um, finish out high school. Um, in the bay area then went to Stanford after Stanford, um, knew I wanted to, um, do something entrepreneurial and the best way to pick up those skills was to join a startup. Um, and at the time, um, a lot of my friends were getting into banking, uh, management consulting. I almost went down that path as well, but something just didn’t feel quite right.

And I knew that I wanted to do something a little bit off the beaten path, um, today. Right? Like. Um, everyone talks about technology and startups, but, um, in 2005 it was not, um, the cool thing to do necessarily. Right. Um, but. I saw this company called YouTube. Uh, and I was like, this is really interesting. Um, and I think I want to work there.

And so I just, uh, I, I knew I needed to network my way in because I had no experience and I wasn’t, um, you know, the background, someone at a high start would look for, but I was able to get an introduction to the CEO. Um, and then I spent, uh, You know, weeks just like harassing them, um, to give me an interview, like literally trying to pound on the door, um, calling them, um, got into the first-time interviews.

I thought I was a smart kid, but I had absolutely no experience. And that just kind of ignore me, but I just kept, um, annoying them. Um, and suddenly they’re like, okay, he’s really passionate about what we’re doing, why this talk to him again? Um, and, uh, I guess like hard work and persistence kind of pay off because eventually I’m as old to convince them to hire me as.

Basically the youngest employee at the time of year. Um, and I still had no idea what I was doing. Um, it was really scary, uh, initial experiences like, oh my God, am I gonna get fired in the first two weeks? Um, because, uh, just everything they were talking about, everything that they were working on, it was just like, um, beyond me.

Right. But I think those are the best environments when you are. Um, you know, well cooked and well-prepared, um, you know, that that’s trial by fire, right? And so you learn very, very quickly. Um, and thankfully I was able to pick everything up, ended up a very strong working relationship with, um, other early YouTubers, um, several which are now working with me at origin.

Um, and from there it was just, um, kind of this organic journey, right. Trying to figure out. Um, what’s the next step, you know, what is my path to entrepreneurship? They were a couple, um, starts and stops. Um, so it was far from, uh, you know, uh, glamorous experience, right. Especially in the early days. So after YouTube, I tried to start a company initially, but, um, didn’t really quite get off the ground switch.

Co-founders a couple of times then we’re in sports or a couple of other startups, um, learn some new skills, uh, and then really decided to go after it again in 2013. So. Um, yeah, it was, it was almost like nine years ago. Um, um, so very, uh, early 2013, um, decided to, um, make the jump, um, and just started grinding it out.

Um, And first like three and a half years, didn’t take a paycheck. It was just, um, hustling, trying to build products and find customers, trying to find, you know, scalable business models. And they’re just like failure, failure, failure, failure. Um, my parents were like, where are you doing my friends? Like, what are you doing?

And I was like, what am I doing? But, um, something in me just didn’t let me quit. And so I just kept going and going, going, um, and then everything. Magically changed in 2016? Um, I think a couple of things happened, um, throughout the, you know, three and a half years of not paying myself. I was forced to acquire new skills.

Right. Um, like previously I was just, you know, more of like a manager type, but throughout that process, I learned how to code. I learned how to design and learn how to sell. I learned how to, um, do growth hacks and marketing. Um, and I actually, you know, I think became much more well-rounded as. Um, and the second thing that happened was, um, I started working with my now co-founder at origin, Josh, um, and you know, he and I had just had a very, very complimentary relationship.

Um, just like we’re able to work together extremely effectively, um, you know, more effective way than my previous co-founders and other businesses. Um, and I was literally like this close from. Kenyan gloves labs and saying, Hey, I’m not going to make it as an entrepreneur started preparing my resume or looking at companies I was going to apply to, um, when we started working together and I was like, all right, I’ll give it like a month or a quarter or something.

Right. And that, uh, that was like, you know, 1% battery life in terms of energy. But, um, That was enough to get the recharge. So within that quarter, we are able to spin up our first business and really quickly it started generating seven figures of revenue. And I was like, okay, there’s something here, right?

Like there’s enough reasons to persist and go. And like, um, we’re onto something. Um, and you know, a few months later we had. You know, crazy idea. And we’re like, oh, let’s try starting that business as well. Right. Um, and we very quickly spun that up, um, and realized we didn’t want to run that business, but that, um, you know, the, we had built something valuable pretty quickly.

So we ended up selling a tech assets to the competitor. Um, so like very quickly we had built, you know, two businesses that had no, some, a measure of success in rather quickly. And so then we’re like, okay, well we know we can work together. Um, now let’s go after something bigger. Um, and, um, I was very fortunate to have invested a little bit of money into cryptocurrency, um, early on, um, same with Josh.

Um, and in 2016 it was just starting to pick up. It wasn’t really obvious that this was going to be a huge, huge, um, trend yet. Um, but, um, because we had invested some money and, you know, 2012, 2014, um, now it was like, okay, We’re we’re onto something or, um, there’s something here, right? Like why are investments now worth, you know, substantially and what money and why is there so much more developer activity and community around, uh, blockchain cryptocurrency?

And so we started to really dive in, um, and at first it was just like, Hey, like everyone’s speculating. Let’s speculate too. So let’s, um, let’s shave all these cryptocurrencies and we built our own. No private trading platform, so to speak, right? So we had some bots, um, that would do algorithm trading. Uh, we built our own portfolio management software.

Um, we, um, you know, did a lot of stuff to figure out how to, um, generate cashflow from crypto. Um, but the interesting thing about it is like many times, um, Know speculation. Right. Um, gets people to think deeper, right? When you have skin in the game and you start investing and learning. And so then we started to really try to understand decentralized technologies and what they could do.

Um, and that was when we decided, um, the technology, um, would be so disruptive, um, um, that it would change many, many different industries and it would be, um, almost like a, um, the human. Mistake on our part, if we didn’t really grasp it by the horns, right. This is a once in a Gerrish opportunity. We needed to go all in.

Um, and so we made the decision that we wanted to build a blockchain startup, um, figured out how to divest or other businesses that were still running. Um, but as like, Hey, we gotta, we gotta get into this. Right. And so we picked the biggest, hairiest most audacious idea that we could come up with in blockchain.

And, um, that was kind of the beginning of origin. Um, Now we had this crazy vision. Um, but you know, we didn’t necessarily, um, now this is kind of like a microcosm of the larger journey, which is like, um, you have to continue to grind, right? You have to try new ideas. You have to pivot. It’s not easy. Um, some of our initial products, um, fell flat on their faces.

Um, you know, then cryptocurrency markets, like they went to the bear market and people were, you know, very bearish on technology and. Um, the community, but we had the purser through that. Right. Um, and it wasn’t until, um, 2020, um, um, last year that, um, the activity really started picking back up again. Um, so we had to weather that storm, uh, but since then we’ve built, uh, to.

Um, I would say flagship products that are both doing well. Um, one of them is, uh, squarely in the NFC space. Non-funded tokens and the other one is in the defy space, decentralized finance. Um, but yeah, we’re just continuing to grind and I think it’s going to be, you know, another decade at least of, um, just working, um, really, really hard, um, all the time, but trying to choose something really, really ambitious and.

Bryan: (00:12:12)     Well, that is, that was what a heck of a story, you know, and there’s so much to break down and digest from there. I mean, shout out to be, to being that hustler as, as a kid, when you really get the opportunity at YouTube, I think that speaks volumes to our younger listeners that, Hey, she wants me to go for it and go for.

Right. But when you have the opportunity had to be able to seize it really well, improve yourself because you know, this, this can be a game changer to be life changing. And I see Steve talk about you on your website about how great you are. And you’re not, he’s not the only person that’s had that. Right.

My network has also told me that you’re someone that is able to do very accomplished things in life. So shout out to you. Um, and in regarding the, the not space rates. It’s relatively new. And I really liked your, your big audacious goal, like decentralizing the marketplace. Right. And for a lot of people, this sounds like a foreign word.

Like what does that even mean? But I think that the way the world is trending, it’s going to be de-centralized when, in our lifetime. And it will like everything else in life. People do not like change and it takes a while for us to sort of adopt this mindset. Right. Um, there’s two parts I wanted to adjust for our listeners when they hear NRTs it’s such a hot word nowadays.

What does that even mean? Decentralized? What does that even mean? Right. So can you explain to your listeners, what does it, what does decentralization mean to you and what are you trying to, how are we decentralizing? That’s the very thing. What’s that?

Matthew: (00:13:38)   Yeah. So, um, yeah, let’s, let’s talk about what a decentralized internet would look like in comparison to today’s internet.

Right. Um, and, and by the way, I’m not one of these, um, crazy philosophical idealists. That’s like, oh, like, you know, I hate Google or I hate Facebook because, um, they’re these giant centralized, uh, authorities. Um, I think they have many flaws, right? Um, data issues, there’s privacy issues there, um, monopolistic behavior, right?

And so I think there’s, um, huge, huge amounts of improvements in the new internet that we can build, um, versus allowing these companies to basically accrue all the value. Um, but I do want to give a nod to, you know, Yeah, Facebook and YouTube and Twitter, and, you know, Airbnb like these web 2.0 companies that have completely, you know, um, you know, disrupted the world right.

In their own. Right, right. Allowing people to connect with each other, um, allowing people to, um, Um, book a car, right with the tap of a button, right? Every person has like, you know, an iPhone and Android phone, pretty much it’s become so important. And, uh, our social fabric as well as, you know, global and local economy.

So, um, great accomplishments in the past with the, you know, centralized. Um, so why can a decentralized internet, um, be more advantageous, um, and better, right? So there’s a couple key points here, but essentially these centralized internet, um, gives power back to the people. Right. Um, the idea is that, um, rather than just having a few, you know, these very powerful.

Almost like corporation states, right. Um, it’s the alignment of all different types of ecosystem participants, um, that, um, build this new internet together. Right. Um, and, um, the alignment of interest, um, of interest is largely through crypto economic incentives, right? So, um, when you have incentives built into these protocols from very beginning, then it’s very easy to rally people, uh, and have them, um, Collaborate and work together.

Right. Um, and so one example of this is a theory, and then having, you know, the decentralized world computer is what they called it in the early days. I’m not exactly sure what they call it now, but the idea is you have all these different Ethereum nodes running. Um, they’re all able to. Um, kind of agree on what data is being processed, what transactions are being sent, what logic is being run by different, um, applications that are living on chain.

Um, and so it’s able to basically create a new operating system for the internet. Um, but it’s, um, infinitely more resilient, right? Because, um, all the nodes are running across the world and they’re being run by different people. Um, which means it’s censorship resistance. It means that, um, it’s not going to.

Go down, right? Like, it’s going to be way, way harder for some of the try to hack it through him. Then, uh, even for some to try to hack, let’s say like Twitter, right. Which has been hacked many times. Right. Um, the other thing that’s really interesting about this decentralized internet, um, is that in many respects it’s permissionless, right?

People can purchase a date, um, without, um, having to. Um, you know, give up a bunch of their data, um, that at least not the same sense of data that they had to previously. Um, and because the smart contracts are running programs on the blockchain, people can interact with a lot of these programs, um, again, without the permission of, um, gatekeepers and, uh, and centralized, uh, authorities.

Um, so for example, decentralized finance is super, super interesting. Um, people can make. Um, loans, people can borrow again without needing to go through a bank. Right. Um, and so when you have this like decentralized internet and there’s like a lot loaded it up in there, right. Um, it creates just a brand new paradigm and to build technology off of, um, and I think it’s going to be especially empowering for, uh, emerging markets.

Right. So third world countries, um, that can kind of leapfrog existing systems. It’s going to be very, very beneficial, um, because of the crypto economic incentives and the cryptocurrency payments, uh, for countries that currently have, um, you know, hyperinflation, right. That have, um, crept governments, um, that have.

Um, you know, infrastructure problems, right. Um, and so as this whole decentralized internet, um, evolves, I think there’s just going to be so much benefit across so many verticals and geographies and use cases. Um, anyways, that’s a very long winded version of saying that, um, there’s a lot of value, um, that can come, um, through, through.

Decentralized internet. Um, but it is still early days. Um, we still have to figure out what product is going to work. Um, we still have to learn from the internet of the past. I don’t think we can throw everything out. Right. Um, but when we have to learn how to bridge the gaps between today’s, you know, very mainstream user experiences and web too, and figuring out how to, um, Smoothing the user experiences as people go into a web three.

Right. Um, so, um, we’re still in the early days, uh, believe it or not. I think everyone that is even remotely interested in this concept should read about it. Should, you know, play with these centralized applications, should buy some cryptocurrencies, get some skin in the game, um, that just forces you to learn more.

Um, and I think, um, this. Still so early that there’s just so much opportunity. Um, especially for young people that want to do something off the beaten path that don’t want to work in a normal corporation, or that wants to make it for themselves. Like this is your opportunity, right? This is a once in a generation opportunity.

Um, it’s like, um, you know, there’s the first wave of the internet created companies like Amazon, right. You know, now Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are always aligned to be the. Wealthiest person in the world. Well, this next wave is just underway. And, you know, I think, um, the number of, you know, very wealthy and successful, but also impactful people in this industry is going to, um, even outnumber the one in the previous internet.

Um, anyway, sorry. That was very long winded. Um, I’ll keep it shorter for NFTs. NFTs are non fungible tokens. Um, I think of NFC is, is like a way of, um, ensuring improving, um, digital ownership as well as scarcity, as well as, um, provenance, which is like, who has owned this NFT over what period of time. Um, but essentially like it’s, um, really, really interesting technology.

Um, a lot of people see empties. Um, you know, digital art right now, right? It’s like, um, something on blockchain and, you know, it has value because it’s scarce. Um, so I think that’s one part of it. Um, but to me, NFTs are a more fundamental technology. It’s almost like HTML in the early days of the internet.

People thought of HTML was like, oh, cool. It’s like, Random standard that allows people to put up static webpages. That’s kind of cool. Who really cares. Who’s going to use the internet? Well, because a Chanel came first, um, and the rest of the internet, you know, blossomed out of that. Right. Um, then you had more beautiful webpages with CSS, right?

Then you had, um, interactive webpages with like, um, JavaScripts and through all that you had, um, industries like e-commerce, um, be created, you had, um, The industry is like social networking, um, get created. You had, um, things like, uh, uh, my blogging and like, you know, democratization and content expression.

Right. Um, and then all kind of spurt out of that. Um, so to me, NFP is just like, uh, a new fundamental technology that allows people, um, to create. Um, again, truly scarce, um, um, prove ownership, prove provenance, um, of certain digital assets, but the idea of space is so much broader than just what we’re seeing today.

Uh, and I think NFTs are going to disrupt a whole, whole slew of industries. Um, whether it’s disrupting something like a stock X, right, that deals with, um, uh, limited edition goods or potentially a Patriot. Um, where, um, people are trying to engage as super fans, um, or, you know, um, ticketing for sports and events and things like that.

Like NFC is have a place in potentially disrupting all these different verticals.

Bryan: (00:22:12)     That is amazing. And as you’re talking about like entities and de-centralization, I really got me fired up, you know? Cause I, I do agree with you. I agree a lot with everything you said. It’s I think that, you know, It’s going to have a huge impact in countries with corrupt governments.

And, you know, he helped me to work countries kind of leapfrog everything. That’s the kind of vision that I see for decentralized too. That’s why, when so far listeners take for media and. To Matt is through our friend, William, not so interested in de-centralization that he is like, Hey, I’m working with Matt and origin.

And my weight, I had to meet mad at origin because this is so cool that you’re working on this stuff. Right. And everything you do, it’s like very relatable to how I view the world. It’s going to be. And you’re right. We’re very, very early. Uh, we’re we’re not even at the crack of light, heavy of mainstream adoption and to, and it’s easier because a lot of people still don’t understand.

What it is and how to work straight. And I’m really appreciate that. You’re able to share your story, but I want to take a bigger step back to your first answer. Uh, when you’re you were saying how, you know, as you’re building your company, you are taking, um, you’re learning a lot about creating new skills and almost 20 many, many times.

I mean, that’s so relatable to. But unfortunately for a lot of less, we sorta just quit. Right. We just stopped because were just like, this is way too much. And the crazy thing about entrepreneurship is that no matter your highs and your lows are going to take every single experience and apply it to your next venture.

Right. So always think of it that way. You may not be earning now, but you will eventually earn if you continue to.

Matthew: (00:23:51)    Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Um, and I almost see it as like a lot of people, um, when they start their careers, they anticipate, uh, almost like linear growth. Right. And that’s what society has largely conditioned us for at least for, um, many other industries, right?

Like corporate America or, you know, finance and, you know, at some point. You know, more exponential as you get more senior, right. Um, in terms of financial rewards or, um, the people you, uh, impact or the number of people working underneath you or whatever it might be. Right. Um, for entrepreneurship, it’s not like that, right?

Like, um, it could be like zigzag down and go up. It’s like all over the place. Um, and oftentimes you have to really, really, um, right. Um, there’s always like stories of like overnight successes, um, and, uh, these like fabled entrepreneurs, but a lot of times when you look at their backgrounds, like they had huge, huge failures for a number of years.

Right. Um, like I think, you know, people, um, you know, said this about like, uh, Ben Silverman at Pinterest or like, oh, Pinterest. Blew up. Right. But you know, you spend a couple of years working on products that didn’t work, right? Um, not everyone can be a more executive bird or bill gates. Just get lucky on the first shot as a college dropout.

Um, more often than not it’s Hey, there are a lot of like dark times, um, before. Success. Right. Uh, like my co-founder Josh, you know, um, he had three venture backed companies, uh, before we started working together. Right. Um, and you know, some successfully at one, you know, small success, but, you know, two companies that completely failed.

Um, but you know, he was an entrepreneur for, um, over a decade. Right. Um, before we started working on origin and that started actually taking off. Right. And so, um, I think moral of the story is, um, Sometimes you just got to keep grinding. Right? You gotta keep working. You gotta understand that. Um, Success can just be right around the corner.

And if you give up right there, like that is just like the worst thing to do, right. It’s like I’m struggling through a marathon and like, you know, you’re hurting and like maybe you’re injured. Um, but, um, you know, you’re, you’re on mile 25 and you don’t realize that like, You just got like a little bit more than a mile before you get to the finish line.

Um, and I say that a little bit fishy Sicily, because like, once you get to the finish line, you realize like you have to run it out of the marathon, but at least like, you’ve gotten some milestone where like, okay, there’s. Some success and you can recharge and energize. Right. Um, and, um, success begets success, growth begets growth.

And so, um, as you’re grinding it out sometimes, um, it gets really, really dark, but just make it to the next milestone. Right. And make it to the next like goalposts. Um, and, and something will be there waiting for you. Right. And there’ll be, um, you know, maybe around the funding or there’s like, oh, Hey, there’s.

Um, new people on the team that are really fired up that can, um, make my job easier or there’s, I just landed a crazy partnership or close the customer. Right. And that reenergizes you and keeps you going. Right. Um, so I think it’s really important to just like, okay, how do I get to the next milestone? How do I like improve every single day?

How do I move forward? Um, don’t always just think about. You know, the end goal. Um, because then it can be super, super intimidating. Like, yes, you should have that in your mind. Like, Hey, I wants to build this and it might take me five years to 10 years, but like, um, don’t only obsess about that. Also think like today, what can I do better?

Right. What can I learn? How can I be a better sales person? Or how do I hire better? Or like, you know, maybe like, I don’t know how to code yet, but like, guess what you can learn. It’s hard, but it’s not impossible. There’s so many people that, um, learn. And I I’ve heard that excuse so many times, oh, I would start a company, but I can’t do Y skill or, you know, Z skill.

I’m like, okay. Um, maybe she could learn it. Right.

Maggie: (00:27:53)   That’s what I love. You know, I just want to say, first of all, thank you for explaining. So comprehensively what NFTs and decentralize means, because honestly, for myself personally, I’m still. About what all of this means. Right. And I think there’s just so much complexity that goes into it too.

And it’s just really refreshing to hear, do you explain to our audience what exactly it means? And I definitely agree with you, you know, like this is my first time doing entrepreneurship, full-time working on Ahn and, you know, Brian. Both myself and Brian are learning as well. And there definitely have been very dark times, you know, just like grinding it out and knowing that you don’t have a security blanket to fall on to and not paying ourselves.

And so on that topic, you know, you went from being a product manager to a leader, and I’m sure you picked up on a lot of great skills working at YouTube, but how did you kind of go through about that transition, becoming a leader from a product manage.

Bryan: (00:28:47)     Yeah. How, how would you, how would you give up control and delegate it out?

Because your team is really big, you know, right now it’s like, things are the hardest part for most product managers, right? Because they’re always there everyone’s everyone’s ass, like, get it done and get it done. This is the vision, but now you’re CEO, you can’t manage everything. Can’t be everywhere. How do you, how do you mentally give up control and become a leader that you are.

Matthew: (00:29:10)    Yeah. Um, that’s a great question. Right? So, um, first off, it’s not easy to become a leader overnight. Um, like just like we were just saying about learning new skills and failing and by product pivots, like same thing, right. With leadership, you’re gonna make a lot of mistakes with hiring, with managing, with firing.

You’re going to make a lot of mistakes, right? Um, no one, I mean, sorry. It’s hard to be like, okay, like, let me learn the CEO or founder job. Right. Um, if you’ve done it a couple of times, then, you know, it’s a little bit easier to say, okay, I’ve been here. I might not deal with it. But really like when you’re a founder of a company, Um, every like couple of weeks, there’s going to be some sort of like random new thing where like, I haven’t dealt with this before, what do I do?

Um, and you can either freak out or you can, um, wing it, but like do it to the best of your ability. Right. Um, so I don’t think that ever changes. Right. I don’t think it changes. Uh, if you’re, you know, the CEO of Coinbase Brian Armstrong, right. You know, he’s recently facing regulatory scrutiny from the sec.

Just seemed to come out of nowhere. Right. I’m sure it’s the first time that he’s had to deal with that. Right. Um, you know, uh, Brian Chesky at Airbnb had to deal with a lot of crazy stuff. Like even when their review was like, you know, unicorn like, oh crap, like, you know, people are having Cardwell experiences or there’s crimes and Airbnbs are like, you know, someone died in Airbnb.

Like, what do you do? Right. Um, there’s always gonna be first, um, like new experiences that are just. Almost a catastrophic to think about, uh, but then you just have to get through them. Right. You just have to deal with them and get through them. Um, so more specifically in terms of like, how do you become like a better leader?

How do you, um, manage it and delegate? Um, I think the, um, the key to letting go, I think, is like hiring people that you trust, right. That, um, can do the job better. And then when you trust them, it’s easier to let go. If you hire the players, right. That are not as good as you, and you’re constantly micromanaging them or telling them what to do.

Um, that’s when it’s going to be really hard to lead, because you’re just spending all your time, like correcting people’s mistakes, not letting them feel empowered, not letting their ideas shine through. That lead. Um, and so I think the best part of managing really starts at hiring. If you can hire people that are really, really good at what they do, um, where you can trust them or some aspect of the business, um, and you can get out of their way, um, and let them make critical decisions.

Um, they’re going to have, uh, the ability to focus on specific problems more than you are as the founder, where you have to have a strategic focus and you have to understand all the different parts of the business, whether it’s like finance or accounting or technology or design or marketing PR. Right. So, um, hire the really best people that you can, right.

Keep that bar really, really high. Um, I know it’s cliche, but it’s so important. I feel so blessed to have the team that we have because they billed me out of so many things right. Where I’m on. Sure. What to do, but like sometimes like, Hey, like what do you think we should do? Um, and if you trusted them off and then you can actually listen to them and you know, they’re not always going to be right either.

Um, Um, it’s, it’s good to have people that, um, um, we can push you and can also voice strong opinions, right. Ultimately, you know, the buck stops with you, um, and you’ll have to make, you know, a lot of the most important decisions, but that input is like super, super valuable. Right. Um, and I think in, um, entrepreneurship and.

Just like in America in general, like we glorify the founders or like the president, um, or, you know, the, the global leaders, but what we don’t really realize, it’s like, all these things are team sports, right? Um, like, um, Barack Obama or Joe Biden, right? Like they have teams around. You know, Trump had teams around him.

Well, not again to that. Um, but you know, um, same thing with like Steve jobs, right. He was seen as this like amazing icon and he is right. But, you know, he had a huge supporting cast that, um, helped shape his ideas and products. Um, so, you know, I, I think, you know, as founders, as people starting businesses, It’s really, really important to realize that, um, yeah, you might get the most attention.

Um, you might be invited to do the podcast, um, and you have ultimate responsibility, but you should not look at it as an individual sport where, you know, you are, um, the leader, right. And people are, um, working underneath you or for you to achieve your vision. That is like the wrong way to leap. Right. Um, instead you should think of it as like, Hey, what is our.

Physician. Right. Um, how do I find people that will share the vision or refine the vision? How do I find people that. We’ll make this a better company and a better business because they’re highly intelligent or they work extremely hard or they have contrary and opinions. Um, or they’re really, really good at getting, you know, um, people to align themselves or they’re really good at, um, whatever superpower selling, marketing, et cetera.

Right. Um, and how do we make it a collective vision and collective company where people feel empowered, where they feel like they’re part of the family, where they have real relationships. Um, they can really grow and we can build on. Amazing together. Right. Um, and so I think having that mindset, um, at least to me is like very, very important.

Um, like the people that work with us at origin, like I considered them, you know, like partners in the business, right. Owners in the business. Um, and not just, um, employees, right? Like that’s, um, that’s not the right way to think about it in my mind. Um, now of course there’s going to be like different roles.

There’s going to be. You know, different seniority, there’s going to be different compensation. Um, but I’m thinking of it as, you know, a team sport, as opposed to an individual sport, I think is hugely, hugely valuable.

Bryan: (00:35:09)      Well, that is, that is an amazing answer. And I can tell by the way that you’re getting your answers, that you, you are someone that has definitely been through everything, you know, not everything, but a lot, been through a lot, you know, the answer, it comes to a.

Experience. And we can see that and we can feel that with her answers. And we have a lot of people are going to be like over like a hundred episodes on our podcasts. Right. So we can definitely feel that. Um, I mean, regarding on your heroes are, I mean, I love it. There is a struggle. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, create grind, push it out, hustle it out.

Let’s talk about the fun things, right. I think that I’ve been following you on Instagram for a while now. And I’m like, man, Matt stays at the best hotels as houses. And a lot of people don’t see behind the scenes and your story to you about your struggle that you almost put so many times, right. And knowing that you have.

The powerful people on your board, like Paris Hilton is one of one example. What is, what is that like? You know, seeing the, the light sort of, but we all know, like success is never guaranteed is always constantly rented, right? I mean that light. What was that? What is that like being where you are now and looking back and reflecting and building on top of that and not letting that get to you and keep, keep, keep on that grind and keeping the hustle.

Matthew: (00:36:31)    Um, well, well, first off I’ll say like this, right? Um, you see the light at the end of the tunnel and you get there. Right. And then you realize the tunnel, it keeps going. But, um, hopefully with each like, again, success of milestone, um, Things get a little bit easier. Um, you know, your building to move through the tunnel becomes a little bit, um, faster.

Maybe there’s more like light in between. Right. But, um, I don’t think it really, really ends until like you stopped running the business. Right. And, um, that’s not something that I’ve really experienced yet. And hopefully I won’t experience for a very, very long time. Um, so first caveat is like, um, again, after those goalposts.

Yeah, you’re more likely than not still going to be going after like this, um, future vision and it doesn’t end. Right. And so I still work extremely hard now. Right. Um, yes. Um, there are certain like public perceptions, uh, like, oh, like, yes, there are certain. Um, people that I know now, right. Because we’re doing NFTs and we’re working in the creator economy, which means we’re working with influencers and celebrities and brands.

Um, and a lot of people that, um, you know, have, have like audiences, um, and have, um, you know, social sway or, um, just like, you know, a lot of, uh, um, yeah, a lot of social clubs. Um, so it is fun working with these people. Um, it it’s cool, like, you know, meeting, um, EDM DJs I’ve listened to, and then realizing that like, Hey, they, they want to have a conversation with me.

Right. Um, or understanding more of what it’s like for, um, a brand or an athlete to think about how to manage their business. Right. ’cause again, like similar story, right? You, you look at these people and you’re like, oh, like they’re, they’re famous. And uh, I want their life. You don’t really know that they’re working their asses off, right.

They’re hustling to, um, they’ve had to go through their hero’s journey and, you know, a lot of them went through a lot of failure. Right. I was talking to, um, cashmere who’s the DJ. And he was like, you know, sleeping on his friend’s couch right before he made it. Right. Um, you know, a lot of like, you know, professional athletes.

I didn’t have anything before they made it. Right. Um, so I think, um, people only see again that, um, overnight success or like, you know, um, what’s happened at the end, but it’s very important to remind that, um, these people are also grinding and they’re still grinding this day. Say at the top, you have to work really, really hard.

Um, the work really doesn’t stop again until you retire. Right. And even then, you know, these people are so motivated that they’ll do something else. Um, so I think it’s been really fun interacting with some of these individuals. Um, a lot of them are way smarter, um, uh, lit a lot more business savvy than you would think that they are.

Right. Um, based on their external, uh, personas. Um, but again, I think that’s, that’s the beauty of it, right. Um, the people that make it in this world, um, are a combination of talented, um, lucky, um, but also. Almost always, um, hardworking. Right. Um, at least the people that make it for themselves. Right. Um, and so that is something that is just been a common thread as I been interacting, um, with these, you know, people that, you know, previously.

Um, in my like social circles, um, and it’s actually kind of inspiring, right? Like, uh, it makes me realize that like, you know, um, this is kind of just like the blueprint. Um, and so I should continue to work hard. Um, I shouldn’t be complacent. Um, you should never really think it’s done right. Otherwise. Um, you’re gonna, you’re gonna fall off whatever it is that you’re standing on.

Um, but there are some cool Brooks, right? It’s been cool going to certain events, um, learning to, um, you know, kind of scratching the surface of what it’s like for someone to be an entertainment or sports or music. Um, and so, yeah, it’s cool to have these connections. Um, I look forward to working with more creators in the future, um, understanding of the world, uh, on an even deeper level.

Um, Yeah, it is fun.

Bryan: (00:40:40)      I love that. Elephant know, I’m always looking at your story and your team’s stories. I’m like, man, this looks so cool. And not know there’s a ton of hard work that goes behind that and everyone has their own journey and I do appreciate it. Knowing after knowing more of your backstory?

Um, well,

Matthew: (00:40:57)    I’ll tell you this. It’s, it’s no fun, um, posting like an Instagram story at like 2:00 AM of your monitor while you’re working. Right. So we stop at, makes it to Instagram or Facebook or Twitter. It’s usually like a little bit more fun.

Bryan: (00:41:12)      Of course. I mean, you just supposed some, some hardworking stuff. We need to know the real picture. Uh, I have to ask this question for real, cause I know earlier, as you mentioned you, um, when you were saying, when we were growing up or quiet, you’re a little bit shy and now look at you. You’re networking with Atlas celebrities. You have a lot of powerful people surrounding.

Uh, and your daily life, how did you, have you ever face imposter syndrome at one point where you kind of just looked at yourself in the mirror and be like, wow, like what is, what is going on? Like, this is not how I used to be. How did I become this person over time?

Matthew: (00:41:49)     Oh, yeah, absolutely. Um, and, um, it’s not, have you ever it’s like how often do you face it? Right. Um, it’s still something that I struggle  with and I think a lot of people struggle with, um, because, um, Well, I could talk about this for days. Um, so number one, like, um, whenever people see like startups, right. Um, uh, or they see Instagrams of, you know, celebrities like Paris Hilton or whatever, right?

Like that’s like a fairly like curated public perception. Right. Um, you see like the good point. Um, because, you know, if you’re a CEO you’re selling why your company, um, um, is meaningful, right. You’re trying to sell your products. Um, you’re trying to sell to prospective employees. Right. And you know, if you’re, um, You know, an influencer, like you’re, you’re also pitching a certain lifestyle or expertise or, um, some unique interests.

Cause he’s about your life to your audience. Um, that’s only part of the picture, right? Um, again, people struggle right. Inside companies. There’s a lot of dysfunction, right? Even the companies that you think are like, absolutely amazing. Like when I was working at YouTube and Google, like, you know, Google is absolutely crushing it and, you know, stock price was flying, but I could see like, you know, internal politics.

Right. I could see that, um, there were certain dysfunctions or certain products or like, oh my God, There was this like, um, huge bug that created all these problems, but like, you know, people don’t see that stuff. Right. Um, and so like every day, I think, like you think a little bit about like, wow, how blessed you are, that things are going well.

But also like, oh my God, there’s all these things that I need to stitch up because. And a risk of the company, right. Um, or, you know, personnel, are there personnel issues or whatever it is, right. There’s always something wrong, right. When they’re starting a business and running a business. Um, and so there’s always a gap between that public perception of how you’re doing and how you figure you’re doing internal.

Um, so that’s number one. Um, number two, I think like more personally. Yeah. Like the entrepreneurial journey, as well as life in general, it means that people change. They evolve, they grow, uh, hopefully they grow to become better people that when they started, um, I grew up super shy. Um, I was bullied. Um, didn’t really know how to talk to people was just like burying.

My books. Um, and at some point it was actually a very conscious effort, right. Um, I was like, okay, how do I actually, um, learn to communicate better as people, um, as weird as that sounds. And so it’s like, okay, I wanted to learn how to do public speaking. I wanted to learn how to, um, understand body language and proceeded how people are feeling so that I could actually, um, then have more empathy towards them and be able to.

Um, be able to build rapport faster. Right. And these are things that I actually bought books on and studied. Right. Like I bought a book written by like some FBI negotiator on body language. And, you know, I took like public speaking classes and, um, I, you know, took psychology classes and talked to people that were.

Good people, uh, people start that sounds good at relating to other people. Um, and try to understand, like, you know, like how, how do you be like a better, um, manager, how you become a better leader? Like, how do you become, um, even just like a better like, um, son or like family member or whatever. Right. Um, these are all things that you can work on.

Um, and so I made it a conscious part of. To see like how I can improve. Right. Um, and you know, there’s still a lot of room for growth, right? Like I don’t have perfect relationships, um, by any means, um, there’s times where like I lose my temper or I get frustrated people and like, um, you know, I regret it afterwards.

Um, there’s times where I’ve made bad leadership decisions. Um, there’s times where, um, I think, um, making. Like, um, progress in building rapport, but I’m actually like completely wrong based on like, you know, cultural cues and things like that when, especially when dealing with people internationally. Right.

Um, and so it was a growth process, but, um, Do I think that like I’m an imposter, not really, but do I feel like there are times where I’m uncomfortable or I’m like, not sure how to deal with situations or people give me more credit than I’m too. Absolutely. Like every day. Right. Um, and um, I think it’s good and bad.

Right? It’s good in the sense that, um, that helps keep you a bit humble. It helps you look at your areas of weakness and make sure that you don’t get too arrogant and are constantly trying to improve. Um, so I think that that that’s good. Um, um, it can be bad and sometimes it hurts your like self-confidence right.

Um, and so you want to be able to balance that and, and not, um, obsessed about it too much. Um, but yeah. A lot of decisions, a lot of things in entrepreneurship, you don’t actually really know until you do it. And like I said, sometimes you just have to take your best guess and you have to wing it and you have to wing it with confidence, um, and just go after it.

Right. And you’re going to make a lot of mistakes, but it’s better to make fast mistakes. And then, um, come out of them as opposed to like, be afraid to.

Maggie: (00:47:16)        I love that. I love that you took the initiative to actually teach yourself how to, you know, have a better emotional intelligence and to learn body language and to do public speaking, because honestly, a big part of becoming a really good leader is human connection.

Right? You’re talking to so many people more on a daily basis and you have to connect with people who are interested in your business or interested in your product. And. Human connection is like the biggest thing. And I love that you just kind of like went for, it, said to yourself, you know why I have to learn these few things?

Cause there’s so many people who, you know, they’re, I would say like book smart, but they don’t have that, you know, emotional intelligence. That’s a big part that’s missing. Um, so yeah, I just, I thought that was so super inspirational.

Bryan: (00:48:00)      I thought that was inspirational too. And it’s really relatable, you know, I. And in college, I don’t know if I should say this in the podcast, but I’m using label as someone very socially awkward. And it’s the same thing it’s bringing on your show. Right? Being able to talk to people, connect because as Maggie said before, a big part of entrepreneurship. Ironically, uh, having a strong ETQ right.

Emotional intelligence. I Al I would almost say that’s more important than IQ in business to be able to connect, to understand and sell your product. And you’ve gone a long way. I, if you honestly told me that you have trouble connecting with people and speaking and sharing your thoughts, I’ll be like, man, you’re full of shit, but you’re so good at explaining things really well.

And, you know, connecting with people on. Basis. And I’m really happy that we had you on the podcast finally, and being able to share your story, you know, and educating our community a lot more about the blockchain community. There’s a lot of misinformation right now, and there’s a lot of, of, um, using early adopter mindset.

That’s not quite there yet. And I guess the final question I want to ask you, the podcast is I know that you always had an early adopter mindset, right? So how do you. What kind of, what kind of advice do you have for all of us to sort of have the adventurous side and having that early adopter mindset, try on new things and keeping an open mind.

Because as be honest, man with the Asian community is so hard for us to be open-minded universal center ways. Just talk to our parents is one example of that. Right. You know, like dad just different way to do it. He’s like, no, I’ve been doing this for 30 years. Right. So how do you, what kind of advice do you have for the Asian community and not just the Asian community for all of them.

You really have the early adopter mindset to try new things.

Matthew: (00:49:48)     Yeah. Um, so I think, um, there’s a couple parts of it. Um, one thing is just like, um, learn to say yes more often, right. Um, there’s always a reason to say no. Um, so, uh, like, um, It’s way easier to say, okay. Like the picture’s not perfect, right.

Something about a place. So I’m going to say no to this opportunity, right? Whether it’s like investing a little bit of money in a seed startup or, um, um, should I, you know, network with this person or don’t want to learn about this new area, but it seems like immature, like, oh, it’s never going to work.

Right. Um, and so like 99% of the people are, um, conditions. It’d be like, okay, well, For this reason and this reason and that reason, and you talk yourself out of everything, right? Um, that’s how you, by the way, you talked yourself out of, um, making probably the best angel investments. That’s how you talk yourself out of starting a business.

That’s potentially how you talk yourself out of, you know, I’m committing to a life partner that could change your world, right? That’s probably how you talk yourself out of, um, traveling all over the world, uh, you know, more remote or dangerous or, um, whatever areas. Right. Um, and so I think a lot of times you have to, um, teach yourself to say yes, right.

And remember that when you’re saying yes, it’s not necessarily a huge, huge, um, commitment, right. It’s not like you’re signing your life away. Right. Um, you can say yes. Um, and experiment and get some data to see if that yes, was a good decision or a bad decision. Um, but by saying, yes, you actually made a decision to try something new, to learn something new.

Um, and hopefully it gives you more data. Right. Um, and I said yes, many times to certain areas of like, um, like new hobbies or trying new things. And then I quickly learned that, you know, maybe it’s not for me. Right. Um, but at least I have a little bit more, um, Primary input, as opposed to just like, okay.

What’s reason that I say to not do this. Right. Um, and also, um, I don’t know if this is true for everyone else, but for me, um, Just a story around like angel investing. Right? Um, some of my most successful investments, I’ve been my smallest checks because I was like, I don’t think this is going to work. Um, I don’t really want to say yes, but this guy is a friend, so I’ll kind of a small check, right?

And it’s like, wow, that turned into something big. Right. Or I don’t really believe in this tech, but okay. My friend’s doing it. Like I was just fortunate enough to get pulled into a couple of these deals and I’m like, they turned into like huge outcomes. And so that made me realize that like, um, either one I’m not like very good at making investments.

Um, At least like looking forward or to that, I should probably say yes, more opportunities. Right? It’s oftentimes opportunities that are a bit scary that aren’t fully figured out, uh, that have the most opportunity because not everyone’s going towards that. Right. Um, and yes, like. A lot of, you know, investments, right?

Whether they’re angel investing like Instagram now, or investments of your time, right. Trying to learn new skills, uh, or talking to people that, um, maybe you originally didn’t think were worth your time, um, or, you know, learning something that seems a little bit off the beaten path. A lot of those will be failures, but the ones that turn out to be successes can be outside successes.

Right. It’s like when you said yes. Um, when you were super, super shy, um, and didn’t want to like, you know, approach that, um, executive at that networking events. And you’re like, okay, let me just do. And you had a great conversation. Um, even though, you know, he, or she was like way more senior and you just felt like uncomfortable and that leads to your internship.

Right? Um, it’s when I was like, I’m going to try, even though I’m not qualified for this job at YouTube. Right. Um, maybe it’s like, you’re. You know, you have a huge crush on somebody, right. And you’re afraid and like, that’s not going to work then it’s me like, you know, here are all the reasons how I’m going to be embarrassed, rejected, but you know, like, okay, let me just try.

Right. Maybe you do get rejected. Maybe you get embarrassed, but maybe you end up like, you know, finding your, your, your future life partner, because you got over your anxiety. Right. Um, and so, um, I think in general, it’s better to just like try a lot of things and go forward. Um, and being an early adopter and it’s not just technology, right.

Just like, just go for it. Right. What’s the worst thing that can happen. Like your ego is a little hurt. Um, you might’ve learned something God forbid, right? Um, yeah, maybe a little bit embarrassed because your friend’s like, oh, like that business failed or like you didn’t get the job or, well, who cares?

Right. Five years or 10 years from now, because you’ve been, you know, conditioning yourself to take these chances when you’re doing really well. But like, wow. Like that, that person is like, you know, an entrepreneur or a go getter or they take the initiative. Like there were so many people that, um, kind of like downplayed my efforts previous cause like, oh, like, you know, why is he wasting his time?

Right. His business isn’t going well. Like my parents were worried about me. My friends are worried about it and now they’re like, okay, well, Like, we’re glad that, you know, um, our son or a friend or whatever took these risks. Right. And so, um, I think what I’m trying to say again, in a very long way is if you take these small chances, the downside is like probably way less than you think it is.

Um, and then compounded over time. A lot of these, like, you know, small risk taking events, um, many of again, which you will fail at, um, will result in outside successes because a few times you said, yes, um, we’re going to. Are going to really, really be pivotal and impactful in your life, but you would have never gotten there if, um, throughout your entire life you were saying no, instead of.

Bryan: (00:56:05)      That is, that is really, really powerful. And again, I really liked these long, long answers because they’re so detailed, you know, and it’s, it’s very relatable to you cause it’s sort of distastes you on a trends in some ways as you’re listening. Oh yeah. That’s totally related well to my own life. And that thank you so much for being on the podcast today.

Um, how can our listeners find out more about you and reach out to you?

Matthew: (00:56:27)     Yeah. So, um, you know, I love hearing from people, especially people that, um, you know, have aspirations to do something, um, impactful with their life, whether, you know, socially, professionally, or anything. Interesting. Right. Um, and, uh, I have to obviously be very consistent with what I just said about like, um, you know, saying, yeah, so like, you know, people that want to reach out to me, like don’t be intimidated.

Um, If I don’t respond right away, reach out again. Right. Like that, that’s how the world works. And that’s how like, um, things spin around. Um, but, uh, for most social handles, um, uh, Matthew, Lou. So that’s what I am on, uh, Facebook and Twitter and Instagram, um, and a couple other, um, platforms like we chat and telegram it’s, uh, Matthew C Lou, um, and, uh, You know, you can also shoot me an email@mattatoriginprotocol.com.

Bryan: (00:57:27)      Don’t forget to check the origin protocols.com as well. Now, Matthew, thank you so much for being on the podcast today. I really appreciate everything that you shared, all your insights, and this is a great show. I appreciate.

Maggie: (00:57:40)        Yeah, it was awesome. Learning about your story and thank you so much for being on the podcast.

Matthew: (00:57:45)     Of course, my pleasure.

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