Startup Interview with Bruce Woodruff, Founder/CEO of NFThub; Daly City, CAby@brucewoodruff
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Startup Interview with Bruce Woodruff, Founder/CEO of NFThub; Daly City, CA

by NFThubAugust 28th, 2021
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NFThub is a robust suite of features and tools dedicated to the discovery, adoption, and education surrounding all things NFT. It is an attempt to consolidate the rapidly expanding NFT ecosystem, while also providing consistent and high quality educational material, with the overall goal of making the NFT space more accessible to newcomers, and less chaotic to navigate for those already here. The team is working together, and I’ve been willing to bring into the fold, as well as the people I think are the ideal people to build on. I think we have a hyperbolic “headcanon” among a number of established communities we’re all living inside the time chamber.

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HackerNoon Reporter: Please tell us briefly about your background.

Well, I honestly think that most of my professional background prior to finding my way into the crypto / NFT rabbit-hole is largely irrelevant to the time I’ve spent in the space. Pre-2020, I worked every dead-end job you’ve never wanted, and the minimal formal education I had was as a chef. I spent a short time learning dropshipping, and was starting to build a business around that when I initially got involved with crypto; though overall, that’s a fairly long story. Over the past couple of years, I’ve been creating digital art for a living; and more recently delved into DeFi, and have been doing a bit of NFT flipping during the global NFT hype of 2021. By most people’s standards (most people meaning those outside of the blockchain ecosystem) I’d be considered an expert on blockchain, crypto and NFT’s. By my reckoning, I’m probably about as close as anyone can really get to being an expert on NFT’s; but to be honest, I don’t think any of us [NFT people] truly know much of anything when you consider the untapped potential and the explosive growth that’s expected to continue and even accelerate over the next few years.

What's your startup called? And in a sentence or two, what does it do?

NFThub; as a high level overview, it’s ProductHunt for NFT’s (nonfungible tokens) with a bit of a different style and some additional features. My go-to elevator pitch is : NFThub is a robust suite of features and tools dedicated to the discovery, adoption, and education surrounding all things NFT.

What it does, if it needs further explanation; is attempt to consolidate the rapidly expanding NFT ecosystem, while also providing consistent and high quality educational material, with the overall goal of making the NFT space more accessible to newcomers, and less chaotic to navigate for those already here.

What is the origin story?

I’d love to spin a tale of profound epitomes and perserverance in the face of certain failure; but I don’t have one of those. Last summer [2020] I was already fully immersed in the NFT ecosystem, and as we understood it then, it was growing pretty rapidly (nothing compared to the growth of this year though] and there was a few universal pain points within all of the communities I was active in, which were at the time, all fairly intertwined since by comparison to today the there were very few of us who thought NFT’s were worth dedicating our time and energy to. Namely, the lack of a unified source of information, the hit-or-miss probability of seeing events or release dates announced on twitter or in one of the plethora of discord/telegram channels we’ve all accumulated, and in my own experience a lot of early NFT projects didn’t get off the runway due to lack of visibility. So having come into this space shortly after teaching myself web design, SEO, digital marketing, and a handful of other things that would’ve been necessary to successfully manage a dropshipping business solo, I decided that if no one else was going to build it, that I would. Even if it was only so it existed for me to use.

What do you love about your team, and why are you the ones to solve this problem?

If I’m being honest, more often than not it feels like I’m 99% of the team. Maybe its because I’m bad at delegating, maybe it’s because I can only do so much to explain my vision to someone and hope they see it too, or maybe it’s because there’s just so much happening at all times in the NFT space. It’s become a bit of a “headcanon” among a number of the established communities that we’re all living inside a hyperbolic time chamber, while the oustide world barely even takes a moment to see it careening through reality. When the team is working together, we have great synergy; likely because we all met by being more ivolved in the goings-on of the nascent Metaverse than we are in anything in the outside world. I think that I, as well as the people I’ve been willing to bring into the fold, are the ideal people to build NFThub because at the end of the day, we’re our own target demographic. When NFThub started, it was because I needed it, and that led to the idea evolving into something that’s much bigger than myself; and has the potential, as well as the momentum, to become a core part of the infrastructure of Web 3.0. As an added note on why I think I’m the best person to build NFThub; I genuinely don’t care about the revenue potential, and I never thought of it was a business venture that could be leveraged for a primary income stream. I owe my life to the cryptoart community, and the best I can do to return that favor is to do all I can to pay it forward; not to mention I’m just plain relentless. I don’t accept the notion that the project could fail, or that if others percieved it as not launching succesfully

If you weren’t building your startup, what would you be doing?

In all honesty; I can’t imagine doing anything with my life that isn’t directly rooted in NFT’s. Were I not buidl’ing NFThub, I’d likely be deeply involved with a different project in addition to focusing the majority of time on my art. I can say that with absolute confidence in fact, because the primary motivation to buidl NFThub began as wanting to have more time to focus on my artwork and contributing to NFT projects that are committed to a long-term vision. During the summer of last year, before most of the world had ever heard the term nonfungible, being in the trenches of this nascent industry already required (well, I suppose it was mostly voluntary due to insatiable curiosity and enthusiasm) a lot more time than I preferred to spend researching various projects, keeping up with event schedules, etc.

At the moment, how do you measure success? What are your core metrics?

In relation to NFThub, I measure success by level of user adoption. The project was never intended to be a business venture, it was merely a passion project that ‘grew legs’. For that reason, revenue or profit margins are essentially irrelevant. I don’t honestly know current metrics, but we’ve had at least a few thousand unique visitors, and close to a thousand registered accoutns when I last checked. The goal of NFThub as a “company” is to provide value, educate people about the power of NFTs, and benefit this nascent industry. If we help one person per day to learn something new, understand something better, or discover a project/tool they’re find valuable; then I consider NFThub to be successful.

What’s most exciting about your traction to date?

I think the aspect I’d consider most exciting is the implied benefit for the people that have joined. Every signup for the website means that another person was interested enough to make an account and access the account-dependent features, or that another NFT project representative is signing up to be able to list their project.

What technologies are you currently most excited about, and most worried about? And why?

It almost seems redundant to say the the technology I’m most excited about is the underlying tech for NFTs (blockchain). In case readers have gotten this far in without knowing what an NFT is; I’ll try to offer a brief explanation. NFT, or nonfungible token, is a term describing a unique digital asset registered on a blockchain network. I’ll post an explanatory article to avoid this answer being a wall of text. As for why I’m so excited- We’ve already seen an incredibly diverse variety of use cases for NFTs, from art and music, to gaming, to programmable financial strategies; and we’re incredibly early. The first proper token standard for NFTs was created just 4 years ago. To put it in perspective, think of the state of the internet in 1996. Most people were aware of it, and may have occasionally used it, but just as many people saw no sense in creating an email account when they could easily just send a letter. When was the last time you got a letter? That’s where we are with NFTs. Code-mandated resale royalties for artists/musicians/etc., immutable legal documents, even NFTs that act as “keys” to websites or specific content are barely the tip of the iceberg.

Technology I’m most worried about is a much more difficult question, I’m a bit of a tech nerd, so the technological advancements through my lifetime, and the implied advances yet to come, are incredible to witness. If I had to choose something I’m worried about in the realm of tech, it would probably be AI. Let’s face it, we’ve all seen terminator, and I’d be willing to bet that there’s not too many people that would argue that humanity is good for the planet. It’s only a matter of time before Google becomes self-aware and reads the entire internet; which in its entirety, probably doesn’t paint a very great picture of the human race.

What drew you to get published on HackerNoon? What do you like most about our platform?

Having something I still see as just a passion project get nominated for startup of the year was a pretty significant motivation for one; but also the likelihood that my explanation of NFTs in the previous question will actually make sense to most of the readers. HackerNoon was one of the first publications I started to read from fairly regularly after getting involved in the cryptocurrency sector; readers here are more technically inclined, and generally provide a more knowledgeable perspective on relevant topics.

What advice would you give to the 21-year-old version of yourself?

Buy as much bitcoin as possible and don’t even consider selling.

What is something surprising you've learned this year that your contemporaries would benefit from knowing?

Probably the most interesting thing I’ve learned this year that my contemporaries would be able to relate to without being real deep in the crypto rabbit-hole (but may convince them to peer over the edge of it) is that around 35% of the US dollars that are currently in circulation, globally, have been printed since the beginning of the covid pandemic. One-third of the world’s entire supply of USD. That’s not just hard to believe, it’s downright scary.

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