#38: Colin Armstrong, Founder @ Paragraph | How they combined web2 & web3 features to create a Substack alternative that’s already used by over 5k creators


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Colin Armstrong has been in crypto since 2011 and has spent years working at Coinbase and Google. He built Paragraph to create a more neutral and web3-friendly alternative to Substack. The project has already amassed 5k+ creators and 100k+ subscribers, and Colin shares how they made it happen.

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0:38 How to make sure you get info about the new web3 talks episodes

1:27 Why Paragraph is a great example of web2.5 Substack

2:22 How Colin’s experience at mining Bitcoin in 2011, building decentralized Kickstarter in 2014, working at Coinbase with the founder of Litecoin, spending 5 years at Google, and being dissatisfied with Substack led him to build Paragraph

13:37 What were the most interesting Paragraph use cases Colin has seen so far

16:24 How do they manage to ship features so fast, and why waitlist doesn’t make sense in most products

19:40 How do they decide what to include on their roadmap

21:12 Why they’ve been integrating with web3 social and how it works in practice

23:17 How they acquired their first 10 users via cold outreach on Twitter, and why they didn’t implement any crypto functionalities in v1

25:16 What they’ve been doing to acquire 5k+ users and how they used the market situation to their advantage

28:40 How do they measure success in their product and why just looking at the number of writers or readers wouldn’t work

30:34 What do they do to protect newsletters from landing in the spam box

33:09 What are their plans for integrating wallets and why is infra not ready for it yet

36:43How does wallets x Paragraph x Farcaster integration work technically and why do they use Searchcaster

39:20 How a developer built a streaming payment with Superfluid on top of Paragraph without needing any permission

40:51 How getting developers to build on top of their APIs was easier than he thought

44:13 Why choosing the right feature set for their niche was so hard and why web3 UX & e-mail limitations led to design challenges

47:10 What would Colin build if he wasn’t building Paragraph

50:00 Why would he get rid of airdrop hunters and speculators with his web3 magic wand and add new useful dapps with great UX

52:33 Colin’s favorite web3 projects (spoiler alert: he mentions Farcaster)

56:00 Where can you learn more about Paragraph

57:01 What other builders would be a great fit for the podcast

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