“Juicebox in the words of” is a series that highlights JB community members in interview form. Learn about members’ roles at JB and what makes them tick.
peri is one of the two OG’s of JB, having created JB along with jango and worked tirelessly to streamline it, organize contributors, and deliver excellent front-end work at a breakneck pace. Along with jango he has by far the widest perspective of the JB story. Read on to learn a bit about JB’s beginnings and evolution.
How'd you get started with JB, and how has it changed since you've been here?
I was kind of around building JB from day one; jango and I were working on it by ourselves for a pretty long time before we started getting some more regular teammates… I probably spent a good six months or so building the app and most of that time I was full-time dedicated to JB. I’d left my other day job early on.
The first iteration of the JB app was fairly limited; it definitely had some shortcomings, so we figured let’s just get this to a good place and see if people enjoy it. After JB launched it took about a month or so before the project got much traction. After that– I think Sharkdao was the first project that gave it a lot of traction– we got some other front-end contributors to help out with the work that I was doing.
What kept you going early on, when you had to move mountains and put so much effort in. Did you and jango have a clear vision for what all that work was going to amount to?
I think jango and I each had our own unique visions for JB– they weren’t opposed in any ways, but there were definitely certain things that were driving me and important to me, and certain things important to him. Early on– really really early on– I didn’t have a complete vision for how JB would exist in the world; it was more just an interesting experiment to build a web-3 app, and I wanted to get some experience working in web-3. JB is fairly complicated, so over the months we were constantly reshaping it, so the vision was changing as well. About 2-3 months before we launched I started to think about it and realized how valuable it would be to DAOs. While we were building it, DAO’s were only just starting to become big. I felt like, somebody could use this not just as a business or to create a fundraiser, but can create a community of people, and that’s when I felt like JB really came into its own and found itself. The beauty of jb is that it’s super extensive, and can be used for all kind of things, not just DAOs.
What’s the average day for you look like now that JB has kind of found its stride and that major early work has been done?
It’s definitely changed a bit– in the early days after the launch, once JB went public, it didn’t change a lot, but we were also getting a lot of feedback from people on what was needed and how to better streamline things. Putting a lot of these complex items into a digestible way was very hard, especially when you’re so intimately familiar with these complex processes, so getting feedback from people who were seeing this for the first time was a huge help for us.
Once there were more full-time contributors coming in (who we formed peel with), it changed a lot. I can’t say enough good things about those early contributors– I feel so blessed that they came so eager and willing to put themselves into the work. From day 1 I was pushing code to fix small bugs and also thinking of these big-picture things, so I had wanted for a while a team to be able to help out with some of that workload. It was really beautiful because it was a time of wondering how to get those people in here, and I wondered: is this what a recruiting process looks like, do I need to be advertising positions, interviewing people and so on? That whole process is not something I was very excited or eager about, so I was just like, “Hopefully there will be people who find the project interesting and show up to help out”– and that ended up being exactly what happened! JohnnyD, Aeolian, Torvusbug, Ooyoo were some of the major early contributors and with them we kicked into high gear. The code base got cleaned up a lot and having that diversity of opinion and diversity of experience was just a huge asset. After a month or so of that we realized we had a real team here, and started feeling like a machine.
With growth happening so fast, is there any way to even predict what JB might look like in a couple years?
The speed of things is remarkable, and that’s an amazing attribute of web 3. JB feels like it’s going as fast as it can go, and that’s a consequence of a number of things. A big factor is that there’s always public conversations and transparency, so there’s very little time wasted on catching people up, so everyone is getting the info more or less in real-time at the same time. Most people spending time on this aren’t clocking out at 5pm, they’re working when they want to and when they feel like it, and their passion has them executing ideas very quickly, which is wild.
Talking about 2 years from now, that feels like a lifetime; it’s hard to make any predictions, but I think the main thing we’ll see going forward that I can hardly even really predict– I don’t know what it’ll look like– but I think there’ll be a lot more decentralization of the project itself. With introduction of V2 there’s gonna be a lot of added flexibility, with more diverse use cases people can use JB for, and a lot of these use cases will probably end up being built around custom extensions of JB.
Switching gears a bit: when you meet that awkward uncle at thanksgiving we all have, and they ask you what you do, how do you explain JB and your role in it?
Haha. To be honest I don’t find myself in that situation all that often, so I don’t practice very frequently, and every time I do find myself in that situation my take on it may have changed since the last time. Oftentimes, if it’s someone who isn’t familiar with web 3, I won’t even mention JB at all because there’s so many layers of abstraction to go through. But if someone’s really curious, I generally start by comparing it kickstarter, and I don’t really think that’s the best place to start, it’s just the easiest since it’s a fairly similar type of mechanism people are already familiar with. So you can kinda start there as an organization that raises money, but obviously the big differences you have to jump to is issuance of tokens, what that means, the programmability of it all, the restriction on money withdrawal and to whom. That’s when it starts getting really tricky to explain.
I’m always surprised by the conspicuous lack of assholes at JB– where are they all hiding?
Haha. I really have never thought about that. There’s a lot of assholes in the world, and maybe there were 2-3 who have come through JB in the past, but I think of it by remembering this term jango said to me once, he used this expression– “DAO immune system”-- and it immediately clicked to me what he meant: every DAO that has a strong culture, they have an immune system, and it’s an immune system to people and decisions. And the consequence of that is if there’s ideas thrown out and talked about that aren’t fitting with the momentum of the DAO, then it tends to be squashed. But the beautiful thing about that is that the way the JB immune system seems to work is very polite and genuine.
Would you call that killing with kindness?
Yeah, I definitely see a lot of that, and it’s a beautiful thing. On the topic of the DAO immune system, when factions do emerge, the beautiful thing about it is that it still remains a very democratic process, and evaluations of decisions aren't based on what’s “right” and “wrong”, it’s rather the democratic process of voting with JBX. Also fascinating: they’ve always been fairly close votes when these issues have arisen. Ideally the way the system is set up and the governance processes we have, the DAO will ultimately decide what’s best one way or another, and that’s entirely subjective, since there’s no such thing as an objectively good or bad outcome.
It’s interesting connecting DAO’s to democracy– in democracy, we have structures to influence voting, like campaigning, super PACS, etc. Arguably the world of DAOs is too young for this– but do you see this is an eventuality of communities and factions within DAOs trying to gain control to guide DAO decision-making?
I think we see that already. That’s a necessary part of any voting process, a “campaign”-- it doesn’t necessarily need to look like what we think of campaigns in ordinary politics (posters, pamphlets, etc) but it already does happen, for instance when somebody creates a proposal, there’s an implicit requisite for them to defend that proposal and explain why. The temperature check is designed for discourse, and those types of conversations are themselves a form of campaigning. It’s the responsibility of people much more involved in JB who have a more nuanced understanding of the mechanisms to distill their opinions on responsible voting, or to fairly summarize the pros and cons of the proposal because less-active JB members aren’t as familiar with the proposal.
Excellent point. Switching gears: who is your favorite JB contributor, and why is it filipv?
Haha. Filip’s great, I have a lot of love for filip. When I think of filip, the things that come to mind are that he’s just an excellent talker, and being a good talker is not something that feels like a resume item, but it really is, it’s a really truly valuable skill that’s underrated. Having somebody like filip facilitate conversations like he does is super valuable. Not only is he so good at explaining things, he’s also very open-minded, knowledgeable of what he knows and quick not to pretend he’s knowledgeable about what he doesn’t know. He’s very active, and good about proposing things we may not be thinking about. The dude just seems very level-headed; I love talking to him.
If I had to pick a favorite that wasn’t filipv– I mean you can’t pick just one obviously– but the other person I really respect is aeolian, who has come in and really taken over a lot from me to be the lead front-end person on peel. And I just have so much mad respect for aeolian– not only is he a great developer, but he knows his stuff and is great at writing good code, and he’s great at having conversations about these things and being open to learn, open minded, open to teach. All the times I spent working with him– I really credit a lot of the joy I get contributing to peel, to him and the rest of the peel team, because he’s made work so enjoyable.
That’s awesome. Okay, final question: do you have any huge project in the future you’re particularly excited about?
That’s hard to say. At the moment, as of about a week ago, I’m spending much less time at JB. I’ve contributed to JB for so long, and having a solid group of contributors like the peel team to help take on my workload has eased me up to pursue new projects. I’ve wanted to do some different type of work that is’t necessarily front-end code, like some solidity work, and art-projects, and so on. So I do have a lot more time to spend on other projects now, and there’s another project that I’m working on now– that hasn’t really been announced yet– but I’m looking forward to announcing it soon.
(Note: this interview was transcribed from a discord call.)