Five key leadership lessons from Ethereum

A cautionary tale in mismanagement

Ethereum logo within a digital grid

Good Tech < Good People

I’ve spent an entire career in technology consulting, starting as a software engineer and eventually moving into management. I came from a school of thought that people should get out of the way so engineers can solve problems. And I can tell you from experience, this is a naïve point of view.

Motivations++

I often tell my staff the key to good teamwork is aligning motivations. That means everyone on a team needs to find their role and have a shared understanding of the goals in front of them. In Ethereum’s early days, motivations were anything but aligned. Most striking was the rift within the founders between the “devs”, who wanted Ethereum to be run as a nonprofit foundation, and the and “business” people who wanted to setup a for-profit entity.

!Greed

Despite the unpredictability of human behavior, one thing remains remarkably consistent — greed will often overpower other motivations in individuals. We shouldn’t be surprised that greed abounds in crypto because the whole idea from the very beginning was to create a decentralized trustless system based on economic incentives.

Great Founder != Great Manager

We idolize founders because they turn their brilliant ideas into a successful venture, but we’d be wise not to equate great founders with great managers. In reading “Cryptopians,” it is clear Vitalik Buterin, someone I greatly respect for his unique vision, was an ineffective manager. Time and time again, he avoided tough conversations with Ming Chan (Executive Director of the Ethereum Foundation and controversial figure for her unstable behavior) and others, and he shied away from administrative accountabilities that are often not fun but nevertheless very important as a manager.

//Attention is addictive

If social media taught us anything, it the lengths to which people will go to get noticed. Attention means power, and power is addictive. Trying to understand all the bad behavior exhibited by key Ethereum figures like Ming Chan, Charles Hoskinson, Joe Lubin, Gavin Wood and many others, one possible explanation is they simply got caught up in the hype.

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Husband, father of 3 boys, 2 time entrepreneur, tech enthusiast (esp blockchain), yellow Whole Brain thinker and supporter of under-served communities

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Chad Hahn

Husband, father of 3 boys, 2 time entrepreneur, tech enthusiast (esp blockchain), yellow Whole Brain thinker and supporter of under-served communities