Behind the Charts: Rob (rplust)

Behind the Charts: Rob (rplust)

Behind the Charts is a blog post series about MetricsDAO’s analyst community. It serves as a way to get to know and feature some of the best analysts in the Web3 space. As we seek to empower protocols and organizations in the crypto space, it is important to empower on-chain analysts as well and highlight their skills and talents.

In this edition, we speak to Rob (rplust), a protocol specialist in Web3 and former finance and business development specialist in Fintech.  Rob is currently part of the Growth Team at MetricsDAO and shares details about his background, what got him into analytics and Web3, and how he first became involved with MetricsDAO. Rob also shares some insights about how someone can get started and contribute in the world of Web3 analytics as well as tips on joining a DAO.

Megafund - interviewer (MF): Tell us a bit about yourself: current role, background, education, and interests:

rplust (RT): Pretty good timing since I just finished up my stint in my previous job. After many years in the fintech space, I’ll be heading into crypto full time next week as a protocol specialist. That’s mainly a research and data role focused on how blockchains like Ethereum work at the protocol level, meaning at the consensus and execution layers and how individual validator performances affect the network as a whole.

My background and education is mostly in finance and business development, with a specific interest in enabling financial inclusion. One particularly rewarding experience I've had was helping to lead the Series B fundraise of two fintech startups that were building solutions for financial inclusion in emerging markets.

Outside of work, I like pretending I’m a pro cyclist by riding my bike a lot, training up hills, and exploring new roads.

MF - Where did your interest in analytics emerge? What kind of analytics do you focus on (e.g. tech, finance, healthcare)?

RT: My interest in data analytics mostly came from a need. During the fundraising stage of one of the startups I was working with, we had a lot of trouble putting together the transaction metrics of the company because they were all over the place. There wasn’t a consolidated data source with key metrics being surfaced. Fortunately we were able to overcome that obstacle during the raise with a patchwork solution.

Afterwards, I figured that not having an analytics stack would be a big problem moving forward for the company so I approached senior management and took the initiative to address it, not knowing exactly what that would entail. Luckily I had a teammate with a data engineering background who also wanted to solve the problem so we got to work and began searching for a solution. Of course given my lack of a technical background, I had to play catch up — taught myself SQL, and data engineering concepts like warehousing, schema design, etc. From there we were able to build the company’s data warehouse and eventually build the rest of the analytics stack, surfacing insights for the rest of the company to use.

It was pretty fulfilling to see my teammates start making decisions based on data instead of pure intuition and do it at a faster rate than before. One thing I learned is that an analyst’s products are not the fancy dashboards we build but instead are the decisions that are made from the data that we surface.

MF: How did you first get involved in Web3? What are some of your favorite protocols in the Web3 space?

RT: I first got into crypto back in late 2021, when I used Uniswap for the first time on mainnet. I remember being amazed at the concept of an automated market maker and that I was able to make a trade without an actual counterparty. This was the time I realized that thanks to crypto, there is now an easier way for anyone, anywhere in the world to participate in a new economy and be financially included.

Shortly after, I discovered DAOs and started contributing to a couple, mostly RaidGuild. I was an apprentice in Raid Guild and helped make the 2021 annual report for MolochDAO. My finance skills came in handy as my main contribution was helping build a model they could use for their grant allocation strategy.

Uniswap is still my favorite because you never forget your first. Convex is another interesting protocol because it was one of the first instances I was able to see composability and cross-protocol interaction in DeFi with the whole thing about the Curve Wars. Plus it was one of the first protocols I made an analytics dashboard for. Mirror is also a favorite for their work on decentralized publishing and thought leadership. Do Layer2’s count? I like zkSync and Optimism as well.

MF: How did you first hear about Metrics? What made you get involved? What does your current role entail? Favorite part about being part of Metrics?

RT: I heard about MetricsDAO through Ryan Selkis’ Crypto Theses for 2022, a recommended yearly read by the way. It was mentioned as one of the DAOs to look out for in the data analytics space. At that time I’ve just started to dip my toes in blockchain analytics thanks to the work of the folks at Dune (shoutout to 0xBoxer and Drake Danner), and Andrew Hong’s guides (shoutout Andrew).

I joined the Discord and introduced myself as someone looking to contribute and learn more about on-chain analytics. I remember folks just being very welcoming and eager to help, especially Drake and GJ (again, shoutout to Drake, and also GJ). Pretty easy to get involved in an environment like that. Like with most young organizations, some structures were not in place so approaching it from the mindset of “we’re building together as we learn” was crucial for me. I’m thankful that I had some experience in this regard coming from mostly a startup background.

Currently, I work in the Growth team (previously called MarCom). This entails marketing our work and our analysts, communicating the DAO’s mission of empowering crypto organizations with analytics, and ensuring that we continuously position ourselves as one of the leading analytics organizations in the space.

Funny enough, I have no background in marketing at all and the first blog post I ever written was with MetricsDAO so it’s been a pretty wild learning experience. I guess that’s my favorite part about MetricsDAO: aside from the great people you can learn from with diverse backgrounds, you have the freedom to take on anything you want as long as you put in the work and show you’re eager to learn. Big thanks of course to people like Rochelle who gave me the trust and opportunities (shoutout Rochelle). In addition to this, given that we’re a data organization after all, there’s a pursuit in making decisions as data-driven as possible so that’s always a plus.

MF: What's the best way for someone to get involved in Web3 analytics? What's the best way for someone to become a contributor at Metrics or other projects in the space?

RT: I think one of the best ways to start with crypto analytics is to find a protocol you’re curious about and start building dashboards around them (shoutout to hildobby). Not only will these add to your knowledge base, it will also help other people who are curious about these protocols as well. Afterwards, don’t be afraid to share them publicly, even to the protocol teams themselves. The teams will appreciate the work you’ve done and this might even start a continuous collaboration.

Sharing it publicly also helps with double checking if your work was correct and accurate given the open nature of crypto data. People are always willing to help as long as you approach it from a position of humility and desire to learn.