Today we are talking with Preethi Kasireddy who is the founder and CEO of TruStory, and who is a former software engineer at Coinbase, and former partner at Andreessen Horowitz.
- TruStory is a social network where your reputation is entirely based on the strength of your arguments, and whose mission is to make the Internet more open-minded by encouraging productive debate.
We’d like to kick things off by asking you a couple of questions regarding your formative years.
1) Firstly, can you tell us the things which interested you the most throughout your childhood and teenage years, and what brought you the most happiness?
Oh, good question.
I once said that I'm one of those children who wasn't particularly into one thing per se, but I was into a lot of things. I was very, what they call well rounded, quote-unquote. And so there isn't one particular thing that interested me, but generally what I've found is anything that pushes me beyond my limits and challenges me. This is a view that, physical or mental, is something that is naturally gravitated towards. So when I was younger, I was very active in school sports like check window and basketball and dance. But at the same time, I was also very competitive in school and loved to be at the top of my class. So yeah, I think my interests were more around the general concept of like constantly moving and pushing myself beyond my boundaries.
2) Who were your biggest influences growing up, and why did they have such a profound effect on you?
I don't have one. I've never really had heroes or people I look up to. I generally think about influencers as like there's no honesty - there's no one person that comes to mind as I generally like to think that everyone has imperfections. But people also have very strong characteristics that make them what they are. So I look to see the strong characteristics in various people.
For example, I look up to artists like Konya who has an intense dedication to his career and his art. I really appreciate people who can do that. I also look up to people like Marc Andreessen (who I worked with), who was probably the most well-read person I've met in my entire life. He just knew things that no one else knew, and it is because of how much he read. We're friends, and I remember always laughing around him (I was usually the very shy one), so another thing is I really looked up to the friends who were extroverted and who had things that I just didn't have.
So I guess my influences came from various people, and I tended to look up to the strong characteristics in them.
3) Teenage years are often a turbulent time for many, so on this note, can you name a time which was tough for you, and how you managed to overcome it?
Sure. So when I was young, I was like super chubby and people made fun of me for being fat and whatnot. So there was a transformational period in my life where I just needed to lose a bunch of weight and change my physique and how I looked.
And then it kind of went to the extreme.
I lost too much weight and started to struggle from like being too underweight and stuff. So there's a part of my life for several years where I was trying to find myself physically, and it was a really tough time because as a girl, you have a lot of pressure to look a certain way or opposite way etc. So this was a really tough time for me until I discovered that going through those extremes was not a good idea, and I discovered my happy medium of where I want to be.
4) If there was some advice you could give young aspiring individuals, advice which you would really have liked to have heard yourself as a young person, what would it be?
Just be yourself. I think sometimes people have tried to please other people or be like someone else, their heroes or their influencers or whatever it is. But I guess authenticity is a number one thing. You know who you are if you are just yourself. So I would say that the number one advice I'd say is don't try to be like anyone else, just try to be the best that you can be and that you are.
We are now going to ask you some questions which will hopefully give our readers something to go on regarding you as a person.
5) Firstly, what are the particular strengths that you feel have made you successful in your field (don’t hold back)?
I have a knack for learning really quickly. So I think, whether it's crypto or any else, what's allowed me to succeed is my ability and desire to learn quickly.
6) What would you say is your most controversial opinion as regards to blockchain or the crypto space?
I think Bitcoin has a 50 per cent chance that it could still fail. Everything is still an experiment, so we should not take anything for granted as if it's already happened, because anything can happen, and we're still in the infancy of crypto.
7) In the course of your day you can become under the most ridiculous pressures and stresses, what is your particular way of dealing with this?
I typically stick to a routine that helps me deal with the chaos around me. So my routine is that I sleep at a certain time. I wake up at a certain time. I usually eat the same things every day. I work out every day. And so I have these routines to gravitate towards every day. Even as the rest of my day is chaotic, I always come back and know that I can reset my routine. So that's how I sort of manage my stress.
8) Outside of crypto/blockchain, what is your favorite thing to do?
I'm a big wine fan, so if I have time and I'm trying to relax or just take the day off, I would just love to go home and drink wine or hang out in the wineries. My favourite wines are Pino and Malbec which are Argentinian wines.
We are now going to ask you some creative and humorous questions, and we are sure people will love to see you what you can come up with.
9) What is the most humorous thing you have seen or experienced during your time in the crypto/blockchain space?
Oh, gosh. I mean, during the ICO craze, everything was like mass hysteria and it was just hilarious to see people who had zero expertise, zero anything, suddenly become overnight millionaires on paper. So I thought that was pretty hilarious.
10) If you somehow managed to meet Satoshi Nakamoto (that is he is a male person in this scenario) on his deathbed, but only had time to ask him one question, what would it be? Bear in mind you don’t have much time at all, so make it a good one.
Why were you anonymous?
11) Can you give three policies you'd enact if you became the president of a country tomorrow?
I would say Medicare for all, or something along the lines of healthcare for all. I think that's a basic human right that everyone should have, especially given the amount of taxes we pay.
I also think we should take care and provide some kind of minimal basic service for the homeless, as that's an increasingly growing problem. While I don't believe in UPI, I think at the very least, providing basic showers and haircuts would really help.
Thirdly, I would say make college free, and also make a college education similar to K to 12, so that everyone has access to the same sort of knowledge and education.
Communities are often an important backbone for many crypto/blockchain projects, so we’d now like to get some personal thoughts on the community side of things.
12) Project aside, what are some other crypto/blockchain communities that you admire and why (this is not an endorsement)?
I really like the Cosmos Network community. They're still small, but they're very passionate and very with the community. So yeah, Cosmos is awesome.
13) What social-media platform do you like most and why, and are there any improvements which you feel can be made to these platforms for an even better community user-experience?
To be honest, I spend most of my time on TruStory these days, but if it wasn't for TruStory, I'd spend the other half of my time on Twitter. However, I think Twitter clearly has a problem in terms of community, and I don't really know if it'll ever fix.
I think Twitter is what it is. I think people literally go on to Twitter to almost seek that outrage, that echo, that screaming, that anger etcetera, and I don't think you can change that. I think that's a cultural thing that has been with the product from day 1.
14) With the endgame being mainstream adoption, do you think crypto/blockchain communities will still have an important role to play in a post-adoption environment?
Yeah, because the whole point of crypto is that you're moving from a model where it's a central entity vs. users on a more 'co-op' network, where everyone is participating in that network to drive the value of the network up. So absolutely, community is crypto, and crypto is community.
In our penultimate section we are going to ask you a question regarding TruStory.
15) What do you feel sets TruStory apart from your competitors (that is if you have any)?
The culture, the values and intentions.
TruStory is a platform for a social debate, and our mission is to make debates more open-minded. The culture that we've cultivated amongst the community is one that encourages open-mindedness, thoughtfulness and discourse, and I think that really stands out from any other social media platform I've used.
Well that just about does it, but before we end this interview we’d like to ask you for something which we believe will say a lot about your belief in the industry, and which may inspire those who are reading.
16) Can you come up with a short argument for our readers on why you feel cryptocurrency and blockchain (or just one) has a bright future?
It’s because I think it just makes so much sense!
I think a lot of networks and financial-economic structures today have an incentive problem where incentives are misaligned. The end vision for crypto is where everyone in a network or a community is co-opting to create that value and also capture some of that value, whereas right now the value captured and the creation is skewed, where the users are creating all the value and then the companies are capturing all the value.
So crypto kind of balances and equalises that, and I just think that makes so much sense. I don't see how you can do it any other way.
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