Nov 14, 2023

Optimism Unlimited Ltd. Chief Growth Officer Ryan Wyatt, who previously worked at Polygon Labs and YouTube, discusses his new role at an operating subsidiary of the Optimism Foundation.

Video transcript

Our next guest previously served as president at Polygon Labs and was also the head of Gaming at youtube. Now he's joining a unit of the Optimism Foundation. Joining us to discuss is Ryan Wyatt, the Chief Growth Officer of Optimism Unlimited Ryan. Welcome to the show. Good morning. Thanks for having me. It's good to be back. It's been a little bit. It really has and congratulations the new position. Thank you so much. I'm excited. I'm excited. I'm on the road. You can see him in the hotel room. You all have me up bright and early this morning. I'm ready to rock. We love to get people up bright and early. All right. So from polygon to optimism, both are layer twos, talk to us about the layer two race. Um What makes one layer two stand out above another? No, it's a great question. I think it's fun time to be a part of the Ethereum ecosystem and building. You know, I think one thing we've all really come to the realization as far as those building Ethereum ecosystem is that it's going to take a number of these, whether you call them dedicated app chains L twos, whatever the case may be to really scale this next wave of adoption that we all believe coming, you know, there's a new wave of a lot of developers that are building, there's been a lot of capital deployed across the app ecosystem. A lot of these apps that we haven't even seen yet. Um And so we, as we scale, we're going to need a lot of them. And so what does that mean? Well, how do these things start to speak to each other? How do they become interoperable so that you start to have these very seamless network experiences? You know, I think for users, it's been tough if you're not like very crypto native navigating the ecosystem hasn't been easy. And so we want to make that a lot easier. I think optimism is best positioned to do that with the op stack. You have, you know, companies like Coinbase has chosen optimism to build their, their stack with. So base is A L two that is built on the OPP stack. And when these things start to speak with, one of you can see all these users come in and then be able to seamlessly work around these protocols. So I think point of entry is going to be really important. And what optimism did with Coinbase was pretty critical because I think a lot of us would agree that, you know, a big funnel for crypto users coming in will be through Coinbase. So, why do you like optimism more than Polygon? Oh, I don't know if I would look at it that way. You know, I spent the last decade at youtube in Polygon. Two, almost two years of Polygon. Love my time there. I think it was really fun for me to get to build out, you know, a, a team and organization at Polygon. I think the work that I did there speaks for itself. But optimism is very special for a number of reasons. One, they are far ahead in what they've been able to do from a decentralization standpoint. So they have two different mechanisms which I find to be fascinating. One is what they call retroactive public goods funding. Um And what that does is it, it puts out kind of a, a process for developers on what to build and if they build that and they gain the right traction and activity, then they can be rewarded with op tokens. This is decided by the community. I think this is what's a great part about because as we usher in this next age, we really need to keep moving forward, genuine decentralization. And we can't grow these large teams that are sitting on the protocol side. Or else it's very disingenuous to the idea that we're going to have these networks that are truly owned by nobody. They are owned by the community. And optimism made that a core part of their ethos more than any other chain or protocol that I've seen. And so I think it makes them very special more than Polygon. Did you will get there? Yeah. Polygon will get there. You know, I think it's, it's part of polygon. Were they upset? Were you like, ha ha, I'm leaving for your competitor now? No, I love them. I actually, II, I give all credit to say deep, very kind uh as part of the process, You know, I hired a vast majority of that leadership team and so it's all love you poach their leadership team as well. No, no, I hired a lot of the leadership team at Polygon. I'm on day two. Come on, come on. I work fast but not that fast. I'm only on day two. No, I love that team. I think very highly of the Polygon team. It has more about like, what's a fit for me. And I really like working with this optimism team and where their hearts at and, and, you know, I've been a builder, I started the youtube gaming team. I built out a lot of polygon. I'm excited to do the same thing at optimism. I want to draw on your experience from youtube gaming. Are you hoping to bring game developers to the optimism ecosystem? And if so, what's the value prop there? Yeah, absolutely. I think, you know, that we can improve on as a, as you said in gaming. I love it. I think it's really a matter of focus, there's no technical limitations that's prohibiting optimism from participating in this ecosystem. So I think it's about making sure that we make it a focus a lot of where optimism has done well, has been even on social and identity. So things like friend tech and forecast are all building inside of the op ecosystem. So we're going to go after gaming and, and that will be a big focus for us. It's a good time too because if you think about like the last couple of years, games in web three have been largely pretty rudimentary. You know, if you think about the first iteration, they were, they were almost these, you know, financialized games that, you know, didn't have best kind of optimized outcomes that you would want for. Um So I actually think this next iteration is primed for it. Um And I'm really excited to bring gaming to optimism. It's, it's a no brainer for us. You know, when we talk about gaming, I think a lot of people automatically think about those financialized games when you talk about the next iteration. What does that look like? What is that? Yeah, you know, well, they look at, I mean, honestly, that's, it's such a broad spectrum. You know, there are things like uh fully on chain games where literally every activity that you're doing is actually on chain and then there will be parts of games that are only doing some of it, whether it's the marketplace, whether it's just uh membership passes, whatever they do. I mean, you could really run a variety of different outcomes for how you want games look. I think the really the point it needs to be is that it's got to be games first. You know, I think so much of it has been like the financialization aspect first in the game development, but you saw billions of dollars of capital come into specifically games, web three games, it takes years for games. So I think a lot of it is patience to see more of these, you know, better thought out games, better produced games. And so they're coming, they're on the horizon, they're going to be happening across the ecosystem and look that's just good for the space. I think we all are in an era now and out of our learning is like we need to root for each other and champion each other because we just want developer adoption and we want to start seeing these things succeed and games, games will be in prime time, I think in 2024. So uh what does the space look like right now though between uh let's say between optimism and polygon, as you said, you, you helped build that team. Uh what's the uh the current landscape like? Yeah, I think in terms of market share and, and revenue, etcetera, you know, market share is so is so nascent to have to like put too much of an emphasis on this. I think the real thing that everyone needs to focus on that are L two solutions is look, we've got to scale this thing and you know, one chain like a main net is not going to do it because there will be congestion. So it's like this accepting the fact that we're going to need a lot of L twos in order to do this and how you connect these across the ecosystem. So that's to be the focus. It's not going to be a developer issue. Like there are so many great developers, there's so much capital out there still for those developers, despite what, you know, public might say. And so it's, it's going to be making sure that these user journeys that people that are going to come in and use these apps that it's seamless that it's easy because it hasn't been right. And like that's what all of us need to be focusing on. You know, the big conversation around all of these ecosystems is mainstream adoption. I believe we spoke about it on the show during your time at Polygon lab, Starbucks started their NFT based loyalty program. Any big partnerships in the works for optimism with mainstream brands like Starbucks. Look, I think we'll, you know, my mo so uh I'm sure there will be some in the uh you know, in, in, in the iron but um can't share anything right now, but just work with developers of all sizes, right. Like, I think the beauty of it is you don't know where the next breakout is going to come from. It. It is not a guarantee that it's some large enterprise or fortune 500 company or whatever the case may be. I think it can come from all different shapes and sizes. Yes. You know, you have a company like Coinbase that picks optimism to choose to build their base network on. And so we that's Fortune 500 option. You'll see more of it in the future. But yeah, we are going to work with all sizes and that will be fun. So, yeah, I think keep your eyes peeled. Sure. We'll be on talking more. We'd love to have you back, Ryan. We're gonna have to wrap it there. Thanks so much and congratulations again on the new role. Thanks so much. It was good seeing you both have a great day today. See you soon. That was Ryan Wyatt, Chief Growth Officer of optimism Unlimited.

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