Make Stuff That Lasts

The crypto ecosystem is a fast-changing space. Every day, new protocols are springing up on different blockchains which produce thousands of blocks every minute. As analysts, our job is to analyze the data contained in these blocks. That said, analytics fixed in time risk going obsolete as fast as the rate of production of new blocks.

In the crypto ecosystem, a body of work today should still make sense in years to come because future events are directly tied to historical data by design. Therefore, as light-bearers in the crypto space, our works ought to be able to stand the test of time. In this piece, the goal is to share with my fellow analysts why we must make stuff that lasts, and how to achieve that using a simple framework.

Why Make Stuff That Lasts?

In the world of art, we place a lot of value on timeless pieces. Analytics is not very different although it is often regarded as a science rather than an art. However, for generations coming after us to truly appreciate the amount of work and the number of sleepless nights we put in to create our analytical pieces, we need to view our work through the lens of an artist.

What is the worth of our work, if it is easily made obsolete in a twinkle of an eye? But what does it even mean to create stuff that lasts? In the world of analytics, timeless works are those that evolve with time, together with an accompanying commentary that makes sense within the specified context at any moment in time. In simple terms, our charts and graphs should be auto-updating as new blocks are produced with an accompanying text that evolves with it.

Take a look at this chart below showing the daily active users on the Harmony blockchain. The chart was created and published on June 13, 2022, and at that time the chart was correct and up to date. 

You will notice that by the time this article is published or read by the public, the chart is already obsolete and left behind in time. This piece did not last more than 24 hours.

How To Make Stuff That Lasts

Making stuff that lasts is easier said than done. That said, allow me to present an imperfect framework you can integrate into your workflow to make analytical pieces that are able to stand the test of time.

The first step in the framework is to pick the right bounties to work on. Forget about incentives. Yes I know, the reason we’re in the space is to eventually make some money and achieve financial freedom in the long run. But to be able to put your best pieces out, you ought to do it because you love to do it. There’s no other way. Always pick bounties that are of interest to you regardless of the kind of incentives attached to them.

The second step is to have a system for working on and presenting your analytical pieces. Every piece should have a title and a simple description. A short introduction telling the reader what to expect in the piece is helpful. Always define complex terms including parameters and don’t forget to label charts and diagrams. All these help the reader to understand the context within which the analytical piece was written.

Next, make sure that your charts and data are automatically updated. Generally, bounty questions are asked with the present landscape in mind, to answer questions that are currently boggling the mind of the average stakeholder. Answering the problems is important but don’t just leave it at that, ensure that you update your charts with time. While chart updates can be done manually, Flipside Crypto’s Velocity tool allows you to set a chart’s refresh rate for up to 24 hours. Dune analytics updates charts and queries by default.

Image: A screenshot of Velocity, by Flipside Crypto
Image: A screenshot of Velocity, by Flipside Crypto

Now, your piece is ready, but before you hit on the publish button, take a moment to revise. Go through the text you’ve written and ask yourself these questions: “Will this piece still make sense in a month?”, “How many edits will it require to bring it up to date?”. If the number of edits you need to make to bring it up to date is not zero or minimal, you have to revise your piece. Imagine yourself reading it in the future and re-write the sentences to fit the evolution of the data. I suggest that you specify the exact date when you’re stating a fact, to give the future reader context into which particular time the statement is making reference. For example, instead of writing “today”, write the actual date on which the event happened.

Practice Makes Perfect

While the steps outlined above are not an exhaustive list, it will help as a guide to making your own framework to churn out analytical pieces that are not only elite, but that stand the test of time. Don’t forget though, it is easier said than done. You have to keep practicing and keep refining your methods to stay on top of your game. I believe the only way is up, and analysts are indispensable pillars of the crypto ecosystem. 

For more on the crypto ecosystem, check out MetricsDAO’s blog.

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