We asked builders in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space what they thought about the industry…and added some random zingers to keep them on their toes!
This week, we asked 6 questions to Nikki Farb, an active investor and advisor to tech companies and currently a venture partner at venture capital firm Headline.
I’m invested in consumer technology (very passionate about the market) and Web3. I’ve invested in Consensys (MetaMask), AfterParty, Fractal, Aloft, Wander, MarketerHire, SudShare, and a few others that I can’t share yet.
Before investing, I co-founded Darby – a video shopping app that connects creators and their fans. This is one such journey. We’ve built up to 50,000 creators for Darby, producing videos for 5 million viewers. Working with Darby’s team is one of my greatest privileges. We were acquired by Grove Collective.
Before Darby, I worked at Goldman Sachs Investment Banking Group. I have learnt a lot. Especially since I was an English teacher right out of college.
1 — What is the toughest challenge you have faced in our industry so far?
Two challenges come to my mind. First, it’s a noisy industry. Facing tough questions is challenging: What is the root cause of this booming industry? What are the novel use cases for this technology? Finding signals through the noise is the most important thing you can do as an investor because it affects the way you use your time and money. I now have this answer; without it, you risk losing a lot of money.
The second is the trap of rallying around negative information. One of the quickest ways to succeed in this space as a female investor is to shout it’s a boys’ club. This negativity prevails on social media, where a lot of encrypted conversations take place. If I wanted to be selfish, I’d say that and build my platform, but I don’t believe it, that’s not the path I want to take. If you speak enough of this information, it could become a fact, and then we hurt ourselves by being excluded from one of the most important technological innovations and the fastest way to achieve economic results. If you get caught up in negative information, it only hurts outsiders, not insiders. As part of this industry, we can choose how this phenomenon develops. Why did we choose to call it the Boys Club?
2 — Do you agree with Bitcoin as a means of payment, a store of value, both…or neither?
For Bitcoin – as a store of value. While there was a battle four or five years ago about what it would become, it has become a store of value, and I think that’s the right outcome. I do see some other cryptocurrencies like Ether and Solana as means of payment.
3 — Do you think the government will try to kill cryptocurrencies?
What a spicy question! I think yes, because encryption reduces the power of the government, and anyone with power will easily want to take it back – although not everyone will go that route. So I think it’s inevitable that some governments in some places will try to kill cryptocurrencies. As for which government and how far they took it – who knows? That’s a movie, right there. I think some people will take it wholeheartedly and try to make it fly, especially those with volatile currencies. But for now, it’s too early to assume. The incredible thing about cryptocurrencies is that it has the potential to decentralize power and spark troubled economies. Like any other technological innovation, it has good and bad. It all depends on how people use it, and I want to move in that direction, which is why I chose to invest in this area.
4 — What were you like in high school?
Very confused, but I made it! I graduated high school for three years because my mom and I made a deal that if I graduated earlier, I could be an actor in my fourth year instead of going to school. I was also expelled from two schools in my freshman year because I was underperforming, so I ended up going to night school, and then I realized I wanted to change my behavior. I made another deal with my mom, if I had a 4.0 GPA in my sophomore year, I wouldn’t have to go to school on Mondays, and I did.
I love rap and hip hop culture, and I’m very into punk music (my roots are in Orange County). I am happy with my social presence and the number of friends I have. My little sister walks everywhere with me. She was three years younger than me and was my partner in crime.
I had about 30 jobs in high school because if I didn’t like something, I quit. The only job I got fired was Denny’s, and my favorite job was the perfume spray girl at Bloomingdale’s. I come from a wealthy family, but they lost all their money later. In high school, I still wanted to live the life I grew up with, so I definitely had a crook mentality and went my own way. I probably slipped through a few crimes.
5 — Think of a favorite poem or song lyrics, what is it and why does it speak to you?
Two came to mind. The first is that “only boring people get bored”. This is my philosophy of life. I really believe that most people will be captains of their own boats, so if you’re bored, go for it.
The second is really any line in the movie Royal Tenenbaum -Two of my personal favorites are: “Did you say you were eating mescaline?” “I did. Very much,” and “I had a rough year, Dad.”
It’s such an honest, humble and creative film. I’ve watched it 100 times and always seem to find something new. The pursuit of individuality, creative risk – all characters take creative risk – and building character is something I’m drawn to.
6 — What is the book that has influenced you the most and why?
I would say pride and Prejudice. My grandmother actually gave me the original copy of the book. This is the first novel I read in high school. I was a very avid reader as a kid, and this is one of the most mature works I can remember reading at that age. To me, it’s about the power of women and the unique traits we have and how much empowerment we have in this world. These characteristics are also different from men. It helped me realize that I was a different person than my father or anyone else, but how could that be powerful. I used to read it every year. I also love that they are all sisters and that energy.
The aspirations of the young, ambitious blockchain community:
If I share my wish, it may not come true!