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March 7, 2023 · 30 min read

Season 3, Ep. 11 – Equity in data ownership and crypto, with Julia Guz, Cirus Foundation Head of Operations

Big data rakes in big money, and the Cirus Foundation wants to make sure you’re getting your cut. This week, Faith talks to Julia Guz, Head of Operations at Cirus Foundation, about how everyone deserves to control and profit off of their own information, ways to make that experience accessible to all, and ways to use Web3 for good.


Read transcript


Faith (00:05):

Good to meet you Julia.

Julia (00:06):

Yeah, it’s so nice to meet you, Faith. Honestly, the Gun team has been great. So every person I’ve met on your team, I love you guys, <laugh> so I’m definitely excited for the conversation. I think it’s gonna be so awesome.

Faith (00:18):

Julia, I hear that you’re in Toronto.

Julia (00:20):

Yes. Are you in Toronto, or no?

Faith (00:21):

I’m not in Toronto, but I grew up in Buffalo, so really close.

Julia (00:25):

Oh wow, that’s awesome. (Faith: Yeah.) Yeah, where abouts are you located, yourself?

Faith (00:30):

I’m in Nashville now. I’ve been here for almost 10 years.

Julia (00:33):

Oh my gosh. I’ve heard only the best things about Nashville, so I’m definitely excited. Lots of bachelorettes there. So that’s like the spot for it <laugh>.

Faith (00:42):

Yes. Tons of bachelorette parties. Thankfully, I live outside of like, the downtown area, so I’m not having bachelorette buses, you know, drive down my street every day, but it is fun. It’s definitely warmer than Buffalo and Toronto, so if you’re looking for someplace to thaw out out…

Julia (01:01):

I’m gonna put it on my list. I’m gonna put it on my list.

Faith (01:05):

<Laugh>. HJave you, did you grow up in Toronto or did you move there?

Julia (01:09):

No, so I mean, I moved to Canada when…I moved to Canada like 15 years ago, was more mainly Toronto, and then now I’m kind of on the outskirts of Toronto. It’s called like, the GTA. So I definitely would love to move from Toronto. though. I’m definitely a summer person, so, you know, having the opportunity to work remote is definitely like, motivating me and inspiring me to be like, hmm, where to next?

Faith (01:32):

Yeah, it’s huge. It’s such a game changer. I will say though, in the summertime, I flee back north, because it gets so hot and humid here that it is like, it’s impossible to spend any time outside, (Julia: Yeah.) because you’re just, you feel like you’re in the inside of someone’s sock all the time,so…

Julia (01:50):

<Laugh>. Yeah, not a vibe. Not a vibe.

Faith (01:52):

No, not even a little bit.

Cirus Foundation voice actor (01:55):

Every day, we’re connecting more and more things to the Internet. In fact, it’s estimated that by 2030, each person will have an average of 15 devices connected to the Internet at any given time. The more devices you connect, the more data you generate. But what happens with all that data? Meet Cirus, your companion in the digital world. Cirus is a multi-layered solution, combining hardware, software, and a tokenized ecosystem that enables you, the creator, to unlock true ownership of your largest digital asset. Your data you have…(AUDIO FADES OUT).

Faith (02:31):

Well Julie, I’m so excited to learn more about you and more about Cirus Foundation. I have been like, just creeping along as you guys have engaged with devs. Every time there’s a really cool company that comes through our channel, our random channel and Slack lights up and everyone’s like, “Look at this product! Everyone sign up!” (Julia: Oh my god.) So Cirus is definitely one of those. So I guess to start, let’s just, I would love to hear a little bit more about you, and then we can jump into Cirus and what you guys have been working on over there.

Julia (03:05):

Yeah, I’ll definitely give a little bit of a background as to how I ended up in this world of Web3. I honestly never thought that I would be in this industry, but I think like, there’s a saying, you know, the best things in life are very unexpected, and I definitely echo that across like, this decision. So for me, prior to like, I went to business school, and then I worked a pretty corporate job, and this opportunity came through my network, and at first, like, I did not have any knowledge of crypto, so I’m like, “Oh my god, like, no. For sure this is like, weird. This is a scam. Like, I don’t know.” And now that I’m in this space, it’s like, that really is the first response from people that are not in it. So for me, even now that I’m in here, (Faith: Mm-hmm <affirmative>.) it’s like, how do I spread that message to people that are curious about it, and they’re not intimidated or automatically going into the negative mindset of being like, “Well, what is crypto?”

Julia (03:51):

“It’s so stupid. Why are you guys even doing this?” Because, I think, it actually is very transformational. And you know, how I got into Cirus is through an opportunity, went through the interview process, and right away, like, when the vibe is right, the vibe is right. I just like, resonated with the people, with the purpose. Like, everyone comes from such different walks of life in our company. Like, some people are coming from blockchain experience, some people are coming from tech, some people are coming from marketing, but everybody is kind of bridged in this purpose-driven mindset of like, how do we bring impact to the world? How do we leverage this technology to like, actually make an impact? And as soon as I like, talked to everybody and I went to like, three rounds, I think, of interviews, I was like, “Okay. Like, these are my people.”

Julia (04:36):

“I’m just gonna jump ship; I’m gonna switch industries.” And it was definitely a risk, not gonna lie, but I think, when you’re a purpose-driven individual, like, I’ve always kinda looked for, okay, well, what industry can I really resonate with and make this impact? I felt like, okay, let me try this, and definitely like, the best decision of my life. I’ve been there, I’ve been with Cirus for over a year now. And just super grateful for like, saying “yes” to opportunities that call to you and like, that 5% curiosity. So yeah, that’s, kind of, my journey about Cirus and how I ended up there.

Faith (05:10):

So you’re head of ops, right now, at Cirus?

Julia (05:13):


Faith (05:14):

And had you been head of ops, elsewhere, in another industry before?

Julia (05:18):

No. So I was in a lot of operational roles. I started off as a project manager in Cirus, and that was kind of my first initial role, and then I evolved into a more operational role, which is more so like, okay, great, there’s all these things we’re doing, we’re in this, you know, whirlwind of the day, there’s all these projects, but who goes where, and how do we actually like, structure out a process that’s more efficient? So like, a lot of the guys made fun of me, ‘cause they’re like, “Oh, Julia, like, you’re the police officer at this company,” ‘cause I just, (Faith: <Laugh>.) I gotta get them in line. (Faith: Yeah.) But yeah, it’s definitely rewarding, as it is challenging. But yeah, it’s awesome. It’s definitely like, lots of learning. Lots of learning in this space, lots of learning in my role, and, thankfully, I love to learn, so I’m like a little bit of a nerd. So I definitely leverage that skill for sure.

Faith (06:04):

I know that we’ve got all kinds of awesome stuff to dig into about Cirus, but I’d love to spend a couple more beats on your career journey, because I feel like there’s two kinds of interesting threads here. And one is for folks who are in any industry, honestly, other than crypto, blockchain. Even if you’re at a traditional tech company, moving into crypto is such a unique, different space. And so if somebody’s listening who wants to make that career transition, coming from somebody who has over the last year, what advice do you have for them to, as they like, start their learning journey? Just kinda like, learning how to speak the lingo. How did you start, and how would you advise somebody else that’s the same?

Julia (06:52):

Yeah, I really love that question, because this is actually something that I’m very passionate about. Even like, just getting more women into this space. You know, I work with all guys, and I love them all 100%, but it’s exciting to see like, other women succeeding in this space and being curious about it. So my advice really is just like, follow that curiosity. I mean, I think a lot of people have a pretty close mind when it comes to crypto, and they’re like, “Oh, it’s just about the trading aspect of it, and like, FTX and cryptocurrency,” and “Oh, it’s down, and the market’s crashing, and the market sucks. Like, what’s the point of it?” But the point really is so much deeper than that when we are unraveling this technology and like, the power it has from a purpose standpoint, even when we’re looking at developing countries and like, how it can impact a person, because it’s just a totally different ballgame.

Julia (07:38):

It’s a totally different model of technology, and I think, just be curious, be open-minded, and you don’t have to have a tech background. You know, like, you can just be, if you’re an open-minded, curious, like, ambitious person who’s here to like, you have all this energy and drive to like, create positive change, just try. I think I’ve always been like, open-minded to try new things, and even if I don’t know them like, I’ll learn, right? (Faith: Mm-Hmm <affirmative>.) Like, I think that’s probably the biggest thing is just because you don’t know doesn’t mean you’re not gonna know. And at first I was like, so intimidated. I would be like, studying all day, all night, reading articles, all these things, asking like, the people at my work for different side chats to explore these concepts, and a lot of the guys like, put me into the fire.

Julia (08:20):

Like we would have calls, and they’re like, “Julia, like, pitch Cirus,” and I’m like, “Oh my god.” They’re like, “What’s the blockchain?” There’s definitely a lot of growth for me, but when you’re in a really great environment, I think it takes all the pressure off. So don’t put pressure on yourself; just allow yourself to talk to people, see if it actually calls to you. And if it does, like, follow that. You never know like, what can really come of it. A lot of the times, we make assumptions that things aren’t gonna work, when in reality, they can work. You just have to be open to that idea. So I think that would be my biggest kind of advice. Yeah.

Faith (08:52):

That’s so insightful. And I think you got into the second part of my question about careers, which is…rewind a year ago, right? And there were so many people who were feeling like…I think of the FTX Super Bowl commercial. I think it was aired over the Super Bowl last year, and now we can kind of giggle at FTX, but the commercial was exceptional. It was like, we just passed it around in our internal Slack. (FTX commercial music fades in) It was about like, not missing out.

FTX commercial actor 1 (09:20):

I call it “the wheel.”

Larry David, FTX Commercial actor 2 (09:24):

Hmm. I don’t think so. What does it do? (FTX commercial actor 1: It rolls.) Yeah, so does a bagel. Okay? A bagel you can eat. One of the worst ideas I’ve ever heard.

Faith (09:34):

You know, a historic look at all these inventions that today are no-brainers, like a toilet. And (Julia: Mm-hmm <affirmative>.) when they were invented, folks being like, “Well, why would I want that in my house?” (Julia: Yes.) “I don’t need that. We do something else.” (Julia: Yes. Yeah.) So, you know, rewind a year ago, that’s the landscape, and people are so excited about crypto, everyone’s feeling like, man, I’m missing out, because I’m not already in this. And you know, a lot of folks are thinking about moving into that space professionally. And then this year happens, end of last year, early this year, and I think the sentiment is much different. But I love how, you know, you still have the same passion for this space, and you kind of poked at that just now in like, you know, the potential impact that’s still uncovered of crypto and kind of blockchain technology. So I’d love to spend a beat on that, as well. If folks are listening who, maybe, were really excited to get into crypto and professionally into crypto and have since kind of gotten a little spooked, what advice would you have for them?

Julia (10:36):

Yeah, I think for me, like from a purpose perspective, and this is something that we really looked into, is who is Web3 and crypto like, actually, you know, really impactful for? And for me, the answer that really comes to me is like, it is for those emerging markets and developing countries. You know, when we’re looking at numbers, there’s 1.75 billion people unbanked. You know, like, why is that number so high? And for us, we don’t necessarily sense that or feel that, because we’re, you know, we’re North America. It’s one of the most developed, like, the most booming markets. Everyone kinda understands what’s going on, and money isn’t necessarily that big of an issue. But when we’re looking at the unbanked population and why it’s so high, it’s like, really two reasons, right? That we, kind of, come across as one, there’s a lack of trust in this technology, which does stem from a lack of knowledge, and education, and really openness about the space. And the second aspect of that is really, well, these people don’t necessarily even have the disposable income to put in to really see the benefit of this technology.

Faith (11:35):

Mmm, yeah.

Julia (11:36):

And so at the core of, really, Cirus is like, okay, great, how do we take this problem now and bring a solution that encompasses that? Where, you know, with Cirus, it’s really simple. Like, okay, you download it, and right away, you’re getting that value from your data already, and then you can take that found value and off ramp it into different rails like financial opportunities, whether that’s, you know, FinTech or DeFi. But it really does come, in my opinion, to like, simplifying the process and seeing the bigger scope of it. I think it’s very easy to get like, tapped into the zooming in part, okay, what is blockchain? What is Web3? It’s like, this very techy lingo, and there’s so much jargon like, you know, finally, I understand it now, but before I was like, what are all these terms? Like, proof of stake, proof of work, proof of what?

Julia (12:23):

Like, I don’t understand. But when you just unravel like, okay, great, what’s the real use case for that? Or how can people (Faith: Yeah.) benefit? And when we unravel the benefits of it in daily life, you know, me sending money across the world now with very little remittance fees, that’s a benefit, right? Especially looking at somebody who comes from a different income level, $5 is a big deal, $10 is a big deal, right? So for us, we ignore those moments, but for some people like, they are the make it or break it for them into, you know, really entering a different economy in a different state, in general. So I think, to kind of sum that up, really, I’m very passionate about, because it really does help people in the technological sense of that word, and they feel that value.

Julia (13:08):

And, of course, when we’re looking at the trade site and all these things, there’s different use cases for that. But I would really encourage people to really understand what the power of Web3 is in the zooming out aspect of it. How can it affect people? And, you know, imagine if all those people are banked now, that’s more innovation coming in, that’s more people being part of the workforce. Like, all of these things are so important. And I think, sometimes, we just get a little bit stuck like, just figuring about, you know, talking about what’s the buzz right now? Okay, FTX, oh my gosh, I’ll talk about FTX for the next thirty-hundred hours. Like, (Faith: <Laugh>.) let’s kinda isolate and really think about what’s important, and when it is, you know, we’re talking about those topics, it really does come back to, well, what are the core ethos of Web3, which is ownership, which is custody, which is empowerment and inclusivity, in my eyes. So yeah, that was a really good question. I went on a little bit of like, a rampage, but <laugh> I think that kind of covers my opinion on that for sure.

Faith (14:04):

Yeah, it’s really helpful. I think just getting back to basics around like, okay, why were we excited about this in the first place? (Julia: Yes.) That opportunity and that need is still there. And Cirus Foundation has a really big mission, kind of, in that space, right? Like, your mission is very tied to equitable access to these technologies, but also to the money that’s circulated, just like, generated through our own use of the Internet. Right? I’d love to learn a little bit more, kind of, in your own words for folks listening who have never heard about Cirus. What kind of work do you guys do, and, you know, what’s the mission behind that work?

Julia (14:41):

Yeah, I love that question, and I’m gonna, kind of, go into it a little bit deeper. So I think, for us, at the core of everything, to simplify it, is giving value back to people, right, and really taking that now and looking at it in the realm of the internet economy. When we’re looking at the internet economy, let’s say like, over the last even 20 years, right? Where Facebook came in, Instagram came in, Twitter, all these wonderful platforms, which we love. You know, I love to post little TikToks, I love to go to Instagram, I love to share my photos with my network and all these things, but the biggest problem that we really, kind of, unraveled and uncovered is the lack of value distribution, right? So as we’re posting all these things, and as we’re sharing things online, none of that information is actually ours.

Julia (15:28):

And I think it’s like, when we’re looking at it, it’s like, very scary to understand, because in real life, like, we own things. I own this shirt, I own these glasses, I own this chair, I own this office; it’s great. Online though, like, our digital footprint, we don’t own anything. We’re borrowing our Twitter handle, we’re posting things online, but then it’s really up to Instagram like, how they put permissions on that. Like, a lot of times, we have a lot of censorship and like, even like, last week I got a photo taken off, because it was a baby photo of me and my sister, and we were shirtless, and it was like, us, these babies, and they’re like, “No, sorry. There’s nudity. We’re gonna take that off.” And I’m like, it’s crazy, because you really don’t have any say as to what happens to your information, to your data. (Faith: Yeah.)

Julia (16:12):

And that’s, essentially, the biggest problem in my eyes. You know, as we gain access to these services, we lost a lot of our own information, our own value. And now, for the first time, we really have an opportunity to like, take that back with Web3, with this cutting edge technology. It’s like, now we have, for the first time, we’re able to actually monetize that value and have full ownership, full say, full custody of what happens to our assets. And really, at the forefront, that was our biggest mission with Cirus, is like, how do we give people, now, the opportunity to take the driver’s seat, right? For so long we’ve been kept out of it, because only very few companies own our data, and it’s very siloed, and we don’t have much say, and we love these services, right? We’re still gonna continue to use them.

Julia (16:59):

I love all of them. But now, it’s really about the new version, a much better iteration of what’s to come in this internet economy, which is more rewarding, which is more inclusive, and really allows people to say, “Hey, you know, I’m sharing my data, and that’s wonderful, but I actually have value. I actually have a stake.” And before all these, you know like, other assets, like Bitcoin, Ethereum, all these wonderful digital assets, data was really, and it still is, the biggest digital asset of the Internet. Like, think about how many people are putting their data online, and it’s just circulating and circulating, but we’re getting none of that. So for us, that was like, a no-brainer to be like, great, let’s come up with something very simple, very easy to use, understand, that solves that problem. And not only that, but also leverages different technology, now, which enables people to enter new financial opportunities with the power of that data, with the power of that value, which is monetizable, which does have value.

Julia (17:56):

And we’ve kind of been like, scammed and bamboozled this whole time to say, “Oh no, this is the norm.” Like, we’ve really lowered our standards for how we are treated online, and now, (Faith: Yeah.) we have an opportunity to take that back. So that’s a little bit like a, you know, a kind of a more expansive version of why, and the what, and the how of what we do. But really, at the core of it all, is empowering people to have full ownership over their digital assets, their data, and they can earn from it as well.

Faith (18:23):

That is so fascinating, because, you know, I think there’s been so many just big hit documentaries around big data, (Julia: Mm-hmm <affirmative>.) and what it means for us, as individuals and our privacy. And you’re totally right that the folks that are profiting from our data are not us, right? And I’m a marketer, so I love having access to the tools that data provides. But you know, there’s still like, major privacy concerns, and I think, kind of an equitable system where everybody, everyone who’s kind of feeding into this system is able to benefit, is really fascinating. So Cirus is currently your, I got on your website, and it looks like there’s a wait list. So talk to me about, kind of, the phase you’re in right now with your build.

Julia (19:22):

Yeah, I love that. I am like, so excited about it, because, kind of, the current state of Cirus, we’ve had such an evolution. We started developing the product two years back, and last year, we kind of, you know, were in beta phase. We had more than 20,000 users. And then, for us, we really had to take it back and think about, okay, great, how do we improve our product? And that just took like, we really emphasized we wanna build a product that wins the hearts, and minds, and souls of people. Like, how do we do that? Right? There’s so much technology out there, there’s so much innovation out there, but how do you actually bring something that’s valuable and that stands the test of time? That’s, I think, in my eyes, when we’re thinking about driving mass adoption, which everybody does wanna do in this industry, right?

Julia (20:05):

It’s like, how do we bring more people in? Okay, well, create a really wonderful product, and you know, it’s not as easy as it sounds. (Faith: Yeah.) But I think, for us now, what’s so surreal is we’ve launched our product, it’s in private testing right now, so we have a private, kind of, users going through it, giving us their feedback. And it has been so surreal to like, actually present people with, not just the vision, but with a product and a product that communicates that vision to people that are like, “Okay, great. I understand, not only what Cirus is, but how I can benefit from it.” I think, at the end of the day, like, value is key, and if our whole concept is, you know, giving value back to people, that’s exactly the kind of product that we wanna bring to the table.

Julia (20:50):

So I’m excited for like, more and more people to come into the platform to really get like, a taste of it. And I’m excited for when we like, it’s all over, like, it’s all across the globe. I want everyone to, from like, different markets, you know, like India, Africa, everywhere, to really understand like, the value proposition and feel it in their day-to-day life. So I am super pumped. Like, you can probably tell how excited I am, because that’s definitely been a long time coming and a lot of work from the team. We kind of pulled it all together, so it’s just been an awesome experience.

Faith (21:26):

Yeah. Talk to me about the team. So I know that y’all are working with to supplement some of your tech staffing, which is awesome. (Julia: Yeah.) I love hearing that. But who else kinda, who else makes up the team and, you know, particularly I’m interested in advisors, as well, because I hear that you’ve got some pretty heavy hitters surrounding you guys. So yeah, talk to me about the team.

Julia (21:49):

Really at the core of like, okay, what does it take to build a great product and have this great business model? I think it definitely is an amazing, incredible team, and we are so blessed to have very prolific leaders in the tech space, right? So we have the former CEO of Apple, which is Gill Amilio, and then we also have Finis Connor, who is really the pioneer of storage solutions and hardware. And so, for us, both of these advisors have been so pivotal, right? So when we’re looking at, for example, Gill Amilio, I mean, his whole thing is really, how do we not only leverage mega trends that are happening in the industry right now in the tech space, but how do we build technology that actually drives mass adoption and brings value to people? And so, for us, understanding that great, you know, we had this wonderful product, but how can we make it even better?

Julia (22:44):

Which, the answer, to us, really was the user experience. That was like, our biggest focus. For us, it’s very, the advisory is so important when we’re thinking about, okay, well, what’s the next stage of our product look like? Or how do we drive this vision and actually build products that are liked by a lot of people and that are valuable to a lot of people? And, you know, on the other hand, we have Finis Connor, who has so much experience in the storage space. And I think storage, and like, cloud computing, and everything to do with tech is so important when we are looking at it from the data ownership side, because, at the core of true data ownership, really is ownership of your assets, ownership of your data and how it’s stored.

Julia (23:34):

And so, for us, as we’re building towards decentralization, right, and really, okay, great, you already own your assets, you own your data, let’s make sure that you’re also doing that on the back end, ‘cause that’s really at the core of everything, right? Versus, right now, a lot of data is stored in like, in the hands of three, four companies, and that’s that, right? So for us, getting his kind of perspective and that guidance is so powerful when we’re really thinking about, okay, how do we keep driving those solutions to be better, better, and better? And you know, their experience is also just, super deep. Like Gill Amilio, he really came in as this pioneer for change in Apple where it was during the 1990s, very turbulent times. And he had to make like, very hard calls to be like, “Okay, how do we research this? What do we do with the product and all these things?” (Faith: Mmm <affirmative>.)

Julia (24:16):

And so, in every moment of time, I think there’s this time for opportunities and really leading the ship forward in the right direction, and I think that’s exactly, kind of, what we’re doing with data ownership and blockchain. It’s like the perfect, you know, match made in heaven, I think. (Faith: Yeah.) And so having people that back that vision, as well, and really believe like, yeah, this is a turnaround of a time. It’s fantastic. And you know, internally, our team is like, the best; I love everybody. Again, super different background, but everybody’s really bridged behind this vision of like, okay, let’s make a difference. How can we do that with this technology? How can we make sure people understand? Let’s simplify everything, right? That’s really the core of everything. But yeah, very appreciative for the team. I’m learning like, all the time. (Faith: <Laugh>.) Like, I’m always in like, my learners mode. It’s like, since day one I’m like, “Ooh, what can I learn? What can I learn? What can I learn?” (Faith: Yeah.) So yeah, that’s kind of been my vibe, for sure, on the team.

Faith (25:12):

Man, that makes such a huge difference. Just having mentors in this space who feel comfortable with asking (Julia: Huge.) questions. I’ve been in the same seat, and I feel like the things that we kind of convince ourselves that are not for us, because we don’t, we weren’t born understanding them, is insane, because…(Julia: Yeah.) <Laugh>.

Julia (25:32):

You’re right. It’s crazy. It is crazy. It’s a scam. Yeah, it really is <laugh>.

Faith (25:36):

Yeah, it totally is. Yes. Tell that to my imposter syndrome. (Julia: <Laugh>.) But I love kind of like, the common thread that I’m hearing through, you know, all the conversation we’ve had about Cirus, is this obsession with the user experience and making it simple. And I see a connection there between a really simple, intuitive user experience and the mission of accessibility and equity, (Julia: Mm-hmm <affirmative>.) because navigating a UX that, kind of, favors folks who are technical is going to exclude the users that you’re trying to access. So I’d love to hear a little bit about, just your take on how a well-designed product, you know, helps you meet that goal of accessibility.

Julia (26:25):

Mm-Hmm <affirmative>. Yeah, you are for sure right, in terms of like, the obsession with the user experience. And I think if we ask anybody in our team, they would 100% echo that for us, taking the decision to like, actually completely pause our product in the short run, which we already had in beta version. And we had users, they love the product, they were using it, we were like, “Okay, we have to make it better.” Like that was, with everything that’s going on in the space with just the amount of complications, it comes from people to really understand what’s going on, and how to use the product, and what the benefits are, and what the real value is. Because this is really the thing; like, UX is one of the biggest challenges in the Web3 space, and I think it’s also the biggest hindrance for people (Faith: Mmm <affirmative>.) really seeing the value of the space.

Julia (27:16):

And so for us, (Faith: Yeah.) we had to make a pretty difficult decision, in the short run, to be like, “Okay, let’s pause, let’s go back to the drawing board, let’s lay out the concept, let’s put the user first, not the tech first.” And of course, technology is great, but I think a lot of companies do this where they really focus on the hardware, on the software, on the tech, and then the aspect of the user, and the user experience, and the user journey is like, “Oh yeah, okay, well they’ll get it.” It’s like, they probably won’t, you know, because you have these rose colored glasses when you’re in the product. We’re developing it, you’re like, “Oh, everyone’s gonna get it; it’s so simple.” (Faith: <Laugh>. Right?) And then it, will your mom get it? Will your grandma get it? Will your sister get it?

Julia (27:58):

Or they gonna be like, “What the heck is this crypto thing you guys are showing me again? I don’t understand.” And so, for us, it was like, the biggest priority, and we ended up working with one of the best designer firms in California with, you know, amazing designers who really were a big guidance for us throughout this process. A lot of iterations, and I’m sure, you know, just kind of like, how that goes, but a lot of iterations through how do we want to present our vision and the functionality of the product in a very simple way, right? Because I think that really is the kicker. You can have so much functionality, but if the user doesn’t feel that fluidity and doesn’t feel that flow right away of like, “Oh, okay, this is so intuitive,” then your mission is not complete, right?

Julia (28:43):

So you can push for saying like, “Oh, we have the best product out there,” but what do the people actually think? And so, for us, like, where we are today, that’s probably the biggest and most important point. Like, okay, well, what do people have to say, and what’s people’s feedback? And from the user experience side, I’m like, so proud of it. I know it’s probably biased, but it is like, so sleek, and simple, and easy to use. And we’ve had that feedback from people already. So for me, that’s like, a very surreal feeling, (Faith: Yeah.) because yes, there’s different functions in the product, and as we layer more things on that are more tech, you know, techy, and kind of all these different…how do you present that to the user? For us, like, onboarding was a huge thing. So as a user, when you download the app, how does it communicate with you?

Julia (29:29):

What’s the, like, how do you feel about it? And so, for us, it was like, “Okay, great. Let’s lay out all the functionality from, you know, the surf and earn feature, and the data vault to the multicurrency wallet, and all the different assets that are in there, and kind of the Cirus score,” which I’m like, super excited about to tell you about as well, “How do we lay all these functionalities out in a way that’s simple?” So for us, user experience was definitely our best friend, because (Faith: Yeah.) it was like, the biggest focus, and I’m definitely proud and very like, honored to present our product to people. And maybe this is just my biased opinion, (Faith: <Laugh>.) but I’m excited for people to test, to like, kinda really see it, experience it, (Faith: Yeah.) and then let us know what they think.

Faith (30:09):

Well, I can’t wait to use it. I feel like, yeah.

Julia (30:14):

Yeah, I’m excited for you to use it. I’m so excited.

Faith (30:16):

Yeah. Hearing you talk about the features, it’s just, it’s super cool to see you’re fired up. So what’s the Cirus score?

Julia (30:25):

Okay, so the Cirus score is like, my biggest excitement from this whole product. And essentially, what it is, is like we have this orb in the middle of the app, and that’s, kind of like, how it welcomes you. It’s just a live orb, a representation and a reflection of your digital footprint. So as you’re browsing, as you’re surfing and earning, that Cirus score continues to grow, and then, as it essentially serves as the key to unlock this whole world of Web3, right? So whether that’s different services, like banking or launching a node or doing like, referral network, whatever these different aspects of FinTech and DeFi can be, the Cirus score enables you to have access to that. So what’s cool about it is like, okay, you don’t actually have to add any more value to that. It’s just your found value, already, from your digital assets, from your data.

Julia (31:14):

So for me, I’m super excited for it. You know, we have different initiatives that are already in the pipeline, even from a social impact standpoint. Like, we have a really awesome partner, which we’re gonna announce soon, which really enables people within the platform to actually donate through the blockchain, right? (Faith: Hmm, cool.) So you can actually, a lot of times when we donate, it’s like, a one stop shop, we donate and then we’re like, “I don’t really know what happened. I don’t really know what the impact was made.” So what they’re doing is something really, really cool, because once you donate to the cause, you are really able to track that through the supply chain and see like, okay, well this was the impact made and so like, I think that’s very cool. For the first time, it’s like, again, technology’s making all this possible, but at the core of everything really is like, the purpose aspect of it. So yeah, that’s a little bit about the Cirus score. I’m like, it’s my favorite. I’m excited about it.

Faith (32:04):

Oh, I can’t wait to use it. It’s gonna be so much fun. Well, Julia, this has been awesome. I would love to tell people where they can find you and Cirus. Where are you guys most active? If folks wanna get in touch with you directly, how should they do that?

Julia (32:22):

For sure. Yeah, so Cirus, we’re very active on Twitter, so I would direct to Twitter or our website, or @CirusFoundation on Twitter. And then, personally for me, LinkedIn is probably my best point of connection. Working my Twitter game right now, so that’s <unintelligible>.

Faith (32:38):

You and me, both.

Julia (32:40):

I’m still not there. You know, I think Twitter is like, so big in the Web3 and crypto, so we gotta up our game, Faith, and then (Faith: Yeah.) follow each other.

Faith (32:48):

Yeah, that sounds good. You’ll be like my eighth follower. I can’t wait.

Julia (32:51):

<Laugh>. Same.

Faith (32:51):

<Laugh>. Well Julia, this has been awesome. I’m so excited to get on the waitlist and give Cirus a spin, and it was so cool to hear about your professional journey, and I think a lot of folks will resonate with that. So hopefully we can get you back on the pod soon.

Julia (33:08):

I appreciate it, Faith. (THE FRONTIER THEME FADES IN) You were like, an amazing host and just really great discussion. I’m happy I kind of got to meet more of the team and like, go into a little bit more, ‘cause everyone’s literally awesome.

Faith (33:20):

<Laugh>. Right? Thanks for listening to the Frontier podcast, powered by We drop two episodes per week, so if you like this episode, be sure to subscribe on your platform of choice, and come hang out with us again next week, and bring all your internet friends. If you have questions or recommendations, just shoot us a Twitter DM @theFrontierPod, and we’ll see you next week.