Building Engaging DeFi Products

Building Engaging DeFi Products

A conversation with @blueclarityone from Trader Joe.

No Nonsense Growth is a Twitter Spaces series dedicated to all things marketing, product, and analytics. These are some highlights from the fourth episode.

For the fourth episode of No Nonsense Growth, we turn the spotlight on Blue, an ace marketer and growth hacker at Trader Joe. From a tumultuous start in 2017 to becoming the head of marketing and growth at Trader Joe, Blue shares his journey, the challenges he faced, and his unique approach to what he does.


Blue's crypto journey began in 2017. At first, he dove into Ethereum and Bitcoin, only to face setbacks due to scams and the plummeting value of tokens I had invested in. This initial foray left him skeptical, but the emergence of consumer applications in 2020 reignited his interest.

By 2021, the DeFi ecosystem had blossomed, revealing its potential to revolutionize finance. Blue started deeply engaging with projects on Discord, analyzing social data and gradually stepping into marketing roles. Soon, he found himself juggling responsibilities with eight marketing teams, which ultimately led to his current gig at Trader Joe.


On the importance of getting rugged

Enduring the first cycle of DeFi was a rite of passage for me. It taught me resilience and provided a clear perspective on the legitimacy and transformative potential of DeFi.

Breaking into crypto

My curiosity led me to collaborate with marketing agencies, where I utilized software to scrape data, offering insights into emerging trends and competitor strategies. This hands-on approach allowed me to contribute significantly to marketing and growth strategies, and helped me build my network in the early days.

How Blue thinks about growth

I define growth in DeFi through two main pillars: product and community. While metrics like active user base, volume, and total value locked (TVL) are essential, I believe the community's vibrancy is the true driver of growth. Our focus on community engagement and creating a positive atmosphere has been a key factor in our success. It's all about the vibes.

KPIs vs. Metrics

In my experience, distinguishing between KPIs and metrics is crucial. Not every metric is a KPI. For instance, we prioritize fees as a more meaningful indicator of success over volume or TVL. Volume and TVL (that ultimately drives volume) is not all that important because volume can be low fee-generating as well. So it's important to stay focused on what really matters. For us it's fees, and we try a lot of things on the product and community side with the objective of moving the needle here.

"Community is at the heart of our growth strategy"

Community is at the heart of our growth strategy. We often think about all our new initiatives with the community in mind.

We recently introduced "clubs" to foster a deeper connection with our user base, transforming members into lifelong brand advocates.

This approach has not only solidified our community's loyalty but also laid the foundation for sustainable growth in the DeFi ecosystem.

It is always better to focus on a small number of people who really love your product, because it's these people who will ultimately vouch for you. Not the hundreds who use your product occasionally without a sense of belonging or attachment to the community at large.

On $SHOE and ERC404s

Our latest venture involves the $SHOE token, leveraging the innovative ERC404 standard. This hybrid token combines the best aspects of fungible and non-fungible tokens, offering new possibilities for DeFi applications. The $SHOE project exemplifies our commitment to pushing the boundaries and exploring new frontiers in DeFi.

By giving the people something that they can flip as NFTs and trade like ERC20 tokens, we are making it more appealing to participate in DeFi.

What 's next for Trader Joe?

As we prepare for the launch of a new protocol and continue developing community-centric products like Trailblazers, our focus remains on enhancing the DeFi user experience and expanding the capabilities of DEXs at large. Our journey is far from over, and we're excited about the opportunities that lie ahead.