A few years ago, we were looking for a way to tell the story of crypto and Coinbase. So we commissioned a documentary. Today, you can rent or buy COIN — directed by Greg Kohs and produced by Alldayeveryday — on most on-demand streaming platforms (like Amazon Prime, iTunes, Youtube, Google Play etc).
We gave Greg and his team unprecedented access inside the company, showing the crazy ups and downs of building a tech startup all the way to us becoming a public company.
I’ve never been the most extroverted person, so having cameras follow me around wasn’t always comfortable. I agreed to do this documentary because I wanted to demystify what it looks like to build a tech startup and to encourage more people to pursue entrepreneurship. I also wanted to demystify crypto.
The world tends to either vilify founders or put them on a pedestal. Neither is true - they're just regular people trying to make something that people want and to solve big problems in the world. Too often, founding stories take on an almost mythical status — a founder gets struck by an idea, builds a prototype in his or her garage, and all of a sudden there’s this wildly successful company.
In reality, a lot happens in between. You have to surround yourself with great people, build a product that actually works, get people to use that product, raise money, fix bugs, listen to people tell you you’re crazy, try to convince them you’re not crazy, hire even more people, fix even more bugs, and on and on and on.
As the saying goes, starting a company is like chewing glass and staring into the abyss. It takes incredible determination, sustained over many years, and a bit of luck. But if you succeed, you can change the world, and generate enormous value for millions of people.
My belief is that technology is the best lever we have to solve the world's problems and improve the human condition, and I want to encourage more people to start tech companies. So I decided to pull back the curtain and show people what it's really like.
I got in touch with Greg after seeing another film he created called AlphaGo, about DeepMind's program that defeated the Go champion, Lee Sedol. It was a powerful story, and it's what convinced me to trust him to tell our story.
I expect that some will be skeptical watching a documentary where the subject (Coinbase) was involved in the production. Is this just marketing or is it the real story? I asked my team to record every important meeting, good or bad, and send it to Greg. And I trusted Greg to synthesize 1000s of hours of meetings, conversations, and more over multiple years into 90 min that conveyed who we are and what we are trying to accomplish in the world. Greg ultimately had full creative control over the film and “final cut”. He shows it all – the good, the bad and the ugly. While it’s not all positive, no one is perfect, I’m really happy with the authentic end product.
I hope this documentary inspires more people who want to build the future with technology; and I hope it advances the cause of cryptocurrency, showing the motivations of the many hard working people driving this industry forward.