In this episode, we speak with Annie Brown, founder of Lips. What started out as an assignment for an Introduction to Women’s Studies class has evolved into something much bigger over the course of ten years. Their aim is to carve out a space for open and honest expression of sexuality through stories, poetry, and artwork. We had a fantastic conversation with Annie exploring how Lips sits at the intersection of sexuality, feminism, technology and community. The Lips team is doing really important and beautiful work to support and empower vulnerable populations, and we can all learn a lot from Annie and her team.

Unlike other projects today, the Lips team is planning to build on a private blockchain. Given many people they are building for are vulnerable to attack, this is a very important decision for them. It was great to hear how Annie and the team are thinking through that decision, and we suspect other projects may learn something from that as well.

Lips is a project that is a bit atypical in comparison to most projects in the blockchain space, but a critically important one. We really appreciated Annie sharing her experience building Lips with us. We learned a lot and hope you will as well.


Show Notes

  • [0:31] Show intro
  • [1:05] Annie’s background and crypto origin story
  • [7:31] Story behind the founding of Lips and the problems it aims to solve
  • [13:19] Interesting use case for using cryptography to publicly broadcast an encrypted claim and reveal it at a later date.
  • [15:54] Current state of Lips product and team, and where it’s headed next.
  • [22:14] Digging in on their approach to technical roadmap and considerations they’re taking into account.
  • [29:07] How the team is approaching validating assumptions around business model and value propositions.
  • [35:12] Given Annie’s experience of going through Y Combinator twice, how has their guidance been helpful or lacking as she pursues her own startup.
  • [40:28] The design process for Lips and the inspiration for that.
  • [47:08] The importance of setting the right tone for your community and culture.
  • [51:30] Day-to-day experience and team processes of Lips.
  • [54:42] Current plans for the Lips roadmap.
  • [58:38] Annie’s perspective on competition and why the community and philosophy they’ve built the project around mitigates risk of being forked.