A website going down on launch day is a costly badge of honor for a startup founder. A team works hard for months to build a product and iterate on a marketing strategy. Their launch cuts through the noise and draws huge interest. Perhaps it gets to the top of a forum like Hacker News, or is shared by influential people on Twitter. An unanticipated audience floods through the startup’s digital doors, and the newly stood-up infrastructure crashes under the load, stymying signups and costing checkouts. It’s a badge of honor to be sure — literally overwhelming demand is a good sign of product-market fit — but robs a launch of critical momentum.
Mythia founder Derek Pankaew will not be earning this badge with Monday’s public launch of the Mythia NFT, a lifetime access token for a variety of services. When asked the likelihood that Mythia’s infrastructure would go down on launch day, Zeet co-founder Johnny Dallas replied with a calm “zero percent chance.”
That’s not due to a lack of interest. Mythia’s highly active discord community of well over 20,000 members will be spreading the word about the NFT mint across the entire web3 community, and engagement on launch tweets suggests stiff competition for the 3,000 tokens being minted. Mythia’s projects have gained massive momentum over the past couple of months, and they are ready to invite the world to see what they have built.
Mythia’s secret to quickly developing a sought-after NFT collection was to launch a suite of tools to give NFT trading enthusiasts the same data and analytics access as full-time experts. But building, launching, and maintaining a collection of niche vertical tools is a challenge in its own right, so Mythia turned to Zeet to handle infrastructure, allowing their small developer team to focus on bringing their vision to market. From launch day uptime to ongoing maintenance, Mythia is totally unburdened by devops and infrastructure concerns.
Creating a Valuable NFT Collection
As skeptics are quick to point out, an NFT alone isn’t intrinsically valuable. What you can’t right click and save, though, is community and access. While many projects launch on hype, Derek’s hypothesis was that building trust and an audience through creating useful tools first would lead to a more successful and sustainable NFT collection.
Mythia’s NFT offers its holders three benefits:
- A daily report on trading sentiment among top investors aggregated from thousands of messages across exclusive private Discord communities,
- Access to Mythia’s current and planned suite of NFT trading tools, and
- A unique hand-drawn profile picture artwork: a high-resolution cyberpunk avatar.
Of course, like any NFT, it can be sold, transferring the above rights to a new owner. As a lifetime access pass that confers voting rights on Mythia’s governance and roadmap, Mythia intends to make their NFT more valuable over time.
Essentially, the Mythia NFT is a lifetime access pass to all of our current features and all of the future features that we will build
Mythia has already built a popular basket of tools for NFT enthusiasts and traders:
- A tracker for projects’ Discord and Twitter growth to find breakout projects early,
- A “cheap-but-rare finder” to find NFTs that are underpriced relative to their rarity level within a collection,
- A mint momentum blockchain monitor that watches the Ethereum blockchain in real time to discover which addresses are consuming a lot of gas, and
- A whale wallet watcher that tracks the trading activity of thirty hand-picked wallets with a proven trading history, collected in a feed to show what top traders are doing in real time.
Mythia’s roadmap is inspired by the Jeff Bezos quote “Customers are always beautifully, wonderfully dissatisfied.” Per Derek, “If you give them something, they always want more.” Mythia already has three more tools in the works for after the NFT launch:
- A portfolio tracker for NFT investors,
- The NFT world’s first candlestick charts (a financial analysis tool popular among stock traders), and
- A Chrome extension that lets users mouse over NFTs in marketplaces and get supplementary information about the token’s rarity level and estimated value.
Owning a Mythia NFT grants access to all current and future tools, which aim to provide the token with robust underlying value.
Mythia’s Development Velocity
Mythia’s technical team includes a front-end developer, a mobile developer, and two backend developers, plus a designer and an animator. Together, they have shipped a half-dozen projects, from vertical tools to a token mint, in the first quarter of 2022. This breakneck development velocity required adding a new service to their stack every week for five weeks straight, which they were able to accomplish without any infrastructure specialists while also building the full-stack user-facing applications that needed the services.
Derek explained how his team can achieve this velocity. “We don’t really have to worry about DevOps, that’s the number one thing, we just push code to GitHub and it is deployed, we don’t have to think about CI/CD and performance monitoring…we get to focus most of our energy on writing code instead of deploying code.”
Derek discovered Zeet through Founders Inc, a common investor. Mythia is also backed by Y Combinator, the co-founders of Tinder, Nerdwallet, Scale.ai, and more. Mythia started working with Zeet in June 2021, and was able to retain the same infrastructure through a pivot at the end of the year. This fast, smooth pivot saved the company essential runway.
The age-old children’s song goes: “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other gold.” New products and launch days push headlines, but businesses are built on maintenance.
Every project that you start, you have to maintain, too
Mythia maintains a basket of vertical tools for NFT investors, but despite their common theme each tool needs to be operated and maintained independently. To be a reliable and trustworthy data source for NFT investors, they don’t just need to build tools, but maintain them in a rapidly evolving market. This kind of maintenance burden can sap the momentum of a fast-growing startup.
On the main sources of Mythia’s maintenance burden, Derek said, “We unfortunately have to do a lot of web scraping, which is notoriously fragile, it just breaks. People change their HTML and it breaks, Cloudflare changes something and your proxy gets blocked and it breaks, it is just breaking all the time. A lot of our maintenance is unfortunately dealing with scraping issues.”
Zeet has built-in features to make web scraping more robust and reliable. With a flag, users can deploy through different static IPs, meaning subsequent requests can come from different IPs that are constantly changing. Zeet users can quickly configure scraper worker pools that switch static IPs and circumvent block lists.
Beyond scraping, most of the maintenance effort centers around improving the data and models behind each tool. For example, mint dates and prices of NFTs will change, so the data has to be regularly refreshed to keep the tools up to date with the market, a process that often requires a human to manually discover the price through a Discord community is similarly illegible data source.
One notable absence from Mythia’s maintenance burden is infrastructure. Whenever an engineer updates a web scraper or data source, all they need to do is push the new code to GitHub and it is automatically live thanks to Zeet. Mythia engineers never have to think about spinning up servers, configuring Docker or Kubernetes for production, or ensuring the security and reliability of their infrastructure, which frees them up to keep building and maintaining their NFT investor toolbox.
Reminiscing on the infrastructure burden in previous ventures, Derek said, “I remember when I used to set things up myself. You spin up an EC2 instance, SSH into it, you git pull, you make sure to install everything, you install a process manager, start the process. Every time you want to update the code, you SSH again, you pull your code, you restart the process. It’s this very manual thing, and then you multiply that by 15, and then every other developer who needs to change anything also has to understand the process.”
A process like that would make maintenance an existential threat to development velocity. But, with Zeet handling their infrastructure, Mythia is able to just keep shipping.
Beyond the three planned tools — the portfolio tracker, candlestick chart, and Chrome extension — Mythia’s roadmap features an ambitious final product, a DEX, or decentralized exchange, for NFT traders.
Describing the architecture for a decentralized exchange, Derek said “most of our backend will be on the blockchain, but there will be ancillary services that connect to the chain and obviously we’ll have the frontend to deploy.” Mythia needs to hire engineers who specialize in on-chain development, not server devops, to build this platform. By running their off-chain infrastructure on Zeet, Mythia can reserve its engineering budget for the specialists it needs to scale.