Entrepreneurship

Richard Carthon – Crypto Current Transcript

Richard Carthon - Crypto Current

Note: This transcript was automatically generated by artificial intelligence (AI) and therefore typos may be present.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
Hey folks Rob McNealy here. And today, I’m excited. I am talking to Richard karsan. He is the founder and host of the crypto currency podcast is a longtime community member in the crypto space. And I really like his take on a lot of different issues. So I think we’re gonna have a really good show today. So, Richard, welcome to the show. How are you today?

Richard Carthon – crypto-current.co
I’m great. appreciate you having me today. Rob, um, man, we had a before getting on this, you know, just various conversations, I think there is plenty of topics that we can cover and, and it’s just, uh, it’s really cool to see all the projects that you have going on and your involvement in the space and really excited to to be sharing some of what I got going on to share with your audience. So looking forward to it.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
Well, I appreciate that, you know, I actually like talking to other podcasters. And the main reason that is, is because I talked to a bunch of people and talk to a lot of projects. I’m also involved in a project but then you talk to lots of projects, and we talked to different ones, and then we compare notes. And I think, you know, the cool thing is is and really Why I like doing this program is because I get to speak to lots of really smart people and I like being the dumbest guy in the room, not the smartest guy in the room.

Richard Carthon – crypto-current.co
Yeah, I heard that. I mean, when I look back on when I originally started cryptocurrency, it was to surround myself with thought leaders in the space but then not only just educate myself, it’s educate everyone else right? And I feel that the best way to learn is from people who can break it down for you. So anything new anything, pet causes change, there’s friction and there’s like a resistance to wanting to learn just be like, Oh, that’s too tough or, like, get a good idea. I don’t want I want to talk about this right? And but when when someone sparks your curiosity when someone says something that’s like, Hmm, I haven’t thought about like that. Or Huh, I could do something with that. It just opens the doors to so many possibilities that before a weren’t even on your mind, but then to that just opened themselves in a way that you like, I want to go deeper in this and find a way to get involved. So I agree, man, it’s it’s cool to talk to very intelligent people. passionate people, and and people who really want to go deeper on on what it is that they’re working on. And it’s exciting.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
So how did you get into this space? How did you get into doing the crypto stuff? Not just a podcast, but what got you interested in this area?

Richard Carthon – crypto-current.co
Yeah. So I mean, I’ve been an entrepreneur, basically my entire adult life. And I was working at this artificial intelligence company. And the first day on the job, my boss comes up and says, Hey, what do you know about Bitcoin? I was like, what’s that? Right? And he’s, like, trust me want to look into it. And so I did. And I was like, Oh, my gosh, why did it? Why didn’t I learn about this earlier? So like, I was a late bloomer. I didn’t I first learned about this January 2018. Right. And the first thing that came to me was one, this has been around for almost a decade. Why am I just not hearing about this? So what does that what does that say about my circles that I’m in, but then to even in those circles, who is really active In trying to dive in be a person that can be a reliable source to educate me on this. So when I in 2018, when I first got into and I was trying to educate myself, I went to all the YouTube channels and these web forms and all this stuff and everything was very technical. Everything was very, like, either pie in the sky get rich quick or like super, super technical on here’s how blockchain works. Here’s how hard forking is, here’s this white paper and I was just like, I just want someone to, like, give this to me straight give this to me very simply. And like do it in a really cool and like, compelling way. And I was like, you know, I was like, I just want to talk to these people. I was like, I might as well like create a way to share it. And so that’s when the concept of cryptocurrency came about. And, you know, it’s it’s been amazing to be able to communicate with so many different thought leaders and then like even today, like being able to speak with you like it is such a easy way to talk to very intelligent people who can not only speak to Several different topics that speak very intelligently to them, but then can also like, challenge you in ways to continue to expand your knowledge. And to give you a new perspective on something that you that you might have felt very differently about, you know, I mean,

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
Absolutely. And I think, I think part of the problem you just illustrated, like with people, you know, speaking in, you know, Techno ease, right, is, is a function that so many crypto projects are really just developer LED, or super developer heavy. And a lot of times they don’t understand, you know, how to speak to normal people. And I don’t mean that in a bad way, right. You know, would like our test project I’m focused on you know, we’re marketing to, I would say, for the most part a pretty low tech industry. I don’t go in and talk about censorship, resistance and all this, you know, you know, I don’t even talk about I mean, think about that we can get and all that stuff, but here’s the thing that people don’t even understand how How do you explain a decentralized organization to people that don’t understand? And this is how I do it right? I you know, if I’m talking to like a gun retailer about POS, I say this, I don’t say we’re a decentralized project. What I say is we’re like I say, this is how I say it. We’re kind of like a, we’re a, like a nonprofit, kind of a cross between a nonprofit and a co op. Oh, they understand that right away. There’s a connection. In you know, I don’t lead with all this in tech news, I say, half a percent track, you know, half a percent transaction fee, no chargebacks. And you get your coins instantly deposited in your wallet. So you don’t have to wait for an ACH so it improves your cash flow. Guess what? I don’t have retailers say no to that.

Richard Carthon – crypto-current.co
Yeah. And that’s what you need, right? When you’re speaking in, especially with any company that you have, and this is definitely speaking to our entrepreneurial background. But when you’re going to Pitch Anything. The first thought in anyone’s head is no, like, whatever you’re trying to sell me just just know just off the bat, right? Is No. And so how do you break down those guards? The first thing is through effective communication. And it is making sure that whatever you’re trying to explain is very clear. And that it not only just concise but I can understand it, comprehend it and then make an intelligent decision. If I don’t understand anything that you’re saying, My we’re done talking like there’s there’s nothing for me to think about because I can’t even relate to what’s going on and what I think was happening initial in the 2018, Ico boom, and all this money flooding the market and we’re at the top of where Bitcoin was before you know, everything started coming down. And you saw all these projects coming in that were just they weren’t building for the future. They were building for the here and now and how can I make a ton of money really quick. And they’re just putting all this technical, legal jargon in these white papers to sound really cool like is because the hardest thing about anything in any industry when you’re communicating with people is that you want to sound smart and intelligent, but you also like you don’t want to seem like you don’t know what you’re talking about. So if you’re in this crypto blockchain space, you put in all these super technical words in the soup or whatever to make yourself sound like you know what’s going on. But if you can’t break it down to like to me or your normal person or someone that’s fresh in or whatever, we are never going to connect, and we’re never going to be able to get to that next step in moving forward together. And so that was really one of the things that resonated me when I first got into this and I really wanted to just one break that down and like start bridging the gap for all these thought leaders to be able to effectively communicate what they’re working on so that people can understand it and decide if they want to get behind it or at least share that project with other people.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
Well, I think you’re touching on a real you know point about communication right? And and I think there’s a couple sayings out there is a D want to be rich or do you want to be right? And in market in the marketing world that’s very common like and and I think this is a problem that smart people often have right? Is that especially when it comes to market Especially tech people. So I see this a lot around technical people that are smart. And I’ve been around a lot of smart tech people so I can I can see it. But what ends up happening is they want to market to people in a way that they feel is respectful. But basically, they want to be marketed in a way that they want to be sold personally. The problem is, is that really, really smart technical people are not the normal buyers out there in the world and, and how they want to be bought and sold is not correct. Or you know, how, you know, they want someone to sell something to them. And I think they make that mistake a lot and it gets them mad, like, I don’t want this, you know, and you hear this a lot like I mean, you’ve been around you’re around tech people all the time, right in your in your day job too. And as an entrepreneur, and and I have been as well. And so what I mean part of the problem is you see a lot of developers, they hate salespeople, they straight up hate them, right? And they’re like, oh, that guy is so full of crap or that guy is just bla bla bla bla bla and guess what some salespeople are full of crap, but but um but you also have Have to get people emotionally excited about your product or service. And sometimes it’s hard, right? tech stuffs not. I mean, if I was going to try to sell you visa, right? how sexy is that? It’s not, it’s just not, you know, and and it’s the same thing with crypto for the most part, crypto is not sexy, it shouldn’t be sexy. If you think about it, it shouldn’t be. It should be utilitarian. And I think that a lot of us miss that. That communication piece. And I think that, you know, hopefully more projects like what we’re doing and podcasts like what you and I are doing will help change that over time.

Richard Carthon – crypto-current.co
No doubt, and it’s been interesting over the, over the years I’ve been doing this as well with some of the earlier guests that I’ve gone on versus some of the newer ones and just understanding also the flow of conversation of sometimes when people come on, they know their product or project and everything extremely well or they know a certain aspect of it. Something like a like defy or stable coins or accounting on the blockchain or what does it mean to do a fork on whatever and like they can go really, really deep and be very, like technical and very knowledgeable on the subject but what people want to hear what people resonate his passion is, is the that human element of like when you speak about a thing? Does it like excite you? Like why should I be excited about when you’re speaking to me about this thing? And what I’ve learned is to try to bring that out of people when they’re speaking because I Can I have that that level of connection with you to where now when we’re speaking I’m locked in like I want to hear what this person has to say next, because I can feel the energy coming from what they’re what they’re talking about, because you can you can listen to very, very, very high in the sky. conversations that you know, like are probably highlight intelligent and are solving a problem. And you’re like, wow, these people are super smart, but like I just have, they’re they’re speaking French. They’re speaking Japanese. I was like, What am I doing here? Because like one of the first conferences I ever went to, like, some of the conversations even on the stages, I was just like, how do I even get involved in this space, like if they’re speaking a foreign language right now. And as you can start peeling back those layers, and and just getting people to break things down at their base, because a lot of projects in these developers as well, they can speak to the technical piece of it, but they can’t at face value. I say, Tell me, like in a 10 second pitch, what is your product product? What do you do? Who’s your ideal customer and a lot of them through our conversations over their head, it’s just like, a they start to freeze because they’ve never just broke it down. So simply and it’s, it’s amazing how when you just simplify things, how much more easily In freely, you can speak about something and get more people to buy in.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
And here’s the downside of that. And I think this is all part of it, the simpler you can refine it, the easier it is to critique. And I think some people fear that, you know, like, let’s just, you know, I could pick apart You know, I pick on defy stuff sometimes. Right. And, and because I think there’s some, I have some concerns about some of the defy stuff, but you’re like, you know, you know, some of these these schemes, you know, like yield farming some of these other things. They’re so complicated, like, in effect, the developers themselves have a hard time explaining what they’re doing. And I’m like, so you created so you created a token out of nothing. Somebody else gives you this token, and you hold it and then they you give them this other token, and they cash it out and just trying to explain you’re like, and then I just come back and like, and and I always I like I said, I like to be the dumb guy. And I have no trust me. There’s I surround myself with dumb or smart people. I’m the dumb guy around everyone. I want to be that guy. And, and I was like, okay, so who in the real world does this? Like outside of crypto? Can you give me examples of where this is? Or this exists this model that you’re creating? Right? And they’re like, Oh, well, you know, no, I don’t explain to me Give me an example. Is there a bank that I do this at? And, and it’s funny the, how quickly some of those, you know, these really complicated schemes break down, when you ask these really basic questions. And I always take that as a red flag, right, because I’m a simple guy. And, and, and, and there’s a fundamental reason for this. The even with language, okay, I’ll divert like a little story. So, you know, authors. If you look at some of the most successful books in the world in history, like in literature in history, what you’ll find is there’s been some studies done on some of the most, some of the most successful books in history, were written at very low levels of education levels, and so meaning that the vote capillary Just think of it this way, the more popular books use smaller words, more common words for things. I saw thing and I it was like Ernest Hemingway’s old man in the sea was written in like a fourth grade level. Yeah. And, and no most people will be offended by that if you say that but there’s a very practical reason for that. The the simpler the the understanding required or the the lower the education level required for someone to enjoy your work as an author as your book. The more people the bigger the market there is for that book. So if you write a book that only people with PhDs in biochemistry can understand your market is limited to people that have an understanding of biochemistry that also want to read your book. It makes the market smaller. And so I always think of I go back to market sizes, okay, I always try to bring things back down how many so help me understand what problem you’re solving and then How many people can you potentially solve that problem for? And then how do you get that solution to those people’s problems in front of them? And you would see a lot of times, even with crypto, a lot of the stuff breaks down. I remember and things are changing in this industry. But I remember when I went to my first, the first Miami blockchain conference I went to a couple years ago, that was like January or February in 2018, right, right. After I got into crypto, I went to that conference. And I was very new to crypto. And I’m still suspicious of crypto but I you know, some of the stuff in crypto but I was going and talking to all these projects. And we’d already had a product started to but I started saying like, well, we’re doing this, this and this and I’m like, so you’re making Uber so basically someone was making a blockchain based Uber, right. And I said, Okay, that’s interesting. What do you do differently? Well, we don’t take as high of a fee. Okay, but what do you But okay, so Uber takes a high fee. Yeah. So explain to me Do you not don’t think Uber offers value to their drivers? Or to their customers? You know, because they wanted to, they basically make a decentralized Uber thing. I’m not gonna say who it was. But and it’s funny because I was talking to the developers on this, and they couldn’t answer basic questions, they had not like thought out the business piece of this, like, they hadn’t talked to their customers, or potential customers for this. And I just said, I don’t understand the market, like what problem you’re trying to solve other than a little lower fee, but you’re also offering a lot less support, and you’re not offering any marketing and, and so and to me, I saw that as a big drawback, and I think this is the problem with a lot of these tech people is that they’re missing that whole understanding what’s happening on the other side.

Richard Carthon – crypto-current.co
And this is what’s interesting about what is going on in this space right now. And where I think this next decade of where we’re headed in the crypto blockchain space is very exciting. So you have a lot of these projects, who basically went through initial boom, and if they’re still around, basically they’re trying to build some To last right and so now you’re starting get these projects are a little bit more funded. And if they’re not a little bit more funded, they have a little bit more well rounded groups and team that is building it and you’re starting to get like more marketing and sales focused people to get in it to figure out the business model of like, how do we become sustainable? And then with that what you’re seeing is more people trying to figure out adoption. So what is the biggest hurdle for any new person coming into crypto and blockchain space, right? The first one is just basic understanding of what is Bitcoin? What drives its value? Like, what are the five pillars? Like what are the what are the things that make it distinct, right? What gives it its value and then blockchain the underlying technology, like, what is it like just give me those two basics right, and after you break that down, and they can understand that at its core, it’s like, Okay, if I’m going to use this in my everyday like life, you don’t necessarily need to know that. You just need to know that it works. So like right now. I don’t like necessarily need to understand like how it all works on the back end, when I go to a gas station and I put my visa in, I get my gas and I dip out I don’t need to know the technology and everything that’s going on the back end. It works. And what I think a lot of projects are finally starting to put their attention towards is, how do I just get this to work without the user having to understand everything that’s going on. And right now that is the absolute hurdle for anybody new in the crypto space is you need someone to hold your hand to get started. Basically point blank period like you, you are going to have to educate yourself a little bit. There’s nothing intuitive about coming into this space right now. Like when you think about Apple and what made them so successful, especially with the iPhone boom and everything else is you can pick up this phone, not know anything about a phone and clearly understand how to use it right? Grandma, you can give grandma an iPhone, she’ll figure out how to communicate and do everything that she needs to with crypto right now. It’s not grandma. It’s not grandma proof. It is not. It is not millennial proof like you’re not going to get someone just My age or younger, that’s gonna come on initially in the crypto space and just know what’s going on. They’re gonna have to watch some videos, listen to some speakers do whatever to get started. And the one of the points that I really want to drive home right now you’re like communicating this to your potential companies or your projects or whatever that whatever you’re working on right in your business, you just need to be able to be thoughtful in your communication and what is your value proposition? And like, how do you get this to more people? And how can anyone come on in use it without you having to hold their hand? Yes, initially, right? Now, you’re gonna have to hold your hand and that’s fine. People understand, like, that’s the friction that’s there right now. But if you can do it a little bit cooler or a little, like you’re a little bit more friendly, or whatever that like, extra, whatever that you do to like, make me feel comfortable and confident when I’m trying your thing. That’s what’s gonna separate you right now. But of course, as this continues to come on, if I hand you this thing, and I can just use it without you having explained anything you’ve won, and I think you The companies that are building that right now, oh my gosh, whenever like mass adoption truly does eventually come, you’re going to just moon because you’ve already built that infrastructure. And so it’s been really interesting to talk to some of the different types of people in this space, who do have that in mind into just how they communicate. It’s just different.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
Well, let’s, let’s take it back. Like I liken it to command line interface, right? Like, if you go through and people are like, Oh, well, you know, I always say, you know, I’m sorry, you’re not I this is what I say, and people get pissy, but I say, Look, you’re not gonna get mass adoption without mass marketing. And I’m old enough to remember when the World Wide Web came to being and became popular. And, you know, I’m old enough to remember that AOL was the probably one of the biggest drivers of mass adoption of email on the internet. And that was because they sent out millions and millions and millions of CDs that were easy for people to use and get on for free and there you go. And, and there’s a No analog yet for crypto to do that. And abstraction, what you’re talking about is we need good abstraction. And really, this shouldn’t be complicated. There is some complications from getting apps into the App Store, right? Like, well, the wallets and things like that. But for the most part, it shouldn’t be that complicated. This stuff is not that complicated. It shouldn’t be. But it still is. And, and I, you know, I do appreciate that, for instance, recently that the banks are now allowed to do custody of assets. And I’ve heard a lot of people on the DS that are really pro decentralization get pissy about it. And I said to me, banks being allowed to custody, you know, virtual assets is probably one of the most bullish things I’ve heard. And this is why people I don’t think most people are comfortable with or responsible enough to have their entire 401k savings, life savings and have the keys for that where they could lose their keys and lose that. I don’t think most people want that. And I don’t think most people can handle that responsibility to be honest. And and I’m not picking on people but I I’ve seen developers lose their keys and lose hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of crypto. Just in my own circle. Like I’ve seen I’ve known two developers who lose their keys for wallets one from a technical crash one from just not, you know, trying to play some games and doing some other stupid stuff. And and I just don’t believe I mean, if you think about it, it’s one thing you got a $5 free wallet paper wall from somebody right? And you lose Who cares? But can you think imagine this? Imagine someone who’s worked 30 years and saved up a half million dollars in their 401k or IRA or a million dollars right? And now they’re they moved it all to a self directed IRA, then put it all into crypto and they lose their keys. Think about that. Don’t tell me that’s not going to happen either. Because I’ve seen it happen. I know someone that’s lost over $200,000 because he lost his keys doing something stupid.

Richard Carthon – crypto-current.co
Oh, I’ve heard of a business right now that’s getting like put up and like that’s all they focus on. Right. It’s like custody just to make sure like having like lawyers Stuff put in place to like, and like, what happens if you die like let’s say you set all this up and like you don’t have like a second key that you’ve put in like a peel box somewhere that’s just chillin. So if with certain instructions like on my death, here’s my key go reveal this liquidate immediately give it to so blah, blah blah like some people aren’t even thinking that far ahead and like that’s like to truly like if you’re going to set this up like as a asset that you’re hedging against whatever and like just a long term play. Those are the kinds of like things down the road you got to think about, and I think a lot of people aren’t, and it’s necessary, and we’re not there yet. Right. So from a separate thing that I think is going on in the crypto space that is starting to evolve more is the operational piece of it. And I use this reference multiple multiple times in my pockets, and I’m going to use it here. And for the last 10 years for the first decade. There’s a bunch of violence being built right Island over here. Hey, I’ve had the best stablecoin come play with me. Hey, this one over here. I’m the best blockchain that you can build all your crypto on top of come play with me over here, hey, I have the best defy company ever, you should come over here. And right now what we need aren’t an another island, we need bridges. We need bridges that are here that are connecting all of these really cool projects so that they all play together. So I don’t need to go play on these different islands, I can come to this interface. And just keep on writing the bridge all the way around so that everything works. And from the operational piece, whoever’s able to figure that out and do it in a very, very clean, effective and friendly way. I think they are going to just lead the charge for everything that come right. So like, for example for right now a lot of people that initially come into the crypto space, most of them go through Coinbase like calm it is what it is. A lot of them are going through Coinbase and if Coinbase were to start allowing options, so that with any and everything that you want to do, you can purely do it from that platform. They have their foot in the door and can just blow things open but right now like Like, I’m sure that’s something on their roadmap, but like, there are a ton of other products that are kind of trying to do it. But again, it’s still so early, we are so early, like, everything in this in these opportunities right now is if you can build the groundwork right now, and like have that focus in mind, like you’re looking at the next 10 to 20 years of what you’re trying to build. You can like not just dominate the space but you can make something so powerful, that is international and limitless, right, like and a lot of projects where people build they build it for our country, or they build it for a certain area. This has no limits and like that is what is one quick story what made me like all in what made me come all in to crypto without my turning point. I had a friend who works in oil and gas and he worked in the Philippines. And he when he got paid he was sent his money back to his family in California but when it happened, between trading fees and time He lose 40% from going from the Philippine money to US dollars and then doing the wire transfers and everything else in fees and all that 40% of his money gone just instantly no take I think like seven business days, he didn’t started just switching everything to Bitcoin and sending it and it would take a couple of minutes and it only cost a couple dollars. I was like I’m so that makes so much sense to me that is that that makes you’ll need some anything else like I’m in I need to learn more. And I think as there’s there’s so many use cases like that where people are using cryptocurrency and blockchain applications like it that as it becomes easier to use and see those international use cases, like again, the sky is the limit.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
Yeah, I think remittances are really a huge opportunity. But it’s gonna take some time. I mean, I saw this I was living in Europe briefly in the 90s. And it was interesting because we already had while dial up was the you know, the big thing there and we were just Starting to get cable modems, right? It was Ty speed was just limited at that point in the late 90s. And I thought it was interesting though, but cell phones are very less common. But in Europe where I was, they didn’t have landlines. They everyone had a landline. But they didn’t have data lines, but their cell phone usage, their mobile phone usage jumped. They leapfrog the United States. So in the late 90s, you know, everybody had a mobile phone where I was versus in the states they didn’t and I think you’re gonna see that with like blockchain, right? Because blockchain does, again outside of Western countries. I think right now blockchain solves a lot of problems more so for people, you have different regulations, different taxing pieces to it. It does end a lot of friction. And I think, unfortunately, I think the US has hamstringing itself from a regulatory standpoint and and since we don’t have as big of a problem, I think we’re gonna lag in the United States from crypto Animation, which I don’t think is a good thing, overall, but, you know, I can see that and you saw that with, you know, the World Wide Web, too. We were We were early, but other people because of mobile devices, you know, they got some much more advanced on the mobile phone infrastructure than we did. And so I think it’s interesting. And I think the united states need to figure this out. Where do do we want to be? Do we want to be a really competitive player on a global level? Or do we not? And then on the developer side, dude, you know, you got to get out of the mindset of Linux desktop, right, you know, Command Line Interface people, let’s just be honest, you know, Windows one that game for a reason. You know, I like Linux. Don’t get me wrong. I have a Linux laptop. And so I understand command line stuff. But I started on dos. But you know, but they honestly you’re not going to get mass adoption of command line interface. It’s just not going to happen. Right? It’s just too much overhead and baggage. And I don’t think all everybody thinks like that unless pianist command line interface. This is really similar to crypto, right? It’s not forgiving, you make one mistake. So for instance, think of it this way command line interface, right? You make one space wrong, one minus sign wrong one exclamation point wrong, it won’t work. I type in a browser like gibberish, and it pulls up the things that I thought it knew intuitively, what I was looking for, I can’t type for the life of me on these little keyboards. So I’m always got like ABC, gx, you know, whatever. And the abstraction figures out what I was trying to find and gives me, you know, suggestions. You don’t have that command line interface. And until crypto starts thinking like that, and there’s more to it intuitive for the everyday person, you’re not going to get everyday users. And to me, I think you’re right, we have to really work on the abstraction, I know is working on our project. Trust me, I am 100% behind you, but we’ve got to get the developers out right if we got to get more people working and helping us build that because I certainly want that I see it. I don’t have the manpower To build everything I want to build, like right now or yesterday, but I do agree that I think the projects that are really end user focus, they’re not only trying to solve a problem, but they’re trying to solve a problem in a very convenient, easy way for a big market. I think ultimately, you’re right. The projects that do that the crypto projects that end up doing that successfully. I believe one, they’re going to be very successful financially, but I think also they’re going to change the way crypto products are evaluated in the market. Yeah. So you know, a lot of projects that right now in crypto are just speculative assets, right. People are hoping they’re going to land and hoping they’re going to get mass adoption. But I think the ones that do are going to definitely be the first ones that make that happen. I think we’re in I think we’re in an arms race, so to speak.

Richard Carthon – crypto-current.co
Yeah, think about it. even speak to that real quick. Just a quick point. When you first came up with cryptocurrencies Bitcoin was odd, right? But then a theorem came in shook up the whole playing field, right. It’s like oh, like and when I think About like cryptocurrency itself like some cryptocurrencies aren’t cryptocurrencies, they are platforms or there’s something to be built upon, but they are under the umbrella of cryptocurrencies, like at the end of the day most of these quote unquote cryptocurrency projects out there are startups and, and with most startups in anything out there 90% of them fail, period. But that five to 10 that survive, crush it, and not go ahead.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
I’m sorry, I was just coughing a little bit.

Richard Carthon – crypto-current.co
I was just, not only do they like crush it, like, they build something in such a way that changes the dynamic of where the future is headed. So why like a theorem it made a lot of developers come on and understand like, oh, here’s all of these different use cases. Oh, we have smart contracts, things that can be permissionless and do whatever like, oh, like there’s so many use cases. Let me try to go build out this certain aspect of it. Um, when you look at some of the products that are coming on, and I, I do this comparison and I’m sure a lot of others Do the comparison as well as the internet, like initial internet, how it all came out how was all forming and forming it with with crypto and when you look at when the internet first came out, and all of this money just flooded the market and everyone was trying to become a web company. They all didn’t make it. But the ones that did the Amazons, the Google’s the the AOL, like AOL came out and was crushing it. Everybody knew AOL. But AOL didn’t ultimately make it. But because of AOL, you had innovation that was created around it to make everything after it that much better. You have these early movies, the early adopters that built really great infrastructure for that time, and it is great and it works for that moment. But if they’re not constantly innovating and adapting with the times, then they don’t ultimately make it and what I think is happening right now are happening with again, going back to initial Ico boom, a lot of these cryptocurrencies came out that we’re trying to solve a thing for this immediate moment for warrant trying to survive. And I think there’s a lot more products out there that are building to survive. And the ones that do, I think are going to be spectacular. So I just, I just want to like, really harp on the idea that some of these crypto projects that are coming are learning from other mistakes and are saying like, hmm, they did all of these things, right. But here’s something they did wrong, let me make it that much better. And like, here’s, boom, here’s this new project and like, you know, it works and like, are getting to a point now, where the tech is, the technical debt is being paid by a lot of these first movers and you know, that’s just part of the game. But it’s allowing these newer companies that are coming in or even the companies that are there that are are looking at what’s going on around them, and adapting and allowing them to build and move so much faster. And I think you for it for everyone listening your audience. One of the things to always keep in mind and something that I’ve kind of pulled from a lot of the guests that come on my show it’s As you continue to work in build, and you’re listening to your your customer and everything else is, what can I do? or What did they tell me that if I had to go back and show them my product that I shouldn’t have to explain, like, if they asked me a question about these things like I, in my head, this all made sense. And like, I’m surprised they asked me that question, like, think back on your conversations and think, hmm, why do they? Why do they even ask me that question? I thought that was very obvious. And if the answer is Oh, that’s not very obvious. That is where your attention probably needs to be. And I think that’s been like a really cool, just just lesson that I’ve learned over time.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
Yeah, I think you’re right. I mean, think about this way. Well, you know, the original way you got on the internet for the most part was dial up, right. And those of us that struggle, you know, back in the dark ages back in the early days in the 90s. We would never want to go back to that. Right and having a Deal with mom picks up the phone and get kicked off the line Mom I’m on blame boo game, you know, stuff like that. But if they’re good stories to tell now but it really it was it was it really was clunky It was hard. I mean if you had to think about like back then like you had to turn on the computer and boot and then you had to open up your, your modem window and then dial the number and make sure your username and password were I mean, now you just turn on the computer works. You don’t even think about that. You don’t even think about the connection. And now you know, we have the wireless you know, everything is wireless now, right and Wi Fi and that was a whole other job like, Oh, I don’t have to sit in my my computer room now to play on the computer. I can sit in the living room and you know, live tweet Netflix or something. Right? I mean, things are very different now, even than it was 2030 years ago. And and you know, I think I try to think about the future as well. And when we’re designing Tosca and working and building this out You know, we’ve heard this a lot of times, for instance, as a project, well, why aren’t you a stable coin? I don’t know if you hear that a lot. And but and I said, we don’t want to be a stable coin. And they and people give me a hard time and I say, look, most stable coins are pegged to a fiat currency. And I can tell you, and we thought this two years ago, and I think it even more Now, can you imagine being attacked, having the value of your project controlled by a fiat currency like the US dollar in 10 years? Tell me what’s going to happen to the dollar in the next 10 years. I don’t know what’s going to happen to the dollar in the next 10 years, but I have a good indication that they’re printing so much money right now. And that rate of printing is just only increasing will eventually drive that fiat currency to oblivion. I’m pretty comfortable in saying that I don’t have a timeline. But I would say there’s a higher it’ll catch up. And and I’m not building something for a week. I’m not building something for a year. I’m building something that Maybe here in 50 years, you know, that’s the goal, right? You don’t build a, you know, who builds a money that’s gonna be gone in 10 years, right? You got to build something’s gonna last hundreds of years, right? I mean, that’s at least in my mind, that’s what I’m trying to

Richard Carthon – crypto-current.co
Build the currency.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
And and so so why would I build something on a foundation one I don’t control two that’s recklessly being printed and devalued debased. And so that’s why I don’t want to be a fiat currency. I want our currency to get dropped out, you know, and I also believe, if you look at what was the point why did why do people build stable coins? Right? Answer that.

Richard Carthon – crypto-current.co
The stable coins to mean volatility to make sure you could hedge against volatility that’s going on to make sure that at that time, if your Bitcoin was $10,000, and Allison’s target was going down, you could at least save that value and you could buy back in at a lower but to maintain value,

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
Stability. Exactly. So the question is, how come cryptocurrencies are so volatile Why not solve that problem? And there’s a very simple reason for that. Why is the US dollar not volatile? For the most part, it’s the most stable fiat currency on the planet right now, right? Why is it not volatile? And it’s a simple answer, because people are using it every day for buying and selling. However, if people only use the dollar for speculation, it would be very volatile. So how do you solve the volatility issue? You create utility, and you get adoption. And over time, it will absolutely stabilize itself and be consistent and hold its value. And so if your project or a project that you like that you’re investing in, does not have a strategy to get people to really use it. It will probably always be a speculative asset only. And it’s going to be volatile. So to us, I yeah, we’re going to be volatile probably for the next two or three years as we grow. But we expect that with tops that we knew this, we knew that was a risk. And we are we have some strategies to Deal with at least early on with the retailers that we’re talking to, which involves things like, you know, atomic swaps and, you know, you know, cashing out right away. So you’re not sitting on it if you don’t want to. But we deliberately wanted to stay away from being a stable coin. And and we felt that for the long term, it was a bad strategy short term, it might be fine. Long term, I don’t think it’s a good idea. And so because you don’t control the underlying value at that point, I would much rather are the people in our community or essentially think about are controlling the value? So who’s better if you’re a project right? Who’s Who should be controlling the value some government agent somewhere or someone in a treasury department at some fiat currency or some bank control the value of your asset or should the people that use it control the value of the asset and to me and to our you know, our group and our team we felt that having the market in our community determine the value is probably the safest way long term.

Richard Carthon – crypto-current.co
I mean the the market the people The community who are using it should be driving the value. Like if you think about what makes the stock market, the stock market, it is perceived value it is supply and demand. And it’s very interesting. When you think about like, stable coins and I was having a conversation about this earlier today. It can go one of two ways, right? And right now there’s a lot of demand for it. There’s a lot of money being fed into it. I think it’s basically expanding to like a $10 billion industry right now. And it’s continuing to grow. There’s a lot of liquidity that’s starting to enter that market. However, depending on what that is pegged to. Even your quote, unquote, stable coin eventually could become volatile. Depending on like, what is your underlying thing that it’s that you’re pegging? So, in a lot of ways, yes, there’s utility to it. It’s, it’s practical, it can be useful, but at the same time to, you’re still always going to be at some sort of risk right? And for a lot of these, for example, like with TUSC, and what you have going on, I do think that by just keeping it the the value of what you’re doing, it should be driven by supply demand and everyone who is using it. So yeah, I would just, I agree with that.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
Yeah, it’s gonna be definitely interesting to say with, you know, see where things go and in the next couple of years, and, and I think we’re going the right direction with our project, but we’ll see if the market agrees with what we’re doing. And I think, but I think we will be, I’m pretty confident of that. But I think, you know, ultimately, you know, pegging the value of what you’re doing to something else as somebody else control. I just don’t think that’s just doesn’t make sense to me. But, but again, I think a lot of people created those stable coins as a band aid, because and so instead of, you know, creating adoption, and focusing your efforts on truly getting adoption, they spent their time creating a bandaid instead of Solving the underlying problem is that, you know, cryptocurrencies haven’t been adopted yet by the masses. In fact, I would argue they haven’t even been adopted by very many niche markets either. You know, right now, you know, even Bitcoin and i and i own Bitcoin or aetherium. In my own portfolio, I’m not anti any project other than a scam. I don’t like scams, but I’m not anti projects. But I also see limitations in projects. I even see limitations in our own projects. I know where I know where what’s ugly, I know where the words are in our project, too. But if you can’t identify and be open and honest, where there’s a problem or where there’s a, you know, an obstacle that needs to be corrected, or you know, overcome, you’re never going to innovate. And that’s the thing. And I think the problem with a lot of people, especially the Maxis and the different communities, is that they’re so sensitive to any kind of criticism that they feel that their product is above criticism, and then they get really angry about it. But the fact is, if you can’t point out where there’s a problem, how are you ever going to innovate. You know, if you You can identify those issues and I think that and I think that’s natural people get tribal when they wrap their personal identity around something. I think that’s also dangerous. You know? Can you imagine if there were like visa Maxis? You’re like you MasterCard people are bastards visas to real money you know? I mean think about how silly that sounds right? Right. But isn’t that what we’re little sized how, like, Ark..

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
But think about like, like the PayPal guys are like fighting the Venmo guys on the corner right? I mean think about how ridiculous that sounds this little thought exercise, but that’s what they’re doing in crypto right? It’s like everybody’s got their team jersey on and they got to go to Mass on Sunday pray to the Bitcoin gods and and you know, immaculate conception and all this I mean it really does have elements of you know, it’s not only tribal, but it does have elements of religion. You know, and Satoshi we trust and I’m not like I said, I’m, to me, it’s technology. And it’s software and it has bugs and the people involved have personalities and flaws. And ultimately, the most successful ones may not be the best technology. You know, I’m old enough to remember man, I’m really old now, but I’m old enough to remember VHS and Betamax. I’m that old. And you know what the best technology at that time? Didn’t when the best marketed technology one

Richard Carthon – crypto-current.co
Yes, it did. And oh my gosh, I mean, I did case studies on this back in college and it still holds true just posted the the best tech doesn’t win the best marketing does. And again, I’m gonna say this again, the best technology doesn’t win. The best marketing does. If you think about some of the things that we use every day. It has everything to do with marketing and how it was positioned in like why they made you think a certain way, like the whole concept of like buying a diamond ring for somebody that you’re supposed to use a certain fraction Have your salary and like that’s how much you’re supposed to spend was a marketing ploy by company like they put that in our brains like, however use like the fact that smoking like the reason that smoking became very popular was that the the cigarettes company put marketing ploys out there to show how cool it was at all points like everything and just not to go too far into like the whole marketing piece. But again, like podcaster, that talks to a bunch of crypto and blockchain projects all the time and everything going on, learn to think that they a thing or two, and one of them in the importance of communication and put it out there is that marketing and putting your brand in front of as many eyes as possible and making sure that your story is resonating with people the way that you want it to and in a way that is received from your ideal customer is so crucial. And if you’re not spending time on that right now, I want to challenge you right now if you’re listening to this, and you can Like gut check, I’m not doing this, do it like this should be your focus for the next month, like, figure out how you can get that concise story together to communicate that with others, and just test it. But it’s great to build great tech, it is great to build something that is useful. I’m not going to ever take away from that. But if you can’t communicate it, and if you cannot put it in front of a ton of people, and they can understand it, and then not only understand it take action, like if you can’t, even if you’re thinking it’s the greatest thing ever. And you tell someone and they won’t act on it, and you have failed. And like I know that might sound really harsh and like really like who is this guy but like trust me, you could be putting all your effort and energy creating the best thing ever. But if you do not know how to communicate that and do not know how to put that in front of others, you are failing and that needs to be a focus and that is something that you need to Be refiguring out and putting out there and it’s never too late. You can start right now. And I just really want to just emphasize the importance of we are in a new space where everything is hard. Everything is challenging. And any initial conversation that you have with a non crypto blockchain person, like right now, you probably already know this and feel this. You try to talk to anybody that is not in this immediate world and circle. You trying to pitch it is really hard, and they don’t get it. But if you get to a point to where you can talk to anybody on the street and explain what you do, very simply, and they’re like, Oh, that sounds pretty cool. You’ve won. And so if you can’t, like internalize and like can can tell me that. I want to tell you again right now to go focus and figure that out.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
I can’t agree more with you, Richard. I mean, it’s true. And I think the unicorn is the combination right, is that you get both pieces, right? You get the best tech and the best marketing. That’s where your Steve Jobs and Apple come from. That’s where Elan musk and your customers come from. You have really, really good products, really good innovation that people really want. And you have the right amount of hype to grow it, you need both. You could have a Tesla, I used to work in the auto industry in Detroit and from Michigan originally. And there’s plenty of great cars that’ll probably come out to the market that are going to be better than Tesla’s, I guarantee it, they will be. I mean, there’s too many people going into that space. And once the US auto industry and the Japanese auto industries decided they’re going to go into a space they really dive in, they’re not going to come to the market with one line or one model, they’re going to come with 10. And guess what, in a couple of years, they’ll figure it out. Right? they’ll they’ll figure out really good tech, and they’ll figure out a way how to manufacture it cheaper. But the question is, you know, ultimately, you know, Tesla is really good at hype. I mean, the Who do you even know who the CEO CEO of Ford is? Or the, you know, the CEO name of Toyota? No, no, but you know, you know, the CEO of Tesla is right.

Richard Carthon – crypto-current.co
Everybody knows Elon.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
Yeah, you know, the CEO of Apple, the old one, even the new one, right? Cook, the old one, you know, jobs, everybody knows them. Right? You don’t have those kind of personalities in those organizations in like the, you know, the other auto industries that have that kind of marketing in that hype, like you do. Tesla’s and and so I think, you know, I think that’s important to understand. And I think that any crypto project or AI project or any emergency or emerging technology project, you have to, you know, you have to have a good product, no doubt. And you have to understand that you have to have a good product, but you also have to be able to have not only the ability to put that in front of people, but you have to have, you know, someone that has a strategy to put it in how are you going to put it in front of people and that has to be thought about just as much if not more so within the technology part of it. And I and that pisses off developers, when You say that, trust me, I’ve gone round and round with them. And trust me, every time I open my mouth and my developers wins. I’m like, Guys, I got an idea. Because I do have a lot of ideas, you know, because I’m out there. You know, our developers typically, you know, our heads down, they’re pretty most of the team is introverted, right. I’m like the guy with the big mouth. And, and, you know, I’m out. But I’m also the one talking to people like you and talking to other projects. That’s the beauty of what I’m doing with my podcast is I get to talk to other projects and see what they’re doing. Right. And I’m like, Oh, that’s a really good idea. We should do that too. Or do it better than what you’re doing. But you have to have both. But Richard, we’re getting pretty close on time. Before we run, can you tell people how they can get a hold of you and hear what you have to say on your show?

Richard Carthon – crypto-current.co
Absolutely. So if you go to crypto-current.co that is our website. That’s CR y PTO, hyphen, current, c u r r e n t.co. Go check out our website. sight. I’ve got plenty of content educational content out there. We have our podcasts that comes out weekly, sometimes bi weekly. We have videos that we have coming out as well. educational videos on there. We have a newsletter that goes out every single day Monday through Friday part of artificial intelligence that’d be really cool to go and get a part of and then on all social media if you just type in cryptocurrency, you’re gonna be able to find this no problem. And we are always looking for it really cool projects and people who are working on cool things I would like to share with the audience. If so, feel free to reach out to me through cryptocurrency or you can also find me on social media on Richard Carlton. I think probably the one of the easier ways is probably my Instagram so Richard underscore carth on that CA, th o n. You can find me there and I’m happy to speak in and I enjoy speaking with people who are passionate and working on something in the crypto and blockchain space that are looking need to make a difference. So if that’s you, please hit me up. I’m happy to follow up with you.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
Richard, thank you so much for coming on the show today. I’ve really enjoyed our time today.

Richard Carthon – crypto-current.co
Absolutely appreciate you having me Rob.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
Hey, this has been Rob McNealy, and we’re gonna have all his socials and stuff linked up at Rob McNealy calm. Make sure if you haven’t subscribed mass has subscribed by button so you can get more content like this and many more interviews are coming. I am Rob McNealy, do you have a great day. Thank you, folks.

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Daniel Polotsky – CoinFlip Bitcoin Transcript

Daniel Polotsky - CoinFlip Bitcoin ATM

Note: This transcript was automatically generated by artificial intelligence (AI) and therefore typos may be present.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com 0:01
Hey folks Rob McNealy here. And today we are talking to the CEO of CoinFlip ATM is named Daniel Polotsky. Daniel, how are you today?

Daniel Polotsky – CoinFlip 0:10
I’m doing great. Thank you so much for having me really quite

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com 0:14
well I’m really glad you have time to come on on the show. I know it’s been really hard to like with your schedule my schedule lately to connect so I’m glad we’re finally able to do it. But I think that’s a lot you know, due to the fact that you guys are growing kind of like weeds right now. out there. So let’s just jump into that. So tell me a little bit about what is CoinFlip ATM.

Daniel Polotsky – CoinFlip 0:36
I mean CoinFlip is I like to say the world’s largest Bitcoin ATM network by volume. We have close to 800 Bitcoin ATM locations we’re growing at you know, we’re trying to put down 20 to 25 ATMs per week. You know, we’re trying to hopefully move into other region like we’re all already in almost all 50 states. There’s a few left to go on. We want to maybe even make it out to like you know other countries as well like more in the distant future and you know we’re kind of also just trying to be an easy way for people to obtain Bitcoin like the easiest possible way you know to get in get out, get your Bitcoin convenient can speak to somebody 24 seven you know kind of like the old fashioned way you know, it’s like very hard to like even like companies like Uber these days, you know, like they don’t have 24 seven customer service where you can like call someone and they can like pick up. So we try to have that we try to make we understand that Bitcoin is hard to understand for a lot of people and we want to make it as easy and friendly as possible. So that’s what we’re about to do. We’re trying to get Bitcoin as many hands as possible. And we also have like, other options do that now to like we do credit cards online, and we also have coin flip preferred, which we recently launched, which is like a wire transfer service, and you get the Bitcoin same day you get to talk to a person in real life and like we’re just really about all about that experience to try to make Bitcoin as friendly as possible.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com 2:07
So when did you guys launch the company?

Daniel Polotsky – CoinFlip 2:10
On the company’s launched in 2015? Um, so we probably been around Yeah. So five years.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com 2:19
Did you guys bootstrap or do you guys get investors?

Daniel Polotsky – CoinFlip 2:22
Yeah, I’ve never we’ve never gotten any outside funding. It’s been pretty crazy. So like, Yeah, I don’t know. I didn’t expect that to be the case. But that is how it worked out. Like you know, that obviously was a popular service. I kind of like you know, the beginning you know, just kind of like put down one ATM and then you know, once it made some money, you know, I like put down another like, I didn’t like, swing for the fences immediately. I want to make sure it was something that works. Because like, you know, I’m like, I am like, you know, like a dreamer or whatever, like entrepreneur, but I’m also like, kind of risk averse, even though like, obviously do take risks, but like, you know, it I want to I want to hit singles rather than homeruns put it that way.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com 3:04
Well, I think that you actually just illustrated something that’s real important about entrepreneurs and I’m an entrepreneur, I’ve been around entrepreneurs for a long time, is that I think there’s this like misinformation out there, right? everybody’s like, Oh, I could never be an entrepreneur because of the risks. And I’m just like, you know, I think you got a backwards I personally think that employees actually have more risk than entrepreneurs do. And it’s kind of I think they got a backwards because when you’re an entrepreneur, right, you will, you really are kind of risk adverse, but what that means is least as far as I see it, is that you’re going out and you’re going to take very determined well thought out risks, not haphazard ones, whereas in and you have all the information whereas I think a lot of like employees, you know, they don’t know what condition the companies in they don’t No, you know if they’re gonna get laid off tomorrow, because we’re patient, right? And me, I think that’s way more risky because you don’t know because then your boss is let’s be honest, right? You know, if you’re going to go under the bosses are going to tell you like last thing

Daniel Polotsky – CoinFlip 4:19
Because they want you to give a family whatever what have you, you need to like, adapt quick like it’s not it’s not a you know, yeah,

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com 4:27
It’s not and and I’ve been an entrepreneur for a long time and and it’s funny because like I’m like people like oh, you must have so much risk and I’m like, it’s not about being risky, right? It’s about yes, we do take risks, but they’re incredibly calculated risks.

Daniel Polotsky – CoinFlip 4:43
And they’re short, you know, like, you don’t have to, like, you don’t have to buy, you know, like, you don’t have to nessus like, for example, in my case, you don’t have to, but you don’t have to necessarily raise $3 million and buy 200 machines only to find out it doesn’t work. Like you know, just like put down one machine Find out this is kind of like not really going anywhere. No one’s really picking up on it, maybe like, stick it out for a bit, obviously don’t quit right away, but like, on a small scale doesn’t work, then you haven’t thrown away, you know, millions of dollars, which I guess is easier in today’s society because there’s like a lot of venture funding available and what have you, but still.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com 5:21
Oh, well, well, you know that I don’t understand it. Because, you know, I’m old. So I mean, I’m almost 50 now. And I’ve been a self sufficient..

Daniel Polotsky – CoinFlip 5:30
I thought you were 40.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com 5:32
I’m 48. I just turned 48 a couple of months ago. Yeah. Thanks. It’s, it’s crazy. Yeah, I got married 20 years for kids. So I’m all fart. But I’ve been a self sufficient entrepreneur for 15 years, meaning that I’ve been able to fully make a living as an entrepreneur for 15 years. But I’ve been an entrepreneur probably for 10 years past that, you know, like who are you try something and fail and I find like the same way right you test and I always call doing it. diligence, where I like I as I’m a serial entrepreneur, so it’s like, I get ideas all the time. And I think you probably are like that too. Because most entrepreneurs I know, the longer they’re an entrepreneur, the more ideas and business ideas pop in their head. And I found the hard part is picking the right ones route that there is an idea but that you got to choose and you got to go through…

Daniel Polotsky – CoinFlip 6:23
You gotta follow through with what you’re gonna do.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com 6:24
Yeah, and that’s what you’re gonna execute on. And to me, it’s like, you know, I’ve looked at probably, of all the things that I’ve done, I’ve probably times that by five gone through, like what I call a diligence process where I’m seriously interested in a business or an idea and I start exploring it and they start look, delving into the market and I had this happen, actually, just before we did started. OCC and TUSC. Our little crypto project is I had this idea in the space. It was like a gig economy kind of thing. And I went down for six months researching the market looking at all the attempts that had failed. And before that, you know, people tried to go into it. And I eventually even I was really excited about it. And I had a team where we went to the point where we’re starting to put a team together. And at the very last minute, I told the guys that go, we shouldn’t do it. Like, yeah. And it was a good idea. Like, don’t get me wrong, the idea was sound, but the markets weren’t there. And, and there was some, you know, we found 12 failures in that space that Ted tried to go in that space and failed 12. And I said, Okay, it’s one thing to find one or two, that’s not bad, necessarily. But when you find 12, then you start looking and then you go, Okay, why didn’t then you start trying to answer because why did they fail? And you can’t be arrogant about it. It’s like, okay, because you got to assume that at least some of these people are pretty smart. And like, you know, their diligence too. And ultimately just figured out there wasn’t enough market for that idea. And we had to pull the plug. And so I think sometimes like, what you’re saying is that you got to take these calculated risks. So why ATMs? What got you into that? Did you have a background in finance or ATMs prior to that?

Daniel Polotsky – CoinFlip 8:09
I do have a background like not like crazy but like I do have a background in finance I would say when I was in college, you know at various internships at like, you know, big financial firms like Morgan Stanley, or Joe Brian Citadel, but then I was also like, you know, I really like Bitcoin as well. That’s kind of like what got me into the whole thing like the rabbit hole, you know, I found Bitcoin I was like, I want to buy some Bitcoin and I actually used to buy the first ever Bitcoin it was in like, 20 2014 I think, yes. 2014 so it was like, 2014 I was trying to buy the Bitcoin and I went, like, back in the day, it was really annoying to like, use like Coinbase I mean, no, it’s still kind of it’s like, you know, getting on boarded for the first time and whatever. Like, it’s still kind of a nightmare like back then it was like, you know, really, really not smooth to get bitcoins honestly I want the easiest way possible so I went to the Bitcoin ATM first ever one in Chicago I didn’t like the features like I didn’t like the bill acceptor It was kind of annoying like it didn’t spit a lot of bills back like the money came back took a while to get the Bitcoin the fees were like crazy I think they’re really over 10% whatever so 1213 maybe even 14 I forgot but they’re really high so I went on local bitcoins calm and I met up with somebody in person to trade had that feature back then. So I just like that. So I bought my Bitcoin but then like, I started thinking of like, you know, the ATM versus like meeting up with someone and how like the ATM is way safer, and how it’s way more scalable. You know, like, it’s a, it’s not like you meeting up with someone you know, and then like having risk of getting shot or whatever it is or like, you know, meeting up or like $20,000 or whatever having to take orders or people having to do it like that’s not very scalable, so you need the ATMs to be put down. So that’s why I’m like, I could probably like even though that ATM that I use specifically was the best, like, I could probably improve on the model, which is also like a good example of like, you know, like you don’t have to necessarily reinvent the wheel like I I knew about these ATM so I liked the concept of them I liked what they were doing it just wasn’t being executed properly but there clearly was a demand because you know, I was especially because I was a customer you know, like I was buying Bitcoin that was someone there have to be some other people like me right? It’s not it’s probably not like complete fluke

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com 10:39
How long did it take you to get from like the idea to do this to like getting a working prototype? What was that kind of process to like, you know, yeah, you manufacturing themselves or you licensing the manufacturing out to somebody else or buying from somebody else? How did they How did you get started with that piece of it?

Daniel Polotsky – CoinFlip 10:54
Yeah, of course. I mean, we just you know, I put down some money for floats, obviously, because we need some float for the Bitcoin. And then we start doing research on like regulations because you know, like, at the time there was like a bunch of there’s like the first ever like case of like, you know, somebody going to jail for whatever for like not being a registered Bitcoin MSP or like violating like MSB, you know, AML KYC regulations. So I’m like, you know, I just don’t know, I want to do things by the book. So I started researching regulations, there was no laws against it. I wrote a letter to the state regulator in Illinois, got the green lights, and you know, like, there’s nothing like you don’t have to register as like a money transmitter. I register with fincen everyone, every, you know, company dealing with big one at the time had to do there was like a mandate out. So I did register with fincen as a money service business, I developed an AML KYC policy and then I started looking for the best ATM. So I was just like, you know, just try and try out different models like not, um, you know, there’s a go to one store, you know, try this One, look online. Yeah, what’s the price this what the features are for this one, and then eventually I settled on general bytes. So general bytes was the best company at the time. So we have like a very close working relationship with general bytes. And we still use their ATMs today. You know, we also try to like, you know, have our own like version of the software that we add on. So it’s like, it’s dope. I think it’s been a great relationship. And I think we’ve done great things together.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com 12:28
So, are Coinflip ATMs for crypto transactions only, or do you do normal credit card, debit card type or withdrawals as well?

Daniel Polotsky – CoinFlip 12:36
Well, there’s no reason to really do like debit and credit cards, I don’t think because why would anybody ever drive to use that when they could just do it online, right. So we do actually accept credit and debit cards on our website. We try to keep the fees really competitive as well. And I think you get Bitcoin in the hour, so it’s kind of cool. simplex. So we have that option but on the ATM itself for now, it’s just, it’s just cash. We do so 10 different cryptocurrencies.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com 13:11
Very cool. So, you know, I know a lot of people that have gotten into like vending type industries and typically with that kind of industry, the hard part is finding a good spot, right? Where do you place the units? And what has been your strategy for placing units around the country?

Daniel Polotsky – CoinFlip 13:29
Well, I have a sales background, as well as like a financial background. So I was like a salesperson for vector marketing. I sold knives door to door for Cutco.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com 13:39
I have a Cutco knife, a Fisherman’s solution.

Daniel Polotsky – CoinFlip 13:43
It’s great. It’s great. Right? It’s a great product so I was very down to push it. I think I sold like $40,000 of knives during that summer. And then I also salesperson, the I finish like 42nd in the country. And then there was like a another time there was like Uber when They were just getting started. I mean, they weren’t just getting started, it was like 2014 2015. Like they were definitely around. But they wanted more college people to get involved. So in college, I was just like, hired to onboard people. So just like, you know, post in Facebook groups, like do all this other like guerilla marketing, get people to sign up for Uber. And so I finished like, think first in the Midwest for that campaign. So I was like, always into sales. You know, I liked sales. So I kind of use my experience, like, how to sell from like, you know, what my managers have previously taught me and I kind of like, molded that my approach to talking to stores. And I don’t think it’s like, obviously, it’s hard. The first one’s always gonna be the hardest one, but like, you make 500 calls a day or whatever, like 100 calls a day. Like eventually there will be somebody who’s down to accept money every month and foot traffic free, you know, free marketing for you know, square foot of space.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com 14:58
So how are they managed? Somebody has to go put money in, pull money out. How do you handle that?

Daniel Polotsky – CoinFlip 15:06
We have a whole operations department like a whole cash logistics armored operations department that always keeps track of where our cash is. We work with obviously the biggest armored car carriers in the country. And we also have like some smaller ones as well. So we have a whole network of people that pick up the cache and take it to our different vaults across the country. So it’s a whole, like logistical operation now.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com 15:29
So the question is, you know, I’ve talked to other people who have tried to do the crypto ATM kind of business and they’re either struggling in there I know of a couple of you probably do too, that you know, never got off the ground or, you know, going out of business. What’s what are you doing differently? That’s making you guys more successful you think?

Daniel Polotsky – CoinFlip 15:48
Um, we are working incredibly hard. I think that we’re all a bit younger, so we’re maybe a little bit more forward thinking. We never got any outside funding, so we’re just super efficient and everything we do. So, you know, we’ve been able to like bootstrap. So we have that mindset. So we have like, we don’t really have any, as much fat as maybe some of these other companies. You know, we charge the lowest fees, we just try to do the right thing every day. And we hire incredibly talented people. You know, I just don’t have a lot of my friends from past life for like people I know from like working environments that I know are talented, either from school, from Northwestern, from Deerfield, from other networking events, whatever it is, but like people I know that will do a good job. And I think we’ve been able to bring them in because they like, respect with what we’re doing.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com 16:36
So what do you look for in a location? Say, when you’re placing one? What kind of requirements do you have for like, say, if you know, a store owner, for instance, what would you want to be like? Do you have like a minimum amount of volume they have to do a month or how does that look?

Daniel Polotsky – CoinFlip 16:51
No, I mean, we are like, the machines do well, pretty much everywhere. I mean, obviously there’ll always be some locations that are worse. Some that are better, but there’s always a demand for them. We’re just mainly looking for, you know, someplace with good parking someplace with good security or a gas station someplace, you know, easily accessible. We look for gas stations, liquor stores, convenience stores, some smaller restaurants. So any place that people are comfortable going to can go and have good security and people can access you know, as often as possible. That’s the spot I’m going for. We also pay anyone who does want to find locations for us, we pay them, we pay them upfront and a residual based on the amount that the machine does. So that’s always an option.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com 17:44
We need to talk off the air. Yeah, we got an idea. But I think that’s it’s really interesting. And I think that the one of the things is on and off ramps are really hard, especially in the United States right now. And it’s It sucks right now you know and I look at it from being inside the industry to is like you know trying to do things legally in the US is hard I mean it really is yeah and people don’t understand the amount of regulation involved with you know trying to do things the right way you know kind of thing and it’s been pretty nuts so where do you think the the future crypto is gonna be? Do you think it’s Bitcoin Do you think other all coins are going to be leading the way defy I you don’t have I don’t have to hold you to the certainty. I’m just curious. I like to talk to other people and see what they’re what they’re seeing is going on because you’re dealing with real customers. You’re dealing with real people every day and that’s why I think you probably have some unique insights there.

Daniel Polotsky – CoinFlip 18:43
Yeah, on the retail side, Bitcoin is king. By far. I can tell you that lunch for sure. So as of now, I think that Bitcoin has a very bright future ahead of it. Just simply be mean not simply because but a lot partly because of its first mover advantage, I think a lot of these other cool ideas from these other networks, they can kind of like layer on top of like, you know, there’s like whatever the lightning network to make it quicker. So I think that Bitcoin for the foreseeable future, you know, I think will be the king I think it’s kind of like the most slow changing, you know, kind of like most resistant to censorship, most decentralized coin right now, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. That being said, Nothing is forever. So it’s got to be the only thing that’s the caveat is it’s got to be like 10 times better than Bitcoin. Like, it can’t just be something that’s like, you know, 1.1 times better or like, you know, like, just slightly faster slightly. This has to be something that like people really want to, like, switch their infrastructure over to, you know, like, there’s kind of like that network effect like, you see it all the time in businesses to like they all use Windows computers, and they all use Microsoft, and they always Excel and That’s what they use year after year after year, even if it’s not necessarily the best product out there, but that’s how it’s been. That’s how it is. Slowly they change.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com 20:12
It’s like VHS and beta, right? I always tell people that it’s not the the best product that wins. But generally the best marketed product that wins typically in some of those battles, and, you know, it’s just the way it is, unfortunately, I always tell people, and I get a lot of crap for this. But I say that, you know, the winning grip does whatever winning means, but probably in the future, the most popular kryptos will be the best marketed kryptos going forward. The ones that solve, you know, I call I i dotted this or coined this term, saying closing that last mile of crypto adoption, you know, the ones have figured out how to stimulate the actual demand on the consumer end, and I think whatever those projects are going to be the ones that rise to the top Eventually, the speculation can’t drive everything forever. Eventually. There’s got to be Be a customer involved.

Daniel Polotsky – CoinFlip 21:02
100%

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com 21:02
That’s how I see it. So, Daniel well Cool, well Daniel, where can people find out more about CoinFlip?

Daniel Polotsky – CoinFlip 21:10
I just go to our website CoinFlip.tech. There are plenty of opportunities on there you know, you can use our coin flip preferred service get Bitcoin in the same day you can refer other people to this service. You can refer people to rates yams, you can help sell ATMs for us, you know, we have countless ways to engage the community to work together and you know, make money doing it and helping everyone get Bitcoin. So that’s why

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com 21:35
Daniel, thank you so much for coming on the show today. I really appreciate your time.

Daniel Polotsky – CoinFlip 21:39
I appreciate your time.

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Barbara Bickham – WIFAX Transcript

Barbara Bickham - WIFAX

Note: This transcript was automatically generated by artificial intelligence (AI) and therefore typos may be present.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
Hey folks, Rob McNealy here. And I am real excited to talk to you guys today because we have an amazing guest. Her name is Barbara Bickham and she is an amazing woman. We met here probably about a month ago. And she is the managing partner of the women’s Innovation Fund accelerator, also known as with x. It’s kind of a VC firm. And it focuses on women in tech. And this is one of the things that’s really exciting. Barbara is also the founder and CTO of trailing ventures, which is a blockchain consulting company. So like to welcome to the show. Barbara, how are you today?

Barbara Bickham – WIFAXVC.com
I’m good. Thank you so much. Thank you for having me.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com 
Hey, you know, I’ve had a lot of good conversations with your last couple weeks and I’m said you need to come on the show because I because I think you have a perspective that I think a lot of people need to hear and I really like what you’re doing and where you’re focusing on you know, tech and bring more women and so look Let’s take a look to take a step back. And, you know, tell me a little bit about your career and how you got into tech.

Barbara Bickham – WIFAXVC.com
All right, well, this is one of the two stories I think you’ll ask me about. The second thing will be how did I get into blockchain? So no, I won’t ask that. You won’t ask them. That’s a famous one as well.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
Okay. So it’s always you always have to ask how did you get into bitcoin and I never use that.

Barbara Bickham – WIFAXVC.com
Bitcoin. How do I get into the blockchain space? Exactly? separate question. But how did I become a tech girl tech girl. So um, when I was in high school, I had a project. And it was to make an area of a circle and it was in a computer science class. So my high school had computer science. I went to kind of a private Catholic school, and they had computer science there. And so the, the assignment was to make an area of a circle. And so I did that assignment and I did it in like a week. was to use, we had to print out a flowchart of how we would make the area of a circle. And I did it in Visual Basic. So this is like way back before any super fancy programming languages. So I did that. And I was like, well, this is kind of boring, I need to do more assignments. So what I decided to do was extend my flowchart and do every square error rectangle area of a triangle, because you..

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
Show off.

Barbara Bickham – WIFAXVC.com
…which one do you want to do. And then you could kind of click and say I want to do rectangle number four, and then it would do the do the flowchart and say, if it’s a rectangle, then compute the, you know, enter in the number and then you entered in the number and then it computed it. So that that didn’t take me too long. But that’s kind of how I fell in love with computers. So then after that I got into Berkeley, I still don’t know how that happened. It’s kind of a mystery, one of those life mysteries, because I didn’t really apply. So I’m trying to figure out how that happened. Maybe that was just on their radar, something that happens I guess, and go They’re not my computer science degree. I have a Bachelors of Arts. So it’s interesting because at Berkeley to get the bachelors of science you have to get into engineering school. And then the engineering school maybe you took all that Kimmy II, me physically and I didn’t want to take all that was it. I just wanted my lovely computers, I don’t need to have an engineering degree and a computer science degree. So I just took the CS part. So I went there, and then I got my first job. So after I got my first job, when I got it, they were like, Hey, we want you to create this program out of nothing. Here’s a blank paper. We want you to do this translating program, and we don’t care how you write it. We just want you to do it. Not when are you sure cuz I literally just graduated from school. Um, I don’t know, I don’t really have any experience writing code or doing this yet. So no, you went to Berkeley. You should printed out. So that became one of their biggest products It was called. It was called a story geometry note. So what we did was is we converted something from editors page planner, this is prior to the fancy internet, you had to actually print out paper, as like newspaper, the newspaper business is very different than it was back then. But this was one of the first computerized ways to actually print newspapers on the computer. So we had this ad makeup station, and then we had the ability to enter in stories. This thing kind of filled in the parts on the paper. If you had if you saw like ads in the corner, I was just like, here’s an ad or you saw like a small story in the corners like, here’s like Joe’s little commentary, that’s that was that was what that particular software did. It helped find kind of where to fill in pieces of paper. So that was my first job. After that I had a very traditional career, a lot of architecting and designing systems, a lot of managing people and and about 15 years into my career, I had an opportunity to start a company. So I started a company called tech deny what tection. I was originally. This is like story of pivots, what tech and I was originally it was supposed to be the ability to do wireless roaming across multiple networks. So Wi Fi network and cellular network. Those were the two back in the day that you were going to roam across. So I figured out how to do that. And I did all these surveys I did all this consumer asking and you know, focus groups and things that you do now in the Lean Startup method. And what happened was people found out I was in the wireless business, I’m in LA, and this is Hollywood. And I was talking to some of my entertainment friends and they said, Hey, can you put that American Idol stop avoiding and pulling in my show? I went Hmm. Yeah, I think I could do that. I knew all the people. So I pivoted, I completely pivoted my company to do that. And, and tech denies actually one of the wireless pioneers in the United States, we kind of brought the wireless into mass adoption. So we helped a lot with shortcodes. So when you texthelp 212345, that’s partially my fault, QR codes, partially my fault. So I work with a lot of the technology to kind of create the mass adoption. Um, so that’s what tech Gemini was. During the time of running that company. I had somebody come to me and go, Hey, I have an angel group. Would you like to run an angel group? And I said, Hmm, well, yeah, that could be interesting. Let me do that, too. So while I was running my company, tech tonight, I was also running this angel group. And so I ran a group called the pcn LA and I had about 400 angels in there and This was during 2008 2007 2008 2009. We all know what happened in there were a few less angels in 2009. And my angels were very great because they said, you know, a bar, we love you, but we’re kind of a little less angels now, right now in this moment. So I was like, okay, so I shut that down and then obviously had this. But then I found an opportunity to work with a private merchant bank, that kind of shut down. And so then I went back to my coding roots. So I went to work for a European company. I was the lone American in the European company. So I had workers in Europe and workers in India, so I was alone American. So that was also very interesting, because during that time, I had a lot of work to do, because you’re working from nine to 11. Because you have the Indian part, the British part, when you talk to them, when do they talk to you, you know, it’s like a lot of coordinating in that. So I did that, for about four years, and in that company, I actually won them an award. So they had something called AI hub IoT. They were an Internet of Things company. And I wrote, they had a contract for the government to deploy internet of things into various colleges and companies. So their first deployment, they needed a REST API and they didn’t have one. So the auditor came because we were being checked by the government. And they said, Well, look, in order for you guys to get your check. You have to have this stuff done. This was in August, and it was the stuff was due in October. So how many months is that? August, September, October, bam, okay. They’re like okay, Mark, who’s gonna write this and then my Maya, my colleague and kind of boss at the time, he’s like, all right, I said, You don’t you don’t have time right that you know, you’re Not gonna write that. So I’ll write it. And then the person I was supposed to write it didn’t didn’t want to write it either. So I said, Well, I’m not even supposed to be on this project, honestly. So I’ll just read it. So two months later, REST API comes out. We win a Gartner cool vendor award. We, the deployment was flawless. I think they found one problem in it, and I fixed it. And it was a very minor problem. Cuz somebody actually put in like, 26,000 requests in a minute. And I was like, well, that’s not good. I’ll wait limit this. And it but it didn’t fall over. So that was that was a claim to fame. So after that kind of ended, that was 2014 2015 popped out of the hole. I said, Well, you know what? I can’t be a VP of engineering anymore. I might as well now be a CTO. So I popped down and said, Hey, everybody, I’m a CTO now. And it’s funny. I went to start networking back and some of my groups and everyone’s like, I don’t You know, hey, they’re like, hey, Bob, what are you up to? I said, Well, I’m doing the CTO thing and they went, you know how to code. Why? Because when you have the CEO moniker, which I had at Tec nine, and these other things, like they don’t think you are, you came from a computer background, they had no clue. So you know, of course, I’m not going to have you know, technical person on myself, I have SEO, because I want you to take me as that. So that’s why I trailing I have CTO as my moniker. I am the CEO as well. But it’s like I want to meet make it clear, like I’m very technical. So you’re talking to a tech, the technical person, as well as trailing like that. So that so now, so like I became a CTO, and that kind of goes into trailing. So trailing is my blockchain advisory company, we kind of put companies on blockchains. We actually work with AI, AR and IoT. We work with all the emerging tech actually. So we have companies innovate on those areas. Um, what about trailing I mean, you know, we have private clients, I think trail is gonna morph a little bit. Because, you know, a lot of people need other types of technical help and strategic level technical help. And the other hand, I wear it with x, and we’ll talk about how that trajectory came as well. Um, I can help apply some of that into startups and I had been doing that prior to starting with x the fund, I’d always help companies raise money I’d always help companies with their pitches, I’d always help companies with their business strategy. How do you make revenues How do you make money What is your monetization because as a technical person, you have to understand like how is that now going to be implemented into your software? Now you can just do stripe easy, but what if you want to put something else in their cryptocurrency or what if you want to do PayPal or what if you want to do Braintree or Amazon or, or other, you know, other payment mechanisms. So you just got to be at work normal b2b, and then I don’t have to worry about it, you’re going to do a traditional, like, send an invoice. But even that can be done by a computer now. So the question becomes, from a, from a technical side, what do we need to put in here? To make it monetizable? What are the revenue models that impact the technology? And then how can we make that scale? So a lot of people never understood this, like, why is this important? It’s important because how are we making money here? You’re not gonna you know, if you’re gonna kind of give up things for free. Nowadays, you have to look at the scale of that what that has to be million people, 2 million people for it to be interesting for anybody. Whereas if you have, you know, 10,000 good people paying you every month, that’s a good thing. So you have to look at it that way. I think.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
I think one of the things you’re touching on is common in tech is where you have developer led projects. Purchase versus like an entrepreneur lead project, where they kind of see different things, a lot of tech people, you know, they just want to build. But, you know, I always come at things, and I’m not a developer. But what I always kind of see is, you know, find a customer first and then build a solution to their problem and do that first. And I find when I started looking at businesses from that perspective, instead of just building something I had in my head. Now that can work but you know, you got to do a lot of diligence validation before you move forward on that. But I think, you know, there are a lot of developer led projects that don’t understand revenue, don’t understand business development and markets and things like that. And I think that’s important that you as a VC understand the tech side really heavily. But you also understand, you know, the business side, you’re like the Lee Iacocca of tech, right?

Barbara Bickham – WIFAXVC.com
Because Lee Iacocca was so awesome.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
Well, you know, a lot of people don’t understand that he, you know, he was heavily involved with Product Development and Engineering. And I think he actually had was an engineer at one point. And then that’s when he developed them, you know, the marketing for developed the Mustang project and then later, you know, went to Chrysler and built all those products but he was one of those rare people that can make that transition from the tech side to the actual business and leadership side, because that’s rare. And and it’s interesting that you..

Barbara Bickham – WIFAXVC.com
I’ve always, I’ve always been interested in business and always said, I wouldn’t have a company even when I was young, a young person I you know, like the technology thing just kind of fell like it just kind of fell into and actually it just became my thing that I’m naturally was excellent to do. And I was blessed to find that very early. But I was always interested in fascinated by business and in from a technology side from a technical person side if you think about systems and how systems work, and how things flow like business is like an ultimate kind. systems level view of life because it’s kind of like how do these things work? What happens if you have to pivot? You know, we have the global pandemic, because I do call it the global pandemic, you know, how you know, all systems are shifting. So how do you strategically pivot or move that or change it and I think like my natural ability to architect and design systems, is is is kind of utilized when you look at things from a business perspective and go Okay, you can architect and design things in your business just like you would from a software or product side as well in my mind. So to me, there’s kind of, you know, it’s not really that different that different, but I agree with you. I think sometimes, you know, tech people are very tech heavy business people are very business heavy, but that’s why you need those alliances. That’s why you really need kind of to build an advisory board, a mastermind, you know, have other people kind of around you and and so you can get the advice of Look, this, you know, I’m building this like, Is there a market for this? Do I have competition? No, I don’t have any competition. You always have competition the way you the way it’s done now is competition. So, no. Hey. So I mean, you know that this is why bringing the business people in the 10 people together is very powerful.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
I think so as well. So you you I won’t ask that one question. But you are involved in emerging technologies.

Barbara Bickham – WIFAXVC.com
I am I’m in all of them, actually.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
So why focus on the emerging technologies versus more traditional programming and, you know, consulting models?

Barbara Bickham – WIFAXVC.com

In the emerging tech world, Well, okay, let’s take it pre pandemic, and then post pandemic. So if you look at what’s happened before, the global pandemic, what what was what what shifts were going on, you know, we’re, we’re in the US here, so I don’t know how how Global your your podcast as well. But the thing about it is if you think about it, we were talking about like voting. There’s a lot of conversations around voting. So why is voting not on some emerging tech platform where you could validate who you are, you have a slate of people, and then you go, Okay, I vote for this slate of people or whatever you check 1111 on a computer, on your phone, wherever, and then you submit it and you know, it’s you because they validated it was you, huh? Okay, does that sound technically, that’s not a hard problem to solve. But it’s some of this is really political will. So now if you look at post pandemic, we I know many countries that that stimulus. Now I also know many countries were clearly more prepared for stimulus than United States. So if you think about that distribution of money, or distribution period, it could be distribution of food. We have no shortage of those Toilet paper. Why was that? We had shortages of other things. Why was that these are distribution problems. If you look at that, like some of this could have been tracked and traced on these emerging tax and AI could have told you like, hey, you’re running out of toilet paper, and you only have like two weeks of toilet paper in the pipe, you might need to go order 15 or 20 weeks of toilet paper. Now, the AI also could have said the global supply of toilet paper is only five weeks. So for everyone on the planet, it’s only five weeks of toilet paper, something could have told us that. But um, you know, if you would have done a more traditional system, how would you have found that out? Who are you going to call? Who do you want to call you back? How are you going to know? It’s all centralized? So the one with all the toilet paper and we had people that did this, oh, I bought all this hand sanitizer and I bought all this stuff. We had people that were hoarding, so if you’re hoarding they were already mad asks, Who are you gonna? How are we going to find that out? It was going to be impossible. That’s why I work in the emerging tech field to actually solve problems at scale. Because all these things are going to be all infrastructure. AI is already pretty ubiquitous. People ask me about it all the time. What about AI? You know, if you go to McDonald’s, or Starbucks, I don’t know if you ever go to McDonald’s. I don’t really go there. But I found this out. Like when you go to most of these restaurants now and you order, you’re really talking to an AI, you’re not talking to a person. And then you’re talking to the AI and then sometimes they go, Oh, hold on, and then you hear a person interrupt. That is the AI has said, Hey, I don’t understand their order. I don’t understand something and then the person interrupts. So AI is very ubiquitous when you call the bank, which is annoying, or anything now the electric car, anything, if you call anything I called the phone week. That’s an AI. The AI is like, I don’t understand, I don’t understand. I’m like person 000 can I get to a person? No, it won’t let you. Yes. It’s like Hello, hello. So I mean, if you think about these emerging texts, it, they’re going to be all infrastructure. And so why don’t you want to be in kind of the next generation of what’s happening? Because, you know, post pandemic has proven a lot of things, what’s really going to be necessary and what is not and what skill sets are going to be necessary and what is not. I think that is whole other conversation.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com

That’s like a whole other conversation.

Barbara Bickham – WIFAXVC.com

Yeah, I think politics is a big deal. And I think that that definitely permeates, you know, a lot of different things. And I mean, we could unpack you know, things like the global pandemic and from the political side of it, which it’s been politicized and poison throughout, you know, all levels of Government and, and stuff and, and my wife’s a medical doctor who, you know, works kind of with the federal government. And so trust me, I we view the pandemic probably differently than a lot of people do. But we definitely are concerned and it definitely is a problem. And, and it’s a problem that’s solvable. And, and, you know, it’s like we we seem to the United States, it’s like, we certainly have had a hard time, you know, coming together as a people, I think that’s part of the problem is that you look at the countries that have done the best at like New Zealand, which is virus free now, or Sweden and the Netherlands.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
Where they, they’ve come together, and they viewed it, you know, as they viewed it as the country versus the virus. And here, it’s the one side of the political aisle versus the other end versus the virus. So, and that’s the problem. And I think ultimately, you know, if from I think those of us who think in terms of actual solving problems and not all of it sticks. It’s hard for us to like, you know, you know, it’s a head scratcher. It’s definitely head scratcher. Um, okay, let’s, let’s pivot a little bit. Let’s talk a bit about with accent and what you’re doing with your accelerator with women in tech. What’s that all about?

Barbara Bickham – WIFAXVC.com 
Alright, so let me with x it you know, it’s called the women’s Innovation Fund accelerator. So the women portion of with x is that we like gender balanced sea level. So we like an equal amount of men and women, you can have a few more women than men. We do have a few people that are all women. But that’s where we do have one set that’s all man that’s like super rare. We usually don’t take those people. I kind of knew that person. So they they got in, but we like the balance. And I’ll tell you why in a minute, the innovation emerging tech and sustainability so we do the blockchain, ai AR IoT and they will also help the companies become sustainable companies because we believe those are Your next set of consumers, you know, a lot of younger people younger than us, I think, like the sustainability aspect. They like that you’re corporately responsible, environmentally responsible, socially responsible. So we kind of help the companies become that in the accelerator. We’re fun. We’re opportunities on impact fund. So we’re very localized. We’re about creating jobs giving opportunity to underserved, underrepresented people. That could be women that could be black and brown. It could be any income underrepresented people, and then we’re an accelerator. So our celebrator does two things. We help your company become fundable and we make you sustainable. So our fungibility quotient is we run this thing called the due diligence intensive. So I have a very rigorous due diligence package, and it’s six weeks. So we go through this checklist which is six pages. the back part What I have to do is a lot more pages. If you’re a blockchain company, it’s even extra pages. It’s like it goes between 28 and 35 pages that I have to do to, to validate like your real company, this is a real thing. You know, you get feedback on that. And then it’s two weeks of sustainability. So they get one year sustainability plan, which we track internal to our fund. So that’s what’s very different about our fund. You know, we’re not really a traditional, I mean, we are a venture fund or traditional and that way, you know, we like the traditional venture returns, but we’re also very community oriented or socially oriented. We like to work with people that want to scale big, global or global reach as well. We have partners in Korea, my other stuff, people on our board that help us get over into Asia and Korea. So, you know, we’re, we’re knocking that around. So that’s, that’s us in a nutshell. So we we absolutely feel the need to support women in STEM and steam. I mean, I’ve been in STEM and steam my whole life. It’s important, even not from a technological side to be in it, because most companies are tech enabled. But you need somebody that understands that like, Hey, are you going to be Facebook? Where you need heavy tech? Are you going to be something else where it’s tech enabled? So you know, there’s that as well. And then how are you you know, then you have your business wrappings as well. How are you going to monetize? How are you going to get customers how are you going to grow? How are you going to pivot? How you gonna? Yeah, so there’s a lot a lot to business and a lot to run your fund. Because then we have our portfolio construction how are we how are we getting everyone to play together? Then you have your you know, co investors and you have your your investors as many things running apart.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
I can imagine. How many portfolio companies do you have now?

Barbara Bickham – WIFAXVC.com
So we have we have four portfolio companies that we put powder into. And we have about we’ve done 17 companies in acceleration.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
Wow. That’s, that’s good. I’m sorry. You focus mainly with your accelerator on seed stage. Are you looking? How many stages Do you want to go to? And are you looking to grow your fund as well to later stage kind of companies?

Barbara Bickham – WIFAXVC.com
You know what, I think we’re probably like late seed early series. So that’s kind of where we want to play. Um, I think leader leader stage there are a lot of people that, you know, now you’re competing with like Andreessen Horowitz is and you know, like earliest bond and many you know, you’re dealing with like, a lot of other more mature funds at that stage. I still think that for women, there is a gap between seed and be like seed and be so We are in our fun we are doing follow on money. So like if you get an A and we do the A with someone, then we’re willing to do the be and be a part of that. And then I think if you get at that level, so we’re talking about 50 6070, hundred million dollar revenue level ish, then you know, you should be able to get either out or kind of, you know, up to the next levels. The other thing that we that we do here is we, we have something called a capital stack program, and we’re testing it on ourselves versus not ourselves, but on some of the portfolio companies. And what that is, is we look at how do you exit and then roll back. So what do we need to do to potentially get you to exit because the IPO market is frothy, like private companies are taking longer and longer to come out nine years, 10 years, 12 years, you know, that’s a long time if you’re sitting there at the seat or a level, that’s a long time to wait. So we say, Okay, how can we configure it so that you can potentially, you know, be attractive for an exit, which could be an acquisition, you’re acquiring, they’re acquiring. So that’s that’s how we see we see exits as well. So that’s that’s kind of how we were working. So far. It’s working well.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
So if you had a project that wanted to come to you, but they don’t have a woman, do you have people in a stable that you can put on teams?

Barbara Bickham – WIFAXVC.com 28:28
Yes, we absolutely do. It depends on what they what the configuration is. But yes, we can put women on teams. Absolutely.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com 
So I really like what you’re doing and it’s kind of funny. My wife and I are big believers in STEM, and we actually homeschool our kids. And we have two we have two daughters and the reason we homeschool primarily, it’s not for religious reasons, which is pretty common among homeschoolers, but we want to ensure that our daughters and our sons but all our kids, got a really strong STEM education. So My oldest daughter is 17. And she’s going toward Chem engineering. But she’s already she’s finishing up her sophomore year college at 17. And so, yeah, so she’s doing that. And so she’s doing all but it’s interesting because all our kids are a couple years ahead of where they would be in public school. It’s just homeschool is just so much more efficient at getting kids through. And we found that stem is, you know, it’s one of the things that I’m concerned about the United States long term is culturally, we don’t value education as a country anymore. And I’m not sure we did for a long time either. But I think that I think we’re beginning to become less competitive as a country going forward. And, and a lot of that stem and I think a lot of the problems you’re seeing with all the people, you know, you see a lot of people like boomers and millennials that are struggling. And a lot of that goes back to, I think, a bad education model that we have in the United States. And in in I’m not trying to get political right. But…

Barbara Bickham – WIFAXVC.com 30:04
This is just factual. I mean, we’re talking about facts here. This is not a political statement, I mean, education that cuts across everything, and everyone, actually.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
And what about one of the things that I see as a problem with education, and I think this affects girls too. So I think this is important is that we don’t focus on in the United States in our public school systems pretty much anywhere. We do not focus on science and education. And we don’t, we don’t train kids to mastery. We just push them through the system. And one of the things that we do different with our education, our values, we tell our kids look, it takes as long as it takes for you to master this however, you don’t go to the next level until you master it. We will give you all the tools that you need, including hiring tutors, or what have you, to get you to that mastery, but we don’t let our kids go to the next level of what others, whatever…

Barbara Bickham – WIFAXVC.com
Whatever it may be…

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
Unless they’re mastering it. Meaning that they basically get an A, you know? And when I tell people this that are my friends that have their kids a post with a like, Wow, that’s so mean that’s so hard. And I’m like, why would you progress, somebody who’s failing at something or just mediocre at something, because things only typically get harder as you go forward. And if you’re not having a good grasp of basics, you’re going to struggle. And and so it’s interesting and it’s interesting the United States on top of that with public school, you have so many people because of the way we do student loans and stuff that they had a lot of bad advice given to kids I think is like they take on so much debt…

Barbara Bickham – WIFAXVC.com 31:37
and a ton of debt…

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
…a ton of debt, but…

Barbara Bickham – WIFAXVC.com 31:40
…and no marketable skills…

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
…but they take on a lot of debt for no ROI. And so it’s interesting. So I mean, we’ve had a lot of a lot of arguments and time and and discussions, especially with my older kid. But she came around eventually, but we said look, if we’re going to pay for education now I think paying for an education is part of being a good parent, I think it’s I think we owe that. Now, that doesn’t mean that doesn’t have to be a college degree, but we think that you’re gonna move forward. You know, your kid has to have enough life skills to be independent at 18. Like they know how to drive a car, they know how to change tire, they know how to, like, do laundry could buy all those things in work and make money and make good business decisions, a good buying decision. I mean, we we have a very holistic approach, unlike an 18 my kids need to do these things. Because those things are important. And, and so I think what’s happened is you have all these people that for so long, they just like, Oh, I’m gonna go spend 100 grand to get this education that starting pay is like $16 an hour. And my one daughter, you know, she’s had she’s had to work hard to get where she’s getting with her grades in school because you know, stem is hard, okay, you have to do four levels of calculus for an engineering degree. Yeah, and what we said is, but I said it and right now it’s like, it’s kind of a joke. I have an MBA. And I also wanted to learn to be a welder. Because I like to make metal art. That’s my hobby. And last summer a year ago, I graduated from a year and a half long, full blown welding program. I’m a certified welder. I went to school full time for a year and a half to become a hobby welder is kind of funny, but I’m a full welder. And, and it was hard actually, because I’m not I don’t have great hand eye coordination, but but I learned to weld and it’s interesting because I got to be around a lot of kids or half my age. I was like, oldest guy in my class. I was older my instructor and you know, but a lot of these guys are blue collar kids, but these kids are coming out of welding school. They could do so it was a nighttime program four nights a week, right. So blue collar blue collar is again, I but I respect people that work with their hands. But the interesting thing is this this program from start Finished was less than over a year and a half and you paid it in payments $6,000. So, that’s the cost of vacation. Oh, maybe 6500 by the time you buy your welding helmet and all the gear, but it was about six grand is what it was. And you could work during the day. It was designed for people that had a day job. So you’re 18 years old. By the time you’re 19 you can have the certification, have a skill, don’t have to not work while you’re going to school because you can go at night. Now, here’s the interesting. They’re so desperate for welders in the United States right now. This this was interesting, and I was shocked. They had major corporations that are major industrial corporations coming to our welding program, trying to recruit us halfway through to start work bring the day starting at $30,000 a year, you know, or more up to 4030 to 40 K so like 15 to $20 an hour plus full benefits 401k Matching healthcare, you name it. I mean, all major typical corporate Pac benefits packages, vacation vacation, boot allowance, you name it, and I’m just like, oh my god. So, so think so think about this. And I tried to explain this to my kid when she’s like, wanting to look at a different lessor major that didn’t have a good ROI. And I said, Look, you know, we can pay whatever it’s going to be for you to go to the college and get this degree 30 $40,000 whatever it ends up being. And then you make 40 grand a year with this type of major that she was interested in and I said, Look, that’s not worth the money. I would rather you go to welding school. Or, you know, they they’re posting at the school for electronics technicians for a two year degree to be just an electronic repair started at 56,000 a year with a two year basically an associate degree from a community college people were starting. The local rail yard is starting It people at 35,000 a year with no experience to work in the rail industry. And you know, these are more hands on blue collar jobs. But…

Barbara Bickham – WIFAXVC.com
I mean, these are all you know, these are all interesting things because you still need some tech, you know, technical ability, you still need to do math, you can’t eld just wherever you are, you’ll need some type of creativity and thinking, you know, like, you’re still gonna have to measure so you’re gonna have to know some math, you know, I’m saying like, so, you know, because we’re talking about STEM and steam. And I think from, from a technology perspective, no matter what it is, you have to have that you may not have to have the science unless you want to do that heavy science like biology or you know, your soil. The problem for COVID-19 you’re trying to make a vaccine. You clearly need science for that. But the you know, the technology in the math part, I mean, as long as you’re a lifelong learner and you’re really good at what you do, and you really understand how systems work and things work. I mean, I don’t believe you have to have a traditional education. I mean, back in the day, we had to have a traditional education because we didn’t have the choice to do a traditional, you know, non traditional, we can go on, you know, now, if you think about it, even prior to everything happening, you could go online and learn anything. Like they have you to me, they had one, yeah, the Khan Academy, they had it they had, you know, like Berkeley and Stanford and all the other people that opened kind of opened up their, their edX platform, and you could go on to anything, so and you could learn anything. Um, so it’s not necessarily about where you learn it. It’s about are you learning? And then how do you then apply it? And I agree with you on mastery, because in this computer science world that I’ve been in a long time, mastery is important, because you could really, you know, I worked for a pacemaker company and That was interesting. But you don’t master have any mastery of what’s going on there, you’re going to kill somebody. So, you know, there are things where if you don’t have mastery, it can really hurt people in a bad way, in a negative way. And so I like what you said about that. And I think that we have gotten away from from that mastery and you know, even in your own craft, are you a master in your own craft, but if you think about education, which kind of started this conversation off, education, it has gotten completely, it’s completely failed. I’ve met multiple people from multiple colleges trying to get a job in the computer world, and they had peace and freedom degree. I don’t even know what that is like, what was the peace and freedom? Like and I don’t know how that relates to computers. And I don’t you know, yeah, you got a degree from Berkeley, but that’s a worthless piece of paper. So I really like you spent a lot of money on Nothing. And now you have to go get some PhD and peace and freedom. I don’t even know how that works or what you’re gonna do. But it’s kind of like, Did you not? Did you not think of this? Did your parents not have a conversation with you? Were you being rebellious and said, I’m gonna go get a piece of freedom degree and they said no, you should really be this Oh, like, you know that and then like did the school counselor really like say hey this is a good idea yeah you’re down for peace and freedom, like it doesn’t make some of these actual offerings of degrees make no sense.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
And you’re getting a lot done I guess that was my my long winded tale is that you can get a very worthwhile high ROI education making good money without having to take off anytime and with at 19 years old you have you can make enough money with no debt so you can work your way through like a, I guess, a whole lot of different type of you know…

Barbara Bickham – WIFAXVC.com
It could be many things.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
You know, the lot of things and not have any debt and have be completely self sustainable by the time you’re 20, where you’re if you’re making 40 grand a year and you’re 20, you can easily live on your own. If you bail, if you have decent money management skills in Utah, you can you could run your own apartment, have a new car, and live on that. And, and so, and what I see right now is so many people are in debt for these degrees that have no skills, there’s no ROI. And it’s like it came down to me it’s like it seems like no one had no parent had that conversation about does this conversation to take five years of your life to get this degree where you can’t work and I’m like, okay, we can go to welding school at night and never take off and lose any opportunity cost for working for five years. Work your way through pay as you go. And now you’re self sufficient in 19. But then, you know, and I was talking to like even in welding, that there’s a track to be a weld inspector and then an expert with other things and you can be a welding engineer. They do have bachelor’s degrees in it. Welding engineer so if you decide to keep going, so you can be an entrepreneur welders, like if you bought if you are an entrepreneur welder can make 60-80 bucks an hour if you have a weld shop and then if you are a mobile welder where you

Barbara Bickham – WIFAXVC.com
I mean there’s many different things, there’s all sorts, this is the business side of your actual like creativity. So like I kind of took my tech side and began, you know, in and created a business around that and saying with a fund I mean a fund is kind of like a business on steroids but still a business still need ROI. You still have to answer investors, you still have to make you know, decisions, you still have strategy slam, you know, a lot of things to do…

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
But it opens the door to make it so young people have a way to have a very successful life at a young age and still have lots of options. And no one talks about that, you know,

Barbara Bickham – WIFAXVC.com
You know who is actually very famous for this is Mike Rowe?

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
Yes, Dirty jobs.

Barbara Bickham – WIFAXVC.com
The Dirty Jobs. Yeah, he’s very, very good. Famous for, you know, hey, if you’re a welder, if you’re a plumber, if you’re, you know, the railroad guy, I mean sanitation, I mean, and they make decent money, they make decent money. I’m like 19 year old you make 40 or 50 grand. I mean, that’s, that’s decent money.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
It’s in Utah. That’s amazing money. And so..

Barbara Bickham – WIFAXVC.com
You know, money in general. I mean, if you even in LA that’s decent money. That’s above what everyone else making..

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
And you want to hear somehting interesting, it’s like there was like one girl in my welding program and like she was recruited out like twice there would be the guys because because just like any other Corporation right now if you’re a woman or a minority, they do have preferential hiring because they’re trying to fill slots was well, all these big companies, right? They want minorities, they want women, they can’t get them to apply. And it was just really,

Barbara Bickham – WIFAXVC.com
I think you know, back to the education piece. I think that’s partially education as well because One of my very good friends has a daughter. She has two daughters. And they decided she decided that her daughter needed to be opted out of math. And I said, Don’t let them record that on her record. Don’t do that. Because then you’ll always be labeled as you can’t do math. Right. I said, well get her a tutor. I said, we’ll have some other people tutor. I said, don’t have her labeled as that. But I think that this happens a lot. Where girls are discouraged from doing the math and the science and the hard thing and encouraged even still to this day, because this is not you know, this, she’s, she’s out of college, but it still was in the last I’d say, five or six years, which isn’t so long ago, where girls are discouraged and and it’s crazy. It’s crazy. I mean, we have to as women and moms and aunts and grandmas and all those things have to have to stand them in Look, we cannot allow our girls younger girls to go through all these same things. We went through a we’re the pioneers, so we’re going to try and pave away and make it easier for them. And so this is why with x kind of exists, and this is why we’re doing the balance. We’re doing the balance because we said, Look, women are, you know, the statistics are there 2% funding all women insane. And you know, underrepresented founders, even less insane. So, you know, we’re not as representative in all the tech spaces in the stem and steam insane. That’s why we’re doing the innovation. That’s why we do the emerging tech is so that we can we can be a part of the next generation economy. And then you know, like, just like welders. I mean, you’re going to need engineers, you’re going to need scientists, you’re going to need you know, you’re going to need a welder to build the quantum computer. So I mean, Hey, you got to have that happening. And the drones You need the water to build the drones. But then you need somebody to call the drones and program the drums. So there’s, you know, there’s all these things that can be going on, in, in synergy and in an ecosystem way that all these things can play together. But then who’s looking at that? who’s thinking about that? I mean, we’re talking about it now. And we’re thinking about it clearly. But why are we so highly strategic things that you have to be thinking about? And so we talked about on our phone, we were trying to create the next generation workforce, which is all the stem and steam all these advanced tech because this is this is only going to come further and further and we’re concerned about AI replacing us, well, what are these people gonna do? Well, they can well, they can do other things. You know, there’s other things you can do and then they can be a part of the ecosystem. But then we can also train them to create the AI is create the data for the eyes, maintain the eyes. You know, there’s a lot of things you can train people to do next generation workforce next generation entrepreneur. So we’re trying to Get the next set of people to create the next set of companies, whatever those are, and then we’re trying to do the next generation investor. So if you’re not powdering, the people that are going to invest in the next set of people, because they’re successful, then what are you doing?

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
No idea. I think what I what I’d like to see is, you know, we create more role models, you know, about women and girls getting stem now, I think, you know, a lot of this and I think you probably know this too. There’s a lot of cultural bias against women being successful and independent in certain certain, you know, circles. Certain religions in certain cultures are very male dominated, and, you know, even the state I live in, in Utah, there’s still the man is in charge. And, and I can get into different you know, I could call out lots of different groups, but a lot of Orthodox groups don’t want women learning anything. And I think so there is a there are a lot of other cultural things that I think keep girls from learning things and discouraging and all I can say is I like to see more role models about what you’re doing. And I mean I’m living it with my own kids I want my girls to not say I think to me I want my kids to be absolutely successful and I want my kids to never have to be dependent or stuck in a situation where they can’t make a living on themselves so they want to be a stay at home mom with an engineering degree. That’s great. That’s a choice I mean, even when my wife laughter will medical school my wife we had to stay home for a couple of years before she went on to her career after she graduated from medical school because we had a sick one of our kids was very sick and and so but to me, I had no less respect for my wife and you know when she was you know being a stay at home mom and and we changed our life based on that and so to me, that’s how I view it is I want my kids to be have more options in life and and even think about like this right as a father and you have kids right? You know, you want the best for your kid right? In and to me. Let’s just be honest. Right on son who is a good earner and successful has a much better chance at having, let’s just say for lack of a better word, options when it comes to finding a spouse or a wife or you know, what have you going forward? Because they’re about they’re more attractive person, a better earner in the society is more likely to have more options. And, and I think it’s the same with a girl, you know, and to me, it’s like, you know, there’s some guys that don’t, you know, they’re still some caveman kind of guys that don’t want a smart wife, I disagree. I would I married up I’m first to say I was blessed, and I’m married way out of my league. And and you know, it’s been very good for us in. And I think I’ve learned a lot from my wife and I have a different perspective. So I’m more of a hands on problem solver. So my wife and I really balanced. We just had our 20th anniversary, too. So it’s working out so far. Thank you. And so and so to me, it’s like I just want those options and I wish that there were more role models out there showing that you know…

Barbara Bickham – WIFAXVC.com 49:00
I think girls have a lot more options. And just to you know, since I’m kind of in this, you know, in that space in the space of diversity in the space of diversity inclusion in the space of women. I mean, I’ve talked to many women, globally, like worldwide. And I think that the women are changing it for the women. And so I agree with you culturally, there’s still some, you know, things. And when we talk about things in a systemic way, when I say that this is systemic, it’s complacency. It’s the fact that you’re allowing it to go on and on and on and on continuously until the end of talk that’s that’s to me, was this something systemic is it’s not, you know, that it’s a system and it’s against, you know, the systemic part is complacency, the fact that no one does anything, everyone knows, no one says anything, no one does anything that creates problems that creates a systemic problem, period, whatever, whatever you want to label the problem at But I say that to say this, I think that, you know, globally women are really moving forward in many aspects, and it’s just not seen. And I think like, do you have, you know, role models are powerful and they’re important, but you have to ask yourself, like, Who are these role models? So like, when I saw the Hidden Figures, I actually knew the somebody who was related to to one of the Hidden Figures, but like, Who knew about that, like, I didn’t know, like, so the other the other part of it is, is to surface these people. And these pioneers and these women that have done so many things, and and show like, hey, that you have no limitation, like in like, I’ve never felt like personally I’ve ever had a limitation as to what I could do or not do. And I think sometimes we put limitations on ourselves, but I’ve never felt that my parents never told me like, hey, you’re limited because of XYZ, ABC like that. That was never a conversation in the household. don’t have that conversation with my son. He say, Man, you got unlimited what have you, Mom, I was afraid. I said, I don’t know why I mean, I didn’t do this, this this, this so like, what what made you think I was going to be different? Um, so I think like really, it’s a it’s your mindset and your limiting of yourself in the end. And you know, I have friends with lots of daughters and I said they, you know, they can be Unlimited, but really it’s a factor of the parents. I think your daughters will be unlimited because you guys you know, if from from our conversation, you’re very supportive, very loving, you know, they’re gonna see like, what is a real family? What is a mom and a dad? How does that really work? And I think like they’re gonna have no limitations, because part of it is just being clear on yourself and not being afraid of your capability. I think a lot of women are afraid of capability. I hear about this imposter syndrome. People said, if you have that, I’m like, No, no, that is like, you just do it. I’m an entrepreneur in the end like, I mean, you Gotta get over stuff like stuff happens, you fail, you know, things happen you failed stuff doesn’t work out. Okay, next. That’s that’s entrepreneurial difference in my mind.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
But I also think that’s part of the problem with our country with entrepreneurs and it’s even worse in places like Europe where they really don’t like entrepreneurs, which is interesting. Yes, I always tell I think we need to know man, we gotta have another conversation actually.

Barbara Bickham – WIFAXVC.com
Awesome. We will, no worries.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
But I definitely think that we don’t even at least with to public schools, we don’t teach things that are important like financial literacy or entrepreneurship. And I think part of the problem is that you have teachers that are financially illiterate and they’re not entrepreneurs so they don’t understand those things even with my welding program. I know I keep going back to that but it was I learned a lot I actually learned a lot.

Barbara Bickham – WIFAXVC.com
I’m gonna I’m gonna counteract your your your point there because I have been in some schools and schools are starting it depends on where you are. And it really depends on the superintendent or like really the head top person in the school, because I’m in a couple of school districts where they were really trying to teach the kids entrepreneurship, expose them to entrepreneurship. A few years ago, I was mentoring some kids 2010 I was mentoring some kids and man, kids, kids have some amazing ideas. And they tell you like, Hey, I’m going to babysit. And then I’m going to hire my friends to babysit. And I said, well, is this just you gonna be babysitting? No, and I’m gonna charge this and then I’m gonna only take so many babies. And I was like, wow, these kids have so many. But I mean, or like somebody was trying to sell candy or canvas because they had this candy because their parents were making this can’t. I mean, it’s amazing. Kids haveamazing ideas. The thing that we need to do as adults is go, Well, look, these are amazing ideas and support them in their ideas, because they’re already afraid because you’re like a dis adult and they think, oh, you’re this adult and they’ve not gonna take me seriously. But it doesn’t mean you’re not serious. It just means that maybe you A little bit of boost and a little bit of confidence boosting like, Hey, this is just as good as ideas anybody else that the real question is, what are you gonna do about it now?

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
They’re gonna call you. Barbara where can people find out more about you?

Barbara Bickham – WIFAXVC.com
Ah, so you can find out more about me on a couple of places. If you go to WWW dot with facts VC wi FX DC calm. That’s one place. That’s sort of fun. And then if you want to know about trailing you go to www. Trailing tra Li n com. That’s my blockchain advisory. Find out plenty about me there. All my social media is there. So I’m on all the social media, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, I’m on everything.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
Barbara, I’ve had a really good time today and I do appreciate you coming on the show. Hey, folks, is Rob McNealy make sure you check it out. Check us out on the web at RobMcNealy.com and hit that subscribe button and we’ll catch next time.

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Ruben Merre – NGRAVE Transcript

Ruben Merre - CoFounder of NGRAVE

Note: This transcript was automatically generated by artificial intelligence (AI) and therefore typos may be present.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
Hey folks, Rob McNealy here and today I’m talking to Ruben Mira. He is the CEO of engrave, and they got a really interesting product coming out a new type of hardware wallet, which I think all my crypto listeners are really going to be excited about. So Reuben, welcome to the show. How are you today?

Ruben Merre – NGRAVE
I’m feeling sunny. Oh, good.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
Well, very good. I’m excited to hear about what your new product is about. So today where where are we talking to you from?

Ruben Merre – NGRAVE
Belgium and more specifically, a very tiny village in the countryside. Where I’m hiding from movies?

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
Well, I can understand, I think that’s a good thing. I’ve only been, I only landed in the airport in Brussels. I’ve only been about through Belgium. I’ve never really been in Belgium. But it’s on my bucket. It’s on my bucket list they used to, I used to live in Ireland. And then I’ve been to Switzerland and a bunch of other places in Europe over the years, but I actually have never really spent any time in Belgium. And it’s something I regret. But I think after all, this COVID stuff is kind of behind us. I’m going to probably take some time and do some traveling again, because I’m having that itch to go and get out of town, so to speak. So for my my listeners are a lot of entrepreneurs and not just crypto people. So we always like to talk about the the business piece the the entrepreneurial piece. So tell us a little bit about your background and how did you get started and what did you do before you did engrave?

Ruben Merre – NGRAVE
Yeah, so I started off studying business engineering. It’s something that doesn’t really exist, I think the other side of the of the world, but you can see it as a combination of basically during an engineering degree. And you add all of these business school classes on top. So, you know, like an MBA this they call an MBA Master’s in business engineering. So I did that for five years, got my masters, and then I started working. And I started working at Deloitte. So probably it’s a company you might still know, in the US. So I worked there as a strategy consultant for two years. And I also realized that during the, during my job, I could actually keep studying. So I’m kind of the lifelong learning tab, where I basically tried to do it an additional postgraduate degree every year. And I did that, I would say, up until the moment that I started in grief, because when I started in grief, that was really the moment that I just couldn’t combine it anymore. Nevertheless, I tried to read one book a week so that 50 books a year or so is still within my goals and I’m still achieving that. So yeah, I would say after after Deloitte, which was strategy consulting, like for CXO level in companies, I liked it, but for me it was most it was a bit too. But the organization was a bit too big and I didn’t feel that entrepreneurial vibe. So I joined a smaller management consulting company. Basically, it started at the time, I was one of the first 10 people. And eventually it made me I had a lot of liberty and freedom to help the company grow. So I went to Italy, I set up the Italian branch, I went to Germany set up the German branch, and I actually lived in different countries during my life also during my studies, so for example, in Spain and Mexico, so I basically mastered six languages professionally, and I could actually leverage that to help the company expand in all of these different countries. And let’s say a couple of years later and being a business in several countries, we kind of sold the business to cognizance, also all of those big behemoths. And I myself, actually, so I was a management consultant and innovation consultant. But I was in a unique seat, let’s say to choose a bit my projects. And I like to do those that were more like entrepreneurial. So in the beginning. So basically in parallel with my job, I launched the first automated investment platform in Belgium. It’s something that in the US is known as Robo advisory I don’t know if you’ve ever heard about that basically, basically means that you fill in sort of a questionnaire to determine what your risk versus adversities. And then based on that there are all these algorithms that work for you every day and they kind of rebalance your portfolio continuously to make sure you have the best portfolio that taking care of your risk and at the same time maximizing the return even that risk. So I built the first platform like that in Belgium. Then I also scaled it to A couple of other countries, and eventually one of the big financial players. They hired me to set a bollock a whole new business unit that was totally dedicated to algorithmic trading, automated investment platforms. And I did that for two year, two years. So I let the whole program there. And that was just before I started in grief. And I was supposed to become, let’s say, the piano leader of that, of that block. But the moment that we were starting to engrave I realized that the potential is so huge that I basically decided to completely shift everything. So I was actually not not really in the blockchain space before. I started in grief, just a little bit. And but nowadays, obviously, it’s the exact opposite. Now I live and breathe blockchain and crypto and the security some really excited that we can announce that in less than a month we will actually be launching this beautiful product.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
So how long have you been in the crypto space?

Ruben Merre – NGRAVE
I’ve been in the crypto space Since the top of the market, so I joined when I think Bitcoin was just around floating around $19,000.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
So fairly new, we actually I got into crypto probably not that much before that either, as well. So I’m not going to give anybody a hard time. We jumped right in with launching our project, right? Like literally New Year’s Day of 2018 is when we launched our test project. So it’s like, yeah, I can understand anything in there that that, so to speak. So I’m telling you about engrave. What do you what are you doing with engrave?

Ruben Merre – NGRAVE
Yeah, so I had to say, for example, my founders have been in the space way longer than me, gave you, for example, has been in the space since 2013. And so he was also one of those victims of Mount Gox where they lost 850 thousand bitcoins in total, a lot less.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
That’s expensive.

Ruben Merre – NGRAVE
Yeah. And the thing is that in 2016, he did an ICO which is projects. The risk 76,000 ether, so respectable amount I would say. And in 2017, they, he opened up the smart contract balance of his company, and everything was gone. So everything was stolen, hacked, empty balance. And you can imagine that the moment you do that in front of your computer, you’re extremely shocked. And they beat me it was 44,000 aetherium that they lost. And it wasn’t a parity hack. It’s one of those more famous hacks in the crypto history. And basically, he got his head together with a couple of other white hat hackers. And what they did is they automated the heck, they attacked themselves 500 other projects, and they stole $200 million from these projects. And obviously, they did that with all the best intentions, basically, to protect these guys from the bad hackers. And so eventually they gave back this $200 million worth of crypto obviously with the let’s say, the welder side note that if the Police would have gotten before they gave it back here they would they would probably be in prison right now. And that’s also a bit like Genesis story of engrave. So Xavier eventually became CTO of that project. He became extremely passionate about security. And when I joined the space, which was actually fairly later, so in 2018, I did realize quite quickly that there were some really big issues going on in the in the industry. And so the three of us basically brainstorms on Okay, let’s assume that we have our very first or very last Bitcoin, let’s say we have 100 Bitcoin each, and we have to put it somewhere where we would completely trust that it would still be there in the next day, we opened up the wallet, and we just couldn’t find an answer to that. So what we decided to do at that very moment in April 2018, was let’s build that solution that’s built the best security solution in the world for crypto. Have you understood, obviously That just the three of us, we would never be able to do that, or pull that off just by ourselves. So we Ghana went looking for the best players in the world for their specific niche. And we took two months to build our own prototype, we built it on the Raspberry Pi, we took the time as well to, let’s say, make a business pitch and so on. And we went knocking on the door of the world’s leading research and development Institute’s I make and they are so the r&d leader there for nano electronics. And to just give you like one, one example, in 2018, the tape the first atom size chip to the first chip in the world size of an atom three nanometers big they made it and so we went knocking on their door and we said hey, we are looking for a good partner to build this with. And they also have happened to have a tech acceleration program, one of the top five in the world and so they said Okay, let’s let’s, let’s go for it. Let’s put you in the program. Let’s see how it goes. And after a couple of months, they also realized that actually, we were really not kidding around. And the the approached us with the ask, can we co develop this with you guys. And as from that moment, so let’s see, Summer 2018, we basically have been in a code Development Partnership with ionic. Whereas the IP, the intellectual property still remains fully. There are sort of three of us. That’s just a, let’s say, the start of the story that I guess you have any questions for me?

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
I got a few. So how are you funding this? Did you did you go and do a raise somewhere VC funded or did you sell fund in bootstrap?

Ruben Merre – NGRAVE
Yeah, so we are really, really conscious of the fact that dilution is the last thing you wanna you want to have in the company. So what we did today, and we’re actually pretty proud of that is we were able to raise all the money. We needed to do this without having to go to VC. So what did we do, we got a little bit of an investment in from the very beginning from ionic itself, then we basically got a bank to bank us up, let’s say in that, simply put, we got a small Angel round in the beginning with a couple of business angels. And eventually, we also got European Commission backing this, the Belgian government backing us, and even the web three foundation. And right now we have, let’s say, a modest amount of convertible notes running, we have raised quite a bit of money and more than a million, let’s say to keep it simple and still a bit enigmatic, but So our idea was we have to first do a sales round. And after that sales round, we can basically validate the demands. That’s when we want to do around and right now we are three weeks away from the start of that sales round. So we will be launching on Indiegogo, the 20 Sixth of May. And there you will be able to buy our engraves yogurt and Griffin combo solution at 50% discount on the very first day. And after that Thursday then obviously the discount will decrease gradually or the price will increase gradually. And for us it has been quite the roller coaster, let’s say to get to this point to build something so secure that is in hardware and security and crypto. It’s like the worst three niches in the world put together for an entrepreneur. But we so we basically made it this far and now it’s about getting those sales and then after that we already have a crowdfunding in place. So we will likely do that first. So get a bit more debt and then we will go for a round. So Alright, these to do a first big round by the end of 2020.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
So I definitely see that ease of use and crypto security are pretty vital, especially for mass adoption and and I’m not just talking Kaster. I’m a co founder of a community crypto project. So I’m always, you know, trying to figure out what would make it easier for the artists, our community to, you know, get pushed out to the mainstream, and how do we protect those people? So, tell me about the product. What makes the engrave wallet better than other options that are on the market now?

Ruben Merre – NGRAVE
Yes, well, there are actually many, many different innovations that we bring and retract, we’re going to try to spoon feed these to the markets. Because what we did and I think it’s also something that is different from all the other players is we don’t consider security as similar as all the others do. So if you think about it, in our opinion, security is not a secure crypto exchange. Security is not a secure hardware wallet. Security is a end to end approach where you think of what’s the first step until what’s the very last step and the first step is how do I create a private key or let’s say, a crypto wallet in a completely secure way. The last step is what if tomorrow I pass away? How can my family get access to my crypto in a secure way? and everything in between? So what we did is we we thought initially about, okay, how are keys generated? And we understood that actually already there, there were a couple of issues. So we resolve those issues with a couple of innovations. One of them is called the engrave perfectly. So we actually step away from the mnemonic seed phrases, we support them, so you can still use them, you can still make one but we actually introduce a whole new key, and we use that key throughout the entire lifecycle of let’s say, your cryptocurrencies. So, if we if we start at the very beginning, we have three products. The first one is the angry zero hardware wallets. So what is it it is a touchscreen device, it is one for example. And we build it from scratch together with amongst others I’m McKesson, world leader in nanotechnology, to make sure that every single detail about security user’s experience was thought about and was integrated in the in the circuitry of the chip of the electronic circuitry boards and everything else. But so I would say if he would summarize it, so we are an end to end solution, we have a offline hardware wallet. And we have something to replace paper wallets in case you lose your hardware wallet. And we also have an app to take care of the last mile communication with the blockchain. But if we start with this beautiful thing here, so first of all, it is 100% offline, meaning you will never need to connect it to a computer to transactions or anything else. So there is no USB required, there is no 4g Wi Fi, Bluetooth, anything like that. There simply is a simple on and off button on the side. You turn it on, and you can do your thing. And if you need to do, let’s say a transaction or sync and accounts, you just create the QR codes on the screen. And you can scan that with your app. QR codes, the ones we make will never contain any information on the private keys. So obviously, the private key is the most important thing of your wallets. We make it offline, we never expose it. So there are basically zero remote attack vectors. Nobody can attack this device because there simply is no way to make a connection to it. For us, that was the first thing we needed to do bring everything offline. The second thing we did was we made this device physically tamper proof, because one of the questions is what if somebody finds my device? We military grade tamper proof does they say I find it a bit not I don’t find it very nice words military grade. So I would say we have put in place several cumulative layers of anti tampering to make sure that if even at some points you get that far the device will know it’s under attack, it will bite the keys. And just to be sure, we introduce something entirely new as well, which is the high security certification. Any of these wallets has ever gotten, Ill said. So, to put that a bit in contrast, banks and governments have on average five or six out of the seven levels, there are a ledger nano x, for example has five on a secure element. We have seven on this on the secure firmware. So if you try to attack this device, it is one of the most difficult things you will probably have to do in your life. And this thing is is the only one that has this L seven certification in the whole blockchain world. So that’s how serious we take your security. And obviously then we have the ease of use parts that comes to mind.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
So tell me about how I would physically use that. So you have this. It looks like a slick little device. I got some pictures ahead of time and, and I think the interface looks really, really good. So do I need to For instance, if I’m going to go shopping and I want to go to a retailer, do I need to take this device with me every time everywhere I go?

Ruben Merre – NGRAVE
Well, the use case of a hardware wallet is basically for your huddle part of your portfolio. So if you think about you, let’s say your traditional wallet, your traditional fiat money, you have a current accounts, let’s say 10, maybe 20% of your money. And then 80% or more of all your money is actually somebody in a savings account or an investment account. And hardware wallets were invented to take care of the parts that is long term. So basically, what you normally do is you put in a USB stick in your computer, which has which specific security protocols, and you can send your crypto to the accounts on the device. By doing so, you basically put them offline and you put them away for a longer period. And anything you need to do transactions with you can keep that on your exchange account, or let’s say on a software wallet app that you take with you into a shop. So you wouldn’t need the hardware wallets, per se. And so let’s say that for us, obviously the use case is exactly the same. So the ID or the intention of a hardware wallet is not to take it with you. But because it is so variable, basically, it’s a pocket size. You could have, for example, two of these wallets one year to keep at home, and one that you can have with you and with which you could, in fact, go and purchase stuff in the shop. It is not our intended use case. But you can always you can always do so. But we don’t really recommend it. I think the best thing you can do with your current account is just have it on your app or have the money in your portfolio, in cash, and just be that way. The only thing is you will be risking, let’s say a small portion of your money, because it can be hacked. It is online.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
I couldn’t agree more. So you say you’re going to be launching this in three weeks. Oh, where will it be launched? Is it going to be in Europe first or will be able to be purchased by say Americans or what’s the first target markets that you’re going to be launching.

Ruben Merre – NGRAVE
Yep, no, everybody will be able to purchase it. Because we’re actually doing it through Indiegogo. So you know, Kickstarter is one of those big crowdfunding platforms. Indiegogo is more or less the same size, or at least in the same year. But they’re mostly focused on not just hardware, like, let’s say, backpacks with more like hardware technology. So basically exactly the niche we are in. It’s a huge platform, it’s worldwide. So it doesn’t really matter from where you are buying. You can buy from wherever you want. And for us, it’s it gives this extra interesting dimension. Because if there is, let’s say, in the Philippines, a huge number of people who actually love waterfalls, it’s something we might not know today. They can, they can reveal themselves. And we have some sort of a pull strategy where the customer can tell us, hey, you exist, we want one of these we want them to and if you would say apart from that Indiegogo strategy, our main goal would be in the first place to go for Europe and Northern America and then expand from there from there.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
Well, very cool. Ruben, where can people find out more about your new engrave wallet?

Ruben Merre – NGRAVE
Well, you have the website, which is very straightforward. Engrish mg R a v.io. If you add slash like a backslash and then subscribe, you can subscribe right now to the waiting list to select your shirt you can get 50% off on the day that we launched on the 26th of May. And we actually also have a competition going on right now a giveaway, where if you enter it you have you will be able to win one of 10 potential combos so the hardware wallets and also our backup solution. That will be you can you can enter the competition until somewhere like the week of the 20th.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
Wonderful, Ruben, thank you so much for coming on the show today. I think our listeners are going to have to take a look at what you’re doing with the engrave wallet. And I really do appreciate all your time. I think you’ve been very informative and I’m always active To see about new technology and solutions for safe storage of crypto assets and, and it looks like this is going to be a winner. I can’t wait to get my hands on one myself.

Ruben Merre – NGRAVE
Yeah, definitely buy one or read one if you can. Right now is really the time for all of that.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
I will try my hand. All right, thank you so much Ruben. This is Rob McNealy. Thank you for listening. Folks check sent to the web at RobMcNealy.com and we’ll catch you next time.

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Brandon Cooper – Aphid Transcript

Brandon Cooper - CEO of Aphid.io

Brandon Cooper – CEO of Aphid.io

Note: This transcript was automatically generated by artificial intelligence (AI) and therefore typos may be present.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
Hey folks, welcome to show I am Rob McNealy and today I am real excited. I am talking to Brandon Cooper. He is the co founder and CEO of a fit a la based startup working in artificial and blockchain. So, let’s welcome to the show. Brandon. How are you today, sir?

Brandon Cooper – Aphid.io
Doing well, how about yourself?

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
You know, I can’t complain so much. It’s a beautiful day out west got out, got some sun today working out in the yard. So that’s good, considering we’re in the pandemic Apocalypse, I actually feel fine. So that’s good. Saying here. So before we jump into this, tell me a little bit of background. How’d you get started in being an entrepreneur?

Brandon Cooper – Aphid.io
Yeah, I from from a young age, I’ve always been the outcast or just kind of looking around the classrooms and I always felt different even in college. The big auditorium 600 students, I really just didn’t feel like it was for me, it was always something more than just going through the system. Basically, and my background from Detroit, Michigan, inner city, Westside and got into entrepreneurship, actually through network marketing was my first intro where a friend of mine in college he sent me an email on Facebook at the time. He said, Hey, come to my dorm, or as like apartment or something, he showed me, the Cash Flow Quadrant from Robert Kiyosaki. Other people want to roll and they were laughing and they were leaving, like, Ah, this is a joke. And when I saw that video, I mean, I stared at the TV for about 10 minutes. It was just the rubberband effect when it stretched me I just couldn’t go back. Ever since then I started making inventions and things like that.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
So how did you get out to LA?

Brandon Cooper – Aphid.io
Long story short, I lived in it. So I left Detroit after college, and I went to Atlanta. I was in Atlanta for 10 years. And the energy just pulled me out here. It’s a little difficult to do a race. out in Atlanta, in my opinion, I should be to be stricken. I love Atlanta. It was great to me. But the West Coast has really just pulled me. And I tried to stay in Atlanta, but I could just really pull on me. And I love the weather. And I came here to visit a year before I moved, and I said I wanted to move here and the law of attraction pulled me out here.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
So hey, it’s all good. Where’d you go to college? If I’m just curious.

Brandon Cooper – Aphid.io
Michigan State University, Spartan dogs.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
I did my undergrad at Central Michigan, just up the road. Nice. So I set out that’s cool. So would you study at MSU? What did you study there?

Brandon Cooper – Aphid.io
Oh, did I study merchandising, management marketing?

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
Very cool. Yep. Yeah, I like state my. My cousin’s all went to state so I don’t I have I have very much a big affinity for MSU. So go Spartans. So you became an entrepreneur moved out to la tele, what is this project you’re working on what is a fit?

Brandon Cooper – Aphid.io
Aphid is an ecosystem where we’re disrupting a nine to five. What we’re doing is allowing people to digitize themselves into a bot. And this bot will do a variation of things to make money. The reason we created a company is we got we saw people working 40 hours a week. And we said, well, there has to be some way that we can make money and not have to trade time for money. And that’s how the company developed. The aphid is actually an insect that can clone itself. So that’s where the name comes from.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
So is this something that you’re bootstrapping or did you get do a raise then or you funded and how did you kind of how’d you get started with the cash flow on this?

Brandon Cooper – Aphid.io
Yeah, bootstrap completely 100% we had a little little cash from a few friends free believe early believers. Really appreciate them. The rest is completely bootstrap.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
So you said you’re coming out pretty soon with your beta, then?

Brandon Cooper – Aphid.io
Yep, within the next few weeks, the mobile application will be out, it’ll be able to create your bot. And we have, that’s the b2c portion, the b2b portion will come out a few months later, for enterprises.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
So walk me through this, you said you’re focused on the non 95 you know, workspace, you know, you want to decouple time and money from one another. In other words, you want people to make money when they sleep. So I’m very interested in these technologies. So give me some give me some examples. So the listeners who might not understand what that means, tell me sure how me is a non developer how I could leverage one of your digitized bots and make money when I sleep.

Brandon Cooper – Aphid.io
Yeah, you would come onto the platform, and you would get a subscription depending on how many bots you want. But if you just get the basic one, you just pay a subscription every month. And then it’s already pre trained. We train the bots to basically go out there and sell through e commerce partners that we have. So every time it sells something on the entire internet of where we place your bot, you make money. And then we’re going to open it up for the developer community to create other ways for your bot to make money too. So you can just install them like the App Store. imagine it being artificial intelligence, foreign exchange trading, or cryptocurrency trading, you can just add that like a widget. And then your bot will make money from these different widgets, these different add ons, we call them drivers.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
So what you’re saying is, so essentially, you’re taking and creating a bot that can do online retail sales. So say I’m an Amazon reseller, is that the kind of thing that I could use this for?

Brandon Cooper – Aphid.io
Yeah, for example, let’s say we get business A, and they have an e commerce platform because they’re one of our platforms that got a chatbot system for us. We’ll take the ROB bot and put it on that website. If it’s so something you get a commission for it.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
Interesting. So if I want to leverage your bot, do I actually have to buy inventory to then kind of thing?

Brandon Cooper – Aphid.io
If you if you want to, could you rephrase it,

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
or so there’s something like if I want to make money with the bot, I have to buy inventory from one place and then sell it in another place kind of thing.

Brandon Cooper – Aphid.io
You don’t have to do anything we do all the work for you, all you have to do is just say already programmed into our infrastructure, all you have to do is ask description. And the thing is that you want your bot to do you can just add those skills or job tasks to it.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
So this works for selling retail items. But then you said there’s the ability then to use his trading bot as well.

Brandon Cooper – Aphid.io
For example, one of one of our drivers is going to be CoinGenius, their artificial intelligence cryptocurrency trading platform, you would basically add that driver and then the money that you make from trading there through artificial intelligence will help your money pool. So imagine you’re making money from this driver, that driver this driver, that driver You’re making money from all of these different things while you sleep for your body’s doing the work.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
How’d you come up with the idea

Brandon Cooper – Aphid.io
I was working for I was working for Apple for a while. And the call volume was really insane, was really, really insane. And I said, I wish I could call myself and I could make money off what I’m doing and make money while I’m at the beach. And I left the company got a couple other crazies to believe in me and they joined the team too.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
So are you the lead developer?

Brandon Cooper – Aphid.io
I do no front end. But I am not the lead developer. our CTO Sean Ross is the lead developer.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
So where do you think this is going and how would it segue into the future of the gig economy?

Brandon Cooper – Aphid.io
I see this as being the new way for everyone to make money people are used to doordash or Uber. But you those even those companies, it’s a little dangerous because they’re coming out with The automation rideshares. So if you don’t actually own a Tesla, like a Tesla Robo taxi, then you’re kind of out of business is taking away some of your volume. People are afraid of robots taking our jobs, but in my opinion, if robots don’t take our, our jobs, they will always be at work per se trading time for money. So we’re preventing singularity, in essence.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
So it’s interesting like that that Luddite fear of automation, you know, in the history of this country, at least since the Industrial Revolution, there’s usually been a net increase in jobs when you’ve actually had automation come in. And a lot of people it’s funny because you You seem there’s a lot of tech pros from California that seem to think that in mass all of a sudden all these people are going to be unemployed and it’s gonna be starvation in the streets and pitchforks for them. Right. But I actually the history doesn’t show that and and there’s a couple of reasons why I think is that one, a lot of times people through attrition, a lot of a lot of these things don’t happen overnight these like revolutions, right? And what ends up happening is you have you have a lot of people that through attrition, will, you know, just go away retire anyway, and that that job won’t be refilled. So that’s a big part of it. But on top of that, you’ll find that a lot of innovations come out of it. So for instance, the the buggy whip people and the, you know, the, you know, horse and buggy kind of folks went out of business. But then there was a whole lot of other jobs that came up to build the auto industry, for instance, now you’re from Detroit, I’m from the Detroit area, as well. And if you look at all the stuff that went into that it was actually much bigger markets that were created from that and much more growth and many more jobs that were created, even though the loss of one industry led way to that. It’s like that whole creative destruction thing. So I don’t fear the robots. I want the robots and I want little thing in my brain to make me smarter. So I’m excited about it. So disrupting so how would you say that your, your bot system is disruptive to what’s happening right now.

Brandon Cooper – Aphid.io
The current system is going to work a morning, get home and buy traffic for our cook dinner, do homework with the kids or do homework with the kids cook dinner and repeat five times a week. And that should is 1992 right? 1987 whatever you want to call it. The old way of thinking and most people don’t have enough time to give to not to mention if you have a wife or your husband’s at home or whatever, these people you’re not spending time with your family. And if you were to calculate all of the hours that you’re allocating towards your job over a lifetime, it’s astronomical elite over 100 probably over 172,000 hours. If your life is dedicated to that, and I’m not saying that with a finger, stop, you’ll stop working. But maybe it reduces it to 20 hours a week, right? Maybe you only have two, maybe you can work on your side hustle. Now that becomes full time because you’re making money from a fit and you’re a freelancer, and that covers your income. So that’s ultimately our goal is to get that volume and liquidity high enough to help what we call our controllers, your controller of the bot to help you guys make money.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
Yeah, I like what I’m hearing. So you mentioned that you’re doing artificial intelligence and I get that with the bot. But you’ve also mentioned blockchain, how are you incorporating blockchain technology with a Fed

Brandon Cooper – Aphid.io
if if a user wants to sign up decentralized, meaning Google Facebook or email isn’t used to sign up? That means the data is is off the Richter that means Google doesn’t have it. Facebook doesn’t have it. They don’t have your information, you can sign up with their phone number and it’s just tied to you That’s one way we’re using it for data. The analytics, the money that you make all the information is decentralized. So that’s not stored by a fit. You’ll see it in your control panel. But we have that on the decentralized portion. As far as the payments are concerned, we have what’s called same day pay. If the user decides to transact with cryptocurrency, then you as the comptroller would get paid in the same currency that was used. So if they use cryptocurrency, you get paid the same day. And we’re starting off on aetherium or private until we eventually will move to our own main net, sometime in a future. But aetherium you’ll usually get your transaction within it could be three minutes 15 minutes really just depends on how busy it is.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
So what cryptocurrencies Can people pay on your system with well, at least out of the gate?

Brandon Cooper – Aphid.io
Out of the gate will be our own native token named ABION.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
ABION, are you gonna just keep it on your own? Are you gonna open it up to other kryptos in some point

Brandon Cooper – Aphid.io
Possibly, yeah, we’re, we’re working on it. We haven’t made any announcements yet. But you’ll be first and we should talk.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
Yeah, I can make a deal for you. Good. Yeah, actually, it could be. So tell me, overall, what’s your go to market plan? You know, I talked to a lot of entrepreneurs. I’ve been an entrepreneur for a long time. And it seems that a lot of tech guys, there’s not always there always seemed like they’re missing a marketing thing. Do you have like a marketing guy? Do you have a good marketing strategy? Do you have a plan to get this implemented into the market?

Brandon Cooper – Aphid.io
For certain we have, we have a strong team. There are just about 20 people in the company. But Alexandra stone, she’s our chief growth officer. And she’s working along with Marcus banks, a part of the sales team to execute our plan. What we plan to do we have there are some talent we can’t announce it just yet, but we have a few talent. There’s an appearance just coming up on big networks to talk about it. So that’s part of it. That’ll have a reach to upwards of a billion reach over time and a webisode series. And then we have a few celebrity people. I know it’s a little gray area when it comes to celebrities and cryptocurrency, things like that. But we do have feel my celebrity friends that will be creating their their bot, we call them a clones, but there’ll be creating their a clones on our platform. And then as far as social media is concerned, we have our campaign is called free society, basically where we just want the society to do as we choose just to be a free thinker every time. And that’s going to be really, really exciting. We have a documentary coming out based upon creatives and thinkers in Los Angeles call free society, and it’ll outline our people are using a fit and that ecosystem.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
Wow. So I can tell just by the expressions on your face, you got you got to drive you got to creativity And I like to see that you’re an entrepreneur and and that that’s that clearly shows that you kind of have this passion. What kind of drives you what makes you tick?

Brandon Cooper – Aphid.io
To be honest with you, I’ve been my whole life was like a nomadic I was always just sleep on my floors and French couches and you know what family is trying to get things together and just being that uncomfortable made me never want to be comfortable. And I have a son, I have a four year old son and see I he looks at me and tells other kids Hey, that’s my when I was on Steve Harvey. He says my dad, that’s my dad. And that was that was pretty awesome for me. So just looking at him as a pretty big part and knowing that the majority of people in my family really don’t leave the city of Detroit or can pay for expenses to go on vacation next night. During this particular pandemic, but generally speaking to just go up and have a vacation and be able to take off for a week, they’re confined to the shackles of their, of this treadmill that they run back to. And I think a person is doing what they want to do is success. It doesn’t there’s nothing wrong with a job if that’s what you wake up and love to do. But if you’re just doing it for the money, you probably died a long time ago. That’s what drives me. You know, I think,

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
I think I can relate to that in a lot of ways. And, and I think what it comes down to is, is, do you feel like you have meaningful work and meaningful purpose. And unfortunately, I think we have an epidemic in this country of people that don’t have either and I think that’s what you touch on and, and I’m not going to give you my sob story, but you know, I have the typical tragic childhood kind of experiences, but those do affect you and they do mold you and they do give you perspective and there’s a joke out there for entrepreneurs, they say with childhood trauma drive you to success kind of thing, right? But But it is true though, in a lot of ways, you know, it’s like, you know, even at my age I, you know, I’ve only built a couple companies but I’ve only sold one I’ve only had one small exit as a serial entrepreneur, I don’t consider myself like, you know, Elon Musk or anything, but I’m still hungry, and I’m still working. And I’m still working toward that I’m and it’s funny, because I get around a lot of people and I’m just as excited about projects that I’m working on now in my late 40s that I was when I was in my my 30s. You know, and because I still have that kind of drive to and and you can tell when other people have it and I definitely see that new Brandon. So Brandon, where can people find out more about you and Aphid?

Brandon Cooper – Aphid.io
Yeah, you can find out on a Ahpid.io that’s A-P-H-I-D.io and we’re on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, You can just search Aphid it will come up should be the first result hopefully. And then me personally is just Brandon Cooper, and my last name the the O’s are zeros for Cooper. I’m on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc, as well.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
And folks will have all those linked up on the post at Rob McNealy calm. Brandon, thank you so much for coming on the show today. I really appreciate your time.

Brandon Cooper – Aphid.io
Appreciate you having me. Thanks a lot.

Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com
All right, come back next time when you got some updates. You have a great day.

Brandon Cooper – Aphid.io
You know it, you too.

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