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 I’m pretty excited because we are talking to Scott Sibley. He is the creator of a new Bitcoin game called shomrei. And it’s a stem game. And one of the things as a lot of people here don’t know that I actually homeschool my kids and we homeschool our kids because we believe that STEM education is vitally important, not only for giving our kids lots of options, but we believe that the United States is long term losing its edge competitively in the world because we are so weak on STEM. And so when I heard Scott was building out this cool game, and you know, not only to talk about STEM, but it’s a Bitcoin cryptocurrency kind of game. I wanted to get him on the show. So Scott, welcome to the show. How are you today?
Scott Sibley – SHAmory 0:49
Great, Rob. Thanks for having me. Excited to jump into SHAmory, homeschool, STEM all the fun topics.
Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com 0:55
Well, that’s a lot of stuff to dive into. So I think before we jump into it VAT, we got a lot to unpack, I think, who are you? How did you get into crypto? And how did you get into making a game?
Scott Sibley – SHAmory 1:08
Yeah. So my tales kind of all come together in very strange ways, but they at least make sense to me. So I’m out here in San Diego actually originally graduated with a degree in accounting, and worked in public accounting for three years, from 2005 to 2008. So before Bitcoin was ever even a thing, but if I really think hard about it, that’s probably where some of it started to get ingrained, where it was literally my job on a daily basis, to go into these companies, audit their financial records, and make sure that they’re, they’re verified, they’re accurate, and being able to have that traceability back to them. So if I think about it, some of my interest was probably piqued then unknowingly. But from there, I’ve been in the edtech space for the past couple of years. I have a lineage of teachers and my family in various scales, Premier League k 12 or reach Tired, and just a mixture of my interest in both sides of things. And then in 2017 2018, like a lot of other people got sucked in until the bull run. I like to think that unlike a lot of other people to what’s happened since then didn’t push me away, it only kind of made me want to dig deeper into learning about everything that’s going on. And then as I got deeper into that learning aspect of it, I really said, Okay, I want to, I want to try to give back in some way try to create something so that that next generation can have be able to do this and hopefully easier and more fun engaging way for hopefully all at all ages. So the card game while yet kids can play it, adults, teenagers shouldn’t matter on being able to use a tool like this. And that was kind of the jumping start to where the game came from.
Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com 2:46
So edtech, tell me a little bit about that. What are you doing in the educational technology space?
Scott Sibley – SHAmory 2:51
Yeah, so currently, and for the past number of years, our company has been focused on a product, it’s called journeys map. It’s literally a mapping for traffic. You’re no different than Google Maps. But instead of using that map to get your driving directions to a restaurant, the other side of town, you’re actually using it to go through your learning continuum from grade school all the way through career. So those become the territories if you will. And then each of those territories, the GPS coordinates are occupations, skills, knowledge, abilities, certifications, and so those, that’s how the driving directions can start to get built. And then each location ultimately has a dashboard component where you can start learning more about whatever it is you’re trying to look at. So it’s a lot of mimicking a typical geographic mapping infrastructure, but putting a lifelong learning continuum in boy and being able to recognize whether it’s a homeschool parent, traditional k 12, student, military in transition, career transition, which obviously is going to be happening more and more given the changing environment around us with the pandemic. Lifelong Learning is something that we’re all going to keep doing. And that’s the purpose between building out a map like this so that it can be used by anyone, anywhere, anytime.
Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com 4:04
Did you found that, are you the founder of that company as well?
Scott Sibley – SHAmory 4:07
So my dad actually is the founder of that one. So I work there as well as the director and kind of head up the roadmap side of things, sales marketing. We’re a smaller team right now and kind of that startup phase that’s been spun out of a company that’s been around since 1990.
Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com 4:23
That’s really cool. Probably don’t know this, but I was a geography major. So I’m really into cartography and geographic information systems. So my mind thinks visually that way. So I definitely want to check out what you’re doing there. But I think lifelong learning is important. One of the things that I’m concerned about is the future of our country. And what I see is, you know, I think our country’s failing educationally on so many levels. And and I’m not just going to throw a public school under the bus though I certainly do from time to time, but I think ultimately We have something wrong with our culture that doesn’t seem to care about education. And I mean, real education, I mean, real mastery of, you know, basic concepts. I’ve heard recently that, you know, the illiteracy rate in the United States is increasing. You know, we’re we’re losing our edge technologically going forward. And to me, you know, it’s, it’s we don’t foster or at least have a communal value set around education. I mean, what are you seeing out there? I mean, just being crazy and a radical homeschooler. I mean, am I am I really seeing something out there?
Scott Sibley – SHAmory 5:38
No, I, you’re, you’re correct. And, like you said, it’s not to put blame on any one system, whether it’s k 12, higher ed, traditional systems, it’s just a volcano erupting all at once in one way, especially with what’s happened over the past few months with everybody having to find new ways to learn and try to balance that with your typical day to day life of being potentially professional and going to work. But a lot of what we’re seeing also is a recognition of those issues. And then by the organizations, institutions, industry leaders, the ones that are going to really survive this next change are the ones that are saying, Okay, one, we need to come together and do this has one. So that industry professional, let’s say you’re, you’re in the cybersecurity industry, so a booming industry that’s out there. They’re expecting, there’s about 500,000 open cyber positions today, high skilled high wage, that part A that problem is the typical grade school student probably has no idea that cybersecurity is a very valuable industry to take a look at. Because the teachers who are sitting in that environment aren’t used to thinking in that box they’re used to doctor, lawyer, accountant for, for lack of better words. And part of it is the awareness factor of saying those industry leaders need to bring Have that awareness back down to the K 12. Teachers, the homeschool parents, however, that’s happening so that the five year old today can know that cyber AI advanced manufacturing or pathways that in the future are going to be there for cyber there. They’re expecting in 2020 to 3.3 million open positions. Just look at that growth and think about the possibilities that are there is one easy example.
Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com 7:26
Well, it’s interesting because you know, my wife and I both have advanced degrees. I got an MBA, my wife was an MD. And it’s interesting, like I take my hobbies very seriously. And last summer, I graduated from a full time year and a half long welding program. I went to the back to community college. So I joke around in my Twitter that I’m an MBA welder. I don’t do welding for a living. I do like I like to make stuff. Yeah. So but I really wanted to learn to make stuff really well. So I went through this welding program, and even in there like, one we don’t you know, we don’t teach Or even Foster, you know, blue collar kind of jobs or trade skills and things like that. And we’re losing out. I grew up in the 80s and 90s, in Detroit during the time that the auto industry was starting to offshore, like, especially during the 80s. And it was interesting is that, you know, so I grew up around people that worked in shops and had skilled but those those jobs are dying. And it was interesting. So I went through this program and I literally was older than my instructors. I was the oldest guy in my class at the welding school. And I’m just like, I’m always looking for opportunities. And I was surprised at you know, the how much money a welder can make. And you know, of course, the instructors who also were not entrepreneurs, or at least thinking like an entrepreneur, they would go through and they would say, Oh, well, you can go be a welder and do this and this and then, and I’m like, but you’re not even talking to these kids about being independent welders, about going out and starting your own shop or, you know, buying your own truck and being a mobile welder. Where you can make literally hundreds of thousands of dollars a year with a little bit of investment and and then I started talking to some of the guys and I’m like I didn’t realize this but there’s a whole well track for being an inspector and then being an expert witness and you know those kind of jobs with you know, 510 15 years experience can make hundred 50 200,000 a year welding and you literally don’t need a college degree. And like so you can start and the cool thing about my program and this was shocking to me Scott, as you know, it was a nighttime program so it was designed for guys that work itself. So within a year and a half and like six grand that you pay along the way you can work a full time day job go to school, and they were poaching students out of the welding program from some of these big corporate manufacturing companies that are desperate for welders. Certain guys offer 20 bucks an hour plus full benefits, full corporate benefits 401k matching, you know boot allowance, you know all the medical options. Everything and I was like, so you’re telling me you you can be 18 years old come out of school with no debt making 40 grand a year when you’re 18 plus full benefits. And and then I go back and I look at what I was told is that you had to go to college to get a good job or you’re a piece of trash, you know, kind of stuff. And so, you know, I don’t know I’m, I’m frightened for the where we are now in the global community. You know, that’s a long rant, but I totally am excited that people like you are out there, also trying to help people sort out, you know, these different tracks that they can take in life.
Scott Sibley – SHAmory 10:37
Yeah, there. It’s all about no two, no two people are going to have the same journey pun intended, and making sure that that awareness is there to say, you know, there’s many ways to drive from point A to point B, there’s many alternative pathways like you just said, and college is not going to always be the one that’s on the top of the list going forward. Especially when you think how much you’re gonna spend. Okay, I could spend, you know, the next five years spending 200,000 dollars and come out with a piece of paper that may not be worth anything at the end of the day, because the jobs of the future changed over that time or like you just said, I can go into this welding certificate program, I can start making money right away in theory, potentially, and then make money while I keep growing into those next step of options. Like you said, it’s just kind of those stacks on stacks on stacks. And we had a similar a couple years back, we were working with the Western Regional carpenters union here in San Diego. And we didn’t notice before the going into the call of them, but the carpenters union nationally has a Western has a facility outside of Vegas, that’s a little over a million square feet. And you know, the problem one of the pain points they’re trying to solve is kids today think oh, being a carpenter. I’m just gonna go I’m gonna lay carpet, but no, at that facility, you can go there go through a certificate and apprenticeship program. They pay you 50 grand a year for a two year program. So you’re making money to your point going into debt, and you’re gonna come out of it with the with the ability to go into things like artificial intelligence, and more high tech fields where you know, you could be working on a drone as a carpenter, just like these pathways out there are endless. And part of it is goes back to that awareness factor where, like the carpenters union said, the kids in K 12. They don’t even know that we’re out there. Let’s make sure that that is there.
Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com 12:27
Well, you know, when I was growing up, we actually had auto shop class and we had metal shop and wood shop, but so many school districts around the country get rid of those programs, you know, which which is absurd. And I definitely know when I was growing up, you know, the teachers are always basically, you know, Pooh poohing blue collar kind of stuff, to the point where they make you feel guilty if you didn’t want to go down that track. I can tell you as someone you know, who is a strong disbeliever of the student loan trap And seeing what you know how much debt people take on, which for no ROI and, and you know, I mentioned off the air that, you know, my daughter is in college, our oldest and we had a lot of conversations about majors in what mom and dad were willing to pay for what we weren’t willing to pay for. One of the things that we said his parents said, we believe that it’s our responsibility to make it so our kids have enough training to be able to make a living and beyond their own when they’re an adult, right. We feel like we are responsible, that they have skills and education to be you know, you know, self success, self sufficient. And you know, we talked a lot because you know, when I went so, it was really funny. So for one semester, my daughter and I were going to community college together and she would like roll her eyes don’t walk with me, is really kind of funny because she couldn’t drive yet. But it was kind of fun, but i what i found though, it’s like literally for two Your electronics program at that community college you can go through and start off 56,000 a year, just doing like repairs to, you know, high tech equipment, you have a two year degree, they’re hot, and they’re poaching people out of these programs because these, there’s nobody with skills anymore. And I’m like, and I tell my daughter, look, this is a programming go to school at night, two years later, you’re making 50 K a year, you’re not going to have any debt. If not gonna end basically, we said we’re not going to pay for a low ROI bachelor’s degree, and spend, you know, 40 $50,000 on that when you can do two years and make more money. Rather than get this bachelor degree that pays 30 grand a year when you graduate. You know, you can start off in two years, you save a couple years of working or you get to work a couple extra years. So you have to include I think you have to include that opportunity cost of college right. You know, and but you know, we had a lot of discussions. She’s going chem-engineering now. And I fully support that. But you know, it’s interesting, you know where we’re going anymore. And I think part of the problem is you have teachers that don’t really either like, or don’t understand all these other trades, and all these other career options out there.
Scott Sibley – SHAmory 15:16
Yeah, that’s part of I mean, when we think of our map, so sitting here today, there’s a little under 2000 occupations on the map today, doesn’t matter how good of a teacher, guidance counselor, parent, whoever, you don’t know what those 2000s are, let alone You don’t know what the data attached to those 2000 are. So you need systems like journeys map like we’re in, we don’t think of ourselves as the end all be all. But the way we’ve built it out is to be able to say, We want others to both innovate into us and on top of us to be able to really let the system drive itself no different than if you’re calling an Uber. It can be leveraging Google Maps technology, you don’t even know it to know where you’re sitting, or you’re standing on the corner. That’s our same mindset where it’s a learning map, and we’re We’re building that foundation to also let other third parties innovate on top of, because we don’t want people to reinvent the wheel. And hopefully this is going to help. Whether it’s a Rob going back to get his welding degree a 10 year old or a military transition, it doesn’t matter to us, we want to help that lifelong learner.
Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com 16:18
Well, I think that’s important. And I think ultimately use a term that a lot of people aren’t familiar with. What is a lifelong learner?
Scott Sibley – SHAmory 16:25
Yeah. So in our eyes, that that goes back to encompassing the fact that wherever the way the world works today, you really are never going to stop learning. And really, it’s about those many journeys along the way that ultimately make up where you are from sitting there at birth through ultimately retirement really into retirement because you’re still learning then probably, and making sure that you’re taking down that barrier to say, you know, I graduated with my high school diploma, and kind of that’s a brick in the wall there and then it’s, it’s over, and then I got my degree and then learning is over. It’s never been gonna stop and tierpoint let’s say go in and I’m a marketing professional today. Well, sure, you may, let’s say you came out of that degree program with the best skills you could have. And you you’re extremely valuable to the company that hired you, you’re not going to be valuable to them 24 months down the line unless you keep learning what the new technology is in that field that you’re falling into. So you need a way to keep retooling yourself. And it goes back down to the skills, knowledge and abilities that are attached to these degrees that are attached to these programs that are attached to the certification that are really the true value add and from our work. The providers whether it’s a four year provider or certification program, that are starting to map their offerings down to the skill level, those are the ones that are going to be on the top of things and this next evolution of things in the in the learning continuum from our perspective.
Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com 17:54
I think we need to we need a culture of this kind of curiosity. Yeah. If there’s a way to stimulate that, and you know, I think that’s what you’ve done with Shaun Murray. So let’s talk about shomrei. What is SHAmory?
Scott Sibley – SHAmory 18:09
Sure. So in simple terms SHAmoryis a Bitcoin card game it happens to be like you mentioned the beginning, stem authenticated. So it’s the first Bitcoin card game that’s actually gotten official stem authentication as an educational product from stem org. The cool thing also about that authentication is the way stem.org does it is they actually leverage the blockchain to house all their credentials and certifications. So if you go and you can actually look it up on the blockchain that they’re using there, but uh, essentially, it’s a card game that starts bringing awareness and education around Bitcoin, and how mining works to really users of potentially any age. I like to think that you can play the game of memory, you can play the game of shomrei whether you’ve heard of Bitcoin or not, and it kind of walks through the process of how proof of work mining works in a fun, engaging, light hearted way that you can do with your brothers, your sisters, your friends, your family, and kind of a low stakes barrier to entry for kind of onboarding new Bitcoin. Individuals.
Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com 19:16
Where’d you come up with the idea for that? What inspired it?
Scott Sibley – SHAmory 19:19
So I think part of it just goes back to my history in education and then I full disclosure I’ve never mind that was never my my thing. But I started learning more about it just out of curiosity and wanting to learn how it worked. And as I started going through that process, along with learning everything else, I don’t want to I want to try to create something to be more involved in the space. And part of at least what I think of as part of my skill set is taking complex things and being able to boil them down into simple, digestible things that almost anybody can understand. So as I started learning more about mining and the way Sha 256 works for work, I boiled it down to the very basics, there are targets, and there are nonces. There are miners that do this work. But at the end of the day, in very basic terms, you want to find that nonce that’s going to bash that target. And once I had that concept down, I said, well, that’s very similar to playing memory, where you’re flipping over one card needs to match the other card. And then we take it one step further, where, well in mining, you know, it’s that hash rate the computer that’s using their, their power to go through and do this process where if you’re using memory, that’s really your power source and using that memory notion, to be able to be that driving factor between how the games play so I started making analogies like that, from there that the game was born.
Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com 20:46
Did you see this concept of, you know, making games out of other type of things like maybe just generic AI or generic blockchain? Have you looked at doing other games
Scott Sibley – SHAmory 20:58
I’ve looked at I definitely have it are out other types of games or expansions around how this could potentially work. JOHN Murray just so I watched pre orders in April, and actually just officially started shipping out about two weeks ago in early July. And so right now the focus is getting this, this one out there. And then whether it’s other games, I purposely, for those other Sema cards that kind of made with fun little characters, monsters that are really good for not only young kids, but they’re not to kitty that anybody can find them interesting. But the idea being those characters can also be a subset use case around video content, books, all those different ways that people can engage with these sorts of aspects of Bitcoin mining and that sort of thing is kind of the groundwork for future expansions.
Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com 21:53
Did you self publish this game? I mean, are you having it made up yourself and all that or are you working with like a game company to distribute it?
Scott Sibley – SHAmory 22:00
No, so it’s me, myself and I, my wife, why should say me, my wife helps doing a lot of the packing and getting things off and going from there, but I thought of it myself. I did hire a graphic designer. So I walked through kind of the design process with someone to actually create the the characters that I had in my head come to life, but then found a manufacturer which turned out to be a hiccup during the COVID experience that delayed things a little bit, given everything that was going on, but produced it gotta have been shipping ever since.
Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com 22:35
Is it hard to do? I mean, now that you look back on it, is this something that anybody could just build their own game like this? Or was it really a difficult journey to get to this point? I’ve never made a game before so but I’m an entrepreneur. So I’m always like, what does it take to make a game and what does it take to make a game?
Scott Sibley – SHAmory 22:54
It’s definitely anybody can do it. I think it probably a similar mindset to when you were talking about your welding I’m sure anybody who are interested enough, go do that program or similar type program, it just takes your motivation. And part of that process was okay. Well, like you said, I had never printed, you know, created a physical product before all my life. I’ve been in that edtech space where we’re recreating these digital projects and going through that QA and production and releases and that sort of structure. So it was learning to me but I was able to kind of go through that process even so I’m not a developer, but I you know, learn more about WordPress created the website myself was able to connect BTC pay to be able to accept both credit card and Bitcoin payments, be able to go through all those processes, the one that probably took the longest, which was the graphic design, where I wanted to ultimately at the beginning, I want to try to find a designer who had some knowledge of Bitcoin blockchain crypto in some way to be able to play off him or her. I wasn’t able to go that route. The end of the day, but I was able to find someone that it worked out to like, everything I dreamed of came to life. So it worked out in the end. But I would say that finding that graphic designer in the physical space was something that was a challenge. And then, given the pandemic, the actual manufacturing did present a challenge just given things in the shutdown and whatnot. But to your to your question, anybody can do it if you put your mind to it.
Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com 24:26
You know, I really agree with that with most things. I think that people underestimate their abilities. And you hear like, I mean, I’ve heard a lot from like in the startup space, especially when I was transitioning to my first business like a lot of people who don’t come from like an entrepreneurial kind of background. I think there was a statistic A while ago that I read that the children are entrepreneurs are like 75% more likely to become entrepreneurs, than people that like kids that are born just employees, right. And I think that makes a lot of sense, right? Because they’re used to being around their family. They’re used to seeing, you know, not necessarily having a weekly paycheck, right. They’re seeing, you know, their parents have to deal with, you know, cash flow and things like that. And I think they’re getting more comfortable with that. Whereas people who have never seen that, that scares the heck out of them. Yeah,
Scott Sibley – SHAmory 25:23
Totally. And I think it’s that side of things. Also, at least for me, personally, like I mentioned, so my dad’s were the entrepreneur side comes from him. It was his grandpa, who ran a farm back in Connecticut, growing up. And so it comes from that, that lineage and like you said, seeing it. Also, for me, it helps me see, you know, what, there’s more out there than just being an employee. I want to I want ultimately, to be able to really control my destiny, especially having you know, my wife, we have one daughter who’s one, we want to be able to have freedom and freedom to say, you know, I’m We want to go on this trip right now. Or we want to be able to not have to get up at the crack of dawn to be able to get somebody ready to get out the door to then do it all over again tomorrow. And so it’s that sense of freedom that I want to have for my family as we all keep growing together.
Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com 26:18
I tell people that the main reason you know I’m an entrepreneur is because I control my time. And to me, that’s so much more important than anything else. And people who are just used to being in that little rat maze every day of commuting and being in a you know, a little box or a warehouse all day long. That to me is like a death sentence. It’s like It’s like being in prison because I’ve done that right and I was miserable every time. You know, it’s funny because I got my my master’s degree and I worked in the corporate world for a few years and I was miserable, literally, literally depressed the whole time. I didn’t enjoy it didn’t didn’t like it did and it wasn’t that the work was bad. It was just this luck. I’m just sitting there feeling like I’m locked in a cell block all day long. And to me is I just don’t enjoy that I enjoy being able to do different things. And, you know, the beauty of my day job, you know, I have enough flexibility that I can work on our crypto project. And, you know, it’s like, I totally what you just said resonated with me because my wife and I made a decision. I don’t know maybe 10 years ago or so. We said we want to be geography independent for our livelihood. And to us that means that we could live anywhere because we felt that we wanted that that freedom and then homeschooling was part of that. And, you know, we look at homeschooling is just being entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurship for kids. Because really, it is and when I try to explain to people that you know, parents that have to pick up their kids drop their kids off, multiple kids a day multiple schools, multiple schools, events they spend more time doing that than we do on actually schooling our kids Yeah. And we don’t have to get up at six in the morning to do it.
Scott Sibley – SHAmory 28:10
You’re 100% correct.
Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com 28:13
But but it’s shocking because you tell people this and they’re like oh I could never do that I’m like yes you could you choosing not to you’re choosing not to explore it or figure it out but you absolutely could do it. You just have to be creative and flexible and a lot of people aren’t creative or flexible.
Scott Sibley – SHAmory 28:29
They like being in their box.
Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com 28:32
You know, I think that goes back to education though i think you know, even like when I was like, you know, when I was in welding school right, they only were talking about how you get a job as a welder, not how you start your own business as a welder not how do you become a weld inspector and an expert witness which is also being an entrepreneur consultant. So to me, I saw being a welder is like three four different weld tracks and then I also said, you know, in the welding in industry you could go work for like, you could go work in the industry like work for a welding menu like a weld welder manufacturer like Lincoln or Miller or one of those. And so once I got into that, and I’m pretty good at like jumping into something like crypto and taking a deep dive and learning like all the pieces, all the edges, you know, as I could very quickly and I’ve done this as a serial entrepreneur in multiple industries over the last 20 years and and I’m just like getting more creative, like Wow, I didn’t even know they had that, you know. But it’s interesting because like even now, I think the lifelong learning things important, you know, and I was a contractor during the last housing crash in 2007. And it was rough for a while for us and not because I did anything wrong, but a lot of my customers went out of business owing me a lot of money. A lot of money and I lost a lot of money because of it, not because of a mistake. I did But I learned from that point that I’m going to just do things to make myself more valuable in a variety of ways as fallbacks you know, kind of thing, you know, would have been great if I had a you know, another side hustle during that time period that could I could have easily jump back into. But so even like the welding thing, now, I weld a lot. I was welding for this interview, because I’m making things and I like to make things all the time and I’m getting better at it. And, you know, I could go get a welding job right now. or start a welding business on the side if I wanted to, and, but I also know that if I combine my welding school and welding abilities with my MBA, I could easily go work for a welding company, a big corporation, and do maybe outside sales outside of training. There’s a lot of things I could do now, that I couldn’t do before just because of that training. And it’s nice to me. I’m not scared. Like it gives me more confidence going forward that like, I know I could do this if I had to, or if I wanted to. But I like the other stuff, I’m doing better. And to me being a lifelong learner means just making yourself more valuable to other people.
Scott Sibley – SHAmory 31:11
100% that’s even when I was in college, part of the reason I differentiated myself from going and just getting a traditional business degree and chose to focus on accounting is, especially back then. So I was in college right around Enron and all that stuff. So when audit was you walk out of college with a job six months before you even graduated. And so I saw that I said, Okay, this is gonna get me on a pathway that I know, it’s not my passion. I know it’s not gonna make me it’s not gonna be what I want to do forever. But it’s going to differentiate me myself from the X amount of other people who are just focusing on the broad scope of business. And if I go that one step further, get a CPA license, that’s going to differentiate myself even more, while whether I do deserve it or not, it sets yourself apart from the crowd in different ways, as you keep kind of adding on things like that, and like you said, it can also always be a fallback, because obviously, I’m not using any of those skills today, it would take me a while to beat them back up. But if I needed to, I could.
Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com 32:17
But I just say, I probably disagree with that, though. I mean, you know, being an entrepreneur and managing a business, having a really good understanding of the numbers and bookkeeping and accounting are excellent skills. And and so many entrepreneurs don’t know how to do any of that stuff. And especially the tax piece. Now I’m fortunate, you know, as an entrepreneur I’ve been doing well. I’ve had so many LLCs and corporations, and I’ve had a lot of CPAs. But I do all my own bookkeeping, even now. I know enough about I’ve had enough college level accounting classes that I know and I know where to stop and I know when I shouldn’t be, you know, I have a really good CPA firm that word that I’ve been working with for 15 years and they’re amazing and but I still even now I mean to your lifelong learner, right? I, you know, because the crypto there’s a lot of tax nuances in crypto, like pretty deep dive stuff. And since not only am I involved with the crypto project, but I have my own personal crypto investments, you know, I have to understand that so I don’t get in trouble. And I was fortunate that my CPA got up to speed very quickly as well, you know, a couple years back that as well. But, you know, I’ve learned a lot about crypto taxes to the point where I feel pretty comfortable talking to other people and giving advice about you know, taxes, especially for at least newbies about what they need to deal with. I remember, and you probably saw this a couple years ago, remember when everybody’s like in back in 2017? Like, oh, you know, how many times did you hear people say something like, oh, there’s no taxes unless I cash out to Fiat? Yeah. Like, yeah, don’t tell that don’t put that on social media. The IRS will love you. But but that but I wouldn’t know that unless I was a lifelong learner, you know, and I’m just trying to get my And I’ll make myself smarter as much as I can. And I read every day, I listen to multiple books a month, you know, audiobooks, and things like that. And so I think that’s important going forward. Um, so, or about wrapping up here. How are you distributing the game? Where can people get it?
Scott Sibley – SHAmory 34:16
Yeah, so distributing through the website right now. So it’s shomrei comm sh, a, Mr. Y. So that’s the easiest place to go in there and get a get a deck for yourself, I did go ahead and make a promo code for any of your listeners. So you can get 10% off with the code, Rob 10. And that’ll drop that in at the checkout. And you’re welcome to use that. Obviously. So whether it’s the website, Twitter is play shomrei.com or excuse me, play shomrei handle and connect with us there or any other social media and obviously, myself, I’m Scott m de Sibley on Twitter as well but happy to engage throughout that process and where we send them out on daily basis. So Your order comes in. We’ll probably ship the next day, worldwide.
Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com 35:04
Well, that’s cool. And Scott, if you have any more updates going forward, feel free to come back on the show and update us. And I will have that, that discount code on the website at RobMcNealy.com. Scott, thank you so much for coming on today.
Scott Sibley – SHAmory 35:17
Thanks a bunch. Rob. Enjoy it.
Rob McNealy – RobMcNealy.com 35:19
Okay, folks, this Rob McNealy. Make sure you check us out on the web at RobMcNealy.com. Make sure you smash that subscribe button and help share to your friends. You have a great day, folks.
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
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.
Brad Michelson talks with Rob McNealy about how marketing crypto projects poses a unique set of challenges due to the rules imposed by many social media and traditional marketing channels.