Interview with Lois Shen, COO of DAEX
Blockchain is ranked one of the hottest trends in 2018, but what is the Blockchain industry really about? What is the future of the industry? Do you feel like you fit in to its culture? I invited Lois Shen, the Chief Operating Officer of DAEX, to talk about her reason behind leaving her job as a senior Tencent manager to pursue Blockchain, her vision for the industry, and her advice for people who wish to enter.
Blockchain is attracting more and more elites from tradition industries; those from DAEX are a good example. DAEX (Digital Asset Exchange) is a distributed digital asset-clearing ecosystem, built with clearing chain and distributed wallet, making transaction of digital assets more transparent, secure and efficient. Its founding team is made up of veterans in security settlement, strategic consulting, and online payment, establishing companies in both China and the US. Currently, DAEX is building communities in China, North America, Korea, Indonesia, and Russia
Lois is a former senior business development manager at Tencent, where she was responsible for forming strategic partnerships with the well-known WeChat Pay/TenPay and other Fintech enterprises. I interviewed her a few days after she’d flown to several countries, including Korea and the USA, in order to introduce the project.
What are your beliefs for this industry?
I entered this industry because I believe in the technology. To me, it’s an adventurous experience, as I enjoy the process of building products from the ground up. More importantly, I believe that this technology will improve not only the entire industry, but also society as well.
First of all, it will change the ownership of data. Currently all of our data, for example: what we buy, where we go to etc., are all being held onto by big corporations, but with the decentralized nature of Blockchain, users will be given back all control over their data.
Secondly, Blockchain will fill in the gap between employers and employees. In the digital era, only the real owners of the company: the founders and investors hold onto most of the shares. But with the token economy, things will be different; users can buy tokens issued by the company at very low prices, both privately and publicly. When the company does well, users can earn higher reward from the tokens, so this incentivizes users to be more involved.
In addition, employees can also buy tokens from the company. Even though some of the developers may not necessarily work for the company, they still support the value of the company and contribute to the team; as a reward, they can get tokens from the company. Employees holding onto more tokens than the founders can be a possibility; in the blockchain, this relationship is changing for the better.
Due to these reasons, I believe that this new model will change society in ways never before seen. Perhaps, like the Industrial Revolution period decades ago, models like these may lead to the rise of new social classes in the future.
Entering the blockchain industry expedites personal growth
In the digital era, it takes at least three years to accumulate tens of millions of users and raise around 10 million dollars in a B round. But with Blockchain, it might take only three months to raise 10 million dollars.
Internet companies, even large ones, will only consider expending overseas after 8–10 years of successful business. I was responsible for Wechat pay; we had only started to expend the market in Hong Kong and other parts of Asia after accumulating some levels of users.
But the Blockchain company started providing services overseas from day one. As a result of the open community, cryptocurrency made payment boundless across different countries. This greatly accelerated our path in globalization, and it greatly broadened our minds and views.
Women in the industry? Does having a tech background matter?
Because Blockchain has an entire ecosystem, employment opportunities are boundless. In terms of joining a startup, you can work at venture as a SaaS provider, media worker, service provider and much more. There are a variety of roles, so if one is in a blockchain media, technical requirement will be a lot lower.
Even if one were to work in the venture side or service provider side, a sense in marketing, however, is also needed. In addition, this industry is very new; it’s very hard to find a position with perfectly matching experiences. One will need to learn while on the job. For developers, of course, one will need solid, yet basic knowledge. If one’s research direction were to be towards cryptography, then it will go well with the position. But for most of the other roles, one needs to be quick and learn on the go.
“So one needs to develop a unique and in-depth point of view of the industry and the market. But experience in marketing and PR are good entry points to the industry.”
Of course, because of the technological nature of Blockchain, the percentile of women in this industry is still very low, even lower than ten percent, in China. But today, more and more women are getting themselves involved in this industry.
Because women are more approachable and better at communication, open positions in marketing, media, or community management all provide good opportunities for women.
Entering this industry is not difficult. However, if one really wants to be respected in this industry, one needs to make an effort. One needs to have some basic background knowledge and a good overview of the industry.
Solely working on traffic operations or PR will not get one into the core positions in this industry. So one needs to develop a unique and in-depth point of view of the industry and the market. But experience in marketing and PR are good entry points to the industry.
Experience is a double-edged sword. When we hire, we don’t look at one’s gender, we don’t just look at one’s past experience, we focus more on the candidates’ passion, ability, determination, and personality.
First of all, this industry, itself, is very new. It is hard to find someone with 5–8 years of experience in a particular role. One needs to learn and adapt very quickly in the new environment.
For people who have stayed in big and stable corporations for a long time, they might have gotten too use to that kind of environment. So they might not be mentally and physically prepared for such a fast pace and intense environment. Before you make a move, ask yourself if you are willing put yourself back to zero and build a product from 0 to 1.
Can you devote yourself 100%, even if it means sacrificing your personal lives? If you are really passionate about this industry that you are willing to take risks, willing to contribute, eager to grow fast, I think you will be a good fit for this industry.
Now, Blockchain is still in the very early stages, just like the Internet back in the early 2000’s. Many big Internet companies that started at around that time aren’t around anymore, since the ideas, infrastructures, and technologies weren’t matured yet. Because of this, everybody is exploring his or her own path to success.
This industry is extremely fast pace, so the people in it are impetuous. I really want to advise young people to hold on to their initial beliefs and intentions.
Many people think about becoming rich overnight, so their hearts can become rattled and unbalanced. Many can’t work with a calm mind. They might think: “I work more than ten hours a day and only make around 10k Chinese Yuan a month, but if I do trading, I might earn 10k daily.”
But one must know what one is doing here. Striving to earn 500,000 a year is a completely different goal than striving for 5 million in three years, or 100 million in 10 years.
If you are really optimistic, hoping to add value to yourself to create value for society, and getting better returns in order to develop yourself in this fast-growing industry, then you need to calm down, be patient, stand the loneliness, and delay your satisfaction. Let go of the ideas of getting rich quickly, and do what you should in a down-to-earth manner. You need to analyze the industry you are in, and plan ahead.
Holding on to your initial intentions is the most important aspect, especially in a super impetuous industry like Blockchain. This is also the characteristic that’s carried by a many successful people around me.
What to look for when choosing a Blockchain project to join?
Look at two things: Team and Investors. But the most important is the team. But the risk of entering an early project is always high; especially since the whole Blockchain industry is in its very early stages.
So, in addition to the company’s project application prospects, market, community, technical background, and other indicators, one should mainly see if the team has relevant experience and reliability.
Note: No compensation received from any company for this article.