Morne Olivier

Freelance Writer Specializing in Blockchain Technology

Women in Blockchain | Do You Qualify?

Women in Blockchain | Do You Qualify?

19/7/2019

#Block 4
Women in Blockchain is a Decentralized collaboration of skilled women with one common goal; to further Blockchain Technology through Education.
Disclaimer: This is not financial advice by me or any of the participants in the Series.
A few weeks ago I was asked about my motives for my “Women in Blockchain” project and rightly so. I suppose it would seem strange that some guy out of nowhere suddenly starts writing about various women in the blockchain industry.
Well, the idea came about when my wife started asking me questions about Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies. She wanted to know what my plans wherewith this seemingly unknown technology. It’s funny…. because it was difficult to explain, I couldn’t get out in words what I can get out on “paper”. To be honest, it didn’t end to well… As we have and or had different opinions about the direction of my career path. Nonetheless, it provided me with valuable lessons. For one, we must be able to take criticism and see it as a form of teaching so that we can grow from it (difficult sometimes, I know). Nothing always goes up (or positive), it’s the law of gravity and we have to be reminded of dreams vs. reality in order to move forward again.
So, I wasn’t quite prepared to go make public speeches on teaching people how Blockchain would change their lives, (note to self: practice this with your wife - I trust and respect my wife's opinion). I then thought, well who better to tell my wife or shed some light on the subject than other women.
So, besides the obvious showcasing “Women in Blockchain” I set out and asked various women in the Blockchain space to assist. My criteria were to be as diversified in culture as I could be and to end up with a result that could be shared around the world.
I put together 10 questions and thought of a format and a goal. My goal was easy, Education and a Career Path. I have two boys 13 & 11. I would like to provide for them at the very least a window to see what the Blockchain space has to offer. (“Leading a horse to water” comes to mind, but that is my bigger picture.) Looking towards the future, I would like to work with schools to introduce the concept of Blockchain and nurture engagement through an E-Learning process.
In ‘our’ series, the questions I ask are to highlight different aspects of Blockchain and inspire motivation for career paths. I want to point out that it is not just for IT, Coders or Mathematicians. There are many new job titles popping up every day. This is the turn of a new era “the 4th industrial revolution”, of course, I have to be a part of it and help those that don’t understand the magnitude of change they are currently living in and point out the opportunities that can be derived from this change.
I am currently looking for the best way to start my E-Book on the “Women in Blockchain” series. This, of course, could potentially fund many educational Blockchain projects in schools all over the world. I have an idea that the book will be a collaborative effort and summary of the answers/input I received and that this will pave the way for specific school curriculum development, steered towards financial independence. The realistic relief to Economic Burden. (Tall order, I know).
Let’s make this a #successstory #womeninblockchain for the sake of #blockchaineducation and our #childreninschool #studentsinschool #studentslookingforcareers
I hope this sheds some light on the future of my series “Women in Blockchain”
Okay let's get on with the article and with no further a due my first guest is Cecilia Wong 王 施 施 on LinkedIn
Founder of Boutique PR Consultancy yourPRstrategist.com; Content Provider for topics in AI, Blockchain, IoT, Big Data & Technology
Q&A
#Q1 Give us a summary of your background and how you got into Blockchain & Digital Currency / Cryptocurrency?
Actually, my background is very non-technical and non-financial and it is truly amazing for me to even be involved in such a new exciting technology. In a nutshell, I’ve ‘changed’ industries twice before, from being a musician to being in public relations and communications, which then led to my involvement in the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry.
When I first started my indie music label, the music industry was in the middle of an insane overhaul where almost all the rules and advice the heretofore successful veterans could give you had to be thrown out of the window. It was ground zero and nobody knew what was the right way to do anything. It was practically one of the craziest times to be in music, as the perceived value of music literally went to zero, which is, free.
Nobody wanted to pay for music and I saw talented fellow musicians who had spent tons on music degrees go in debt and working musicians take a few side jobs for extra income to continue being musicians. As I had music production skills, I was in a better position than many of my peers. I earned a rather steady income by composing and producing jingles and doing sound design for advertisements and promos, but those jobs didn’t last long against the digital landscape and actually became really scarce as music libraries took over and people only wanted to license music and not commission any new music.
I then started taking on writing and communications work (thank you plan B!) while still producing music. However, I remember after my last music gig for the Toyota 2014 campaign at the end of 2013, I made a conscious decision to take a complete break from being a musician. At that time, I was also undergoing tremendous pressure in my personal life which was instrumental in causing me to make that drastic switch. It was while writing for sport and entertainment for Jetcoin.io that I first encountered blockchain technology. You could say the learning curve was STEEP! But when I realized what it was and what it was capable of achieving, I became a blockchain convert in that instant!
I also got really excited because I realized how it could improve multiple industries by leaps and bounds, cause a financial revolution that could help the most downtrodden in society and most of all, from my personal perspective, it could also provide revenue solutions and more for starving musicians :))
#Q2 Tell us about your current position, responsibilities and some day to day activities that you look forward to?
I currently have my own boutique PR consultancy where I service clients in the blockchain industry from different parts of the world. I take on projects that I either have an affinity for or that have leaders in the projects that I have an affinity for. Projects that will improve communities and industries and people that I feel have clear visions and strong motivations. I believe that teamwork is an integral part of success in this industry and that every project only gets as good as its team. Planning communications strategies and timelines, drafting and distributing press releases and writing PR reports are some day-to-day activities. Besides the public relations side of comms, I also provide content for a couple of tech outlets which really feeds my yearning to learn more about all cutting-edge technologies that are currently ushering in Industry 4.0. I regularly attend conventions and seminars to get updated on the latest trends and technologies as well as to build my network in this industry.
#Q3 If you had to be critical about yourself, which part of your career would you like to improve on?
I think I should have been less emotional, especially with regards to my time in music. I have learned since to balance my emotions much better, working in PR :) Being overstrung is not really helpful in any kind of business. Saying the right thing to the right person at the right time sums up my PR motto. If you think about it, when you deliver a message for your client, what you say has to be customized (the right thing) for the targeted audience (the right person) at a timing that will bring optimal results (the right time). As for my current career in PR, I would say that what needs improving is optimizing all the opportunities and connections already made.
#Q4 What advice do you have for children/youth (10–18 years ) today especially young woman about the Blockchain world? How do we nurture interest in this new Technology?
For children, I think we need to first bring the level of understanding of this technology to their level before we can nurture interest. I feel that it would likely be in a way that is fundamental, like perhaps paying for something. Children understand an exchange of value so we can start from there. Older kids or teens understand the need for categorization and timelines so we can use logistics and supply chains to communicate the concept of blockchain. We have to integrate a new technology on a fundamental, daily-life level for it to be successful. More young women will take to this new technology as more opportunities emerge across industries. I would advise them to first learn about the technology and the potential disruptive force it will have on society as a whole and then explore how they can support it in a variety of ways, not necessarily always the most obvious ones.
#Q5 What kind of skill set would you be looking at in job applicants?
An ability to quickly analyze current situations and respond aptly and a genuine desire to learn as well as to help. These outweigh academic considerations for me.
#Q6 Blockchain to me is a forward-thinking force of snowballing Technology, but where I’m from a lot of people still see Bitcoin as a scam.
How do we bridge the gap between technology and people that are skeptical about it?
Education, media and regulations, these are the three areas that are fundamental in establishing any new or disruptive technology. There needs to be education about the technology across society, for example, in schools, in the workforce, and through governmental public outreach. The media should be supporting balanced and objective coverage of the technology, making a clear distinction between scam ‘blockchain’ projects and legitimate projects truly using the technology. The other distinction that should be emphasized is that blockchain technology is not synonymous with cryptocurrencies — it is just one way the technology can be used. Last but not least, regulators should engage in meaningful conversation with representative blockchain associations in their countries to draft regulations that will help oversee the development of the technology and industry, not hinder innovation and also very importantly protect the general public. I have to say Singapore’s ACCESS group, the Cryptocurrency, and Blockchain Industry Association, is doing an excellent job liaising with government regulators on the usage of the technology and cryptocurrencies in general.
#Q7 Can you please provide the details of an educational facility that is in your area or country if anyone reading this article decides to find out more about Blockchain.
I highly recommend SG Innovate, a government-initiative that partners many of the local varsities like NUS (National University of Singapore) or SIT (Singapore Institute of Technology), connects with international groundbreaking tech companies, groups, entrepreneurs and scientists, and conducts weekly workshops and seminars that are available to companies and the general public.
#Q8 What is your current opinion on the Digital Assets, (Cryptocurrency) market and share with us your opinion on where you think this technology will take us?
On digital assets, you probably already know what I’m going to talk about …… yes music! I think when music became digital and the way to purchase music was through, first the download model and then the streaming model, somehow music was valued less, a LOT less. The Music Modernization bill in 2018 passed by US Congress addresses some of these issues and tries to help songwriters get paid more but it is only barely touching the surface.
Technology, like most things, tends to go through turns and phases and while digitalizing music initially gave it a generic sheen of homogeneity — every time you (re)produce something, it was just a copy — new technologies like blockchain can, however, start to make digital goods ‘rare’. I’m talking about the tech behind CryptoKitties, which operates on Ethereum’s underlying blockchain network as a non-fungible token (NFT), unique to each CryptoKitty, using the ERC-721 token standard on Ethereum. Each and every CryptoKitty is unique and cannot be replicated without the user’s permission. Validated through the blockchain, its value can appreciate or depreciate based on the market. Can you see now how this can apply to music and literally any artistic product? Every unique music track’s ownership can be traced via smart contract on the Ethereum blockchain. This is the future of music and art — it can be a sustainable model of production and consumption, elegantly satisfying supply and demand on both ends and made possible and cost-efficiently so, on massive scales through technology.
Oh yes, and the cryptocurrency market, I almost forgot to comment on that! :) I think that currently many platforms like Coingecko and Coinmarketcap are doing a great job normalizing market volumes on their platforms, using more accurate metrics to gauge real volumes which ultimately benefits the entire cryptocurrency ecosystem on the whole, so that’s a really good thing. The market has been recovering the past couple of months and I do think it will be ready for a bull run soon but of course, that’s my personal opinion!
#Q9 What new exciting projects are you currently working on or planning?
What’s new, hmmm let me see. I’m beginning work on a new cryptocurrency exchange that has a couple of novel ideas which are very good for the community. That’s one. The other one involves setting up a podcast media site which has been in the works for a little while but currently stalling because my schedule is getting in the way of its development, unfortunately. I would really like to get on it because besides featuring blockchain, which is what I call my ‘pet tech’, it’s also going to feature my other passion, music!!! I shall not divulge too much now except to say stay tuned ;)
#Q10 What is your favorite Blockchain project and why?
My favorite blockchain projects, not just one! They, of course, include the ones I provide PR services for, as of course I only pick projects I have an affinity for or whose founders or team I have an affinity for because I see these two factors as being integral to the ultimate success of the projects. I’ll also reserve a spot or two for the music blockchain project/s that eventually come/s close to the one I envision!
Morne: Whooh. You know, true passion always strikes my emotions. It is rare that we have a chance to meet or pass by someone whom we know we should share a passionate part of our lives with. Cecilia, I am glad I am sharing a part of my life with you.
You are dedicated, (the right thing), you are yourself (the right person), and your timing is impeccable (the right time). I would love to hear some of your music artistry and yes creativity is a big part of my life too, (validating/timestamping our work on the blockchain), decentralized in our control with no third party cut, is a big part of what the future holds for us.
I think we have a podcast series in the making if you are looking for ideas ;)
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Well if that didn’t inspire you {and not even specifically about blockchain but the general possibilities when you follow your passions (when you figure them out)}, then here is another outstanding lady in the Blockchain space.
Director of Sales Development and Media Relationships at Insolar Blockchain, Moscow, Russian Federation
Q&A
#Q1 Give us a summary of your background and how you got into Blockchain & Digital Currency / Cryptocurrency?
Personally, I have a very diverse background. I have worked in several different countries and fields. Regarding blockchain, I should note that I do not have a technical degree — I‘m a political scientist. In our blockchain startup, I am responsible for PR and Partnerships. In this regard, I have experience ranging from event management, marketing, and business development, to political PR, branding, and agency experience. Of course, in this job, you do have to know about the tech — that’s our bread and butter in terms of content. But you learn by doing, and especially in blockchain, this is normal, because the tech is developing so fast that everyone has the same chance to dive in if they want to. My interest in Blockchain arose when I was living in China, and as I began to pay more attention to it, opportunities started to pop up.
#Q2 Tell us about your current position, responsibilities and some day to day activities that you look forward to?
My mix of daily activities is usually as many-sided as my work experience which I have just described. So for example, like today, I can spend a day in several calls with clients and partners, telling them about our flagship products which are as diverse as a transactive energy system that empowers renewable energy use and storage, to optimizing supply chain management. I may also act as a consultant and recommend other use case solutions to partners in order to meet their most pressing needs. In the course of these calls — which can be in English, German, or Russian — because blockchain is universal and borderless, and so is demand — I present the products, explain technical features and innovations, and answer questions about how we compare with the competition and what value we can add to conventional ERP solutions that do not use blockchain. Then I will add chapters to our PR strategy and topics to our content calendar, and correspond with journalists to coordinate and plan media coverage. I select and plan how to profit from conferences in terms of branding and growing our partner network. I particularly enjoy when I can make the time to deep dive into a topic — such as an interview like this one. I reach a meditative state of flow and get inspired by the impact of what we are creating; we are in fact writing history. However, more often than not, I juggle several things at the same time, because work at startups is intense. So if you can multitask and do well with intense adrenaline, that’s definitely an advantage. As is typical for startups, we are setting the course and I am empowered to contribute a lot to the direction the company is taking — that takes initiative and commitment, and it’s exciting.
#Q3 If you had to be critical about yourself, which part of your career would you like to improve on?
Even though experience shows that you can become acquainted and comfortable with the tech without having an engineer’s background, of course, you can never know enough about it. While the fact that it is constantly developing is an opportunity to jump in, it also means that you have to constantly keep on top of it. So you have to follow the media, your competitors, market trends, and of course what the developers in your own company are doing. While you do that in every business, here, things are changing fast because the field is not yet established. That’s part of the juggling I mentioned, which is tough but also invigorating. Besides this, I would like to make more time for training — and if you look, there are a lot of them out there, in spite of the fact that many people not directly involved in it still wonder what blockchain is. If I had enough time, I’d get into programming myself — both because I’m curious about it per se and because I’m sure it’d give me added insight into the tech.
#Q4 What advice do you have for children/youth (10–18 years ) today especially young women about the Blockchain world? How do we nurture interest in this new Technology?
First of all, forget any cliches about this field being reserved for guys. Anyone can do it — and we do. Granted, when my company first started, the men were in the majority, because they still generally outnumber female programmers. However, as we are growing as a startup, more and more women are joining our ranks — both among our engineers and the non-technical experts. That is partially due to our goals as an equal opportunity employer, but also because there are a lot of clever women out there who are discovering that blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT) really can — and will — change the world for the better, and that the perfection and widespread use of the tech is inevitable, exciting developments that are worthy of their attention. Personally, I think it’s exciting to be on the cutting edge of an up-and-coming tech that will have a far-reaching impact on the economy and the way work is done worldwide. How we can nurture interest? I’d say, by getting beyond the hype and showing youth the concrete impact that DLT can have to really help people. Example: Imagine that the pharma industry creates crucial drugs to save lives and that DLT can be used to improve supply chain processes such that it can ensure the authenticity of medication, optimize its distribution and availability, and maintain quality standards to secure health.
#Q5 What kind of skill set would you be looking at in job applicants?
The answer here depends partially upon what particular function someone wants to work in within the blockchain world. However, considering what I have already said since this industry is so new and developing, you need to be a person who is on your toes — a pioneering spirit who does not give up. Above all, you need to be brave and enduring. I find that these are qualities that a lot of women have. Chances are, you’re going to be working in a startup, with all the opportunities and stresses that that involves. And even if you are part of an established company that’s experimenting with DLT, you’ll either be in the Innovation Department (read — you’ll need to be an expert on everything) or you’re in IT, and then you’re also either in IT innovation or you may be competing with skeptical representatives of the legacy IT establishment. Either way, you’ll need to be an enthusiast and a visionary who is ready to roll up their shirtsleeves and get down to business — i.e. to be perpetually perfecting the products and convincing the skeptics, but also continually developing and improving yourself. You’ll need to be a go-getter and have charisma and believe in what you do. Luckily, this tech is exciting enough that that comes pretty easy.
#Q6 Blockchain to me is a forward-thinking force of snowballing Technology, but where I’m from a lot of people still see Bitcoin as a scam.
How do we bridge the gap between technology and people that are skeptical about it?
It’s important to realize that the first generation of crypto blockchain tech, as represented by Bitcoin, has almost nothing to do with the kind of 4th generation DLT technology that is currently being developed and which will be revolutionary in terms of adding value to enterprise and business processes. 
At the same time, I think that the discussion and even controversy around cryptocurrencies will sporn the development of comprehensive regulation which, even though it will limit the anonymity and autonomy of crypto, will ultimately enable DLT generally to make its use widespread.
In terms of bridging the gap between the blockchain tech generations to promote acceptance, people should know that, whether its generation 1 (Crypto) or 4 (Enterprise), the tech has these benefits in common, which enterprise DLT is also making accessible to practically unlimited use cases:
Transparency,
Producing instant trust,
Immutability of records/ audibility
Distributed info access/unlocking siloed information
Optimizing processes by removing unnecessary intermediaries.
This translates into a means of saving lots of money and improving people’s well-being, ensuring their rights, and preventing fraud.
#Q7 Can you please provide the details of an educational facility that is in your area or country if anyone reading this article decides to find out more about Blockchain.
One of the great things about blockchain is that it is part of the borderless digital age. It’s not for nothing that we’ve all heard of “digital nomads”, and it doesn’t really matter where you are if you want to learn about or get into blockchain. While there are local differences in terms of what governments allow — especially concerning cryptocurrencies — you can use online educational offers on blockchain practically wherever you are, and the offer is vast, with much being free or very inexpensive. Personally, I like what the Linux Foundation is offering.
#Q8 What is your current opinion on the Digital Assets, (Cryptocurrency) market and share with us your opinion on where you think this technology will take us?
We all know that digital assets fluctuate considerably. After Bitcoin crashed, a lot of people thought that that is the end of crypto. As we can see, Bitcoin is recovering. I think that, as crypto becomes regulated — and that will happen — it will become more stable and also enable completely new developments. I can imagine that it will promote borderless trade with no foreign currency rate losses, as well as an increased exchange between people as catalyzed by this, and more equality in terms of world economic development and production labor.
#Q9 What new exciting projects are you currently working on or planning?
Our Transactive Energy System (TES) is really exciting. That’s because it can have a major impact in promoting the energy transition and fighting climate change.
It enables the use and storage of renewable energy through a prosumer scheme which employs EV charging. Overall, the system strengthens utilities by increasing grid resilience and efficiency though smart-demand mechanisms, involving private and enterprise microgrids. Energy can be more effectively distributed and used in peak demand times.
Energy efficiency, supply, and availability are optimized, power outages and greenhouse gases are reduced.
We have already won several prizes for this product, including from the German Energy Agency (dena), the World Energy Council (WEC), and the UK Energy Innovation Awards (EIC).
#Q10 What is your favorite Blockchain project and why?
Insolar is my favorite project because I really believe that we are creating something which has no parallel and is directed at maximizing the user benefits which DLT has to offer for revolutionizing business. It does this by
A) offering those hitherto missing features really needed for real-world use of DLT in enterprise applications, and
B) making the tech practically available to as wide a user circle as possible.
We do the latter by writing open-source code, using the most popular and accessible programming languages (Java & Golang), offering a layered architecture so you can build dApps on top of the platform — on the business logic layer — without having knowledge of blockchain, being interoperable with other platforms and compatible with legacy IT (no risk of vendor block), and freeing people of the requirement to use your own node.
Morne: Double Whoooh. First I have to agree, Insolar has for a long time now been a first choice Blockchain developer for me and this I have compared in previous articles. Insolar a Web 4 development, with an immaculately stable (W) chart in my view has stuck to the development of their Technology and invested in the people who work for them rather than join the hype to try and hike their price. It is insane that you can buy INS/USD “stock” now 18/07/2019 for $0.30
I knew that I would be in for an amazing conversation with you Lesley, your knowledge on Blockchain and Business acquisition thereof puts our educational goal on a whole new level.
One aspect that has stood out in all the previous articles and this one is that anyone can enter this space, with any background. If you are willing to work, research to get the knowledge, (for free) and adapt to become a real borderless team member, the opportunities will be endless.
Thank you, Lesley, for your participation, you can only be an inspiration to other women out there to succeed on equal terms.
It is this message that I want to leave you and businesses out therewith:
Times have changed! #Blockchain
“The right tool is being developed. The right Business or Person will use it. They will leap in the process.“
Woman in Blockchain and careers within
We will do this again next week and remember after the fifth article I will be launching my first book on Woman in Blockchain with some surprises.
Regards
Morne
#morneolivier #womeninblockchain #girlswhocode # tokenwomen #blockchainpci #pci
In case you missed it my last Article.
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UPDATED 11/04/19


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