Morne Olivier

Freelance Writer Specializing in Blockchain Technology

Women in Blockchain | The Value Chain

28/08/2019
A new phrase I recently picked up on was Human Centricity #HX (“X” for Experience). It “Ambrella’s” Customer #CX, Workforce #WX, and Partner #PX eXperience according to Deloitte with Lindsay Stein’s article Deloitte Digital shines light on the power of human values.
Well at the heart of every business, team, relationship lies the human element and no matter how hard we try for Technology to take over we will never be able to discontinue individual emotions. Emotions that influence business decisions, drive marketing and sales, look at individual empowerment — emotions that keep us from becoming successful, that break down communication or deliberately undermines good intentions.
 Where am I going with this?
Working in Retail has taught me a lot of disciplines. Customers are not the easiest at times and in the last few years, Customer Centricity has been a big driver of most big retailers. From a retailer’s perspective, customers feet to the door is measured in cost value by maximum cost spent to get the customer to the door, against least costs spent keeping the customer inside the door, (Customer Value/Experience vs Relationship building, inside the shop). There are obvious demographics to take into consideration like age, gender, and profile for targeting product, but the bottom line still stays the same:
When you get your customers in your space, (shop, website, APP), the hard work starts. Remember it cost you the most to get them there, now the work starts to keep them with you. For some this is easy, and great leadership with the right tone has a spillover effect that is hard to beat. When the team has bought the concept, the rest is history and you will have a customer base not only returning but growing because word of mouth is a truly trusted justification of human value.
Blockchain Technology is no different! Blockchain can come up with the most amazing solutions, but if the Human Centricity does not buy into it, it will struggle to come into being like we know it should. Here I am a firm believer in the “Organic” process and letting articles like my series about “Women in Blockchain” educate us on the different facets of the Blockchain Industry and most importantly about the Women that live inside this workspace. This realism invites us all to take stock of where we are and where we want to go!
I hope you find that inspiration in the paragraphs as I do!
Q&A
#1 Give us a summary of your background and how you got into Blockchain & Digital Currency / Cryptocurrency?
It wasn’t in your usual way I don’t think.
I quickly realized the benefit of crypto to the billions of unbanked around the world — particularly women.
And I was shocked how few women owned cryptos, however, this wasn’t a surprise given the pay gap. In my own country, a woman typically retires with $1 million less superannuation money than men.
I immediately became interested in creating alternative systems of value so that women — particularly women forced out of the conventional economy because of the devaluation of motherhood or gender based violence — could exchange goods and services with each other with their own systems of value. That’s one of the reasons behnd why I am creating www.learningtobirth.com
#2 Tell us about your current position, responsibilities and some day to day activities that you look forward to?
Currently, when not working on my own startup, I am focussing on assisting blockchain and cryptocurrency-based scale-ups to improve their customer experience.
In mid 2018, when the first platforms started being open to customers after ICO it became very clear that they were experiencing a lot of churn.
Nor were they seeing the levels of adoption they anticipated during ICO.
I’ve been building online communities for 20 years and I’ve always been a futurist. I was a national editor of a UN award-winning project for community engagement in the early 2000s when I identified that the future was platforms where people could post their own content. As in, the platform that offers the most opportunities for engagement always wins.
Since then, I’ve always made it my life’s work to ensure that people have as many opportunities as possible for expressing themselves openly and authentically. I did that in my work creating WIBI.io — women in blockchain impact group — at a time when women in crypto were often trolled on Telegram; and I offer solutions to crypto platforms to help them do that in my consultant work.
Platforms that put their user first and centre — and honour their individual desires for self-expression and fulfilment — are creating a framework for future loyalty, profit and growth. Crypto projects need to get their heads around that.
From what I’ve seen, most crypto projects have awesome outsourced social media because marketing crypto has been a major way of maintaining the projection of value around the crypto that was used to fund development.
But what about the other touchpoints? Whilst crypto platforms have marketing advisors, I’m yet to see a platform with a customer experience advisor other than myself.
Marketing is the focus on on outward bound attention — how do we look? Customer experience is more about the internal experience of the user as they come into contact with your touchpoints across web, apps, articles, emails and social media.
Pumping out marketing may have worked for schilling the token during ICO but the users of a platform aren’t interested in your external marketing, they are only interested in the internal experience of your platform. It’s all about them.
It’s the difference between speaking AT someone, and having a conversation of mutual interest and engagement. If it doesn’t feel good, the customer will leave. Churn is especially a challenge in an industry like blockchain that attracts early adopters — early adopters easily lose interest for the next big idea. So projects need to anticipate that and pull something extraordinary out of the hat to keep engagement.
For your token to mean something, the platform has to mean something to the people to use it. It has to connect with them emotionally. Emotions are something that tech isn’t always great at doing.
The tech projects that marry emotions with the tech are the success stories. Unicorns are rare mythical creatures — and they are an image that speaks to our hearts, not just our minds.
Another problem I am seeing is that projects still seem to have teams full of men.
This is a problem, because if their customers are going to be 50% women — of the platform, if not the crypto — then they need to have women on their team to help guide them build it from a customer experience perspective because women often have very different needs and experiences to men due to our different life pressures.
Most aspects of our society are built with a working unmarried white male as their ideal user. As soon as you come from a background different to this, and you try to interact with a social or economic institution, you experience friction.
Platforms that truly are a success aim to remove that friction for everybody. That’s what makes them so popular across demographics and fuels widespread adoption.
If crypto is to be truly be decentralized, we have to reimagine what our ideal user’s needs are — and that means inclusion and diversity from the ground up on teams.
Don’t know how to do that? Come talk to me.
Most non-crypto platforms realize that marketing has to happen from a place of values. You have to know who your customer is and what they value. And then you give them what they value. It’s called product-market fit.
And this thing of value is usually an experience — an activity that also involves feeling. This is called customer experience principles.
Are crypto platforms really thinking beyond the marketing, beyond the tech development, and forward to the experience of the end-user? In human centred design, it’s the experience of the end-user that should drive everything else.
The difference between a platform that stays connected to the values of its users and one that does not is the difference between a startup success story and a platform that’s about to be disrupted even as its being launched.
People's values are changing.
Of course, we see people’s values change over time. Ten years ago, talking about sustainability, or even inclusion or accessibility was like beating your head on a wall. I know, because I used to do advocacy for environmental organizations on the streets.
Now, with social media, and the ability (and the desire) for people to tell authentic stories about their real experience, people have been able to tell their truth and to feel heard.
The listeners have had the chance to feel empathy, get educated, and change perspectives, too. It’s been a path of mutual growth, and social maturing.
So we are seeing the change in values, and the transmission of new values, happen a lot more rapidly, all because of social media.
Of course, animals, wildlife, trees, oceans, and air can’t tell their stories yet via social media — that is going to require a whole other level of human empathy, but we’ll get there!
So now we have transcended just our own feeling values, and we want marketing that talks to universal and transcended values too — like inclusion, accessibility, and sustainability.
This was really the origins of the intentions behind crypto — decentralization — and I believe blockchain and crypto will get us there in the end.
I really am on a mission to talk to as many crypto and blockchain founders as I possibly can to find out what values their ideal users actually have, and help them represent those values on their website and touchpoints.
Their ideal user should immediately understand a platform’s unique value proposition and how it relates to them personally, and have that experience recreated across all their touchpoints.
And this transmission of values should happen in five seconds or less of coming in contact with a touchpoint.
This is the best insurance founders have to keep and maintain the value of their token, as it will keep attracting new users who want the exact rewards their platform offers — and there will be less confusion and disappointment leading to churt — it’s about matching your message to your markets.
I invite any founder wanting to find out how well the values of their UVP are represented in their branding and touchpoints to reach out of me and have me help them. They can learn more about my service at strategygoto.com.
#3 If you had to be critical about yourself, which part of your career would you like to improve on?
I look at all of life as a learning experience. However, looking back, I think that there were many more opportunties to listen to my heart, and trust the voice inside — my own values. Time and time again, that voice inside about where the world is going has been proven right. And so I make the commitment to myself now, with platforms like learningtobirth.com, to always listen to my heart and act from there.
I wrote about what I see for the future in this article here:
#4 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?
Well, I think it is fantastic how children are getting their entrepreneurial spirit back again and I like hearing about all these young founders of crypto. I wrote an article on Thrive Global about it.
#5 What kind of skill set would you be looking at in job applicants?
I look at how quickly someone can learn and how adaptable their skillset is. Do they want to be there or not? If you want to be there, you will acquire the skills so you can stay. In other words, I look for a value match. If there is no value match, then no matter what skills they have they will never be a fit.
#6 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?
I would ask, how do we present ourselves to each other and the world in the blockchain industry?
Do we present ourselves as people of integrity? Authenticity? And responsibilty?
Or, when our projects fail, because we didn’t do an accurate product-market fit, do we just move onto the next ill-thought out project, and schill that, too?
If people see blockchain professionals presenting themselves with integrity again and again — and admitting our gaps in knowledge — rather than bombastically promoting our own projects and demanding institutional investment — perspective will change to fit the reality.
Another aspect of this schism between how people see crypto from inside and outside of the industry realates to the bell-curve of early adopters, early majority, late majority, and late adopters. And this relates to the interest/awareness phase of the marketing funnel.
It is very difficult to convince someone to buy something they don’t think they need. The majority of people today don’t yet know they need crypto because they don’t know they need decentralization just like they don’t realise big data just like big government isn’t safe.
The best way to demonstrate the benefits of decentralization is to practice what we preach.
They say charity starts at home. So should decentralization. Platforms need to look out how their projects are run, and how revenue amongst the team gets spread.
At the turn of the 1900s, a person with a horse and cart wouldn’t have known why they needed a car until they saw other people get to where they wanted to faster, and have more opportunities and experiences because of that. They could buy better things cheaper. They could get better jobs that paid higher. They could visit more friends more often.
The world changed because people could do new things with cars.
The same will happen with crypto. People with crypto will be able to do new things people with no crypto won’t be able to and those mid to late adopters will finally understand why they should want it and so they will get it. And it won’t be Bitcoin, no. I don’t think so.
The process will happen naturally and doesn’t need to be forced. But it’s hard to demonstrate how decentralization will benefit people if our own projects aren’t decentralized. Cryptos that are mostly held by a small group of people regardless of the technology involved are decentralized in name only.
#7 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.
Well, if you are a woman in blockchain you can come join WIBI.io on Telegram. At the beginning, I had a lot of plans for WIBI.io. However, it’s taken its own path, and settled into being a chat group, really, to support women founders in blockchain increase their entrepreneurial impact in a safe place to share. Any woman from around the world can join. Probably the fastest way is to message me, as I don’t always have time to check the applications on the site. My friend Amy-Rose Goodey is building a platform, Future Blackboard, to educate the public about disruptive technology like blockchain and AI too.
#Morne
As this series has grown I have realized how important it is to connect to people and start-up borderless relationships in human value. Akasha has become just that for me, a human value. Thank you for sharing with us your life in the Blockchain space, I have no doubt that we will meet on new projects in the future.
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Q&A
#1 Give us a summary of your background and how you got into Blockchain & Digital Currency / Cryptocurrency?
You all may know me as the youngest ICO, IEO and STO Advisor in the crypto scene at the moment, as well as an influential Article Author and Blockchain Evangelist, or simply as Europe’s #1 Token Model Architect and Due Diligence Expert. I had to go a long way to make it to this point, and I am still not settling down, so let us take a brief look at how my interest in the blockchain space sparked.
I myself started out as a startupper for an AI and IT company, based on blockchain technology applied to public infrastructure. Among other things, I have organized a private pre-sale of 1 million USD for tokens previously issued by a business that had launched a large-scale ICO. I sensed the upcoming acquisition of such a business by the so-called “unicorn,” and was able to function as a trusted middlewoman for both the buyers and the sellers, much like in an OTC market.
Also, as young as when I was 18 years old, I have organized the first-ever private event on crypto with accredited speakers in Milan. It was privately held by the Kairos Society, which holds a VC fund and connects the future leaders and most bright minds in the innovation field. As a “Future Leader of the World”, as I have been described by the only Italian member of the Obama Foundation, I have participated in the first wave of this 21st century Innovation and Digital Era frenzy, and am now fully engaged in using my communication talent and very broad network in evangelizing the potential of blockchain technologies and cryptocurrencies in changing our society. In fact, I am honored to say that I am a member of three blockchain associations, among which is The Blockchain Council and the Women in Blockchain of NYC, and am also listed in the IMMO High1000 as one of its first 102 members and most influential blockchain-related figures.
I remember when I was a regular college student and still am amused at times when watching recordings of my keynote speeches. Good thing is that this is just the beginning of my career in the blockchain industry!
#2 Tell us about your current position, responsibilities and some day to day activities that you look forward to?
My daily activity is mainly devoted to Blackchain International Ltd., a Blockchain-related consultancy firm of which I am a shareholder and active member of the core team. Blackchain was originally founded by my two business partners, Giovanni Casagrande and Giacomo Arcaro, respectively n. 1 and 2 in the World for Growth Hacking and (Black) Marketing advisory for Blockchain-based projects. We together constitute a trio of Advisors, in which I cover the role of n. 1 expert in Europe for Business Plan & Financial Valuation (generally speaking, this includes Due Diligence matters), Token Economics & Token Model for Blockchain-based projects.
There is no typical workday in my life with Blackchain. In fact, advisory life is so full of unexpected events and travels, popping up last minute in my schedule, that there is no “typical” humdrum, which is one of the aspects that I most enjoy about what I do.
#3 If you had to be critical about yourself, which part of your career would you like to improve on?
My biggest gap I have actually noticed right at the moment when I have started to work with Giacomo and Giovanni: before getting to know their amazing self-development techniques for professionals, I was just another expert trying to achieve noticeability in the Blockchain and crypto scene, and no one really saw the intrinsic and unique value that I could offer to the industry. I would have never reached my extremely pretentious career goals, some of which I am still working on, of course, if not taking into account the importance of personal branding and growth hacking on myself.
We do not tend to think we are our own brands’ ambassadors. That is why we have to refine and improve our own positioning in the minds of others, allocating to the implementation of personal branding strategies part of our time and money, like a business manager would spend that time and money in trying to get a positive return on investment.
In the Blockchain and crypto world in particular, given the common hype sentiment and speed at which events occur, it is not enough to think that what we are waiting for will come to us if we stick to the plans, working hard and reaching the highest level of knowledge on our topics of interest. This is a traditional vision, anchored to professional models of the past decade, that does not exist in the innovation field: it is too risky to be applied to this field, as it leverages on social schemes that, even when found, cannot be considered as stable.
On the contrary, personal branding is based on you as an individual and on the value of your personal assets; it characterizes you in any context you happen to be in. You may have to adapt yourself to the specific context, but the credibility that you have gained will ease the job.
Indeed, the reason behind the high level of credibility I have, even though I am only 21 lies in my personal brand, that is so strong enough to overpass my age: people do not ask me anymore how old I am, as over time this aspect, formerly considered as a weakness, turned out to be a valuable asset.
Every day I find some improvements to achieve on myself and my own public image, and that is what I work towards, between one meeting and the other.
#4 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?
To dream and set high goals for one’s self is the best advice that I can give to children and youth out there. Fall asleep to the thought of where you would like to get in life and wake up to start planning how to get there. Of course, this takes determination and a good amount of disillusioned optimism, as much as it may seem to be an oxymoron.
Also, my next advice is to never stop being curious, because curiosity must not just be seen as a little kids’ attribute. Curiosity is what pushes us to see beyond, allowing us youngsters to reinvent ourselves and come up with specialized professional roles that still today feel so new because they are linked to upcoming technologies, such as IoT, AI, Big Data and Blockchain.
In a few words, we need to be able to mentally adapt to the new and increasingly strict demands of a constantly evolving society. Think outside the box, my friends!
In particular, talking to the young women, I would like to remark that all the technological concepts discussed today, see and can see women not just as simple users, but as inventors and creators. Therefore, I believe technology can play a very important role in social inclusion. My experience as a successful self-entrepreneur in this field proves that women have tremendous potential, which cannot go unnoticed anymore.
As time goes by, I do understand why bonding with other female leaders is important. Sometimes, the gender bias can be hard to handle and having all these other very influential women around really helps me to keep in mind that my gender is not and never will be a limit to my career goals.
#5 What kind of skill set would you be looking at in job applicants?
I’m mostly interested in the applicants’ ability to valuably work in a team, because a lot of the times, when you look at a regular CV, the applicants’ unique traits are not properly enhanced, and, even if there is some track record attached, it might not be fully representative. Having said that, I am always looking for aspiring innovators that, no matter how highly capable, are humble enough to keep looking for new and unknown things to learn. In terms of what a potentially successful colleague should have, I have chosen to remark the following four characteristics:
Must be inspired, passionate, talented, and aggressive;
Must have a good understanding of what they are getting themselves into and why;
Must have peculiar and distinctive expertise, as well as more generic expertise in fields outside of crypto that is strictly related to his/her specialty;
Must be doing it for the long term, and not for a short-term experience.
#6 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?
While some scams have been hard to spot, and only done after they absconded with the money, many of the scam ICOs that have raised millions had so many red flags and yet managed to get away with it.
Lack of due diligence by investors can be surprising at times. I would have never imagined how insanely big of a number of people out there are willing to invest extraordinarily high amounts of money based on just promises of quick, not guaranteed returns. One of the main advantages of token offerings, which is that they grant access to the market to every individual investor, may turn into a disadvantage. In fact, it means that even those who know nothing about money, cryptocurrencies, or trading, also have access to this environment and some more naive may invest significant amounts on empty promises, most likely losing all their money at the end. There is money to be made here, but it should be ruled by the value of the team, product, and the project as a whole, not by the hype sentiment alone. This is where tokenomics really comes into play, explaining to the public of investors exactly how the tokens will increasingly gain value over time.
Here are a few insights to keep in mind next time you’re looking to invest in any token offering:
Don’t fully trust communities on social media
 A big, active community signals that the project may go up in value, but, just because a lot of people believe that a given project is awesome, does not mean that is not a scam. Many of the teams behind the projects hire external firms for marketing, which, in fact, may do a great job in marketing the project without knowing it’s a scam.
Check the project team
 First thing, reverse search photos of the team. You can use Google, TinEye, or choose any other from a wide variety of websites and extensions. Secondly, do some background research on the team members and make sure that companies listed in their bio experience are real. If no specific companies are named, then it’s a red flag.
Make sure the idea on which the project is based makes sense
Evaluate everything on the due diligence checklist: whitepaper, value offering, monetary policy, security, team. While doing so, keep in mind that just because the technology could do something, does not mean that human actors in the ecosystem will allow it.
#7 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.
Here, in Italy, there is many local Blockchain education networks on a mission to educate and empower tech-enthusiasts excited about blockchain technology. These networks have to be sought for locally and are usually made up of students and alumni who are creating bitcoin and blockchain clubs on their academic campuses, thus presenting to any newcomer the opportunity to attend university courses, when available (PoliMi and Bocconi, for example, in Milan). By exploring this socioeconomic experiment within the safety of their peers, students build new expectations and innovations. In aggregate, the combined effort of all these clubs creates a rich web of interconnected blockchain hubs across the country. I myself do my best to help create an impactful large-scale evolution through local initiatives.
#8 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?
I think that Bitcoin is the new “e-gold” of the digital era and that, when all the speculative trends will cease to make its price so volatile, it will become the risk-free asset that we all will all use to diversify out crypto wallets. I also feel like Bitcoin is still underestimated. In fact, if the percentage of Bitcoin in relation to the masses of global under-management assets went up just by only 2% right now, Bitcoin itself could have a potential upside of up to 400.000USD. Also, in technology the law holds that the computing power of the network will triple each year for the next 25 years, thus accelerating the mining process through which we are trying to set a new gold standard for all other cryptocurrencies, including the new tokens issued these days. Can alternative coins and tokens replace Satoshi’s project? No way. We cannot forget that no causal link is two-way and that in this case, Bitcoin is Big Bang of the crypto universe.
When asked about the recent crash of the crypto market, I always think back to the “.dotcom” bubble that the Internet experienced around 1999, and that, when it popped, traumatized a generation of investors; well, the Internet is still to this day alive and no one can deny that it has indeed become central in our economy and lifestyle. With that in mind, one must say that cryptocurrency markets cannot be about this quarter’s prices, this year’s most profitable coins, or this or that company’s strategic moves. I believe that the confidence that one has in crypto must trace to a conviction concerning the blockchain technology itself and its fascinating applications in every aspect of our every-day life, which should be enough to embrace the calculated risk of investing money and energy in helping the crypto-assets market stabilize in the long run.
Lastly, the future looks quite promising for blockchain technology. We expect to see a great deal of innovation far into the future. Blockchain began as a decentralized ledger system to record financial transactions and it would not be surprising to witness the most useful implementation in fields as diverse as A.I. and IoT. Immutability, speed, security and processing power of blockchain will be integral in the development of associated technologies. For blockchain adoption to fully happen, the industry will need to better educate on the possibilities of what we can do with blockchain outside of financial transactions.
#9 What new exciting projects are you currently working on or planning?
My colleagues and I have by now reached such a level of credibility and connections that we can start beating the stigma on Blockchain and advisory, thus selecting the most promising projects with a focus on Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East, where we follow a “blue ocean” strategy, but always keeping an eye on Europe as well.
The most promising projects are also the ones that are most challenging, and that is why we have learned to tackle them with the support of a board of strategic partners taking care of Investor Relations, Legal matters and the Development of the Blockchain and/or tokens.
The biggest projects that we are currently working at are in the Fashion & Luxury, AgriFood, iGaming, Genomics, Fine Arts, and Plastic Recycling industries.
#10 What is your favorite Blockchain project and why?
Since, among other things, I have a passion for social impact and corporate sustainability, every day trying to respect the basic values of a new eco-friendly culture, I would like to mention the EarthBi project. This business fits perfectly into the sustainable economic model of the future, using Blockchain technology both for transparency and token-based behavior incentivization purposes. The Benefit Corporate Bio Valore World S.p.A or BVW, which promotes and develops EarthBi, is a new Italian company that, thanks to the combination of its proprietary bioplastic production implants and the innovative blockchain technology, aims to reduce the pollution caused by plastic materials. In fact, EarthBi bioplastics are realized using patented and innovative production processes, which include the use of the blockchain to ensure transparency in the traceability of the entire production chain. Not only that, but EarthBi also opts for the digital world by creating ERA, its own ERC-20 utility token and launching its own IEO “Initial Exchange Offering”. EarthBi thanks to its ERA utility token will allow buyers to obtain more quantities of raw material and/or discounts on design products made out of bioplastics, thus helping mass adoption of such materials.
Blockchains, smart contracts, and token inventive mechanisms have great potential to facilitate a more sustainable world. However, change does not happen by itself. Technology is just a tool, and, only if applied correctly, will it facilitate smart choices by producers and consumers, governments and corporations. However, it is still in its early stages, with many technological, legal and network effect challenges ahead. Furthermore, token engineering is a new domain, as most tokens today only represent assets, but the few experts in the field are slowly raising awareness on the fact that tokenized structures need to be translated into everyday applicability for the improvement of local livelihoods, taking a range of different agents into account and including existing physical and social infrastructure.
#Morne
I am never seized to be amazed, thank you, Eloisa, for you incredible inspiring contribution. I originally started out the article with the concept of human value. This remains the topic, but you've reminded me to continuously grow one's own values in order to help uplift the values of those around us!
Whooh what an amazing article (not mine) from the inspiring women that shared their values with us. Some more articles will follow, but the book, (summary of the first 5) will take my next focus in this series.
Thank you to all the contributors so far, it has been inspiring to have worked with you all.
Morne Olivier #morneolivier
Freelance Writer | Content Creation and Digital Media Marketing for Blockchain Technology | Let me help you Create Content








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