Entrepreneurship, Technology

Why Regulation Would Help Bitcoin

A lot has happened in the world of Bitcoin this week. The Chair of the Federal Reserve recently gave the opinion that the Fed does not have the authority to regulate Bitcoin because the technology is not tied to the financial institutions under its jurisdiction. While the Fed may not have jurisdiction over this new platform, if Bitcoin is to serve a long-term proposition, it is necessary to establish a regulatory framework in order to protect stakeholders. Hopefully the loss of about half a billion dollars from Mt. Gox will inspire some global action. While many in the Bitcoin industry (if we can call it that, yet) have assured the community that they believe in “transparent, thoughtful, and comprehensive consumer protection measures,” we have learned throughout our world history that financial services companies (particularly those operating on a global scale) are not able to sufficiently self-regulate.

The reality is that this is a huge opportunity for those in the Bitcoin space rather than an impediment. If the goal is to push Bitcoin mainstream, then it is necessary for the platform to get legitimate recognition from the major global economic drivers. This means enacting certain consumer protections that are not present in the system today. This is a rapidly evolving space that leaders like the Bitcoin Foundation can play a significant role in.

What are your thoughts on the future of Bitcoin? Tweet at me with #bitcoin, and let me know!

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Community, Leadership

Stop What You’re Doing and Listen…

Screen shot 2014-02-17 at 12.22.53 PM… to yourself. When was the last time you paused from your daily routine to do a little self-reflection? There has been a plethora of research done on the chemistry of creativity, and there are practical benefits to self-reflection. As a leader, your self-reflection can mean the difference between your team’s success and failure. These are a few steps I take when I consciously self-reflect, though each person’s experience is unique and you should identify your own process:

1. Get in a comfortable and relaxing environment. Concentration requires a particular type of environment, so make sure you’re in it before self-reflecting. It could be something as simple as a quiet room alone, or as complex as lying down in bed at precisely 11:15pm with your favorite song on.

2. Allow your mind to wander and allow issues to rise to the top. Remember all those times you tried to remember where you left your wallet or tried to remember if you actually locked your car on your way in to the store, only to remember later when you were doing something totally unrelated? In your relaxed state, let your mind bring the most pressing matters to you. Don’t force an issue that isn’t coming to you immediately.

3. Obtain clarity on an issue and ask focused questions. Once you begin to reflect on something in particular, ask pointed questions: “Why did they react that way? What information did we miss? What are possible next steps?” This is the core of your self-reflection. But you still have on more step to go.

4. Ask, “So What?” Now that you have the answers to these questions about a particular topic, what are you going to do about it? What actions do you need to take as a result of this realization? Write it down, and actually do something about it!

How has self-reflection helped you? Tweet at me with #reflect, and let me know!

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Entrepreneurship

B2B v. B2C v. …..

In a recent conversation I was having with a NYC early-stage VC, the conversation turned to a topic I quite honestly hadn’t thought much about: “In the near future, do you think B2B or B2C will be bigger?” After giving my reply, he thought that my view of B2B was contradictory to the general viewpoint of the venture capital industry. Thinking back, however, perhaps what I had a greater difficulty with was the premise of the question itself.

Traditionally, we have seen a lot companies serving businesses (broadly defined) and consumers. Now, however, we have some terrific large and small companies serving developers, an entirely new customer of the 21st century. One customer that continues to be underserved is governments, especially “non-federal” ones. I call this group SMGs (small and medium governments). There is a real data service opportunity for this group, and only a handful of local, startup and nonprofit organizations currently serving it.

Remember, that’s just the customer base; now let’s think of the even larger issue of geography. Yes, the internet has made certain products, platforms and services available to a wider variety of populations, but that does not mean that a US solution is applicable to Brazil. Of course there will be corporate consolidation through M&A activity, but the solutions still remain relatively unique given equal scaling opportunities.

So if asked again, do I think B2B or B2C will be bigger in the near term, I think the answer will be: “Yes. They will both be big, as will B2D and B2G. Plenty of room in all four for growth.”

What industries do you think will be biggest in the startup world? Tweet at me with #nextgen, and let me know!

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Entrepreneurship

Which Corporate Life to Live

I have had a diverse set of work experiences in my professional life. I’ve done everything from individual consultant work, to startup work, to working in a small organization, to now working at a relatively large organization. From my perspective, here are a few culture benefits and disadvantages to each:

Consultant Work

Advantages: Responsible for yourself, work on your own schedule, only work on your interests

Disadvantages: Lonesome, not necessarily considered “part of the team,” terms are dictated to you, no traditional corporate benefits, no stable paycheck

Startup Work

Advantages: Your work matters ALOT, you are probably doing something you are passionate about, you will learn ALOT, potentially large financial upside

Disadvantages: Not many professional development opportunities outside your core job, your job is your life, no/little paycheck until (if) the business grows

Small Organization

Advantages: Stable paycheck, (usually) local impact, (usually) set work schedule, family of colleagues

Disadvantages: Few advancement opportunities, family of colleagues isn’t likely to change

Large Organization

Advantages: Stable paycheck, good benefits, (potentially) global impact, (usually) set work schedule, advancement/development opportunities

Disadvantages: Bureaucracy, segmented responsibility

The nice thing about careers is that they are not static. The real opportunity is for you to experience different types of organizations throughout your career, and choose the type of organization that best fits your lifestyle.

Tweet at me with #BOptions, and let me know what should be added or changed!

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