From across media and entertainment, to business and politics, it is the era where diverse people and #women are starting to get a seat at the table, take on the leading roles, and shine in the spotlight.
Jotting down and sharing some quick high level thoughts from the intensity of today. It is a very monumental place in time we are sitting today - and I'm so thankful for the opportunity to be alive and a part of it.
The advertising world is fraught with problems of fraud, complicated supply chains and lack of control over data privacy. Not only are advertisers losing more money to fraud than ever before, they’re also losing control over ads because of an increasing number of middlemen in the supply chain.
The good news is that blockchain technology has the potential to solve these problems. Here are three important ways blockchain can provide more transparency and trust in the digital advertising industry.
1. Increased Fraud Prevention
Ad fraud is a huge problem in the advertising industry today. Exact numbers vary from source to source, but it’s been posited that as much as 36% of all digital ad traffic could be fraudulent. Mobile ad spend hit $40.1 billion last year. That means approximately $14 billion of all mobile ad spend is potentially fraudulent.
The solution lies in blockchain as a digital ledger of transactions. Every transaction of a digitized product is stored on blockchain as an immutable record, which means that nothing can be faked or changed after the fact. Each transaction is recorded only when all parties agree. The ledger is decentralized, or shared in real time by all participants. This means that no single party can unfairly influence the results.
Because of its transparency, this technology has the potential to allow advertisers to more easily monitor where ads are going and what happens to them. Blockchain even has the power to provide information like bid price, where impressions are coming from and how many times an ad is viewed.
2. A More Transparent Supply Chain
The supply chain for ads is dizzyingly complicated. What used to be a simple transaction between advertiser and publisher now involves supply-side platforms and aggregators handling ads along the way. Advertisers often don’t know exactly what happens after an ad leaves their hands.
Because of this, many advertisers now feel they don’t have control over their ads in how they’re presented, bid on or distributed. They may feel powerless because they’re unable to choose which steps, or even how many steps, an ad should go through before it’s put in front of consumers.
Blockchain’s decentralized ledger makes it possible to record every party who has touched the ad from advertiser to publisher. This allows advertisers to regain control of the supply chain by making it fully transparent.
3. Improved Data Privacy
By now, everyone in the advertising world has heard of Cambridge Analytica. Users are warier than ever of the way their data can be used against them, and governments are beginning to respond with their own policies for data protection such as the General Data Protection Regulation.
One problem is that people tend to enter the same sensitive information on multiple websites. Most people do not understand where their data is stored and how it might be used. Since the data is stored by multiple organizations, a security weakness in any one of them could lead to stolen data. It’s no wonder that people are opposed to providing advertisers with personal information.
Blockchain technology offers the possibility of a safe place to store sensitive information. For example, a highly encrypted, decentralized database of personal information eliminates the need to enter the same data multiple times. People can access their information with a private key and choose what they share and with whom.
Advertisers, on the other hand, can use blockchain to demonstrate to people how their personal information is used, making it clear that they’re using data in a safe and helpful way.
These measures could potentially increase users’ trust in advertisers. And with the ability to control exactly what they want to share, people may be more inclined to share basic information that allows advertisers to show them the ads they’re most interested in.
Originally published at www.forbes.com on September 20, 2018.Here’s the original link: https://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2018/09/20/why-advertisers-cannot-ignore-blockchain-technology/#7645b6766f12
Video of Women in Blockchain that was made for the Blockchain NW conference here in Seattle on September 10-11, 2018.
" I'm excited because the more opportunities where we can bring thought leaders, people that are really active in the technology space in Seattle. You know that Seattle is the hub for cloud technologies, artificial intelligence, which means we are at the hub of technologies when it comes to the digital evolution with cloud, devices, mobile, machine learning, data data data, which is the heart of blockchain. So it's gonna be really exciting to bring all of these thought leaders, have us trade notes, build those relationships and work together in building the new future." --Arry
Making decisions whilst drowning in ambiguity and chaos.
Yes - that describes what it's like to be a founder and CEO of a startup. That also describes what it's like to do a tokensale, an ICO, or anything in this new complex-business model blockchain "stuff".
Making decisions whilst drowning in ambiguity and chaos holding a newborn baby in one hand and the Empire State Building in the other hand while balancing on a tight rope standing completely buck naked in front of the mob in a crowded stadium.
That's more like what life has been like the past 12 months and continues to be like for me personally. It's surreal. Time is moving both so slowly and at "warp" speeds at the same time. Most of the time when I'm in a meeting, I am constantly having this "out-of-body" experience that allows me to walk around in the room mentally, while at the same time sitting in the chair and experiencing the meeting firsthand. Surreal. Sometimes my ghost body gets "stuck" in the physical body, where I'm trapped, blind, and suffocating.
There are also many times when it's just really tough. Working with white spaces and green companies, we don't usually have a playbook of best practices to look to. We don't have a board (of advisors or investors) to turn to on speed dial that can provide wisdom and a sounding board. And when a company is growing so fast moving through the stages of its evolution in weeks and months, rather than years - without realizing it, many of the things that a company does actually is setting precedent for its future. Forever.
In moments of really tough decisions, I play the scenario in my head over and over and over. It's me on professional judgment day. I'm standing before a jury of my professional heroes and heroines like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Meg Whitman, Peter Thiel, Ben Horowitz, Steven Sinofsky, Mary Barra, Sarah Imbach, Jeffrey Friedberg, and many more. It's really important to me that I can look at myself in the mirror, and also picture myself standing before the jury of heroes and heroines. I look for "defensible", logical, and figuring out what is the real intent of the decision that makes sense - and then look to what kind of precedent that it will set for the forever future for our employees, our culture, our advisors, our communities, ... and most importantly, our society. Humanity.
And so, that is the state of where I am today - mentally standing before the professional jury.
And fighting daily to find "space". Got tips?
Group gifting trivia from the world of GiftStarter:
My heart hurts. A lot. To say goodbye.
I pushed and pulled and fought as hard as I could to create something out of nothing. I met some very talented and inspiring people along the way. Thousands to people were part of this journey, and I could not have gotten anywhere as far as we did without everyone.
In the end, the 10 big lessons for 2014-2018 are...
Knowing when to walk away.
Spring to Summer of 2016 was really hard. I thought I could be superwoman, having just given birth to my Lentil - that with the help of my awesome team, we could pull through this together. Deep post partum depression. I spent the summer of 2016 in a deep depression. Deep despair. My husband often had to peel my salty existence off the floor and into bed. I did not feel like I even deserved to be alive. I often thought the world, my husband, Lentil, everyone would be better off without me. A waste of space. Unworthy of the air I took in. I looked at the sweet innocent face of Lentil and would end up crying because I felt I did not deserve to be his mother.
My advisors and investors starting sitting down to give me the "talk" in 2016. They told me it was okay - to close it down and give them the write-off. They told me to get going on the next startup because that one was the one they wanted in on. I tried for one last hurrah in the fall of 2016, with my "AJ" by my side (thanks to my investors, especially Rudy, for giving me that one last swing at the ball). Fall of 2016 was not the season of generosity and giving. Power was changing hands - and the air was filled with emotions between the Clinton versus the Trump camps.
January - March 2017 I spent most of it on the verge of tears or crying my face off or finding a place to belong. I'd be fine, and then while brushing my teeth with my husband in the bathroom, I'd tear up. Standing in the kitchen I'd tear up. I tried to get "out there" and involved in the community to pick up my spirits. I tried to do this "Red Scarf" thing which was all about giving it forward to another woman entrepreneur. I spent a bit of time doing office hours. I put together events. I volunteered to help the Riveter launch. I did consulting on the side. I advised any startup that came our way. I really wanted to help this tiny little startup company called CakeCodes (which later became Storm and one I am part of today).
And here we are. May 2018. I should really have called it quits back in the Winter of 2015/Spring of 2016. I definitely should have in the Summer of 2016. I absolutely should have sometime in 2017. It is now officially May. We are in the first week of May 2018 and I am finally officially and publicly - calling it done.
Hope this post helps someone out there. If you ever want to talk, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. It is so lonely being an entrepreneur, a founder, in startups, being a founder CEO, raising funds, doing the grind, having employees, figuring out how to be a mom as a founder, all of it. The emotional depression and the depth of despair that one experiences is so great, I wonder how many of us are suffering silently.
Hugs to you out there trying to change the world.
I'm literally trying to breathe again. Find that emotional and mental space to feel like a human being, not a machine. I don't remember what it's like to be me anymore. I've become a different person, again. Each of these intense journeys reshape the person you are - and it takes a bit of mental/emotional "integration" time to bring yourself back into being a whole person again.
Doing an ICO, is not for the faint of heart. It's not for the sensitive or the self-conscious. It's not for those that do not have the stamina.
All I can say, is since May 2017, it's been a lot of back-breaking long hours. Weeks on weeks away from family, away from husband, and away from my toddler. It's wake up to sleep, nonstop work. At the worst point, we were taking 1.5-3 hour naps at a time working around the clock for weeks on end.
Oh yea, and the crazy schedule. Greece, UK, Switzerland, Cayman Islands, United States, and all over.
Trying to breathe again means forcing myself to not open the phone first thing in the morning. It means giving myself permission to eat lunch (again). It means giving myself permission to call a friend I haven't spoken to in over 8 months. It means giving myself permission to cook dinner for my family. It's been REALLY difficult getting back to a normal human life. The past 8 months have taken a hard hard hard hit on my family, my husband, and my toddler - also my in-laws and my mother who've stepped in to help the family as I've been working so much.
Thanks for being on this journey with me.
I have 21 days before the end of the year, and before 2017 is gone. I have 21 days to retroactively, make my goal of a blog a week still a reality (though officially LATE). Despite being late, and having only 21 days, I'm going to push to make it happen.
What happened where I disappeared literally for 6 months? This.
Remember, I joined a startup as their COO in May, 2017?
What happened is an ICO (Initial Coin Offering). A STORM Token Crowdsale. I can tell you that to do an ICO, is all consuming. I'm officially beat. Tired. No weekends, no evenings. My husband is beat, the single dad thing while wife works nonstop or is constantly traveling is super challenging.
Questions, feedback, anything on this topic welcome.
Coffee & Catch Up.
That's the title of so many messages I've received over the past 6 months, from all kinds of people. People I know very well, people I'm acquainted with, people that haven't connected with me in over a decade, and lots of random folks.
At first, (since I was feeling more like a helpful advising socialite between January and April 2017), it was really nice. I tried to do at least one a day. I felt like that was a good way to stay in touch and/or meet new people.
But then... it got out of hand really fast. Coffee & Catch Up turns out to be code for, "I want something from you."
And now, when I see various folks write those messages that say, "No, I don't check nor respond to LinkedIn messages." --> I get it. I'm now officially, 62,003 messages UNread in my inbox. How's that possible? Did you know people will auto-subscribe people to all kinds of update emails? I'm now asking my VA to manually unsubscribe me from anything that's not an actual email to me.
I sit down for a quick sync with an investor, and then you get question after question about, "what coins should I buy now?", "I think I want to do an ICO, too", "will you advise my friend's startup that wants to do an ICO?", or hey, "I think I deserve to get paid more, in ETH or STORM Tokens please".
Advice? Be upfront and fast. 1) Hi, I want ____ from you, and 2) I can be valuable to you by ____. Interested? Coffee & Catch Up is just way too generic and passive. I still believe people want to help each other, just don't make the person you're asking for help from think too much. Make it easy to give.
What a wonderful welcomed change of scenery from the past 5 weeks, Boston for MoNage by Jeff Pulver (founder of Vonage and VoiP). Here's a few of the favorite photos from that week:
I wrote a blog post back in 2011 titled: 24 signs he's not right for you, and it is the single most visited and searched post on my blog. That says something... to me, it says people generally don't have guidance, good counsel, and or a model of what is good for a productive life, and what is not.
So I'm taking a twist on that post and doing it on what are the signs that a co-founder is not right for you. To summarize it, I would say the most important ingredients are around 1) shared vision, 2) shared values, and 3) practical complementary skills to execute. So here's my original curated list of signs that the guy or gal you are with or desperately pining after is not worth your time. Most of them point to NOT being a team player, meaning they put their own self before all else. Startups are a team sport. These are things I've noticed or heard
1. Lacking sense of urgency/accountability/ownership. Regularly having to "cat-herd", chase down or PM your "partner" is not reasonable. Don't be his or her "mom" or "dad". There's no time for baby-sitting - everyone should be pulling their own weight and then some. Having to follow up left and right to make sure items that said that were going to get done, get done. That items that weren't supposed to get done are not being magically put in front of more high priority items. It's exhausting. Often you'll find "experts" with tons of "experience" that come in that only know how to highlight areas that need work or give ideas, but are terrible at actually getting anything done. Be skeptical of all the "experts", look for recent actual experience with actual results, and then go and verify everything they said.
2. Having to hang out with them is a chore. You'd rather do anything else, and you do it only because you "should". If you don't like them as a person, you don't like their significant others, ... I'd see those as warning flags. Sometimes you grin and try and look past it. You can't fake it for long. (Well, there are plenty of examples where the only thing you do like about your cofounder is your friendship and hanging out. The work part sucks.)
3. Getting them to show up is a chore. Just like you don't want to hang out with your co-founder, your co-founder makes every excuse possible and doesn't show up to team meetings and events. This probably is an echo of #1... and #2. Showing up is 50% of the battle. Show up. On time (or early). Be present. It's hard enough as it is - why deal with someone that isn't pulling their weight and on top of it, is pulling the chance of success for the team, down? You're either in, or you're not. Simple.
4. Your "partner" challenges you, a lot - and not for the good of the team. Not just a lot, but on everything - even items they know nothing about. You burn so much time trying to get alignment, you often get nothing done. In fact, this cancerous "co-founder" will cause so much friction within the team that the company will likely just implode sooner or later. There's the opposite possibility too - where the "partner" doesn't challenge you and acts as if they have no accountability or reason to care for the success of the team/company.
5. Seeks the glory, money, or credit. Not a team player. Not, no matter how you want to look at it. I've had partners from many years ago (that are no longer partners) put their personal fame or put more value on money above all else. It doesn't work. Whether you have 2 or 5 people on the team, it's a SMALL team. Everyone is IN and everyone is working on the shared goal. It's a shared effort which means shared kudos. Each person does what they can for the team. The co-founders should do a whole lot more, together. ... or maybe everything about how the "cofounder" speaks, acts, writes... is begins with "I". For some reason, that's always a hint that they put "I" ahead of the "we".
6. Calls you "boss" or "bossy" - or the opposite, sees you as merely the "code monkey" or the business admin/office admin. A co-founder is a partnership. Yes, one will often have more voting rights than the other. It's still a partnership where you should be working together for the same team for a shared goal. Both business and technical need to be in partnership.
7. He/She daily talks about all of the other startups and companies out there - and how your startup together is not good enough. We call that nonproductive whining. Do something about it, focus on making your own startup/team better one step at a time. Too much brain power and time spent on looking at others means less time spent on execution.
8. He/She tries to set up meetings with investors and partners behind your back, often does not include you, even when as a team, everyone has agreed to focus on someone or something else. This is usually from a lack of vision and values alignment - you aren't playing for the same team. I have seen this from other startups as well - where one founder really wants to drive the investor conversations (but is not the CEO). There's multiple messages being sent out "there". The discombobulation has led to the company's implosion every single time I've seen this scenario. You can't be divided in a startup - you have to be all hands on deck on the team's shared success.
9. He/She still has their old job title, their old company, their old everything as their personal branding is more important that their relationship as a co-founder in the startup. It's just disrespectful - and shows they are not a team player. You and your "co-founder" are playing for different teams. I've seen people try and join our startup who never change their resume/job information while working with us or even after. I've had business partners that completely erase any past failures we've had together from their records (which personally, I think is weird). Actually, I've seen employees/colleagues do that in the past too - completely erase a job from their history after being part of the team for 1 or more years. Make mental note - people that curate for appearances are not good for the team (let alone, a startup). You're either IN, or you're not. And there's nothing in between.
10. His/Her family and friends are a weight on your cofounder. Literally, nothing - their family may know absolutely nothing about this startup. Unless you're in super secret squirrel stealth mode, that's a sign that you should walk away and separate, fast. Startups are hard enough - we don't have time for betrayals and hiding unnecessarily from people in our lives. Community, family and friend support is hugely helpful if anything. I couldn't imagine doing a startup again without everyone's support. The other side of this, is the cofounder may have a spouse/family that still just doesn't get what this cofounder/startup business means. ... or maybe the cofounder just hasn't figured out how to manage their personal life and it's affecting their work in a bad way. Whatever it is, have them figure it out fast - or move on.
Are there any others you'd like to add?