We hope you all had a very happy St. Patrick’s Day! Yesterday, we spent some quality “round table” time and celebrated the holiday with our very special guests from Ireland — Jillian Godsil, journalist, speaker and one of the 50 Most Influential Women In Blockchain, Graham de Barra, founder of Bitcart and Festy, and Sharif Bouktila, founder and CEO of eosDublin.
We especially thank our community for giving us great questions. Almost everything was covered, from Dublin crypto community to the Lighting Network, from game design to the environment for female entrepreneur in Ireland. We even covered their plans for the holiday with a little plan of day drinking.
And again, we appreciate our guests for taking the time to share their truthful and valuable thoughts with a sense of humor on all these topics.
Here is everything you need to know about this special AMA episode in case you missed it.
Jillian: Sharif and I work together and I want to thank you for introducing me to the very interesting Graham - it's a result! Only two degrees of separation with the Irish - and we won't stop until we have figured out who we have in common!
Graham: We don't know each other but we are figuring out mutual friends we have in common. Ireland is a small place after all :)
Sharif: A small place with a big heart and an unbelievable global community. Keep an eye out for the whole world turning a little more green today.
Jillian: I am a journalist, chair, and speaker in fintech. I am a blockchain advocate and enthusiast living in rural Wicklow which is south of Dublin. Just back from Cape Town where I was speaking on blockchain. I love this industry and this world.
Graham: Bitcart is a service to allow anyone lives off bitcoin in their everyday life — anyone from anywhere in the world purchases Amazon gift cards with bitcoin and enjoy 10% off ($100 costs you $90 in BTC)! These gift cards can be used to purchase from millions of items on Amazon or exchanged for other gift cards such as Hotels.com. Now I'm working on Festy for payments and ticketing for millennials and the cannabis industry. Currently, I'm in Seoul, Korea and I paid using a gift card. This gives me financial freedom from banks, which is important to me. We recently added support for bitcoin lightning.
Sharif: I hate the title of CEO but some people think these things are important. What I'm passionate about it delivering value for every project we are working on. After launch gambling was the first wave of dapps we saw on EOS, they were the low hanging fruit and gave users a chance to see how EOS works and the throughput it can offer. Now we are starting to see some other types of apps, Sense Chat just launched this week, and I think will take things to a new level for EOS and blockchain as a whole.
We are supporting some projects looking to move to EOS from ETH for tech reasons, but I strongly believe there is enough room for many many technologies in this space. We have an excellent Dev community in EOS. If you need any support on security audits etc.. just PM me and we can help out. We have some great free courses on getting started on Bootcamp by eosDublin and are adding more each month.
Jillian: My first job was with JP Morgan in London as a systems analyst – I was hired on the milk round – so I did some bad programming for a couple of years which gave me the confidence to write about technology. I was a terrible programmer but very good at writing about it and my stint in the bank gave me the confidence to ask daft questions (note there are no daft questions lol).
Graham: I came across Bitcoin in 2012 while pursuing a degree in philosophy after watching the YouTube documentary Zeitgeist.
I came across Lightning about a year ago and more recently a friend from Seoul organized a hackathon. I began to see it scaling, better UX, an enthusiastic community of so-called crypto-anarchists. This leads me to believe Lightning has a bright future ahead. Since I integrated on my e-commerce website 3 weeks ago it now accounts for the majority of my sales, albeit micropayments. Bitcoin is still the store of value. I don't see Lightning replacing Bitcoin for large transactions over $50 just yet. Who knows how this will change in the future!
I recently started running a bitcoin node for the first time. Shoutout to nodl for making it a very easy process.
Sharif: EOS was the first public blockchain project I thought had a chance of attracting mainstream business.
Jillian: The Irish Government is finding it (blockchain) a bit confusing like other governments but they understand the overall value and thrust. They are launching a huge blockchain Ireland week in May – watch this space.
Graham: The Irish Government puts business first. This is in some ways very advantageous and in other ways quite disappointing. It is great because when they discovered bitcoin they reached out to us and asked us for our advice. This goes for all tech and it's how conglomerates like Apple can get away without paying any tax. This is great if you run a big company – but no special treatment is given to startups who pay just as much tax as multi-billion dollar companies. This is a contradiction in its own right – it has led to mass immigration (people coming into Ireland) for tech jobs without the right infrastructure laid down. There is not enough homes = homeless crisis. There is not great wifi = Web Summit and now Money Conf moves to Lisbon. There is little reinvestment made in rural Ireland = mass emigration.
Sharif: And to add, nobody is waiting around for government approval. They will always be slower than the builders.
Sharif: 5 years is such a long time in tech, especially at the rate which things are evolving now. I love the concept of DACs (decentralized autonomous communities) owning their own applications and outcomes, can see this really working for social. For us to "get there", the tech will just disappear for the user. Things like private keys need to get easier for everyone and the whole experience needs to get more human.
Have no idea if any of this will happen, but I plan on having a tonne of fun and working with great people while finding out.
Graham: I hope everyone here already interacts with a dapp in some way :)
I'm in Seoul right now next to the Samsung Station. The Samsung S10 is literally advertised everywhere. The phone includes a built-in bitcoin & Ethereum wallet. While it's not decentralized enough and relies on centralization, much like an exchange works, I see this as the beginning of mass adoption. The next phone that my mother gets could have private keys for bitcoin, and if so then why wouldn't she give it a go? If we get the balance between UX and security right then I think these solutions could be classified as dApps and we will all be using them in 5 years, from a 3-year-old getting a Pigzbe crypto piggy bank to grandma getting a smartphone with built-in private keys.
Jillian: I agree with both gentlemen and I think what will happen is that we will stop seeing the technology. It's like the internet and our mothers/young kids – they don't see the internet just the applications – buy flights/play games etc. Success will come with the technology becomes invisible and ubiquitous.
Sharif: Be open-minded, work passionately hard, and look to build something, which you would be proud to show your mother.
I've been a dev for 15 years, I look at dapps like any other startup. Suggesting a dapp, start with a really small scope and focus on building a community around the vision. Identify who is your customer and serve them. It should be simple for my mother (64) and daughter (8) to be able to understand and get excited by it. There are so many new business models available now due to crypto/blockchain/tokens etc.., but your users are people at the end of it all, they have wants and needs, it's your job to find them.
Graham: Firstly, solve a real use case first. Books like "Sprints" by Jake Napp is a good start if you haven't got experience in this (I wish I read more books before learning all the mistakes in real life). If your solution solves a real problem then you should be profitable day 0 before you have even got a website up! Once you prove there's something real here then put in a strategy for scaling, get your website/marketing stuff, register your legal company. People often do this in reverse and end up with lots of expense before they've even proven their idea works! Once all this is done then marketing is best done using free ink. Write your own blogs, your own tweets, your own Instagram. Don't use agencies ever. They are suited for enterprises that have money to burn.
I look for passion in people first, because if they treat crypto like a job then they clearly don't understand taking liberty into your own hands. We should break away from employer/employee relationships like the master/slave dialect from Hegelian philosophy.
Jillian: I agree with both gentlemen with one caveat – as I run a marketing/PR business I suggest you make friends with someone like me and get lots of free advice – that is always handy and I am always available to listen to startups (if startups become enterprises then I get business, if not, then it's been fun!)
Be confident – be kind, be mannerly, be courteous – but be confident!
Jillian: Right now my biggest challenge is time – I simply do not have enough. If I could clone me that would be super! Confession – this is a real problem for me. I love what I do so I tend to do it 24x7. Time out is hanging out with my adult kids (also a premium since they are so busy) and singing in several choirs. I also like to walk about four times a week and listen to podcasts.
Jillian: I have spoken about this a lot. For one I have not personally witnessed a glass ceiling but that is not to say it is not there. I think a happy combination of upbringing and personality has meant if it was there I did not see it. HOWEVER, I do very much recognize there is an issue. I understand that women have to overcome issues such as not being bossy (confident) or bitchy (assertive) and also they need to push themselves more. I also recognize that for the first time in my career my age and gender is a positive (as opposed to be a negative or a neutral) which is why I love blockchain.
I also think that we do need gender quotas in every part of life. It seems like a blunt thing to do but it works. We can't wait for Emily Pankurst to throw herself under the king's horse to advance women - we need society to do it. And then we have equal representation young people growing up will see women in every part of life and understand that it is possible for them too – regardless of gender.
And it is not just gender – it is an opportunity too – many people are disadvantaged in life – through lack of education, finance, contacts, accent, background etc – I truly believe that blockchain is the bedrock that can help change how society operates. It can help change for the better – but we all need to get out there and make it work – we cannot become complacent!
Graham: I grew up with a single mother so can speak a little to this question. My mother became a doctor in the 80's and never married with 3 children during a time when divorce was illegal and the Catholic church censored our media. She is one of the first females to open her own surgery and is my sole inspiration to being my own boss and living life on my own terms so long as I am empathetic to others and always include people of other race, sexual orientation, and gender. My opinion is tech is dominated by alpha males however research shows that a diverse company is the best all-around. Personally, I think there are problems with female-only or male-only companies either way. However, like my mother instead of complaining, which one definitely has justifiable grounds if they face discrimination, one should rise above this and remain focused on the prize. Becoming your own boss is the best thing you can do to prevent discrimination but you will always face it in some way. When someone does wrong do right to them regardless and be the better (wo)man :)
Graham: Managing remotely is extremely difficult and inefficient. The open plan office is the most ideal – if I have a question I can tap my colleague on the shoulder. If they live in Japan then I need to consider their timezone, schedule a call, ask them the question. It's a matter of efficiency.
Of course, we like to encourage decentralization. The open plan office disrupted the old school office room, which is now being disrupted by the home office. This is now becoming the most sought after job for people for obvious reasons and it can be managed. Use kanbans for tracking workflow, rely on a solid product lead for getting your vision from your own head into practice and have a good lead engineer to make sure your coders can easily find solutions to their day-to-day issues. If you don't communicate you will fail.
Graham: I'm on my way to check out a crypto cafe here in Seoul. After that, there's an Irish bar called the Wolfhound who I'm helping set up a crypto Point-of-Sale so that I can buy a glass of Jameson :)
Sharif: My daughter woke me up at 6 am to tell me we had to make green pancakes. So that is next on my agenda. After that, watch the Parade on the TV and then we will probably take a walk into the city for some fun. Might even have a pint of Guinness (or two)
Jillian: I’m going to unpack my case, definitely going for a walk and also some Guinness this evening in the local (which is two mins walk away) I live in a beautiful part of Wicklow in a tiny village called Coolboy and this is the view from my kitchen ...
Thanks to our amazing guests for joining us and delivering such an inspiring AMA session. Stay tuned for more!
Check out previous AMAs here.