From Starting Up

Blockchain Based Bowie Bonds (1 min read)

Being well and truly wrapped up in the madness that is digital currency, i am often coming across what appear to be rather interesting projects, indeed i have even in the past tried to help others understand some of these unique adaptations of Blockchain technology. Check out the video i made on how to get hold of DAO tokens back in May 2016.

Although its next to impossible to vet all these individual projects unless you can commit full time or manage some sort of team, this latest catch SingularDTV – striked me as quite interesting indeed. What hooked me about the project – is mostly due to my search for a sustainable revenue model for video content that i am in the middle of producing, i would really like to monetise the distribution in a new way, and a way in which all those persons contributing in the production are satisfied with their compensation.

Another reason i was attracted by SingularDTV was the fact Zach LeBeau
the CEO shows up in all their PR materials, and appears to come across very genuine and engaged. He also shares his back story – which for me is super important to understand quickly – why is this guy doing this? – whats the motivation? To be clear this post is not to serve as an endorsement for SingularDTV as so far they are yet to launch anything however, i understand that will happen very soon, do your own due diligence, do not rely on others to do it for you.

For me owning some SNGLS (price at writing: 0.00009879) means i feel like i am contributing to something that is being built with which i can align some of my values, i appreciate and respect the people trying to build this platform however, that does not mean it will succeed no matter how good their intentions.

So this brings me to the main reason why i am excited by the idea of Singular DTV, and why i think this model could be helpful to other startups in the future. Zach LeBeau clearly presents his back story and inspiration, and most importantly – it’s simple to understand.

The concept for SingularDTV is rooted in a spectacular but lest remembered moment in history where in 1997 along with David Pullman, the person responsible for “Bowie Bonds – David Bowie tokenize himself using an asset-backed security which uses the current and future revenue from albums recorded by the musician as collateral, he then put out these bonds on Wall Street raising some 55 million USD. Bowie bonds represented one of the first instances of a bond that used intellectual property as the underlying collateral. Billboard have a great post on the story of Bowie bonds here.

As i have understood the Singular DTV platform so far, Zach LeBeau now suggests that soon this type of operation of issuing asset-backed securities for your creative endeavours will be available in an easy to use format through the Singular DTV platform. Being a wannabe filmmaker – this platform model comes across as very attractive to me.

What are your thoughts? Feel free to reach out to me on twitter @richtella

 

What’s the format Rich?

ANSWER: Just like the Pizza Burger BBQ Chicken, the format is not any one thing in particular, but instead all things all at the same time.

Its common knowledge that one is typically recommended to blog about a single particular subject of interest, but why? One of the top reasons as i understand it, is so that you can align yourself as a blogger/authority on your chosen subject matter. Another is so that you may have a way to monetise your content as you develop your voice within your chosen space i.e “influencer marketing”.

But what are the potential drawbacks of such narrowing down of ones blog? what if you simply do not want to narrow down your online content offering to just one single topic or subject?

From my observations it seems the bloggers that get away without zooming in on a single subject, typically themselves become the subject matter – think youtube celebrity types such as Casey Neistat. Perhaps they started out with a niche subject but eventually they themselves became bigger than the subject they set out to cover, when this happens, the audience has indicated to the blogger – or in the case of Casey Neistat ‘vlogger’ – and likely due to their interpretation of their channels youtube or facebook analytics, that they (the blogger) should share more of their personal life.

Those who typically enter down that path become very much a celebrity, and begin to develop their personal brand within that space. In doing this they are able to branch out in to almost any sub-genre they like, as they themself are now the reason people watch – no longer are people watching because the blogger is an authority on a specific subject.

A problem i have had, and as you can tell; continue to have, is that i have many interests, and they all tend to overlap. My very first blog was the MMMDo blog, where i would simply make things (typically furniture) film or photograph what i made, then attempt to stitch some sort of useful blog post together, i was surprised recently when i checked up on my blogs associated youtube channel to find one of my videos has nearly 25K views.  to bad i had not monetised the video as i had used some third party content which i had forgotten to remove.

My second blog was bitjoin.me where i took what i had learned about video production on the MMMDo blog and attempted to apply it to the subject of digital currency, i stuck mainly to interviews with people working in the space and also some ‘How To’ videos this blog helped me learn more about the technology used in digital currencies as well as improving my video production skills. From the very start my mind was on producing a documentary in this space, due to the unique and fascinating subject matter and the fact that those early days were so all over the place (thanks to the ongoing scaling debate, to some extent they still are)

As part of thebitjoin.me blog i also published video diary entries from the early days of starting a company, the video series originally entitled Starting Up loosely documented my progress as an entrepreneur just when i had begun doing entrepreneurial things, the concept went through several adaptations as i tried to find the best format, but eventually i put the concept to bed on a youtube channel called Start Up Slam.

I went on to start blogging for Qwids, a startup company i founded with a group of amazing people all working to develop a service that lives at the crossroads between (old world) loyalty points and (new world) digital currency. Blogging for a corporation proved rather demanding, and i know i know – one must blog regularly; but the research involved for this subject is very demanding, and although really fun as i learned a lot about the subject matter – in a startup there is only so much time to go around. The last post i made was in March, I do intend to pick this blog up again as soon as we have made the necessary changes to our UX and gotten the traction we need in the market; hopefully by August 2017 : )

This brings us to now, and here, this blog. What’s the format Rich? What’s the niche? Who’s your target Rich? Truth is, i don’t have any of those things. I am just writing about stuff i do, linking to past blog posts and sometimes writing about stuff i am interested in, but not so knowledgeable on. That’s all.

Sergej Kotliar clip 2017 (BitJoin Cross-Post)

In April 2017 i began following up with the 6 founders featured in my first documentary short – Founded. I started by catching up with Sergej Kotliar of BitRefill. In the past i have published the full interviews on the BitJoin youtube channel, however this time i intend on publishing these interviews solely on Popchest in order to help raise funds for the production of the follow up documentary to Founded. If you know of a better way to raise funds don’t hesitate to contact me at rich@bitjoin.me

Open Letter – BitJoin re-post from 2016

This is a re-post from my bitjoin.me blog posted here on Apr 28, 2016

A letter to the University of Nicosia

Hey guys, i would like to tell you a little about the project i have been working on for the past 18 months. I was also on the MOOC back in 2014 and found it really insightful, i came to the course due to my own interest in trading cryptocurrencies on the exchanges through the winter of 2013/14, eventually getting bored with that i wondered if i might build something useful with this new technology known as blockchain. My idea stems from my time trading all those funky named coins and learning all about the communities behind them and the individual value-twist a new coin would bring to the table, it was a rather wild west time for alt coins and it was fun investigating the various projects and ideas.

Somewhere down the line during October of 2014 i began to realise that there were so many coins being added all the time and the barrier was so low to entry (even i was asked if i wanted my coin registered on Bittrex when all i had was a domain registered and a twitter handle) it made me realise that this technology was going to have a long and troublesome road ahead towards the mainstream especially if a) currencies are so easy to publicise you don’t even need to have one running on a blockchain to be approached by a major exchange and b) validating the persons behind the currency brand, whether a community of enthusiasts or a group of experienced engineers it still remained rather difficult to identify which brands were valid amongst a tidal wave of different coins.

This, coupled with the numerous pump and dump schemes, constant developments of genuine new technologies i.e ColoredCoins / SmartContracts etc, and the just plane inability to understand from the mainstream media made it a super interesting place to be.

I decided the problem i would try to solve is that of having clearly recognisable currencies on exchanges, so that even the laymen could look at an exchange full of cryptocurrencies or hear about a currency and instantly recognise that currency. They key was putting recognisable brands behind those currencies, and its what i have been working on for the last 18 months. Along with five other guys, two in Germany, three including myself in Sweden and one guy in China, we are now beta testing with several small companies here in Sweden, we have soft launched, are facing the market and are set to fully launch in the 3rd quarter of 2016.
To learn more about the project from a brands perspective go to qwids.biz
or as a user you can grab a wallet at qwids.co
we are also building a dedicated test community at qwids.me
We are currently testing the service in Sweden and so the brands available as of now are Swedish but we are looking for people and brands to test the service outside of Sweden also.
Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
RichTella
rich@qwids.co
qwids.biz

Perpetual Work Day

Being entrepreneurial means many things to many people, for me i will never forget the first time someone labeled me with the title ‘Entrepreneur’, it was 2014 and when i heard it come out of the person’s mouth as he introduced me to another person that may or may not have considered me so; at that time i recall gasping a little inside. Who me? an entrepreneur? i did not think so, i was just at the beginning of my trip in to the world of business, a trip i have now been traveling on for some three years.

At that time, for some reason i associated being an entrepreneur with having some sort of successful track record, of achieving something – not just having an idea and setting out to execute on it. But never the less as i continued on my journey it happened more and more that i was referred to as an entrepreneur. A quick scan of the dictionary back then highlighted for me that i was perhaps an entrepreneur after all:

entrepreneur
ˌɒntrəprəˈnəː/
noun

“a person who sets up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit.”

One of the major reasons i personally set out to build one of my ideas in to a business came from the realisation that hit me when i turned thirty; we have a limited set of time in this life, (circa 80 years if we are lucky) and if i made it that far, would i be happy when looking back over my life?

At that time i was freshly returned from traveling and only had seasonal work painting houses for a living, the winter times were hard. When i imagined myself as 80 looking back and seeing thousands of painted houses i became somewhat dissatisfied at what i had spent my life doing. At this point i decided to change what i was looking back at from the perspective of my 80 year old self.

The long winters without full employment provided great opportunity for me, i was lucky enough to discover a new technology (Blockchain) which inspired me greatly, this, coupled with my desire to spend my life time doing something more exciting and in the process potentially game changing; i decided to set out on my own personal trip and see what might come of it.

When i was about 18 years old my mother quit her job and started her own business, i observed – somewhat passively, as she built her company up over the following years, intrigued at what a life changing choice she had made. I recall once when i quizzed her about her decision to start her own business she said:

“best decision i have ever made, wish i had done it earlier”

This was at about the same time my father had shut his business of 20 years down, and sold his share of the company to his partner. Dad had decided he had had enough, and i can understand that; he worked 15 hour days for almost 20 years and was fully tired, he wanted something where he could switch off at the end of the day. A number of times while i was growing up, i recall him saying:

“don’t ever start your own business, its an absolute headache”

Looking back i now realise i was in quite a unique position to observe how being an entrepreneur can be both exhausting and exhilarating. Back then i was quite sure i would one day build my own company, my only problem back then was how would i make the process as personally stimulating as possible while hopefully not falling in to the trap of the 15 hours work day.

Fast forward to now and i have certainly found something exhilarating, however, i appear to have gotten wrapped up in the 15 hour work day, in-fact it’s more of a perpetual work day – it never really ends, however, it must be said that the type of work i do is certainly more personally engaging and although it can be stressful at times i am glad i set out on my own adventure, one that i am almost certain i will be happy with when it comes to looking back over my lifetime, which ever age i get to.

Coin Magnet

If you had asked me in 2013 if I wanted to become a magnet for every other Blockchain Startup pitching their ideas over LinkedIn I would likely have told you hell yeah! However, now in 2017 that has become true, I receive offers and pitches to join the next big thing in crypto almost every day now. 

It takes a substantial amount of time to vet a new idea in the crypto space. You have to read a hell of a lot, and be constantly aware of who is writing and how their values may be aligned in the space. I am also acutely aware of the massive amount of scams in the space and that the number one way of getting fucked over is through conditioning; so called social engineering. 

Being early to the space and spreading out my interests among multiple coins has been both a blessing and a curse. It has allowed me unique perspective sure, but it also opened me up to a lot of bull shit, not so much due to the technology itself, but more the people and companies providing service around the various projects. 

The landscape has never been so overwhelming for a new comer to enter, I myself have trouble staying up to date with all the various developments and opertunities. Over the years, numerous times I have decided to quit trading only to start up again 6 months later. 

I am currently in a not-trading state and every time I do stop I get almost instantly more happier. Trading crypto is exhilarating don’t get me wrong, but you need to be rigid in your attentiveness, for me I have been on a trading hiatus for many months now, but now – a new wave appears to have arrived, and I feel myself being sucked back in to the emotional rollacoaster that is trading crypto.

On top of this, these days I am also hit up with IPO offers left right and center. Not to mention all the partnership offers, the problem for me is finding the time. 

The first time I got board with trading back in 2014, I decided I wanted to build a company in the space. For me it would be much more fulfilling than just moving money around at the right time,  a practice I still am in two minds about. (Create no value and get rich)

Recently, the company I started building back in 2014 permenantly unhooked from the Blockchain. It was largely due to the protocols we were using no longer being relevant to our case, partly tied to the block size debate and cost of transactions and party due to concerns for the future of the Bitcoin Blockchain by those in our core team. 

Leaving that tech behind that so Inspied me to start down this journey left me with an odd taste in my mouth.  Part of me knows it’s the right thing to do right now, and part of me is a little upset that all the potential applications of the technology that inspired me, appear to be constantly hitting man-made obstacles. 

I foresee a future where if successful we will bring back the technology and perhaps at that time the applications for the tech will be more plug and play. 

FOUNDED – My first micro- doc

After much grappling with the art of story telling and many years of experimentation with video production i have now published my first short documentary.

It is based around interviews i conducted in 2015 with Bitcoin founders, back then i was just starting with producing video; the audio and video are a little sub-par, but i have been informed that viewers will watch if the story is strong enough to hold their attention.

I am hoping to use this first short to raise funds for a follow up film with the same six founders in an effort to show how the landscape has changed since these six founders set out on their journey to build successful companies in the Bitcoin space.

Viewers can help fund the follow up film by donating bitcoin to the documentary fund found here: https://bitjoin.me/bitjoin-documentary-fund

The Story Will Reveal Itself in the Material

This is a cross post from my BitJoin blog started in early 2015, with additional comments.

Over the last week or so and very much thanks to youtube channels such as This Guy Edits, and DSLRguide i have finally jumped in and begun cutting my first short documentary, something i have wanted to do for a hell of a long time, indeed – a documentary i have been wanting to make for many many years now. A short documentary film with primary focus on the Bitcoin Startups i have interviewed here in Sweden over the last few years.

I have decided on a more human and down to earth approach (as best as i can : ) this will not be a technical Bitcoin-only related documentary but, more geared towards following several young companies working in the space and capturing their experiences along the way.

As you may know, if you have watched any of my earlier interviews on this blog or on YouTube, i interviewed a number of founding members of Bitcoin related startups here in Stockholm, i am now once again starting to do the rounds and catching up with the founders nearly 2 years later, to see how these founders are getting on with their businesses and to see if their perspective might have changed over the years.

With focus on their challenges and how they have overcome them, i aim to tell the story of 6 Swedish companies and the individual founders personal experiences; of course, as well as their take on the future.

As you will have noticed back then, my video production was rather amature looking and to be frank i went on this journey initially so that i could learn & improve my production technique, as well as learn more about Bitcoin technology companies.

I now feel that my production skills are at a level where i can produce a compelling short documentary film around this topic with these previously conducted interviews as a launch pad.

Please consider sharing links and interviews or even make a small donation to help cover my costs as i travel around interviewing these extraordinary individuals.