How Can We Create An Environment For Blockchain To Succeed?

In Deloitte’s 2018 Global Blockchain Survey they shared that 40% of respondents plan to invest 5 million or more in Blockchain in 2019.

Jan 31, 2019 · 10 min read

With the Blockchain space being so new, many people that are just getting into it are starting Blockchain companies and have to learn how to be leaders if they weren’t ones. Being a leader running a company is a little different than being a leader that works for a company. I think being a leader is something that you grow into overtime through different experiences. Some people do have natural leadership qualities, but in my opinion, that doesn’t automatically mean they will be great leaders.

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Image by RSA

Being a real leader takes a lot of effort to learn. You need to know the best approaches that fit with your teams and, more importantly, your personality. I think a lot of us have been in positions where we had a managers or boss’s who we thought weren’t qualified and said, “if I had his or her job, I would be much better than them at it.” Sometimes people get put into leadership positions because they are good at something and get promoted; however, because they are good at something doesn’t automatically translate into them being good leaders. You also have people that want to be leaders so they can finally tell people what to do and it gives them a feeling of finally having power.

My background in leadership first came from playing sports and being a team captain. It wasn’t until I joined the Marines — where my foundation of learning of what it really meant to be a leader — was established. One of the most important things you learn about being a leader in the Marines is to make sure your men are taken care of so they can do their jobs at the best of their ability. I think that approach to being a leader translates well into any business or company you are working for, or that you own. If you’re taking care of the people who are making your company successful, they will have no problem following you and going the extra mile when needed.

The really good leaders I’ve come across are ones that don’t hide behind their titles but are willing to learn from others even though they already know a lot. They continue to look at how they can be better leaders and genuinely show they care about the people working for them. Some personalities might have a hard time opening up to people if they think they are and know everything about being a leader or running a company. Usually, those aren’t the leader’s people want to follow but will because they might not have a choice.

If I’m giving suggestions on how to be a good leader and you are new to being one, I would recommend that you truly know your strengths and understand your weaknesses. When you are able to do that; you can work on making your strengths better. You can look for help developing upon your weakness from others that are stronger in those areas. Don’t be afraid to leverage others for support when needed. Being a leader doesn’t mean you have to know all the answers. People are more willing to follow leaders that show they need help and are willing to ask for assistance.

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Image by Wall Street Journal

I don’t think there’s a magic sauce to becoming a good leader except being open to learn from others. Look for books or videos that can give you some insight that you can leverage and fits with your personality. One person I’ve gotten great insight from, along with thousands of others, is . Whether you’re a person learning how to be a leader or someone that has been in a leadership role, he has great insight and wisdom on what it means to be a leader and how to transform into a better one.

Above all don’t fall into the trap of being complacent and only having one leadership style, over time you should see yourself transform into a leader that continues to grow and get better.

Why did you specifically choose blockchain businesses to advise?

I don’t think I actually chose to advise Blockchain businesses when I got into the blockchain space. I honestly didn’t know how I was going to be a part of the Blockchain industry. I initially thought I was going find a Blockchain company to work for and help them grow their business, because that was my mentality from working for other companies my whole life.

I remember after reading the book by Don and Alex Tapscott. I was like “wow,” companies and executives are really going to need to become educated on this technology before using it. After talking with many people globally about their thoughts on Blockchain and why they thought it was important (through connecting with them on LinkedIn), it hit me that education, advisory and consulting were going to be a key component in helping companies get into Blockchain.

Eventually, I found a start-up Blockchain company to work for, and I realized quickly that their vision of how to get companies to buy into using Blockchain was different from mine. They only wanted to talk with companies about the functionality/features of Blockchain and how they could build it for them. I shared with them my thoughts that we should also provide education and consulting services, so they could understand why their business process and governance models were going to need to change before they started implementing Blockchain.

The company I worked for was not in agreement with my approach. I realized I would need to start my own company, instead of trying to tell someone else how to run theirs and convince them their go-to market strategy wasn’t going to be the best way. I didn’t think they were wrong, but I started thinking for the first time “why do I want to convince someone that my approach will be needed first?” At that moment I realized that I would need to start my own company.

Simon Sinek — How to be a leader / Evan Carmichael / YouTube

I knew from working in education and consulting services for companies like Oracle and SAP, that organizations usually looked at those two service options as an afterthought when purchasing new technology. I remember having the feeling that the idea of companies looking to receive education and consulting before getting started with Blockchain was going to be a tough hurdle for them to get over.

What confirmed my thoughts about advising on the business side for Blockchain came after reading the report by Deloitte. In it they say;

“It has been estimated that blockchain is about 80 percent business process change and 20 percent technology implementation.

This means that a more imaginative approach is needed to understand opportunities and also how things will change.”

After working in the enterprise business side for about 17 years, this quote resonated with me. I started seeing that this could be an area I could provide value in by being able to leverage my past work experience. I was finally convinced that I was going in the right direction after I read an interview in the with one of VP’s David Furlonger.

In the interview he states;

“If business leaders wait for the (Blockchain) hype cycle to run its course they may no longer have a business to operate — at least nothing like they have previously experienced and profited from.”

I was surprised by this statement coming from someone at Gartner because in 2017, I was on one of their webcasts that covered new emerging technologies. Durning this, they were telling everyone not to focus on Blockchain for about another 5 to 10 years. To me, his statement was another sign I was focusing on the right side of the Blockchain space with my company.

Just recently I read an article in that points to a survey conducted by the Global Blockchain Business Counsel (GBBC). The survey revealed that 63 percent of respondents believe that senior business executives have a poor understanding of Blockchain technology. It’s these types of reports that help confirm for me how vital understanding what Blockchain is and the impact it will bring to companies before they start implementing the technology.

I always tend to say to my wife ,” especially when things fall into place in your favor without you planning it. I now look at how all my past experiences fit perfectly to be a part of this emerging space at this time. I guess I chose to be in the business advisory side of Blockchain before I even realized I wanted to be.

Why do you believe in blockchain?

I believe in Blockchain for a few different reasons; one, how it brings trust to so many various aspects of business on a social level. This was especially so after I’d heard how — as of 2017 — estimated that there are now about 1.7 Billion unbanked people in the world. With Blockchain being the catalyst for Peer to Peer (P2P) transactions with the use of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, these people can now be included in the world economy without needing a bank account or worrying about a corrupt government taking their money. Cognizant wrote an excellent report on this called “.”

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Pani Baruri / Finextra, Accenture White Paper, Coindesk

As I started to get into Blockchain fully in the spring of 2017, I realized that it was so much bigger than just cryptocurrency. I mentioned earlier the book Blockchain Revolution, and from that book, I got a greater understanding of how it was going to change the way organizations would need to do business moving forward but also how disruptive it was going to be for many of those companies. That disruption is starting to happen for some companies faster than people thought. An example of that is when announced in September 2018 that some of their food suppliers would be required to be on Blockchain by January 2019 and a few other of their suppliers would need to be on it by September 2019.

I think the biggest reason I believe in Blockchain is how much it is being embraced globally. You see so many people excited and passionate that they can be a part of this technology revolution; either by starting their own companies or by helping find use cases that solve real-world problems. For many people, they now know they can be a part of an emerging technology where the old status quo of big governments and corporations control the outcome of their success.

How can we create an environment for blockchain to succeed as an industry?

Creating an environment for Blockchain to succeed as an industry is what I think is happening now. It’s something that will take effort from many people willing to help others get up to speed on Blockchain and its importance. Blockchain will need to start having more success stories of companies using it — which is slowly beginning to happen. In July last year, Forbes magazine released a list of the .

I can see 2019 being the year that helps solidify Blockchain as the thriving industry to be a part of. It will take large companies adopting this new emerging technology to make people realize how important it is and hopefully it will push them to start focusing on it.

In they shared that 40% of respondents plan to invest 5 million or more in Blockchain in 2019.

These types of insights allow the rest of us to share the positive things going on in this space which I think will help Blockchain grow into a solid industry and this is all just getting started.

What can we do better?

The biggest thing we can do better is to make it easier for people to understand what Blockchain is and to help them feel comfortable learning about it. Trying to learn Blockchain on your own can be very intimidating because there are so many definitions on what Blockchain is and why it’s important.

I believe Cryptoweek is setting a great example of what it means to help people be a part of this growing Blockchain community by providing educational information and insight from others. Current Blockchain experts who’ve been in the industry the longest can be more inclusive of newcomers to the space, and be more willing to share their knowledge, rather than acting like they can’t share what they know. I’ve come across those types of individuals in the past year and I never understood why they think they’re more important than someone who is just getting started. They talk to people who are new to Blockchain about things they haven’t learned about yet to show how much they know. These are the type of things we need to be mindful of, and encourage people to remember that when they first learned about Blockchain, they didn’t accumulate all of their knowledge overnight.

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About John Riley III

John Riley III is the CEO and Co-Founder of C-N-C Blockchain Advisory company. He has over 17 years’ experience in the software applications space working for companies like Oracle and SAP. He has primarily worked in the consulting services sector assisting organizations with their software implementations, business process changes, digital transformation initiatives, and end-user adoption training. He has spoken at various Blockchain conferences and events, and was recognized in Bitcoin Magazine in 2017 for his work with Blockchain Meet-Up groups. He’s also a U.S. Marine war veteran.

He is the Organizer of the BlockEv West Palm Beach Blockchain Meet-Up group and Co-Organizer of the West Palm Beach Linux Foundation Hyperledger Blockchain Meet-Up group.


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