People of OST: Jordan, Marina and Paul

Last week we introduced you to Adeola and Wouter (Marketing) — Today you get to meet our Berlin Business Development Team: Jordan, Marina and Paul!


JORDAN McDONALD

Hey Jordan, what does a Business Developer at OST do?
We look for the most interesting opportunities for a cryptocurrency to drive value for consumer businesses and apps, and then we check to see if OST might offer the right tools for their needs. I’m getting to know so many people who are excited about building new stuff, and it’s been a lot of fun so far.

Walk us briefly through your career till date?
A few weird jobs I’ve had in my career are janitor, radio DJ, and full time Uber driver in San Francisco. 
After working in business development in Silicon Valley for several years, I came to Berlin for some new challenges and to jump into the startup scene here.

What made you interested in Blockchain?
Cross-border payments and the ability for anyone with an internet connection to participate in the economy is what got me hooked in the beginning. It’s a fast evolving space where individuals and companies can find their niches and specialize quickly, presenting opportunities to become drivers of innovation.

As blockchain technology is in it’s infancy, many of our conversations lead to theoretical planning around a solution implementation.

What do you find the most interesting application for Blockchain technology right now at OST?
As a hopeless online shopper and frequent traveler, I’d have to say customer loyalty programs on the blockchain are really speaking to me right now. Some of those enterprise loyalty systems are pretty dated and it makes a lot of sense for blockchain tech to address issues around usage rates and help create more ways for customers to redeem points.

Do you find it challenging to convince companies to adopt Blockchain? What are common objections?
As blockchain technology is in it’s infancy, many of our conversations lead to theoretical planning around a solution implementation. However, OST does have a working solution which is already being tested by over 150 projects globally.

You moved from the United States to Germany a few years ago — What are some real differences in terms of daily life?
Has anyone noticed that nothing is open on sundays? But seriously, I’ve adjusted to everything else just fine.

Thank you, Jordan!


MARINA ANTONOVA

Tell us about yourself, Marina!
I grew up in Saint Petersburg, Russia, and it’s my third year in Berlin now. I’m enjoying the buzz of this city so much! Life is great when you constantly learn new things and meet interesting people, and I like to make the most of my time here. My motto right now is “to work hard and don’t forget to enjoy the ride!”

What made you interested in Blockchain?
Once I managed to embrace the concept and understand all that’s behind this omnipresent buzzword— it just clicked. It’s going to be so mind-blowingly huge and fundamental: I want to be part of it! It’s almost like building a new reality, block by block.

What kind of companies are you currently targeting?
The possibilities of Blockchain are near-infinite, so we are looking into any company that wants to expand its existing economy through tokenization. From social communities to marketing platforms, and from gaming applications to fintech solutions. Next to that we are also helping companies run their ICOs using OST KYC — the KYC/AML management tool we initially developed for our own ICO last year.

Blockchain is almost like building a new reality, block by block: I want to be part of it!

Who’s your role model, and why?
This is actually a hard question! No particular person comes to mind, I think my friends and colleagues are my biggest source of inspiration. I have so much to learn from each and every one of them and it helps me create this aggregated image of a better, wiser, more advanced person that I want to be.

What do you consider Blockchain’s weakness?
It’s way too early to say anything about the promises Blockchain and “decentralized consensus” hold, but I’m intrigued by the hypothesis posed by an old friend of mine: “Maybe blockchain’s biggest weakness is the hubris it inspires?”

Thanks, Marina!


PAUL J. DU PLESSIS

Paul, you’re OST’s Director Market Development & Global Blockchain Evangelist: Can you tell us more about your role?
As part of the founding team of Simple Token my role has evolved from one man commercial band during the pre-ICO days, with the majority of the team rightfully focussing on what is really important to get right, the product. I was basically selling the vision and signing the first pioneering partners until the last couple of months where we launched OST KIT and started formalising the structures and processes by which we can grow the global commercial team.

It has largely been and remains all about the long term potential for various token models and slowly developing the theses for how these enable businesses in new ways. I love talking with people everywhere about the tokenization vectors and pathways enabled by our tech and in the broader ecosystem.

What made you interested in Blockchain?
I was instantly hooked when I saw a video of the very first DAO on youtube (about a year before Ethereum DAOgate) and how governance can be codified with consideration of the underlying motives and incentives of the participants through a mechanism to bring alignment. 
Clearly blockchain tech formed part of the future convergence of technologies. IoT and AI combines well with blockchain in terms of data fidelity along input paths, and along output paths for balanced model decision outcomes. This has far reaching consequences for everything from economics to politics to culture and I wanted to play a part in realizing this future.

What do you consider your biggest success to date?
Living like a nomad for almost 3 years, sometimes crashing on friend’s couches, sometimes being hosted by colleagues, always indulging in my wanderlust… Moving from one great tech city to the next whilst learning and working in blockchainland — it is certainly a success to have a great adventure in your story.

Blockchain solves for ownership and participation in ways that no other tech or even institutional governance structure has been able to before.

How do you like to spend your free time?
I do an insane amount of reading, otherwise there is always another corner of Berlin to discover or revisit.

What do you think is the biggest misconception about Blockchain?
Blockchain technology is very likely one of the best modern examples of the innovators dilemma. The use cases are criticized on grounds of uniqueness and necessity (“why do you need blockchain for this?”) and the business cases range from abstract to indeciferable and so the online debate rages. 
All the pushback is not unfounded, as builders everywhere are etching out a growing niche that is fundamentally rebuilding all our institutions from the ground up. At the heart of this is a person’s right to that which they own, including “my money”, “my assets”, “my vote” and “my data” — all held by tokens that they own the keys to.

Putting the solvable UX and scaling issues aside, blockchain technology and tokenization solves for this ownership and participation in ways that no other tech or even institutional governance structure has been able to before.

What can we expect from your department in the months to come?
You’ll meet many more faces on the commercial team globally and all these great people will be focussed on helping mainstream businesses to tokenize.

Thank you, Paul!
Follow Paul on Twitter >

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Contact our Business Development Team via partners@ost.com