What do you want to be when you grow up?
I'm not sure what to make of when I grow up but what remains at the epicenter of my heartbeat is to continue leading from the front lines the shaping and materialization of Africa, we want in my lifetime.
Please tell us more about your background, how you got interested in Web3 and what you're currently working on?
My last role in corporate was with Deloitte, after which, I headed into private practice, through management consulting roles across Africa’s emerging markets. My specialty has always been growth, for more than a decade. On this one occasion: when our growth inputs, scaled an entity from a modest 500 USD to a 2 million USD, within 36 months, it got a lot of attention across the industry.
That’s when we received a lot of attention across the industry space that's when it became clear that for us to reproduce similar type of growth we need to focus on the category challenges phased by the industry and adjacent industries after engaging on a number of conversations with instead corporates and small business enterprises in similar categories we ventured out to configure a category level solution.
Our 18 months due diligence uncovered industry pain points that necessitated the fixing of the various moving parts across the supply chain especially quality sourcing and business systems we then went on to receive two funding tranches even during COVID from a tech multinational to build the platform along with a team resource across five countries.
That's how we ended up into the blockchain sector, it was a quite coincidental one might say but once we commenced activities in the sector demand outstripped everything else, we had calls across the African continent from heads of state multinationals and local governments seeking tailored inputs for their own supply chain situations.
Among the people you've worked, or interacted with in Web3, who do you admire most and why?
Without a doubt that will be my cofounder and wife Pretty Kubyane who's demonstrated expertise are moving the needle upwards for women within the blockchain sector. She possesses a granular-level focus that led to her being celebrated by a leading blockchain association as the most distinguished female voice across South Africa’s blockchain industry, further to her visibility on the continent.
What hard and soft skills have been most helpful to help you succeed in Web3?
it was quite helpful to myself and my co-founder that long before we stepped into web 3 we already had a firm grasp on key things like design thinking, business strategy, product development, understanding the nuances of trading across Africa’s emerging markets along with possessing as sound business acumen are some of the factors that worked hand in hand to give us a front footing into the sector.
Technically we were also very privileged that we had the best of breed engineers architects, user- experience specialists and others available to us, more than 60 experts in total working closely with us as we embarked on realizing our vision.
From a leadership perspective: key elements such as vision casting, engaging strategic stakeholders, curating a market buy-in, understanding specific pain points from the word go, and being quite disciplined when leading a diverse team across five different geographies all turned out be quite.
What would you say is the best thing about your job? The most challenging?
The best thing about my role is the privilege to lead from the front lines the practical implementation of blockchain technology in a manner that 99% of stakeholders in the room can all understand what it is and what possibilities it possesses for Africa.
Some of the challenging aspects of my job include having to work with multidisciplinary teams, that exist across diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds, require one to communicate with clarity, to always achieve all hands-on deck with no one being left behind for understanding or knowing what is expected from them.
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What separates someone who is adequate at this position from someone who is exceptional at this position?
When it comes to leading within the blockchain space there is often a temptation to speak at text peak to non-techies, which never ends well. Great leaders within this space always simplify things communicating with clarity and being very practical about where the team is headed whilst pushing every boundary to produce unparalleled outcomes with excellence and on time, without compromising on quality objectives.
As the Co-founder of Coronet Blockchain, what would you say separates an adequate Founder from an exceptional Co-founder in the blockchain space?
One must always remember that blockchain is like a hammer unless you are clear on what the nail is or what the problem is. Then the solution you are building could end up being a fancy layer of code that is not moving the needle of development upwards how you deploy your blockchain use case matters.
Key questions to ask yourself are you solving a pain point that is a challenge to most people and are you solving it in a way that is practical cost-efficient and it's clear to all in the room where your blockchain inputs are adding measurable value.
Tell us the greatest working day of your life. You're at home in the evening, thinking of what you accomplished. What made you so happy that day?
Some of the best moments on my journey include entering a room full of leaders that are not in technology and not in the blockchain. At the beginning of the meeting, you find that most of them do not understand what blockchain is, and most of them mistaken it to be Bitcoin but at the end of that meeting our blockchain use case along with clear delivery of the potential uses of blockchain in that session makes it crystal clear what the untapped potential of such a technology is
Why this is demystifying and implementing blockchain, particularly close to my heart? The reality is: Africa missed out on the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd industrial revolutions. We cannot afford to miss out on the current unfolding 4th industrial revolution [4IR], we cannot be caught off guard nor can we be inadequately prepared, playing catch-up.
It brings me delight to be mobilizing an army of policy experts, government leaders, tech specialists, and others beyond the boundaries of our firm, across the continent, towards realizing a common goal to achieve the Africa we want in my lifetime.
What is your vision for your niche? What do you expect to come in the next few years? What development in the field do you find to be the most exciting?
We have a family culture of counting Saturdays which has proven to be a sober measure to gauge time. In terms of what to expect we are only 680 Saturdays from the 1st of January 2035 at which time Africa’s population is predicted to double in size. Such a milestone we'll see Africa needing to maximize the resources we do have whilst leveraging emerging technology especially blockchain to aid with the heavy lifting of our continental developmental priorities as mapped out in the African continental free trade agreement sustainable development goals 2030 and agenda 2063
Our vision as a company is to implement blockchain across the beauty sector which is our initial use case followed by the food sector to attain the much-needed food security priorities. And last but not least to ensure that the continent remains on track in terms of rethinking and reshaping our supply chains so that they are more transparent more equitable and the realization of that increased of the trade from the modest levels it is now, 15%, at to 450 billion U.S.D a year that our leaders have envisioned it to be. Adding blockchain among the existing efforts and strategic tools towards the realization of these bold visionary he said the call of our priority focus as a company.
Any tips for beginners who aspire to work in this domain, but feel completely overwhelmed to even start competing?
First and foremost, you must speak your point of entry into blockchain.
Ask yourself: are you heading into this sector in a technical capacity to create and maintain the platforms or are you heading into the sector as an entrepreneur to utilise and co-create the platforms with specific market demand in mind or are you heading into the sector to join the regulators, among other roles?
Bearing in mind: as this industry reaches maturity, we need more regulators and policy experts who uniquely understand the untapped potential of this space. To bring about regulatory measures that move the sector forward not backwards, in the best interest of society. So, yes be clear about your intentions as you head into this space. Such sound understanding, vision and intent: will inform your industry positioning as you channel your energies