What is your definition of web3? Why should we care about it?
Web 3.0 to me is an economy in which digital currencies, assets, and data are both programmable, and portable across platforms. I think that everyone should care about it because it creates the preconditions for a more competitive and innovative world. Whether in financial services, social media, or virtually any other industry you can think of. That can only be good for everyone in the long run. I think that being able to compete on the basis of walled gardens - whether that takes the form of software compatibility, or consumer data - has led to an unhealthy concentration of wealth and power today.
Tell me something that’s true, that almost nobody agrees with you?
Competitive markets and enterprise are the most powerful vehicles for progress. I think we have gone too far in demonizing capitalism, and failing to recognize its role in human progress. In some quarters, that is akin to saying “Hitler did nothing wrong”.
We were primarily hunter-gatherers for about 97%, farmers for roughly 2.9%, and industrialists for nearly 0.1% of human history. Thanks to capitalism, that last 0.1% we inhabit today is the most prosperous, and healthy we have ever been. Today we consider once-ostentatious luxuries like tropical fruits, vanilla ice-cream, and spices as mere groceries. Yet it is fashionable nowadays to loudly proclaim oneself as anti-capitalist.
What soft & hard skills have been most helpful in helping you succeed in web3?
For me, I’d say the ability to communicate well, and process large amounts of information have been the most helpful to my career in Web 3.0 so far.
The industry is a multi-disciplinary one. It spans fields ranging from computer science, to politics, law, economics, finance, and then whatever specific domain to which the general technology of blockchain is being applied.
So being able to distill a large amount of information, and communicate that in a compelling and precise manner has been incredibly valuable.
What’s the best thing about your job? The most challenging?
The best thing about my job is that I get to work with, and learn from some of the most intelligent, and passionate people in any industry. Web 3.0 tends to attract large amounts of both talent and capital, and I’ve enjoyed working with some truly incredible entrepreneurs, engineers, and more.
The most challenging part of Web 3.0 is being able to distinguish signal from noise. Both in terms of being able to distinguish fact from fiction - and there is a lot of both - and also figuring out how to tell a compelling brand story that can be heard above the noise.
What separates someone who is adequate at content writing from someone who is exceptional at this position?
Reading widely, reading often, and practicing. Clients value my ability to: (i) understand their business, (ii) bring diverse perspectives from other fields, and (iii) write content that influences the people who matter to them.
“Did you study material science?”, asked the VP of engineering at the expo booth. “I think you covered 80% of what we were going to say”, said the neobank’s APAC managing director during our introduction call. “Twenty-eight? I thought you were forty!”, spluttered the audit firm’s senior partner as he met me at the hotel lobby for the first time in person.
Finding a good writer that can speak your industry’s language is hard. Creative agencies and consulting firms tend to attract very different crowds to staff their ranks. The former tends to have the flair for writing, but not the domain knowledge. The latter usually suffer from the reverse. Business teams want to work with a writer that “gets it” - someone whom they can trust to be their voice.
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Tell us about the greatest working day of your life. You’re at home in the evening, sitting on your couch and thinking about what you accomplished. What made you so happy that day?
I held a client’s first-ever analyst briefing that grew their market capitalization by $20m in a single morning.
What’s the most important or impactful content you wrote? What made it so important or impactful?
I have several. The first one is a White Paper I co-authored which managed to raise $30m for an ICO project. I also am the editor of the annual Singapore Blockchain Ecosystem Report - which I later learned was circulated among a number of bank CEOs, and cabinet ministers. It certainly felt good to know that what I was doing was liked, and valued.
What is your content strategy thought process? What do you look out for, in what order?
First of all, good marketing only helps a bad product, or company fail faster. A company has to have: (i) a unique competitive offering, and (ii) a great team of passionate, honest, capable people behind it. That’s the one thing I no longer compromise on when choosing my clients.
Secondly, I try to map out all the conversations and narratives going on in the space, and figure out which ones my clients can be relevant to. Then, I try to figure out how to insert my clients into those conversations, and gain thought leadership.
What content do you think is lacking in this industry?
Honest and clear content. Sure, the topics and the technologies can be complex. But there are too many spin doctors, hand-waving and bandying around jargon intended to bamboozle the uninitiated, who are often eager to fit in.
What is your favorite web3 Project? Among the people you’ve worked/interacted with in web3, who do you admire most and why?
Request Finance to me has to be one of the most underrated projects in the Web 3.0 space. B2B payments are a nightmare in crypto, and enterprises are one of the major constituents to consider in the adoption of any new technology. You don’t get major players like AAVE, or The Sandbox using your product unless it really solves a huge problem for them.
I think that what they have built so far in terms of invoicing and salary are just a foot in the door for them to eventually offer more exciting embedded DeFi services to companies using crypto.
One of my heroes in the space has to be Vitalik. His views on the space, how he got into it, and of course the tremendous work his team has done with Ethereum will go into the history books someday.
What is your vision for your niche? What do you expect to come in the next few years? What developments in the field do you find to be the most exciting?
Programmable assets like money, and securities will dramatically transform financial services at all levels, from basic payments like cross border transfers, to just about every other service built on top of money and credit. It will be to finance, what the internet was to global commerce.
What quote has actually stuck with you and changed your life?
"Trust is the coin of the realm", wrote George Schultz on his 100th birthday, reflecting on a century of experience in public service.
When trust was in the room, whatever room that was — the family room, the schoolroom, the coach’s room, the office room, the government room, or the military room — good things happened. When trust was not in the room, good things did not happen. Everything else is details.
That piece of advice is one that I hold close to my heart. It is the bedrock of all the relationships that I treasure in my career and life