Recently, a friend of mine introduced me to an exciting blockchain startup, or so it seemed. We met, had some coffee while they introduced me to their vision. One of the founders started to talk about their business case and how much money they were going to make, not only for them but also for their potential investors.
Halfway through the presentation, I started to feel uncomfortable. Something important was lacking. Then it struck me; these guys had no vision, no values, no mission, nothing to care about. The whole project seemed to have only once purpose, to make as much money as possible in the shortest amount of time.
Needless to say that I didn't do a follow-up.
Have we changed?
Now, this example might be extreme, but to me, it is symptomatic concerning the current state of the blockchain space.
When we started to advocate Blockchain technology, most of us did so because we believed in improving the lives of millions through decentralization. Bank the unbanked and the other phrases, remember?
Now that ICOs are dead and VCs have entered the game, it seems like the spirit of the Blockchain pioneers is gone. While innovation and progress is still a driving factor in Blockchain, most of the founders today seem to have lost a purpose to strive for.
Some of the changes were necessary to ensure a certain level of maturity in the space. Practical implementations of the Blockchain (for example, supply chains) are needed to strive towards mass adoption.
Where Are Our Values?
Nonetheless, I think it is essential to aim for something bigger than that. If a team of founders can't even answer the simple question of why they are doing what they are doing, without mentioning the word money, something is not right.
If you want to be successful with your product, you have to be able to answer the following simple questions:
- Why should people use our product?
- What is our vision?
- How will our products improve the lives of our customers?
Sounds easy, right? Yet so many businesses fail here.
Something that I like to say to the founders in such situations is if you don't care, why should I care, If I don't care why should your employees care, and if all these people have no purpose, other than making money, why should your potential customer care? Right, they won't.
If you want to attract the best people, or these days engineers, around you, don't offer them more and more money, offer them a reason to get out of bed every single day. If you and your team are passionate about what you do, no one can stop you.
Nevertheless, I have some hope left for the Blockchain industry, as it is still young and slowly maturing. However, if we don't stay true to our values, scammers and wannabe entrepreneurs will dominate the space - and that is bad for all of us.