Is Blockchain A Good Fit For Your Business? A Tech With Heart Interview With Tracy Hazzard From the Tech With Heart Podcast with Michelle Calloway
In this day and age of rapid technological advancement, it has become harder to escape the talks about blockchain and cryptocurrency. But just like anything new, it is always better to err on the side of caution. So how do you know whether you should adopt it in your business? Tracy Hazzard has the answer, and she shares them with us as she joins Michelle Calloway’s Tech With Heart podcast. Tracy breaks down the things you need to know as a business owner to identify whether this technology is something you should be adopting today, tomorrow, or the near future. What is the difference between blockchain and cryptocurrency? Should you start accepting cryptocurrency in your business? What are the pain points you need to address first? How do you go about doing a reward payment system? Will mass adoption be possible? All of these and more as Tracy provides you with the knowledge around blockchain technology for business.
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We are going to talk about a topic that many of you have heard about but you have no idea whether or not you should be fully paying attention to it or not, and that is blockchain. What we’ve done is we’ve brought an incredible innovative expert to our show that’s going to talk to you about blockchain and cryptocurrency. What it is that you, as a business owner, need to know about in order to identify whether this technology is indeed something you should be adopting today, tomorrow or in the near future. With that, I want to introduce Tracy Hazzard. Tracy, thank you for joining us.
Thanks for having me, Michelle. I would take any opportunity to be able to talk on a show where we get to de-tech the tech talk. That sounds awesome.
Thank you. That’s what Tech With Heart is all about. We want to empower people by dumbing it down sometimes so that they can digest it, understand it and see how it’s applicable. We love to educate, empower and enlighten. We want to show them how they should be or could be using it.
It’s bridge-building. That’s what I always call it. That’s what I want because when we’re building our tech, we sometimes get so in that world that we forget that we have to bring people along to come to be new users to be able to get the most out of it. Otherwise, they get overwhelmed. A good friend of mine, John Livesay says, “A confused mind doesn’t buy.”
Tracy is the best person to be talking to about this. Let me introduce her to you so you understand why she’s the best person to be talking to you about it in our Tech With Heart community because she’s a heart-centered individual as well. Tracy is an Inc. innovation columnist and the cohost of four top-ranked podcasts. One is Feed Your Brand which is listed as one of the CIO’s Top 26 Entrepreneurial Podcasts to listen to, Product Launch Hazzards for big product brand builders, and WTFFF?! which is her 3D Print innovation Start Point.
Now, she’s got The New Trust Economy, which is exploring the emergence of blockchain in business. That is why she’s going to be talking to us a little bit about blockchain. In addition, she’s been writing over 300 articles for Inc. Magazine. Tracy has been featured in CIO, Forbes, Thrive Global, Wired, Fortune, Small Business and CNN Money. She got a lot of understanding and education. She’s been interviewed by the best and she’s interviewed the best, so she’s learned a lot along the way. With a constant stream of content and products from her authority platform, she was able to reach over 100,000 listeners and viewers each month.
Tracy continues to influence design and cast for branded content and $2 billion worth of consumer products and innovation around the world. She’s an innovator and inventor. She’s created many amazing products with the 3D. That’s where she got her start. Now she’s the Cofounder of an organization or a company called Podetize where it’s a full production brandcasting platform exploring blockchain incentive program. This is an amazing opportunity for us to hear from somebody who totally knows about the technology blockchain and how we, as businesses, could learn about it, incorporate it and decide whether or not it’s a good fit for us for now and for the future. Thank you, Tracy. Welcome to Tech With Heart.
Thank you. I want to step back and correct something. Not that you said it wrong but the way my resume reads or something like that, it sounds wrong. I’m not an expert in blockchain. I’m an expert in disruptive innovation and evaluating whether or not it makes sense for business and application. If you want to take a look at my blockchain history, you’ll see that my cohost on the show, Monika Proffitt on New Trust Economy, we look at it and she wrote the book, Blockchain 101.
She’s the deep expert on what it is, all the tech side of it and what goes on in it. My role in everything and anytime I look at innovation is, is there a market for this? What should people care about it? Is it important to them? Are they going to do something with it? Is it going to be useful? My role is more of the journalist and the outside person who’s looking at, are we going to use this? Is this going to be a value? Do I need to explore this for my clients, for my businesses, for what’s going on in the world? That’s always my approach. I’m an expert in being curious about innovation.
I appreciate your clarity on that because what you said is exactly why I thought you would be a great fit for our Tech With Heart Show because you’re not going to talk above the average person’s head. That’s what Tech With Heart is all about. It’s providing a place or a warm environment for us to ask questions that some may feel are dumb questions because they don’t want to be ridiculed because they don’t know enough. Tech With Heart is all about supporting you to feel safe to ask those questions. With that, Tracy, let’s go ahead and dive right on in. You can start with what is blockchain quickly and then go into the difference between blockchain and what we all heard about cryptocurrency.
These are two totally separate things. People think blockchain and cryptocurrency interchangeably like they’re the same thing where they’re not. Blockchain is an information superhighway. It’s the new internet. I was interviewing Stephen Meade on my show and he is one of the people who I’ve reiterated the way he says this because it’s brilliant. If I asked 100 people, do they know what the internet is, they would say, “I know what the internet is.” If we popped up on a screen the code that is the internet, there may be one person in your region of the country and the rest of the world, we don’t know what it is. Most people have no clue that that’s the essence of the tech and what the internet is. Blockchain is the same thing. It’s going to be that big, broad and foundational for businesses, financial institutions and different types of structures of what’s going on in the world and in our digital world now. Things are going to go on top of it and we confuse those things that happen on top of it with the structure.
There’s the foundation and then there’s the building.
Blockchain process came about with the need for what was going on with Bitcoin and cryptocurrency. We also use cryptocurrency for lots of things that aren’t a cryptocurrency. They’re glorified tokens and rewards systems. We also have to be careful there. Just because you get points at something and you want to call it cryptocurrency or digital currency, it doesn’t mean it’s money, the SEC would regulate it, and there would be all these issues. It’s not currency as it’s defined now so we need to be careful with that. Bitcoin in its original formation revealed what was the blockchain and how it would work. It’s a distributed ledger.
We have a lot of trust problems. We have a lot of issues with our financial institutions and with the way money is running. You can see why Bitcoin came out of it is that there’s this crash, market problems, and everything is going on at the time that it was invented. People are worried like, “What happens next when I don’t have access to my money? What I need to do to run my businesses, pay my employees, and do all of these things? We need some alternative that some government can’t control. This is how they started to look at it. They said, “How do we do this and not create a giant silo of information with big targets on it?” That is what our banking system is. This is where all the valuable data is.
Hack Facebook and get all this username, passwords, and all this valuable information. Hack Equifax and get everybody’s credit scores. We see that going on again and again. I started working and developing eCommerce sites and all kinds of things back at the dawn of the internet way back in the mid-‘90s. We were building carts and other things, and everything was hackable. Everything was a mess. The next time you turn around, there were security breaches. It was a nightmare. It was also unknown because no one had imagined that this information superhighway wasn’t just going to have information. It was going to have transactions on it. It’s not built for it.
That’s interesting that you bring that all up because you’ve set the stage well in the sense that we have been operating with the internet since the ’80s.
We took off in the mid to late-’90s. That’s when it’s becoming more eCommerce-friendly and transactional in its nature. Now we’ve turned it into something more social. We keep adding these layers to the road. I like to think of it like a superhighway or the highways down here in LA and Orange County. They’re a mess and we start patching them up. That’s exactly what we’ve done. We’re building layer upon layer on our internet. That’s why we call it internet 2.0, 3.0. We’re layering up the SSL layers which means we’re putting secure technology on top of things. We start layering these catchphrases and these things that we hear over it. It’s important because it’s creating more security. The reality is it’s unstable underneath. It probably had sinkholes under there. No one knows that. When we start looking at that, we say, “What if we created this air highway above it all that works in a different way now that we know what needs to happen on the internet?”
We’ve grown up a lot and we’ve learned a tremendous amount. What I do know about blockchain is it is the honor system.
I would say it’s not that. It’s, “I’m going to trust but verify.” The honor systems I have with my children like, “Did you brush your teeth? I’m going to smell your breath. I trust but I’m still going to check you out when I kiss you goodnight.” What happens with the distributed ledger is that all the information and all the security is broken up into little pieces blocks. They’re broken up all over the place. Imagine if your Social Security number was broken up into three blocks. You got your first set of numbers, your middle set of numbers, and your last set of numbers, and they’re not in one single place. If they got something, my first three digits simply tell you that I’m from California so did millions of other people. It’s not going to change anything for you to have those three numbers. We also use our last three numbers as pins and it doesn’t tell you anything either.
It’s only when we have the combination of the three things that it matters. Each one is contained in a block and we can’t get to the next one without the address and key being revealed from the current one. We have to have a password to get ourselves into the first one, it’s called a passkey. We don’t get the passkey for the next one unless we’re verified and authorized to be able to do that. It’s going to go back out and authorize against whoever is the owner or whoever has that information before it can get to the next one. We’re starting to get a process by which they can hack into one but they can’t hack into all of them fast enough.Just because you get points at something and you want to call it cryptocurrency or digital currency, it doesn't mean it's money. #TechWithHeart #MichelleCalloway #podcastinterview Click To Tweet
We’ve made something that’s more secure in all of its processes. We’ve made something that the trust factor goes with whoever we allowed trust and access to this single thing. We haven’t given it to one core place. It’s not with our bank, it’s with this distributed network around the world that has agreed to participate in this. This is where people get confused, but they can’t do anything with the small pieces of data they have. They don’t know what the data is. They don’t know how valuable it is. They don’t do anything but store it and verify that that’s what it is.
When someone comes in with the right passkey, they’re allowed to release it. That’s the only job that they have. That’s how we assemble our account numbers, our Social Security numbers, our IDs, our information or it could be our health information in a future world. We reassemble that and we only give it out temporarily or in part, not in whole, to the people who we authorized. It puts us in greater control of our data and our information overall. What it’s done is it create this whole new process for how data flows and how trust is created. That’s why I like to look at it as new infrastructure.
You described blockchain. That’s not what cryptocurrency is. You’re saying there’s a difference between the two. What is cryptocurrency?
Cryptocurrency works on top of that. In other words, it uses the same model. If I want to send Michelle ten Bitcoin, I have to authorize that transaction. Imagine if I did it with my bank. My bank is Chase and I’d use Zelle or something like that. I go over there and I send Michelle $10. In this particular case, what’s happening is that bank has to verify against your bank, and your bank has to verify against my bank. It’s a process. While it seems instantaneous to us and everything like that, there can be problems. What if at the same moment that it went to go send to you, my bank account overdrew or it ran out of money? That can’t happen in Bitcoin because it has to verify that you have the money, you have the Bitcoin, that is going to the right person, and everybody agrees that it was supposed to go to that. It has this multilayered agreement that’s going on in the process that’s following it. It’s utilizing the blockchain but it’s not the blockchain. The money is the transaction that’s demonstrating the use of the blockchain.
You did a good job explaining the difference between cryptocurrency which is the financial transactions that take place on top of the blockchain foundation which is going to replace the internet.
It’s going to replace certain types of structures within the internet. I met a woman from JPMorgan Chase at an event that I did in New York City. It was all about women in investing and all kinds of things. I was asked to talk about blockchain there. She came to me and she said, “My company is spending billions of dollars on this blockchain group that we don’t know what they’re doing and what they’re working on. Until I heard you speak, I didn’t realize that it was going to be of any value. I didn’t understand it.” I said to her, “The one consideration that I didn’t say on stage that you should be thinking about here is that your company doesn’t have a choice. A bank in this particular case doesn’t have a choice because they run on a batch system.”
You know how your bank says, “If you don’t make the transfer before 7:00 PM Eastern Time or Western Time or Pacific Time, then your account is technically overdrawn.” Yet, they don’t process the whole statement and all of the other stuff until midnight that night, and all these transactions you didn’t know about come in. You’ve seen that happen before. All of a sudden, you wake up in the morning and you’re like, “How did those checks come in when I checked at 7:00 and I had enough cash and by morning, it’s gone. What happened there?”
It’s because they do this batch settlement. We, who may be used to grow up in the old age of having the statements and all of that, we didn’t have the luxury of thinking this stuff is instantaneous. The next generation says, “This is ridiculous. Midnight my time and that’s when your statement closes. This is a digital world. There’s no real money here in their brain. These transactions are automated. No person has to do this and reconcile this. Why isn’t this happening faster?” Their archaic system. They’re built on the old blockchain with all these security protocols with everything that they have to do, and that archaic system can’t keep up.
If they’re going to keep up with this perception that money and digital money especially, digital transactions should be instantaneous. I should have the money at that point and my account should always be perfect in reconciliation. That perception is what the consumers want. The minute something new comes out on the market, their business has gone. Something new could totally disrupt them by starting out and building it on a better system and structure without this history of how you got built and all the patches that they added it. Their company, their databases are as patched-up as our internet roads.
That leads us into the next question, Tracy, which I was going to ask you. You’ve described blockchain. You’ve described what currency is on top of the blockchain foundation, and then you talked about instantaneous transactions and how everything is much automated through the midnight, my time. It shouldn’t matter whether or not that’s not midnight, your time. Transactions should take place in the time zone that they’re supposed to take place and at the time that they’re designated to take it. That’s happening because of the fact that it’s all automated. Now we’re talking about business again. You mentioned Chase, we can see how this is going to severely affect the banking industry, cryptocurrency or the new way of doing financial transactions.
Let’s talk about small businesses or even regular businesses in America. What should we be paying attention to in this regard? What do you see as far as adoption rates of being able to start making our systems so that they’re not all patchy underneath but are incorporating more blockchain technology so that we are set for success in the long game? We all know that this is happening. Some of us aren’t clear as to how soon and how much is it going to cost me to transfer the whole infrastructure of our business over to it. Can you speak to any of these pain points that I’m mentioning?
First things first. Your database systems and the way that you’re working is good enough. Not every business needs to move into a blockchain, but if you’re struggling with certain types of problems and you need solutions that are out there, now is the time to consider as you go into rebuild the system because you’re trying to solve a problem that’s going on in your business. I’ll talk about some of those in a second. When you’re looking at that, now is the time to consider, is blockchain a better solution for that? We want to look at, do we do enterprise blockchain which is blockchain for businesses where we can create privacy factors, and a couple of other things where we’re customizing them and making them proprietary to our business? Do we want to use a public blockchain because it serves the public good?
I might want my health information to be completely out on the public blockchain so that I can authorize at a moment’s notice any hospital or any emergency company to have a release happen. If I did that only within a private company, it’s only within your network. When you’re out of network, you’re screwed. We want to think about which would make the most sense. That’s your next step question. Thinking about the kinds of problems that we might have. The supply chain has a huge lot of problems. Food is a great example of this. We have a lot of problems with food safety.
We have a lot of issues where food is going into Walmart, Target or any of these grocery stores that we have all over the place that they might be contaminated. We’ve had lots of issues here with contaminated lettuces and all kinds of things out here in California. It happens everywhere around the world. When they do, it can take up to ten days for them to figure out where the source of it came and removed the proper products from the shelf or figure out what that is. If they don’t, usually what they do is at some point, when they realize it’s romaine lettuce or something, romaine lettuce disappears off the shelf and gets destroyed even though it’s not all contaminated.
It’s better to be safe than sorry is the view in foods. We don’t want to get people sick. Walmart specifically, utilizing a specific type of enterprise blockchain has been able to reduce that down to seconds. When they receive that there’s contamination happening or some foodborne illness that has gone on and it’s identified as melon, they can go through the exact supply chain of every single place that touched that melon along the way and know if there’s at the source. By the time you walk from picking up a melon in the grocery section to walk to the register, if it’s contaminated, they will not sell it to you and they will pull it from the shelf.
That’s how fast they can be and how many people they can serve through that process. We have other problems in the supply chain too. As you know, I’ve done a lot of consumer products. We have problems making sure that payment has cleared, or that we don’t have child labor through our supply process. There’s a whole bunch of things. I’ve had this happen with furniture. We go through furniture and it can go through an extreme amount of testing required by a company like Costco, for instance, only to find out and get some here in the US. Costco will go and pull a few off the shelf, and they fail the test standards even though they passed over in China or wherever they came from at the source.
Only to find out that test that was run on it didn’t come from an actual trustworthy source from audited third party. Its submission in itself was tampered with. How do we build a supply chain where all of these things have to be documented and come from the right source if they aren’t received from the right source or they don’t follow the proper format or proper protocol to come in? Once they’re in, no one can touch them or edit them without it being revealed to everyone within the supply chain. Now, we have a lot of safer process and more transparent supply chain. That’s a great way to do that.
To add one more layer to that before you ask your next question, Michelle, is smart contracts. If we need a smart contract, then it may make sense to build that rather than building a complex accounting structure. This is where I looked at that being my interest in blockchain originally. I get paid royalties when products sell at Costco, Walmart or Target. When I got paid royalties, auditing that was the right amount of shipped, that’s how much I got paid, it was correctly done and in the right timeframe. I can tell you, I had to take many clients to court over the years to try to get payment for stuff that I did that it was ridiculous. That’s why I was happy to leave that industry.
Creating that royalty stream, digital rights management and music rights management comes into that, being able to ensure that artists, creatives and those type of people in the world are paid the value for what they’ve done. There’s an audit trail that doesn’t require them to go to court and spend tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars on lawyers and accountants in the process to be sure that they were paid fairly for the work that they did. Now, you’re not selling products that are on stolen labor because the reality is when you stole a design, you still stole the labor when you don’t pay for it. That’s unethical in the process. It’s also illegal but you got to prove it on the other end. If we’ve got that built into the process, we don’t have to trust each other, I can take more royalty projects.
I don’t take them because I can’t trust that someone will pay me at the end. This happens with developers and designers. You start cranking up your fees because you know how hard it is to collect on the other side to get a piece of a company, shares or what you were promised. We have a different model that removes the trust factor and it doesn’t matter if you trust them or not, your pay structures are built into the process, automatic distributions, all of those things can be built-in. We call that fractional ownership if you go into a share situation and equity situation. It’s different from distributions on royalties or payments of sales commissions. I know that was a lot to absorb but I hope it was still in English.
I loved the pictures that you help paint but still, I’m coming back to Tech With Heart is here to empower business owners. I love the fact that you talked about the clean supply chain. There’s no margin for error. That’s one of the things I love about what I’m seeing about blockchain. I had mentioned earlier, you can trust people but you should trust and verify. That’s one more reason why you can trust it because it’s being verified. I do like that and there’s low margin for error. I don’t even know if it exists.
I don’t like to call it anything. There are people who call it infallible, indelible and all of those things but I don’t like to do that. I’d say there’s always corruption. There’s always all that but it is much less. You don’t know what’s the value. Why are they going to go hacking it? Why are they going to corrupt the system when they don’t know where stuff exists and why it’s valuable? Keeping that in mind makes it less likely to happen. There have been some cases where people stole someone’s passkeys and their Bitcoin got disappeared. These things can happen but they happen anywhere. Someone gets mugged on the streets in New York all the time. It’s no different. They thought, “You can’t steal that.” You can’t steal it unless you steal it. It’s a crime at that point.
Look at where we were years ago. The advancements that we’ve made in technology, science, and this new approach or this new era of blockchain that we’re entering into. You will not have a choice at some point. You will have to get on board or you won’t be able to be in business because that is the only mechanism that we’re going to have for transactions. We’re heading in that direction because it is much more secure. We see so much corruption happening in many of our different systems. You brought up stuff on the supply chain that I had never even thought of. The royalties and all that stuff, it’s a web of mess.
It’s an archaic mess because it all runs on mounds of papers that transfer between a factory, a driver, and a shipping company. There are copies of things, and there are banks involved there that release money that’s waiting for everything to be delivered and now the money gets released. The bank doesn’t know what’s good and what’s not. They say the paperwork is in order, they check it, and you receive bad product 4 to 6 weeks later when you open up the boxes. I see this happening all the time.
There are problems there. When you see problems like that, that’s when your eyes and your ears go, “I need a new solution. Let me go out there and investigate what makes the most sense.” Blockchain may be the answer for you and it may not be. That’s where we start to see. When you’re coming in a pervasive business problem that could create innovation for you to be the solution for something that doesn’t exist now, then that’s a great thing. We’re working on that. It’s why I got curious about blockchain. It’s why I started doing interviews. It’s why I started asking all of these questions. It’s because I saw a problem in my industry and the podcasting industry in general. Big brands want to go and write in one giant check. They want to write a big campaign for $100,000 a month and they want a podcast to put those ad dollars on. They want to put their ads on there and they want that.
There are few podcasts that qualify to use up $100,000. They’d have to write hundreds of checks, tiny little fractional checks to use up, get the right audience, and the broadness. There are no Google AdWords for podcasts. I said, “I’ve got a whole system for ad mixing and all the things that I could do. I have shows that would be valuable to put them on. Why can’t I track the advertisers?” It’s because the advertisers want to spend a big check. If I resolve the problem of how the advertisers still do what they want to do, they write the big checks, they get the audience profile they want, it doesn’t matter to them what show it’s on. They don’t care. It’s ad real estate. As long as it’s going to the right community and the right audience, they’re happy. They’re going to get the return on investment. No one has to write a check. It goes through the system. It’s all fractionally divided, and distributed. All the hosts out there are so thrilled that they didn’t have to go and seek a sponsor, work hard, give them stats, do anything in the process. They just allowed those ads and agreed to allow them on their show, and then they were paid.
You created a brokerage system for advertising.
It’s still behind the scenes. We do it. It’s manually being done right now because that’s how we always prefer to do something. We want to brute force test it and see what’s wrong with it, so that when we go to fully build it in the final tech, we know that it will work. We know that we’ve got the right features because so often we overbuild. This is my tech startup complaint. They spend too much time creating a minimum viable product that fails and doesn’t do what it needs to do. They don’t scale up and receive the funding that they expect to do because they didn’t get the client traction that they expected or the customer acquisition that they expected.
No wonder, who wants to use something that’s broken and they know it’s not good enough from the beginning? What we always do is we manually do things on the backend that require more labor, time, and energy putting into it, but we’re learning all along the way what they want, what they need, what they don’t like on it. No one’s complaining because we didn’t reveal this giant tech that was amazing. We spent millions of dollars of our profit on it or the money you’ve been giving us every month. We have actual users and actual clients. We always have proof of use that goes into it. When we’re ready to build it, we know exactly what it is and all the features that need to happen on it.
That’s not on blockchain. Are you building it on blockchain or anything?
We will be building it on blockchain. That is what’s going to happen. We built it off blockchain and we’re building it on blockchain next. I wouldn’t have come to, “It’s a definite, I need to use this to make this happen,” if I hadn’t been transacting and realizing there are many problems. This doesn’t make sense, no one trusts the data, I’m having trouble acquiring bigger brands, and I’m having trouble with this because it needs to happen in that way. It needs to be as simple as Google AdWords. That’s what we built on the blindside right on the beta side. We’ve built Google AdWords for podcasts but it will be a brokerage as you put it on the other side of the blockchain completion which will be in 2021.
That was real-life application of blockchain. When you saw a problem, you figured out a solution, and then you figured out the solution would be even better.
We’re always are seeking those solutions in our businesses. Every small business has it. What’s your edge? What do you do well? How can you be of more value? How can you be a person of increase? We’re always thinking about that. That’s where our heart comes from. Our goal is to be solely focused on podcaster-centric innovation. If it requires reinvention of systems then we’re more than willing to do it. We’re reinventing microphones. We’re reinventing whatever it takes to make sure that the podcaster and the listener both benefit. That’s our sole focus. That’s our connection focused. If it doesn’t benefit both then it doesn’t work.
I want to reiterate, if you have any questions or something that you’re thinking about, should be built on blockchain and you don’t even know where to go, you’re welcome to reach out to Tracy Hazzard. You’re welcome to reach out to me either Michelle Calloway, Revealio or go to Tech With Heart on Facebook. Shoot us your questions. We’ll be more than happy to answer it or at least point you in the right direction. Speaking of business and blockchain, it’s good to ask good questions to identify whether or not blockchain is the right fit for you or perhaps something new that you’re building. If you’re a small business, you don’t need to worry about modifying your model until more mechanisms are built for you. When businesses went from strictly brick and mortar to online businesses in the era of when the internet first came out, it took a couple of years to get to the point where average users are able to build on it.
You get a lot of hype in some of these things where you think, “If I stay on building on blockchain, I’m going to get investors.” That’s where the overbuilding comes from but it will cost you if it’s not the right solution for you. The tech is expensive in these early days. If it’s not going to deliver you the right results, it’s going to cost you. It will hurt you to think that you’ve used this hype to get the investment but it ends up with a net loss at the end of the day.
You had mentioned with your own discovery, you needed to identify whether or not it was going to work and learn a lot about the process along the way while you’re testing it out. You don’t have to build it on blockchain in order to test it and see if it’s going to be a viable solution. That’s a great example. Business owners are asking, “Should I be accepting cryptocurrency of some sort? What does that even look like? How would I even go about it?” I don’t know if that’s necessarily where we’re at now.
Let me tell you that my most popular episode on New Trust Economy is an episode that Monika and I did where I said to her, “I hate to admit it. We’d been doing the show for a while but I don’t own any cryptocurrency. I don’t own any Bitcoin. It’s a stupid reason why I don’t. I don’t know how to get a digital wallet.” She’s like, “Let me walk you through it.” This is why we don’t do it. We don’t take it in. We think it’s more difficult than we imagine it is. It’s not. You sign up for something, you get it started, and you move money there.The tech is expensive in these early days. If it's not going to deliver you the right results, it's going to cost you. #TechWithHeart #MichelleCalloway #podcastinterview Click To Tweet
You put Fiat currency, our actual money, dollars, whatever your local currency is in your country. You put that in it, then you buy some Bitcoin. You get started and now you start utilizing it in places that take Bitcoin. My question back to you though would be, do your clients care? Do they transact in Bitcoin? If you’re doing a lot of business with Twitch in general, you should take crypto. It happens all the time. Thinking about it, is it right for my community? Do they care about it? Would it be a reason for them to choose doing business with me over doing business with someone else?
We did that. We went out there and said, “I’m willing to put cryptocurrency as one of our forms of payment. We take PayPal, we take everything else, credit cards, why not take Bitcoin or Ethereum or anything like that? Why not do it?” We said, “Our clients aren’t that savvy. That’s not who they are. That’s an investment strategy for them. They treat it not like currency, they treat it like stock which is what it technically is by the SEC.” If they’re going to treat it like stock, they don’t want to buy stuff with it. It’s not at that stage where we said it’s worthwhile to add this on, it complicates your shopping cart. Why do it if you don’t need to? If it’s your client base, it could be your competitive edge to attract the right users and clients. You should definitely do it then.
Those are great points. We’re going to talk with Tracy a little bit more about identifying whether blockchain is indeed good for your business. She would give up a couple of points. How many years out are we before we can tell whether this is going to become mainstream? We had got a chance to talk a little bit about identifying whether or not you should start accepting cryptocurrency or that’s something that’s a must now. She mentioned that it’s important to get the feel of your consumers. What is it that they want and meet them where they are because they’re the ones that need to be kept happy? You don’t want somebody bouncing from your business to somebody else’s because they got on the cryptocurrency bandwagon sooner than you. Keep your eye out.
If you have any questions regarding anything crypto-related or blockchain-related, even though Tracy claims she’s not the expert, she definitely can. She’s curious enough to know a lot of things to be able to point you in a good direction. Tracy, Revealio is an innovative software development company. We have a lot of application development requests coming in that has some form of blockchain in them. Mostly what I’m seeing though is that some of these businesses are thinking, “I want to create my own internal reward payment system, tokenization or whatnot.” Have you seen a tokenization concept be built and be highly effective? How are people grasping with it?
I’ve seen a lot of fail in the system. When I was a teenager right here in the same town that I live in now, we had this ice cream shop. It was called Varsity and there were tokens. When you bought ice cream, you would get a token which you then could go use to play Miss Pac-Man or whatever video games. What you’re talking about is tokenization reward system. It’s no different looking at that as I go into a retail store and they give me bonus points, or I use my discover card and I get bonus points and I can apply it to my statement or I can go buy something with it.
These rewards system exists already in any regular format of business that we do. It’s cool to be saying, “I’ve got blockchain tokenization going on in here.” Tokenizing something and a point system and having a real purpose for it where it would make sense to spend the extra money, the extra energy, and all of the time that it will take to develop it on the blockchain has to be purposeful. Thinking about it, there has to be some complexity in the reward system. In other words, I might be earning points but the reality is they are tokens but I can’t use it outside of the platform.
If I can’t use it outside of the platform, it’s not useful. If you want to build on a public blockchain, allowing me to convert that into Bitcoin, dollars or something that I can use outside of that, then I may need a public blockchain to be able to do that to make sure the transactions are real and everything. There’s a complexity in doing that and leaving your own isolated game platform, community, whatever that is. I was driving in an Uber for a very long time. He was showing how they gamified the way it is. They have bonuses, and all these things.
They might have $100 bonus when they do nineteen rides in 48 hours or something like that. It’s going into their regular paycheck. That transactional process, while it is gamified and it is cool, there’s no tokenization necessarily. They’re getting paid anyway. It’s just an accounting calculation. A straight database, they already trusting Uber to manage the fact that they’re going to get their pay rates, their commissions, and all of the things that they make off of that ride already. If they’ve won this thing, they get a bonus commission, then that should just happen regularly. There isn’t a reason for them to have done that. I don’t think that they have by any means. That system of rewards doesn’t necessarily need it.
If you’re creating fractional ownership of something, in other words, if a reward system is buying new pieces of a company, a thing or something, now we have to have a smart contract that manages that fractional ownership and all of that. It must be built on the blockchain. In some cases, it must be regulated by the SEC because it’s equity and stock ownership. There is a company out there that has done that in the video watching world. It’s the video version of Periscope. They’ve done that out there and it’s called Props. They’ve been approved by the SEC. They were the first platform approved for a tokenized reward system, but they’re regulated.
That’s what you have to keep in mind. What they did is it’s for the creators to earn rewards, not the viewers. In their case, by putting up lots of videos, and there’s complexity in the calculation for the reward. It’s not clear like you put up ten videos and you get a reward. It’s you put up ten videos, you get 10,000 viewers on those videos, plus you do this, this and this and that process. There are many comments and so much engagement. It’s a complex algorithm structure that is calculating and doing that. They needed a blockchain system to build that on. That’s what we’re talking about in terms of the complexity of rewards. Do you need it? Should you do it? The reward systems and gamification are going great for lots of companies.
We reward our podcasters if they refer someone to us. They get five free episodes. We don’t need to build that on blockchain. They make a referral and we credit five to their account. They see it instantly. They know they got it. If they didn’t, they send us an email. Why would we spend the money and the time to build it on blockchain? We wouldn’t. They’re happy though. Everybody loves the process and it creates it so that 90% of our business comes from referrals. It’s purposeful. I’m glad to see more people are thinking about doing that with you, Michelle, because it’s going to make their games, their programs, their systems, their software more effective.
I like what you’re saying, Tracy. It always drills down to logic. It doesn’t make logical sense at this point. This blockchain technology is very expensive because we still are in the new years of it. First of all, our companies, I want you to be aware that because we all can see that this is our future, there are organizations out there working on providing platforms for the rest of us in society to be able to easily adapt into the blockchain world. We don’t feel like we have to get involved in any of the programming, the development essentially back when the World Wide Web opened up. You can get on Wix and create a website in a splash. Over time, there will be more platforms like that.
I went to a Small Business Expo and I saw a company all about how you can manage your own cryptocurrency. Breaking it down so that you can manage your own brokerage on crypto. It makes it all visible. It’s all on the honor system thing. You can get right in there. You can play the game, and they’ve worked hard to dumb it down so that you can play. We as business owners, small businesses especially, because we can get overwhelmed with technology, I’m having Tracy on the show to help you hopefully feel like, “I need to be aware of what’s happening.” You can’t be going around with your head plugged into the sand these days. I’m all about helping you to realize that technology is not so scary and it’s something to embrace because it is our future.
I love the fact that you mentioned some good use cases and bad use cases. I’m going to talk a little bit more about the gamification and the rewards mentality because as we move forward, Salesforce did a survey and said that consumers want to experience your brand before they make a buying decision. Revealio is an interactive branded experience that uses amazing technology called augmented reality to make your marketing materials come alive which is an experience that is got a lot of wow factor. One great way besides Revealio, I also want to talk about the mentality of rewarding people for engaging your content. There’s too much blasting of, “Here’s what I do,” and promo, promo, promo. If you want to get in the good graces of your consumers and make it a fun engagement, something that’s memorable for them, make it a game somehow or reward them.
It’s also a great educational format. I did a panel with the group from Amazon Moments. They were talking about adding in rewards into your system that people want, and if you plan your gamification process so that your planning this process that’s teaching them how to properly use it in the way that you want them to use it. I would want listeners to listen to multiple different podcasts. I don’t want them to subscribe to one.
Although I want them to subscribe so I want to reward them for subscribing, I also want to reward them for subscribing to seven different ones because that is value to my clients as well. I might gamify that as a part of the process. The Uber example is the same thing. They were gamifying what Uber wants. They also gamified that if you are in this particular region of LA between 6:00 AM and 9:00 AM, then you’re going to get bonus points too because they need to make sure there are more cars available at that time of day. You can create your user to create a certain experience for how you want them to use it by the gamification. That’s of great value to you.
It’s incentivizing them to behave the way you want them to.
Michelle, you talk about your AR platform, what you do, the excitement, the fun and delight of it. This is part of the process to get people to also love your brand. That is always critically important to me. Our ongoing terminology for the many years I’ve designed stuff is we want to design products in tech. It doesn’t matter what type of product it is, the service, whatever it is that people buy, use again and again, and rave to their friends, business partners, and whoever it might be. Your core audience is ideal. We want them to rave about it. When we do that, now we have a valuable brand at the end of the day. We have a business that we don’t have to work that hard to grow, it’s growing for us. That’s the most important thing. Delight in the process of getting a card, getting your book, getting all of those things like you do at Revealio. That’s valuable.
It’s all about the memorability of the experience, making people feel something and getting excited. I wanted to talk a little bit about that reward system. Even though not everybody’s adopting blockchain, everybody should start considering adopting some gamification reward or at least make people feel wow. Something that’s going to be memorable.
It doesn’t have to be gimmicky. I always think it like it’s silly. One of the failures in blockchain and crypto market was this one called sweat coin. All you had to do was walk outside. You registered for a sweat coin, you walked outside. If you walked outside and had your phone with you, it would track on the app how many coins you received overtime. You could redeem the coins for the certain promotions that they would have in the cart. I would look at them because I thought I got to test this out and understand this. This was early on when I was trying to understand what cryptocurrency and blockchain was. I would use it and I would walk, and then I would go, “This is stupid. You want me to buy chocolate with my Sweatcoin?” That doesn’t make sense. My rewards are not in line with your business, with what you want to do. That’s when it becomes gimmicky. We don’t want to do that. We want to do something that’s in alignment with what our clients or users want.
Tracy, thank you for painting the good pictures of good use cases, bad use cases. When might we want to jump in? When might we want to ask those good questions? Should I go down this path of blockchain or not? To wrap it up, what do you perceive as far as duration? We saw what happened with the internet and then we saw what happened with the mobile explosion. We’re moving again into another realm of blockchain. It’s already upon us. It’s not like it’s not here, it’s just early. What do you perceive as for a small business owner to the point where you think that this is going to be mass adoption? Any ideas on that?
We’re going to see mass adoption a lot faster here than what has been predicted. IBM has done a tremendous job. I interviewed Jerry Cuomo from the IBM Blockchain for business group. He was talking about the sandbox that they’ve created for developers to get to learn how to utilize their blockchain. When you create that sandbox with the handholding of a company like IBM, and you’re going to ensure that it interacts with Oracle systems or other types of invoicing systems, not just QuickBooks which is a little more basic at most of our small business level.
If your clients are bigger businesses, you have to take SAS and Oracle and things like that to interact and do business with them. You have to interact with their systems. When they built a blockchain that already has that interaction built into the process, you’re like, “I don’t have to think this through. It’s already compatible. It makes my job easier. I’m going to send my developers over there and let them figure out how to play in this playground, figure out what we need to build and how we need to customize this.” They’ve already done a lot of the heavy lifting over there on that enterprise side. When we start seeing more of those big businesses start tipping over, we’re going to see the cascading supply chain have to comply and move into the process. They’re going to have to make it easy and simple for us to be able to do that if that’s who our clients are and who we’re servicing.
As we start to see that, it’s going to come down. I do not predict that Bitcoin is going to be in every part of every person’s wallet or essential portfolio stuff has to happen. I still think it’s in this realm of not everybody owns stock. Think about it in the world like that. Not every single person around you own stock. If not everybody owns stock, why would we own Bitcoin? It doesn’t necessarily make sense for cryptocurrency, whatever the form you like. I do think it will get more stronger than what it is in terms of the broadness of who adopts it and who adds it in.
First off, I don’t think it’s going to become a currency. That’s my personal opinion. As long as it stays at a level of what stock is, I don’t think it’s going into that mass adoption level. We’re going to say everybody is going to take it. Does our currency need to shift? We need to come digitally-wise. Every bit of our whole banking process is ridiculous. I opened a new bank account and I went, “This is ridiculously unsafe.” Everything about this process was like, “I should have been able to open an account in ten minutes with all the information you already have. You’re already my bank and I’m going to open a second account with you. It takes 45 minutes to an hour.”
There are all kinds of wrong in that process. Those things have to shift but these are big corporations. They’re going to make those shifts for us first and we’re going to find out, “We’ve got now the next Wix, the next WordPress, the next thing to use. Some of it won’t be as beautiful as exit dials down to as it is now in the internet.” It’s the same thing we went through in the ’90s. Building shopping carts ourselves and realizing we need better security systems. It’s going to go through those growing pains. I would say we’re going to be at tween level in the next years. We’re going to be awkward 12, 13-year-old thing. That’s the stage of business we’re going to be at.
I appreciate your input because I see it that way too. There’s definitely going to be enough evidence that the big adoption is coming that we won’t be left in the lurch. Small business owners don’t feel like they’re going to get left in the lurch. I love what Tracy said earlier and I’ll reiterate it again. If you can tell that your consumers want you to be able to offer the Bitcoin exchange, you need to start looking into it because you don’t want to lose your business to your competitor because they were more open-minded into adding one more form of payment. That is the hotter topic as far as how you can adapt it into your business. It’s to be able to make that type of transaction possible because it does translate into money. It’s a different way of thinking about money but it’s not like you’re going to have some obscure, digitized form of currency that you’re never going to be able to cash out into the green.Not every single person around you owns stock. If not everybody owns stock, why would we own Bitcoin? #TechWithHeart #MichelleCalloway #podcastinterview Click To Tweet
As you’re going to think about your structures and whatever, if you’re about to replace your whole supply chain management system or your invoicing system and all of that, you’re going to go out there and you’re going to do some investigation and say, “What system do I want to use? Do I want to buy an Oracle? Do I want to go to all of these systems?” You’re going to go out there and you’re going to start to investigate them. If you’re at that stage of business that it’s necessary for you to upgrade your systems, go start to ask some smart questions, go find the right people. You’re in the midst of doing something that you hope is going to last for at least a decade when you do that overhaul to your systems and your structure. If you’re not at that stage, then there’s no reason to do it now. That’s a competitive advantage and go for it because you want more business. Otherwise, wait it out a little longer.
This has been enlightening and empowering. Hopefully, it put to bed a lot of fear and also had a lot of light bulbs hopefully go on for our readers. We want to thank you from the bottom of our heart, Tracy, for you to share your time with us on the Tech With Heart Show. I would love for you to share with people how can they go ahead and get ahold of you if they have any questions. How would you like them to get ahold of you?
First things first. If you want to catch up on some of the detailed topics on blockchain and different things like that, my partner Monika is way more detail-oriented in the tech weeds. If you want to go there, feel free to listen to her episodes as well as mine over at New Trust Economy. You can do that on any podcast player. You can also go to NewTrustEconomy.com. That’s the first and most simple way. I’m a LinkedIn girl. That’s where I reside. That’s where I make the most post of my personal self. Not that you can’t find me anywhere on the internet, you can, but if you want to send messages to me and you want to connect up to me, that’s the best place.
That’s perfect because that’s all about business. LinkedIn is a business platform. Tracy, thank you. You have been a plethora of knowledge and we so appreciate you. I look forward to having you on the show down the road talking about another amazing innovative topic.
Who knows what’s next, Michelle? You and I are always keeping our eye out.
You’ve got to stay on top of it. I love it. Have a great day and thank you for reading. Join us for our next episode or go to TechWithHeartNetwork.com to get on our mailing list so that you can be informed when we’re going to have our next amazing expert talking about amazing topics in the tech and business industry. Thank you. Take care.