Susan Poole is a very active contributor on LinkedIn, often weighing in with timely information and posts on emerging Blockchain trends. She is the founder of BlockBridge Advisory, a firm that helps startups and enterprises integrate into the blockchain space and bitcoin. In this exclusive interview with BTCManager, Poole talks about her professional journey and evolution in the tech world as well as key developments she sees on the horizon for the blockchain space.
Tell us a Little About Your Professional Path?
Three years ago was when the bitcoin bug bit. I have been in high-tech my entire career, starting as a “girls who code" software coder at EDS. I was also involved with a few early on startups and progressed to launching new international sales entities for Platinum Technology in Australia and Microsoft and Vmware in Asia Pacific. Included here too was a digital health stint with HP.
Then came the Blockchain?
Having been in IT through all of the new tech, phone apps, social media, etc., I was not looking for the next big thing. But when Bitcoin surfaced, I jumped all in. I left my role in software, moved, and immersed myself 100 percent into the space. And it has been the best decision of my career.
What Blockchain-related Interests and Projects are keeping you busy at present?
After a fantastic year in DC, building the membership and events as Director at the Chamber of Digital Commerce, I have founded BlockBridge Advisory, a blockchain advisory company. I currently work with blockchain startups that have unique, high-value technology, launching them to market. I am also very passionate about blockchain education, and bringing new people into the space, which is still just beginning.
Two of the innovative startups that I am currently engaged with include Mooti, a cryptographic identification and validation company based on identity chain QubeChain, a genomic and healthcare platform based on blockchain technology and cryptography.
You Have also Been on the Lecture Circuit a bit?
Yes. I’ve had the good fortune of speaking and moderating at blockchain events at Stanford, Silicon Valley, Boston, New York, Chicago, DC and more, encompassing themes such as identity, IoT, Fintech and more. You will find me constantly asking people if they know of blockchain or bitcoin wherever I go.
What sort of Advice do you have for Blockchain Startups Launching in the Enterprise Marketplace?
My top two pieces of advice for blockchain startups are one, recognize that you are more than your technology; that you are now a blockchain startup business. Therefore you'll need serious business and sales expertise to launch. And secondly recognize that although you get what it is you do, your investors, your first customers, and potential partners also need to get what you do. In other words, “how you are different, and why you are unique.” Take the time and focus to be able to tell your story knowing that this is a new technology for most of your audience.
Tell us about Blockchain 360 and What You Learned during your stint as Chairman?
Blockchain 360 is a series of Blockchain IoT events. I was able to chair their initial event in Boston in 2016, which brought a whole new audience of IoT specialists into the blockchain space. In May of 2017, I will be chairing the first Blockchain 360 day at the 10,000-plus attendee event "IoT World" in Silicon Valley. This will introduce blockchain to thousands of IoT specialists across all software and hardware. What I've learned being part of the collaboration of blockchain and IoT is that as exciting as blockchain is functioning as a distributed ledger, when combined with IoT, these two emerging technologies will change everyday life as we know it.
What sort of Developments are You Currently Following in the Blockchain Arena?
I am following the big investments into blockchain by stalwarts IBM, Microsoft, Intel, SAP, and the top consulting firms, as they have the brute force to drive advancements and critical mass uptake of blockchain technology. And worldwide innovations are coming out of many areas including China and Eastern Europe which are going to change the landscape of traditional industries in banking and supply chain.
And finally, What Two or Three Trends do You Believe will Emerge in the Blockchain Arena over the Next 12-18 Months?
The big trend I see emerging in blockchain over the next 18 months are the disintermediation tsunami, where traditional intermediaries in financial services, insurance, and law begin to see that the overhead of being an intermediary is going to go away. And those industries will start to look for new services to provide via smart contracts and other blockchain technology applications. Also, as major technology companies such as IBM and Intel continue to invest in blockchain technology innovation, we will see growth in blockchain merging with the latest in Artificial Intelligence and IoT.