I’ve been approached by many long-standing community members in the past weeks whether I’ll run for ExCo in the current NEM Foundation elections.
The short answer is: No. But the future looks bright.
Let me give you a bit of context. When I signed my contract with NEM Europe on the 1st of December, 2017, I had a very clear motive why I wanted to join.
Before joining I organised meetups in Vienna and Berlin and built apps using NEM for two demonstrations: Proof-of-Presence at Ars Electronica¹ and Proof-of-Burn at The Future of Demonstrations². I had been involved in the community for a while, met quite a few key community members in real life and knew that committing to NEM professionally would be the next logical step.
I was able to convince Kristof of my professional value at the IoT conference in Barcelona in October 2017. I’d bring a technical background combined with business knowledge to the table. But also quite importantly Kristof and I shared the same vision for NEM: To empower people to regain control over their digital identity and to allow companies to simplify complex processes enabling them to build innovative applications.
So why am I telling you all of this? Because I’m not going anywhere. When I signed my contract in December 2017 I committed myself professionally to NEM for at least 3 years to make an impact and I’m honestly more motivated than ever.
We’re sitting on a treasure. Seriously. The technology that has been developed over the past 5 years by the core developers is incredible and since last year others have also contributed significantly, especially for libraries, SDKs and interfaces. But even the best technology in the world needs to be adopted to drive change.
The activities I’ve been involved in and initiated over the past year have shown what works and what doesn’t:
- Feet on the ground is great if it’s combined with accountability and KPIs. That’s why we at NEM Europe proposed a structured ambassadors program in early April that defines clear roles and responsibilities, compensation and handover of leads. Unfortunately there was global resistance but this can change.
- A technology initiative needs developers. At NEM Europe we already hired some but not nearly enough yet. I strongly believe the ratio should be 80/20 if not 90/10 between software engineers and other staff.
- We should focus on our core activities. Becoming a service provider is tempting if you build technology but it scales poorly. Also, we don’t have the funds to hire 100 support staff and solutions architects. Instead we have to focus on building a partner network.³ ⁴ ⁵A tried and tested approach by AWS, Google Cloud and others. At NEM Europe we started the NEM Service Partner network which is currently in trial and being refined.
- We can’t travel to every single place in the world to train people. We don’t have the funds for that. Instead we have to create reproducible trainings⁶, workshops⁷, prototyping tools⁸ and great documentation⁹. David from the CoE has done a tremendous job with this and we’ve found partners willing to contribute¹⁰ ¹¹ based on our open source curricular framework!¹²
- Focus on key partnerships. While it’s tempting to sign lots of agreements to create a PR buzz, it’s impossible to be productive with every partner. Instead we have to focus on key partnerships in specific areas that will allow us to do something we couldn’t do otherwise. E.g. expand our ecosystem with new open-source components for digital identity.¹³
- Focus on long-term over short-term. Yes, blockchain is exciting and the space is moving at light speed but adoption is a marathon. Most projects are focused on the next big hype but what happens after that? We have to always think about the long-term strategy. With that in mind it does make sense to be involved in some hyped up topics. E.g. work with strategic partners on the adoption of tokenized assets.¹4
So what am I going do next? Let me be absolutely clear: I have no intention to start my own project or work on a fork. I’m 100% committed to a tech-first approach for NEM. And that’s what I’ll do.