Alexa took the leap into the blockchain world and isn’t looking back
Today our Team Interview is with Alexa, Aragon's new Operations Assistant--- we discussed what brought her to work in the blockchain space and why did she choose to work on Aragon.
Past team interviews:
Hi Alexa and welcome to the team!
Please tell us a little bit about who you are?
Hey! I'm Alexa, and I am taking on Operations at Aragon. This includes streamlining our internal processes like payroll and accounting, handling logistics, team events, and generally acting as glue between finance, legal, and the Aragon Core Team. I will be working closely with María to make sure that the rest of our amazing team can focus on the product and community.
I was born in Philadelphia, USA and am currently living in 'the swamp' Washington DC. I studied International Business and Political Economy in university and am currently pursuing a Master's degree in Digital Currency with business/finance concentration, since I am not a developer. I have a real life crypto-kitty named Toshi (aka Satoshi Nakamoto....yes, really.) My hobbies include: cooking, sports, and traveling. Cooking is my only creative pursuit. I find it therapeutic and enjoy the process, but I'm also cheap and it saves lots of money to not eat out constantly ;)
Sports I enjoy are mostly basketball, american football (the Philadelphia Eagles!), football/soccer and UFC. I absolutely love traveling. I love learning about food, culture, and having new experiences. There is basically no location that I don't have a desire to see and explore, so far I have been to 28 countries and counting --- including a year-long stint in one of my favorite cities, Tokyo.
Alexa's cat Toshi, named after Satoshi Nakamoto
What made you decide you wanted to work in the blockchain space?
I originally found out about Bitcoin when a friend bought some in early 2011, and at first, it was just "magic internet money". I had no real understanding of peer-to-peer technologies, cryptography, or what this invention could mean for the world (let alone that I would one day become involved!). I followed the price and surface-level news regarding Bitcoin, and then finally started down the rabbit hole of learning the intricacies of the Bitcoin blockchain.
Most of my hobbies during university centered around reading and debating themes relating to economics, political science, and philosophy. It was really the economic and monetary theory side of Bitcoin that was my "gateway drug" and opened my eyes to how vitally important technology can and will be for preserving and advancing human freedom and prosperity. I used to think that there were no opportunities for me to work in the space as a non-developer (but this has changed a lot, especially in the past year).
Little by little, I had began to come to terms with the truly revolutionary implications that distributed peer-to-peer value transfer systems could have for things that I valued most --- namely, creating a more just world where humans flourish and are free to pursue their own ends.
The nail in the coffin for me was when I went to Washington D.C. to work for non-profits on criminal justice reform and government transparency. I thought that working in these areas would create at least a little positive change, but my idealism was quickly crushed when I critically observed the entrenched interests and backwards incentive structures at play in this city. When I finally accepted that the changes I wanted to see and be a part of were impossible via our current systems --- I knew I needed to dedicate my life to creating and enabling these new systems in the crypto/blockchain world. I have zero plans of turning back!
There's hundreds of different blockchains out there currently, so why Ethereum?
Today, most internet usage is 'one sided' and creates a dynamic where users themselves are the product. Personal devices have become mere screens to access walled gardens where users have little control or bargaining power. Centralized, remote servers which we have collectively come to rely on heavily, are not only a huge risk from a security standpoint --- but it is also dangerous because end-users do not control their data. Dismantling these data silos, and thus the immense power to monetize this content, can only come through users becoming empowered via decentralized smart contracting and its applications.
In the first part of 2017, I worked in business development at an Ethereum-based company, where I was educating people who were very new to these concepts, about potential use-cases and distinctions between Bitcoin and Ethereum. This was great experience, and I got to meet other community members in real life, which has been inspiring and has made me even more bullish on the future of the Ethereum ecosystem.
Web 3.0 projects like Ethereum and Aragon are looking to re-orient the trajectory of the internet's infrastructure and changing how we interact with firms and others online. An Ethereum-based Web 3.0 promises the programmable automation of intermediary industries and streamlining business, while still accommodating for individual sovereignty and combating information asymmetries.
And what about Aragon, why did you want to join this team and what are you excited about to get to work on?
Government-reliant innovation tends to favor the establishment and those who are well connected. However markets, networks, investors, and consumers or communities all favor value creation. In this way, Aragon unleashes business and organizations to evolve beyond the stagnant, centralized, and closed systems which dominate today.
Aragon-native firms have the unique ability to build and launch a global brand, mission, product, or service with ease and efficiency. These organizations are free from traditional hurdles and restrictions related to physical location, regulation, and government, age/gender/ethnicity, religious or political affiliation, or lack thereof. This is important because currently property rights, friendliness towards innovation, taxes, corruption, freedom (personal, trade, and monetary), and red tape --- all vary greatly depending on physical location.
Operations at a project like Aragon is so unique at this moment because we are filling the gap between these traditional systems of accounting, law, and banking and the new world of foundation multi-sigs, upgradeable smart contracts, and transparent crypto-payments.
The future with Aragon will be decentralized and international with no paperwork or government approvals to create and grow value for the global market. I'm thrilled to be a part of Aragon because we are creating a new standard for transparency, governance, and accountability that will transform our work and personal lives in ways that we still don't fully comprehend.
In the short term, I'm really excited about getting our internal processes streamlined and efficient. This may sound boring, but I appreciate when things work simply and effectively, and I hope to bring some level of feng shuito the nitty gritty of our operations. On this non-technical side, we have an opportunity to design business processes that facilitate transition from this old world to the new --- and this is important not just for Aragon, but for the Ethereum ecosystem and crypto-industry as a whole. In the longer term, I want to automate myself out of the role, and am excited to transition the project into the hands of the community!
Thank you for sharing your wonderful story, observations and vision Alexa, best of luck in your new role!
You can also follow Alexa on Twitter!