Don’t be afraid to start small: it’s easy to feel like you do not have the resources to start an ambitious project. The truth is that you will never have enough resources. Just get to it.
As a part of our series about cutting edge technological breakthroughs, I had the pleasure of interviewingLuc Jodet.
Luc is the co-founder of Arianee, the digital identity protocol that enables an augmented ownership protocol. After starting his career as a Business Analyst in a Fortune 500 company, Luc co-founded BUYECO, a Renewable Energy Marketplace in Switzerland. It was while working on energy traceability solutions at BUYECO that he discovered blockchain technology.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
In 2014, I founded a renewable energy marketplace in Switzerland. An important aspect of this project was electricity traceability. By early 2016, I started receiving calls asking if my platform was using blockchain. It was not. However, at that time blockchain for energy traceability was all the rage. When I first heard about blockchain, in 2013, I didn’t catch the bug. Though the introduction of Ethereum in 2015 piqued my interest, it took until that series of calls in 2016 for me to fall down the rabbit hole. Eighteen months later, I was co-founding Arianee.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
Don’t know if it is the most interesting but it is the oddest 🙂 As I explained, my previous company was in the renewable energy sector. I once received a phone call from a Romanian entrepreneur looking for used hydraulic turbines to import from Switzerland. These are massive pieces of equipment and this sounded really odd. However, a couple of days later, I was shooting videos of a hydraulic power plant and told the owner about the request. While he was surprised, he also said he had one in storage. I ended up facilitating the deal. It’s the weirdest thing I’ve traded to this day (and I work in crypto 🙂 )
Can you tell us about the Cutting edge technological breakthroughs that you are working on? How do you think that will help people?
We use blockchain technology to create digital passports for valuable products starting with the luxury and fashion industry. As these passports can only be generated by the brands that produce the products, they provide proof of authenticity. More importantly, they offer proof of ownership giving a digital identity to your product and enabling numerous new online services including one-click insurance, digital wallets, instant resell quotes, virtualization, and much more.
How do you think this might change the world?
This technology augments your physical product with new digital functionalities, increasing its utility and enabling brands to provide new services to their customers. At Arianee, we believe this is key to transforming the relationship between brands and customers from merely transactional to more enduring, making the purchase is a first step in the customer experience rather than the last. I think this is the key to owners treasuring their objects for a longer time and reducing the need for brands to push new products every season.
Keeping “Black Mirror” in mind can you see any potential drawbacks about this technology that people should think more deeply about?
One drawback we consider is the “customs risk.” When you are transporting a proof of ownership for all your belongings in your phone, crossing borders can be a risk. An ill-intentioned customs officer could use the information to request a bribe. There are solutions to this but, as you can imagine, that the solution we are bringing could be used to reduce privacy if not used properly. This is where blockchain empowers owners as they are in control of their data.
Was there a “tipping point” that led you to this breakthrough? Can you tell us that story?
I don’t really believe in “tipping points.” No idea just comes out like a Eureka. It takes time and trial and error. Our overnight breakthrough was several years in the making 🙂
What do you need to lead this technology to widespread adoption?
We need a vibrant community of creators and developers to come and use our open-sourced protocol. The more services that become available, the more valuable the underlying protocol is.
What have you been doing to publicize this idea? Have you been using any innovative marketing strategies?
One of the main innovations of open blockchain protocols is the ability to insert incentives within the actual technology. Imagine if at the core of the SMTP protocol (the email technology) there was a fee for every advertising email you received and these fees were distributed to your favorite newsletter you subscribe to. Building these incentives is the best marketing because creators can create without the fear of becoming successful and then being unable to sustain their activities.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
At the risk of sounding cheesy: my wife. We met while getting our master’s degrees. She has been nothing but supportive throughout the difficult early days and the ups and downs. As an assistant professor in Corporate Strategy with a focus on early-stage Impact Investing, she also brings some serious chops when it comes to business strategy. She jokes that I am her long-term empirical study.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
The core mission of what we are building is to give back control to users on their data. Empowering users to fight back against the rampant unauthorized use of their personal information is of the utmost importance
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
- Just show up: I was invited to a conference to give a small workshop. When I got there, one of the speakers decided that he actually wanted to do a fire chat with someone from the blockchain industry. I ended up on the main stage. You never know what might happen so just show up.
- Suspend Judgement: judging and criticizing is easy (really easy for me in part due to my French education) but I find that when I am stuck, turning off the judging muscle is the way out.
- “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”: This quote is attributed to Peter Drucker, a management theory researcher. It really drives the point that not everything fits into a strategy plan PowerPoint. Many things that make a team lie in informal exchanges and behaviors of the individuals on the team.
- Don’t be afraid to start small: it’s easy to feel like you do not have the resources to start an ambitious project. The truth is that you will never have enough resources. Just get to it.
- You are told you are an idiot until one morning everybody says you are a genius: I think that is probably the most changing aspect of being an entrepreneur; because what you are doing is both novel and unproven, people can either think you are a genius or stupid. Since genius is rare, it is statistically more accurate to err on the side of stupidity. That is until you are proven right and then, all of sudden, you are considered a genius.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I am trying to inspire a movement towards open platforms (such as Arianee). The segmented internet we have today is not the way to go and more of the population is beginning to understand the risks involved with using Facebook, Amazon, and other closed internet giants.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” Antoine de St Exupery
A big part of my current job consists of convincing people to start contributing to the Arianee protocol. This quote is a reminder that listing all the benefits of your products is not sufficient to convince. You need to instill a “yearning” for what Arianee can be.
Some very well known VCs read this column. If you had 60 seconds to make a pitch to a VC, what would you say? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
We just closed a round of financing but it’s never too soon to prepare the next one 🙂
Arianee is the standard for issuing digital identities to physical goods. We work with top brands in the personal luxury goods, fashion, and mobility sector to create digital passports for their products. These digital passports enable new functionalities for physical objects such as smart recommendations, virtualization, or anonymous clienteling.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
You can find me on Twitter @lucjodet and you can also follow @ArianeeProject or join the conversation on our discord if you’d like to go more in-depth.
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.