I had the pleasure of interviewing Jonha Richman who has over a decade of marketing and communications experience working with global innovative companies, helping them scale their global marketing operations. She is a venture partner at JJRichman, a private investment firm investing in diversified assets around the globe including real estate, cryptocurrencies, stock market, and digital assets.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you share with us the story of how you decided to pursue this career path? What lessons can others learn from your story?
Selling and marketing became my career at age 7 when I had to help in my uncle’s business to sell bread. As I set my own personal quota, I figured that people resonate with certain words that I used.
Today, I help projects develop brands and tell their story to the world. I first learned about Blockchain’s most commonly known use case (which is in the form of cryptocurrencies) in 2012 when there’s not much coverage about the topic. With my experience working with hyper-growth tech companies, Blockchain projects started to tap into my marketing and PR expertise. As I learn more about the industry and its various use-cases, I couldn’t help but be immersed and realize there’s so much more to learn. Almost every industry that currently has expensive and redundant processes in place can eventually be disrupted by Blockchain. It’s not going to be an easy route ahead with all the current technical limitations, but it’s it’s feasible. In the same way that early adopters didn’t just immediately give up on the Internet earlier on, current limitations shouldn’t really baffle the whole industry from pursuing all the potential applications of Blockchain in various industries.
What were your career ambitions when you were younger?
I always wanted to be a lawyer. But earlier on, I’ve been told I have a knack for finding a great story in some of the most boring items and sell them. When I was in high school, I was a working student where I eventually befriended our librarian.
In exchange for my efforts in keeping the library orderly, she allowed me to have access to the computers and the Internet. That immediately open my eyes to the potentials of the Web when almost every website were still one-pagers with funny fonts and animations.
Can you tell me about the most interesting projects you are working on now?
The main projects that I’m actively involved in is JJRichman Ventures and being on the advisory board of globally scalable Blockchain projects. JJRichman currently invests in diversified assets including stocks, cryptocurrencies, and real estate.
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?
My mum would always top the list as she has always been the one who believed in me before anyone else did. I guess there’s nothing sweeter of a ‘revenge’ than success.
Then, my grade school teacher who told me that I would never amount to anything. I live each day and dedicate all my success towards proving her she’s wrong.
What are your thoughts on the current state of diversity in the technology sector? What’s going well and what isn’t?
I look forward to the day when we all are recognized based on our own talents and merits — regardless of race or gender.
You sit on the boards of a few blockchain/crypto companies. What is your main role?
Helping great products and projects get the attention they deserve — by helping them identify their unique story and advising them on which narrative to focus on.
One could argue that the crypto and blockchain space is very preoccupied with speculation and obsession over price and value fluctuations. Do you see this passing in the near future?
Every industry will always have speculators, market shapers and shakers. Even tech had its dot-com bubble, so it’s pretty normal for Blockchain to undergo a similar cycle.
The market and the whole industry as an interesting way of policing itself as people who get involved tend to become wiser, projects that don’t necessarily deserve the attention and money of their investors get busted, and hopefully the industry will clear of such junk projects and have more time on focusing in building impactful products and services.
While we’re still a long way from a mature and stable Blockchain environment, I think the fact that more and more unsustainable projects (from the get-go) are starting to wither away means that there will be more room for legitimate and more impactful projects. We’ll see more and more governments become more clear towards their stance on cryptocurrencies, while Blockchain and its expanding use cases will be embraced not only by the consumers but even governments themselves that are looking to streamline their internal processes.
Are you a fan of introducing regulation and do you think that would help or hinder the sector?
I think that legitimate projects aiming for scalable adoption wouldn’t have problems working hand in hand with regulators (who simply want to protect the public’s safety and interests).
Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) have in some ways been getting a bad rap. What are your thoughts on ICOs and what should companies be doing to gain public trust?
A report by Ernst & Young suggests that 10% of $3.7 billion ICO funds are either stolen are lost. Either these firms premeditated the move, or they were unable to deliver the technology that their investors expect from them.
Either way, it’s crucial that in order for new projects to gain the trust of the public again, projects need to do more than just publicity stunts and focus on building a company and value before trying to raise any more funding.
A new and interesting option for established companies to raise funds (not from the public though), but first through private sale is through security token offering (STOs) where companies raise money or create an investment offer where stock, bonds or real assets (or any asset with value) are tokenized and put on Blockchain.
This means that investors will no longer just hold their breath and wait for a project to eventually accumulate value, but whatever money is being raised is tied up an existing assets’ valuation.
What would you say to young women considering a career in blockchain? How would you encourage them?
Identify your key skills and what exactly you bring in to the table. Keep harnessing and developing those skills so you’ll become more confident on your skills and place in the industry. There will always be people who will undermine and try to downplay your value and success. When you have that inner confidence and assurance of what you’re capable of, you will not let these distractions and detractors baffle you from achieving the best that you can be.
There will also come a point when people will try and compare you and your success with contemporaries. Don’t try to compare your first few chapters with someone else’s climax or ending.
Is gender a barrier to success? Absolutely not. I think every society needs to be race and gender-blind where meritocracy needs to be the sole basis for opportunities — not just one’s status or existing connections.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
I’m pretty much @JonhaRichman on every social media platform.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!