Women Leading The Blockchain Revolution: “Find ways to bring your unique skillset into the space” With Maike Gericke & Tyler Gallagher

Find ways to bring your unique skillset into the space — blockchain is a space that is still so new that it has the need for a lot of diverse talent getting into the space. If you are a developer, that is a great start, but you do not need to be a developer to add value […]

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Find ways to bring your unique skillset into the space — blockchain is a space that is still so new that it has the need for a lot of diverse talent getting into the space. If you are a developer, that is a great start, but you do not need to be a developer to add value in blockchain. Add your unique views based on your experience, and you can be sure to make an impact!

I had the pleasure of interviewing Maike Gericke. Maike started her career as a fashion designer and ended up in the blockchain space after quite a few turns. Her career took her from graphic and web design to international business, marketing, global strategy and innovation management, and from jewelry design to software development programs and blockchain. After working for both start-ups and Global500 companies, she decided to bring her love for new technology and her urge to work on things that truly matter into founding Scrypt.Media — a consultancy for impactful emerging tech start-ups.

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?

My path is probably not the most common one, but I see similar complex paths with many people working in this space, although most of them never worked in the fashion industry. It was usually my interest in new areas and innovative spaces that lead me from fashion to graphics and web, from trying to organize my own small company to studying marketing and international business and moving to business strategy for a corporate, and from working in a technology-related field to moving towards blockchain. Although I sometimes struggled with not having the most linear career path, it is something I learned to embrace and see as a core strength. Now I can perfectly apply my diverse skillset to start-ups and enterprises in the blockchain space, and see the bigger picture of how many aspects of a business are interrelated. What others can learn from my story? Go after the things that interest you the most and don’t be afraid to tap into the unknown.

Can you tell me about the most interesting projects you are working on now?

The most interesting projects I work with use blockchain to bring a real social and environmental impact into this world. The amazing teams behind those projects are striving for financial inclusion, fairer supply chain solutions or an improved healthcare system, and I have the great pleasure to help them define their path and give guidance and hands-on support on the way.

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?

There is so many people that helped me to get where I am now. From former bosses and colleagues that really encouraged my decisions to the people I met at the first blockchain meetups that happily included me in the discussion. Those people introduced me to others, and some of them ended up becoming business partners, collaborators or friends. My cofounder Khalid Belghiti has been my partner in crime in building our company and defining our vision. And even though the total number of women in the space is still quite small, the community and willingness to help is incredibly high. I had people I barely knew answer my questions, share tips, share opportunities and invite me to discussions and meetups from the start, which has been an incredible experience and feeling of community from the start.

What are the 5 things that most excite you about blockchain and crypto? Why?

First, solving major problems — Blockchain has the potential to provide solutions to some major problems our world is facing today: personal data protection, supply chain traceability, financial inclusion and clean energy are just a few examples of application areas that can make a real difference in our world.

Second, new possibilities for collaboration — the decentralized nature of blockchain allows for new modes of collaboration and changing governance, so we can reorganize a lot of areas that are very much top down now and build new, much more collaborative and open source structures.

Third, shaping a new industry — right now the blockchain space is still very much in definition, so we have the unique opportunity to build a more diverse and inclusive culture in the space.

Fourth, accelerated innovation — More collaborative structures and a more diverse culture could help to accelerate innovation in many areas.

Fifth, the attention that it starts to get — in October, I saw first-hand how blockchain became a major conversation topic within the United Nations during the World Investment Forum. It is great to see governments, organizations and individuals getting more and more interested in the possibilities that this technology holds.

What are the 5 things worry you about blockchain and crypto? Why?

First, it’s not a buzzword that can fix it all — While it is an exciting technology, blockchain is also just that: a technology solution. It is not a cure for everything and needs to be put in the right context to work.

Second, the crypto hype — The recent hype around cryptocurrencies is great on the one hand for bringing attention, but the negative image that is associated with a big part of this hype is creating a lot of mistrust, even towards the projects that are building real solutions and products.

Third, the lack of education — Many people today are not yet aware about what blockchain is, what it does and how that is relevant to different use cases. More education efforts and sharing of positive examples are needed to create awareness and a positive image.

Fourth, the closed off community — Today, many blockchain projects are still operating in the closed-off world of blockchain enthusiasts, and as developments are going so fast, there is a shortage of talent across many areas, from development to marketing or UX.

And fifth but not last, user adoption — To get solutions used more widely, projects need to improve the user interface and user experience of existing solutions, make them easy to use and understand, and reach out to a larger audience for testing and feedback.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world? Can you share a story?

I always feel like there is so much to do and so little I have achieved so far. One of the reasons to found my own consultancy is to bring the team the opportunity to support projects and initiatives which we believe are changing the world for the better. We want to put our focus on building solutions for some of the biggest issues we see in the world today. We met some amazing people and teams on the way that are doing their absolute best to tackle these issues, and work day and night to make it happen. What we do is help them on their way!

As you know there are not that many women in your industry. Can you share 3 things that you would you advise to other women in the blockchain space to thrive?

Find ways to bring your unique skillset into the space — blockchain is a space that is still so new that it has the need for a lot of diverse talent getting into the space. If you are a developer, that is a great start, but you do not need to be a developer to add value in blockchain. Add your unique views based on your experience, and you can be sure to make an impact!

Focus on the people that are interested in solving real problems — As there are so many things happening in this space, it is sometimes hard to tell meaningful projects apart from mere scams or projects blown out of proportion. It takes some learning, but you will get there!

Join a lot of meetups and build a network — There is a great meetup culture in this space, and a lot of great contacts can be made on- or offline.

Can you advise what is needed to engage more women into the blockchain industry?

More education and broadly available knowledge about the great things that are happening in this space. More visibility for the women that are already working in this area — there are many great people doing great things, but the chances that they are getting to showcase their knowledge and talent is still limited — for example female representation at conferences or events is still incredibly low, which is not a problem of lacking experts. We need to see more women leading by example and setting the path for others, and those need to be given the chances and means to do just that. And we especially need more women of color and other minority groups which currently have even less representation.

What is your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that had relevance to your own life?

One of my favorite quotes is by Albert Einstein: “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” A person like me that constantly moves into different spaces and gets into new topics unavoidably makes a lot of mistakes, but for me this is actually a good thing. We are living in a world of perfectionism, but in the end growing, evolving and learning are all related to starting somewhere, and making mistakes is unavoidably a part of that.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start 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. 🙂

One movement that I really would like to start is to bring more visibility to the tangible positive effects and outcomes that diverse teams have, especially in tech. Diversity is a great driver for innovation, and I would like to make the business results and improvements that are achieved through diverse teams more measurable — like a business case for inclusion.

And of course, the same goes for making the social and environmental impact of projects in the blockchain space clearer and measurable.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

They could follow me or our company on Twitter, read our updates and research on the Scrypt.Media blog, or find out if I finally found more time to post some personal thoughts and updates on Medium.

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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