Interview With Joe Roets
Describe your product or service:
“Blockchain as a service.”
Describe your company values and mission:
“To solve real world business problems at scale.”
How are you funded? I.e. venture capital, angel investors, etc.
How did you come up with and validate your startup idea? Tell us the story!
“The Dragonchain platform was originally created by our team at The Walt Disney Company in 2014. The system focused on solving business problems at an enterprise scale. In 2016, we released a list of use cases that were explored at Disney to the W3C Blockchain Community Group. Also in 2016, Disney released the platform under an open source license. The original team from Disney commercialized the platform in 2017.
Dragonchain is a hybrid blockchain software development platform, offering secure and fast deployment of blockchain-powered business solutions written in any programming language, interoperable with any external blockchain, legacy system, or application. The platform can be hosted in any cloud or on-premises environment.
Dragonchain’s architecture considers interoperability and integration as key features. From inception, we had a goal to increase adoption via integration with real business use cases and traditional systems. Dragonchain and its customers have demonstrated extraordinary usability features in many applications, where users do not need to know that the system is backed by a live blockchain.”
How did you come up with your startup's name? Did you have other names you considered?
“Disney's policy on releasing open source software required that no Disney IP name is used and that the trademark is available free and clear.
I was a former graphic and logo designer and had an interest in the rotational symmetry of letters in logos and so wanted to use the "N" in the center of a logo wherein the "N" in CHAIN would meet upside down with the ending "N" in another word. Given that we had launched inside of Disney, the word Dragon was appropriate.
I proposed the name Dragonchain (with the above-described logo), and the team and then Disney approved.”
Did you always want to start your own business? What made you want to become an entrepreneur?
“Yes — I'm a serial entrepreneur, having started businesses in my career in many industries including media, printing, and software.
I have always been interested in finding unique and counter-intuitive solutions to pressing real-world problems.”
Did you encounter any roadblocks when launching your startup? If so, what were they and what did you do to solve them?
“Yes. Communication of very new and very abstract concepts. Also, because of the uniqueness of our solution, we've had to address issues related to the magnitude of possible disruption that our solution and its use could cause.
We corrected with a consistent approach to communicating key concepts and capabilities, as well as continuous building of new and specific solutions.”
Who is your target market? How did you establish the right market for your startup?
“We are industry agnostic. We target unique business opportunities that can benefit from our capabilities.”
What's your marketing strategy?
“We focus on strategic communications and fundamentals related to the utility of our platform and solutions.”
How did you acquire your first 100 customers?
“Through networking and communicating strategically within different industries.”
What are the key customer metrics / unit economics / KPIs you pay attention to to monitor the health of your business?
“Token holder count.
Network metrics (transactions, blocks).
Verification node runners.
Proof metrics (measure of outside energy applied to the securing of business transactions).
Network energy consumption.”
What's your favorite startup book and podcast?
“‘Zero to One’ [and] ‘Super Happy Dragon Lucky.’”
Is there a tool, app, or resource that you swear by to help run your startup?
What is something that surprised you about entrepreneurship?
“Nothing really surprised me about entrepreneurship, but I have been very surprised by the tribalism that we've encountered in the blockchain and semi-anonymous ‘crypto’ world.”
How do you achieve work/life balance as a founder?
“With lots of effort.”
What is a strategy you use to stay productive and focused?
“Having a great team and very clear goals.”
Did you have to develop any habits that helped lead you to success? If so, what are they?
“I don't think that I'm successful yet. Otherwise, I work hard on things that have long-term payoffs.”
What was your first job and what did it teach you?
“Working at a book, music, and video store.
I learned a lot about the difference between a good manager and a bad manager.”
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