Peter ClassenCOO/CMO/CSO and guru at revenue engine building

+ 23 yrs C-level experience (and 5 million air miles), with the uncommon dual perspectives of a chief strategist and a chief implementer resulting in 25% to 800% revenue increases, 15% to 45% EBITDA improvements, and 150% to 600% share value growths in revenue settings from $1.2M to $3.4B. Confidential advisor, board member, and architect/organizer of 135 start-ups, new ventures, and strategic expansions valued at $42B.

Recent Answers

A crypto currency amounts to potentially strong substitute for brick & mortar-like and financial-intermediary based- transaction structures.

It is a large idea, it is game changing, and it requires a rather substantial balance sheet and time to move from concept, to prototype, to commercial viability.

Having been part of a similar disruption in the financial intermediation / transaction-facilitation space, I can confidently it will take years (3 to 5) and a substantial team (6 to 8 seniors plus outsourcing) to take a concept to fruition, and earn your first dollar.

Conceptually, and as a strong substitute/alternative to traditional structures (and currencies), your idea is most attractive to those larger or international companies seeking to expand in emerging markets around the globe (Note: Firms in Africa are among the largest users/traders of bitcoin).

You might consider a two stage approach. First, find a market leader in the US, a real powerhouse, with belief in your concept, and with a depth of connections and quality of force to lead a start-up drive. Bring them into your team on a partner basis (giving them a lions share). Then, as a second stage, let them led the effort to attract the start-up / development team, the specialized talent, the pocket books of seed round investors, and access to potential customers. Have no doubt, this is a heavy, heavy lift - and you will need to commit for YEARS regardless of the financial impact on you. (Especially that typical Seed and VC are skittish over Fintech, which has produced 98% losers, and only 2% winners (because nearly everyone underestimates how sophisticated one needs to be to disrupt in a space that trades OVER $1 TRILLION PER DAY.)

In short, play to your strengths (the conceptualization) and trade what you can (equity in the venture) to those who have a much better capacity to lead the venture through planning and seed funding. Budget what you need to be able to then do four things: customer validation, planning (tech, rollout, sales, and ops), transaction protocol design, and technology development budgeting.

As relevant to your question - I was a Chief Marketing & Planning Officer for a powerhouse-led group of Wall Streeters and their financial intermediation disruption play (a business that is now skyrocketing).

Happy to have a chat if this is something you really want to pursue.

Interesting question. Start by developing an understanding the science of diversity and inclusion. Understand the equation where a more diverse and broad talent pool and an inclusive culture/business practices leads to better creativity and innovation, which then results in new products, that then open up new markets, that then generates a superior financial performance. (This is one standard D&I to Innovation to Competitive Advantage to Profit equation).

Truly, do the utmost to learn the science of innovation through diversity and inclusion. Build a case with quantitative examples to demonstrate D&I's linkage to Innovation, and its tangible, value in commercial operations (to convince your financial nay-sayers, try using a visual Dupont Analysis).

Then turn your attention to the basic work unit - the team level - starting with the training of senior leaders of teams. Begin with an analysis of each leader's work style using the Pioneers, Integrators, Drivers, and Guardians work style model. If you are like most firms, you will discover that Pioneers and Drivers are dominant, and that by nature and habit (and in the absence of training to build inclusion competencies), they overshadow Integrators and Guardians. You will find, if you run surveys or focus groups of their direct reports, that most leaders are by nature, not inclusive and more often than not, an impediment to innovation. Once Pioneers and Drivers are made aware of how they overshadow and stress out Integrators and Guardians, and how some of their direct reports feel excluded and refuse to speak up in brainstorming / creativity sessions, they will be more open to learning how to better foster innovation. I have found that two or three sessions on work styles along with experiential learning exercises, does the trick. Depending on leadership's responsiveness to this topic, you may also use the results of a work culture assessment, and show cases / options for structured creativity and innovation. If you are like others, plan on 3 sessions over a 6 to 12 week period, or a weekend "hack-a-thon" / "sprint" on "innovation through diversity and inclusion".

It is important during the group's working sessions, that the facilitator set rules and restrict the Pioneers and Drivers from speaking first.This has the effect of stopping both information and reputation cascades that are poison to inclusion, and a major deterrent to innovation. What Pioneers and Drivers experience in the first sessions - is both funny and revealing - they HATE not being able to speak first, respond with counter arguments, and control the flow of information. (They truly do!) It is been my experience that 16 hours of training/education/theory and experimentation, and then 30 to 45 days of monitored "practice" of inclusive behaviors is enough to cause participants to recognize the difference, the increased inclusiveness, and the more fruitful innovation results. Ofcourse all bets are off if the dominant behaviors are a reflection of a "culture of fear" as opposed to a "culture of courage". A simple 7 to 9 question culture test should reveal that for you. If there is a little too much fear, then different tactics apply.

(You would have guessed right if you are thinking I must run these sorts of programs for large companies. Indeed, I am a Chief Transformation Officer, and I ran one of these last week for a 2,400-person Silicon Valley tech-consumer services firm. Happy to have a chat if a structured, strategic approach based on the science of diversity and inclusion, and its impact on innovation and profit. Good luck!

Ugg, as a Chief Marketing Officer, a Chief Strategy Officer, and a Sr. Instructor at General Assembly on Marketing, and the Marketing function - you would want to deal with the biggest value added activities of marketing first, and get your hierarchies in order. Start with understanding the marketing function as have a role in Product (what you build and sell), Place (where you sell it), Price (how much you sell it for), and Promotion (how you promote, market, advertise your product). PR is a subset of promotion, similar to MARCOMMS (marketing communications). Both have to deal with communications, in the case of PR, communications/outreach with the public at large and Marcomms, the communication that is specific with customers). Under the promotion dimension of marketing is also traditional and digital marketing. Try hard to think beyond "the organization of marketing" and consider in what areas Marketing needs to be Responsible, Authorized to Act, Consulted, and Informed. (This is called RACI). For example: will Marketing be included in New Product / New Market Opportunity analysis, strategy formation, and planning? (Yes, they should, even if the Strategy function is put in charge). You could also use a "next best practice" approach which has marketing, sales, and distribution unified under a Chief Revenue Officer. Marketing Operations - the new application of technology to Marketing Tactic management - might also be part of your thinking. Ofcourse, corporate culture, company size, industry, product/service type matters in the engineering of a marketing function, so hard for me to say more. Happy to chat, if you really want to get into the details, the hierarchy, the three or four models to choose from, etc. Good luck!

As someone who faced a very similar question, I need to ask first, how old are you? If you are young, energetic, and entrepreneurial (as it seems you are), it is extremely likely you will reach a point when you do not wish to be " in charge, all the time" and you will yearn for having colleagues and partners at your level, to help carry the load. As someone who was independent, then part of a large team/business, and now is independent again, I can assure you there are pros and cons to each. I would strongly suggest using a weighted factor analysis that would help you assess objectively which option is better. Its a simple excel tool, happy to show it to you. Wouldn't take more than 15 min.

Invest in two things: building skills and learn by doing. How you acquire skills depends in part on what type of learner you are (look up the 4 types online). Play to your learning style and learn. President Lincoln perhaps gave the best advice to someone who asked him how to become an expert in the law. Lincoln said "The answer is simple, but it requires work. Read, read, and read." The same applies to your situation: learn, learn, learn whichever way best suits you. Then put down the books, videos, classes and DO SOMETHING, TRY SOMETHING. By 16 I owned my first company, nothing big - an antique restoration business - but I learned about marketing, selling, assessing customer needs, negotiating, being organized, being focused, and working diligently. At 18, you do not have to invent the next Google, you need to be in business, learn to think like a business person, learn to make decisions like a business person. Good luck!

Demonstrate superior performance in all your other experiences. Employers today face the challenge that many in the younger workforce are not self-starters, are not self-teaching, capacity to solve problems, and are limited in their motivations / willingness to work and . For example, my first job after my costly MBA was to run a factory of 800 people in a far away land. I made 23 of the 25 mistakes one should never make as a General Manager. I talk/laugh about that experience a lot, and often "reveal" that my salary was $256 dollars per month. I tell this story because you too need to be able to tell your story in a provocative and compelling way. So practice it with people who have hired people before. And in the sections where you were employed, show how how you knocked it out of the park. If you show these self-starter competencies, just about every recruiter will over-look the gap, and if they question you, and you have a good story to tell, you will make it to next round. Good luck!

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