Have you ever wondered what would motivate a high-paid and high-level employee at one of the world's largest and fastest growing companies to leave? Many of us have heard about this. It might seem like a crazy thing to do, but when you have the opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of a global financial shift, why not? Check out David Zhang's story about his journey from Amazon software engineer to CTO of Stably!
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Transcript of video below, there may be some grammatical errors. 00:00:03
Nuhash: Hello, good morning, good evening everyone. Welcome to competition conference event news group. This is Nuhash Alam. I'm studying Computer Science Engineering in International University of Business Agriculture and Technology and alongside with this, I'm doing my summer internship at Stably, which is a fintech company. Today our topic is from Amazon to Stably, a startup fintech. and we have a very special guest with ourselves that is David Zhang, so we are looking for a very good show.
Nuhash: Hello, David. Let’s chat about the topic of the live show in English, right. So welcome to my show. Let's introduce yourself to the audience.
David: Yeah, thanks for having me so I'm David, Co-founder and CTO at Stably. As the title of this episode suggests, I was a software engineer at Amazon before deciding to... you know, start the startup. And just a little bit about myself, I studied computer science and math and I've always had a passion for financial markets, so you know, when this whole blockchain thing started, it was sort of like a no-brainer for me to get into the space, so that's all I'll say for now I'll save the good stuff for later.
Nuhash: Thank you David for your nice introduction. Let me start by asking a question that many people want to be an entrepreneur in the future and they think that they are facing some social problems. They have some ideas so it is just an idea that can make him a good entrepreneur so what is your opinion on that? What are the qualities needed to be a good entrepreneur?
David: Yeah so that's a very common sort of question. You know, people often, I think, overvalue how much an idea is worth like everyone has ideas and... you know, good ideas are harder to find, but... you know, they're not even that rare, right? Really what separates you from people that manage to do something from those that don't is really about execution. So actually going out and doing the thing that you set out to do. Now in terms of... you know, what kind of traits or qualities might help you with being an entrepreneur? I mean there's no sort of... you know, template or one size fit all like... entrepreneur, right? You know, you can be any sort of person and still succeed, but that being said, there's... you know, a couple of traits that I think are going to be helpful along the way. The most important one in my opinion at least is flexibility, so... you know, being an entrepreneur means that you're going to be picking up a lot of skills. You're going to be operating in a fast changing market. You know, you're gonna be doing a lot of different things and staying flexible is sort of your advantage, right, like being able to go where the market goes, being able to change when your ideas... you know, are invalidated. These are all things that increase your probability of success. And... you know, something else, that's sort of related to this is risk appetite. So... you know, unlike having a steady job, being an entrepreneur means that you're taking on a lot of uncertainty, right. You don't know if... you know, the product that you're building is going to be good. You don't know how the market will react to it. You don't know how the market will change in a month, in a year. So these are all things that... you know, you can plan for and prepare for, but at the end, there's always going to be some risk and then another quality that I would say is the ability to think for yourself, so... you know, a lot of people sort of just want to go with what the crowd says, but if the crowd is already saying something most likely, there isn't really much of an opportunity there, right? So being an entrepreneur you sort of have to learn how to make decisions from first principles, meaning... you know, try to figure out what the truth is, what the data says and try to make a decision from that rather than... you know, trying to see what's already proven and trying to replicate... you know, what already exists. But like I said, there's no... you know, sort of template. You can be... you know, I mean, if you look at the types of people that have succeeded as entrepreneurs in the past, they're... you know, an extremely wide range of backgrounds, wide range of personalities, so I don't really think there is a magic formula. You just kind of have to give it a try.
Nuhash: Thank you David for your nice answer. So... I will ask you a question in this regards that if anyone want to be an entrepreneur, he had to face a lot of feedback from others and sometimes there are people said it's not possible for you, it's very hard to maintain a business, to contact a business, so what's your suggestion on... like how to deal with this negative criticism of people?
David: Yeah, I mean that's a good question. I mean it's not just... I think in general if you want to be an entrepreneur or if you want to do something where there's not a lot of like guidance, you have to be able to take feedback, right? And that's both positive feedback and negative feedback. Because at the end of the day, you know, your goal is to figure out what is the truth, right? The truth is your friend and whether you get data from... you know, people interacting with your product or from... you know, criticism, like criticism can be helpful feedback, but I guess my caveat here is that not all criticism is useful, right? Some people just... you know have a problem with some way that you're doing something or some way that you're approaching something and maybe they're right, maybe they're wrong... like at the end of the day, sometimes it just doesn't really matter, because most of the time, there's more than one way to do things. And... you know, based on people's different backgrounds and experiences, everyone has a different opinion, so you can't make everyone happy. But I guess my sort of advice for this is like... sort of learn to pick out what is useful criticism and what is not useful criticism, right, like if someone just tells you: Oh this is bad, but they don't tell you why or how it could be better, like yeah maybe you should like... file it in the back of your head as like an extra data point but if you don't see anything obviously wrong, then... you know, you kind of just have to move on with your life, right, whereas if someone gives you negative criticism, but they also give you like: Oh, you know, here are some things that you should consider. You have a lot more data to play with, right? You can sort of think logically does it make sense, you can experiment with... you know, taking their point of view and maybe you'll find that they're right, maybe they're wrong. I mean at the end of the day... you know, you have to make the final decision yourself, so I talk about first principles and trying to figure out the truth and that's really sort of the key in all of this.
Nuhash: Thank you, David. Very good answer from your side because we also... we face this kind of problem. You can say a constructive comment sometimes sometimes it makes us sad so yeah... So next I want to ask a question that those people who are like want to start a startup or want to start a business so what's your suggestion on that? What's your thinking on that? How can they go to conduct a business?
David: Yeah so that's… there can be a really long answer for this. But let me see what the... what the biggest talking points are here. I mean I think the most important one is... you know, being honest with yourself and figuring out exactly why you want to go and do this. Because, I mean the thing is like it's not for everyone, right, like everyone has different things that they want to get out of life, or different things that they enjoy doing or find fulfillment in and... you know doing a startup is not what's going to be fulfilling for everyone. So I guess I can give some examples and some counterexamples. So you know, I guess at least for me personally you know these past... you know, few years running Stably, I've learned so much and I think that's a common pattern that you'll see if you go and decide to do a startup, you'll learn a lot regardless of whether it succeeds or fails. So you know, if you're into that sort of learning experience, if you really like to... you know, drink from the fire hose as they say, so you know, there's so much going on you have to pick things up quickly. It's also a chance for you to grow as a person... you know, you push... you have to push yourself, because there's always going to be so much that needs to get done and not enough people to do it, and you know, if you're lucky that will keep happening and it will be a long long grind, right? So there's a saying that says overnight successes are built years in advance, right? So you know, if you want that overnight success, most likely you're going to have to work years ahead of time to build up to that. So what kind of things can you not expect or at least shouldn't expect? So a lot of people go into doing startups expecting to make money and... you know, of course if you get successful and... you know, you have a nice exit or something, that is something that you can experience but on average, I would say the startup or entrepreneurship experience is pretty negative expected value, meaning that if you account for the opportunity cost and everything else, you probably would have made more just working at like a regular job, right? And the reason for this is there's extreme survivorship bias in the space, you only really see the people that have succeeded, you really only see the people that have... you know, actually survived the gauntlet of startup life. What you don't see is... you know, the hundreds, the thousands of companies that never really made it. People spent years of their life doing something that hopefully they're passionate about, so at least... you know, they had that but... you know, if you're hoping to... you know, sort of do this as like a get rich quick thing, that's most likely not going to be what you actually get out of it. So actually I don't know if you guys are familiar with a Y Combinator but Michael Siebel, one of the partners at YC, wrote a great piece called... Well, this is very specific for tech so... you know, people that are programmers or... you know, in that sort of area, but the piece is called three paths in the tech industry. If you have a chance, I would recommend looking it up, it runs through basically you know what are the three top considerations for whether you want to... you know, do your own startup, work for another startup, or just go for a stable job and a lot of it relies on you doing some self-reflection, being honest with yourself and knowing really what you want now. With that being said, it doesn't really hurt to try, especially if you're young, you don't have a lot of responsibilities. There's really not a better time than when you're young to sort of take a risk, especially if it's something that you're interested in.
Nuhash: Yeah, got it David. So now, before going to the next question, I will take a comment, the comment is written by Asadullah Galib. He's our senior brother in our city. So his question is: Do you think a tech entrepreneur should have writing ability. Or, is this a plus point to having a writing habit?
David: So yeah, so that's a great question. Actually I would say this is almost two questions. So personally, I'm a big writer. I really enjoy writing... you know, I keep my own journal. I write documents just for myself, even if I don't publish them a lot of the time. And really the value in writing is communication. Well communication if it's consumed by someone else and sort of clearing or crystallizing your thoughts if you're just writing for yourself. Because a lot of the time you think, you have a great idea but until you try to work out all the little details... you know, maybe you don't see the sort of small things that really break the idea or something like that, so a lot of the time just putting something on paper lets you see flaws or holes that you wouldn't see if you just kept the idea in your head. And similarly you know writing as a form of communication is definitely very important especially as we're moving towards like a more... you know a remote distributed kind of working environment. Communication I would say is actually one of the most important skills as an entrepreneur. In the beginning, you don't really need it. It's just you or maybe one other person, but as you grow really what determines how fast you can grow and... you know, how fast you can sort of scale up your product or your idea is going to be your ability to communicate that idea to others. And of course, there's formats like video, there's formats like... you know, voice talking to people, that sort of stuff, but writing is such a common form of communication, whether it's writing... you know, press releases, technical documentation or even just sending messages to people, there is an art to communication and I think being good at it is definitely going to give you an advantage. Now whether it's writing specifically versus other types of communication or... you know, putting things down on paper like... for example some people are extremely visual so for those people, maybe they would be better off like drawing some diagrams, or you know, doing something like that. I think the important part basically is getting something out of your head and into a different medium. I think that is very valuable and being able to use that to communicate, I think, will give you sort of a leg up over the people that won't... you know, with all of these things, you know, nothing really is mandatory or you know a golden ticket to success. They're all things that increase or decrease your chance of getting something out of it.
Nuhash: Yeah that is a very good question and also a very good answer from David. So let's go for the next question to David. There are a lot of problems in everyone's life like... Why you are interested to work on the financial service or solution and I want to add something that you left Amazon and you are trying to do something financial solution, that's why you are to create Stably. And for Bangladeshi, I want to say that for Bangladeshi working on Amazon or Google is just like a dream job for us, so I think... I think if I got the job in Amazon or Google, I will not think to do anything else, so it's when I came to know that David left Amazon and CEO Kory left a Pitchbook, so I just shocked why they did this, so just say about something about that why you are thinking of creating Stably like history of Stably
David: Yeah so I definitely can't say... Yeah so I definitely can't say that it was an easy decision. Actually I would say it probably ranks up there as one of the hardest decisions in my life. Not only was I deciding whether to leave Amazon to start Stably, but actually it's funny that you mentioned Google because I also had an offer from Google at the time to go work over there. So I was sort of deciding if I want to stay at Amazon, do I want to go to Google, or do I want to start this new sort of adventure, right. And really what pushed me over the line, and what made me decide to do Stably at all is that... you know, first of all I've always been passionate about financial markets, game theory... you know, behavioral economics, all that sort of stuff. And you know, I even took some courses in college in my free time. I would write trading algorithms which funny enough is actually how I met my Co-founder, but... you know, I would do all of these things and it's always been a passion. But it never really had a chance to take center stage in my life, so when I learned about blockchain, when I discovered cryptocurrency... you know, I discovered this fusion of technology, finance, math, you know, all of these things coming together and it really felt like a once in a decade, or maybe even once in a lifetime kind of opportunity ...You know, it was so early in space... you know, there weren't really that many people that knew about it and it was something that I was very positive would become a permanent fixture in our lives in the future. So you know, thinking about it that way and actually funny enough, one of the inspirational like sort of people that gave me the push that I needed was there was an old interview with Jeff Bezos, who is the founder of Amazon. He actually said something that really made me think about leaving Amazon basically. He said when he decided to start Amazon, he also left... you know, a really well paying job, a really comfortable lifestyle that sort of stuff, but the question he asked himself was... you know, on my deathbed, am I going to regret staying at this comfortable job, or am I going to regret not taking this opportunity to go and do something great, so after he thought about it that way, it was easy for him and after I thought about it that way, it was also easy for me. So thank you Jeff for convincing me to leave your company, but yeah so that aside, I mean specifically why Stably, I mean there are... there were other startup ideas, of course... You know, I've always thought about entrepreneurship but Stably really... you know, like I said, it's just the fusion of all of my interests, right. Like in order to effectively work in the blockchain space you need to have some understanding of... you know. game theory and economics. You need to have at least some basic... you know, math. You need to at least have some... you know, basic level of programming and software. And it's really this fusion of all of these different interests that made it like an irresistible opportunity for me. So I don't want to ramble too long about this, but that's sort of the gist of how I got here.
Nuhash: That is interesting and also you can say inspiring, right? So let's go for a next question to you that is: There are also many financial services, so why do you think that Stably is different and what is the mission and vision of Stably? Can you please state that?
David: Yeah so on one hand... you know, so to answer the question of... you know, how is Stably different from others like fintech or financial companies? And at some level Stably is not that different, right, like everyone in the space is trying to make money easier to use trying to make you know the way that we interact and deal with value more seamlessly, lower cost, all that sort of stuff. But sort of... I mean the big differentiator and... you know, sort of why the company got started in the first place is for the first time in human history, we've been able to bring the idea of money and value into a purely digital substrate. So what I mean by that is you know beforehand, when people think about... you know, like computer electronics software, all that sort of stuff really the thing that it enabled was the free flow of information, right? For the first time you could write something once and have a million different people run it or read it or whatever, which is great for things that are free, and you know, if you look at all the things that the internet and computers, mobile phones, all this sort of stuff has done for our lives. I mean to say that it's been game changing would be like an understatement, right? It's changed so much about the way that we live, the way that we interact with not just the world but also each other. And for the first time ever, we've been able to do a similar transformation for money. So the invention of Bitcoin and... you know, that was sort of the proof of concept that showed the world: Hey, a natively digital currency can actually work. And you know, there were... to sort of see why this is so revolutionary, you kind of have to... you know, I actually... A great starting point for this if you're interested is you can go and read the bitcoin white paper, so you know it's not a scary white paper. It's actually extremely non-technical. Well I wouldn't say extremely non-technical, but if you don't have a background, you can still understand it. It's written in a way that's very consumable for the general public, but basically bitcoin combined all of these different ideas that were floating around into a system that would enable no one to own the system, but for participants in the system to still be able to agree on.... you know, what people's balances are and all that sort of stuff and that really opens the gates for a digital distributed money, right? Because if you want to be able to count something as money, you can't have anyone being able to just... you know, copy paste... you know, money, right? Creating money out of thin air would just make it worthless, so really... you know, bitcoin inventing a way for this money to not be owned by any single entity, but still be able to be digital like that was such a game changer that... you know, for us, it made so much sense to build a company around this technology, and I believe going forward most financial services are going to migrate to use some aspect of blockchain. Now I don't necessarily think that blockchain or cryptocurrency needs to replace everything we already use or... you know, the way that financial institutions work, but like anything, it's a tool, right? When the Internet first came out, not everyone jumped on to make a website or set up... you know, their own domain or... you know, all that sort of stuff. It's an evolutionary process and whether blockchain and cryptocurrency reaches that level someday or... you know, stop somewhere short of that, I don't really know. The future is really hard to predict, but I do know that this is a technology that is here to stay, because it's... it enables something that we've never been able to do before, so yeah that's the high level.
Nuhash: Yeah, thank you so much, David for the answer. Now going for the next question. I will take a comment from the audience like the question is: when you were on the verge of leaving Amazon and starting a new adventure like Stably, did you have a fear that if Stably fails then what's your what's next you will do? That's a very very good question and very like a critical question, I think. So David please go on.
David: Yeah, I mean, of course, right, like... you know, when I said one of the most useful traits for an entrepreneur is the ability to take risk. This is sort of part of that, right, like... of course it's not a sure thing in fact. In the beginning most likely you are going to fail. The failure rate for startups is extremely high, and there are really sort of two things that I did to... I wouldn't say make the fear go away but... you know, you have to decide whether it's worth moving on or not. And for me I did... basically what I did was I listed out... okay, what are the worst things that would happen... you know, if I failed and then... you know, what are the worst things that would happen... you know, like basically I looked at all of these scenarios and I listed out the worst cases. And I looked at them and I'm like it's really not that bad, right. Like if you really think about it, like what's the worst that will happen. Maybe you'll be out of a job for a couple of weeks or a couple of months. Maybe... you know, you'll have wasted some time, I mean, hopefully not because it's a great learning experience. But... you know, basically like the worst case wasn't that bad and actually I think... I think Elon Musk said something I don't mean to be quoting all of these... you know, sort of Tech CEOs but I think Elon Musk said... you know, when he was considering... you know, how much risk he should take when he was starting... I forget which of his companies he was starting, but basically, he was like... you know, in this day and age, there's really not that much can go wrong, right? You're not gonna starve to death. You're not gonna freeze to death, right? Like there's not... there's no... we're not living in an environment where having a job is a life or death situation, right, not like a hunter-gatherer back in the day when... you know, being part of the tribe and doing your part was so critical for your literal survival. Nowadays it's really more of like a pride or personal fear kind of thing, and if you can... you know, sort of wrestle with that and get over it really, there's not that much, right, especially if you're in tech so you know us or you know... whoever is in tech is it's a little bit of a privileged situation to be in because there's so much demand for... you know, good developers that... you know, even if everything goes south, you can still just go get a job as a developer at some company and either try again or decide that it's not for you, right? So that's how I went about it.
Nuhash: Yeah that's... I got it and maybe the audience who commented on this, I think he understands all the things. So next, go for the next question, David. The next question is for you: There are some solutions of Stably like Stably Prime Stably Enterprise, overview of those solutions that is Stably Prime and what is Stably Enterprise?
David: Sure, so currently there's sort of three main initiatives that we're working on and... you know, like any startup, these sorts of things can change from month to month as well. But the things that we've sort of found that really add value are number one what we call tokenization, right? So taking real world assets and bringing them onto the blockchain, so we first did this with our own product which is USDS. But we found that... you know, we learned so much in the process and there's all of these others... you know, companies that want to leverage this technology and... you know, create their own solutions, so we created what we call Stably Enterprise, which is basically our sort of enterprise solutions arm. So we leverage all the technology that we built all of our experience dealing with... you know, the regulatory hurdles. We've also... you know, built up a very close network of partners that we work with and... you know, we're able to offer these types of solutions at a fraction of the cost of... you know, what they would do if they tried to do it all internally, because we know how much it cost us initially, right? We made all those mistakes already... you know, we built all the infrastructure already so... you know, now we're able to bring value to other businesses that want to do the same. Another product that we're focusing on which you mentioned is a Stably Prime. So Stably Prime is a platform that we're launching that aims to be like a global all-in-one account. So what I mean by that is it's a place where you can store your money. It's a place where you can get into or out of cryptocurrency. It's a place where you can... you know, put some savings to generate some interest... you know, it's sort of like a modern account for the modern day, right? For the people that want to learn about blockchain and cryptocurrency, they want to take advantage of the technology but maybe... you know, they're not like math... you know, maybe they're not that... you know, proficient with the cryptography that's involved. Maybe they don't want to learn how to manage their own private keys. All that sort of stuff. So Stably prime aims to be an easy way for people to get into that and stay and... you know, by leveraging blockchain and cryptocurrency, we also solve a lot of issues that you wouldn't be able to solve with the traditional financial service. And if you would like to learn more, you can visit the website which is stably.io and there we list... you know, both of these main products and the third area of the business that I'll briefly mention is our capital markets division. So here we do everything from... you know, helping clients... you know, create markets for their new tokens that we help them tokenize to... you know, other sorts of bespoke like capital markets, kinds of services. So for example.... you know, let's say you're someone that wants to list your token on an exchange that you just tokenized so... you know, let's say you just tokenize silver, right, and you think the world is super excited to be able to trade silver, so you want to put it onto an exchange. But the issue that you have is you don't have any... you don't have a large trading team. You don't have... you know, your own experience for how to create a market. That's something that we help... you know, enterprise customers and other types of customers with as well. So at a super high level that's the three main areas that we're focusing on but again like I said... you know, being a startup, these sorts of things change with the market so... you know, if you ask me again in six months, I'll probably have a slightly different answer for you.
Nuhash: Thank you, David. So that is so informative, because so many people don't know about this Stably Prime and the services of Stably. So my next question is for you: Stably is improving day by day. Recently Stably has partnered or got partnerships with many companies like a Bangladeshi company, like a Vietnam company and many others, so what do you think... What are the key things impacting Stably so that Stably has come so far? Because you are the Co-founder, you and Kory are both thinking to a financial services institution that is Stably so what are the key things impacting Stably, so that you guys, Stably comes so far?
David: Yeah, that's a great question. And you know it's impossible to know the true reason, but I can sort of take a guess. And of course, the number one reason I would say is really just luck. You know, with all of these sorts of opportunities, you need a little bit of luck. Now luck doesn't have to be something that you sit around and you wait for a lot of times. You have to make your own luck. There are certain things that you can do to increase your probability of getting lucky. And... you know, some of those include staying flexible. If you keep an open mind oftentimes you'll see opportunities and be able to grab onto them that you normally wouldn't see. So for example, let's say you're doing something but you know a better opportunity comes up. If you do your research and you see that it makes sense, and you're able to grab onto this new opportunity. Sometimes it'll basically help you get lucky, right, like from the outside you know that's what it looks like, right. It looks like... oh you know, those guys were so lucky to be in that space but it could be that... you know, there was a lot of planning, there was a lot of thinking and there was a lot of... you know, staying flexible that was involved in that. Another thing that I would say is very important is learning from your mistakes. Because if you're going to go and do your own thing like no matter what it is, actually even just living life, right, you're going to make so many mistakes. It's impossible to go through life not making mistakes and the best thing that you can really do is learn from your mistakes, right? If you keep making the same mistake, I mean you're not going to be improving, right, but if you can learn from each of your mistakes then you'll get better over time. You'll start making less mistakes over time and... you know, that sort of compound itself. And that'll really help you sort of build up this snowball to help you succeed. And really another thing I would say that's very crucial for... I mean any sort of enterprise really is building a great team. So you know, you can only be... well so some businesses, of course... you know, you can run by yourself and... you know, those kinds of businesses are great as well. But if you want to build a business that requires people in order to scale, then you need to find the right people, right? If you can find people that share your mission, if you find people that are passionate about your product or your users, then they're going to help you also improve the company day by day. So it's not just yourself sort of pushing the wheel anymore. Now you have a team that's also helping you move in the right direction, find opportunities... you know, catch mistakes, all that sort of stuff. So I would say... you know, these three things are probably what I would say are the most important for keeping in mind. So you know, staying flexible, being able to create that luck for yourself, learning from your mistakes, and of course building a great team.
Nuhash: Thank you, David, for your answer. So now we came to know that what is the key factor that has the impact on Stably so that Stably comes so far... now, I will... I want to know about the future of Stably. How do you want to see Stably has gone so far, Stably will go so far? What your... What's your plan for Stably?
David: Yeah so obviously, the easy answer is... you know, I hope Stably succeeds and becomes… you know, a large company that can serve a lot of customers, but that's not a very exciting answer, right? So I think at a high level... you know, I hope that Stably can provide people with access to financial tools and services that they normally wouldn't be able to access like... For example, as someone that you know has spent most of their lives in the US, I can say that people in the US are very spoiled when it comes to financial services, right? There's not really any kind of financial service that you can't get. But if you look outside of the US, you look outside of... you know, the UK... you know, Singapore like these financial hubs, if you look at... you know, basically like 90 of the rest of the world, you see that there's a lot of improvement and there's a lot of things that... you know, most of the world doesn't have access to. And we hope that by leveraging blockchain and cryptocurrency, we can bring a lot of these services to people in a way that's accessible, in a way that's... you know seamless and in a way that lets people improve their lives, right? Like for example, there's a lot of people living in countries where... you know, they can't even trust their own money they can't even trust their own banks and these are problems that we believe... you know, cryptocurrency is well equipped to solve so... you know, whether we solve this at a huge scale or... you know, a medium scale. I think the important thing at the end of the day is to... you know, make an impact on the world and be able to help some people... you know, live easier lives so...
Nuhash: Yeah thank you, David. Next for... I want to say something for the audience.
Now David, thank you. Next questions is that: Now still in in the world, people are not that much familiar with fintech or I can say for the Bangladeshi people, we still are not that much familiar and that is the unknown things cryptocurrency, fintech and these things, digital money, what is that something, so... and what's your thoughts on the future of the fintech that how fintech will go so far? I think... is there any possibility that one day we will no longer go for the traditional bank and we will depend on this kind of fintech company or something?
David: Yeah I mean fintech is... I would say fintech is an interesting space to be in, because on one hand fintech is just like any other industry, right? People are trying to improve... you know, services and products that serve people, except sort of the unique position that fintech companies are in is that it's dealing with people's money, right? And when it comes to money, usually there's a lot at stake, so there's this delicate balance between innovation and... you know, sort of going slow and steady and that's really I think what's unique about the challenge of being a fintech company. Because on one hand... you know, like you want to innovate, you want to do all of these new cool things, but on the other hand you have a responsibility to be... you know, responsible for dealing with... you know, other people's money, introducing new technologies and all that sort of stuff. I think as time goes on, fintech will only grow as more of the world comes into like the global economy, as more people gain... you know, like convenient high-speed internet access, as more people... you know, move beyond like... like sustenance... you know, like working to feed yourself, feed your family, provide and start having savings. And then once people start having savings, they'll think about... you know, how do I invest, how do I make my money work for me instead of just... you know, me working for my money and... you know, these sort of things are only going to increase because... you know, people are only going to get wealthier, countries are only going to get wealthier, and you know, technology will keep improving, the internet's not going away anytime soon. Ao you know fintech, I think, is going to grow and grow and grow, because everyone needs a way to deal with their money, right? Whether you're... you know, like a food merchant that's just trying to... you know, sell to their customers or whether you're... you know, a business owner and you need to manage... you know, payments to other companies, all this sort of stuff. You know, the traditional way of moving money where you just take cash or some sort of physical asset and you give it to someone else that's becoming rarer and rarer, right, especially since business is done at bigger distances, at bigger scales, it's not practical, so you have to rely on technology in order to... you know move and facilitate value transfer and that's really where fintech companies have a chance to shine, not just about the movement of money, but also... you know, making it more efficient, reducing human effort... You know, as I don't know if any of you are old enough to remember. but accounting used to be done just in people's heads, right, like if I want to... you know, write down some records and… you know, keep track of all of this inventory, I have to do it in my head or I have to do it on a piece of paper, but then calculators came along... you know, that made it a lot less... you know, straining for people. It was a lot easier to do that sort of work. Spreadsheets came along and now you have all of these specialized fintech companies that are looking to solve the problem even more, so I think fintech is just going to keep growing, I mean especially... you know, with the way that the world is moving so...
Nuhash: Yeah, thank you, David. So my next question for... going to the next question I will take another comment and this is related to my next question: What should be the key factor while hiring a new employee for a tech startup? that is... that was commented by Ashadullah Galib. He also commented on the first comment before, so what is the key factor while hiring a new employee for a tech startup? So David, for going or answering the next question, I will also add that: What are the skills you are looking for working on... if anyone's want to work as a developer at Stably because the thing is that... Thank you so much, you guys, because you have given me the chance to work with you. You guys are so so well and so friendly that I think it's a very cool company of Stably, so yeah David.
David: Yeah so I guess I'll answer the general question, first and... you know, I'll start from the most general and then I'll go more specific. So whenever you're looking to build a team... you know, you really need to know what you're looking for, because what makes a good member for one team does not necessarily make a good member for another team. So you really need to know... you know, what kinds of people you can work well with, what kinds of skills or what kinds of personalities you want to build this team with, because... you know, we're all human at the end of the day, so we need to be able to work with each other. So if you hire someone with great skills, but you don't get along... you know, and... you know, you'll always be sort of conflicting with each other and nothing will get done, right? So being able to work with each other is very important. Earlier I thought there was a question about writing, so I'm going to talk about communication again. Being able to communicate clearly is also one of the most important skills no matter what kind of position you're going into. Whether it's developer or marketing or... you know, business development like all of these roles, you need communication because if you want to be on the same page, if you want to make sure that what you're doing is what needs to be done at the end of the day, then you need to make sure that you can communicate correctly. Because if you miscommunicate and you end up doing work that... you know, doesn't make sense or isn't what's needed, then you'll just have wasted, not just your own time, but also... you know, the company's time, right? So communication, I can't stress how critical communication is. It really is one of the most important skills. If you want to... you know, advance your career or start your own company, or do anything that involves other people really another thing that I would say that's a good general skill to have is the ability to take responsibility. So this is often called ownership, so... you know, being able to take responsibility for something, being able to do things before you're told, being able to... you know, really feel like it's something that you care about, right, that really... you know, is extremely valuable.It's the difference between someone that's passionate about their jobs versus someone that's just doing their jobs for the sake of the job. And... you know, of course... you know, some people, they just don't really care about their jobs. They just want a job to make a living, and there's nothing wrong with that. But if you're going to work at a startup, that's most likely not what you're looking for, right? Because startups generally are riskier, they're generally more work, so these are things that... you know, if you're just looking to make a living... you know, it's not a good fit for you, right? And then I would say the last thing that I will talk about real quick is having a growth mindset, so this means you're constantly learning. This means... you know, you don't give up when you reach something that you don't know, right? You try to figure out, okay, how can I learn this thing or how can I find a solution, all that sort of stuff. Because if you have what's the opposite of a growth mindset which is a fixed mindset, then you're just going to end up doing the same thing, and you're not going to grow. And that doesn't really work at a startup, because startups are always growing, so the people need to grow with it. Otherwise it'll be very easy to fall behind with that being said... you know. Like I don't want to make startups sound like an overwhelming or scary place. It just really is something that... you know, you have to be prepared to handle, right? Because not everyone enjoys... you know, things are always changing, always having to learn new things. Some people... you know, prefer to sort of just master one thing and keep doing that. And there's a lot of places where you can... you know, find a lot of fulfillment and success doing that. But most likely a small startup is not the place. I guess I'll talk briefly about the developer side as well and this varies a lot from startup to startup. So I'll just talk about Stably specifically. At Stably, because we're working in a very new space. We can't go like... oh we're hiring people with... you know, 10 years of blockchain experience. There's probably less than 100 people that meet that qualifications, right? What we look for are people that are very strong generalists, meaning that... you know, they know a lot of things and it also means that they're able to pick up and learn new skills very quickly. So instead of relying on people to be familiar with... you know, all of these things that we do, we find people that have the growth mindset that are able to pick up... you know, these new skills and have the potential to grow into what we think is the right goal for them. So yeah, I'm not going to say like... oh you know we look for React developers or we look for people... you know, that know Golang or something like that. Obviously, if you already have familiarity with the tools that we use, that's great, but if you don't, we're really just looking for people that can pick things up quickly. Because... you know, while our tools may change, while our code base may change, the one thing that will stay constant is the need to learn and always improve.
Nuhash: Yeah thank you, David for your nice answer. So we are at the end now. Let's... before going to end, I want to take another comment. The comment is… Name is not shown here, so... What should be the first look when a person wants to start a new startup? Yeah you already mentioned, but can you please repeat?
David: Yeah I mean... so I guess there are sort of two ways to look at this question, right? The first one is how do you know for yourself that this is the right thing to do and the second one is how do you validate that this is something that's worth doing, right. So I already talked a lot about... you know, figuring out what you want and making sure that this is the right thing for you. But let's say that... you know, you are sure that you want to do a startup and let's say that you have some idea that you want to try out, right, so how can you try out this idea without... you know, building the full product and having a full company that does this. There's a lot of ways and the easiest one is to talk about it, right? So lot of people are sort of afraid to talk about their ideas, because they think: Oh this person will think my idea is stupid or Oh this person will steal my idea or... you know, something like that. But really talking to people is the best way to validate your idea, right? Other people will see things and think about things that you won't think about. And this is sort of the easiest way to get feedback without a product, without customers, without all this sort of stuff, right? Just talk to your friends, talk to your family, talk to people in the industry that you're looking to get into, talk to people that you think might be your future customers like all of these people have something to teach you. And by talking to them, you can at least get a glimpse of what that is. Now of course, you can't take everyone's feedback as... you know, the truth because... you know, some people will just be inaccurate... you know, inaccurate data or... you know, maybe they're not someone that would even care about your product in the first place. So these are all things to keep in mind. But I think, if you're looking to validate your idea, you should do it early, and you should do it often. Don't wait until you spend a year building your product to figure out if it's the right thing to do. Do it before you even... you know, write the first line of code or talk to the first... you know, hire or something like that.
Nuhash: Yeah thank you, David for your answer. We are almost at the end. So now I want to ask like you can say off topic. So if you want to share any interesting moments of working at Stably like I want to add something that makes me feel something sad, why? Because you guys go for hangouts recently. Maybe in June, you guys go for... all that office members go for Nha Trang beach and you guys enjoyed a lot. And recently you have done official dinner so I think that yeah staying in Bangladesh, I miss that. If I were in Vietnam, I would also join you guys, so tell me sir, tell the audience something about any interesting moments of working at Stably?
David: Yeah I mean... there's been so many interesting moments I don't really know. You brought up some... you know, exciting team events and activities so... you know, with the global pandemic and the whole... you know, COVID situation... you know, unfortunately it's hard, it's getting harder and harder to sort of do these company-wide types of events and activities. But we're fortunate enough to have an office in Vietnam and... you know, Vietnam has the whole Coronavirus situation in a very good state. So you know we've been fortunate in the Vietnam office to be able to go out and... you know, still do a lot of the types of traditional team activities. And actually I feel like one of the major challenges going forward is going to be how companies with a lot of working from home or a lot of remote and distributed teams like how you create that same sort of... you know, atmosphere and sense of... you know, belonging and... you know, team without the ability to... you know, have everyone meet up in person and do all of these sorts of things. And one of the things that we try to do at Stably at least one of the things that we've tried a few times is... you know, we do like a digital hangout. So we'll pick some sort of activity or we'll pick some sort of topic and we'll all get together and... you know, do that like distributed remotely all around the world. And you know, that's been really rewarding for me because... you know, it lets me talk to and interact with a lot of people that I normally don't get to spend that much time with and even though you're not in person... You know, just being able to... you know, do some small activities with people does really help bring people together, especially during a time when so many of us are isolated. So I think... you know, being able to do these sorts of things despite everything that's going on has been... you know, extremely, I guess, rewarding.
Nuhash: Yeah yeah, but the thing is that digital hangout is not that much attractive that I will not accept it. I will not accept it.
David: Yeah I guess we can hope one day that... you know, virtual reality or augmented reality gets good enough, so that we can all be in the same place without actually being in the same place. But until we get there, I mean it's a challenge. Yeah I mean it's unpaved territory. Actually this is a great startup opportunity, right, engaging distributed teams... you know, creating some sort of digital like team experience. I think there's a big opportunity in this space.
Nuhash: Yeah yeah obviously, so no I will not accept virtual reality, also. If I... yeah I hope I can get a chance to work with you in Vietnam and go here and enjoy with you, guys.
David: Yeah I hope so as well. I hope this whole... You know, the global pandemic situation gets better soon.
Nuhash: Yeah yeah yeah, so now I already said that we are almost at the finish now. David, did you... do you want to do something like any extracurricular activities like you want to sing a song or recite something for the audience because audiences are hearing a long like technique technology related talking like almost one hour, so did you want to do something like that?
David: So I do love singing and actually karaoke.
Nuhash: Oh my god, oh my god, David please. Okay, you can go only two lines, or four lines, it can be okay but I want from you.
David: All right, so there's a very classic song in the US that a lot of people sing when... you know, they're out with friends, they've had... you know, too many drinks, something like that. And it's about a state in the US that I've actually never spent any time in, but the song is called Country Road. And I'll sing you guys a few lines, a few lines from it... you know, if this is offensive to your ears, feel free to... you know, mute me, but I'll give it a try.
Nuhash: Oh yeah no problem.
David: All right, so here goes it starts like this. Actually I forgot the first lines. Yeah here's the chorus, so you guys might have even heard the song. It's very popular, but it goes like...
Nuhash: Maybe I heard that...
David: Take me home...♪♩ to a place...♩♩ I belong...♪ West Virginia, Mountain mama ♪. Take me home... country roads...♩♪ All right, so that's the chorus that's all I'm going to sing. If you guys want to hear more, go look up the song yourselves.
Nuhash: Wow you sing so well, David. I will tell every one of every member of Stably that if any occasion happened of exiting Stably, you will be the singer.
David: I don't think, so I think it's just... you know, the mic is doing me some good here.
Nuhash: Yeah yeah yeah, so David yeah, we are almost, almost at the finish, so is there any... in the conclusion, is there something you want to say for the audience, then we can... no we will finish the live?
David: Yeah I mean... I guess if there's any one thing that I want to leave you guys with, it's... you know, this is obviously a very difficult time for everyone, but if you can take advantage of this to... you know, explore some of your interests or... you know, try to get something meaningful out of it, I think it's also a great opportunity so... you know, just being here and you know trying to learn some new things, get some new perspectives… you know, that's already... you know, like that's great, that's wonderful, right? Like I hope that more people can be passionate and curious and always learning so... you know, I guess that's the message I'll leave you guys with.
Nuhash: Yeah yeah yeah, that's so important for this kind of pandemic period, so David, at last I want to say thank you so much that you have given me a very good time with us whenever I just plan to go to a live session with you or Kory. And you accepted life, and I know that it was so busy but you have given the time. Thank you so much, David. Once again, stay safe. Hopefully Stably will go longer and we will do more work.
David: Yeah. Thank you for having me and take care everyone.
Nuhash: Yeah, thank you David, so you can leave now, then I will say that something conclusion to the audience and I will in the session.
Stably is a fast growing FinTech company from Seattle founded in 2018 by a team of former bankers and Amazon software engineers. The team has raised close to $3M in funding to date from angel investors as well as leading venture capital firms like 500 Startups, BEENEXT and Pay It Forward. Stably is also the blockchain developer for a wide range of cryptographic tokens and stablecoins backed by real assets, such as USD, EUR, CAD, precious metals and real estate. Our mission is to make financial transactions faster, cheaper and more transparent through a borderless digital money platform powered by open-banking and blockchain technologies.
For more information, please visit: www.stably.io
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