“I listen to that, in terms of my intuition. If it challenges me or scares me in a little way that feels like it’s scary but will lead to growth, I usually head in that direction, as opposed to run away from it. If my instinct is to run away, I usually turn around and go towards it.”
Samantha Radocchia – Co-Founder of Chronicled, Blockchain Expert, Forbes 30 Under 30; Creating companies; Taking risk; Taking time for self-care; Understanding your intuition.
Segment 1: (Length :04:00) – General Updates; Introduction to Samantha Radocchia and her journey as an entrepreneur; Creating her first startups; Her passion for Blockchain technology; Combining her interests to make companies; Taking risk.
Samantha’s finer points:
“As an undergraduate, I majored, obviously, as you said, in English and anthropology. In a lot of that time, I was actually doing theater. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do.”
Was kind of that typical student that was interested in everything, but not focused on one particular thing. Towards the end of my studies, I was actually creating programs, local programs for the elderly to participate in theater.
“During that time, I was like, ‘Wow, I really like directing people, helping people come out of their shell or realize their fullest potential.’ It was during that time, it was like … ‘Huh. I think I’d be good at managing a company.'”
“My theater professor was like, “No, it’s not the same thing at all. It’s totally different.” And I was very stubborn and insisted upon starting a technology company. That’s about when I started my first company called Stunable, and brought together a group of like-minded people from my university and a few other universities to work together to build basically an online personal shopper.”
“Using the Netflix algorithm combined with the Pandora model of creating … they had something called the Music Genome Project. It is basically to tag music or songs with 600 attributes that would define it. We did that for clothing, and created this thing in the span of a month or two over the summer.”
“The goal, at the time … I wanted to make a documentary film about graduating and moving to New York City with a liberal arts degree after the recession. Turns out, I started a company, and that film was passed off to a major television network for a reality TV show..”
That kind of propelled the business into a totally different category. I mean, it was like a summer project, and grew into a fairly successful business over the following three years. It really forced me, after taking that first sort of crazy risk of bringing people together and just having a fun project, into scaling legitimate technology business.
“Again, at the time, I didn’t have much of a technology background, but more of an interest in it, and an interest in systems or linguistics. I thought, “Hey, I can learn this as well.” Over those few years and a little bit before it, I was self-taught as an engineer.”
“Ended up studying, through my master’s, which was also at the same time, emerging technologies, and did a Dev Bootcamp to basically learn or observe how technology teams operate, and scaled that first business.”
“After that, I realized I was kind of going to be in this space as a tech entrepreneur, and went on to do some independent consulting, co-founded the second company, which was in Park City, Utah, and then ultimately started to become fascinated with emerging technologies like blockchain.”
I was super closed off to the idea of moving to San Francisco. Being an East Coaster, New York City native, I kind of was reluctant to move to a heavily tech-focused or homogenous place, which is what I thought San Francisco was. I ended up doing it.
“I opened my mind to something new … kind of trusted my gut, to go back to the theme of the show. I felt a little something there that was like a positive anxiety or curiosity, and went for it and started working with a team, and ultimately co-founded my current company, which is in the blockchain space.”
“I truly believe in lifelong learning, so I don’t think any of us are ever at a point or a stagnant point of having achieved any degree of knowledge. To be honest, I don’t think my skillset is necessarily retaining information at all. I surprisingly struggled at times in school, and developed other skillsets in order to build relationships with my professors, or pursue alternative means of evaluation.”
“So, instead of, let’s say, writing a paper, I would shoot a documentary or something like that. I think it was a mix of just the interdisciplinary studies, and seeing how things mix, and continuing to pursue new passions, and being aware of what those passions were, and then starting to combine them.”
“Again, early on, when I knew that I liked writing, I knew that I liked theater, and I also was super interested in exploring an older demographic. I combined that, and it led to something completely different, which is a realization that I had an interest in management.”
Or, I mean, even earlier on, the reason that I decided to pursue my pilot's license ... because I was learning about it in a high school physics class where I was kind of challenged. I went to go do it in a hands-on way, and that's kind of the way that I've always learned best.
“It’s not necessarily through formal education, but hands-on pursuits. When I’d go do that … and I’ve combined these things in different ways, it usually rather serendipitously leads to another thing”
“Once I started flying, I realized, “Okay, I want to jump out of this plane,” and I started skydiving, and did that competitively. It brought me some success as well; I ultimately sold all my equipment to fund my first company.”
“In hindsight, it’s really easy to string together all these little events, these learning events, or the reasons why one might pursue a passion or an interest. At the time, it might seem crazy or risk-taking or random, but in reality, when I look back on it, I actually see quite a coherent thread in my personal life.”
“Which has helped in my current life now in terms of new risks, and looking forward to the future, and being comfortable or okay with not knowing exactly where something is going to lead, but trusting that, if I have a passion or even a small curiosity, to move in that direction and combine it with other things that I’m already interested in.”
Segment 2: (Length :08:00) – Talking with Samantha Radocchia; Understanding herself to take new paths; Blockchain and it’s capabilities.
Samantha’s finer points:
“At times, as we become more aware of whatever it is that you want to call it, whether it’s the universe, the workings of the higher vibrations, or intuition … There are numerous words to describe this concept. But I like to think of it as not necessarily a risk, but becoming more aware of certain paths that I can take.”
“So, with some level of clarity or even practice, or tracing back, as I have, the numerous events that have led to each other, it enables me to feel more confident and comfortable in, again, moving forward on certain paths.”
I know and trust that whatever path ... wherever it takes me, it'll lead to the next thing.
“Blockchain … I think the simplest way to describe what it does is that it’s a ledger. It’s basically a counting technology. If you think of a shared Google doc, a good analogy that I’ve heard to describe it is that, when you make an update on the Google doc, imagine if that update on this blockchain ledger was updated everywhere in the world, on every device, at that moment.”
“But the thing is, when you make the update, you can’t change that. It’s permanent. You can only add more updates, like the strings in a contract. The underlying technology of blockchain is that it’s a database. It’s immutable. You can’t change it or edit it, and it’s distributed everywhere.”
“The real promises for the future of it is decentralization. It’s putting the power and data ownership back into the hands of the consumer. Right now, you use Google or Facebook or anything, basically, that’s a technology. As a consumer, you’re agreeing to give your data to the companies, and of course, that’s how they are monetizing their services. With blockchain, all of that data is going on this immutable ledger, and it’s owned by you, or in control by you, not necessarily companies. You can choose what you want to do with it.”
“I’ve been following ICOs from the beginning, and it’s definitely a place or a means of raising capital that is a little bit controversial right now. I’m not personally doing that with Chronicled. Right now, our team has decided to pursue a traditional VC fundraising route. In terms of my future projects, or people that I work with on a consulting basis, yeah, I’ve consulted some companies who have pursued that model, and putting together and advising a few projects of my own.”
“The potential to challenge or shape or totally transform global paradigms. That was what excited me most about blockchain above any other technology that I’ve worked with or investigated. It sounded, at the time … so, this was 2014 … just a little bit crazy to me. The promise of it … it is a far-reaching promise. Now, we’re just starting to see the benefits of it, or to see companies or industries building solutions on top of blockchain.”
It was definitely a leap of faith. I think one of my self mottos is to become familiar with the unfamiliar, and it was just unfamiliar enough to me, but the underlying technology had the promise of solving a lot of problems that I had tried to solve and overcome in previous companies.
“One of those was interoperability. The first company that I started, that was in the clothing space and the inventory management space, I was really, really upset with the notion, and our customers were … the notion of affiliate links. So, say you have a website that’s aggregating a bunch of clothing, or it’s a blog, and you want to buy multiple items. At the time, there were not really marketplace functionality to be able to buy that clothing. You’d be redirected to another site, and there would be some affiliate link and tracking code in it.”
“When I thought of it through that lens, thought about blockchain … blockchain can do that really well, track inventory. But not just that. You can then get an entire industry, let’s say the clothing industry, linking their existing inventory systems on a blockchain. Once they do that, then any consumer or app or product that is built on top of it can access that inventory.”
Segment 3: (Length :10:00) – Taking time for self-care; Surrounding yourself with good environments; Trusting your instincts.
Samantha’s finer points:
“First and foremost, I think, exercising self-care is really important. I take a lot of time … I do work a lot, but I also take time for myself, to meditate or do yoga, or really just turn off the mind and detach in that respect.”
“I feel like that helps me to have a greater degree of self-awareness, or at least a level of clarity to feel things, then, in my gut. So in my gut, I notice if I feel that feeling … you know, they’re saying gut instinct. That’s for a reason, because you feel it there.”
“But either way, I listen to that, in terms of my intuition. If it challenges me or scares me in a little way that feels like it’s scary but will lead to growth, I usually head in that direction, as opposed to run away from it. If my instinct is to run away, I usually turn around and go towards it.”
“In order to take risks like that too, though, it’s so important to surround yourself with people or environments that help facilitate that and support it. Advice that I’ve given and that I follow myself is to try new things and start small, so … You don’t have to take the big leap-of-faith risk. It could just be … start moving in that direction, because that’s the way that you’ll find out and know.”
“Then also passions and values. For me, I think it’s important to be grounded and rooted in some values or interests. Whatever those might be, to kind of start from that as a jumping-off point, and then move in that direction. For myself, curiosity has always been a value. That’s something that drives me.”
“Segment 4: (Length :03:00) – Hustler Thought of the Day:
Always trust your gut. It knows what your head hasn’t figured out yet.
Samantha Radocchia – Co-Founder of Chronicled & Blockchain Expert
Sam currently serves as Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer at Chronicled, which leverages blockchain and IoT technologies to deliver smart supply chain solutions. Prior to serving as CMO, she led product development as Chief Product Officer of Chronicled for 2.5 years.
Recently named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 List, Sam is also a thought leader in the blockchain sector and the founder of Machine Elf Consulting (themachineelf.com), an emerging technology and product development consulting firm based in New York, NY, focused on blockchain, IoT, and additive manufacturing advisement to businesses and investors.
Before joining Chronicled, Sam previously served as the CTO of Huckabuy, an internet marketing company and Founder and CEO of Stunable, a provider of inventory management and marketing software that enables clothing companies to integrate e-commerce sales with cross-channel interactions.
Sam attended Colgate University, graduating Magna Cum Laude with a BA in English and Anthropology—specializing in Critical Theory, Linguistics, and Symbolic Systems. She continued her academic pursuits at King’s College in London where she studied Management/Entrepreneurship and at the London School of Economics where she studied organizational culture.
Samantha graduated from NYU Summa Cum Laude in the spring of 2013 with a MA in Media, Culture, and Communications, focusing on the socio-political analysis of emerging technologies.
Samantha is not only a business minded leader but also full-stack web developer. Proficient in Ruby on Rails, Python/Django, HTML5/CSS3, as well as front-end frameworks, the founder of three technology companies, and published researcher, Samantha likes to think of herself a tech industry triple threat: academic, developer, and entrepreneur)
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