Blockchain is the hot technology right now, and many are looking for their way into the party. Lexy Prodromos, research and marketing strategist at Bloq, Inc. and the executive director for the Chicago Blockchain Center, shines as an example of recognizing an opportunity and acting on it. In this article, we'll review her path and her recommendations to get into this space.
Starting with degrees in political science and a strong background and passion for music, Lexy was interested in law and protecting the digital rights of artists. There, she came upon blockchain in 2015 and was drawn to its diverse applications. She immediately connected with every source of information she could find to learn more, from white papers and industry luminaries to Twitter and Reddit feeds.
Reaching out to everyone she could in the space, we met in my past role as chief strategy officer of innovation and technology for the state of Illinois. Her persistence and willingness to learn quickly, teach others, and work hard were immediately evident and impressive, and she became part of our state blockchain strategy team. From there, it was on to her current roles at Bloq and the Chicago Blockchain Center.
Is It Too Late?
Is it too late to build value and expertise in blockchain if you are not a developer? Lexy does not believe so. That wide range of diverse blockchain uses that drew her in can be your ticket into the blockchain realm.
Her advice is to assess what your skills and expertise are and find how you can use blockchain in that area. It could be in music, real estate, supply chain, or any of a wide range of blockchain uses.
Knowledgeable about the game and economic theory? Bitcoin has it built in.
Are you a good communicator? Tech translators are needed. Interested in the people side of an increasingly digital world? Lexy has a friend that studies that side as a digital anthropologist. As the uses for blockchain continue to grow, so does the ability for subject matter experts in those areas to transfer in and translate value.
Some Additional Resources Lexy Recommends:
The Age of Cryptocurrency: How Bitcoin and the Blockchain Are Challenging the Global Economic Order
Digital Gold: Bitcoin and the Inside Story of the Misfits and Millionaires Trying to Reinvent Money
Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business, and the World
The Business Blockchain: Promise, Practice, and Application of the Next Internet Technology
Blockchain: Blueprint for a New Economy
Matt Roszak, co-founder of Bloq, founding partner of Tally Capital
Jeff Garzik, co-founder at Bloq
Jimmy Song, an instructor at Programming Blockchain
Andreas Antonopoulos, author of Mastering Bitcoin and The Internet of Money
Perianne Boring, president of Chamber of Digital Commerce
Laura Shin, host of Unchained podcast, senior editor at Forbes, managing coverage of crypto/digital assets (Bitcoin, Ethereum, ICOs) and blockchain technology.
Overall, don't be intimidated. Attend meetups. Reach out to people you respect and would like to learn from. Whatever your value proposition is now, find its intersection with blockchain. Invest time in learning more about the technology and recognize what you can offer.
Lexy Prodromos, a fellow active learner (see Out Work and Out Learn Everyone!), truly bootstrapped her way into a prominent role in the blockchain ecosystem and knows you can, too.
Marian Cook is a solutions principal for Slalom Consulting, as well as the head facilitator for MIT's blockchain certification course and a strategic advisor to the Chicago Blockchain Center. She was the chief strategy officer for innovation and technology for the State of Illinois, having moved from the private sector to public service in 2015.
She started as a systems engineer with IBM, re-engineering processes, implementing systems, and creating business and technology strategies. Moving to international consulting firms, she worked globally, developing business growth and turnaround strategies, as well as the client side as the head of IT for a top healthcare organization.
In management, Lexy turned around troubled business units and founded new consulting practice areas. She successfully founded her management and technology consulting firm, then moved to the client side as a technological and strategic alliance executive. Overall, she has held multiple senior executive roles, including CEO and CIO, across industries and company size.