FINTECH FRIDAY$ (EP.21-Jan 18): Meritocracy, Decentralized Innovation and the Power of Collaboration, CEO Next Decentrum, Hussein Hallak

NCFA Canada | Jan 18, 2019

FF S2 EP21 Hussein Hallak banner1000 1 - FINTECH FRIDAY$ (EP.21-Jan 18):  Meritocracy, Decentralized Innovation and the Power of Collaboration, CEO Next Decentrum, Hussein Hallak

Ep21-Jan 18:  Meritocracy, Decentralized Innovation and the Power of Collaboration

About this episode:  On this episode NCFA Fintech Friday's host Manseeb Khan sits down with Hussein Hallak the CEO of NextDecentrum. They chat about AI in the education space, mentorship, and what decentralized innovation looks like to him. Enjoy !

  • Humans aren't perfect but we've managed to create online meritocracy through communities and value systems
  • A vision for global education and decentralized access to innovation and mentors
  • Top advice to startups and entrepreneurs launching new ventures (passion, idea, ability to add value)

Host: Manseeb Khan, NCFA, Fintech Fridays show host

Guest: Hussein Hallak, Co-founder and CEO, Next Decentrum

Bio: Hussein Hallak is the CEO and Founder of Next Decentrum, a blockchain education company. Evangelist at Launch Academy, one of North America’s leading tech incubators with over 600 tech startups incubated and over $150 Million raised. Serial entrepreneur and startup founder with over 25 years of business experience. Developed 20+ startups and mentored and trained thousands of entrepreneurs. Creator of Intro to Blockchain, The Blockchain Course, Blockchain Business Fundamentals, Make the LEAP, The Startup Course, and the Lean Entrepreneur Acceleration Program. Strategic advisor for several successfully funded tech and crypto startups including Fintrux, Interfinex, Traction Health, and Peace Geeks. Marketing advisor for leading conferences including Fintech & Funding, Traction Conf, CIX, and Van Funding. Graduate of the Oxford Blockchain Strategy Programme. BSc in Electronics Engineering. Featured in Forbes, BBC, Entrepreneur, Roundhouse Radio, and Notable. Passionate about tech, lean, startups, design thinking, impact, blockchain and decentralized innovation. I live to inspire entrepreneurship and unleash breakthrough innovation through connection, collaboration, and community.

NextDecentrum - FINTECH FRIDAY$ (EP.21-Jan 18):  Meritocracy, Decentralized Innovation and the Power of Collaboration, CEO Next Decentrum, Hussein Hallak

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Transcription of Interview

Intro: Welcome fintech Friday's a weekly podcast brought to you by the National Crowdfunding and Fintech Association of Canada and partners.Covering all things fintech block chain be AI and alternative finance.

Manseeb Khan:  Hey everybody Manseeb Khan here and you are tuning in to Episode Twenty-one fintech Fridays. Today we have an absolutely incredible guest Hussein Hallak, Hussein to say thank you so much for sitting down with me today.

Hussein Hallak: Oh, my pleasure. I'm looking forward to it. Thank you for having me.

Manseeb Khan: Yeah. Know for sure. So just for the audience could you just give us a little bit more of. Tell us a little bit of yourself who you are and essentially what your company does.

Hussein Hallak: Yeah. So, I am the CEO of Next Decentrum. Next Decentrum is a company that builds a tool called the CXO.AI and the aim of this tool is to help Everybody learn from or everybody learn from everybody else. So, we believe, and I believe I grew up in and out of Syria Damascus. And there the biggest challenge was it's a country where there is not the same thing that we have here in Canada. where you don't have people mentoring you helping you. You really have only the education from the government and that's about it. So, I when I reached here in Vancouver five years ago to be probably in a couple of days it will be five years ago, I realized that everybody is into mentorship. Everybody is mentoring somebody else. Everybody has something that they want to contribute and give to somebody else. That was a big mind opener for me. And what I realized is everybody has something to teach and everybody had something to learn. Now I lived that for the past twelve years in Dubai but I was thinking that that's only me and the people around me but I realize now this is a mindset that a lot of successful people have, a lot of people around the world want to learn from those people instead of just reading books and instead of just attending courses there's a lot you can learn from someone that can guide you through the way. And this became very valuable when I spent over three months trying to learn how a Bitcoin transaction works. I'm an engineer but I studied engineering so it shouldn't be that hard, but the reason is I couldn't find the right material. So, a lot of mentorship is guiding people and getting them to find what they need really, really fast. So, I thought this is very powerful. Can we build a tool that help people teach through content curation? That is what we're building. That is what we're super excited about. And I think and I believe that it's going to change how people learn. It's going to be a great addition to how we learn right now. We're going to provide many people the ability to share their experience share what they're capable of doing to contribute and a lot of other people to learn from them. So that is what we're building. That is what I'm excited about and that is a little bit of my history I have a long history of building many startups. And this is what I do as an entrepreneur. All my life that's all I mean in building startup taking that idea from just an idea to a company.

Manseeb Khan: Yeah. No that's it's you do have a very incredibly extensive background in entrepreneurship and just not only just building amazing companies but also helping mentor like. It's not like thousands of entrepreneurs and giving and like you being their guiding light of like "Hey these are the mistakes I made as entrepreneur. These are the actually really rock-solid  advice that I have gotten saved my ass more time and time again. It's incredible that we have amazing people like you that are not only out their mentoring people but also creating a platform, an educational platform for everybody to kind of get more or less the same kind of mentorship or just that one tool one that you're offering for all looks for such amazing people.

Hussein Hallak: That's so kind of you. I realized by working and having a lot of people helped me to get to where I am, and I couldn't contribute back to them. So, the only way I could actually paid back to them is to pay it forward by helping other people and my condition to helping other people for them to help other people. I think that's how we build a community of interconnected people that are committed to each other that that creates prosperity and help people thrive. Everyone around  us .Like I was telling a friend of mine that this is he asked on me why do you do that?  And I said because it gives back to me it made me feel good, but he pressed me even more. And I think it's a matter of survival. When you grow up in a place where everybody brings you down and not intentionally but just being in a place where oppression is just the norm. You grew up kind of knowing that unless people around you are uplifted going after what fulfills them you cannot realize your own dreams. So, it's a matter of survival that you need to uplift other people and help them achieve greatness for you to achieve greatness. So that's why I do it. It's a very selfish approach of why I do it.

Manseeb Khan: Just building this new ecosystem of just entrepreneurs and just helping each other and just creating bridges. What is incredible because now you can go and ask other CEOs or other founders for help and for questions and everything because they've probably gone the exact same things you are, or they are probably haven't faced that problem yet. like Oh crap. I didn't even think about that OK. What are you doing? OK. That kind of makes sense. OK let's do that too.`

Hussein Hallak: Yeah. It's very it's very uplifting. Mentorship is probably the lifeblood of successful entrepreneurs. Your basic premise is you can't get there without a great team and a lot of supporters and people rooting for you. People helping you. Yeah so definitely an essential thing. I completely agree.

Manseeb Khan: I mean I like I don't want to give a shout out really quick to Craig. Craig is the CEO and the founder of the National fintech crowdfunding association. Just what I've learned from him. Just like an arm's distance or just via a text or just via weekly phone calls of seeing where we are like. I've already grown so much as a person. And I'm like Oh my God. I'm so excited to see how much more I can grow. So, like the mentorship thing really just and like meeting amazing people like yourself from the podcast. That is so incredible because I'm just like every day I feel like I'm like growing so much more like I'm 10xing  my growth because I'm talking to like OK cool like what are you doing this week. OK. This week we're on to talk about  AI education. I'm like OK cool. What does that? I don't know. Find out my boom Crash Course. Yeah, it's awesome. It's the best it's like one of the best feeling the world.

Hussein Hallak: Yeah. Shout out to Craig. He's probably one of the hardest working people I've met. Oh my God. I agree. Relentless. Yeah. I thought I was hard working when I worked with him on some of the conferences, we're putting together like Vanfunding at a FSCon. This guy pushes it to a completely different level. I thought my God. Oh, you pushed me definitely by seeing his work ethic and what he's working on. I definitely enjoy working with him. Sometimes I hate it because he pushes way too much. And yeah. Good to push beyond the limit and kind of experience a new a different horizon. Of where you can go with what you're doing. And it's that kind of people that I've met through him are awesome.

Manseeb Khan: Yeah, I mean it's always like testing out your boundaries and like figuring out how far can you take it like what's your threshold. Like and Craig is one of those incredible people that will really test like Oh you think he can go this far. You can actually know this much further. So, switching gears could you just explain to the audience a little bit more of why  AI education is important. Given all the things we're seeing in the media like all like hey like Skynet is going to take over everything like why education is such an important factor when it comes to A.I. and how do you see services and platforms like yourself helping people understand the  AI conversation a little bit better.

Hussein Hallak: Well for us. AI was born out of the need of achieving the end, but we have in mind. So, the end we have in mind is an education that works for you. You're not locked into a system that you have to adjust to it. So, the biggest challenge right now that we see at least in the education space is that you're locked into a way of how the educators see that you need to learn about a topic which makes sense. They are the expert. They are the leader on the topic or thought leader and they know they have a certain way of doing it. However. Think to take into consideration the diversity and how people learn the different styles of people learning the different pace. It's really hard to locking people into a certain way and that's why online learning had a big problem which is learning and people committing to the courses is only around 10 percent or 10 percent of people get to complete the courses they sign up to. So, they find out they paid and then they only 10 percent completion 10 to 20 percent at best which is a massive problem. We need people to learn we need people to gain new skills. We need people to have the ability to execute their work, so we thought what the best way is. What is a better way of doing it? And we thought  AI can help. And the way we're doing it is that helping AI adapt to people's habits to people ability to learn and to their pace. So, what we do is if you sign up to the courses that we're putting together our courses are curated so we believe there's a lot of content out there so engaging people and helping them to go out of their way instead of being locked into one person's way of explaining things. So, mentors that's what we believe their role is to kind of open up your eyes to the world and lead you to the best of everything. So, if you want to learn that they helped grow. Here are the best content articles, videos, books about growth. Here are the best articles growth articles, books, and videos on let's say how to manage your people and so on so forth. So, the mentorship course is about curation during the best that is out there. And it works according to your style. So, if you want to learn at a certain pace you kind of tell the system. This is the piece I want, and the system adapts to that. The system tracks and this is not broadly across the system, so we are trying to  to be very clear on. We don't take your data and study it and kind of study all the data that's out there and kind of forced you into this is what the A.I. telling you that this is the best you could. No, the A.I. locked in your pattern and learning adapts to how you are learning. So, are you clicking on these articles, are you liking the content of this style not this style?  So, it adapts to your way of learning and tried to suggest to you thing that matches your way of learning. So, learn you gives you that feedback and also taken into consideration what the mentor had set up so it's not taking from the whole internet because we think that doesn't really work. We just so it's a mentor guided A.I. driven. And to kind of adapt to how you learn and how you prefer the best and how you how you grow better. So that's how that's what we're building we're in the process. It's not an easy process which we have to be. We have a long way to go but they're an exciting place we see for this technology and for how it can make an impact in this sector which is education.

Manseeb Khan: Right. I mean I absolutely agree with you like there are so many different kinds of learning styles and just reading methods and like videos my work for some person. Blogs might work  another person some people aren't even like podcasts like what we're doing right now. It's actually quite incredible that you guys are creating an A.I. that understands hey Manseeb actually learns this way. Hussein actually learns This way. Okay cool. Let's just tailor it. They are probably learning the exact same thing. They're probably very much interested of like hey how do I become a better leader. I don't become a better mentor how do I become a better Team member as well. Okay Manseeb likes audio, Hussein likes video.

Hussein Hallak: Yeah well what we have right now due to the resources and what A.I. opens up the way we see it simply is that the way we have been set up is that you prepare everything at the start, and you adapt, you iterate. As much as you're capable to with AI we see ability to constant iteration, constant evolution based on how humans evolved. So, we evolve our way of thought. We evolve our view of the world. We I mean hopefully we continue to learn hopefully fingers crossed. Yeah. Because some people are locked into a certain way of the world and that that's all we are I acknowledge that but a lot of people they want to grow up they want to achieve. You're kind of forced out of your comfort zone and you have to explore new things and as you continue to learn and you take steps forward you change and you grow and you learn new things and you might change how you learn and how you consume information and what kind of information do you kind of desire. So, having the power of AI an adaptive learning kind of adapt to your growth at the speed of your growth that is where we think there is power here. There's a big opportunity and that's what we're involved right now in exploring and testing because we are very big believers in testing and learning from what they can learn.

Manseeb Khan: I love it. Yeah, I love it. There's a there's one of my favorite Gary Vaynerchuk  quotes is always like test and learn, test, and learn it's like you don't like this thing do something else. I love that. I'm glad that you guys are building something that can actually help. Just yeah just making education fun again.

Hussein Hallak: That's where we started. We studied with our interest in block chain right. I've spent a couple of years studying and learning more and what surprised me is how little people know and because people know little and because most of the information out there is kind of guided by technical knowledge written mainly for people who are interested in the space. It was harder and harder for people who are outside even people who are super smart to kind of get in and learn. And that drove them away and said well I'll wait until this thing becomes mainstream and because of the crypto aspect of it they hear all this news about the market up market down and the three is there is a convoluted the promise of block chain what can do and what it's doing right now. It's kind of I would say covered by all this cloud a lack of understanding, of false information or sometimes information that are contradicting. So, we thought that that's a great topic to start with because we believe in things like decentralized innovation is the way forward. We decentralize power. I mean we've seen the impact of decentralizing things. It can work for us for a while but it's about time that we kind of decentralized that so that we have less problems. We have more security, we have more contribution and people being able to participate from wherever they are in the world whatever they are in the let's say in the societies that they structure they don't participate and they can't and they can actually add value and they can matter and build together from wherever they are we need that. Such a state of the world that we live in right now.

Manseeb Khan: Yeah. Hundred percent. It's all it really. What are the core principles when it comes to block chain Just like all these amazing new technologies that are coming out especially in 2019 is that we're giving power back to the people? I mean I've mentioned this in the show before. I've had people come on the show they've also mentioned this. It's giving people the power back like your background of like coming from a place with oppression and just growing up and this kind of like cool like I'm very limited on what I can kind of do. And some people like we've mentioned like some people are. Sadly, they get beaten by that and they're kind of stuck the way they are. And they have a way out there's no options or what have you. But with this new wave of technology is new like the way that we're going to decentralize education and you can actually if you want, if you're interested in learning cryptocurrency these are resources out there that can teach you if you want to learn about mentorship, starting on business, how to file taxes, X,Y and Z whatever you want to learn it's out there because there's the Internet and the top of that. There's this new overarching technology that's going to make it that much more accessible and that much more tangible from you to actually like get out of whatever situation.

Hussein Hallak: Yeah absolutely. And it gives and it gives also rise. Every time we have a movement just like the block chain it’s kind of levels the playing field because for once all of the players that are already locking in the benefit of the Internet or so you're going to get it. You're going up against Amazon well to bad for you and Amazon owns all of the areas that they are they are in space. For example, Google. It's very very hard for entrepreneurs that are coming up right now because there were other being gobbled up by these big corporations hence that promise of new technology or new innovation is taken up by that entity and kind of disappeared that you wish if they don't want that they might take on the team and say hey you are smart people just focus on our thing and don't threaten our dominance in our space. And whereas now when you when you build communities especially when it has to do with crypto communities that they like bitcoin. It I threaten let's say PayPal for example just using that as an example. But let's say PayPal acquire Bitcoin. Bitcoin doesn't belong to anyone and things like that. The promise of that so that the community that helps Bitcoin grow is the community that maintains ownership and grows. And if you want to participate you can take part right now. Obviously the longer you wait the middle role you can play but you can continue. You can actually now become a developer of bitcoin if you want. You can participate in obviously because you're coming in late you have to prove yourself. You have to kind of like how it comes in society right. How we operate as people you're coming into a community you participate, you add value. You build up your personal brand slowly by contribution and that's for me closer to a meritocracy. Obviously, we're human beings. There is no perfect solution for life because that only happens with death. You can go into that kind of conversation but to the best of how human interaction and how we build communities and how we thrive together. This is the closest that I've seen so far to a community where it's all about your contribution and it's all about what you add as value and it doesn't matter where you come from, what's your name is because in those communities you're not even known if you want to. So, it all comes down to how much you add value if you add value and you play by the rules of that community. You're welcome. You're celebrated through your work and you have to continue to do that work. So, it's the closest I've seen to meritocracy ever and so on and so forth. If you don't like that community, you can build your own community or participate in another community. Very much about choice very much about what you contribute very much about or not about who you are where you come from and what your background is about what you can do right now for the media and I think that promise if it perpetuated across different industries different sectors can level the playing field for everyone and makes it really about what value do  you add rather than what you say and who you are and what your background is and how much money you have. All of these things become irrelevant and I think that that opens up the door for you and upcoming people to. It's really a marketplace of ideas and a marketplace of actual value.

Manseeb Khan: Yeah it really is like it's the amazing part is that no good deed goes unchecked. Really like if you are  bringing value to the community that you're in you are helping people you're answering questions like you just generally being a good person and helping and being of value, being of service to other people in your community. You're going to get rewarded for that. So, we did briefly touch on decentralized innovation right. What does the decentral innovation look like to you? And what are you most excited about. Like what is something that like oh when that happens, I can't wait till we get to that level.

Hussein Hallak: Well I'm excited about the ability to definitely public decentralized innovation and just like the Internet a public accessible to everyone network and that people participate without limitation. That is what I'm super excited about. I'm super excited about being able to solve real problems. That means I mean one of them is the ability to payment. A lot of people from our world that we live in right now the Western world. When I teach about a block chain. When I teach about bitcoin, I explained that that they here you don't see the value of that because you have multiple options. But even if you go to a city like Dubai who's known the fact of the Western world are being very modern and only a few years ago entrepreneurs could not build a company that accepts payment. Because the it's very expensive to set up a merchant account with a bank it's very limiting  and it's  highly expensive.  So, you cannot accept payment. So, imagine if you're building a startup that is online and you can't accept payment you can do it. You have so entrepreneurs really friends of mine who were originally from Canada had to travel back to have access to Stripe for example to be able to build their company. And that becomes very limiting. He was Canadian By and by origin so he could travel back but a lot of entrepreneurs there don't have any choice which actually limit the ability to build a great idea. And that's why decentralization in my world is connected definitely to innovation. It's a new way of doing things that enable all these ideas to pop up to be able to accept payment from anywhere in the world. And now truly you can build a startup that impact anywhere in the world even if you're in a place where you don't have accessibility to those resources that we have here. So, I think that's the biggest promise the biggest promise is to give access. I think the word access was probably the most dominant and the most important. If you give access people have the ability to innovate. People have the ability to add and contribute and up to up to now we had all kind of innovation happening at centers that circle cities where accessibility were resources. And now with the promise of decentralized innovation you can have really people who are sitting in a rural town whether it's the US and the state or here locally in the prairies in a very rural town where you have just internet access. you can now build a business and have access and contribute to someone who is living in Indonesia out of all places. They're just top of my head. You can be in a war-stricken country and as long as you have the access and you're able to be safe you can contribute, and you can change your situation. We can contribute with ideas because there's a lot of brilliant amazing people around the world that have the ability to contribute to. Have something that we need in the world maybe can contribute to solution in the other. So that's the first let's say promise access. The second promise is collaboration, true collaboration. Right now, collaboration only happens say on a big scale when certain people come together and are committed to a goal that they even if the goal that doesn't pay the money like Wikipedia. Most likely for a goal that gives them money and there they can take care of like a company which is a corporation like Facebook for example. But then you have a singular goal but would decentralize innovation. People can now contribute to multiple things and add value to multiple projects that actually solve real problems like the problem of climate change for example like the problem of let's say war or having people for example for humanitarian crisis. So, things like that people can participate and can participate in solving it and can  be the solution. While it may not be possible a certain area or by a singular body like a corporation it can be possible by many different people participating from around the world and creating a community that connected and working together. That way. So, I think active collaboration and the final word innovation is bringing something or creating something together that. Can never or could never be perceived before or thought is possible that adds value. And I think that is where innovation happens. So, these are these three promises that I think is central organization can bring. And that's why we're super excited about it.

Manseeb Khan: Access I love that I like that that makes so much sense because you have. All of these old gatekeepers that are still sadly in power and you're having decentralized innovation you're giving access to all these people that you've mentioned. But don't have access to information, don't have the tools to actually build a business because hey the next Facebook could be built out of Like Mauritius for all we know right. The next biggest thing could be built out of who knows where. So, what are some of your core principles you have when it comes to building new ventures?

Hussein Hallak: Well I thank you very much for the question I think for me. Building a company is very similar to climbing a mountain and in particular I related to climbing Mount Everest. I haven't done it. I may do it even though I'm lazy. I kind of related to climb Mount Everest. And if you think about it climbing Mount Everest doesn't make any human sense at all. Like why you would climb that mountain.

Manseeb Khan: There's no sense. Why would you do that so crazy.

Hussein Hallak:  It's really a desire not only that if you don't have it all starts with passion. A passion for something a thought  or an idea. So those people who end up climbing the mountain are driven by a passion to experience what it's like to be at the summit. Now whatever the source of that passion. Nobody cares but it's your passion you know it. So, most entrepreneurs unless you're extremely passionate about the end  result that you're after never ever go after something because the reason things are climbing a mountain is freaking hard. It's the hardest thing you can ever do. And even if you're in the right fit body to do that it's still as hard neared the summit. So even if you get an easy start that you have the money you have the time you have the energy it gets hard at the top. There is something in the climb over Everest called the Death Zone which is above 26000 feet and above that it is closer to the summit and there because of the thin air no matter how fit you are, going to suffer it's going to be super slow it's going to take you forever to get there and fit or not you're going to suffer so unless you have a passion for that you're not going to go through the suffering. So, number one I tell them first of all you need a lot of passion tons of it because it's going to be hard. And so that's the other thing that they need to know what they're getting themselves into. Most people think my idea is going to be the best. And so, I'm going to have a joy ride. It's going to be I'm going to be difficult. There's going to be smooth sailing. I have the money, I have the time, I have the skill set. It's going to be hard regardless of what you have. So, knowing that it's hard having a passion for starting point. The second thing is you need to have a central guiding idea which is adding value to customers. Bottom line if you want to win you have to add value to customers and you have to add it in a way that  no other competitor and no one in the market can ever do. And unless you do that there's absolutely zero chance that you're going to succeed at a big scale. You may succeed to build like a small business but unless you add immense value. So, at the center you have to focus on customers, and you can't. It sounds like a very stupid idea of course people will sign up to that. And of course, they say of course what else. Why are some building. But when you started doing it. Most people get busy focused on how great the product is, adding more features you know ,building the elements and building a business and forget about why they did it in the first place which is to add value to customers and if they have that that's the principle guiding every step. They're more likely to succeed. And underneath that comes a lot of things like you need a lot of customers to build a great big business. So, you need a big size market. You need to talk to customers to know what they want. And that goes into interviewing customers and staying connected. And you need to test your product according to what customers want. Not because you think these features and benefits are great. Who cares what you think it's what the customers think? So again, there is the last thing I think is being humble as an entrepreneur. I don't mean humble as not being flamboyant and not being like you know talking the big game or humble meaning that's your opinion and what you think doesn't matter it's what the market thinks and what customers want and what customers need. And as long as you're humble and it's not about you it's about them and about the value that you add you're likely to succeed. So, passion Customers and being humble. Basically yeah. These are these are core principles that If you follow, you're likely to build a successful business. That's the last thing that I teach entrepreneurs. You can have all of that. And you may still fail. It's there is an element of luck and an element of timing of when you push idea there. So, there is no guarantee. And unless you're entering like you can climb Mount Everest and you may never reach. You have to climb it again. And you have to do it again. And that's why you have to have of passion. So, it's not about just the success it's about playing the game.

Manseeb Khan: Yeah. No. I love it. So, to wrap this up I'm going to end it off with two questions. So, having trained and mentored all these entrepreneurs what your tried and true advice to these entrepreneurs has been and how do these entrepreneurs find mentors? like how we find amazing people like you and how do we find like actual mentors that can actually help us and make us as incredible as people think we are.

Hussein Hallak: Thank you for that. Yeah. So, I think  core advice is get started now. And whatever you do get shit done in the sense that stop talking about it. Stop thinking about it and do something doing something. It's like kind of ready fire aim or fire. First and then get ready and then aim and then fire again. The key thing here is when you do something you have something that exists in the world. Even if you're doing is you creating a plan and writing it not in your head. But writing it because now that it exists you can evaluate, it you can analyze it, you can learn from it and you can that guide you to the next action. So, whatever you do move from one action to the other. Guided by testing, guided by data, guided by examination which is what the main start up  promise is that have your ideas do something. Build an MVP. Do something whatever it is. Then examine the data so build measure and then learn then from the data and then make informed action. So, this is my always advice to the entrepreneurs whoever sits with me. The fundamental line is what have you done. What have you learned from it? What is the next thing you're going to do? And if you engage in asking yourself those questions. This one game will keep you going. Now that you're going. Now that you've got going. To be second piece of advice is always taking these 10000 stages view every once in a while. So, take a step to step back and say I might head in the right direction. Is this getting me to my vision or what I want to create? Is this heading in a direction that serves the business that actually generates value? Every once in a while, engage in that and step out of your cocoon and out of the daily grind of action to make sure you're heading in the right direction. So, these are two pieces of advice that saved my life, save me a lot of time, and save the money my entrepreneurs that I work with all the time and kind of simplify the process. Obviously, the process of doing is intense. It's complex depending what you're building depending on the solutions you're building but these kind of simple advices and simple practices help people to stay on track and keep going. And don't get stopped by taking time to think and not do anything. Now in regards to finding a great mentor you have to first find out who a mentor and so I mean there is not a coach, a mentor is not an adviser and I've actually written on that so they can actually find my LinkedIn and find a little bit I've written about what makes a good mentor a good mentor. But the key thing is a mentor someone who's willing. First of all, they are skilled at what you want to mentor you on. So, they have to have the skill. You can go to someone who is mentor you for example on growth. Like I would suck in mentoring someone on how growth companies as they move from 5 million-dollar companies to 100 million-dollar companies. I've never done it. I have I don't have the skill set to do that. So, I mean I'm a bad mentor for that so. So even though they like me a lot of people pick mentors that they like and look up to which is fine but make sure they have the skillset on what you want them to mentor you on. So that's a key element because a mentor is someone who gives you access in a particular area defined niche area. They have mentors on strategy. You don't have a mentor. Overall you have a mentor on strategy mentor, on growth mentoring for example how you hire. So, pick the mentor that can give you the skill set. The other thing as a mentor is someone who is willing to do it for free. A mentor is not someone you pay if you pay them. They're either a consultant or a coach.  A mentor or someone but you don't pay for that. There’re no paid mentors. That's at least mind where I come from. You pay a coach, you pay somebody else but a mentor or someone and they are committed to your success. The reason why they're into it be because they are committed to your success. They would be happy if you exceed them and outgrow them and achieve better results than they ever even achieve. So, they're happy to do that. So, they need to have that desire so that they don't hold you back. Some people would actually not want to see other people succeed more than they do, and they are successful they've achieved success in the area of their skilled at. And finally, I would say it's someone that you connect with that you like. I don't believe in working with people that you don't like somebody you can’t be mentored by somebody you don't like. So even if they are a big name in the place if you don't like them if you don't connect with them, you're not going to learn from them. So, I believe life is too short to work with people you don't like. So, I highly recommend that you work with people that you like people who are committed to your success. People who want to see you  have the skill set and have achieved success in that area. Think that would constitute a great mentor. There are tons of  brilliant entrepreneurs especially we're lucky to be here in Canada. Ton of brilliant entrepreneurs, the biggest entrepreneur in your in your sector. They would be thrilled if you reach out to them and ask them for 30 minutes of their time. And final note. A mentor is not someone who is committed to you for life because they may be maybe all he needs is that half hour coffee, but they guide you to something and then you go on to work and that's all you needed. So, they give you kind of an access or a they open a door for you or open your eyes on something and maybe some mentors you need them for longer so don't pick on someone that's complimentary for life because they will. They don't probably have the time that they are successful. So, look at them and ask them for advice and ask them for more mentorship. Just ask them what you want. And they would want to help you we're lucky to be here.

Manseeb Khan: That's true. I mean speaking of which I got to have some are calling for some refunds I don't know. I can't pay mentors. Hussein thank you so much for sitting down with me today. I mean this has been an absolute pleasure.  I think open up a lot of people's eyes when it comes to mentorship and just when it comes to leading and mentoring and essentially why it's so important. So again, thank you so much for your time. This was a pleasure I can't wait to have you back.

Hussein Hallak: Thank you for having me. I had a blast. So great. Keep up the great work.

Manseeb Khan: Oh, I will. I will meet amazing people like you. I mean cheering me on I mean of course. And on the behalf of the NCFA Canada's leading fintech and crowdfunding association I wish you amazing Fintech Friday and weekend.

Outro : you've been listening to fintech Fridays brought to you by NCFA and partners. Tune in weekly for the latest fintech Friday podcast by subscribing to this channel. The National crowdfunding and FinTech Association of Canada is a non-profit actively engaged with social and investment fintech sectors around the globe and provide education research industry stewardship services and networking opportunities to thousands of members and subscribers. For more information please visit and see if a Canada dot org. Oh yea.

 

End of Podcast

 

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - FINTECH FRIDAY$ (EP.21-Jan 18):  Meritocracy, Decentralized Innovation and the Power of Collaboration, CEO Next Decentrum, Hussein Hallak The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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PATIO TIME! Join the National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada, Spaces, Gowling WLG, LoanConnect, United Craft, Highlander Brew, partners and Canada's leading Fintech & Funding community in the heart of trendy Queen West for a celebratory night and prime networking mixer. Interested in disrupting the finance industry, raising capital or participating in Canada’s growing alternative investing and fintech sectors? Here's a perfect opportunity to connect with emerging fintech, blockchain, crypto, AI, stealth and marketplace startups and experts, strategize with partners, pitch investors and mingle with Toronto’s burgeoning fintech ecosystem. ANNUAL SUMMER KICKOFF EVENT Date:  THURSDAY, JULY 11, 2019 When:  Registration opens 5:30PM to 9PM+ Venue:  SPACES, 7th Floor Loft & Rooftop Patio Where:  180 John Street, Toronto, ON M5T 1X5 TICKETS - GET'M BEFORE THEY'RE GONE! $25 Early; $35 Standard; $50 Late All tickets include entrance to private event, drinks, food, lots of fun and prime networking Taxes and fees extra. No refunds after Jul 4. Ticket transfers ok. If it rains, we're covered literally inside. Checkout photos from last year's Summer networking event here and the year prior here This event is for all innovative companies raising capital AND the Fintech, Blockchain, AI and Alternative Investing Community Innovators ...
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Globe and Mail | Sean Silcoff | June 11, 2019 Toronto accounting software firm Wave Financial Inc. has been purchased by tax services giant H&R Block, Inc. for US$405-million. It’s the latest in a string of “exits” – takeovers or initial public offerings – of venture-backed Canadian firms this year that have commanded relatively large valuations by historic standards, a sign that Canada’s surging early-stage tech sector is maturing. “Exits [valuing firms] at $50-million to $100-million were the norm in Canada in the early 2000s and $100-million to $200-million earlier this decade,” said Peter Misek, a member of the Wave board. “For the successful companies now in Canada, $500 million-plus is what entrepreneurs and venture capitalists are shooting for.” The Wave takeover is one of three deals this year to rank among the seven largest exits since the dot-com crash, according to data compiled by the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS). Montreal-based retail software provider Lightspeed POS Inc., went public in March at a valuation exceeding $1-billion, while Intelex Technologies Inc., a seller of environmental, health, quality and safety auditing software, agreed last week to a takeover by Pittsburgh’s Industrial Scientific Corp. for US$570-million See:  To Support Disruptive Technologies, Take ...
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3iQ | Fred Pye | June 12, 2019 We sincerely thank the Canadian digital asset industry for their support at our public hearing last week with the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC). The hearing room was at fu LLP, for their continuous support and tremendous performance through the entire hearing process. Since 2016, 3iQ Corp. (3iQ) has been working to bring a public bitcoin fund to market for Canadian retail investors. 3iQ chose to proceed “through the front door” with the OSC to ensure that The Bitcoin Fund addressed all of the regulatory concerns raised by OSC Staff. At the hearing, 3iQ submitted compelling evidence to prove that the custody, pricing and audit of The Bitcoin Fund could be performed in compliance with National Instrument 81-102 and other applicable securities law governing retail investment funds in Ontario. OSC Staff arguments relating to the Bitcoin Fund “not being in the public interest” of Canadians were addressed and 3iQ believes we presented a strong case that the time for this product and structure is now. 3iQ entered into evidence that a cryptoasset custodian which is regulated as a trust company by the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYSDFS) affirmed that it ...
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CBC Sports | Devin Heroux | June 14, 2019 Led by the stoic Kawhi Leonard, team sheds years of disappointment with 1st NBA championship There's no more wondering what might have been. No more talking about missed shots or missed opportunities. No more heartbreak. Not this time. Not this team. The Toronto Raptors are on top of the basketball world, 24 years in the making. For the first time in the team's history, the Toronto Raptors are NBA champions. Led by the King of the North, Kawhi Leonard, the Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors 114-110 and silenced the hostile Oracle Arena crowd to take the basketball crown away from the back-to-back defending champions. It was Toronto's 106th playoff game in team history. It was Toronto's 106th game of the season. They won the Finals in six games. Now the Larry O'Brien championship trophy is heading to "The 6ix." "I can't really think right now, this is crazy. This is awesome man," said Toronto guard Kyle Lowry. "Toronto! Canada! We brought it home baby! We brought it home!" Leonard became just the third player in NBA history to be named Finals MVP with two different teams – joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and ...
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CSA | June 13, 2019 Montreal – The Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) today released two publications: the CSA Business Plan 2016-2019 Achievement Highlights and the CSA Business Plan 2019-2022. Both documents demonstrate the CSA’s commitment to investor protection, fostering fair and efficient capital markets, reducing risks to market integrity, streamlining regulation and effective enforcement. The CSA Business Plan 2019-2022 sets out the priorities of its members over the course of the next three-year period. This new plan re-affirms the CSA’s commitment to responsive and harmonized regulation at the national level and alignment with international standards, where appropriate. The CSA members have highlighted forty initiatives that continue to address industry participants’ needs and promote market integrity and investor confidence in Canada’s capital markets. The new business plan includes projects such as the elimination of undue regulatory burden and the streamlining of regulatory requirements without reducing investor protection or impeding the efficient functioning of capital markets. It also includes projects to better manage the impact of new and emerging technologies and communication tools on Canadian capital markets. “The initiatives outlined in the 2016-2019 Achievement Highlights demonstrate the collaborative efforts of CSA members to successfully deliver on our objectives. Many of these initiatives, both completed ...
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Betakit | Isabelle Kirkwood | June 13, 2019 Montreal-based SmartHalo, a smart biking device developer, has successfully crowdfunded $1 million for the second generation of its product on Kickstarter. “It made sense to return to Kickstarter after the success of the first SmartHalo campaign,” the company wrote on its Kickstarter page. “It’s a great platform for us to share our vision and receive the support needed to bring it to life. Crowdfunding allows us to give back to our community by giving our fans the opportunity to get the new SmartHalo first and at a discounted price. It’s a winning solution for everyone.” SmartHalo2 is a connective device that allows riders to track cycling metrics, sync that data with fitness apps, and find new routes with navigation signals. It is water-resistant and comes fitted with an anti-theft alarm and a front light. Arguably its most recognizable new feature is PeekDisplay, which complements the product’s Halo display to provide more visible information to the rider. “We see a huge opportunity in cycling. Not necessarily for sports, but for mobility,” said Xavier Peich, CEO and co-founder of SmartHalo. “Cities are investing in better infrastructure, while increasingly limiting car access and parking to ...
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Net Imperative | June 12, 2019 Blockchain and video games are the most lucrative industries for crowdfunding projects, getting million of pounds in funding for popular projects, according to new research in Europe. A new study by SmallBusinessPrices.co.uk uncovers the sectors and countries where the introduction of the alternative finance marketplace is being felt the most, and the current value of the industry. Key Findings: • Blockchain and Video Games Named The Most Lucrative Industries For Crowdfunding – 31 Blockchain crowdfunding projects averaged funding of over $177 million, whilst the Video Game sector that has seen the most projects to exceed $1 million, with 38 in total. • 3D Printing, Wearable Tech, and Software – All make the top 10 most successful crowdfunded industries and have a combined total funding of $17.1 million • The UK Is Paving The Way – $20 billion of alternative finance funds has been raised, this is over double the volume of all other countries combined. See:  Architecting a New World: Investment Crowdfunding and Digital Assets In recent years, Alternative Finance funding channels that exist outside of the traditional finance system have revolutionised how small and medium enterprises are able to operate. The rapid growth ...
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BlockX Labs | Laura Marissa Cullell | June 11, 2019 Can technology progress human rights? Provide humanitarian aid? Help combat Climate Change? Address issues of identity, trafficking, and provide access to food? The answer to these questions is potentially yes! Blockchain is a fantastic space to explore these issues right now. For the past couple of months, I’ve been working on my thesis on Blockchain, Human Rights and International Law for the U.N. Mandated University for Peace. I have had the chance to learn about a plethora of innovative projects, pilots, and ideas that human rights activists are currently working on to make the world a better place. Is it lucrative? Not always. But it does help make a tangible difference. For those that are unfamiliar, in 2015, all 193 members of the United Nations unanimously passed a resolution implementing a 15-year plan of achieving 17 Sustainable Development, global goals by 2030 (SDGs). Each of these goals has targets to achieve, totalling 169 different targets. The SDGs cover a broad range of social and economic development issues including poverty, hunger, health, education, gender equality, clean water, sanitation, energy, environment, and social justice. See:  UNICEF Australia’s ‘The Hopepage’ Uses Crypto Mining ...
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Forbes | John Koetsier | June 4, 2019 It's obvious that artificial intelligence is already impacting the way we live. Every time we ask Siri to do basic math or Alexa to turn up the heat, we're using AI. But it's unclear how AI is going to disrupt the way we work. One thing we  do know: it will cost jobs. Estimates range from 40 percent of all jobs that exist today to a perhaps less credible 99 percent of all jobs as we currently know them. But even as AI, with automation and robotics, destroys jobs, it should create new ones as well. That might be scant comfort for the tens of millions of workers whose jobs are likely to be eliminated, but it  does give us hope that as a society, we'll survive the massive change that is coming. Some white collar workers feel safe. See:  Technology is the ‘most profound force bearing down’ on big banks, ex-Barclays boss says After all, they don't drive a truck that could go self-driving. They don't operate a machine that could be a smart robot in five to ten years. But white collar workers are no less at risk of disruption than blue-collar ...
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