Title: Founding Director
Company: Hub Culture (View Company Profile)
What I’m working on now… We are busy growing the Ven currency to work for institutional level trading in the financial markets, a huge development in the history of digital currencies. This fall, Ven became the first digital currency available on the Thomson Reuters data system, making live pricing and trading information available to over 500,000 terminals worldwide. At the membership level within Hub Culture, the Ven economy is growing rapidly as we add more and more products and services to the platform, from villas in Tuscany to incubation and seed funding services for startups.
What problem I am solving by doing it… Ven solves three problems: it’s a wonderful price hedge for currency volatility, it provides singular global pricing, and it helps account for carbon externalities, making it easier for society to pay for protection of oceans, forests, and other natural habitats. It doesn’t hurt that it costs nothing to exchange, anywhere in the world, to anyone.
The most difficult thing about innovation is… Getting others to see and act on the vision. Sometimes being too far out in any field can make it difficult for others to know what to do with you, even if they are enthusiastic and want to contribute.
My crowning achievement is… This year, we started a kind of informal youth mentoring program out of the Hub Culture London Pavilion, which has helped us get a young kid off the streets and onto a path toward a brighter future. It’s a small action that has taken the input and help of all our staff, some of our members and a dedicated kid a bit down on his luck. It’s very satisfying to see the community rally around a single individual and provide some support to help him get going in the right direction.
When I’m not working, I like to… I enjoy writing and am working on a new book that will be out in 2012. Outside, I’m a keen but not fantastic sailor.
Book you’d recommend everyone read… Two books are a must-read in my view: “Diamond Age” by Neal Stephenson – a near-future look at society after we master material fabrication, and “Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed,” by Jared Diamond – a look at the consequences of resource overuse.
Cash is… Just a form of information
Checks are… We don’t write checks.
Mobile payments will ignite when… Mobile payments are already igniting. The convergence of contactless payments, social identity markets, and digital currencies are fueling a rethink in the ways people pay for value.
My mentor is/ I’ve learned from my mentor… I have a few mentors, who all have much to offer in terms of advice and insight on where we should be going. Esther Dyson, one of the wisest people I know, has always maintained that we need to be careful about how societies monetize new areas of interaction and to think long and hard about the consequences of attaching monetary value to gray areas in the economy. Just because everything can be priced, doesn’t mean everything should be priced.
What’s next in payments… We see a lot of innovation coming down the pipeline in the payments space. Digital currencies, like Ven, are gaining momentum and providing new ways to share value. This helps to make the Hub Culture community, and the communities we touch, stronger and more resilient. Society needs new ways to exchange, share and develop value, and we are missing out on a generation of talent that is not reaching full potential due to the constraints of the current economy at large. Hopefully, Ven and other digital currencies can help to unlock and develop more of this value for individuals and communities alike.