Considering a career in blockchain? Making cents of cryptocurrency, tokens and a whole bunch of coins


This is a very fascinating topic for many of us. 9 out of 10 people I talk to immediately associate this with Bitcoin, investments and yes, investments scams. I assure you, there are a lot to this than just Bitcoin, investments and scams!

So, why this article today? It’s a bit of an odd choice of topic to write about given that fact that I’ve been rather focused on HR and Talent related topics.

Well, I’ve been working with a couple of startups helping them with their HR/ Talent function, and let me assure you, hiring in the space is a lot more difficult that anyone of us could had imagined.

Take the difficulties of attracting talents to a startup and compound it with the complexities of how these startups are funded. IPOs are so last decade, these firms are looking at doing their own “ICO”, and “STO”. It’s like a scene out of HBO’s series “Silicon Valley” where Gilfoyle proposed an ICO when their plan for a series B kaput!

This is all so fun! Now, try explaining all that to a candidate that’s hearing this this for the first time! I assure you, it will be a long discussion.

What should you do if you’re presented with an opportunity in this space? Do you need to have the risk taking quotient of Indiana Jones to embark on a career in blockchain?

My answer to that is a simple, “Keep your options open. Explore and get more details. Talk to folks that you trust to help guide your decision.”.

You probably heard they saying “Not all that glitter is gold”, but I would say “it doesn’t hurt to check it out to see if it’s not”. While I may had some early engagements with clients that are in this space, and probably understands a little of the industry, I must say, I’m still constantly learning about how this would change the world we’re in.

Just last week, I was privileged to have the opportunity to attend Huobi’s “Elites Fireside Workshop” and meeting some of the smartest folks in this space. (Thanks Kelly Liu, Global User Growth Director, Huobi Group for hosting me).

Here’s some of my observations on how the industry’s evolving.

It’s not just about the investment

While there were a lot of talks about how you would make money trading the tokens/ coins. Yes, cryptocurrency’s also starting to gain popularity as an asset class which some savvy investors had already parked their money in. This is definitely a strong driving force in crypto making mainstream.

Utility vs. Security

This was something that I didn’t really pay much attention to as I took a broad assumption on companies doing an ICO/ STO with the intention of raising funds. I did feel a little foolish after talking to one of the panelists, that I fail to differentiate the between the 2. There’s enough article out there on this, so I’m not going to elaborate on this topic, but it will be interesting to see how the industry evolves and how the nature of the tokens may diverge or converge with clearer legislation. I’ve also realized that as a candidate joining a company that’s embarking on their ICO/ STO, you would be able to gain better insights into their business model and profit share if you managed to get a good understanding in this regard.

The platforms and the exchanges

For me, this is the most fascinating space. Standalone the tokens and coins have limited application and value. However, the ability to trade and move these tokens and coins around makes it a whole lot more attractive. This would also allow you to cash out, take profits or whatever you want to call it. As a candidate, if you’re considering an offer with part of your package in tokens/ coins, you should look at the mechanism on how you can cash out on your digital assets!

A not so bold prediction

Maybe not so bold as there are glimpse of this happening already. On May 22, 2010, a programmer purchased two large Papa John’s pizzas for 10,000 bitcoins, which is worth about US $30 at the time. At its high, bitcoin went up to a whopping $19,783.06, and at time of writing, it’s worth $5,468 and some cents. Just imagine if you’ve had sold some pizzas for 10,000 coins and left it sitting there all this time. With the increasing adoption of cryptocurrencies and the availability of payment gateways, I believe there will be wider acceptance and uses. The question for us today as a candidate and myself as a service provider, are we ready to accept cryptocurrencies as a form of payment?

While you ponder the question and I am sure more and more jobs will open up in this industry and when that opportunity comes knocking, I hope you will have an answer.

For me? It’s an easy decision. So, let me put this out there. For my existing clients and potential clients to be (especially the new start-ups that’s looking to do your own ICO/ STO), I am open to taking payments in coins/ tokens. Talk to me about how this can be done, and we’ll figure it out.

So, for all those new start ups who’s doing your own ICO/ STO, talk to me about a coin payment option. As long as your ICO/ STO is backed by a sound business/ project plan, we’ve got a deal.

As a disclaimer, I think I’ve just scratched the surface with this article, and I may had just embarrassed myself publicly for my lack of depth in this subject matter. For that, I would apologies, continue to learn and keep writing. 🙂

Do share your thoughts and comments on this topic!

Happy Monday and have a fantastic week ahead!

Eric Wong is the Managing Consultant from The Talent Shark and the CHRO forIntel Wise. His experience spans across the various human resource functions such as HR Information Systems, Business Partnering and Talent Management. Eric currently sits on the Advisory Board of the Management Development Institute of Singapore (MDIS). Connect with him on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter @ErickyWong.

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I wish I’d known that before I took the job – 5 tips to make sure you make the right decision!


I confess! I “stole” that title from one of Dr. Jane Horan’s book, “I Wish I’d Known That Earlier in My Career: The Power of Positive Workplace Politics”. For those who haven’t read that book, it’s a must read! If only I’ve read it earlier in my career. J

So, why the title? Been in the recruitment for most of my career, we often come across stories from our candidates that never fails to fascinate and amaze me in many different ways. Some of things that they’ve gone through could make for a good reality TV program.

I also promise to give Ajay a shout out if and when I come around to writing this article. Ajay, this one is for you! And while we’re at it, here’s to all the folks that’s shared your grievances with me, Steve, Isabel, Constantine, and a couple others. Although I can’t find all of you new jobs, but I’m sure things will sort itself out.

Of course, other than Jane and my name in this article, I’ve taken the safety precautions to change all the other names. You know, just in case. Things have a funny way of going around.

Numerous surveys shown that employees don’t just quit their jobs, they quit their managers. If you’ve had a candid conversation with employees who had quitted their managers, you would come to a common finding that this is due to the level of toxicity in the workplace that their managers created, making it unbearable to continue.

In many cases, the answer to such attrition would be to backfill the role, and there lies a revolving door in which you would end up with continuous changes to the organization.

No, life and work are not a bed of roses. Don’t for one moment feel that there is utopia in any workplace. There are the usual challenges and things that will not go your way.

This article is written for those job seekers whose about to make the decision. Having helped many candidates take a decision on their career transition, I believe the best you can do is to assess the job offer carefully consider the different angle and make a sound decision. At least you’re going in with your eyes wide open.

And if the article’s making anyone uncomfortable, get help! While I agree that management is not a popularity contest, but if no one wants to work for you/ or with you, I think it’s a good idea to speak with a management coach. More often than now, it might be just one or two small things to take note of, and you would find yourself becoming a more desirable person to work with.

Tip number 1 – Check out Glassdoor

This is of the site that many in house HR folks have a love/hate relationship with. It’s one of the sites that allows employees to leave a review on the company and believe it or not the company cannot have it removed. However, you may also find some rather “angry” comments there as well. You can say that there’s no smoke without fire, but I would recommend using a bit of discretion and judgement to form an impression of the company that you’re considering joining.

Tip number 2 – Understanding the reason for the vacancy

If this question wasn’t covered during the interview process, it’s always a good idea to get an understanding of why the company needed to hire for this role. Most companies would have a good and well thought out reason to why this is open, but you would be able to piece a pretty good picture of what had happened from talking to the various interviewers. Take the chance to validate some of the points that’s raised by earlier interviewers to form your own opinion. You can always circle back to the hiring manager, or your point of contact if you’ve uncovered some “surprises” and wanted additional clarification. Sometimes, by observing how these questions are address can give you a pretty insightful understanding on how “things are handled” in the organization.

Tip number 3 – Talk to the incumbent

Many candidates that I worked with would have the impression that this is “taboo”, but you’ll be surprised that this is a rather common practice. In fact, in one of the roles that I took on, I had the chance to spend a couple of days with the outgoing incumbent. The result was amazing. I went on to build one of the best team and surpassed expectations during my first performance review 6 months into the job. Talking to the outgoing person may also uncover some of the things that would be useful for your decision and navigation of the new role. What if that option is not “open”? I’m sure there are ways that you can get creative on that front!

Tip number 4 – Research the “attrition”

This one is a little tricky to do. It requires a bit of nosing around and a bit of “detective” work. Or you could just ask the question point blank and hope to get an honest answer. Here’s what you can try.

  • Do a search on Linkedin for people working in the company
  • Select “All Filters” to bring up all the options you can filter this by
  • Narrow it down to the region/ department
  • Uncheck the company from “Current company” and check the company under “Past Company”

You should have a sense of who left the company/ department and get an idea of how “good or bad” the situation is.

Some that I spoke to recently told me that he terminated the interview process after talking to the incumbent who’s left the organization, and on checking the “attrition numbers” found out that the department have had massive turnover. In his words, “I would be committing career suicide if I’d joined them”!

Tip number 5 – Take references and additional data points

While it’s common that as candidates, we provide our professional references to companies. I feel that it is ok to ask the same from your future manager to be. I once had the pleasure of working with a very forward-looking HR thought leader and who offered to provide me with references on her leadership style. We were on the topic of leadership and I was very impressed with the direct and transparent offer. (Am not listing her name here, yet – as I don’t have her permission at time of writing this article. May come back and add that on if she gives the nod!)

References can come in different forms. Other than checking with ex-colleagues and staffs on how it’s like working for an individual, I would also encourage candidates to ask for a conversation or additional examples of some of the promises that made during the interview/ offer process.

A good example would be the promise of “Job rotation as part of a development”. Get a little more clarity of what that meant. Is that a hypothetical comment or is that real? In the above example, I’ve had a hiring manager offered a candidate additional contact points to employees that’s gone through job rotation in his organization as an optional conversation for the candidate to consider should that becomes an area of interest in considering the offer. The candidate was blown away!

While it’s exciting and flattering to had gotten that offer, I would always recommend due diligence and care when you’re considering the offer. Take time and communicate clearly what you need to come to a firm decision. Any good organization will allow you that space to deliberate the offer.

For those who are reading this article as preparation to taking that offer, I would like to congratulate you and wish you the best. For those who are in the process of interviewing for a new role, take the chance to collecting all the data that you need, and I’m sure when it comes to the offer stage, you would be well informed to making that decision.

Do share your thoughts and comments below.

Happy Monday and have a fantastic week ahead.

Eric Wong is the Managing Consultant from The Talent Shark and the CHRO forIntel Wise. His experience spans across the various human resource functions such as HR Information Systems, Business Partnering and Talent Management. Eric currently sits on the Advisory Board of the Management Development Institute of Singapore (MDIS). Connect with him on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter @ErickyWong.

Me and my new Job!


It’s been a couple of months since I’ve last blogged. For those who have been following my updates, you’ve probably noticed that I’ve just embarked on an exciting new journey with Johnson & Johnson.

As with every new employee, I’ve developed an insatiable appetite to learn everything about the organization that I’ve just joined.

I am delighted to come across a very interesting article on Business Insider today “The 30 most meaningful companies to work for in America” mentioning Johnson & Johnson as one of the top 30 most meaningful company to work for in 2015, adding on to the long list of positive feedback from the many people who have congratulated me on my new gig.

Looking back on my personal experience over the last couple of months as Johnson & Johnson and I come to a decision that we are suitable for each other, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount emphasis that I’ve placed on aligning my personal values against that of Johnson & Johnson’s. I was trying to make sure that I do find meaning in work.

I’ve always taken a practical approach when advising people on their careers, thus a move to a different industry is something that I tend to be extra careful about. Thus, as soon as I send in my application for the role, I started to do my research on Johnson & Johnson.

The one thing that really impresses me is Johnson & Johnson’s credo. Our Credo challenges us to put the needs and well-being of the people we serve first. I remember feeling a strong sense of purpose and pride as I see myself being part of this amazing organization.

The next thing I looked at was the role itself. It is important for me to be able to do well in my new role. Thus I was determined to make sure that I not only be able to meet the expectations that comes with the job, but to exceed that expectation!

Last but not least, it is the people that make up the organization. Through the interactions with the different interviews, I got a good sense of the culture and working style. It is important to know if you’ll fit in with the rest of the folks.
Summing up, what’s been really important for me in coming to a decision was:

  1. Do my personal and organization values align?
  2. Can I do the job?
  3. Will I fit in?

I guess every one of us would have gone through or is going through the same thought process as we look to embark on a new journey, and I wish all those who are in midst of considering a new role the best.

For me, it’s been about 7 weeks since I’ve been on the job. It’s been a wonderful start to my new and career with Johnson & Johnson, and I look forward to a long and meaningful relationship with my new employer.

Cheers
Eric

Opinions expressed are solely my own and do not express the views or opinions of my employer.

Eric Wong is ASEAN Talent Acquisition Leader at Johnson & Johnson. His experience spans across the various human resource functions such as HR Information Systems, Business Partnering and Talent Management. Eric currently sits on the Advisory Board of the Management Development Institute of Singapore (MDIS). Connect with him on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter @ErickyWong.

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Age doesn’t matter… It shouldn’t!


In a recent conversation with a close friend of mine, he commented that with age, everything seem to take more time.

It could be true in many ways. Like I can’t run as fast as I used to, but I was never fast to begin with.

However, he was referring to his job search, and how the many people he spoke with were politely turning him away. As much as he liked to believe that it’s due to his experience, but it is hard to imagine how a veteran like himself can be faulted for having too much or too little experience in something that he’s spent his whole life in.

As much as we tried to look away from conveniently attributing the lack of success to age, the signs were clear, and we ended up talking about the differences in approaching a job search.

I like to think that age’s got nothing to do with it. Thinking back, I’ve hired matured candidates, and one of things I’ve noticed is an immense amount of experience in their CV, which got me excited. It’s somewhat like finding a candidate that can do (or had done) practically everything we asked for in the JD.

As we talked about his job search adventures, we started listing out some very interesting observations and tips. While these are some generic job search tips, but my friend who’s a matured job seeker still found it very useful!

1) Chin up and keep the morale high
The truth is, regardless of age, a proper job search process will definitely take time. Yes, there are cases where the process is short. However, as you are looking to invest your next few years with an organisation, I’m sure you will also be looking to research and pick the best fit.

Thus, be prepared for a long process, and if something comes along sooner, it’s a bonus.

2) Leverage on technology
There are a lot of resources online. Such as Linkedin and Glassdoor just to name a few. A well put together online profile attracts recruiters. Some of the senior executives I know put in effort in making sure that their profile stays current and relevant.

Make use of the job alerts to keep you posted on what job’s available, so you don’t have to track it religiously.

3) Network!
It is an open secret that one of the most effective ways to land a job is through your professional network. Don’t worry if it’s not very big to begin with, work with something that you’re comfortable with.

From time to time, there will be networking sessions and conferences that is relevant to your industry and field of work. These are some of the best places to meet new people professionally.

Personally, I find Linkedin a good way to expand my network. You can start by joining groups and participating in some discussions.

Last buy not least, taking an online MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) course and participating in the discussion forums could be an interesting way to meet people of similar interest. You end up learning something new and useful in the process. I did various programs with Coursera and found it very useful.

4) Know where the jobs are
According to a survey by JobVite on Social Recruiting, 94% of recruiters use or plan to use social media in their recruitment efforts and 78% of recruiters have made a hire through social media.

Increasingly, recruiters are moving towards recruiting via social media.

This doesn’t mean that more traditional channels such as newspaper, and online job boards doesn’t work anymore. It just means that you probably find more jobs via the social media platforms.

5) What do you really want to do?
A lot of candidates I talk to seemed to be able to do a wide range of jobs. Thinking back, when you’ve been working for so many years, I can see how that could be the case.

While it is good to sound versatile, and able to take on a wide variety of tasks, sometimes, it can work against you. You can either come across as someone who doesn’t know what you want, a jack of all trade or just over qualified for the role.

A savvy candidate would first seek to understand what the role entails and speak specifically to the role and its requirements.

Having said that, being specific doesn’t mean you need to sell yourself short. You can pick up specific segment of your experience to emphasis and elaborate, addressing the specific job requirements.

I wish you all the best in your job search.

Cheers

Eric Wong

Eric Wong is Head of Talent Acquisition & Development (APAC) at Polycom, and blogs about how video collaboration can benefit the HR function on Polycom’s “The View from APAC”. Connect with him on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter @ErickyWong.

So, you got called for an interview… What’s next?


It’s the start of the New Year and here’s my first blog article to kick it off!

A couple of friends I spoke with told me that they’ve made it their New Year’s resolution to look for a new job!

Interestingly, companies experience the highest level of attrition during this in Q1. This is usually after the bonus or annual wage supplement (AWS) payout in December. In countries where the Chinese Lunar New Year is celebrated, the attrition numbers usually peak just after the festive season.

This usually translates to hiring in late Q1 and early Q2 for most companies.

It is always flattering to receive some love and attention from recruiters (or headhunters as we like to call them).

So, you got approached for an opportunity, or even been invited to attend an exploratory interview… What’s next?

That’s quite a foolish question isn’t it? The answer is simply a “Yes, let’s explore”, or “No, I’m not interested at this point of time”.

Let’s just assume it’s a decent opportunity and you are slightly tempted, or the call could be an outcome of your recent application… What’s next?

You would agree with me that the next most important thing to do is to prepare! Here goes…

The recruiter (or the person who’s reached out to you)

Most of us are contacted by someone from the recruitment team, or someone who’s hiring for their own team/ department. This is one of the best sources of information. Always try to get as much information as possible. They may or may not have the information, but there’s no harm trying.

Don’t be put off by if they may sound a bit rushed to setup the interview and have little time fill you in on the role. If you are a strong fit for the role, they need you more than you need them.

You can try asking for the following:

  • Job Description (JD)
  • The process and who’s on the panel of interviewers
  • What are some of the things they’re looking for, or challenges that they are looking to solve with this hire

The Company

Always check up the company. Even if you know the company well, don’t be complacent. They might have evolved through growth, acquisition or mergers. A couple good places to start are:

The panel and people

Professional social networking sites such as Linkedin had made it so convenient for us to look up profiles of employees in any given organization. (You might want to explore getting a premium account with Linkedin – There should be a trial account available)

Where possible, I would always advice candidates to take a look at the panel of interviewers that they will be meeting with.

The panel of interviewers is usually made up of the hiring manager and key stake holders or people that the role would have to interact with.

This would give you a better understanding of who they are and what they do. Plan your interview with questions that relates to the interviewer’s role. Remember, as much as the company’s sizing you up as a candidate, you need to also get a feel of the people that you will be working with. More importantly, if you would be comfortable with working with them.

Another thing I that I would look at would be the employees, both current and past. Look out for the length of tenure as this will give you an idea of the level of attrition. More importantly, this will give you an idea of where the company is hiring from and losing talents to.

The grass is greener on the other side, because …

You’re standing in the shade my friend!

As much as it is exciting to think about that new opportunity, don’t get carried away with the unknown. A lot of people I know took the plunge and ended up regretting their decision.

As many of us get into the momentum of work in our current organization, we often find it hard to expand and take on a larger portfolio or try something new. Thus, that created the illusion that career development opportunities are absent in our own organizations.

Is this the fault of the company or employees? We can argue this both ways. It could be us and our own comfort zones (the shade), or it could be a genuine lack of opportunities.

Always take a step back and evaluate your current company alongside the new opportunity. Look at the “Employer Value Proposition” – EVP (I’ll probably do a separate blog article at a later date on this).

Candidates want to join organization that present a strong value proposition. Some basic factors to consider are:

  • Company’s branding and market position
  • Developmental opportunities
  • Total Rewards – Compensation and benefits
  • Culture

So, don’t get too excited about the new opportunity and take care in evaluating the options.

Last but not least, do share your thoughts about any other tips we should keep in mind when approaching that new opportunity!

Happy interviewing and best of luck in 2015!

Cheers

Eric

Eric Wong is Head of Talent Acquisition & Development (APAC) at Polycom, and blogs about how video collaboration can benefit the HR function on Polycom’s “The View from APAC”. Connect with him on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter@ErickyWong.