The Blockchain Revolution: Insights from the Latest Webinar
Kirthiga Reddy is the dynamic CEO of Virtualness.io, a mobile-first platform that democratizes Web3 for creators and brands. Starting her illustrious career as an engineer at Silicon Graphics, Kirthiga has since been at the vanguard of several tech shifts. As SoftBank's first female Investment Partner, she managed a vast portfolio. Also a co-founder of Laddrr, her accolades include Fast Company’s 'Most Creative People' and Fortune India’s 'Most Powerful Women'. Kirthiga champions the belief: “When businesses succeed, livelihoods flourish.
In a recent discussion between Kirthiga and Braintrust, we delved deep into the transformative world of blockchain and Web 3.0. Here's a synthesis of the insights and takeaways.
Braintrust's Global Growth
Our community has come a long way. At the recent webinar, Shirley celebrated Braintrust's astounding growth, proudly announcing that we now span over 400,000 tech professionals globally. Together, they've collectively earned over $175 million. As Shirley looked back, her optimism for the future resonated with attendees, emphasizing that our trajectory isn't solely about technological advancements.
From Web 2.0 to Web 3.0: A Paradigm Shift
Kirthiga drew attention to the intricate transition from Web 2.0 to the blockchain-driven era of Web 3.0. She highlighted the importance of thinking mobile-first and touched upon the vast potential of blockchain beyond just Bitcoin and Ethereum. Her sentiments weren't solely fixated on the tech transition but also on how this tech evolution can usher in global societal advancement.
"How does one weigh diving into the blockchain after long stints in the Web 2.0 universe? " she posited, inviting reflection and emphasizing that this isn’t just about succeeding Web 2.0—it's a profound shift that necessitates a blend of past insights with future aspirations. An essential point here is interoperability. As Web3 platforms integrate with existing Web2 systems, ensuring that data, assets, and functionalities move seamlessly between these universes becomes imperative.
Navigating the Blockchain Landscape
Blockchain’s Expanding Horizons:Beyond digital currencies, the versatility of blockchain is impacting sectors like gaming, sports, health tech, enterprise, supply chain management, creator economy, and entertainment. Decentralization is forging new frontiers, although mainstream media might not always capture its deep-rooted implications.
Guidance for Aspiring Professionals:Kirthiga emphasized the ever-present debate in blockchain startups: Specialist vs. Generalist - What's More In-Demand? Startups, especially in the blockchain space, often value versatility due to lean teams. A professional who can pivot between roles, say from design to social media, is invaluable. However, the essence remains in keeping one's core strength. While being a jack of all trades can be beneficial, it should never overshadow one's primary expertise. Thus, whether you're inclined towards building the blockchain infrastructure or crafting applications on top, finding your niche and mastering it is paramount.
Challenges and Solutions:Every revolutionary path has its obstacles. Kirthiga candidly discussed the recent reputational setbacks associated with blockchain, emphasizing that isolated incidents shouldn't tarnish an entire industry. The primary challenge now? Building and restoring trust with both users and the larger community.
Despite the challenges, Kirthiga remains optimistic. She recounted a conversation with a business leader from Procter & Gamble, illustrating blockchain's wide-ranging applications. In this case, blockchain was employed to trace the origin of materials in feminine hygiene products, catering to a growing demand for transparency among consumers. This demonstrates that blockchain's reach extends from established giants to the most cutting-edge startups.
She underlines that while there are plenty of challenges, especially with evolving infrastructure, the tech community must tackle them head-on to realize blockchain's full potential.
Skill Development:While formal education from esteemed institutions like MIT and platforms like Udacity is a foundational stepping stone, Kirthiga believes their value is just the starting point. The real magic happens when theoretical knowledge meets hands-on experience. She reflected on her own journey in the quantum computing space, where a YouTuber, Anastasia, guided her through the first steps into the quantum computing world, demonstrating that valuable lessons often come from unexpected sources.
What truly impresses her on a resume? It is less about certifications and more about tangible accomplishments and how one adapts previous experiences to new contexts. For those eager to further develop their skills and seek advice, Braintrust Career Help provides invaluable career advice and support. There, you can ask questions, and seasoned professionals or someone who's been in your shoes will gladly offer insights.
Career Transitions in Tech: Stories of Change
Kirthiga Reddy's professional journey is a testament to the tech community's ability to adapt and evolve. Beginning as an executive at Silicon Graphics, she later delved into the exciting realm of mobile-first technology, emphasizing the importance of staying agile in an ever-changing tech landscape.
She recounted several pivotal moments from her career:
- A significant shift was when she moved from being a top executive at a $2 billion company with 9,000 employees to pursuing an MBA at Stanford. This was followed by her decision to join a growing mobile startup, with a 40% pay cut, not in a leadership role, but as an individual contributor. Her choice to start anew and climb the corporate ladder all over again underscores the value of betting on emerging industry trends.
- Another compelling chapter in her story was transitioning from being an Investment Partner at a colossal $130 billion fund to launching her startup. Kirthiga recognized transformative patterns in the industry, drawing parallels to the exponential increase in internet users in India, significantly influenced by platforms like Facebook.
Kirthiga's core message is clear: Embracing the unpredictable nature of the tech world can lead to profound personal and professional growth. Whether choosing to take a pay cut to invest in future tech trends or the unseen challenges that aren't showcased on platforms like LinkedIn — it's the journey. These untold, meandering paths lead to significant milestones, with all its risks and opportunities, that truly craft an individual's legacy.
The Tech Tapestry: Interfacing Web 2.0 and Web 3.0
Blockchain's evolution calls for seamless integration between the established digital realms of Web 2.0 and the decentralized prospects of Web 3.0. Interoperability is the name of the game.
Nowhere is this more pressing than in payments – where questions of managing transfers, whether in fiat or crypto, become paramount. Companies are eager for talents who grasp this fusion deeply. Yet, it's not just about technical integration.
Navigating the often intricate world of digital wallets and decentralized transactions should feel as intuitive as using any mainstream app. This challenge extends beyond mere aesthetics – it's about reimagining user interaction amidst the digital intricacies of assets, identity, and privacy. Kirthiga underscores a pivotal message for those eyeing the blockchain horizon: Mastery in design is invaluable, but it must be paired with a profound understanding of blockchain's nuances.
Blockchain and Beyond: Exploring Intersections
The world is witnessing an interplay of blockchain with technologies like AI and quantum computing. Platforms such as Virtualness.io exemplify the integration of generative AI and blockchain, hinting at the limitless possibilities at these tech marvels' intersections.
The fusion of blockchain with AI can reshape industries, while the entry of quantum computing can redefine encryption and transaction speeds. A future scenario painted was:
"Maybe [in the future] when they walk the stage to get their diploma, they will get an NFT minted on blockchain."
Such intersections point towards a future where technology is not just an enabler but an intrinsic part of our daily experiences.
Advancing Diversity and Inclusivity
Kirthiga reflected on her transformative journey at SoftBank Vision Fund when asked about the actions required for a Female Investment Partner to lead a vision fund.
She spoke of the fund's profound commitment to diversity and inclusivity. To amplify the representation of various groups, SoftBank introduced dedicated affinity groups for women, the LGBTQ community, and underrepresented minorities. With intent, they established hiring goals echoing this commitment. Kirthiga highlighted the creation of accelerator programs, such as Emerge, aimed at nurturing diverse founders. She believed championing diversity extended beyond just hiring and should permeate leadership and investment practices. Kirthiga's efforts at SoftBank offer a blueprint for aspiring female leaders in the investment world, underscoring the immense value of fostering diversity in the tech and investment sectors.
Staying Updated in the Ever-evolving Tech Landscape
Platforms such as Fortune Term Sheet, PitchBook, and Crunchbase provide invaluable insights for those eager to stay updated on emerging tech trends. In addition, podcasts like the All-In podcast and The Twenty Minute VC(20VC) delve deep into current developments. Meanwhile, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube are essential tools for real-time industry news and updates.
As we navigate the ever-evolving tech landscape, Kirthiga Reddy's invaluable insights remind us of the need to be adaptable, informed, and receptive to new learnings. The intersection of blockchain with various sectors and the indispensable role of diversity and inclusion highlights the multifaceted nature of this industry.
In the upcoming fireside chat series, Braintrust will shift its focus to broader aspects of career growth, providing advice, interview preparation tips, and insights into thriving in the tech domain. Such guidance is instrumental in ensuring that tech professionals remain updated with technological advancements and fine-tune the soft skills and strategies necessary for career success. While you wait, explore Career Help for advice, guidance, and more.
For those keen on exploring career opportunities, the Braintrust job page offers a myriad of roles to delve into.
Stay tuned, stay informed, and join us in shaping the future of tech. Your journey towards excellence starts here.