In Conversation With John Monarch, Co-Founder And CEO ShipChain
We had a pleasure interviewing John Monarch co-founder and CEO of ShipChain. John has previous logistics experience in founding one of the fastest-growing fulfillment/3PL companies in the United States. He is intimately knowledgable with the logistics industry in all aspects, from postal logistics and parcel private carriers to air, sea, and intermodal land freight. He attended Clemson University for Physics and Computer Science.
BM: Can you tell us what inspired you to pursue this career path? What do you want others to take from your story?
John Monarch: Supply chain came almost by accident – a lot of it came from having friends in the E-commerce world who were facing challenges with both importing and shipping to consumers, and despite having no experience in the space thought I could handle it much better. It was a crash course at first and a lot of humility along the way, but I’ve learned a lot over the years. Initially, I had always wanted to be a business owner, and this just fit well.
BM: Could you tell us about any of the interesting projects that you are working on currently?
John Monarch: ShipChain has a lot going on right now, specifically preparing for the launch of our fully open and decentralized mainnet sidechain. This is a crucial step in being able to bring supply chain transactions off of the Ethereum mainnet to avoid bottlenecks from unrelated transaction types (finance, gaming), and make it, so the supply chain and logistics world have its own trusted, public blockchain environment to work with. Along with that, our first-mover platform for supply chains continues to evolve and expand with the needs of our partners, giving them a single-window control tower into their supply chains backed by the trust of a public chain.
BM: Is there a particular person who you would like to credit with helping you get to where you are? Can you share an anecdote about that?
John Monarch: Probably my parents. My father had many roles in his life from entrepreneur to corporate executive to US Army soldier and more, all the while being an engineer – and always encouraged me to go out and do my own thing and make my own way. He was very analytical and numbers-driven. And my mother, as an artist, made sure I didn’t lose sight of the creative side. A lot of analytical people struggle with creativity, so I’m glad to have had that.
BM: What are the 5 things that you think are most fascinating about blockchain and crypto? Why?
- The ability to have a permanent record that is even more trusted than a traditional notary, making document certification and management even stronger.
- Non-fungible tokens, allowing for the transfer of digital assets that correlate in the real world. Initially, CryptoKitties showed us the basics, but now seeing use in document transfers like Bills of Lading, or even matching physical inventory moves with digital ones for inventory and warehouse management.
- The ability for machines to talk to each other in a more trusted way, when the companies and individuals that own them may not trust each other. Self-driving trucks come to mind here.
- While most crypto people aren’t fans of regulatory topics, the ability to streamline and certify customs processing will be big.
- Trustless pseudonymous transacting. The ability to send and receive money to/from anywhere in the world instantly without gatekeepers. That’s been talked about at length, but it is amazing.
BM: What are the 5 things that concern you about blockchain and crypto? Why?
- Fracturing is a big deal right now. There are so many companies running duplicates on both public and private chains, and nothing has truly won out yet for enterprise.
- Enterprises are still skittish of public chains, which needs to change to truly get the benefits of blockchain
- Piggybacking off of the two above, we’re seeing huge consulting and technology firms selling “blockchain” services only to increase their consulting sales, and disappointing enterprise clients along the way. This is increasing enterprise skepticism.
- Blockchain fatigue. It was all everyone talked about for over a year at conferences, and many aren’t seeing concrete benefits from this yet – this goes hand in hand with the large consulting issue.
- Too many disparate consortia, nobody actually working on “real” standards. Consortia are being made constantly in the name of advancing blockchain or setting standards, but we’ve yet to see any real progress, and it’s fatiguing enterprises with all of the spending to join these organizations.
BM: How have you used your success to bring positive change to the world? Can you share a story?
John Monarch: We’re confident that open-sourcing most of our platform with the intent of benefitting supply chains at large – even for free – is a huge benefit to small and large supply chains. On the more personal side, I am always looking to be involved in different giving and charitable projects. Music is always one that sticks with me, and I admit I’m a band geek — so giving to musical organizations like symphonies, volunteering with high school bands, etc. is a huge part of my life.
BM: What are the 3 things that you would advise someone who aspires to emulate your career? Can you share an example of each idea?
- Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Failure is a part of success, and a lot of people get bogged down in perfectionism, which ruins things.
- At the same time, know when to cut off things that aren’t working.
- Don’t lose sight of the big picture. Things may not always go as planned, and that’s just life. But as long as you keep sight of what you’re working towards, you’ll be okay.
BM: What is the one “Life Lesson Quote” that you stand by? Can you tell us how that had relevance to your own life?
John Monarch: One that always stuck with me was “have an ocean of knowledge an inch deep.” Nobody expects you to know everything, and trying to know everything is a recipe for disaster. Specialize in one or two things, but know a bit about a lot of subjects. It’s not only interesting to learn about different things, but it’s also useful in that it makes it much easier to have a conversation with just about anyone.
BM: Please share with us your opinions about the article we published about your startup on our website.
John Monarch: The article you pushed was very thorough and extremely informative. We are extremely honored for the feature and hope that your readers were able to learn a bit more about our mission and what we’re trying to do.
Where can our readers find you on social media?
Readers can find John Monarch on his official social media handles.