In Conversation With Paul Snow, Founder & CEO At Factom
We had a pleasure interviewing Paul Snow founder and CEO at Factom. Paul is the creator of the first blockchain technology built from the ground up, to solve real-world business problems. Paul’s innovative approach to software and application engineering has spawned a litany of inventive open-source companies and solutions that have paved the way for Factom. A true open-source evangelist, Paul also acts as Founder and Chief Architect for DTRules, a open source project he founded in 2004 to make Decision Table based Rules Engines available to all sorts of projects.
Paul is a founder of the the Texas Bitcoin Conference, and currently serves as president and chair. He holds three patents for graphics hardware and system configuration technologies. He is a supporter of and contributor to the Colored Coins and Ethereum projects, in addition to driving the development of the Factom Network.
Can you share with us the story of how you decided to pursue this career path? What lessons can others learn from your story?
Prior to the blockchain, I have been involved with two major shifts in software technology and industry. The first was the digital printing revolution, where I was part of a small team that developed truly cutting edge solutions for designing, implementing, testing, and shipping a Postscript compatible printer. The second was when I had the opportunity to design, build, and deploy the first enterprise ready rules engine to solve eligibility determination questions for the State of Texas.
Having experience identifying and building solutions to solve very hard and complex industry problems set me up to consider how to implement a public blockchain solution that would scale for a world wide collection of businesses. Always loving a challenge, I took up the blockchain, and the blockchain has certainly delivered a challenge.
Can you tell me about the most interesting projects you are working on now?
We are working on PegNet, a project to deliver scalable transactions, asset conversions, and real world values expected in commerce. With 29 assets to start, and with the intention to grow the asset list over time, the PegNet promises to make commerce and wealth management massively less complex and inexpensive.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful to who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I have to say my wife is the person who has supported me, and given me the best advice in this effort. She is also an engineer, with vast experience in chip design. But at the end of the day, her encouragement, insight, and ability to talk through problems with me has been critical in allowing me to focus and to succeed.
What are the 5 things that most excite you about blockchain and crypto? Why?
- The blockchain provides everyone in the world a level field in finance. This is a radical shift towards equality and fairness in a way that banking and finance alone could not deliver.
- In a world that increasingly does not define value in a tangible way, the blockchain provides strict accounting of the unit of value. This limits the many ways fiance traditionally has been gamed by
white collarcrime, by organized crime, by counterfeiters,and more.
- While many criticize crypto and the blockchain as being complex and hard to understand, it is actually so much simpler than banking, finance, and payments. We should be able to understand the payment process when our entire economy depends upon it. Nobody understands fully the system we use today.
- Despite the blockchain and PoW criticisms otherwise, the blockchain promises vast reductions in carbon and energy for banking and finance. The problem with comparing Bitcoin with banking in finance is that they don’t really do so. How can a system that depends on massive armored trucks to deliver paper around town be energy efficient? While PoW can be performed anywhere in the world, and in particular where waste energy is available? Your bank office in contrast must be located in urban and populated locations.
- Everyone is included in the blockchain. In contrast, the high priests of banking and finance do not include the general public in their operations and decisions. People in the economy often win or lose based on decisions around banking, but they have no input.
What are the 3 things that worry you about blockchain and crypto? Why?
Governmentmight kill it.
- Banks might manage to isolate the advantages and advances of the blockchain and crypto.
- That someone will find a way to use the blockchain to control the masses. (Not realistic in my view)
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world? Can you share a story?
I have had the opportunity to support some causes I believe in, have been able to work on a project that could determine court cases in China. In little ways here and there, I have been able, I believe, to make people’s lives better. Allowing some to be more independent, participating in something bigger.
I really do believe that the blockchain and cryptocurrency brings freedom from oppressive systems of economics that are not in favor of the masses.
What 3 things would you advise someone who wanted to emulate your career? Can you share an example of each idea?
Do something easier? But if that isn’t what they want,
- Work hard, play hard. The path I took was a challenge. When what everyone else was doing wasn’t going to cut it, I was happy to take the path I thought would work. Often I had to prove it would work, though quite a bit of effort. But I am happy with my life and my achievements. When I did get a chance, I did play hard. Put work aside and leave it behind, and you will come back fresher and happier for it.
- Keep your eye on your goal. It is easy to second guess yourself on one hand, or continue down a path even after it is clear it will not work. Keep in mind the higher goals, and don’t be afraid of turning around and going down another path. A goal is not a place, but a result.
- Don’t expect the world to be fair. I have had many hard knocks. Life doesn’t always deal with the winning hand. But if you get bitter, or succumb to despair, you will only hurt yourself. Accept your losses, but stand up and keep moving.
What is your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that had relevance to your own life?
Life is just a game. Don’t take it seriously, but play to win!
This embodies my approach to life. You don’t have to repay every slight. You can be the one that forgives and forgets. You do yourself a disadvantage if you carry the burden of anger, hate, despair, grief. When true tragedy strikes, it is okay to immerse yourself in the experience, walk through the stages, but when it is over, pick up and move on.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why?
I would love to have breakfast or lunch with Japanese manga artist ONE, the creator of One Punch Man. For many reasons, but in particular his imagination, sense of the ridiculous, humanity, and mythology. His own personal story of success really strikes a chord with me.
I should say that if ONE was too busy, J.K. Rowling would be another. For many of the same reasons. Both ONE and Rowling demonstrated a determination and imagination that overcame massive obstacles to their success. And this I highly admire!
Of course, there are many industry leaders and politicians I would like to meet. Mostly to discuss the blockchain, and why it matters. I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many of these people, and yet it seems the message still needs to be delivered again and again. Which makes sense, because as we develop the blockchain, new reasons, new deployments, new advantages are discovered. And I’d love to be part of that conversation.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
- Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/paulsnx2
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/paulsn/