In Conversation With The CMO Of Fantom Michael Chen
We had pleasure interviewing Michael Chen, the CMO of Fantom. Fantom offers the most powerful foundations for decentralized ledgers. Instead of centralizing all computing power and all usage on a single decentralized ledger, users of the Fantom ecosystem deploy their own independent distributed ledgers with the consensus at its core, while being able to communicate with one another.
Can you tell us what inspired you to pursue this career path? What do you want others to take from your story?
I got into this career path by the luck of chance, to be honest with you. I joined the cryptocurrency and blockchain community as a token holder and altcoin enthusiast, and I got intrigued by the technology and its potential.
I was actually a really impatient and loud altcoin enthusiast myself when I started, and I was always starting strongly opinionated dialogues with teams calling out mistakes and complaining about their failures without seeing their success. After a couple of months, I got challenged by a few people to get into the field myself and see how difficult it could be, and I accepted that challenge only to fail miserably as I worked in the background for a few projects.
After all of those failures, I realized how difficult it is to produce value for other people than yourself, and it’s led to me striving to build the best community culture I possibly can around the ecosystems I’m involved in.
Could you tell us about any of the exciting projects that you are working on currently?
I’ve been intrigued by Fantom since April 2018 and stood up to the task of becoming its Chief Marketing Officer between January and February 2019 after the old CMO went onto a different venture. My attraction towards Fantom came from my obsession towards finding a
Fantom was guilty of that trend as well at the time, but I think it’s pivoted into something unique throughout the year 2019. Today we’re a consensus-as-a-service platform, not focusing on building the best blockchain available, but on building the best consensus possible for others to create cool blockchain-based applications or blockchain platforms on top of it.
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?
There’s a developer called Andre Cronje, whom I’ve befriended over the past year. He used to be a code reviewer at CryptoBriefing and has been the technical advisor for Fantom over the past year, and I think I’ve become a better CMO under his guidance.
When I started, I just followed the ‘meta’ of crypto marketing, and I thought and communicated in the same way as any other 2017-2018 ICO project out there. I was in a really big defeatist mood when I started as CMO at Fantom, and I consistently cracked under pressure from external sources, which led to me just following what other projects were doing.
Andre snapped me out of that mentality and presented me ways that I can do things differently and more creatively. As an advisor, he set up a culture within the foundation where anyone could do unorthodox things, as long as they did so with reason and purpose.
What are the five things that you think are most fascinating about blockchain and crypto? Why?
It’s exciting to see how strangers can come together and create trust in a trustless environment, without any intermediaries or institutions telling them what’s right or wrong.
The entire philosophy and ideology that drives this space is something that deeply resonates with me, and I think it’s a massive step towards personal sovereignty.
What are the five things that concern you about blockchain and crypto? Why?
I know that every space has bad actors, but I find this industry to be especially bad in comparison to others. Never have I seen a space where so many scams happen daily, and never have I seen so many technologies looking for problems rather than problems looking for technology. Decentralization and distribution are great things, but I think that the mindshare is overly distributed between too many projects that are boiling down to doing the same thing.
How have you used your success to bring positive change to the world? Can you share a story?
That’s a very flattering question, I don’t think we’ve succeeded yet until we’re somewhere near the top, but things do look like they’re coming together slowly but surely to me. I believe that as the builders of consensus mechanisms, we aren’t the ones who are directly changing people’s lives. Still, we’re allowing those who can make a tangible change to how life is experienced to build their blockchain-based products more quickly through our consensus-as-a-service approach.
What are the three things that you would advise someone who aspires to emulate your career? Can you share an example of each idea?
Expectation management, both internally and externally, is so important. Staying real while pushing a vision that may still be years out in the future is extremely difficult, and I think some CMO’s disappoint themselves with the image they project onto their developers and business development teams.
I think that if you want to add value in this industry, you need to make a lot of personal sacrifices, and I’m not sure if I’d have gone down this path if I knew that beforehand. I could do away with some of the stress and grey hair that I’ve been accumulating in my early twenties.
What is the one “Life Lesson Quote” that you stand by? Can you tell us how?
Don’t screw people over. Period.
I keep seeing this mentality in this space that one person needs to lose for another to gain; rather than creating value through effort and self-sacrifice, people want to try to take value from one another.
Who would be one person in the world that you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why?
I have this weird fascination when I see Justin Sun, love him, or hate him; he’s got some amazingly thick skin. I’m not sure how someone can be that bold and controversial, get so much flack, while seemingly always keeping the smile on. I’m not supporting him or his project, but I feel like he’s the pinnacle of marketing in this space.
Marketing isn’t a good or bad thing; it depends on what you use it for. I’d be genuinely curious what would happen if you would put a guy like him on top tier technological projects such as Cosmos, I’m not sure if I’d hear about anything else than Cosmos at that point.
Where can our readers find you on social media?
You can find me on Twitter as @CryptoMHchn