The Sheer Amount Of Brainpower That’s Directed Toward Blockchain Projects Right Now Makes It An Exciting Space
“The sheer amount of brainpower and effort that’s being directed toward blockchain projects right now makes it an exciting space in general. If you want to mingle with smart players, it’s the place to be.”
I had the pleasure of interviewing Rosemary O’Neill, Co-Founder of Narrative Company. She has 20 years of leadership in the online community space as an entrepreneur, writer, and speaker. Rosemary has been named one of the Top 100 community managers on Twitter by Little Bird. She is a recognized HR innovator, quoted by HuffPo, Fox & Friends, BBC, and NPR regarding unlimited PTO.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
Thank you! My professional roots are in corporate marketing and writing, and for the last 20 years, my husband (and Co-Founder) Ted O’Neill and I have been running Social Strata (we make online community platforms). My role has always focused on engagement and community, helping our customers and partners communicate and listen to their own digital networks.
Can you tell me about the most interesting projects you are working on now?
I’m very excited about our latest venture, called Narrative Company. The narrative is a content community that rewards creators, moderators and all who add value. More than a social network, Narrative is a true online community where users rule and receive 85 percent of revenue. There are three types of channels: Personal Journals for individual content, Niches for thematic content and Brand Channels for brand-controlled content. User reputation and content ratings (not arbitrary algorithms) minimize the reach of low-quality content while rewarding the best content. Narrative uses blockchain technology and the NRVE token as the basis for content currency, creating tangible value around user-generated content. Even though cryptocurrency is used to represent value, users can choose to receive payments in standard currency.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
First and foremost, I’m so fortunate to have the love and support of my husband Ted, who is the visionary behind our projects, and who entrusts me with sharing them with the world. We are a true partnership in every sense of the word. I also had a great mentor, Dave Denne, very early in my professional life, who recognized that I might have a talent for marketing and plucked me out of technical writing. I was happy to leave behind the GPO Style Manual and start learning about human behavior. The funny story is that, on the day I was to transition between jobs, my former supervisor said to me, “I don’t know if you can handle the stress of this new job.” Dave laughed and said, “of course she can!” That lit a fire in my belly that hasn’t gone out decades later. Having someone believe in you, and believing in yourself, is the rocket fuel for success.
What are the 5 things that most excite you about blockchain and crypto? Why?
#1 It represents a massive shift in mindset; power is load-balancing back to the people through decentralized apps and technology.
#2 At this moment, we’re still early enough that we don’t all know what’s going to happen yet. That sense of wonder and discovery is very compelling.
#3 Cryptocurrency has the power to help those without access to traditional banks control their financial resources; that would open up the opportunity for people who are currently locked out because of their location, their gender, or other restrictions.
#4 The sheer amount of brainpower and effort that’s being directed toward blockchain projects right now makes it an exciting space in general. If you want to mingle with smart players, it’s the place to be.
#5 Blockchain and crypto represent the future. It’s not a matter of if, but when, they will become part of the underlying fabric of our digital lives.
What are the 5 things worry you about blockchain and crypto? Why?
#1 I worry that blockchain and crypto will become so overused as buzzwords that they start to lose meaning. Not everything can benefit from using blockchain technology, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a valid development.
#2 I worry that the current crypto environment can be a breeding ground for scam artists; there are those who are trying to take advantage of people who are new to space. And because of the anonymous nature of crypto, it’s unfortunately easy to victimize newcomers.
#3 I worry that some will dismiss crypto or blockchain because stories about scammers are rampant. You shouldn’t “throw the baby out with the bathwater” because there are a lot of legitimate projects and honest business people in the blockchain/crypto space.
#4 I worry that regulators might take a too-drastic approach in trying to safeguard consumers, applying rules that could stifle innovation.
#5 I worry that the hype around blockchain and crypto will create distorted expectations. They are indeed groundbreaking and have lots of useful applications, but will only reach their full potential if applied judiciously.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world? Can you share a story?
Something I’ve tried really hard to do is share mentorship as it was shared with me. I feel that if you give freely of your knowledge and resources, you can make a “dent in the world” by bringing up the next generation of entrepreneurs to do the same. I participate in an organization called Springboard Enterprises, which is focused on supporting women entrepreneurs with funding, advisory services, training, and mentorship.
What 3 things would you advise someone who wanted to emulate your career? Can you share an example for each idea?
#1 When opportunity knocks, don’t be afraid to say yes. I could have come up with a million “why not” to take the leaps of faith I have, but I’ve instead chosen to focus on the “why to.”
#2 Find your strengths and play to them. I’ve built a career around my passion for community and human connection.
#3 Be an innovator. It’s not fun trying to do something slightly better. Do your own thing, create something new. That is precisely what we are doing with Narrative.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this 🙂
My dream lunch meetup would be with Barbara Corcoran. I admire her brand of honesty and grit. She also always looks like she’s having a great time.
Yitzi Weiner is a journalist, author, and the CEO of Thought Leader Incubator, a leading business incubator based in Maryland.
Yitzi is the author of five books and is the Editor-In-Chief of Authority Magazine. He is also a frequent contributor to Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global and contributed to Forbes and The Huffington Post. In 2017, he created the popular, “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me” series that highlights the lessons learned from the experiences of high-profile entrepreneurs and public figures.
Yitzi is also a dynamic educator, teacher, and orator. He currently lives in Maryland with his wife and children.