Talking Digital Future: Blockchain Technology

I have a feeling that a lot of businesses still don’t understand why they need blockchain, while others may believe they need it just because they think it’s another fashionable tech trend or something.

I’ve been involved in technology for 30 years, and it is always interesting to me how people respond to the introduction or invention of new tech. There is always an ecosystem of people in the sector championing a particular type of technology as well as business users ever-seeking solutions to their problems or creating new opportunities for their businesses. You might be a champion in blockchain, but a business person wants to be able to solve a very specific problem with the technology in question, such as lowering distribution costs.

The last few years — when I’ve worked for the city of Palo Alto, California — I tried to push back on vendors and technology evangelists who would come in and promote technology in general. If they come and say, “We want to talk to you about our blockchain tech, AI system, etc.,” I would answer, “I don’t want to talk to you about that. But I do want to talk to you about what problem you can solve for me today with that technology. Are you going to make a higher quality of life in my community by making parking spaces more accessible? Can you help redesign infrastructure?”

I still think that if you are in a business community or just work in industry, you need to be thinking about how to solve your biggest problems and how to execute on your vision. That means, first of all, to find the right people who understand what those gaps are, what those problems are. Then, we need to have scouts — people who look for interesting vendors and solutions in the course of that.

How new technologies emerge

You might be intrigued by blockchain, if our problem is, for example, to distribute pharmaceuticals. In this type of a supply chain, there are often too many costs created by having an excess of steps or too many…

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