UC Berkeley students from the M.E.T. program (Management, Entrepreneurship & Technology) approached me recently to speak about my experience in business.
Though I am approaching my 50’s — I have always been in business. I am a long-time CEO with businesses in Montreal, New York and San Francisco. Currently, I am CEO for the Important.com company — working to improve public safety in smart cities and in automotive.
What Rap and Business Have in Common
Words are important in business and in life. I search for and find great and inspiring work with encouraging words for business all around the global markets, in rap.
Rap tends to push boundaries wherever it goes and it energizes and propels innovation. Parallels can be drawn between both the fields of Rap and business.
Here is the RAP piece I wrote and am performing for you at ReadWrite, and for the UC Berkeley students from the M.E.T. program.
First in Business Principles
In building a business — What are the first principles? Guess what? These are the same first principles you must use in Rap.
- Create value (have something interesting to say)
- Craft your message the most appropriate way
- Generate momentum
- Keep the bar high at all times
- Have the quest of excellence
- Face competition squarely
- Show grit and tenacity
- Keep going
Signing on to Sing Rap
Signing to Rap (rapping here) isn’t easy. Is signing on or building a Startup and running a business any different? No! In both fields, you will face yourself — you will face fear. Unless you conquer your fear — that fear will have a power and a stopping force.
When fear begins to build in you and you think you can’t continue on — what should you do? You you are in leadership in your company and you have fear or you sense there is fear in your employees — what can you do?
These are real question faced every single day in business whether you are an entrepreneur, building a startup, or you are part of a long time established business.
You Better Find Out How to Save Yourself from Fear
The video shown above goes deeper in detail and presents my first song ever as a conclusion. I maybe do better in business than in singing or rapping — but in business we must innovate, we must pivot, we must do what it takes to continue on and save our work.
I hope that this RAP is a text that will age well with business and especially with the UC Berkeley students. Please follow the Rap songs that help you grow as an Entrepreneur, those Rap pieces that make you a better Manager, or inspire you in your technology.
Look at all forms of creativity that have inspired you before — and revisit these at different points in your lifetime — you will find something new.
Remember that I am not a Rapper or a singer — I am a businessman that has been inspired by the words, impressions and expression in RAP songs.
HERE ARE THE WORDS TO THE RAP — FOR YOU TO FOLLOW ALONG
Tu peux pas | tu peux pas | tu peux pas
When you’re down you’re down you’re down you’re down you’re down and we are all down to the ground.
We spy all
When you’re down you’re down you’re down you’re down you’re down and we are all down to the ground.
Your inaction calls a mass reaction against the addition of your addiction to mind incarceration.
Still wondering why admiration isn’t your ration
An abomination you set already steadily in motion
Nonintervention with infinite duration brings our institution to implosion an invitation to a deception in inception
Bar fixation in troubled ocean bears no notion of rational direction in all your emotional obsessional commotion
Obstination to abstention drowns realization. A compass that encompass no destination
Your super Id goes, with a superego, who consciously hit fists, sink ships, viciously hid grit
An ego ideal KO not OK chaos created by an obnoxious cautious unconscious subconscious who thinks it has wit
Your bit of conscious subconsciously loses time when your Id times times you instantly quit (a tough thought)
You wear an unfit destiny paired with no real mental ability to understand this where it contradicts your reality constantly in conflicts
Permanently muted with no act it’s manic, you’re just a bluff muffed fluff wanna be tough no new thoughts (so soft)
Now nod your head nut, no not your nuts you nuts no you’re not dead hot
Electro-choc – Call the docs – Send the bocks
I’m the barman it’s your last call at the counter you can’t counter the encounter of the trawl here comes the 9-1-1 shot (Cheers)
Off docks and rims we all but soar gall when you swim in grim whims we crawl and bawl still you standstill and stall
Like cops, your worries freeze us all
Hear the breeze you block
Opt for the call, Gees
Or we’re cold corps
I’ll rest not
Tu peux pas | tu peux pas | tu peux pas | tu peux pas Tu peux pas | tu peux pas | tu peux pas | tu peux pas
Oui tu peux quand tu veux faire mieux que ceux qui doute d’eux
Là d’être bredouille, de n’avoir ni miettes ni dépouilles dû à ceux tousseux qui se la coule douce en noeud
coulant les foules bafouillant et souillant tout ceux qui ont le feu
Cool j’atteste toutefois que les deux moins deux couilles détestent la houle des textes
denses penses pas adipeux dextres qui dansent extirpant la panse et les tripes des tripeux
Impuissant, ce monsieur se permet de s’exprimer sans cesse pour faire feu en fou furieux sur l’effroi froid
vrai faux fait qu’on cri mainte fois de rendre silencieux
(Based on Google Translation)
You can’t | you can’t | you can’t | you can not
Yes you can when you want to do better than those who doubt themselves
Tired to be empty-handed, to have neither crumbs nor spoils due to those coughing who take it easy,
putting crowds in noose, stammering and defiling those who have fire
Cool, however, I certify that two minus two balls hate swells of dense texts think not adipose dexterous
dancing rooting out the stomach and guts of the tripeux*
Powerless, this gentleman allows himself to constantly express himself to fire like a berserk on cold fright,
true false fact that we cry many times to silence.
* Tripeux: Quebec slang for people who live intensively and enjoy life
I appreciate the readership of ReadWrite and especially the UC Berkely business students.
You read and you think
You read and you think that you think
But you have no idea of what I’m about to write
I write and I think
I write and I think that you read
But I have no idea of what you think
So please write
That is why I write on ReadWrite
The Bast Blast
@BlastBast (on Twitter)
Image Credit: wendy wei; pexels; thank you!
Fintech Kennek raises $12.5M seed round to digitize lending
London-based fintech startup Kennek has raised $12.5 million in seed funding to expand its lending operating system.
According to an Oct. 10 tech.eu report, the round was led by HV Capital and included participation from Dutch Founders Fund, AlbionVC, FFVC, Plug & Play Ventures, and Syndicate One. Kennek offers software-as-a-service tools to help non-bank lenders streamline their operations using open banking, open finance, and payments.
The platform aims to automate time-consuming manual tasks and consolidate fragmented data to simplify lending. Xavier De Pauw, founder of Kennek said:
“Until kennek, lenders had to devote countless hours to menial operational tasks and deal with jumbled and hard-coded data – which makes every other part of lending a headache. As former lenders ourselves, we lived and breathed these frustrations, and built kennek to make them a thing of the past.”
The company said the latest funding round was oversubscribed and closed quickly despite the challenging fundraising environment. The new capital will be used to expand Kennek’s engineering team and strengthen its market position in the UK while exploring expansion into other European markets. Barbod Namini, Partner at lead investor HV Capital, commented on the investment:
“Kennek has developed an ambitious and genuinely unique proposition which we think can be the foundation of the entire alternative lending space. […] It is a complicated market and a solution that brings together all information and stakeholders onto a single platform is highly compelling for both lenders & the ecosystem as a whole.”
The fintech lending space has grown rapidly in recent years, but many lenders still rely on legacy systems and manual processes that limit efficiency and scalability. Kennek aims to leverage open banking and data integration to provide lenders with a more streamlined, automated lending experience.
The seed funding will allow the London-based startup to continue developing its platform and expanding its team to meet demand from non-bank lenders looking to digitize operations. Kennek’s focus on the UK and Europe also comes amid rising adoption of open banking and open finance in the regions.
Featured Image Credit: Photo from Kennek.io; Thank you!
Fortune 500’s race for generative AI breakthroughs
As excitement around generative AI grows, Fortune 500 companies, including Goldman Sachs, are carefully examining the possible applications of this technology. A recent survey of U.S. executives indicated that 60% believe generative AI will substantially impact their businesses in the long term. However, they anticipate a one to two-year timeframe before implementing their initial solutions. This optimism stems from the potential of generative AI to revolutionize various aspects of businesses, from enhancing customer experiences to optimizing internal processes. In the short term, companies will likely focus on pilot projects and experimentation, gradually integrating generative AI into their operations as they witness its positive influence on efficiency and profitability.
Goldman Sachs’ Cautious Approach to Implementing Generative AI
In a recent interview, Goldman Sachs CIO Marco Argenti revealed that the firm has not yet implemented any generative AI use cases. Instead, the company focuses on experimentation and setting high standards before adopting the technology. Argenti recognized the desire for outcomes in areas like developer and operational efficiency but emphasized ensuring precision before putting experimental AI use cases into production.
According to Argenti, striking the right balance between driving innovation and maintaining accuracy is crucial for successfully integrating generative AI within the firm. Goldman Sachs intends to continue exploring this emerging technology’s potential benefits and applications while diligently assessing risks to ensure it meets the company’s stringent quality standards.
One possible application for Goldman Sachs is in software development, where the company has observed a 20-40% productivity increase during its trials. The goal is for 1,000 developers to utilize generative AI tools by year’s end. However, Argenti emphasized that a well-defined expectation of return on investment is necessary before fully integrating generative AI into production.
To achieve this, the company plans to implement a systematic and strategic approach to adopting generative AI, ensuring that it complements and enhances the skills of its developers. Additionally, Goldman Sachs intends to evaluate the long-term impact of generative AI on their software development processes and the overall quality of the applications being developed.
Goldman Sachs’ approach to AI implementation goes beyond merely executing models. The firm has created a platform encompassing technical, legal, and compliance assessments to filter out improper content and keep track of all interactions. This comprehensive system ensures seamless integration of artificial intelligence in operations while adhering to regulatory standards and maintaining client confidentiality. Moreover, the platform continuously improves and adapts its algorithms, allowing Goldman Sachs to stay at the forefront of technology and offer its clients the most efficient and secure services.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Google DeepMind; Pexels; Thank you!
UK seizes web3 opportunity simplifying crypto regulations
As Web3 companies increasingly consider leaving the United States due to regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom must simplify its cryptocurrency regulations to attract these businesses. The conservative think tank Policy Exchange recently released a report detailing ten suggestions for improving Web3 regulation in the country. Among the recommendations are reducing liability for token holders in decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and encouraging the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to adopt alternative Know Your Customer (KYC) methodologies, such as digital identities and blockchain analytics tools. These suggestions aim to position the UK as a hub for Web3 innovation and attract blockchain-based businesses looking for a more conducive regulatory environment.
Streamlining Cryptocurrency Regulations for Innovation
To make it easier for emerging Web3 companies to navigate existing legal frameworks and contribute to the UK’s digital economy growth, the government must streamline cryptocurrency regulations and adopt forward-looking approaches. By making the regulatory landscape clear and straightforward, the UK can create an environment that fosters innovation, growth, and competitiveness in the global fintech industry.
The Policy Exchange report also recommends not weakening self-hosted wallets or treating proof-of-stake (PoS) services as financial services. This approach aims to protect the fundamental principles of decentralization and user autonomy while strongly emphasizing security and regulatory compliance. By doing so, the UK can nurture an environment that encourages innovation and the continued growth of blockchain technology.
Despite recent strict measures by UK authorities, such as His Majesty’s Treasury and the FCA, toward the digital assets sector, the proposed changes in the Policy Exchange report strive to make the UK a more attractive location for Web3 enterprises. By adopting these suggestions, the UK can demonstrate its commitment to fostering innovation in the rapidly evolving blockchain and cryptocurrency industries while ensuring a robust and transparent regulatory environment.
The ongoing uncertainty surrounding cryptocurrency regulations in various countries has prompted Web3 companies to explore alternative jurisdictions with more precise legal frameworks. As the United States grapples with regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom can position itself as a hub for Web3 innovation by simplifying and streamlining its cryptocurrency regulations.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Jonathan Borba; Pexels; Thank you!