Don’t Be Scared To Be First

Blockchain | August 15, 2018
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Why it’s good to be first

It goes without saying that to be first to try anything new can bring monumental success or stunning failure. Sometimes even our biggest setbacks lead to our greatest wins. The United States may not have been the first country to send a man into space, but that did not slow us down. Though we were eclipsed (pun intended) by the Russians to be the first in space, American Neil Armstrong won the space race by becoming the first man on the moon. Everyone remembers Neil Armstrong, but don’t often mention the other two men with him because they did not achieve the distinction of being first. They all had equally important and necessary duties to land together on the moon, but the first is written into history forever.

To be first doesn’t mean you have to be perfect. Innovation is powerful because it is always innovating. Technology builds on itself, so there will always be opportunities to jump on a new bandwagon and try something new. However, it’d be hard to implement blockchain if you haven’t adopted other innovations. Remember, it’s okay to be imperfect. You just need to take one step, then another. So what then, is the first step? Adopt an attitude of openness toward new technology. Because technology is constantly building and innovating, you’ll be lost if you don’t keep up. The leap into the unknown is worth it. Plus, you’ll be in great company! So what are you waiting for? You don’t have as much to lose as you think. Think progress, not perfection.

Why blockchain isn’t as risky as you think

Now, we hear a lot of misconceptions about blockchain. There is a constant narrative trying to move innovation forward through the “fear of missing out” or instilling doubt that if you don’t move now, you will be left behind. Fear of the unknown and fear of what one does not understand is a constant blocker to innovation and we want to make sure you understand all information when making decisions around blockchain. Don’t get analysis paralysis.

As the world is embracing blockchain and distributed ledger technology, it’s safe to say that blockchain will be here before you know it, and its revolutionary power means it’s here to stay. If projections have anything to say, blockchains will be embedded in the underpinnings of 80 percent of major global banks by 2020, and will be worth $7.59 billion as an industry by 2024. So let’s make sure you know the facts before then. The three biggest misconceptions are that blockchain is expensive, too complicated, or requires specific blockchain developers. However, those aren’t the only ones. Let’s take a crack at these myths:

  • You don’t need blockchain developers to do blockchain. All you need are developers who know how to read and write API calls. It really is that simple!
  • You don’t need other people you work with to use blockchain too. One of the best things about blockchain is that it proves the process behind your business decisions. When dealing with audits, compliance regulations, etc., you’ll know the proof lives on the blockchain forever. This will save time checking work, save money on litigation, and save resources for more high-level tasks.
  • Blockchain is not too complicated. Not at all! Our Factom® Harmony product is an easy-to-use API that integrates directly with existing business process systems. Think of it as a simple interface that hides the complexities of blockchain. It’s like any other software you may be using – it works seamlessly with other systems and provides a blockchain backend for any data that needs future validation.
  • Proofs of concept aren’t that expensive. A proof of concept should cost no more than a few thousand dollars.
  • Blockchain won’t take your job. Blockchain is simply a tool. It will create a transformational shift in the way we do business, but it won’t necessarily eliminate jobs or even roles. It doesn’t eliminate, or even replace the system. It proves the system. Blockchain will change the efficiency of the processes themselves, but it will be a while before roles take the hit.
Leading vs Following

As scary as it may seem, there is some truth to the fear mongering you hear surrounding blockchain. When you are the last to adopt a new technology or product, your company’s growth is dramatically slowed. Just as you’d see an uptick in the benefits you’ll see from embracing new technology, you’ll also suffer a ‘laggard penalty’ for being the last to adopt. You’ll lose resources trying to keep up with competitors who’ve already adopted, lose time scrambling to find a replacement solution, and lose money cycling through other products or solutions that don’t work as well for your business.

That said, there are a handful of benefits to becoming a blockchain early adopter. The first benefit is setting the industry standard. Why are the icons on your desktop the way they are? Why are computers designed the way they are? Why do cars have the same basic shapes? When you are first, you have the distinct privilege of setting the standard.

Adopting blockchain early allows you to take advantage of your digital dividend. Just like compounding interest grows over time, having newer technology (and continuing to innovate) can mean increased revenue growth, efficiency, and overall customer experience, which ultimately leads to higher profit.

The moral of the story is this – don’t be satisfied with the status quo. The cost of doing business does not have to be exorbitant. Layering process over process to cover the backend doesn’t make sense, but continually increasing efficiency does. Banks lose or waste millions of dollars a year under the label “cost of doing business” when it doesn’t need to be that way. If blockchain can solve X amount of dollars in auditing, think of what it could do for every other part of your business. I’m sure shareholders would not mind a higher dividend back at the end of the year. The cost to implement will not outweigh the amount of money saved before the next big innovation. Don’t be left behind when the next innovation wave comes.

Still trying to digitize a manual paper process? While you’re digitizing, add a blockchain backend. Remember that blockchain does not replace systems and processes, it is best used to prove the process. Utilizing your blockchain backend will put you far ahead of those trying to do only one thing at a time. Don’t fear the first step when there is so much to gain. Make a small leap, then another. You won’t regret it.

POSTED: August 15, 2018 BY Courtney Casto IN Blockchain

Beginning her career in the Texas State Legislature as a policy analyst and communications manager, Courtney has always been interested in communicating complex, ever-changing subjects to large groups of interested parties. Combining her love of people and words, she enjoys the challenge of educating others about blockchain.