Alfred Shaffir

Choose the biggest player, make it interested in the product, and start using it. Getting to the smaller organizations is much easier afterwards.


Alfred is a serial entrepreneur who has managed three startups: Seanternet, an infrastructure for Internet access at sea; Polycoin, a cryptocurrency-blockchain processing platform; and Folloyu, a web mobile technology. He has also led global teams at Intel and Cadence Design Systems. Alfred holds a B.Sc. in mechanical engineering from Tel Aviv University and an MBA from Bar-Ilan University.

Where did the idea for iOlite come from?

This is my second project with a purpose of bringing together Blockchain technology with mainstream users. Polycoin, the first one, was about allowing financially regulated organizations, e.g. insurance companies, to start accepting Bitcoin/Crypto payments. Following that theme, my partner, Dmitry, and I were thinking about how to reduce the barriers of entry for mainstream businesses, and users, to enter the blockchain space. The idea of removing the language barriers was Dmitry’s, and the concept grew from to improving human-machine interfacing and interactions.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

In the crypto industry, it is quite difficult to maintain a “proper” organized day. There are always urgent things to do and maintain. Nonetheless, I try to keep the following elements on a daily basis: 1) keep up with the latest news in industry, mostly through Telegram 2) workout 3) urgent matters from night hours 4) sync with team leaders and managers and 5) get to and complete the daily, planned tasks.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Ideas are brought to life with hard work, pain, blood and tears.

What’s one trend that excites you?

I’m excited to see where the future of AI and Blockchain are headed. In particular, how both these topics can help improve everyday life through automation. For example, I’m excited to work alongside my team to find a way to solve the language barrier preventing wide adoption of blockchain and hope to simplify it for everyday users to build apps and smart contracts.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Working out daily helps keep both my body and my mind sharp, giving me the stamina to work both harder and longer. Additionally, feeling good about your body gives you greater confidence in both business and everyday life.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Don’t keep your bitcoins in MTGOX…

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

I don’t understand how something, a fact, that is known to be true can be contradicted? Why would anyone not agree with me if it’s true? Many people tend to bend, or ignore facts, in order to suit their own position. It’s frustrating and happens more often than we think.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

I don’t think that there is a consensus about one particular thing. Every person has that one thing that keeps him/her ticking. What may work for me may not necessarily be beneficial for everyone else. For example, I play chess almost daily. I wouldn’t recommend it for everyone, but it makes me think outside the day’s atmosphere and is a great mental exercise.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

I am a B2B person, so most of my customers were businesses. My strategy was to “impregnate” the biggest gorilla in your target market. Choose the biggest player, make it interested in the product, and start using it. Getting to the smaller organizations is much easier afterwards.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

Define failure? As an entrepreneur, you have many (many) downs, and fewer ups. You just need to make sure that these ups “cover” and dramatically exceed the downs. Every experience is a learning experience. My motto is: if you don’t try, you won’t succeed, if you try, you are bound to make mistakes, if you make a mistake, make sure you make it only one time.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

The graveyard is filled with people with ideas. Great ideas, that nobody heard about. An idea is 1%, while the rest 99% of a business success is execution. So, while an idea for a business is great, only sweat will bring it into reality.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

It was a wonderful lunch with my wife in a nice restaurant.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

Gmail with Chrome extensions (Streak, Linkedin Sales Navigator) are some of my favorite tools for staying productive.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

I don’t read professional books (since University), so sadly I have nothing to recommend.

What is your favorite quote?

There are two infinite things: The Universe and human stupidity. I am not sure about the first.” – Albert Einstein

Key learnings:

  • Don’t be an entrepreneur if you are not damn sure about it
  • Maintain your physical and mental health through exercise
  • Don’t do this alone. Make sure you have someone by your side throughout the journey (i.e. partner/s)
  • Perseverance is the name of the game


Alfred Shaffir on LinkedIn:
Alfred Shaffir on Twitter: @ashaffir