Dawlin Cabrera is an entrepreneur from the Bronx, New York. He has a particular interest in emerging tech markets, particularly those of cryptocurrency and business-oriented artificial intelligence. A veteran of the emergent tech industry, Dawlin is fascinated with the potential of these two new technologies and how they might improve the way that businesses are run in the 21st century. Dawlin Cabrera currently owns and operates a consulting firm that advises companies looking to invest in cryptocurrency, or make their first foray into the realm of artificial intelligence. He still lives in the Bronx.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
I suppose the idea for my business sprang from my innate curiosity about futurology. When I was a kid, I loved every kind of science fiction. I drank in Star Trek, Star Wars, 2001 A Space Odyssey, Battlestar Galactica—I loved it all! As I grew into adolescence and early adulthood, I began to seriously research the technology featured in these works and whether or not they were conceivably possible, all while taking high school and college courses on computer programming and engineering. When I finally left school, looking for a job in the tech industry was just a natural thing to do. After a couple of years working for established firms, I began to chafe under the supervision of various owners and middle managers. I wanted to be my own boss. That was when I had the idea to start my own consulting firm.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
For starters, I’m a meticulous planner. Before I go to bed each night, I plan out the next day in great detail. I write it out in a program on my smartphone so that I can easily check it throughout the day. That way, when I wake up in the morning, I already know what’s ahead of me. I already have my itinerary all set up. Now, that’s not to say that unexpected things don’t spring up all the time. Of course they do, and I deal with them. But on a given day without any major surprises, I have my day properly structured well in advance. I find that practice to be invaluable to my productivity.
How do you bring ideas to life?
This may sound a little counterintuitive, but I don’t wait for ideas to come to me. I don’t wait around to be struck by a lightning bolt of inspiration. I don’t think inspiration works that way. Every day, I sit down and I decide to have an idea. It doesn’t always work out, but it has enough times that I know I’m on to something with this practice. Once in a while, I’ve had a stray thought while driving or showering or doing yard work that turned into a great idea, but more often than not all the ideas that I eventually bring to life are the product of me simply willing myself to be inspired.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The growing trend of industries other than cryptocurrency using blockchain technology as an authenticator is pretty exciting. I knew it would happen eventually, but I didn’t think it would be so soon. Blockchain is a tremendous way to authenticate any kind of transaction, and it makes dealing in the digital realm that much safer and more secure.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I don’t take lunch breaks. I eat at my desk while I work. People ask me, “Don’t you feel burnt out by the end of the day without a mid-afternoon break?” No. No, I do not. While I don’t take an hour for lunch, I will take a short nap in my office if I’m tired and if time permits. But that is by no means every day.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell my younger self not to bother applying for jobs at giant tech firms once you leave school. There’s not much of a point. You won’t learn that much, and you’ll just be frustrated trying to operate within the framework of corporate policy. I would tell my younger self to just jump straight into creating a startup; you’ll be happier and more productive that way.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Once an AI reaches a certain level of intelligence and gains a certain level of sentience, it should be brought in to advise the government on a whole host of social problems. Now, we’re not there yet. The AIs that exist currently aren’t quite that sophisticated, but they will be soon. However, no one really agrees with me on giving them a voice in the government.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Keep your workspace tidy. It encourages clear thinking.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
This may sound super elementary, but the strategy that has worked best for me in terms of growing my company has been to produce good, dependable results. By showing my clients how to make money on the cryptocurrency markets, or successfully counselling them on how to best utilize AI, they tend to refer other clients to me. I don’t advertise, so that’s how I get pretty much all of my new business.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
When I first started my consulting business, I was very well-versed in the areas where I was offering my services as an expert; that of cryptocurrency and AI. Where I was not so well-versed was in accounting, hiring, and office management. I had a few significant stumbles along the way in those areas. After a year or so, I realized that I needed to retain the services of an office manager with a solid hiring strategy and a background in accounting. Luckily, I found a great candidate, and that person has proven to be a crucial part of the company ever since.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
At least for the moment, trading cryptocurrencies is an incredibly lucrative business. If a person has adequate seed money, does the proper research, and has a good sense of the markets, they can make an absolute bundle. That being said, the crypto markets are kind of like the wild west. Nobody’s quite sure what the future will hold, and anyone who says differently is probably blustering. But right now, for smart people with a good head on their shoulders, there is the potential to make a lot of money.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best $100 I recently spent was on a deep, full-body massage. Because of my line of work, I find myself sitting at a desk a lot. It gives me a lot of muscle cramps and stiffness. A good massage performed by a trained expert makes me feel a lot better physically. It’s good for stress reduction, too. Without a doubt, it’s totally worth the price.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I guess if I had to pick one, it would be Coinbase. It is by far the most popular of the cryptocurrency exchanges and still one of the best. It’s great because you can invest directly with US dollars. You can purchase Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, as well as a whole host of other coins and tokens. I use Coinbase to trade almost daily, and it’s what I recommend to my clients—especially if they’re beginners or novices at cryptocurrency trading. In fact, it’s how I obtained a good chunk of the capital that I used to fund starting my company!
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I recommend The Singularity is Near by Ray Kurzweil. It paints a stunning picture of what society might look like after AI actually overtakes humanity with regard to intelligence and overall operational capabilities. It’s quite a sobering and enlightening book.
What is your favorite quote?
“Some people call this artificial intelligence, but the reality is this technology will enhance us. So instead of artificial intelligence, I think we’ll augment our intelligence.” — Ginni Rometty
• Keep your workspace tidy.
• Producing results for clients will land you more new business than advertising.
• Every once in a while, treat yourself to a massage. Your body will thank you.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.