Blockchain technology is Internet 3.0.
Malcolm Westley CasSelle is CIO of OPSKins and President of WAX (Worldwide Asset eXchange), a decentralized platform for the development of secure and transparent in-game virtual item exchanges on the blockchain, created by OPSkins.
Prior to WAX, CasSelle was an international entrepreneur and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and President of New Ventures at tronc, Inc.(formerly Tribune Publishing). Prior to tronc, Inc., he was Senior Vice President and General Manager, Digital Media of SeaChange International. He joined SeaChange International in 2015 as part of the company’s acquisition of Timeline Labs, where he served as CEO. Previously, CasSelle led startups in the digital industry, including MediaPass, Xfire and Groupon’s joint venture with Tencent in China.
He has also been an active early stage investor in companies including Facebook, Zynga, and recently Bitcoin-related companies.
Where did the idea for WAX come from?
The genesis of WAX came from our team’s experience in both item trade at OPSkins, a very successful centralized marketplace for trading virtual items from video games. In just 2 years we became a multi billion dollar company yet the clear future opportunity was a decentralized marketplace. The blockchain solves so many fundamental issues with billions of micro-transactions occurring cross border, it is an obvious innovation. And if we didn’t do it, someone else would. In essence, we had to embrace the idea that we were building our competitor.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
After many years of building companies, the most important part of my day starts the night before with a good night’s sleep, then a morning routine of self care: qi gong meditation, yoga or workout, and a nutrient dense breakfast, often a green juice and a protein shake. That foundation gives me a ton of energy to work through my day.
When I get to the office, I set my goals daily so it’s clear what I need to get done and prioritize effectively. Time management is the best skill I ever learned. Mornings are very active with meetings with my teams, planning, problem solving, and communicating. Afternoons are typically set aside for emails, creative time to work on big ideas, planning, and meeting with external partners.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Once I have ideas, I immediately try to collaborate by talking it through with others who have similar interests or skills that directly apply. By debating back and forth, brain storming and allowing some time to let ideas incubate, then I look at the goal and work backwards. That allows the first step to reveal itself. One way to look at it is, “If this idea were already a reality, what would have to happen right before that.” After asking that question a number of times, eventually the next step becomes crystal clear.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Blockchain technology is Internet 3.0. In a career based on building companies in each phase, Internet 1.0 and 2.0, it is exciting to me to take all those lessons and build another billion dollar company. My first one was PCCW in Hong Kong with Richard Li, the second was Groupon in China, and now WAX. It’s really fun to solve problems and scale the solutions to touch millions of people.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
My morning routine is the most important. And taking time to unplug completely has now become almost as significant an impact. With connected devices and so much media to consume, getting out in nature, time doing nothing digital, and just being with my family and friends has become instrumental in fostering creativity.
What advice would you give your younger self?
“Pay attention to the little things, but don’t sweat the small stuff.” It’s a kind of paradox that only makes sense now being older. There were so many little clues that had I paid attention would have made differences in my life. Yet in the end, the things that matter are self-awareness and relationships.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
The greatest gift is to test internal resolve. What appears like failure is not only the greatest teacher, but a necessity for building character.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Study, study, study. Ask lots of questions. Build friendships that last. Have fun. And don’t ignore your body and spirit. They make everything else possible.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
The best strategy has been to work with the best and the brightest and with them on my team, to focus on areas where not many others are working. If there is lots of competition in a business, it quickly becomes less profitable and less interesting. The best businesses focus on a green field. Oh and by the way, they are the hardest to get funded.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
My biggest failure was failing to feed my spiritual side completely while being so focused on my businesses. By staying grounded and peaceful, it makes everything easier and a lot more fun.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Customized extreme funerals. The death industry hasn’t innovated. Ever. What a great model. Collect money now and agree to send people’s ashes into space, spread on the top of a mountain, placed at the bottom of the ocean… The options are limitless and tons of people want to be known for something – cornerstones on the university don’t do it anymore.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The first $100 I spent on bitcoin in 2012 is the best. More recently, it was giving to a group in New Orleans working for criminal justice reform.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
Evernote. Daily to do lists. Business cards. Meeting Notes. In the cloud. Awesome.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Ready Player One. I couldn’t put it down. If we don’t imagine future outcomes we don’t like, we can’t make different choices.
What is your favorite quote?
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela
• Failure is your key to seeing how to shape your future. It’s full of learnings if you pay attention.
• Study. Ask questions. Be curious. Cultivate deep friendships. That is the simplest recipe for success.
• Put effort into balance your mind body spirit. Nothing feels good if you’re body isn’t healthy or your spirit is low.
• The best businesses are green fields where there is little to no competition. Harder to fund, but easier to be the leader.
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.