Sagi Bakshi, CEO of Coinmama, is a computer science engineer with over 20 years of experience in the tech industry and an extensive background in telecommunications, ad-tech, and blockchain technologies. He joins Coinmama from tech unicorn IronSource, which recently announced their IPO intention with an estimated valuation of $11B. Sagi was a member of the IronSource founding team and, from 2011-2018, served as General Manager of the company’s biggest division. A longtime crypto enthusiast who is passionate about Bitcoin and participated in the Ethereum DAO token sale, Sagi brings his expertise to Coinmama in order to lead the financial revolution.
Where did the idea for Coinmama come from?
When Co-Founder Laurence Newman tried to buy bitcoin in 2013, he realized how difficult it was and thought “there must be a better, easier way to do it!” Coinmama’s mission is to make it as easy as possible to buy bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. We have been able to achieve this by prioritizing user experience and education over all else. I’m happy to say that it seems to be working, as we now have 2,600,000 users in 188 countries.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I wake up at 6am, spend some time with my 3 kids, make them breakfast and pack their sandwiches for lunch, and walk them to school. If we have time, I enjoy coffee with my wife at a cafe or I’ll go for a run or walk to the beach and back. Regardless, I’m always at the office by 9:00am. I like my schedule to be as open and flexible as possible so that I can be more approachable to my team. As a guideline, meetings are a necessary evil, so we try to minimize them for the team and attendees.
How do you bring ideas to life?
If I really like the idea and believe in it, I will verbally express it to my wife, friends, or colleagues. Don’t underestimate the value in saying an idea out loud. By articulating a concept, you can explore new possibilities and learn from peoples’ reactions. When you say you are going to do something, you also hold yourself accountable; there’s nothing better than your own integrity as a motivator to execute ideas!
What’s one trend that excites you?
Enthusiasm around bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general is catching on around the globe right now. I’m very excited about the potential for changing the world’s financial systems in this shift that is as big as the internet and the mobile phone revolution.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I keep my inbox as clean as possible, limiting it to less than 20 emails. I delegate a lot. I trust my executive team, and I try to hire C-level executives that are smarter than me.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Most wars are redundant and avoidable. Don’t participate. The same goes for many interpersonal conflicts. By using good communication, many conflicts (and wars) can be avoided.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Every human being must own some bitcoin, because in 10 years it will be one of the major global currencies.\
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Read, a lot! I read news articles and professional publications several hours a day. Podcasts are also great. In keeping with the quote, “The only constant thing in our lives is the change” – we need to learn in order to adopt and to keep up with the speed of change.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Perseverance. “If you’re going through hell – keep going”. The road to success is not easy, but if you truly believe in what you do and why you do it – you should keep on going. At Coinmama, we do what we do because we believe in bitcoin. We had some challenges along the way, but we stick to our long term vision and now we are experiencing the fruits of our efforts and of that conviction.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
In one short endeavour, I chose the wrong partner. We were supposed to build a company; the numbers looked great, the product market fit was amazing (we had a lot of demand!) but the partner I chose was wrong. After his first dishonest action, I waited, and after the second, I admitted my mistake and ended the partnership immediately, losing money and hopes. But it was the right thing to do – your partner is the most important choice you’ll make in any business.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Find a way to sell goods (can be anything) for bitcoin. If you’ll be able to save a small portion of the bitcoin income without exchanging it to USD – you’ll do great.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Every $100 spent on bitcoin is the best utility of that money. If you fancy something nice – great, buy it. But if you can postpone that consumerism and take care of your future – better change your dollars into bitcoin ASAP.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I hate to admit it but it’s Whatsapp. #2 is YouTube, where I educate myself.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“How Google Works” by Eric Schmidt. He offers so many great tips, sharing his journey in this mammoth, especially the organizational culture part.
What is your favorite quote?
“Hard times create strong men, strong men create good times, good times create weak men, and weak men create hard times.” The quote, from a postapocalyptic novel by the author G. Michael Hopf
- Keep your schedule as open as possible to be more available to your team and not caught up in often unnecessary meetings
- Articulate your ideas out loud to learn from people’s reactions
- Choosing your business partner is the most important decision you’ll make as an entrepreneur
- Have conviction about what you believe in and follow through on that vision
- Get yourself some bitcoin because it’s the future
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.