3 Minutes to read
Alex Masmej, Co-Founder & CEO at Showtime
Learning Inspiration 🌈 #80
How did you get into crypto?
I did a 3-year Bachelor’s degree in the UK. Then, I explored a bit. I wanted to find an industry that I was passionate about, that I wanted to focus on and become an expert in.
I knew crypto was an industry with low barriers to entry that was going to explode. It’s such a new industry. Everything is possible and everything has to be done. I’ve dedicated myself to crypto for 2 years now and there are so many possibilities of application. A crypto startup can very well officiate in Art. Crypto is no longer just for projects for and by engineers.
Who are the people who inspire you the most?
It’s a classic, but Steve Jobs has been my idol since I was 11-12 years old. I looked at his keynotes. Beyond Apple products, what I like about his interviews is that he talks about philosophy and about life in general. He showed me that if you work hard, you can start a tech business. For me, starting a tech business is one of the best things you can do in your life.
There are technologies that are important because they move society forward and then some that push it backwards – I’m thinking of Facebook in particular. If Facebook has become bad for the world, it’s because we are changing the paradigm. There is a structural debt and the rules are now complicated to change. With Showtime, we go beyond this paradigm governed by censorship and excessive advertising monetization. The works of art that we present on Showtime would never appear on Instagram.
In 2007, Facebook was a cool app. Now, it’s dying. This is also the reason why Facebook is throwing itself into VR. It’s also normal if Facebook dies. It’s a cycle. It isn’t Zuckerberg’s fault. Facebook is just naturally being replaced by other better apps. When we can no longer evolve, we change. There is no more “too big to fail.” You have companies that are constantly doing R&D and that makes them stand the test of time, like IBM, Amazon, or Google.
I’m super excited about meta-verse issues because crypto is going to make these worlds economical. We will be able to play, live, and work in parallel in these virtual worlds.
How do you continue to learn on a daily basis? What are your learning routines?
I discovered entrepreneurship through social networks and the newsletter I followed.
I read Paul Graham’s blog a lot, which was related to Y-Combinator and, of course, the Startup School.
I love the newsletter Bankless. Their team is really brilliant.
I am also learning a lot about crypto on ‘methhub.
Finally, the newsletter the defiant is a real gold mine.
French initiatives weren’t the ones to inspire me, and, when I was young, I didn’t know about The Family. I discovered them 3 or 4 years ago, and I was happy to see that people in France could have this state of mind.
What pushed you to create your company?
Creating my company was the best thing I could do to make an impact. I didn’t want to choose between Art and Business. Try Showtime is the right compromise for me. I really want to create a fast-growing, profitable business that has an impact in the world.
What are your favorite books and why?
I should read more. I really liked Life 3.0 by Max Tegmark, which is a book on AI.
I really liked Factfulness by Hans Rosling. The book teaches us to put ambient pessimism into perspective by observing how the world has concretely improved, whether from an economic or social standpoint. There are still urgent matters to improve upon, like global warming, but, generally, things are going in the right direction.
What are your favorite podcast episodes and why?
I’ve been listening to The Pomp for a long time and was lucky enough to be interviewed there recently. I love Anthony, be it his public image or his podcast. Although I specialize in the subject, The Pomp continues to teach me a lot of diverse things about blockchain and crypto.
What would you say to 18-year-old Alex?
I would tell him to continue despite the incomprehension of others and to be hyper ambitious.
I find that, in France, people are not visionary enough. It is important to go abroad at some point and to take risks. You don’t learn anything by staying in your little comfort zone. I also find it essential to speak English well. At 18, I had the chance to go to the UK and that helped me enormously. I also find it strange that in France, people don’t speak English well enough. I have a lot of friends who are thwarted because of that.
When you don’t speak English, you miss out on so many opportunities, whether it’s on a business or personal level. Also, it’s important to surround yourself with brilliant people. There are so many bright young people who start companies, like Maxime Couté or Mokhtar Bacha. That pushes me to improve every day.
What are the main challenges that you are facing?
I’m not hurt. I have to hire the best talent and make a product that people love, but I love this kind of challenge. I am also looking for very good front-end developers and designers.
The main challenge is that the cryptocurrency industry is really new, so you have to offer the best user experience that makes everything easy to understand.
We must succeed in imposing this new mental model and overcome the current prejudices.
If you were left alone on an island and could only bring one item, what would it be?
A VR headset. I bought one not too long ago and I think with that, even on a desert island, you can be where you want and with whomever you want. I had never really used one before, but the technology is getting more and more powerful. It’s still a bit slow, but it’s getting better, little by little.
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