ICO Best Practices For a Successful Launch

With so many new currencies on the market, seemingly every day we hear about a new ICO. Ditto has compiled a checklist of best practices for cryptocurrency companies getting ready for an initial coin offering. This guide will walk you through positioning, team, and communications tactics to help blockchain and cryptocurrency companies prepare for a successful launch and beyond. 


How Tech Leaders Can Address Gender Imbalance

2017 has been an important year for women in the workplace. While many disturbing stories have surfaced regarding female mistreatment and harassment, this year has seen more women both from the corner office and the center cubicle come forward to openly talk about the gender imbalance at work. This has challenged some of the most powerful companies, especially in tech, to turn inward in order to fix the problem and address workplace culture.

I don’t consider myself an expert on this topic, but our team is fortunate enough to work with thought leaders who are shedding incredible insight on the topic and have been doing so even before the scandals of this year.

Kristi Riordan, COO at Flatiron School, recently spoke with Mic about the gender gap in tech and how to encourage more women to break into computer science to achieve gender parity.

She cites awareness as one of the motivators helping women join the ranks of computer engineers and other tech roles. Through Flatiron School’s partnerships with Birchbox and supermodel Karlie Kloss, the school helps raise awareness by not only helping to fund female students' educations, but also by bringing the idea of a coding education and technology as a career to life for women of every demographic. Kristi further discusses that awareness also creates a sense of mobility, especially for women who may have never considered software engineering as a career path until they’ve seen friends, family and community members successfully complete a coding course or becoming accomplished coders.

By bringing awareness to a community of curious and motivated women will only propel their interests, capabilities and passions both professionally and personally, but will help build confidence for when they launch careers in the male-dominated tech space.

Circling back to some of my own thoughts about this particular topic. Again, I’m not an expert on this issue but from what I’ve read in the media and from what I’ve heard from female leaders in tech, one piece of advice to leaders who are looking to bridge the gender divide in tech would be to create a safe space for women and men to discuss their professional challenges, setbacks and successes.

In my professional experience, it has been helpful for me to understand that it’s not just me who struggles with certain things. And it’s not just me who succeeds at other initiatives at work. Men and women alike face doubts and struggles in the workplace. But in order to feel safe and comfortable enough to talk about these things stems from the top. A top-down approach by leaders in industries that need to diversify not just in terms of gender, but also race and ethnicity, will allow both men and women to understand the challenges facing one another and develop compassion for each other.

Watch the full Mic interview here.

What The Cryptocurrency Craze Can Learn From Other Disruptive Industries

Blockchain, Bitcoin, ICOs, oh my! It’s the hottest thing in the fintech world! Mark Cuban is investing in it. Sequoia Capital is in the game. Jamie Dimon feels threatened by it.

And with that attention must come an elevated approach to communications, because the crypto world is under the microscope and it could learn from other industries and companies that have come under scrutiny.

Think about the coding bootcamp space, which is for-profit education. For it to become more mainstream, people needed to be educated on technology, coding and the value a coding degree has. Your typical four-year college probably wasn’t too thrilled with the competition. The education trades were more than eager to learn about the demand for coders and the skills these schools were teaching. While there have been a few attempts at coalitions, bootcamps like Flatiron School (a Ditto client), crafted the first jobs report to create some kind of industry standard. So, education, media strategy, accountability.

The fintech world has been going through this as well. When apps like Robinhood popped up, the financial community – and their powerful lobbyists in D.C. – were up in arms. The fintech industry needed to educate policy makers and future customers that a robo-advisor could make better investment decisions than a human. This fight took place in Middle America and in Washington D.C., where the Department of Labor passed fiduciary standard, meaning a financial advisor had to act in the best interest of the client. How could a robot do that? From Financial Advisor Magazine to WealthManagement.com, reporters were very open to hearing a robo-advisors pitch. In the mainstream media, wealth and personal finance reporters were assigned to cover robos. And of course, a handful of fintech associations have popped up to protect the industry. So, education, media strategy and coalitions.

With that being said, here are “3 things cryptocurrency companies should do:”

1.    Education has to be the first step. First, consumers (i.e. investors) in major cities and – dare I say - Middle America need to know more about cryptocurrency. While these aren’t your current customers, if resources like Bitcoin get more popular, they will be. Second, most the media still don’t understand blockchain and ICOs. I watched a recent CNBC segment when Bitcoin hit $4000 and one commentator said he was worried about the technology. Another said he wasn’t worried at all by the technology. The media – who “buy ink by the barrel” – need to better understand the ins and outs of cryptocurrency. Third, policymakers in Washington D.C. must be educated on the pros and cons of cryptocurrency. These are people that can make or break this industry – even if you think government can’t stop a digital currency. The industry’s ability to work with Members and educate them on what it is and how it works will make things much easier on crypto companies.

2.    Trade media is your friend. Bitcoin trade publications want to help get your message out. It doesn’t mean they will always write positive stories – you still have to present them with something credible and interesting – but they are very willing to “play ball.” Tech trades are a little more difficult but when hot trends pop-up, every reporter wants to write a new story with a different angle. This is what people are reading about and therefore, it’s what the trades have to write about.

3.    There’s power in numbers. One on side, the crypto community needs to come together to form an association that establishes educational content and best practices. Do not let the bad players in the crypto and ICO world define the entire industry. Second, they need to build a coalition community. Economists, financial advisors and investors – to name a few – need to be brought together and utilized as crypto-evangelists.

There’s an opportunity for cryptocurrency to have a permanent place in our investment and transaction lives, but the community has to be strategic in the approach.