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Interview with Enrique Alcazar Co-Founder and Blockchain Architect at NutraSign

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I had the pleasure of interviewing Enrique Alcazar, he is Cofounder & Blockchain architect in NutraSign

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you share with us what NutraSign is?

Nutrasign is a new application that leverages distributed protocols, (IE, blockchain and IPFS) to fix some of the biggest problems food supply chain for both the user and seller:

The first one is focused around the user, and it’s food provenance, we all like to know where our food comes from, and some of us even make choices based on it, for example, you may like to buy from free-range farms. The problem is that, with the current food supply chain, that information can be easily faked, the good news is, thanks to nutrasign’s mobile app you’ll be able to scan every product you buy and see it’s full provenance.

The second one is related to every member in the chain. Currently many buyers have to trust each other on the product’s provenance, and in catastrophic events such as a product carrying a disease, it’s really hard to identify, we can barely determine the country, for example where a particular batch of peppers came from, forcing all farmers in the country to seize production, or mislabeling where they came from and expose more people to the disease. This exact example happened to Germany with some Spanish peppers which ended up not being Spanish.

Can you tell me How blockchain can improve food traceability?

Let’s say we have a supply chain with 3 participants: 2 is selling to 3, then 3 has to trust 2 with everything that happened before him, barely any information is kept right now and is not directly associated to the products.
One the only other solution would be for 2 to openly disclose all information about 1 and let 3 check that information, but that’s really time consuming and could be a horrible business decision, we propose a much better one:

Use blockchain and take advantage of its traceability and easy tokenization:
1. We create identities for all members, and every authorized participant, can create claims about them, IE: John’s farm is free range and has X license.
2. Every time a new product is created, we create a token representing it, every change made to the product is represented in the token, even morphing into new ones. IE: sugar tokens from John and lemon tokens from Ana were used by Alice to produce lemonade tokens.
3 We limit the information that we want to be accessible. IE: as a lemonade manufacturer, maybe I don’t

want the next buyer who my supplier’s are, then I can only register in that product the properties I want to expose instead of the full identity.

Will Blockchain bring trust back to the food industry?

I think it blockchain tech will bring new levels of trust to markets we are not expecting, and certainly, the food industry is one of them where we need it urgently, not only to fix all the scams that are happening right now,

but to improve our health, reduce risks, and give better visibility to all products that come from better sources.

How do you feel of being part of top 100 SouthSummit Startups finalist?

I’m ecstatic, it was a team effort, but certainty we have Abraham (Nutrasign’s CEO) to blame for this. Thanks to everyone, here we are, working on a great idea that aims to improve a part of the world for everyone, and at least for me, that’s the dream.
We are really thankful to the organization for seeing the potential of our product, and we will keep working on it to put it on everyone’s hands as soon as possible.

What are the 5 things that most excite you about blockchain and crypto? Why?

Only 5, that’s hard, I’ll go with the classics and give my own take.

  1. Scam prevention: I know this seems almost paradoxical nowadays with tons of ICOs being scams,

    but, if well used, thanks to the transparency it provides, it can clear up many processes, and you can

    be sure of who is executing them.

  2. No middle-man: For a very long time in most business we have the figure of the middle man, some

    entity that’s just putting 2 people in contact and takes a cut for it, it helps because it eases the trust, it’s easier to trust one person, but at the end of the day, that’s still one person hence a point of failure because of many reasons, one thing we can trust is code, and the more we perfect the behavior of blockchain code, the less middle man we’ll see.

  3. Global identities: wouldn’t it be nice if we owned our own identities instead of governments? Of course they and everyone could attestate things about it, but having an international identity could ease tons of things (private communication, access to resources, voting, identifying people in risk such as refugees).
  4. Decentralization of processes: From payments, to services like Uber, in some years, we’ll move to use Dapps, or at least I hope so, I think this could really help everyone, would reduce costs, give opportunities to people in risk of exclusion, delete inefficiencies… Basically just define a set of basic rules, and everyone that abides and has connection to a node can play, blockchain will make sure those rules are applied.
  5. The internet of value: This is the biggest one for me, and only enabled thanks to free micro payments: being paid for add consumption, paying to delete adds, pay tiny amounts to your favorite creators, being payed for the time you spend on your videogame… This basically means an internet where we stop being the product, instead we get rewarded for the value we contribute to the network.

What are the 5 things worry you about blockchain and crypto? Why?

Unfortunately, is also hard to list only 5
1. Lies on reach: Blockchain won’t cure cancer, and neither will solve other problems some of them are

claiming to fix, there are too many people spurting lies about almost everything, and obviously, users don’t have the time to check every detail that comes out, and that leads to misconceptions about how far this tech can go.

  1. Marketing: Tons of screaming with no substance, lots of projects just “put in a blockchain” for marketing purposes. Virtually 0 times is absolutely needed, rarely is used properly and most of the time is there just for show, that only gives it bad repo.
  2. Fake know-it-alls: I’m really not sure if they like to fake it, or it’s the Dunning-Krugger effect, but I’ve met tons of people that claim to be experts and then don’t even know the most basic stuff, everyone that claims to be an expert is either a liar or one of the “creators”, an even then that’s questionable and we can see it in the:
  3. Internal wars: This is a really young tech, and doesn’t have one single leader, this results in many discussions about where should blockchain go, and right now, they are doing more bad than good to the technology.
  4. Scams: Yes, right now there are too many scams, they tend to be consequence of adding all the points, some bad apples take advantage and create scams to trick people and steal their assets, fortunately right now, there are tons of people working on fixing this.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

I don’t tend to be very active on social media, but I can be found on most places by my internet’s nickname, kikoncuo.
At the end of the day, if you want to contact me or the project the easiest thing to do would be to try @Nutrasign in the main social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn)

Anthony Delgado (born February 6, 1986) is an American software developer and internet entrepreneur widely known as a professional hacker in the developer community. Anthony Delgado has won numerous hackathons sponsored by Fortune 500 tech companies like Google, IBM, Intel, Facebook and Microsoft and hosted by organizations including Rutgers University, the New Jersey Institute of Technology, the AT&T Developer Summit in New York City.

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Interviews

How Carlos Redlich Went From Food Stamps to 6 Figures in 6 Months

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While a good number of entrepreneurs start their businesses with a few thousand dollars, Carlos Redlich did not. The man had nothing to his name and was almost begging for food at the time when the magical light bulb moment arrived. Like the 80 percent of businesses that fail during the initial stages, Redlich’s first efforts to rise out of the ashes with a martial arts school evaporated. There, however, was enough determination and zeal in the man to bring out the struggle that bred the success he enjoys today. I sat down with him to listen to his story and what I found out will most assuredly inspire you. Here’s why.

At One Point He was Paying $10,000 in Rent with Absolutely No Growth

Redlich’s introduction into the business world was quite an event to go by.  His journey began when he was just 25 years of age. At the time, he was running a martial arts school but without much to show for it other than a handful of clients and some formidable fighting skills. Expenses were on an all-time high as the premise cost them $10,000 a month in rent. It was not until him and his girlfriend discovered the book “The Four Hour Work Week” that everything started to change.

At first, Redlich’s outlook on the business started to change as he developed a profound interest in online businesses. What drove him was the desire to make as much money in the least amount of time possible so that he could match up with the entrepreneurs he was now beginning to learn from. Redlich recounts how his instructor introduced him into the world of copywriting and how he has since made a meaningful life out of it. Slowly, he found his way into copywriting and has from then built renowned resources on the subject like The Copywriting Domination Method where he shows other people how to replicate the process also. 

Making 100 Cold Calls to Get 4 Clients

Having never been into the online industry, Redlich did not have any idea of how to go about promoting his business. So he resulted in cold calling. In our interview, Redlich recalls how he used to make almost 100 cold calls a day to get four clients to sign a contract with him. Then he decided to change from making calls to writing emails. Out of the almost 150 first emails he sent out, six people called back and signed up for business. 

Getting six responses from 150 emails might sound ridiculous, but to Redlich, it was the direct opposite. He felt a bolt of excitement rush through him and gained just the right motivation he needed to push not only harder, but smarter. Ever since that first day, Redlich has been on an ever-rising growth curve. Within one year in the copywriting business, Redlich scaled his company to six figures.

Resisting the Urge to Give Up

No one has to be a genius to know that giving up in pursuit of dreams and goals is the single most significant impediment to success. Redlich knows this too well. He has had to resist the urge to give up more times than he can remember. There were days when he could not afford food and water for his girlfriend and himself. So he resulted to stealing water from their neighbor’s tap to at least have enough to drink, shower, and flush the toilet. 

At the time, Redlich was still at the martial arts school but not getting enough to pay his bills. To him, nothing was more discouraging than seeing his friends working and earning five-figure salaries every year, while he had to put up with a few hundred dollars he got as profit every month. Business at the gym was so bad that his business partner threw him out just days to Christmas. However, Redlich always found a reason not to give up. There was a fire still burning in him. He knew that somewhere along with the struggle, there had to be something he would do to break through the barriers. 

Breaking Through the First $10,000

While Redlich was always dreaming of the big deals that would bring in the big bucks, he was not quite ready for that. At least that is what he realized when his first big client in the copywriting business came along. After doing some emails for a client for just $60, the client flew to Miami to meet Redlich to sign a long term contract. On the way to meeting his client, Redlich knew their business meeting would either turn right or wrong, and the latter was more expected. 

Sitting down with his potential client with no special sales skills, Redlich couldn’t help but wonder how it would turn out. Then the big question came, “How much?” Without giving much thought to it, Redlich blurted out, “10,000 dollars a month.” It came as a surprise to him when his client smiled, reached out his hand, and said, “Deal, ten grand it is!” You can almost tell what ran through Redlich’s mind as he shook his first-ever client’s hand in disbelief. In our interview, Redlich said to me, “At that moment of shock, everything went blank. I then wondered why I hadn’t asked for 15,000 or 20,000, but I was glad anyhow, as I had never imagined closing a prospect for that much.”

You have undoubtedly read about success stories of how entrepreneurs rose from the ground up. However, Carlos Redlich’s story is unique in its way. I listened to Redlich as he said, “I was broke as a joke,” and I realized that I couldn’t exactly tell what he meant because he is now a different person. You can make that change too.

 

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Interviews

What It Takes to Build a Business from $20 to $40 Million; The Case of Snow with Josh Elizetxe

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There is nothing quite like an entrepreneur’s determination when starting a business. That’s my original quote by the way (pun intended). Just the other day, I was scanning through some of my favorite Forbes articles and came across this particular one by Neil Patel. In his presentation, Patel observes that of all startups, only 10 percent survive. The article was published three years ago just when Josh was investing his first $20 into what is now a business worth more than $40 Million.

Looking back at Elizetxe’s journey, all I can say is that it takes more than just determination to build a business up from its infant days to sustaining it when it grows into a giant. In their article, The Top 20 Reasons Startups Fail, CB Insights found the top three reasons to be; not the right team (23%), ran out of cash (29%), and no market need (42%). While these reasons are valid, you’ve got to ask yourself some questions. What if you don’t have a team? What if you only have $20 to begin with or nothing at all? What if the market you are venturing into is totally concentrated by oligopolistic giants? 

These are just some of the questions Elizetxe asked himself when he was laying down the initial plans for what is now Snow Teeth Whitening. At the time, there was as much free and paid advice on how to grow a business as there is now. What Elizetxe didn’t know, which is what I am telling you now, is that very few people will let you in on what exactly they had to do to get to where they are. The difference between Elizetxe and them, however, is that Elizetxe will tell you exactly what he has done and how he built Snow from just $20 to $40 Million. 

Take Advantage of the Fourth Industrial Revolution

When Professor Klaus Schwab first coined the term Fourth Industrial Revolution, this is what he said of the opportunity presented to entrepreneurs by Industry 4.0 “The changes are so profound that, from the perspective of human history, there has never been a time of greater promise or potential peril. My concern, however, is that decision-makers are too often caught in traditional, linear (and non-disruptive) thinking or too absorbed by immediate concerns to think strategically about the forces of disruption and innovation shaping our future.” 

I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Schwab. That is why at Snow, Elizetxe knew that leveraging on the opportunity created by the technology of the connected devices would give Snow the leap needed not only to stay in business but also to compete with giants like Colgate. By launching their new teeth whitening system that has Bluetooth technology, a wireless mouthpiece, auto-shade detection, red light gum therapy, and much more, they were able to create a product that is in line with the technology that people want to be part of. 

Writing about lining up businesses with the Fourth Industrial Revolution on Forbes, Sean Hinton says, “One of the most immediate and impactful outcomes of technological evolution is the vast advancement in automation. Every day, more manual processes become automated, and as technology continues to accelerate, so will automation.” 

In whatever business you are in, there sure is an opportunity to slip in some form of automation. The best way to beat monopolistic and oligopolistic giants is not by grinding hard to outdo the competition. The trick, however, is in doing what they do differently and in a much better way. 

Disrupt the Common Market

No matter how much you consider your niche overcrowded, there has got to be somewhere for you in there. That is exactly what they did with Snow. Instead of concentrating on the general assumption that your industry is overcrowded, you must decide to create your own blue ocean within a vast and almost unsurvivable red ocean.

First, have a unique twist to your product or service. Second, employ a different and effective marketing strategy. To give you a practical example, Snow introduced a teeth whitening system with Bluetooth technology, a wireless mouthpiece, auto-shade detection, red light gum therapy, and much more. Snow then embarked on a journey to first serve celebrities with their ingenious product lineup. They knew that most people, including you, will listen to what important people say and take action. By getting a few popular people satisfied with our product, all we had to do is sit back and have them endorse Snow. 

Know the Right People and Get the Right People to Know You

If you didn’t know that who you know is as important as what you know, now you know. The fact that Elizetxe is an entrepreneur doesn’t mean that he had to come all the way by himself. From the very start, Elizetxe had mentors, peers, contacts, confidants, family, and friends. Borrowing from the fact that Elizetxe started out with just $20 clearly communicates that these people were not there to fund my initiative. Instead, they offered insights when Josh had to make tough decisions and support when everything seemed not to work out. However, before you can know the right people, you have to meet them, which brings us to the next point. Knowing the right people begins with meeting them the right way. Do not expect to meet the most instrumental business advisor on a late-night chat in your favorite social media platform. Take Elizetxe for instance. He has had to get on a plane just to have a 30-minute meeting with the right person to give his product an endorsement. That kind of sacrifice is actually backed by science. Here is proof that it works. In a study conducted by Great Business Schools, 95 percent of the people said that face-to-face meetings are essential for long term business relationships. Another important observation from the study was a general conclusion was that “people who got most results from their networking efforts participate more in ‘face-to-face’ casual contact networks.”  

Building a business from scratch is indeed an uphill task. However, the success that comes in the end is worth every bit of the struggle involved. Even if you do not have enough money to pull through, you can employ the insights I have shared in this article to reach unimaginable heights. Remember, to live the reality of your dreams, you have to wake up first.

 

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Interviews

Meet Elsy Guevara the 22-Year-Old Disrupting The Fashion Industry

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At the age of 22, Elsy Guevara has managed to disrupt the fashion industry by turning a hobby into a successful business. When Elsy was just 17 years old, unlike most teenagers her age, she started to brainstorm ways she could use social media and her love for fashion to launch an online business. As a hobby, she and her sisters, Beatriz Guevara, Jennifer Guevara, and Patricia Guevara, started creating and posting fashion layouts and taking full-body outfit pictures for social media. The fashion posts became so popular that it captured the attention of a very successful fashion brand, Fashion Nova. The company directly messaged Elsy and asked her if she could create content for them, which eventually lead to a full-time job in the company. While working at Fashion Nova, Elsy and her sisters worked on building their fashion brand, OOTDFash. OOTDFash began with one rack of clothing in their mother’s bedroom where the sisters would find places in their small apartment to take outfit pictures and promote the few styles they were selling. Fortunately, the outfit and fashion content were getting recognition on social media, which resulted in an unexpected sales growth for Elsy and her sisters. Although the business is continually growing and now considered quite successful, there were many challenges and obstacles that Elsy and her sisters had to face and learn to overcome.

Almost Quitting but Finding a Reason to Move On

Not only did the increase in social media following and incoming sales encouraged Elsy and her sisters to continue, but these small successes over time also discouraged them. With growing social media popularity also came constant criticism and negativity. Every new fashion post was followed by mostly positive comments, but critical commentators always made their presence known. Commentators compared the growing business to other competitors, and Elsy found that it fueled the tensions between the more experienced competition and OOTDFash. Launching a business with no experience was sometimes discouraging for the sisters because there were moments they felt lost and had to find the right ways to manage and run the business with their research. Going up against businesses with years of experience before them and assistance was a challenging mental battle that was fought daily, especially when social media always reminded them of who they were up against. Being constantly critiqued and compared was upsetting to Elsy because there was still that strong human nature desire to satisfy everyone. Although it was very discouraging to read some of the negative opinions, overtime the sisters started to understand that the negative comments were not a real reflection of their work and self.

While criticism was constantly testing Elsy’s patience, there were even tougher lessons Elsy learned the hard way. It was always in Elsy’s nature to immediately see the good in someone and gain people’s trust quickly. When meeting new people, intentions were never questioned, but unfortunately, she learned the hard way that not everyone walks into the business with the mindset to help. Welcoming the wrong people into the family business has lead to company money and ideas being stolen, but over the last couple of years, Elsy and her sisters have managed to look past their losses and learn from the experiences. They have accepted that they will always face setbacks as business owners and with these failures and negative experiences, come valuable lessons and personal growth.

Standing out from the Rest

In the fashion industry, there is and will always be competition. Standing out and setting the business apart from the rest is a challenge that never seems to go away due to the fast-changing industry the business is in. Creating styles that not only make the person feel amazing and comfortable but also believing in one’s fashion sense is how Elsy and her sister found themselves setting themselves apart from competition. Although OOTDFash is growing and gaining popularity, Elsy felt like she could use the lessons and experiences learned from starting a business with zero experience to help other young women with little to no experience start their ventures. She felt that she could do more than just sell to her audience, but instead also help those few that want to follow in her footsteps.

For this reason, she recently launched a wholesale fashion company, Galifornia Wholesale. Galifornia Wholesale sells styles to small new boutiques at affordable prices. The new wholesale business supports Elsy’s efforts to try and help other young women bring the latest styles to their own boutiques and help them get started in their sales growth. One may find helping other young women build businesses in the same industry Elsy competes in herself may hurt her business in the long run. However, Elsy does not view competition from a negative perspective. The unselfish and kind guidance Elsy hopes to give these young entrepreneurs is something that makes her stand out. Afterall she states that she does not measure success in the amount of money she makes, but instead the number of lives she positively impacts. The four sisters hope to continue their journey, along with helping others as they grow.

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