Pop Quiz, Monday with Yassine Anaddam

Yassine Anaddam

The Pop Quiz, Monday is a fun little exam that we love to give to savvy business owners. The examination is not a surprise after all since the interviewee already knew about the questions in advance. However, we can always pretend and have fun with the scenario of a young entrepreneur sitting in class nervously biting on their pencil. They are ready to take a pop quiz on a chapter that they were supposed to read the night before. Instead, they played Metroid all night on their SNES (Oops, this was me in high school). The real purpose of the pop quiz is that this is a fun way to introduce business tips from real-world experiences that you can not learn in a classroom. We want to thank our entrepreneur for being a good sport and volunteering their time to answer a few questions to help our community grow from their knowledge.

I want to introduce you to our guest today who will be taking our Pop Quiz Monday.

Can you please tell everyone your name?
Yassine Anaddam

Yassine Anaddam
Photo credit: Yassine Anaddam

What is your job role?
CEO & Co-Founder

Tell us about your company?
Offisium is a decentralized barter exchange, a supply system of liquidity, and an asset-backed blockchain gateway. We aim to create a digital currency that can replace the traditional “trade dollars” in the barter trade system. It is based on an open distributed system of validators which upholds barter trade conduct between all members of the network. It uses a mechanism of a protocol token to regulate the barter activities amongst participants. The decentralized barter platform allows businesses and individuals to exchange their goods and services, for other member’s goods and services where all the participants can buy and sell their goods or services as part of a global network.

What do you love most about your job?
I would be lying if I said I like it all. It’s challenging and exhausting. When you create something from scratch. You’re often faced with so many obstacles. But this is what makes it rewarding. I think when you like what you want to achieve, you can find along the way some kind of power boost that helps you to continue working. For me and I think my team would agree with me. What I like most about it is the fact that we’re trying to change the way we view work and labor. Initially, we created official to be a platform for people who want to participate in it to trade their work/labor. Meaning that you don’t charge cash for your time and labor, instead, you get paid in cryptocurrency. I think it will help a lot of people especially those who can’t find work. The rate of global unemployment is rising every year despite what we might read on the news. So it would be good to give people an alternative to buy and sell skills, services, goods produced, etc..it gives some kind of freedom back to people. And this is what I like most about my job. It’s that part when you know that you’re creating something that will help a lot of people.

What motivates you to get up every day and go to work?
My children. I have two kids. I love them dearly, and I want them one day to be proud of what their dad achieved. I believe in leading by example. Not just professionally but in life in general.

How do your co-workers inspire you?
Having a team for me is everything. It’s my second family, and I’d probably even say my first. It’s essential when you build something, to know that everyone else is on the same page as you. I couldn’t have done this startup if I didn’t have them. Especially my Co-Founder Fadoua Saadi. She has tremendous talent and huge experience, and I learned a lot from her. She’s not only my co-worker but also a mentor, and I’m grateful to her.

How do you have fun at work (team building, pranks, etc..)?
At this stage, our team is fairly small, and we still have so much to do. We sometimes go out for food and drinks.

What are some of the challenges of your job?
One of the challenges that we’re currently facing is the technical difficulties. I’ve been involved with this technology since 2015, and I’ve come to learn that a blockchain startup is not as easy as any other tech startup out there. The blockchain technology is not yet fully mature and is facing challenges itself. Therefore, trying to build something on it is twice as challenging.

This leads me to talk about our second challenge which is funding. When you’re building something as big as this, to disrupt a multi-billion industry such as the barter industry. You need good technical talent. This talent and especially in the blockchain space is now proving to be difficult to attract. Unless you have huge funding, nobody wants to work with you. So we have to stick with what we have for now and work harder. And hope that what we create so far will attract the attention of investors and inventors alike, to partner with us and help to build this platform.

What are some lessons learned from a past project that you can share with us?
I worked on different tech projects, sometimes as an advisor, sometimes as a strategist and sometimes as a founding member. What I often notice with most startups, especially the tech ones is the lack of understanding of what the market actually needs.

What I would say I learned is that when you’re creating something, you have to see if it fits within time and space. What I mean by this is if your project aims to build something, it has to be agile, moldable, changeable, adaptable.

Because it will definitely fail if you end up with a final product that’s way too old for the market, or way too early for the market, no one wants a product that can be replaced with something much more modern and much easier to use. And no one wants a product that’s unrealistic and has no market and needs another ten years for its market to grow up. It will dissolve faster than salt in water.

What advice would you give to someone who is starting out in your industry?
Again, I would say to try and stay real as much as one can. It’s so easy to get carried away nowadays. With so much competition out there sometimes you can lose your purpose, and you end up drifting away from your goal.

I always tell people this African story of a donkey who wanted to learn how to walk like a pigeon. He kept trying to walk like a pigeon but never succeeded. When he gave up trying, he found out that he forgot how he used to walk (as a donkey). In a sense, he lost his originality.

This happens to people who have a purpose and a goal to achieve in a specific industry (such as technology), but then they get seduced to try something else or to mix things up a bit. This dilutes everything, and they end up with a pile of different things mixed up together, over complicating processes which can lead to a product that can’t actually sell in the market.

Thank you for taking our pop quiz today. You get an A+ for effort. You can learn more about our interviewee and their business by visiting them on the web:

We would love for people interested in Offisium to join our meetup group.


Author: Ricky Singh, MBA

Editor of The Startup Growth.

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