There are enough digital platforms today to showcase your talent to the world, be it composing music, acting, filming, writing, singing, cooking, or something that no one thought was possible until now. However, with so many platforms there are hardly a few that offer quality user-oriented content without unwanted ads and surveys that usually disrupt your vibe or your audience’s vibe while enjoying their favorite content. One such platform is Maryland, United States-based ImagineBC founded by Erik H. Rind in October 2018, which uses blockchain technology to secure private user data in their centralized database and allows the user to choose if they want their data to be used when needed.
Before ImagineBC was established, Erik spent the first 8 years of his professional career working as a management consultant for Price Waterhouse’s Office of Government Services. He utilized this experience to gain awareness into every facet of running a business and it gave more wind to his entrepreneurial spirit. Always looking out for new opportunities to refine his skills, Erik served with values his parents instilled in him, and his boss at PW, Mr. Oz Fretz helped him channel them in the right way as per everyday business life. Coming to ImagineBC, it evolved out of Erik’s initial strategy to integrate blockchain technology into the Human Capital Management product. The intent was to use blockchain to secure the personal information for the owner and modify their software to ask for their permission when needed. Six months into this project, Erik realized this venture was more exciting than just payrolls, and this was the moment where ImagineBC was truly conceived. To learn more about the journey hereon, and how ImagineBC is preparing to revolutionize the way data is shared and used on digital platforms, we sat down with Erik Rind, CEO and Founder of ImagineBC.
“It is ImagineBC’s goal to create such a community — one where key technologies like blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI) can be democratized for everyone to share in the profits created by their use.”
From imagination to creation
Erik Rind: “Imagine a world where intellectual property holders and creators are not forced to accept the scraps offered to them by companies like YouTube but instead could earn the lion’s share of what their IP was worth. Imagine a community of members able to easily and efficiently conduct anonymous peer-to-peer commerce without the need to rely on traditional third parties. The benefits of creating such a community are extraordinary and almost limitless. It is ImagineBC’s goal to create such a community — one where key technologies like blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI) can be democratized for everyone to share in the profits created by their use. Creating such a world seemed pretty exciting so that’s how we got into the industry of becoming a mediator of individual data.”
Revolutionizing social capitalism
Erik Rind: “What I most value at ImagineBC is our commitment to being social capitalists. At ImagineBC, we still agree with Gordon Gecko’s comment that “greed is good” but the past 3 decades have shown us that there are limits to this expression. Social capitalism is about being “greedy” together. It’s about relying on one another rather than the government to solve our problems. And most important, it means that a company must admit that it is an active member of a community and behave responsibly towards that community as well as its shareholders. At ImagineBC, we are focused on creating a new marketplace where every individual is fairly compensated for the use of their personal data, time, and intellectual creativity. What separates us from our competitors is that we act as a partner/agent for every user. We believe that every individual is entitled to be fairly compensated for the use of their personal data and intellectual property. We invest our own time and money to help our members earn new income. ImagineBC doesn’t make money until we have made our members money. And this is all designed and protected by a blockchain smart contract.”
“Leadership enters when the individual applies their practical experience against all these incoming messages to chart a strategic course for the company.”
Defining true leadership
Erik Rind: “Leadership is an interesting thing and in my opinion is often completely misunderstood. The complete failure of the “rock start” CEO generation is ample proof of that. No one individual is responsible for setting the course of a successful company. To me, leadership is defined as the proper application of combining listening with experience. Corporate leaders need to listen to their clients, they need to listen to their executive team, they need to listen to their employees, and they need to listen to their equity holders. That’s a lot of listening. Leadership enters when the individual applies their practical experience against all these incoming messages to chart a strategic course for the company. You can’t make everyone happy, but if you listen to everyone, work hard to understand each invested party’s viewpoint, and then can explain your strategic decisions against all this disparate advice, you have taken a huge step towards being a leader.”
Overcoming challenges with wisdom and spontaneity
Erik Rind: “Challenges are a way of life and what keeps us going as leaders. If you look at every challenge as a learning opportunity, there is an excellent chance you will keep your personal stress levels in check. A challenge is simply a test of your ability as a leader. Trying to avoid them is a mistake. Inviting them on is an even bigger mistake. Accepting that they are the inevitable consequence of success is the correct attitude to take. You don’t often see CEOs of startups at my age. But for the business I am in, which is getting people to understand that their data and intellectual property has a value and that they should be fairly compensated for that value, you need someone my age. You need someone who matured within the business world during a time when Google, Amazon, and Facebook did not exist, and everyone understood that nothing was for “free”. The struggle is getting this younger generation to understand that receiving “free” services has significant consequences.”
Transitioning from pandemic
Erik Rind: “For me, it’s always been about compartmentalization and prioritization. Once everything is lined up it simply becomes a process of attacking the issues by priority. I wake at around 6 am each day and start by running through my mental checklist of what I need to get done that day and what I would like to get done that day. I then spend 45 minutes to an hour perusing through the daily headlines looking for anything that might be a signal or trend for our business. Lunchtime is a wind-down for me. Before COVID I would typically have lunch with my sons talking about anything other than work. During COVID, I have spent the time watching documentaries on Netflix. My afternoons are typically consumed with introductions to new content partners. Before COVID, the early evening would typically find me on the squash court. Now I either play a game of chess against the computer or work on the daily crossword puzzles. By 10 pm I’m wrapping up and heading to bed. As for our business, we found ImagineBC as a distributed virtual business so daily, related to team communication and task coordination, COVID has had minimal effect on us. With a vaccine on the horizon and people just getting tired of being restrained, we are confident that we will be able to return to our original growth strategies sometime during 2021. We have several disparate initiatives coming together. When completed, these initiatives will allow every existing and new member of our community to experience the full power of our model. They will have immediate opportunities to put their personal data to work for them, and in turn, will have several opportunities to barter the income earned from their data for exclusive content from creators they already follow or new creators doing some amazing stuff.”
Erik Rind: “I hope ImagineBC’s legacy will be that of a key participant in the struggle to get individuals to understand that they need to take back control of their personal data and more importantly, receive fair compensation for the use of their personal data by 3rd parties. ImagineBC is totally dedicated to making this happen. The endgame is that instead of Universal Basic Income (UBI) a program sponsored by the government (aka the taxpayer), we end up instead with Universal Basic Data Income (UBDI). This idea turns every individual into an entrepreneur of their own data.”