It’s been five years since I last posted in LI.

As some of you may remember, I was the first non-Prof contributor back in 2010. I mostly covered the coveted late afternoon slot while Prof was teaching and I usually linked to articles that covered my funky amalgam of technology and free-market fetishisms.

A few days ago, Prof Jacobson reached out to me to share a bit of an update on myself.

I’ve been in the press recently (here, here, here, here, and here) for Tezos, a project I started with my husband Arthur.

Tezos is a blockchain-based smart contract platform in the same vein as Ethereum. (For a 101 explanation of blockchains and smart contracts, check out this introductory text I wrote in 2015.) The core observation that led to its development was the recognition of blockchain protocols as a commons. Typically, commons suffer from two issues in economic theory: 1. maintenance,  or the question of who will fix issues in the code and 2. governance, or the question of who decides upon the direction of development. Tezos addresses this through a native governance mechanism which allows token holders to come to consensus on upgrades to the protocol while facilitating the creation of bounties on-chain to address existing issues with the code.

Most stories focus on the amount of money that the project garnered through its fundraising efforts so I thought I’d give a more personal account of my life for the past five years.

To recap a bit about my career since graduating from high above Cayuga’s waters…

  • For my first job, I helped out some distressed start ups. It was humbling and taught me a lot about accounting.
  • Working for failing companies is a little depressing and not super profitable, so I jumped ship to a successful hedge fund.
  • Successful hedge fund and I didn’t get along. (To be fair, very few people get along with successful hedge fund.)
  • I eventually did what every confused person does in the nascence of their career and went into consulting.
  • I worked at Accenture for about two years. For the first year or so, I mostly did data science-related and zero-based budgeting projects. This taught me a lot of Python and VBA.
  • During my last six months at Accenture, I fell backwards into becoming a subject matter expert on blockchain technology for the firm.
  • As a subject matter expert at Accenture, I was expected to give a lot of original thinking to the firm. I did not receive much back other than some high fives and the immense displeasure of working with an arrogant German woman.
  • Once I realized that I was getting the short end of the stick at Accenture, I decided to move to a firm that would reward me for my contributions and time more adequately. Cue R3, a consortium of 40+ banks led by David Rutter. I had a great time at R3 as a Strategy Associate and spent a lot of time learning more about capital markets while growing a strong network.
  • After about nine months at R3, I had a strong pull to work full-time on Tezos, my side project. I left to run non-technical operations in anticipation of the fundraiser. That’s more or less what I have focused on every single day since October 2016 with my small team of attorneys, marketing consultants, and accountants. I’m pretty happy with how that turned out and I’m excited for the next few months we approach our next milestone: launching the network.

To recap a bit about my personal life since leaving Cornell…

  • I got engaged the same weekend that I graduated from college to the boyfriend I often referenced on LI. We moved in together in NY and I started to grow my life and social network there.  followed his work to California last year.
  • We adopted a dog out of wedlock, Hitchens, and were married in August 2013.
  • About four years ago, my husband started to fiddle around with some ideas that saw their realization in Tezos. Through this process, I derived an understanding of the technology.
  • We funded the development of Tezos out of our savings for a few years. It was an expensive hobby with no clear end point… kind of like sailing. Last year, it became obvious to us that there was a market need for Tezos and we ramped up development for a release.

So a lot has happened to me in the past five years. There’s been some bad and some good mixed with lots of self-reflection and reinvention. Professionally, I’m extraordinarily lucky that I consistently managed to attract excellent mentors. It takes a lot of strength to put yourself out there, whether its opining on your political views for the world to see, switching careers, or trying to launch a smart contract platform. I’m reassured of my worth by the incredible people that have shown up in my corner whenever I’ve done something new or gone through a rough patch.

In general, though, my adult life has largely been defined by the immense amount of gratification I derive from my relationship with my husband Arthur. While no marriage is perfect, I struggle to imagine a more complementary fit to my personality and sense of humor. With Tezos, I’m happy that we’ve found an excuse to work together on another one of our shared goals. Professional success and failure seem less consequential once you find someone that you enjoy so thoroughly.

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WAJ adds: I reached out to Kathleen when I saw an article about her business success. I have zero idea what she’s talking about with the new-fangled thing she’s created, but apparently a lot of people think she and her husband are onto something big. This makes me so proud. Not just Kathleen’s success, but her maturity in keeping life in perspective.