The monthly member spotlight is an opportunity to learn more about a leader at one of our member companies and showcase the work they are doing. This month we spotlight Eunika Sot, COO of Yuser. Learn more about Yuser in our Member Directory.
Name: Eunika Sot
Yuser is a new type of social media app with gamified incentive mechanisms and innovative use of blockchain technology. Yuser lets users reward each other’s content in collectible gems that can be subsequently spent on marketplace items. The app has been available for both Android and iOS since September 2018 as beta software. Full release is planned for the end of January 2019, but the app is already gaining traction among youth. Despite being an early-stage startup, Yuser has already secured some major global technology partners and advisors and, in 2019, is looking to expand its user base in North America, Europe, and Asia. We are pioneering the use of cryptocurrency and blockchain within the social networking space.
What is your role and what is your favorite part of your job?
I’m the Chief Operations Officer at Yuser. As I’m sure is the case with many early-stage startups, there is always so much to do that as a COO I do a little bit of everything. I communicate with partners, advisors, and investors, I actively work with remote team members, and I coordinate elements of the Yuser project on-site. I also participate in many conferences and write industry articles focused on blockchain and the social media space. My favourite part of being on Yuser team is being challenged every day. Right now, if you’re using blockchain technology for anything, you’re more often than not faced with blank stares from people when you try to explain it. I’d like to think that this is how Jeff Bezos must have felt when he pitched Amazon to people in the early days, saying, “We’re going to sell books on the Internet,” only to have to explain to people what the Internet was.
If you could have coffee with any business leader or industry expert, who would you choose, and why?
Definitely Elon Musk. His career is a constant source of inspiration for me. I like his no-nonsense approach and his can-do attitude. I think he’s a true visionary who doesn’t let himself be stopped by whatever obstacles the world throws at him. He knows how he wants the world to look 5 or 10 or 20 years from now and instead of complaining that things aren’t perfect, he does whatever he can to see that future through. This speaks to me on many levels. Throughout the years I have read and written many sci-fi stories. I think that art precedes technology with the scope of its vision and inspires future generations to invent what at first seems impossible. To me, Elon Musk invents with the flair of an artist, designing what others rarely even dream of.
What is the #1 business book/blog/website you would recommend?
I read many industry publications daily. I read tech, crypto, and social media focused articles from CoinTelegraph, TechCrunch, coindesk and many more. However, recently many of the most insightful and engaging pieces I’ve been finding are through Medium. This is also where I publish my own articles. I also enjoy Hackernoon, which has been featuring some of my own writing. To everyone I meet who wants to start on their journey to learn about blockchain, I’ve been recommending “Blockchain Revolution” by Don Tapscott. I’m also looking forward to finally picking up “Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products” by Nir Eyal.
Looking at your company’s future, what are you most enthusiastic about?
This month, Yuser is working on a major update featuring a lot of elements that we’ve been finessing for months. We hope to release the update (which will effectively push us out of the beta stage) by the end of January. I’m so proud of all the team members working on this. It has been our most collaborative and intense project to date. The Yuser team is small but what we have accomplished over the past months would be impressive even for a team twice our size. The mechanics governing the Yuser app – the Yuser economy, marketplace, and token model – all those things are new concepts within the realm of social networks. At every step of the way we feel like explorers of the unknown discovering new frontiers. I hope this sense of wonder and curiosity will always remain part of what we do at Yuser.
What excites you most about the local tech community?
In some ways London Ontario is in a goldilocks zone for new tech companies – it’s in the vicinity of some of the best tech schools, within a short commute to Toronto but without the insane real estate prices. We also have the Ivey Business School in the city, where we’ve been able to find some amazing advisors. We’ve been told over and over that we should move to Toronto, but I think if everyone thought this way then the city would really be in trouble here! Instead, we hope that we can educate more people and companies in London about blockchain and its possibilities. In much the same way as blockchain is a distributed database, Yuser is creating a distributed team; we have team members and advisors in Toronto, Kingston, Singapore, San Francisco, London, UK, and Los Angeles. This way, we can harness global potential, connections, and network effects while keeping our headquarters in London, ON. We hope more companies will choose to do the same.
What causes or community activities is your company involved in?
In 2018, Yuser sponsored Frosh week events at Fanshawe College, York University, and McGill University. Yuser is looking to get involved in the music and art scene in London and help organize community events throughout the city. We’re a very young company but definitely not strangers to social causes. Our CEO, Thomas Cermak, has worked on various community initiatives throughout the years, including establishing Unity Project – a non-governmental homeless shelter in the city. As Yuser grows, we plan to get involved in many more initiatives. In some ways, we even think about Yuser as a social cause. Yuser is designed to provide rewards and ultimately a source of income to creative people. We want to show that you can reward content creators fairly and deliver on the original Internet promise to give people access to great content. In a sense, time has always been money, and with blockchain technology this can also hold true in regard to the time you spend online. We are on a mission to fix the Internet!