Interview with Ashley Norman, XTRABYTES COO

  1. XTRABYTES
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    August 29, 2018 at 08:34
    Explain the rationale behind each of your career moves


    I have to be very honest, the decisions I have made in my career have always been about challenging myself and pushing my ability to produce the best results, as monetary gain has always been secondary with me. XTRABYTES[​IMG] is no different; the only major difference is that we are dealing with a technology that is fluid and constantly moving. As a result, we will always be looking for ways in which to improve how we securely communicate as well as other aspects of the platform.

    What are your goals?


    I classify my goals into two groups, short-term and long-term. My short term goal is to understand and leverage the strengths of XTRABYTES[​IMG]. This is to make sure that we have the right people in the right place doing the right work. As we are expecting rapid growth and must plan for this, each team leader within our company must plan and anticipate the impact such growth will have on their business division. Long-term goals will center more around building the XTRABYTES[​IMG] infrastructure and how to optimize it on a global scale. That includes looking at developing markets and where we can have the quickest and most productive impact.

    What makes a good leader, and do you have one?


    In order to stand out from others as a leader, you must have passion and accountability for your actions, delivering on expectations time and time again. When you’re accountable for delivering large-scale projects as I have been, you recognize that good leaders spend time staying engaged in the planning stages of projects and the front end of a company’s growth. As the project matures and moves into more sustainable growth, we must rely more on our team to plan and deliver expectations.

    The best leader I have had the opportunity to work for was once a global CEO and is now the North American CEO of a large 3D printing company. This CEO enabled us to maximize our professional potential. He understood all aspects of the business, as well as what motivated the team and their customers. He also taught me a lot about how to turn conflict and problems into opportunities.

    Teach me something I don’t already know


    Listening more improves your ability to understand more. Don’t rush to judge others before you understand the motives behind their words and actions, and maintain strong values and ethics within your career.

    Who do you look up to?


    In general, I look up to people who make a positive impact on the way people work, play and live better. Either through technology, the arts, sports or philanthropy. I also admire people who have accomplished great things without the level of technology we have today, particularly those who created and innovated the technology we now take for granted.

    David Packard and Bill Hewlett were two men I wish I had the opportunity to meet (and I’d love to talk with them about their test equipment back in the early 30’s). While at HP I always promoted and encouraged the Dave-and-Bill way. That is, have trust and respect for individuals, focus on high levels of achievement and contribution, conduct business with uncompromising integrity, achieve common objectives through teamwork, and encourage flexibility and innovation.

    More recently, I have to admit, I have been following US politics, and a shadow crossed my heart to learn of Senator John McCain’s passing. I did not know the man personally or even share in his political beliefs. But what inspired me was that he had a high moral code, he was a man of integrity and honesty, and he stuck to his moral compass. He also suffered what most people find impossible to comprehend, and he never lost his love for his country or misinterpreted his position in life. In my view that’s exactly how you want to be thought of.

    What are your communications skills like?


    As I am an A to B type of person, I like open dialogue that encourages people to address a problem in a positive manner. One that looks at multiple solutions. People that know me will tell you that when we are in a meeting and the clock is ticking, I am very conscious of everyone’s time. I understand the impact that such a meeting will have on their day to day work. However, I want everyone that has an opinion or asks for more clarity to speak up, as I do not want people to go through the motion of shaking their heads and not understanding current goals and how they will be achieved.

    Although I am not big into Discord, I do feel it serves a purpose. So I will pop in every now and then to supply commentary that I believe carries some substance. Since I have noticed a lot of redbrick and opinions that I have, I prefer to spend most of my time on more impactful tasks that need to be completed.

    What is the toughest job you have had?


    Physically, the toughest job I have ever had would be working for my uncle Phil in Wales when I was younger, gutting out 100 year-old houses with limestone walls.

    Mentally, the toughest job I ever had was consulting on a family-run golf course where the owner’s two daughters were positioning themselves to become general managers. Both of them had no business acumen or people skills.

    Tell us two likes and two dislikes in your current role


    I like the team’s passion and commitment. If you have never worked with a team that shares a passion to deliver their best work, you will probably not understand what I mean. It’s like being on a soccer team that is playing an important game; its success is very much dependent upon its team spirit and sense of camaraderie.

    Secondly, I like the fact that we are innovators, we are redefining the way people will leverage the blockchain. Additionally, the founders share the same common values; they not only want the company to succeed but the people helping to build the company as well.

    In contrast, I do not like the banter on some social media sites about XTRABYTES[​IMG], as it can be distracting and does not serve any positive purpose.

    Furthermore, I am not happy that XTRABYTES[​IMG] coin price is so low, considering what we are creating compared to some other coins out there. It makes no sense to me, but I also know that this will soon change as we move forward.

    What is the toughest feedback someone has ever given you? How did you learn from it?


    The toughest feedback someone ever gave me was from my dad. Early in my career, he told me that success is not measured by the dollars in the bank but the time you spend putting smiles on your family’s faces. At the time, I was spending most of my time building a career and had neglected the most important people around me. So I made a very radical decision and decided to renegotiate the terms within my contracts, terms that enabled me to spend more time at home and less time traveling.

    How were you measured in your last job?


    In my last position, I was responsible for overseeing HP’s graphics division for all of Canada. We met and overachieved our business goals and metrics every year for 10 years straight. It was truly a team approach. It was also one that required contingency planning for any mergers and acquisitions that might impact our focus and growth.

    What are your three biggest accomplishments?


    Perhaps my biggest sense of accomplishment occurred on a project where the company’s owner had only a limited time to turn the company’s cash flow and earnings around. I turned a red ocean strategy into blue ocean success within 6 weeks by keeping people engaged and having them work together to achieve the impossible. The business eventually became Canada’s largest country bar, “The Random Ranch”.

    HP would also be at the top of my list, as I defined and created a new approach to marketing a new technology within a traditionally old-school-format company. It had its share of challenges, but when you see other countries adopt your approach and strategy, it’s confirmation that you did something right. I am proud of my team and the employees who believed in placing the interests of the customers and staff ahead of the corporate mandate. In the end, the company’s objectives had a positive impact on the way we reached our goals.

    On a more personal note, I achieved a very high level of soccer skill in Canada at a young age, and this was my introduction to hard work, dedication, and teamwork. Having influential coaches who believed in my ability helped me to obtain a level of confidence that still migrates into my business life today.

    How do you handle rejection?


    Although rejection is a part of life, it need not define us or what we do. Of course, each and every one of us will react differently. I have a tendency to learn from rejection and challenge myself; what are the takeaways, and how would I deal with this if I was in the other person’s shoes. In the end, I don’t take rejection too personally, as it does not define who I am.

    Can you please tell me in your own words what we do?


    What we do is very simple to explain to people who are familiar with blockchain technology. For those who have no idea about how the technology works (and how it’s going to change the way we exchange value and improve security) it can be very overwhelming.

    What I tell people that are just learning about crypto and the blockchain is, that we are developing a product that is a drastic improvement over first generation technologies. We are creating a platform that will help people who have no voice – so it’s a solution that will improve lives. Please do not think I am discounting first-generation technologies. However, as with anything that is technology related, someone will always be looking to improve product functionality and user experience. In all, we have brilliant minds all working in harmony to create a better blockchain solution. And I am very proud and lucky to be a part of it.

    How do you think the company will change in two years, and how do you see yourself creating that change?


    While it’s important not to get too far ahead of ourselves, I believe that people should measure a company on what positive impact we can bring to their lives. For instance, this can be in the form of applications that can make a transaction or tracking assets easier while being more accountable, or it can be empowering people to have and take control of their personal data and related information. I strongly believe that if you position your moral compass to do good, nothing but positive consequences will follow. Although I myself will not create change, XTRABYTES[​IMG] as a team will certainly create positive change. Of course, you obviously need direction, motivation, and leadership in order to do this, but our ability to grow and be successful is at a team level.

    How do you see the corporate landscape changing?


    It’s becoming more and more obvious that the world is rapidly changing; people are requesting more accountability within governments and corporations. Social media has allowed individual voices to be heard, those who would not normally reach the masses. People, regardless of where they are from, are becoming more engaged in their community and acting on their beliefs. There is a feeling that enough is enough of when it comes to saying and not doing, or doing but not what you said you would do.

    I believe that large corporations will see a dramatic shift in the workplace, away from corporate silos to a more decentralized work environment which more directly rewards employee contributions. As we move towards this decentralized landscape, I suspect we will also see a greater sharing and redistribution of wealth. One of the things I really like about our founders is their recognition that no reason exists for why the whole company shouldn’t benefit from its success (why should a few have a majority of the earnings while others struggle?). I fully back this vision, as there was a time in my career when I witnessed how all the stress, hard work, and endless hours of teamwork and dedication to achieve a quarterly result was funneled toward a senior executive pay bonus (of exactly the same amount). That experience was a changing point in my career, as it showed me how “greed” can eat away at team morale. Its the one thing that gets me angered!

    Would you like to know more?


    We don’t just publish articles, XTRABYTES is a whole new blockchain platform that allows DApps to be programmed in any language, utilizing a new consensus algorithm called Proof of Signature. In doing so, XTRABYTES presents a next – generation blockchain solution capable of providing a diverse set of capabilities to the general public.

    You can learn more on our website, where you can also help to spread the word through our bounty program and get rewarded in XFUEL, or join our community and hop into the discussion right now!

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