INTERVIEWS


Jack du Rose of Colony

Build companies together online

Michael Karnjanaprakorn

Jack du Rose is a cofounder of Colony, an Ethereum-based operating system for open organizations.

What's your story? Tell me about the first time you learned about the blockchain.

Well, back then it was called Bitcoin. ;) I was in a speakeasy in London, and a friend was telling me about ‘the dark web’. He was very mysterious about it and wouldn’t say too much, which made me all the more intrigued. So, I discovered the web’s murky underbelly, and consequently Bitcoin. As I wasn’t in the market for an assassin at that time, I promptly dismissed Bitcoin as not relevant to me, and went on with my day. It was ~$6. I stumbled across it again a few months later. It was ~$30. I remember lamenting with a friend that we hadn’t bought at $6, and now we’d missed the boat. /facepalm

What important truth do you think not enough people seem to understand?

Being a new way to raise money is not the important innovation of token crowdsales (AKA ICOs). The innovation is about enabling a new paradigm of game theoretically secure, economically driven, social software. It's about solving the bootstrapping problem of platforms predicated on network effects by incentivizing early adoption and evangelism. And economic defensibility for open source apps by aligning incentives to participate in original networks rather than parasitic forks. Let's not forget this in the rush to fund projects.

If money is all you need, consider using a SAFTE (http://v.ht/SAFTE) with accredited investors. There are plenty in the Ethereum community now who fall into that category and are both true believers in this better, fairer, more decentralised world we are all working towards, and who are keen to fund blue sky ideas pre-product. Later, once you better understand your product, your market, (and whether you even need a token!), then consider a sale.

What does your project/company do?

Colony is a platform for open organisations. It enables people to build organisations together online. It’s a self-regulating system that enables a group of people with a common project or goal, to divide labour, managing finances, make decisions, and resolve disputes without needing to know or trust one another.

Who's on the team?

We’re a team of ~12. Alex Rea, joined me first, right after his PhD at Cambridge. Collin Vine, based in Vancouver, previously founded a company called Zirtual, and joined Colony after it was sold in 2015. We have five other developers: Thiago, in Brazil, Elena in Bulgaria, Raul in Romania, Chris, currently in the wilds of Columbia, and Andrea who roams southern Europe astride his Harley Davidson. Karol is in Poland, and handles all things design. Chase looks after the community from his home in Austin, Texas. Griffin is currently in London, but can be found anywhere from Yangon, to Boulder. Last but not least, Aron the second team member with a PhD, splits his beard stroking time between the Colony and Swarm teams.

What's your vision for the future of the project?

We think that the Colony protocol is one of the most exciting developments in the decentralisation space. It will be one of the key building blocks for a new wave of social economic applications. The application we’re building on the other hand you wont need to be a developer to use. We think that will end up getting used by many projects alongside tools like slack. Slack enables a community around a project to talk; Colony will enable them to actually contribute.

How can people get involved?

They can join our slack community at http://slack.colony.io. We have the beginnings of a collaboration network. We’re keen to engage people with outstanding skills to offer. Reach out, and if we like the cut of your jib, we’ll invite you to contribute.

What article or book have you shared the most recently?

How about the book I’ve shared which has been most reshared? It’s not blockchain related, it’s a novel called “The Name of the Wind” by Patrick Rothfuss. It’s amazing.

What other projects are you excited about in the space?

I’m also cofounder of another project called Ownage. I’m very excited about that. We don’t talk much about it publicly, but there is a lot of awesome stuff happening behind the scenes. It’s going to be huge. Think big names in gaming, coming to a blockchain near you.

What are your predictions for the next 12 months in the space?

I think we’ll see a combination of things. Some exciting new projects emerging. Some of the original projects (like Colony) finally making their way onto mainnet. I think it’s also possible there will be some turbulence in the space as we pass through this early immature period of irrational exuberance. I think it’s also possible we will start to see some legal attention on certain projects who have drawn the attention of various regulatory bodies.


Colony makes it easy for people all over the world to build companies together online. Join their Slack or follow them on Reddit.