First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
John Monarch: We are doing as well as expected, though we have a real itch to start traveling again. I think we all are reaching the point where we want some sense of normalcy while working within the safety guidelines for preventing transmission.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded ShipChain
John Monarch: I came from the logistics industry, running a fast-growth 3PL fulfillment center, and experienced the problems with a lack of visibility every day. In 2017 we started seeing the maturation of blockchain in the enterprise space. My partners and I identified it as a strong candidate to solve many of the issues we experienced. From there came the idea for ShipChain, and since then, it has grown and progressed into the platform it is today.
How does ShipChain innovate?
John Monarch: Innovation isn’t a process you can formalize or easily write down – a lot of what we do comes from the problems we hear from customers, people in the logistics industry, from thinking on our past experiences and how we would’ve made things easier. Creativity drives innovation more than processes. So anyone expecting to formalize innovation will be sorely disappointed. Encouraging creativity and hobbies outside of the workplace is a great way to foster the kind of creative thinking that drives innovation, and that’s a big part of our company culture.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
John Monarch: We see a substantial uptick in interest from companies with critical supply chain needs, especially in food and pharmaceuticals. These supply chains have been driven to their breaking points due to COVID-19. Further, professionals have identified that visibility and trust need to improve to prevent such a break in the future. This definitely has people thinking about blockchain, now more than ever. Other than that, it was a fairly smooth transition to working remotely, and I’m extremely impressed by what we have accomplished during this time.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
John Monarch: Everyone has difficult decisions to make from time to time, but over the years, I’ve learned the importance of decisiveness. While I am by no means a proponent of impulsivity, I’ve come to realize the need to make a carefully thought out decision and not waver. In my experience, I’ve seen that going back and forth can often lead to the worst possible outcome with no proper resolution.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and ShipChain in the future?
John Monarch: Taking time away from thinking about work is essential. Founders and entrepreneurs often get stuck in the work mindset 24/7 because they feel a direct connection of their productivity to the company’s growth. It’s critical that you have outside hobbies, activities, exercise, and just time to recharge.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
John Monarch: We like to joke that our biggest competitor is pen and paper, but it’s true. The supply chain space is notoriously slow to adopt new technologies. It is still using archaic data management tools so that data can easily be tampered with or misplaced. That is why one of our biggest pillars.
Your final thoughts?
John Monarch: Everything that has happened this year has been unexpected, to say the least. That said, we’re all making do as best we can, and I’m proud to be leading such an extraordinary group of individuals. I look forward to seeing what the future holds in store for us, and I appreciate your interest in our company and platform.