Monday, November 5, 2018
Starting in August, we were thrilled to have Kel Taylor join the burgeoning Minespider team. Kel is an accomplished COO, most recently at Mitmark, the risk mitigation and security company. Previous to that, his roles have included Operations Director for the World Innovation Summit for Health in Qatar, General Manager in West Africa for African Minerals Limited, and Director of Consulting at Datamonitor (now Informa).
Interested to hear a little more about him? Then check out our rapid-fire round of questions below.
I was born and educated in London. I followed a relatively linear path at the beginning; after university, I went into banking and later into consulting. There I spent a decade focusing on the tech space. I provided business intelligence to great companies — the likes of IBM, Microsoft, Apple, Cisco, Barclays, and Deutsche Bank. The dot-com boom and bust proved a great educator too, seeing overvalued companies with no product crash and burn.
I then switched to mining, working on the operational side of one of Africa’s largest iron ore mines in Sierra Leone.
This was a blue sky opportunity and really exciting time — a new business, new mine, new railway, and a new port. It was a wonderful education, even during the troublesome times, such as working through history’s worst Ebola epidemic. More than any other, the Ebola experience taught me the true value of motivating people to the common good.
In West Africa, I saw a burgeoning mining sector help lift a country from the legacy of civil war. Exports brought revenues and employment, revenues brought government income via taxes, taxes helped Sierra Leone progress.
So, I guess I’m a firm believer in trade over aid — and I was fascinated by Minespider because they provide an opportunity for people and businesses to join the global economy. I believe Minespider fulfils one of the blockchain use cases that makes sense for the industry.
We offer miners and players in the supply chain — small, medium, and large — the opportunity to monetize their data and avoid the inefficiency of being locked into a single system (who wants to work with 14 different companies using 14 different systems?).
In effect, Minespider sits in the nexus of social good, high tech, and international regulation. We’re positioned to be the mining industry’s blockchain.
But perhaps there’s something even more thrilling than being the industry standard.
For me, the fact that we’re building a public, decentralized blockchain in an industry renowned for its centralized control and opaque supply chain, is simply extraordinary.
Ultimately, at Minespider, I get to play a role in making sure the gold in your wedding ring or cobalt in your car battery aren’t funding conflict and human rights abuses.
Sadly, as an end consumer, there is currently no way of knowing whether this is the case.
With one eye on the mistakes of the dot-com era, we’re evolving Minespider from a great vision into a real, scalable business.
We have some promising trial projects in place, so I will probably be heading back to Africa in the coming months. We also have great media coverage, strong endorsements from key industry influencers, and we will have a minimum viable protocol by the end of the quarter, with a token sale planned for early 2019.
Most of all, it’s that cliché about working with great people. My colleagues are simply superb, plus we have some brilliant advisors and a wider network of people in the industry who ‘get’ what we’re trying to do (looking forward to announcing more of these shortly).
P.S. In 1969, James Brown released a track called I Don’t Want Nobody to Give Me Nothing (Open Up the Door, I’ll Get It Myself). Brown was becoming more politically aware, trying to leverage his success and voice.
It’s an empowering song and, for me, encapsulates where we are in the world today — open up the door and let people make their own story, their own success.
I genuinely believe Minespider has a role to play in empowering good actors at every stage of the mineral supply chain.
I don’t mind being a doorman.
Ella Cullen is Minespider's Chief Marketing Officer. She’s passionate about branding, UI/UX design, new systems of governance, and marketing fast-paced startups. Originally from New Zealand and now based in Berlin, Ella previously lead the marketing teams for CodeControl, IconPeak, & RecMix.