After reading this, it’s easy to say “no, it won’t for Cardano”, or your pet cryptocurrency - x, y, or z. Fact is, unless you have a Crystal Ball ™, you can’t know. Maybe it will, despite all the great fundamentals, or maybe it won’t, and Cardano is here to stay.
Since there’s very little of the future we can see, kind of like a car driving at night that can see perhaps 300 feet ahead, or in the case of Cardano with its high beams, let’s be generous and say it can see 3x 300 feet ahead, 900 feet ahead, what then determines its success? IMHO, here they are in the order of importance:
Integrity - doing what you said you will (“X”), doing it by when you said you’d do it, and if you fail, rather than hide or make excuses, you promptly admit your failure and re-commit to do what you said you’d do after you’ve cleaned up any mess left behind.
Or, you can also say that you will not be doing “X” anymore even though you said you would, which basically renegs your promise. Then, like a man, take the hits and the fallout that comes from the lack of integrity.
The alternative is to hide, manipulate, compensate with big words or other big things such as “we’ve revenue, profits, etc that can sustain us” or “we’ve the best tech” … as if any of that ever made up for lack of integrity.
We all know when we screw up. If we by chance don’t or are unaware, there’s others who will point it out to us and we should heed their advice (e.g. accountability to others).
No integrity, no future, no Cardano. This point has nothing to do with technology as you’ve noticed. This point is also not debatable. I mean you can debate integrity… but it’s like debating with gravity. It tends to want to go in one direction only, and wears you out when you try to circumvent it, and then you eventually agree with it anyway, but after you’ve been bruised and hopefully not killed.
Passion for service
This is where Cardano is currently taking a hit I believe. The slight non-responsiveness by people with an “io_” or “cf_” prefix in their usernames on these forums when people who aren’t stakeholders or running the project have questions, regardless of how repetitive or mundane they are (e.g. create an FAQ if questions are repetitive and pin it to the top of each category).
I like how Charles is aware and isn’t shy to state Cardano’s advantage - a great technical team, a unique approach - Ouroboros/Praos, multitude of other academic papers translated to some nice FP code that provably works, scarcity of engineers that can follow the FP paradigm, etc. Great. These are all advantages.
Yet, some poor Joe Schmoe who isn’t even sure why he’s investing in Ada other than the great technical posts/videos, the “sudden” creep of Cardano to the top 10 cryptocurrencies on coinmarketcap, the contagious enthusiasm of the community, will often not get his or her question(s) answered. I already saw many instances of this on the forums, and instead of being helpful, I sometimes will respond to such people with cynicism instead, only because I’m too lazy to repeat what’s been said elsewhere a 100 times over. So like all good human beings do, he or she takes that one negative experience and projects it unto the whole project, and worst case, dumps his entire ada holdings, shifting the needle down a bit.
This really should not happen. Either EVERYONE interested in Cardano’s future matters or none do. Take a look at Rust and why it’s flourishing - yes, they have great tech - they created a language that can replace both C and C++ as a system level language, but what really makes them distinct from other projects isn’t just the tech, but their passion for service. This is reflected in their awesome documentation, examples, a responsive and caring community, particularly to newbies. There is no reason why Cardano cannot allocate a person or two to scour all their social media outposts (the forum, reddit, twitter, whatever…) full time and respond to any and all meaningful questions from anyone who is genuine about Cardano’s future and of course, we ignore the clowns, the baiters, naysayers, the rebels without a cause, etc.
If a question is repetitive, this IOHK/Cardano person will add it to the appropriate FAQ and then instead of typing an answer, just refer the people to the FAQ as many times as needed. The FAQ can be wiki-fied so that other non-Cardano people, enthusiasts such as myself and many others here can modify it with Cardano’s blessing.
This isn’t much to ask, and it doesn’t cost a whole lot either to have someone (like what’s her name, the attractive woman in the Dash community which evangelizes Dash like it’s the gospel) do this full time and answer questions full time. Heck, pay him or her in Ada if you must .
While Cardano’s efforts are, as Charles points out, difficult to replicate, they aren’t impossible to replicate for another established company with enough resources to a) rip off ALL of Cardano’s effort, b) replicate it, and c) market it as their own by tweaking some minor aspects of it or applying it in a “unique” way, labeling it, “their invention” in the cryptocurrency space (or some other catchy words). Cardano doesn’t run patents on their IP, which means anyone can poach it once it gains clear momentum.
The beginning of the end of any successful project, IMHO, is when the people behind it start drinking their own Kool-Aid a little too much. I’m not saying Cardano’s there yet, but if there ever was a competitor that took on what Cardano does (e.g. IBM? Microsoft? Many like this combined?) and the playing field is evened out, the ONLY thing that will have sustained Cardano is its passion for service as being their major, if not only, competitive advantage.
In other words, the lifeblood of Cardano would be their passion for service, caring about what makes its users/customers successful, embracing feedback in order to continually improve, being accessible to users/customers, making users’ needs, however small, a priority and in providing service that gets a “wow” out of users and/or customers.
I’m not sure if I should have put this or integrity as #1, but it’s of -equal- if not greater importance as maintaining integrity.
There are companies out there, and I won’t name them whom I’ve worked for - that run on a 40 year old code base (think COBOL and its ilk) to this very day as they transition to a more modern architecture/platform. What “runs” a company or any successful project in the face of outdated tech is this passion for service more than anything else. Which leads me to my next point #3…
I’ll start off by saying that I was glad, despite the backbreaking pace of progress and intensity of the schedule, to see that one of the weekly dev reports around Christmas said “devs are taking time off during the holidays.” I don’t know anyone on the team personally to attest to their character, but sometimes we can deduce it by what is being said.
It seems to me like Cardano honors its employees’ equally as their vision for being the currency for OTB (the “Other Three Billion”). Another nugget of wisdom - not mine - that I’ve seen in successful, enduring companies, is their constant appreciation and focus on their employees to the same extent, if not more, than their users/customers. Treat the employees like family, value their time, contribution, personal needs, reward them appropriately and increase the motivation/reward appropriately over time, and guess what this translates to? Super-duper happy users/customers, and a top-notch product, along with an environment where when they wake up each day, they don’t feel like they’re going to work… they feel like they’re on a mission to better the world, while having fun.
Needless to say, this kind of attitude toward employees can only come from the core/top of the company, Charles, et al, who are the main stake holders. There is no such thing as bottom up leadership. It’s always top down. Whatever your leader does (or doesn’t do) reflects ultimately in his behavior, regardless of whether the facts and fruits of his or her doing are disclosed or not in a timely manner. All things (or as I’d like to say, all s**t) eventually float up to the surface. Employees don’t change the direction or set the tone of a company. It’s stakeholders/leaders do. Employees will no doubt influence this all the time, and it behooves the leaders to take ALL employee input in consideration, however, the go/no-go decisions rest with the leaderships.
It appears Cardano is scoring relatively high marks on this point, and I don’t really have much to add in way of criticism or suggestion for improvement.
drive for results and excellence
I can’t say much about this since it is palatable in everything Cardano’s done so far, particularly in their technical approach to solving the problem of gen 1 and gen 2 cryptocurrencies. Keep up the good work. Mostly this last point will be a function of the previous 3 important points.
Keep up the good work, stay accountable, honest, humble, motivated/driven, generous… and I think there won’t be going to zero for Cardano anytime soon, or ever.