Rohit Rai is a serial entrepreneur with more than a decade of experience building big data and machine learning systems, solving engineering problems of scale at Imaginea, Tuplejump, and then Apple.
He learned the ropes of the crypto ecosystem the old-school way, first mining bitcoin in 2011.
Then, after a wallet compromise that resulted in the theft of some of his own crypto assets, Rohit co-founded Dragonscale Industries to fight crime in Web3.
We asked Rohit 10 questions about his work, life, and some of his favourite things.
Here’s what he told us.
What’s unique about your business?
The reality is that Web3 is imminent. Before long, we will all be using it for day-to-day transactions and interactions. But that cannot happen without safety systems built for the average non-tech user.
Unlike most businesses that try to solve one specific part of the problem, the goal of Dragonscale Industries is to address all 4 aspects of safety: Awareness, Prevention, Protection, and Investigation.
We will not only protect people in Web3, but we will also give enough confidence for the average consumer to trust it.
What’s your favourite hobby, pastime, or sport to play?
I love driving, either long drives or off-roading.
What’s your side hustle?
Aside from running Dragonscale, I’m also a product and startup advisor and angel investor, I love tinkering and building random things and marketing everything I love!
What’s one important skill to master?
Listening. Most people hear, but do not really listen. It takes a lot of effort and recalibration of our nature to truly listen.
What’s a must-hear podcast?
I feel a bit embarrassed to say this, honestly, I haven’t heard a single podcast to date!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
I belong to a family with a long lineage of educators. My grandpa was a professor, and both my parents and my dad’s elder brother (all now retired) were professors.
So, naturally, they placed a lot of weight on knowledge and learning. Most of the time it was learning just for the sake of it, with no end goal. Simply knowing new things was the goal in itself.
In 1999, when I was in high school, I was running a small website development business and internet cafe. Earning more than enough for this small-town boy to feel big and content, I went and told my dad that I planned to drop out and just focus on the business.
This was the only time my dad made a decision for me after the age of 12! He said (paraphrasing), “You cannot drop out until you get a degree. It is too soon for you to stop your education. Moreover, it’s too soon for you to stop learning! This town is not your destiny. You have to explore the world and see and learn things that I didn’t have a chance to. But, most importantly you have to learn and grow like nobody in our family had the chance to!”
That one piece of advice saved me from the struggle of the dot-com bust, got me to get my act together, got me to complete my engineering degree, and gave me the wind under my wings to leave the comfort and security of the known and travel into the unknown from one place to another over the last 20 years, in quest of learning just for the fun of learning!
Today, I give the same advice to all my nieces, nephews, and friends’ kids: don’t give up learning (formal or informal), and never stop learning and growing as a person.
What’s the most interesting fact you know?
This might be not the most interesting fact I know, but it is definitely one for the nerd in me: JRR Tolkien (the author of The Lord of the Rings) and Adolf Hitler fought against each other in the Battle of Somme in world war one.
Also, Kangaroo rats, found in Baja California, and Mexico go their entire life without drinking water!
What’s one go-to travel destination?
Any national parks or forests. I’m in love with Death Valley, for its infinite wilderness, and Jasper, for all its dark and beautiful nights.
What’s one dish everyone should try?
What’s your favourite memory of Vancouver?
The view of this beautiful city at the foothills of the mountains on the day I drove across from the US border towards the city last year.
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