We continue our series on Women in Dapp and today we welcome our first guest of April series — Gina Abrams, Growth and People Operations Partner at Blockstack.
Gina shares her story about how she got into the blockchain and landed a job at Blockstack. Also, she gives a real insight into what looks like working on a privacy-focused industry and how she and her peers push the industry forward.
I’m Gina Abrams (@gina_abrams_), Growth and People Partner at Blockstack PBC. I started with the company in 2017 prior to our token sale. I helped to double our team size before pivoting to help roll out one of our growth campaigns including App Mining, amongst others.
It was out of my comfort zone to move into the tech industry in 2015, but it opened many doors and lead me to where I am now. It’s been a learning experience of everything I never learned in college, about how to navigate new, never been solved before problems and initiatives. I am passionate about bringing more women into the blockchain industry, but also want to provide space for conversation about uncertainties women professionals may have and provide tangible resources and communities that are there to help. By championing the change makers and facing issues of inequality in tech, even if in a small arena, I’d like to help make the industry more approachable and better reflect the diversity in the real world.
It’s a typical story, when I was in college, a roommate of mine got very into Bitcoin and pretty much all of the 8 people who lived in our house decided to invest in the experiment on a very small scale (we were all broke at the time!). Digital, decentralized currency seemed like the future of money, and I thought that the technology itself could usher in a new movement for computing. It seems natural to me given how quickly the tech industry innovated while I was growing up. That said, I didn’t think too deeply about it for some time after that as I was focused on getting a professional skillset under my belt. After a couple of years working on tech recruiting and sales with start-ups in NYC, I became disillusioned by how many ad-tech companies there were and felt there had to more potential for the talent in the industry to be working on. In 2016 I stumbled across Blockstack and new it was something completely new, completely innovative, and saw that it could change the world. The co-founders had a small but very strong team at the time. I spent a year in touch with the CEO and ultimately, a role came up that I could help with. My responsibilities have shifted a lot since I first started, which is one of my favorite parts about the job.
I stay because the challenges in enabling and working toward our ambitious mission makes work fun every day. I learn from my team members everyday— some of the brightest and most original thinkers and interface with game theorists, industry experts, and the community every day. It also feels like a movement to democratized information and innovation, where every person has a voice at the table which I really enjoy.
We’re working on growing our app ecosystem, and incorporating feedback for the community in thoughtful ways to build a system that works for everyone through App Mining. It’s super exciting, but questions of governance can be quite vast and challenging. There are also unique aspects to working on a privacy-focused industry where you can’t track users, that leads to some big questions about industry benchmarks and education.
I really enjoy working with the Blockstack community of developers, investors, evangelists and others, as well as other organizations in the space, to collaboratively build the future.
One of the apps I’ve been excited to see some big strides in progress is DebutApp, kinda like the decentralized version of Facebook. BitPatron is another exciting one with a lot of opportunities to build a product where people can’t be de-platformed as is the status quo. Many apps have been making real progress and already provide delightful experiences — Sigle is another example, and the founder of Graphite has been doing a tremendous job building a community that is privacy and user first.
Get on Twitter and start following all the experts! There are a ton of knowledgeable women in crypto who want to get more women in crypto. Reach out to them, and to me! Also if there are projects you’re interested in learning more about, it can be useful to hop in their Slack/Telegram/Discord groups and start to familiarize yourself with the ecosystem and community members and team. Showing you have done your research can help a lot!