Selling Tech To The American Military w/ Simon Ho | LEVEL UP AMERICA #6
I went through the 1990s, .com and all that, right? And looking at the last 12 years. It feels the same. And during this phase there will be a lot of hype. A lot of, should I say scams and all that? Right.
But if you look at the fundamental technology, if you believe that it is sound, which I do, during this bear market, all the real solutions are being built, just like back in 2000 - 2021, like from Amazon and all that, right? If you look back. And so I think for that reason, I'm so excited to focus on the right use cases, less on the hype. And I think we can leverage that to in my case try to solve some problems in the childcare industry. Good morning, fellow optimists.
I cannot be more excited for today's guest, Simon Ho, who is a co-founder of 1 Core Solutions, which is an incredibly impactful childcare tech company, which has increasingly started to do work with the US government. Simon is a naturalized American citizen who came from Malaysia 40 years ago when he was 18 to enroll in college in Indiana at Anderson University. Why might you want to be a tech company that works with the US government? Why is it challenging? And how does the government need to level up its procurement policies to make it easier to work with government and help it level up? I don't know anyone who has thought more about this question, and there's also a ton that I want to dive in with Simon about including how childcare can intersect with web3. So let's get into it.
Simon, welcome to LEVEL UP AMERICA. Thank you so much, Gary, for this opportunity to chat with you. Yeah. So the backstory is that you reached out to me after watching one of my videos and we were just getting to know each other and I was like, dang, why don't we just continue our conversation over a recorded podcast, just cuz I know there's so much value that it won't just be me getting out of your wisdom and life experience.
So thank you for the spontaneity. Great. I think maybe the thing I guess we, the resonation is really just the fact that both of us, when I related to Yo America video right, I definitely feel the same way. And as I mentioned, I've been in America for 40 years now, I just wish I had the same mindset back further back.
So I'm so excited to be able to share your passion and play a role in however we can LEVEL UP AMERICA. Because it's home is our country. Yes. Yeah. I really appreciate that and excited to dive into these juicy topics. So tell me about a story or two or just the arc of your experiences that made you who you are today, aka someone that I would consider to be a visionary builder of America's future? You mentioned that when I came here, many years ago to pursue higher education, I think back in the day America still shows so much promise for the rest of the world's population and with the higher education institutions and the freedom of ideas.
So I was so excited to come here as an undergrad student. And when I actually after Anderson University with a bachelor, I then proceeded to get my MBA in Emory University in Atlanta. And I was fortunate enough at the end of that pursuit of the mba to have an opportunity to work for Price Waterhouse, which back then was a one of the big eight accounting firm. And because of that, I that's how I got to decided to stay in the US. So that was the first part of my career.
Then in terms of the second, almost like a life-changing events that leads to what I do now with my life is the birth of my daughter Cassie. She was born with a congenital liver disorder. And there's no cure for it. Luckily she had an initial surgery to stabilize the condition and when she was of strong enough, we decided to put her in childcare. And this was back in early.
Late nineties actually. So with my sort of consulting background, when I was looking for childcare, I was more of a, maybe as a parent, my, my need to feel, to get the peace of mind of knowing that childcare is in good hands when she's in childcare was obviously utmost important to me. And it's in that search, right? That I realized that technology wasn't quite there to meet my needs.
But I know, it'll be the same for many parents, right? So in a way that's the genesis of 1 Core, the software company that I've founded and been running for since ever since. That's amazing. And I love hearing the story of entrepreneurs that basically solve their own problem. They didn't necessarily dream since they were a kid to do a childcare tech solution, but in order to solve their own problem they almost certainly was solving many people's problems because we're unique, but so many of our needs are not unique at all.
So it's cool to see that, that you found an opportunity. I'm curious re exploring the childcare space, why you felt like the current options out there weren't enough? What did you initially hope to bring into the space? Yeah I think, I assume you're referring back and almost 20 years ago now when this journey started. So I would say the when it comes to tech, things are quite different. Back then, the dominant technology is more like your typical desktop software. So as imagine the, with the, because of the limitation, right? And I think.
I partially, I think maybe one of the other key, key things to consider this was back in 2000 during the peak of the.com. So in most people's mine, in mine included, in an instrument, it's gonna change the world. It's gonna change so many things, right? So I was going into, at that time seeing what's, what was available and then seeing what's possible. And then again, with my consulting brain I was kind, look, is this so natural to solve a problem? Yes, you're right that I was trying to solve my problem.
But besides earlier I mentioned that the this term of peace of mind it was for me as a parent, but I also realized over the years how we built our software is that we need to build software to deliver a peace of mind, not just to the end user, per se, in this case, as a parent. But the other, because at one core our software is really primarily actually for the operator, the childcare providers, the director of the staff and all that. And I'm sure that all of us have been through experiences where we have to kind of mold ourself to software. Software is not the easiest to use. For one core, really everything we do, we ask the question is whatever we are building, delivering peace of mind to our users, not just the parents, everybody else, right? So we really take pride in that so that we're not just talking about building software for software sake, but we wanna build software for people.
And in this case, in childcare, it's it's such a people business, right? So I think that makes a, certainly makes a difference. What is like one example of a piece of the early, like the early 1 Core, what is one delightful thing that helped you get like word of mouth spreading about the software. Actually maybe I can answer that question in slightly different ways that the Sure. I will say that the the journey for us if you're talking about entrepreneurship, but yes, I think just like our story was no no difference. It was quite challenging as you can imagine, to build software and especially for industry like childcare is very fragmented.
But we were lucky enough to have an opportunity to work with a local childcare provider that's growing and we were able to build the solution for them in working closely with them, right? And but the long term trajectory, actually. Was actually we had also a very interesting, unique experience where after we built a software for a number of years in the local market, and by the way, we're building based in the Bay Area in California. We had a large national chain to come in to acquire the, one of our key clients at that time. And during that due diligence, they discovered what we built, even though we were really small and nimble, but I think apparently our tech was pretty good. So we decided to sell the software to them.
But long story short, with that, what was interesting for us that after we sold the software business to this large national company, they day after a few years, they decided to divest from that business. So we had a chance to re-acquire the business back from them, so that kind of gave us a very strong foundation to continue to build the business that kind of leads to today. That's really cool.
It's cool because I'm sure you were excited to sell it for a decent sum and then also, so you had a couple years to build it within this institution, basically. Yes. So it just got better and better. And then like you were able to just buy it and you're like, okay, this is a really good foundation.
Yeah. And of course this, yeah, I think you're right that every time I tell the story, I get obviously get a kick out of saying it in a way why it's not unique. I know of other sort of a start of a businesses they've gone through this process they were able to sell and then buy back but at the same time , it doesn't happen every day. Looking back, given the what we went through, besides that experience, the acquirer, actually, they invested quite a bit in the journey, right? So we got stronger and then, obviously when we got to buy it back, obviously it was for quite a good deal.
This, not bad . So that allows us to really continue to develop the business. That's amazing. So you mentioned to me when we first chatted that you had started to work with the US government in recent years.
How did you even think about that as a, as an opportunity? And so why don't we start there? Like how did that idea even come to you? Yeah, actually, very good point. First of all, I actually I just like Gary when I in our chat, I think like actually a lot of folks actually in the country do not know that the government, US government particularly did the Department of Defense, i e the main agency such as the Air Force, Navy, army, Marines, and the Space Force, all have their services to support the personnel. And childcare is one of those services. So in other words, there is quite a large footprint of childcare, after school program, and youth program because obviously the personnel all the families around in in, in the installations, right? They need supports like that. Now, in terms of how we got into that, I cannot claim any kind of the strategic brilliance or anything like that, how we got into it.
It's, I would say it's almost somewhat from networking opportunities where I think the, initially when the government opportunity came about the prime contractor in that case they have connection that they knew about the contract, but they did not have the know-how, the childcare know-how. So they came to us as to want to partner with us to provide the software. While, they become the sort of the prime contractor deliver the solution to the government. And and again, this was quite a few years ago one thing I guess we, we learn along the way is that the the government actually US governments really just like most other organizations are rapidly moving to the cloud in terms of coming up with tech solution to support their services. So in that process of us initially coming as a subcontractor to this prime who has a relationship with the government the government subsequently change their RFP to say that they require the prime contractor to be the solution provider.
You must be the prime if you want to work on the contract versus be a sub. And obviously given was that to reduce. Like costs or what? No, I think mostly to I I would say that the key thing being the the government wants to work directly, almost with the vendor that actually responsible for the solution, if you think of it.
Instead of being secondary. And to be honest, suddenly we feel like this is the right move. But to your point earlier, we were a very small company and the chances of us like making a play and decided to go into the federal government contract and all this almost, unimaginable. I always say that heading out that we have opportunity to partner with somebody right. To get in.
We probably, you it's just not possible. And now the other thing, the fact that we are a minority owned business also helps because even the federal governments from procurement standpoint, we want to encourage The government to work with a competent and, reliable small business like us. So I would say that would be the and I think the with the the other thing I would say is that the cloud sort of migration also is quite, has I think, has something to do to do with this because as the solution provider now, our expertise is in the actual applications itself.
And now, currently we the environment runs on go AWS golf Cloud, right? So much of the infrastructure now is, bare by Amazon, which they, obviously they're quite stable and quite secure and all that. Had we back in the day, say as an organization, if we have to build anti staffing growing up? No. So it'll be, too big of a barrier.
Oh, interesting. So the fact that Amazon saw this op opportunity to like, Be like a, almost like the required infrastructure for cloud service providers to have access to the US government. Yeah, basically the besides Amazon, I think AWS is, I think probably the most dominant, but Microsoft or Google, right? So now the infrastructure in many that environ now one call, we obviously have also have our commercial business for the commercial clients. In that case, our instant runs on the AWS commercial public cloud, right? But let's say all the big tech folks, they have their government approved infrastructure. So in our government instance we run a golf cloud AWS golf cloud, right? Which, there are various impact levels, accreditation, cybersecurity, so obviously when we put our application in that environment now, so it obviously took care of half the battle in terms of meeting the require cybersecurity requirements, in operating in the government network kinda thing. Makes sense.
Cool. So you talked earlier about how long it takes to secure. Maybe it's not even secure, the contract, it's like to even get the services provided to the end, like parents and users, right? If you're working with a government, can you talk more about that? Like why does it take so long? I would say this.
Perhaps there are obviously many factors. I would say one factors that the, in operating, in deploying the, any SaaS application, like one core in the, government environment, you do have to obtain what we call the ato, which is the short for authorization to operate, right? And you only get the ATO if you go through the very stringent cybersecurity assessment and accreditation process. Now, the, that process when you're talking about the cloud again, now the government is quite familiar with the in the previous generation of on-prem let's say in-house application, right? The government built in-house. They already have all the infrastructure to make sure it's secure and all that, right? So as the last few years with everything is transitioned to the cloud, including the government, many of those that is quite, is evolving the guidance, the directive, right? So I would say part of the the, one of the key factor that contribute to the more extensive time to deploy is that, we need to get everybody on the same page.
There's so many agency and like our sponsor and ourselves and we need to work with our third party assessor and so forth, right? That all contributes to the timeline. But the good news is that I think every day the process is getting more mature. And from one core perspective, we are really looking forward to now that we invested the time to. Learn it to do it right.
So we want to be able to repeat, this process we have the opportunity to work with the other agencies, right? So I think that we can look forward to a much more streamlined shorter procurement or deployment, process going forward, which is a positive thing. Is this shorter? Because they, they'll probably streamline someone that's successfully worked with one department and because you know how to fill out the paperwork and go through the process more efficiently this time, all the above. And also in this case, right? There actually a number of other parties that you you have to bring into the picture.
In fact, one of the things that recently when we worked with the sponsor. When we put together the, over the years, we actually reassemble our team also as well, beside our only one core team, we need to bring the right, the assessor there is such a, a business as a, the cybersecurity accelerator, right? Firms that actually focus on helping company like us to meet all the the process flow mitigates the, some of the weaknesses and all that, right? Then to go through the process, right? So even the whole industry is maturing, right? So now, five years ago, we, they were know folks like that, that we can even, oh, okay. So yeah. So I would say on all the cloud deployment even in the government is maturing.
So I would say it's not just us one core as a business, but all the businesses in the ecosystem, including our end client, our sponsor, right? Everybody's getting up to speed, right? Which is exciting because this all transformative. Future government acquisition because Okay. Everybody involved is more mature and they take advantage of the cloud. Yes. Interesting.
So are you feeling somewhat optimistic about government technology adoption? Oh yeah. I would say that the especially the as we, again, we are the, we are the csp, like the cloud service provider, right? But as I mentioned, there's so many stakeholders in the ecosystem to deploy and all that. As we're going through, everybody is evolving also, every is maturing.
Yes, I am quite optimistic. Then not only that, we learn how to deliver faster and more streamlined. All the party stakeholder, including the end users they're more familiar with the process and, that's great.
I'm excited for this. Are there any changes that you don't think are already being implemented already in the procurement process that you would recommend? I would say that one thing where we are today if you're staying with the government the interesting opportunity that I do see is that since in one quote, we actually came in from the the commercial side of the, the business, right? Meaning commercial, our clients are your non-government provider childcare providers. They could be for-profit, not-for-profit. But the in that environment, obviously things are a lot more what would I say, more robust and more agile because we are more focused on solving business problems. Yeah.
Now, so I would say that currently in our current government implementation, . Now on one hand, I think we really appreciate the, why the government having all the stringent cybersecurity requirements, which is critical today, especially we're talking about cloud infrastructure and the data and all that, right? Just how vulnerable systems can be right around the world. And in fact, everybody's hacking, everybody's system.
We know, on the, just part of the managing the system. So I'd say the on both ends. On one hand, I think our commercial business, what we built we don't, we haven't deployed everything in the government side, but that give us the playground to, to showcase what's possible. When I think the government implementation settles down, I think it gives a lot of opportunity to showcase the government that additional things they can add to it to benefit the families. Right now, on the flip side, Our experience with the government because of all the emphasis on the cybersecurity and all that, we are bringing that best practices to our commercial business. Yeah.
So now our offering is much safer. Which benefit the commercial clients and to be honest, and you've been in tech that again, have we not had the government experience, commercial business is about break things go fast and all that, right? Like securing your system. I would say most business is probably not the number one priority as you're building out your stack. But now with our experience of having to almost say required to really putting the best practice in cybersecurity and all that, now once we're done here, we're doing it also, we have the opportunity to do on the commercial side as well. So somewhat win-win on both sides.
I think that's why I think it is quite, yeah, quite exciting to, to be in this position. Yeah, that's a great perspective. Thanks so much. And I love the way that you put it now that you have a foot in the door, a hard one foot in the door you gave them these base services and then like they trust you.
Oh, that, that did well. But oh, we, you have more services. The parents wanna have these other offerings that are available in the commercial offering. Wow. Yeah.
It won't take that long for you to level that up. And Gary one thing I might also kind add to this point as a reflection, right? Speaking of government you mentioned earlier about my background. I've been a Chinese-American, really? I immigrated from Malaysia. So I'm Chinese descent now. My co-founder, he's the fellow American, but he's an Indian gentleman, Indian descent, right? We all call America home. And you asked the question about how we even got into the government and all that, right? I shared with you the genesis.
But the, what is interesting, the very impressive thing that I, in looking back, the government in this case give us a chance. They didn't look at us as the sort of a minority guy, right? A Chinese guy, an Indian guy. We have a solution.
So that part is most rewarding actually. So now we go in and we say, okay, great. You gave us a chance, we're gonna give you the best, right? What we can, right? So this is like basically the solution is meritorious and not so much, based on connections or what have you. So that to be honest, in looking back when we actually got the contract, we almost have to pinch ourselves and say, really it's possible we are such a small business and wow, the government's actually given us a chance to do such an important work. So in reflection, that was That was something actually. That's really cool.
I was literally about to ask like how does this all feel as an immigrant? And it sounds like it's, it, you feel like a living embodiment of at least some aspects of the American dream being real. Yeah. And not only that, right? The other thing, it just happened that in this case of what we do and I might as well share with you earlier a little bit, is that at the end of the day with the childcare sort of deployment software deployment that we are implementing we hope and we think, we hope that it will make an impact, tremendous impact in the lives of all the US DOD personnel family with children that need childcare services. and we know that from a DAO d many of the assessments, right? Internally obviously department defense understand how important, giving the peace of mind to the personnel people that folks that we ask to go fight for us, the defense, this country, the readiness of the military readiness, right? Childcare play a piece in that. So it feels really rewarding to know that if we really do a good job, deliver this solution to help the parents who have children in childcare, and these are the folks we ask the defense, our country to contribute to the National Defense Readiness.
You can't ask more than that, to be able make an impact to that. So that's quite rewarding. That's good. I mean, You're literally like, Like a foundational layer in the stack of defending America, making sure that it's safe. So it's yeah, I don't want to think that grand, but yes, I think whatever little piece of the role that we get to play and then going back right when I started this journey, no idea we will ever end here at all.
We'll just say we're just trying to do a software do solve problems. But yeah, it's quite rewarding. Yes. Cool. Before we move on to a different subject, I want to hear what do you think it is about your unique skillsets and passions that allowed you to, persevere over these last 20 years successfully lead a team? Good questions.
I actually, with the thing that comes to mind, I would maybe couple things. One, I think I had a great fortune of finding my co-founder, Swami, this Indian gentleman. In fact, I was supposed to, even though I'm in Silicon Valley, obviously we're quite diverse.
But in terms of a business, like one court that actually have a co-founder of a Chinese guy and an Indian guy, apparently is not that common And I, my co-founder, he's such a individual with high integrity and he obviously is the tech brain of the business, and we got along really well. And we bootstrap our business the whole time. They always say that. I would say even marriage, you can, marriage your spouse is, is one person and if you start a business, your co-founder is your next, almost like the other spouse.
You really kinda have to compliment each other and be on the same page. I would say I was watching that, that's really one of the key contributing factors of how we've gone through the journey the whole time and got to where we are today. That's amazing. I love that I asked you about your unique contributions to the journey and you mentioned your co-founder. It's a really good sign, shows that you have a really great relationship.
How do you make sure that, like I'm sure that there's been disagreements you've had and maybe even fights. You've clearly succeeded at maintaining this like marriage. Any tips for people? I would say that the one key factors, right as I look back is really the complimentary of skill sets is critical in a, let's say a co-founding team, right? Meaning that we know our strengths are weaknesses and we try to, and in a business, there are definitely enough problems to be solved, right? If you talked about like co-founders fighting over something, let's say if it's a tech decision or business decision, right? To me, that is a symptom of two people trying to solve the same problem, right? So in business, again, in a tech software, you have so many tech problems. There's so many business problems.
I think if you find a good balance where someone is basically dealing with business and the other is on tech and you trust the other person doing the best. Now of course you always discuss your ideas and all that, right? Once you make a decision, you go, because again, the point being they have many problems to solve. And it's so much better to have this support versus saying constant every decision. Both parties want decide and fight over something and all that. So in retrospect in my working relationship with Swami, we really seldom fight at all, if any because we stay on a lane and we work well together.
That kind of marriage is, it's great. Come on. Obviously . Yeah. So you have your unique skills and lanes and you're like, way more about this lane than I do. I trust you.
And then that's, that seems like a really good recipe for a good marriage. ? I would say so, yes. That being said, you are talking about, in this case co-founding that co-founders that we need to really make a lot of strategic decisions. We definitely have a lot of strategic discussions and once we, and then so just say Swami looked at me for input into tech because he want to think differently, but once we say that he makes it, he go he runs with it.
And likewise on the other side. I don't want to imply that you should have some person to just do everything business and the tech should not get involved. Vice versa. You should work closely, but you don't have to argue over certain things. Generally, if it's you, clearly, which lane we're talking about. And that, that's a, from my experience, a good, it is a good form, . That makes sense.
All right, so I love hearing all about 1Core and your relationship with Swami and working with the government. Something that connected us actually was our fascination with Web three. Would love to, to hear why you are even exploring it, and then we'll get into your idea for a particular DAO web3 for sure in the childcare industry will be quite new.
Just nobody really is talking about it. But my personal kind of exposure was, I think maybe a couple years ago where I actually did get one of those spam email. They say, Hey, you do this, right? You gotta send me some crypto. And that's why I realized I need to look in what is this out fascination? I look at what is crypto and all that.
And that's how I got down this rabbit hole. And then as far as the, my fascination with the, with web3, once you really understand the power of the blockchain, which in itself technologically is not really not new, it is fundamentally a database, a ledger, right? But the immutability and what, the blockchain technology allows different use cases of digital ownership, decentralization, and human coordination via DAO and using NFT as as a way to control access and things like that. That's fascinating. And when you look at that compared to what is possible in Web two and folks like us that have been through web two and as a matter of fact, I was thinking that when people talk about web3, where we are now in 2022, right? It is because I went through the, 1990s, 97 with web2 internet com and all that, right? And looking at the last 12 years it feels the same that, and during this phase there will be a lot of hype. a lot of, should I say scams and all that? But if you look at the fundamental technology, if you believe that it is sound, which I do during this bear market in fact, I think that the, all the real solution that are being built just like back in 2000 2021 like from Amazon and all that, right? If you look back.
And so I think for that reason, I'm so excited to focus on the right use cases less on the hype. And I think what we can leverage that right to in my case, obvious try to solve some problems in the childcare industry. Amazing. That's such a great summary of web three. A lot of the irrational exuberance is no longer, super prevalent in the web three space, like on Twitter anymore. But I think the people that are still around are are already building some really cool stuff, and even just a year from now, we're gonna see so many cool tools and use cases being built out.
We can workshop this live. We'd love to talk about your ideas with a childcare oriented DAO. Yeah. And one of the things that I you know, as part of my the learning journey and going down the rabbit hole, understanding all different pieces of what the what three, generically speaking, and, but I think I, I kind like the, still use the term blockchain because that is the underlying technology that everything runs on, right? So the, I think in, in, in in the case of or rather a fundamental change that could happen, how web three or blockchain can be deployed to make a really big difference is to come up with a industry wide doubt, right? Because within it, you can actually create various initiative of parts, right? Of people trying to solve problem for the industry that is not possible before, because earlier I mentioned that down in my view is a great human coordination tool because humans are, we all work for incentives, right? So in the current inherent web tool model, By the way, I can, talk a little bit about why it's the childcare industry is broken currently. And that is, by the way, is no secret at all. . It's well acknowledged. Why the ch you know, in the c industry the model is broken.
And after spending 20 years in this industry, I have come to conclusion the existing solution with web two simply will not be able to address the underlying problems. But web three can, potentially can. Cool. What are the underlying problems? So let's talk about the one underlying problem is the as in America, we have decided not to support early childhood education, meaning you and I, we, actually no. You grew up in the public school in the us I came as a immigrant after I for college, right? So for public school, start K up, when zero to five, there is no public funding for early child education in America.
So the, no, the government does have funding to support low income families. So in other words, if you're poor, you get some help in childcare. But if you're middle class, or, actually not even middle class, like you just, almost like above a poverty line, you are on your own for childcare.
You have to cover the cost of childcare, right? So if you think about it, the cost of education is very high. So right now, because of that early child education that the supply is primarily offered by private childcare providers, right? And then, so it is. Very difficult to run a childcare business because you don't get help. You just run early childhood education like a business.
Imagine let's say if we, if all public school, elementary pub in know, middle or high school is all private right in the country and everybody's paid for that, right? Imagine what kind of system you have, right? So somehow in America, childcare is like that, right? Parents have to fund the childcare. so the one fundamental problem is that the supply is very difficult because we just decide society not to sponsor early child education. On the flip side, parents with young children, with zero to five, they are just starting out in the career, and yet they have to fund a childcare, right? So it's very expensive. Interesting. But at the same time, whatever they can afford to pay is not enough to really support the supply of childcare. the people who are actually providing childcare, which all the besides the operator, you childcare is all about staff taking care of the children, right? Yeah.
So the fundamental problem is that it is on both sides. It's like parents is not affordable, but whatever they can pay, right? It's not enough to support the wages of the staff, the people providing the childcare. So many childcare workers have to work two jobs just to have a livable wage. Wow. So fundamentally that is a problem in the early childhood education in America.
Okay. It's just, so I'm repeating this back. There's no like public school childcare care from like zero to five, right? Yes. And then there's not enough childcare workers because it's low wage. So you have to really almost have to sacrifice because for the level of children, what you do, right? On average many states are still paying minimum wage for childcare.
Some states actually like $8 an hour. Can you imagine living on eight, eight to $10 an hour. And yet those are the people that we are delegating to develop the next generation of America.
Because parents gotta work, right? So you gotta put kids in childcare, and yet the people who are taking care of those precious assets, right? We're not even paying them with livable wage. We're not talking about career advancements and other things. And that is one fundamental problem that I see in the industry. So what do we do about it? This is where I can maybe share a little bit about my thoughts of, let's say fundamentally, what if as web three. and blockchain evolves.
I think there is one opportunity to re reallocate resources, right? And value creation almost is that imagine right now that the, there is no way to track the amount of contribution for let's say someone taking care of the children, like the childcare staff. You work, you get paid right by the operator. Now, if we decide to change the equation a little bit and somehow come up with a protocol, let's say for sure you can get a call, like a "proof of care" protocol, where I can demonstrate I have invested so many hours of my life. So if for any folks that are working in childcare, there's contributing to the development of a young child.
You are actually on chain, right? You can actually collect, let's say "proof of care" tokens or what have you to demonstrate that you have contributed so much. And if we can somehow bring resources into, in that token, to create values, right? That's one way that the childcare workers now, instead of just being, getting paid on the web two way of just like a minimum wage, because we decided that the web three people decided that we value the contribution of the childcare workers. So we're gonna create a parallel value system, right? The reward people who do that, even though right now our society don't pay them enough, right? That's one way. I don't know if you followed the concept there. Interesting. This would be, so this would be in addition to their normal, like salary, right? Yes.
And I think also ideally if that works right, then you could actually attract more people. They love to contribute in this field, but they simply can't. They support the families. So this way you besides increasing supplier staff and even the quality of staff, because the capable people mindset going to for, some other fields and they can now come to early childhood education. Yes. This is interesting.
One thing that comes to mind is, it's a weird metaphor to bring in, but I'm curious if you thought about it. Children are like VC investments. And wh why wouldn't I want to be rewarded for the success of the people I'm taking care of? It like, , what do you think about that? For example, I've mentored a lot of, like high schoolers, for example, and part of the reward is just the joy of it. But part of it is the people I mentor, like remembering the work that I did and like when I need help from them when they're older they have, I I have to I have to make sure that they don't forget . But I, what was interesting
where my mind went was like, as if we're really seeing web three as a foundational set of ideas and tokens and like that this, it'll be around this idea of having like a civic reputation of people that you cared for, like projects that you built for the public, et cetera. I could definitely see, even if it's many years down the line, a childcare worker being rewarded for having contributed to the development of a successful businessman or businesswoman. You set up the perfect segue on my idea number two, which uh, so now to answer your question Yeah, I've been thinking about that. Right? Which also totally makes sense in a sense that the, right now, imagine you and I we know that there are many individuals who have contributed to where we are today. Imagine like down the road, right? But now all I can you and I can do is really looking back if you're appreciative, right? We remember those people.
We might even donate some money in memory of them and what have you, right? The next thing I thought is potentially possible, right? Is that. Recently, especially with the So token, this concept now, right? Imagine that we have a dynamic, soulbound token that is you, because sobar meaning that you should, once it's issued to you, you cannot I know it's evolving versus that's a NFT could be sold by and sell and all that, right? And so imagine we have a souldbound token and that the interesting thing is since, right now I'm working in the childcare industry, so we have ability to engage people who work with children at the very early on the, by the way, in childcare typically the earliest the youngest child that a provider typically will. Six weeks old when an infant, right? Because after the parents maternity really young. Wow. So technically in, in any technology platform that work with childcare, we have opportunity now to engage their child after they almost like they were born and left the hospital. So we definitely, in the child, any kind of childcare system is a great way to start to engage a child, right? Imagine that we, at one day we have this sovan token technology where every child is issue a so token, but it is dynamic, right? So anybody who contribute to the development of that child is on chain.
I can show that as a childcare provider. I did this not just childcare provider. The teachers along the way, right? Because I'm only from early child education.
. Obviously we know that the public school system, middle school elementary, middle school, the teachers, obviously they're slightly better because of the school district, but education, compensation all is always a challenge. So I think it is so cool that if you think about it, then on the flip side, like you said, if I'm one day I become a very successful person. Successful in the materials, let's say materialistic sense, I want to give back now. I know exactly right. Give back in a way if I like Yeah, I thought about this. Just like you can, you should be in the future, very easy to algorithmically give back to the people that you know contributed to your development.
And if it's as early as possible, that's really cool because. It's almost like a another parent that raised you. That's the importance of childcare workers. And I'm glad that you're really a champion here. And I think Garrett, the other thing I thought indirectly earlier you were talking about what other avenues that Web three can make a difference, I think right now, I think we, I think generally we understand that in the the traditional philanthropic mechanism, there's still a lot of challenges. I e let's say if I have billions of dollars to give out even, right? I don't know.
This is their level accountability that I know my donation is making an impact because of always you have all this NGO not-for-profit organization, the middleman, right? To actually then help the final beneficiaries. Imagine that the war is tokenized now, especially with children, right? With the wall. That's not, I actually can say that I want to give, right? And I want to give to, let's say if you have a so bound token of a child that you have some characteristic trait, I can find my web trait, the donation can go straight to various and then you can also see what happened to them. And eventually, if that child is very successful, they can actually contribute back to the ecosystem saying, now I'm successful. I don't need more, I want to give it to my fellow other children and things like that. I think that's a possibility is endless if it's done right.
Yeah. Yeah. I love that. So who would be the first adopters of this? Would it be, it would be, it would probably be web three forward parents.
Yeah. And interestingly the other day sorry, kind having some conversation with folks, right? The one comment that this young couple that I spoke to, and especially the mother, she was saying, wow, I really like it. And not only that, I, she said that it is done correctly the young generation that they are motivated to, to make to make change because they have the whole life in front of them besides the child, young child, right? They're still.
No, if this is something targeted for, let's say retirement the baby boomer, it's like less seven to make change because my life is sad. Most part. So yes, I would say if it's done think the no. Now of course there's still there limited penetration of even the parents, child.
Parents will work three because we're still early in terms of education, but they are definitely a good audience to to educate. This is really cool. I also, I'm, of course you've thought about this whatever, like you are in a good, you're in a great place to run a pilot, right? With some forward thinking childcare center that one core is already partnered with, right? Yes, there's that.
I think but fundamentally the way I view it that's I dunno if I mentioned earlier you, you talked about, the evolution of DAO. There's so many from the initial use case, right? I think those are very early permutation. Obviously.
I think the, what I foresee, right? And in fact recently the, I don't know if you heard about this this DAO called Vibe Bio. VB bio. Yeah.
I interviewed one of the co-founders yeah, really? I have to look it up. So the, I think they are definitely one example of a DAO where they're trying to change the pharma, research mechanism, flip the model. , I think and. The DAO itself, right? What is trying to do the impact is so big, right? Fundamentally yeah.
DeSci. Right. So our words, I think the, my the sort of, what I'm really excited about is actually long-term viewing that creating a DAO, not just addressing one little piece of the equation is to create that platform to motivate and attract all the different stakeholders, including previous competitors, right? For example in our little space of one core, we are software vendor we have many competitors. Yeah. In web two, we just compete, right? Which is, yeah.
But in web three, you can be a collaborator. Totally different mental model. Yeah. You got it.
So I think that is what's exciting is that then when you get there because of that different model, then all things are possible. Now it will be a lot of chaos, but I think. And what is more, more exciting is that because of DAO, if it's done it's decentralized. You don't need a leader at the top. And when the leader goes away, right? Then everything falls apart is if it's done correctly. Everybody has a rule.
Now I know that what we are now, you have to, we definitely have to do the the progressive I think there's a term called progressive decent decentralization. Yeah. You can't, day one, be decentralized because you still need the core group to run it. But long-term days that path. And what is nice is that, can you imagine that even like today, I think of the business I built one core, I will have to step away one day and I'm not sure whether if I, when I do step away, if I exit and sell the business, maybe someone will take care for a while, but eventually part it will die.
Right? . Now imagine that you can leave a legacy of something that I contribute to the start, but it's fine. It'll just go on forever. For all the people to come after me.
. Yeah. Yeah. I mean it's more, more equipped for that. Wow.
Fascinating. How did you, how do you go about doing your research? You, you are quite informed even though I doubt that you're in that many, like discords or whatever, unless you are what is your approach to learning new technologies? I think my method of absorbing and learning is podcast like I pick the right one. And in my, at this stage of my life now for exercise, I walk, hike, yeah. That's, I do now imagine it, it's such a enjoyable experience.
I get to exercise, I do something I like, usually I try to be on nature, walk around with my app part on, and I'm just like, maybe people say, you shouldn't really distract yourself. You should just enjoy the beauty of nature. , but I do that too, but I, my brain is like really listening to this and usually I get a couple hours of that and that's that's my, every day I just add hopefully. That's so interesting. Do that.
We are very similar. I'm a very auditory listener and I like to, I like hearing dialogue because often people put too much fluff in like their writing when they, and they just get to the point when they're asked a question live. So that's really cool.
What is a, another foundational tech company that you have admired from afar, let's say and why do you think it's so foundational? I think the one that comes to mind, there is a I think protocol Unlock right? I don't you my. Know the founder. That's correct. So I think it's pretty foundational in the sense that maybe that, that falls more in the bridge from web to, to web three essay. Because again, one core we run is Web two sales business. , and I'm still trying to figure out how we can bridge that, in engaging to our existing clients of future clients, using Web three.
And it seems using some kind unlock mechanism right to entity of some kind this a lot of potential there. So I, I look forward to really letting more cool. One thing I like about Unlock is that it's like a, it's pretty general purpose. Which is like a key factor I would say determining if something is like foundational yeah, I think that there, there's a good reason why it's taken off so much. And then Gary, if I may ask a, this may finish with a question for you, is that just I, when I first discovered your, what you're trying to do first, a very inspiring, story, and especially because we're both an ethnic Chinese that we call America Home. I wasn't born here, but I've been here, called America for years.
Yeah. How, America have contributed to our who we are, our success and whatever. That, when you talked about foundational technology, and that's, by the way, that's a term that caught my attention now. Before, I wasn't thinking like childcare, remember the story top of how we got in. So much of it is accidental.
You just do what's in front of you. You grab the opportunity, right? , but realizing now after so many years, that, yeah the tech that support what we do, as I mentioned, is pretty foundational because, and I know if I say now in this podcast that. During the pandemic folks says that, childcare workers essential. Yeah.
Especially for the, because they need to support the other essential work frontline workers. But very soon, we all realize childcare is not only essential, it is the backbone of the economy. Absolutely. Yeah.
So I'm wondering if you, maybe you can wrap it up by saying that I'm really imp really impressed by you thinking that to make a, long-term change. Of course. Another, what, three terms, go first principle. You gotta go to the root. Don't Yeah. Otherwise it's very superficial because it's so easy to work on superficial stuff.
Yeah. Maybe. Yeah. And maybe now that more about, I don't know, whether you thought of childcare as foundational, how would you maybe end the conversation with wow.
And I definitely look forward to collaborating more because you know what we, and they always say about what is all about collaboration. It's all about bringing more like-minded people together. Yeah, I think I was not thinking about childcare until you, you message me, but I try to think from first principles, and I don't have a kid, I won't have a kid for many year, for a few years at least.
But it's like childcare is tied for first, right? Like among many, like reasonable people could rank it, number one. At the same, ironically, at the same level as defense, right? Or internet infrastructure. A lot of, and but like when you ask, especially did the disproportionately male leadership in America, like what is top priority? We need AI weapons. And that's true. I think that's true. But they're not thinking about childcare really enough.
I'm just, I'm grateful for the opportunity to have have been inspired to think more about it, to, to be able to talk to you about it. I wanna talk to you more about this after this ends, but before this ends, let's do a rapid fire round. Is that cool? Sure. , please. All right.
What is your favorite American fast food chain? Oh that's easy. I love Chick-fil-A. Okay. It's my, one of my vices that I do still indulge in. What is your favorite meal there? Oh, my spicy deluxe chicken when I used to eat it.
Cause I'm like, I'll say I'm mostly vegan these days. So delicious. Alright. Favorite American TV show. That one is tougher because I don't watch tv. Okay.
What about watch in a long time? Yeah. . That's fair. What about favorite American podcast? Podcast did you say? Yeah. Oh I had quite a few actually. The one that I do enjoy quite a bit is the Freakonomics, and then what's the other, the guy, the other guy the people I most admire by Steve. Steve Levitt. Oh, cool.
I listen those. And then a lot of what three, podcasts as well. Yeah. What's your favorite web three podcast? One of them. Yeah.
Bankless is pretty good. That was great. So I do listen to them. Yes.
Among others. Yeah. That's awesome. Favorite American historical figure? Let's say, I think Lincoln probably would come to mind.
Great. Best American holiday. That one perhaps.
I would say this answer applies more now than before because most of my children, actually one is back with us, but Christmas, for the reason that, because the, I'm somewhat empty, nester now. When you get to see your kids that one holiday, you actually get to see them. Yeah. Yeah. That's great.
That's what I'm doing next week. Okay. Favorite American Sports League? Again a typical immigrant Americans, not quite into the American sports per se, a typical basketball, baseball, what have you, but suddenly grew up in soccer, so if I may change the subject a little bit, I fascinated by all, FIFA 2022 World Cup, right? Yeah.
Pretty fascinating. I just every chance I get, what's the highlights, all the goals, and so That's great. I, you I just heard earlier that Morocco. Yes.
That's incredible. The semi finals actually. Yeah. Yeah.
That's incredible. Favorite American grocery store. Oh the one that's close by, I would say we have Safeway here, and yes. They're good. So reliable.
All right. Most underrated American City that you're not living in right now. Wow. It's interesting.
I don't live in Atlanta now, but I think Atlanta is a great city. Great. That's a great answer. Apparent, apparently it has the biggest entertainment revenue in the country or something like that. Like it's really underrated in terms of how much value it generates. Maybe that wasn't a case when I was there in the in the late eighties.
The entertainment industry wasn't quite there yet. . Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Cool.
Really grateful for the spontaneity today. I think this is like one of my favorite conversations I've had. And yeah excited to see how I can be helpful with the different ideas that we discussed on this recorded call and also before. And just thank you for doing what you're doing.
Thanks for having me. I know. Yeah. I think this is something definitely quite spontaneous, but I think general I enjoy very much as well. Yeah. Thanks Gary.
Thank you so much for tuning in. I really appreciate it. If you enjoyed that video, you got value out of it. Please give this video a like hit that subscribe button, click that notification bell, so we can get this in front of more awesome people like yourself.