Influencer Luuk Weber: ecosystem builder and a system’s innovator
Interview July 2020
Could you share with us some information of your family life?
I am 23 years old and was born in Curaçao. I am not married and have no other brothers or sisters. As a baby, my family went to live in Holland and when I was 10 years old, the family returned back to Curaçao and I finished my VWO at the Peter Stuyvesant College. I returned back in Holland and got a degree in Business Administration at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam, but I also studied Philosophy during those days, meaning I studied the role of ethics in Economics, addressing issues like: ”What is the value of money and how should an economy function”. I never graduated in Philosophy as I came in contact with the Crypto and Blockchain Technology and noted that all the ethical questions that were raised in the Philosophy study, were also being dealt with in the Blockchain Technology, so my appetite to learn more about Plato and Socrates evaporated.
How important was the role of your parents in whom you are now?
My parents were important in the kind of upbringing that I had. I have always asked myself: “Why innovative students just like I am, do so well?” I am innovative and creative. I was fortunate to be able to attend school and I am grateful for that. Furthermore my parents when I was in the secundary school always had this typical “Dutch” approach towards me: If you get good grade, let us say an “8”, they would compliment you and you might even get a bonus. If your grade was not that great, let us say a “5” they would tell you, “next time better”. This is contrary to an upbringing that is a more punitive style, where if you got an “8” you would be off the hook and if you got a “5” you would be punished. Furthermore my parents always stimulated me to try new things out and taught me to “do, act, an apply”- kind of mentality. By doing this, I developed my non-lineair way of thinking of things, instead of a constructed conditioned mindset.
I have always been entrepreneurial and started the first street soccer team when I was 9 years old. As a teenager I loved gaming and I like developing logo’s. While at school I wasn’t the best student. It wasn’t about being lazy, I just didn’t want to be part of the more conventional school educational system. I wasn’t the sweetest student at school, but I had always trained karate. And my karate coaches Yvonne and Anthony Leito were always teaching me that “everything is possible, if you work for it”. I also helped in a bootcamp for a year or so. This bootcamp was for children that were difficult to educate. That was some 7 years ago. There, I experienced that if you work hard for something, you will get it. So I have learned the value of focusing and have also developed a more broad world view.
I love building a community and expanding it. That is my job now based on DAO-concept. A DAO is a decentralized autonomous organization. It is a business or organization whose decisions are made electronically by a written computer code or through the vote of its members. In essence it is a system of hard coded rules that define which actions an organization will take. It also works out a protocol arranging where the money that it makes, goes to. I have in the past 1 – 1,5 years organized about 40 events be it digital or “live” from Asia to Puerto Rico. In the past 5 months I have created a new DAO and all of this is related to my passion “Blockchain Technology” and my passion to make the world a better place. By doing this, there is a lot of innovation and iteration involved. So the upbringing that I had, comes in handy.
Could you share with us some of your educational background and past professional experiences as we know that you are an innovative entrepreneur? And what kind of business consulting does you company offer?
I never had a side job in Curaçao or earned any extra money, because I was too busy with my self development. When I came in Holland to study I came into contact with the start up world. I was all into gaming, making videos and editing. I started in Rotterdam on a zero-hour contract for social media company as I wanted to develop something new that was close to whom I am. So I got to work for a crypto currency company and again got in contact with the Blockchain Technology when I went as a trainee to work for IBIS in Curaçao. They asked me what I knew about Blockchain and Crypto currencies and that was a perfect synchronicity that fitted well and further developed my interest and passion for this area. Back in Holland I worked for 9 months as a day trader in Crypto Currency and earned some good money doing this. But I decided to combine things, that is to combine trading with organizing meet ups events for Caribbean students, so that is how the Caribbean Blockchain network began. I also got involved in Blockchain talks as the lead organizer and I learned a lot from organizing this. As of the beginning of 2018 till the end of 2019 with the help of a grant for a Crypto Currency Fund, we started the “Innovation Ç” and in the first event presenters needed to tell something personal about themselves and during that time I stayed a month in Curaçao. Although we planned to have 40 attendees, it turned out we had 120 attendees and that was far beyond our expectations and that was not the original intention. Even the Prime Minister Rhuggenaath attended. Back in Holland I was pondering my next steps.
I wanted a bigger challenge and in March 2019, I decided to organize another event in Curaçao. There was a big demand for it. In April 2019 we had 9 sessions and 300 attendees. One of these sessions was on the future of organizations in the Netherlands and America in the Blockchain world. In organizations a lot of overhead can be eliminated and trust levels can be increased by starting the Curaçao Blockchain Network. In a DAO, which is a decentralized organization, no one is “the boss”. The governance is set up so that decisions are made by all, everybody that can add value to the island for example has voting rights. In June 2019 we organized a similar event in Trinidad. In July 2019, we started a pilot that ultimately consisted of 40 people and we implemented 12 projects. But then I changed my course again, as I wanted to add a little more tempo to my work and I left the Caribbean Blockchain Network, as I found it had become too theoretical.
So I started another pilot and wanted to have more freedom to choose where I wanted to add value on in Curaçao. In the Curaçao DAO every effort, also voluntary work, needs to be honored and paid for. Everybody needs to be honored according to their input. In the capitalist system there is too much imbalance. Not paying for certain work, I consider nonsensical and hampers the sustainability and the health of the whole system.
After co-organizing events and meet-ups of 50 to 300 attendees and having overall over 15000 attendees in our events and meet ups all over the world, as I was playing a more important role in closing deals and gained lots of experience, I decide to start on my own.
How is the COVIV-19 pandemic affecting your business?
In February 2020 I was in Denver and we had 400 attendees and then the COVID -19 crisis came into play. It became clear that “live”-events would stop for the coming months. But I have learned that open systems like a DAO, do not always have to stay in motion. In March COVID-19 brought to me the opportunity to invest in myself and the ones close to me. I am a person that need to use my hours very efficiently. I am involved in at least 3 projects and I am also a fund manager for a Crypto Asset Fund. I need to constantly switch in different languages, working in different time zones, always being alert. So my time I invest, there where I believe that I can add the greatest value.
Basically you live in two worlds, right? Is this a deliberate choice, living in two worlds and still be very interested in creating social change in Curaçao?
I am a world citizen, is a better description. Because of digitalization, I hardly notice that there are country borders. I could have been in a retreat in Berlin in one week and next week be in Bulgaria. I work mostly on-line and then I am unaware at times if a person is in Los Angeles or Bulgaria and I could even work in 4 time zones at the same time. This is the world that I want to work in.
I have googled you and see that you are entrepreneur. You call yourself a community manager and you are organizing different events. Is this a correct description of what you are doing?
More accurately, I would say that I am an ecosystem builder and a system’s innovator. I only work in an integrated, whole manner and in Innovation Ç we make agreements on collaboration and help create positive loops for everybody. In Blockchain, we can write our own rules we don’t know any borders, but we have an innate drive to bring what we have to the rest of the world. To be successful, I am fully aware of, will take years of dedicated time and love for the work. There will be set backs in the Blockchain and the only way to stay the course is “passion” and that is what keeps you going in the end.
What is your BIG WHY or driving motivation to be whom you are right now?
The urge to make something new that really gives results not necessarily in terms of money, but in terms of change and movement. It doesn’t have to be my system. The Macro Economic system that we are in now and that has been formed over the years in the world, is cracking and it is time to make a new system where there is more equality and a better world. Where the resources we have a right to, there is no competition to be able to access it, like “the air we breathe in” and the whole (all of human kind) can manage these public domains like “the air” and not a small group. And this is managed like “an organism”. For the Curaçao DAO the big question is how to make a system, that works on self improvement and that contributes to the everybody in the system, where the incentives are aligned.
What are the challenges that you are dealing with? And how are you dealing with these different challenges you confront?
My time. Being as efficient as possible spending time on what really matters.
Do you use your inner voice to evaluate when dilemma’s show up? How does that work for you?
Sports and writing. Every three months I write a roadmap of myself, whom I want to be, what do I want to improve and I look back after three months. What went well, what could have gone better, reflection on all of my life basically. And be aware: To become successful requires doing the hard consistent work, it doesn’t fall out of the blue sky. Being aware of that makes it easier for my to spend hours and hours of honing my skills and knowledge levels to achieve what I want.
What are your strengths?
Curiosity, sincere perserverance, strategic insight and adapatibility and flexibility as I am able to make a 180 degrees switch if needed.
Do you have hobbies or interests that you are also passionate about?
Everything that I do now, but also being outdoors and travelling. I like doing lots of things and I love a variety in things.
How would you describe Luuk in one word or one sentence?
I am constantly working on my self improvement to be the best version for myself and for those around me. I am thoughtfull and action oriented and if I believe in something that is positive and I go after it and in doing that I become unstoppable.
Whom are the persons that have inspired you the most in your career?
My mother, my karate teachers Yvonne and Anthony Leito and Larry Regales. He taught me that one person can make a big difference in this world. For years he has been offering bootcamps for 150 youth from 5 to 15 years old on a “pro bono”- basis. I was able to help him for one year and saw how through his approach, he enabled a very impactful positive change in these youth, based on his vision.
What is a trait that is still work in progress?
Efficiency and self reflection.
What was a defining moment in your life?
When we went back to Curaçao when I was 10 years old. I had to adapt to a different culture and language. As when I started to work for Blockchain Talks and this became my passion as Blockchain can make the world a better place. Being involved in this and able to earn a living out of it, has been defining. And lots of great moments with my family.
Where do you want to be 15 years from now with your career?
I want to be involved in the same type of career that I have now, but do not want to be involved in repetitive tasks. I hope people will not have to work so much in 20 years from now, I foresee that they will work only 2 days a week.
What would you want your Loved Ones, family, friends and others to say about you let’s say 20 years from now?
That I have supported and encouraged them in difficult moments.
What makes you stay optimistic about the future of Curaçao?
We have done it before, we have our talents and resources, we have connections, we know our languages and at this moment we have lost our ability to find our resources, but if the management of the resources improve and it manages our resources more efficiently, especially our human capital, we shall overcome.
You know Andy Kirchner and why do you appreciate him so much?
In March 2020 I got into contact again with Andy. We have met before in Inovation Ç in 2018. His way to be loving and at the same time brutally honest to himself, really resonates with me. Andy has gone through a similar transformation as I have, by making that scary jump into the unknown to change, he is very self-critical and is constantly improving himself. He is the embodiment of Innovation Ç. This is what we need. Having that kind of mindset means, that we will achieve a lot of innovation. He is now consulting over the whole world and while he started very small, as a business owner.
One of the 250 Influencers of Curaçao
Luuk Weber, is an innovative, creative, energetic and focused entrepreneur, with a drive to be successful in his business activities. But at the same time, he actively works to “make the world a better place”. For Curaçao, this means that he is the co-founder of the Curaçao DAO. Although only 23 years young, his fast track of gaining multiple experiences during his life is exceptionally. His work is also based on a long term vision to contribute to the world. Passionate about Blockchain and the governance that a DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization) offers, has given him a clear path on how he wants to achieve this. Working with a 3 months’ roadmap of himself, whom he wants to be, what he wants to improve and reflecting rigorously every three months, typifies him. Furthermore his opinion, on having the incentives right so that everybody participating in the Curaçao DAO gets their fair share, is remarkable and in another sense very inspiring as it makes so much sense. “Otherwise the system is not sustainable”, according to Luuk. He is tirelessly looking for the solution on how to get the incentives right in the Curaçao DAO. We have no doubt that he, with all those involved in Curaçao DAO, will succeed in this endeavor, as he is clearly non-linear thinker that can adapt and make 180 degree changes to achieve his goals if needed. Because of all of this, we deeply love and respect Luuk and consider him one the 250 Influencers on the island, representing the Business (Innovation) sector.