Blockchain Blog

Meet the Team: Mandrik, User Operations Manager

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Were you one of the lucky folks fortunate enough to taste some of GFB’s Baklava while it was still being sold?

If you’ve ever been in need of help with your Blockchain wallet, chances are you’ve opened a helpdesk support ticket. Mandrik, User Operations Manager, has been leading and managing a good majority of helpdesk operations for over a year.

Often described as the “soul” of Blockchain’s day-to-day operations, we’re excited to bring you a closeup interview, where we discuss his leap into the bitcoin world, his recommendations for new bitcoiners and reveal a bit of his silly side.

Alyson: What is the most interesting thing about your position at Blockchain?

Mandrik: I’ve held many customer service position over the years, and working at Blockchain is by far the most unique. Bitcoin is still so new and many questions we receive from users do not necessarily relate to a specific part of our site or services.

Many are basic questions related to bitcoin, and it’s exciting to help newer users better understand how it all works.

[![Mandrik's leadership & culinary talents have also led him to run a food stand at Porcfest, a popular libertarian freedom festival in New Hampshire., where he perfected the art of bacon weaving.](http://blog.blockchain.com/content/images/2014/12/10836312_10152986125574884_1406927141_n.jpg)](http://blog.blockchain.com/content/images/2014/12/10836312_10152986125574884_1406927141_n.jpg)
Mandrik’s leadership & culinary talents have also led him to run a food stand at Porcfest, a popular libertarian freedom festival in New Hampshire, where he perfected the art of bacon weaving.
**A: Your bitcoin discovery story is quite interesting; would you care to share it with our users?**

**M: **I like to joke that I mined my first bitcoins with my oven.

I used to run a site called George’s Famous Baklava. I would bake baklava at home and mail it out.

My business was 100% PayPal at first until Roger Ver convinced me to start accepting bitcoin in late 2011. I immediately saw the benefits of bitcoin vs. PayPal, and over the next few years I learned more and more about the technology behind how it works.

I reached a point in 2012 where I wanted to work towards a 100% bitcoin income, so I focused more and more energy towards achieving that. I spent some time with BitInstant before joining Blockchain in September 2013.

“Bitcoin is a big part of my life, and it’s something I’m very passionate about. Being able to be a part of an industry I care so much about keeps me motivated. Working with other highly motivated individuals helps, too! I could never go back to a normal office job after doing something like this.”

**A: What are the most important suggestions you could give to someone new and curious about bitcoin?
**

M: Security is always my biggest concern, and explaining the basics goes a long way for somebody new getting into bitcoin.

I think most non-technical people have poor security practices for their everyday internet use. Taking the time to improve these is my strongest recommendation before diving into bitcoin.

Buying bitcoins has become easier over the years, but I think it’s better to find a way to earn bitcoins through work vs. just paying for them with fiat. If you have an online or brick & mortar store try accepting bitcoin as a way to learn more about it.

Finally, I’d recommend taking the time to read up on bitcoin and watch a few videos on the basics. Having someone explain things to you can be helpful, but taking the time to educate yourself is the best way to have the “Ah-ha!” moment with bitcoin.

mandrikA: Now that we know your thoughts on bitcoin, what about altcoins?

M: Whenever I see a new one pop up I tend to think, “Oh look, another altcoin,” and then go back to doing whatever I was already doing. They don’t excite me at all, but I know there are people working on new blockchain-based technologies. I find those much more interesting.

**A: Your position at Blockchain challenges you to be a problem-solver. To stay on top of your game, what keeps you motivated?
**

M: Bitcoin is a big part of my life, and it’s something I’m very passionate about. Being able to be a part of an industry I care so much about keeps me motivated. Working with other highly motivated individuals helps, too! I could never go back to a normal office job after doing something like this.

A: Here’s a spontaneous silly question for you. If you only had 24 hours left to live, what would you spend your time doing?

M: I’d buy a golf cart, fill it up with as many champagne bottles as possible, and drive around town with no pants on. Maybe I’d throw out some paper wallets to random people in the final hours. As long as I could avoid getting arrested before keeling over, I’d be happy!

A: If you could transport yourself anywhere in the world immediately, where would it be and why?

M: Somewhere warm where there isn’t snow…like my home office. Who needs to travel when you have everything you need right in front of you?

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