Blockchain Blog

Meet the Team: Chris, VP Operations and Finance

It’s exciting to have a career in the bitcoin industry, to be at the forefront of something so promising, yet so new with many unknowns. We like to focus on the bigger, exciting questions bitcoin can answer. How can we increase user adoption? How will the Bitcoin protocol evolve? How can we help less fortunate children?

As bitcoin companies grow, these bigger goals can best be addressed when the finer details are taken care of: proper bookkeeping, financial planning and analysis, a suitable office location and the daunting prospect of employee health insurance. Who thrives under the pressure of mountains of paperwork? Chris, our VP of Operations and Finance, enthusiastically says he “loves bringing operational efficiency to an organization.”

While I will say his work makes the humdrum life of Immanuel Kant seem like an Indiana Jones adventure, I have to admire his passion for such a role. Chris goes above and beyond to ensure team members have a work environment that supports our absolute best performance.

lavery4**Alyson: You’re responsible for so many essential parts of how our company works. What do you enjoy most about your role? **

**Chris: **I love this job. I love the people and the passion behind our work. I wake up in the morning and I can’t wait to get to work because we are creating something greater than ourselves. I have had many great jobs and this is at the top of the list. I love the diversity of thought regarding the value that bitcoin will bring the world.

A: It sounds like its bitcoin’s bigger picture that helps keeps you motivated to get all the smaller details in order. What about it gets you so inspired?

C: The most intriguing thing about bitcoin is the unknown potential. Very few, if any, people knew about the truly revolutionary impact that the Internet was going to have on daily lives. We now have these powerful little computers that fit into our pocket that we can use to hail a cab, instantly send pictures to all of your friends, instantly search the world for answers, communicate with anyone, and send money. I am confident bitcoin is going to have a similar revolutionary impact. I am also confident that I do not comprehend what other technologies and companies it will spur.

A: The diversity on our team is astounding. On top of our collective interest in bitcoin, it seems each of us has our own food for thought we are vocal about. What do you often rant about that gets you fired up?

C: These days, it’s the gluten-free and anti-GMO campaigns that really get me going. I think those are up there with anti-vaccination campaigns. Let’s completely ignore science and just go with our gut, figuratively, because I read something in US weekly about some celebrity and how they lost weight. I am not an expert in these fields so I have talked about it with almost any doctor I come across and some of they get more fired up about this than I do. There are people who legitimately have medical conditions. My girlfriend hates when I talk about this.

**A: There is lots of potential stress that comes with any job, but the competition and the unknowns in bitcoin are much more pronounced. How do you stay focused and healthy? **

**C: **I always played sports growing up.

My sport has always been playing soccer. Before I moved out to NYC from SF, I was playing soccer 3-4 days a week year round outdoors, cycling at least twice a week, and skiing in Tahoe most weekends when there is snow. One of my favorite activities is trail running.

I have lots of energy, and if I don’t exercise or do something active, it has a profound affect on my mind and mental state.

I don’t enjoy physical activities (“sports”) where you are consuming more calories than you are burning. Golf and softball you can drink multiple beers while playing. Darts, pool, shuffleboard, and miniature golf are great activities that you can drink and play. But no one would call those sports or at least physical sports. (See, there’s another rant)

A: Is there a sport you want to try but never have?

I would love to go heli-skiing (**off-trail, downhill skiing or snowboarding that is accessed by a helicopter). I think I am the only person in my ski house that never went.

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**A: While there are few options to study bitcoin at a post-secondary level, some universities including Princeton have begun offering online courses. Others decide to pursue a more DIY approach and learn as they go, or choose to sign up for courses offered by organizations like the nonprofit, Khan Academy. **

What are your perspectives on formal vs informal education and the learning experience?

C: You don’t have to go to school to be a great developer or entrepreneur. Everyone’s path is much different.

I had a great deal of formal education. I went to Georgetown University for my undergraduate degree, Georgetown University for Law School, and The Wharton Business School at UPenn. I have also done many online courses, watched a significant amount of documentaries and history channel shows, such as the Universe.

It’s important to have a lifelong curiosity to learn new things, and to realize how little you actual know when you weigh it against the contemporary knowledge base.

A: Pretend you’ve become a minimalist and you’re going to get rid of all but 5 possessions. What would you keep?

  1. A chair my mom gave me before she passed away. It is a kid’s chair but I hope to pass it on to one of my kids.
  2. My iPhone, not for the reason that you think. I have digitized all of my photos and I keep them on there. I also need the contacts so I can reach to my friends and family.
  3. My road bike.
  4. My skis.
  5. My passport.
[![This might be interesting for a tech company. a little blurry. I taught President Clinton how to surf the internet on election night 1998. He never used a mouse or surfed. Fast learner.](http://blog.blockchain.com/content/images/2015/08/lavery-whitehouse-1024x671.jpg)](http://blog.blockchain.com/content/images/2015/08/lavery-whitehouse.jpg)
“This might be interesting for a tech company, but the picture is a little blurry. I taught President Clinton how to surf the internet on election night 1998. He had never used a mouse or surfed. Fast learner!”
**A: I have to ask about your time working at the White House. What was the experience like?**

C: It was a remarkable experience. I met Rosa Parks; I flew around on Air Force One and Marine One. I gave West Wing tours to people like John Travolta and hung out with people like Kevin Spacey. I was seriously annoyed by the actor who played Zack Morris on Saved by the Bell. I took my dad to a St. Patrick’s Day party at the White House, where he met his hero and Nobel prize winner Seamus Heaney. I was in Monica Lewinsky’s intern class. The first time I played hearts with the President while on Marine One I tried shooting the moon and was stopped by the President as the helicopter was flying around the Washington Monument. All of this started while I was in college.

Find out if Chris ever gets to go heli-skiing by following him on Twitter!