When you accept bitcoin, you can accept payment from anyone
anywhere in the world at the speed of an email!
Sherlock Washington is the visually impaired business owner of SW Unlimited and utilizes adaptive technology tools everyday. As a leading provider of independent living services for clients located throughout New Jersey and New York, Sherlock encourages his clients to gain back their independence. I had the opportunity to sit down with Sherlock to hear about his childhood, how he began SW Unlimited, his love for Siri, and why he’s pursuing Blockchain and bitcoin.
Esther P: Like many entrepreneurs, Blockchain investor and Founder of Virgin, Richard Branson, once said that he starts a business only if it will improve people’s lives. What is your story behind starting SW Unlimited?
Sherlock W: I was diagnosed with an eye condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa at the age of seven. With RP, my vision in both eyes began to worsen as I grew older. I had graduated with a BS degree in Computer Science and was thinking of ways to help others with various eye conditions overcome their obstacles in both social and professional settings. The best solution was and still remains through adaptive technology, which has simply transformed my life. With that in mind, I established SW Unlimited in 1998 to provide assistive technology to other visually impaired individuals across the United States. Some of the key tools allow for video magnification and screen reading.
EP: How do you build your clientele, and what has been your most successful form of marketing?
SW: I’ve met majority of my clients through word of mouth and speaking in front of support groups, at universities, and in conferences. My clients include private individuals, the State, and Veterans Administration. We also work with Fortune 500 companies to purchase used and obsolete equipment for re-sale to third party maintenance companies and also export used equipment overseas. When I share my struggles and how I’ve overcome them in public, it naturally gives others the chance and comfort to do the same and to reach out for assistance. Many visually impaired individuals spend their entire lives without the same ability to connect with others through technology. Adaptive technology gives these individuals the chance to change their lives, and I am so happy I can be the connecting link.**EP**: What do you enjoy most about your job?
SW: I enjoy sharing with others how to live a more independent lifestyle through adaptive technology. During this process, I get to meet individuals from all different paths of lives and see the benefits from our paths crossing. So while I have many experiences I could point out, the only way I could image to truly express it all at once is to do my best to grab them all into one diverse bubble and burst it upon a positive effect on the world today.
EP: Tell me about your typical workday!
SW: I field different questions, hold individual calls to answer questions and follow up with user experiences, go out to the field to set up devices and provide on-site or in-home demonstration and training, and travel all over the tri-state area and beyond.
EP: What is the single most critical talent or characteristic for your job?
SW: Patience permits me to stay composed and to respect others no matter what level they’re on. Working with clients from different social and professional backgrounds have taught me that everyone has different ways of approaching tasks and human interactions. These are neither right or wrong, only different. Having the patience to take the time to fully understand the needs of my clients in different learning scenarios have helped me to work more efficiently and effectively.
EP: What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
SW: I love listening to music and “reading” books via Audible (and a ton of it!). Audible provides over 180k titles including new releases and best sellers, and lets me to “read” while at home or on-the-go through my ears rather than my eyes. And you might ask, how do I navigate through my iPhone and the Audible mobile application? In my book, I view iOS to be one of the greatest technology inventions of all time. Its Voice Over and Siri features give me the luxury of having Siri as my personal attendant (laughs). There are countless applications that can be downloaded onto my iPhone to help individuals like me to live a more comfortable lifestyle. One of my favorites is the LookTel Money Reader App, which verifies the bills in my hand and I know I’m tipping 20% at dinner as opposed to 50%.**EP**: You bet I saved the best question for last. Why did you decide to accept BTC using our software?
SW: I wanted to be in the cutting edge of technology and bitcoin is something new on the horizon. Accepting bitcoin means breaking down all of the invisible borders that previously existed. When you accept bitcoin, you can accept payment from anyone anywhere in the world at the speed of an email! Bitcoin relieves the expenses of going global, making cross-border payments easier, faster and cheaper.
You can give us the scoop on an awesome new merchant via our Merchant Map in our Android wallet, or if you’re a merchant who accepts bitcoin you can also add your business to our map through Blockchain Merchant on iOS.