Prevent fraud and verify data with decentralized Verifiable Credentials, featuring Nick Lambert, CEO of Dock

Steve interviews Nick Lambert, Chief Executive Officer of Verifiable Credentials startup Dock

FEATURING: Nick Lambert, CEO of Dock

In this episode, I speak with Nick Lambert, Chief Executive Officer of Verifiable Credentials startup Dock.

Nick shares his experience becoming Dock’s CEO at the start of the pandemic, the progress Verifiable Credentials (VCs) has made in the past few years, and what the crypto winter means for decentralized application startups. We also discuss Dock’s products, use cases, and the role a platform like Dock’s has in identity verification.

RESOURCES:

Connecting with Nick Lambert

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nick-lambert-a760811b/

Contact: marketing@dock.io or https://www.dock.io/contact

Companies Discussed

FULL EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Steve Craig: Hello everybody. Welcome to the PEAK IDV EXECUTIVE SERIES video podcast, where I interview executives, leaders, and change makers in the digital identity space. I'm your host, Steve Craig, Founder and Chief Enablement Officer at PEAK IDV. For those of you that are listening in, this is a video first podcast series, so if you're enjoying the audio, please check out the video recording at executiveseries.peakidv.com, where you can catch the full episodes, read the transcript from today, and access any resources and links that we discuss. I'm super excited about today's guest. He is Chief Executive Officer of Dock, Nick Lambert. Welcome to the podcast, Nick.

Nick Lambert: Oh, my pleasure. Thanks for having me on, Steve.

Steve: Thank you for joining, Nick. Now I met Nick through my evaluation of various market leading verifiable credential platforms, and Dock quickly rose to the top of that list. Nick has decades of experience in high technology. He began his career at IBM in the UK and he's been CEO of Dock since March of 2020.

Prior to that, Nick worked at MaidSafe, where he served as Chief Operating Officer for nearly eight years. Super excited to speak with you today, Nick. Just to kick off, can you give us the 30-second elevator pitch on what is Dock?

Nick: Thank you. I think we could actually do it in less, I will expand a little bit.

But ultimately what Dock do is we prevent fraud. So that's almost like the five second one to expand a little bit to 30, Steve. At the moment it's very difficult to verify digital data. So how do you know something is true, or how do you know what a claim is true? It's also very time consuming and costly.

Then go through the steps that you would need to take to, to verify that information as a business. And so what Dock are focused on doing is enabling data to be instantly verifiable, to be tamper resistant and fraud proof. And that's really what we do.

Steve: Now, when you, joined, Dock, this was back in March 2020, you had just joined this company right at the start of the global pandemic. What was that like? Joining a company fighting fraud at the start of such change?

Nick: It was great. I mean, it was, it was almost to the day, like the day that they locked down in the UK. I forget the exact date. It was something like mid-March, like March the 15th or something. And I think I'd got, started working with Dock like two days prior.

So in terms of timing, Steve, it was really very lucky on my part and I think it's good because Dock is a remote company. It doesn't have any HQ, it has the staff that are based worldwide, but there's no headquarters. And so it was very COVID-proof to some degree. So the timing was very good and, it just felt like a natural fit.

Steve: And had you worked in a remote only environment before, at previous roles or was Dock the first?

Nick: No, no, this was the first one. So, all the roles I've been involved at prior were in-person roles. And so the last one, like you talked about, MaidSafe, which was based, a decentralized storage companies. I've been in the decentralized technology for some time, but it was office based, albeit that it was, about a five minute drive from me or I could literally walk to the office. But it was, it's been a culture change I think, when you're only ever remote. So there'd be days at my last company where you would choose to work from home and that would be fine, but I think it's a big difference when that option is removed, fundamentally, I think it's a positive thing working from home, but it's not, it's not all perfect. Of course, there are trade-offs to be had.

Steve: I actually was in the UK around that, that same time I was in London working at another company I just joined, and I recall everything getting shut down around me and I traveled, I'm based in California, I traveled out there to find that I was just, sitting in my hotel doing Zoom meetings with people that were in the city. So it was, an interesting time as, as the CEO, what was your strategy to get to know the company and the people? Was it just zoom calls and other virtual.

Nick: Yeah, pretty much. And it was, I think as well, like it was quite small when I joined, so Dock was only kind of five or six, team members. It's up to about 16 now. And so it was, yeah, so it's really about speaking to everyone really, because everyone has a very different perspective upon what the company is.

Even if you go around a team. It's always interesting though, what does the company do so that the elevator pitch I gave you at the start, I'll bet if you ask some of the other more operational people in Dock, they'd probably give you a different answer and that's probably something we need to fix. But I think you'd find that across lots of different companies.

So, I found that speaking to lots of basically everyone in the team. Which was easy with, with a small team like Dock had, was quite key to try and understanding where the company was at and where we were thinking where we're heading to, so, so that was really the approach there. But yeah, mostly Zoom meetings.

Steve: I definitely feel you on that. Going through each of those sessions, remotely and learning different people's perspectives it was a fun time. I know in the last few years during the, the pandemic, there's been a lot of investment into verifiable credentials. Microsoft launched their Entra platform. Avast had acquired Evernym. I know you're seeing a lot of early adoption and traction, but it doesn't feel like the verifiable credentials have crossed the chasm into the mainstream. Do you think 2023 is, is the year that that's gonna happen?

Nick: I don't think so. But I am positive about it. I would agree as well, Steve. I think that, 2022 was big and I think, like you said, we saw some market consolidation. So the other company that AVAST bought was security, which is another large player in the space. So I think that's been the only consolidation that we've seen. And what I've still see in the market is there's still a lot of very small independent players like Dock. There are, there are many others and I think that we'll start to see as probably entering cross the chasm once you start to see things consolidate.

 I think that the kind of model you refer to as well is I still think the types of customers and inquiries that we are seeing are still feel like early adopter, early innovator type inquiries. They are not mainstream like we're going into massive millions of volume production, quantities yet.

And I don't think we'll see that in ‘23. But what I am optimistic about it because I think we're definitely seeing within Dock things speed up quite quickly. The inquiries are better. People are, businesses are much more, understanding of the technology. And they're more advanced in their thinking and they're starting to understand how they can use it, which is something that we maybe didn't see in years prior.

So lots of reason for optimism. But I don't think 2023 is the year that you're going to hit that early mass market. I think that's still '24, '25.

Steve: Would you anticipate innovation teams and maybe smaller companies that are experimenting with the technology be really what we'll see in 2023 with respect to VC?

Nick: Yeah, and we're seeing that, yeah. And we, we saw that in '22 as well, Steven, and that's definitely what we're seeing. And, we're starting to see some, some larger enterprises as well, come in from our perspective, we're seeing it's a lot of startup stuff as well, but some of the startups are actually quite large, quite quickly.

 I think yeah, you're going to see lots of different teams come in. And I think the interesting thing that we are seeing is the sector differences. Like, like we are still kind of sector agnostic because we're trying to figure things out. So we're not focusing solely on supply chain, for example.

But the inquiries we're seeing is, is super varied from like education training, Web3 type companies doing some blockchain stuff. Authentication use cases. So I think that part's interesting. The use cases that we're seeing are, like, they're almost different every day.

Steve: This is a good segue into your primary offerings at Dock now you have Certs, you have a, a Web3 ID, a login capability, and then you have a Wallet. Could you talk a little bit about those and, how they inter operate and relate?

Nick: The Certs is the issuing and verification platform. So once you decide you want to issue credentials, you can use Certs to create decentralized identifiers, either for the issuer or for the, the holder, the recipient. And then you can also use that same platform for issuing credentials as well and revoking them and, and things like that.

We offer that in two flavors. If you're a, a non-tech person or a company that has no access to no technical resource. We have a Certs as a no code solution. Basically what you see is what you get. You go into a web portal and you can literally. Create these using the kind of normal tools that we use for the web.

We also have that available as an API. If you're a developer, you're looking to potentially automate the credentials being issued based on something happening within your system. And you're looking to do large volumes potentially, and you have access to developer resources. Then we have an API that can use, which is similar to many SaaS based APIs.

So really trying to dumb down, the requirement for knowledge of blockchain or knowledge of tokens and any of the other stuff that can sometimes go with decentralized systems. And then on the wallet, the kind of holder side, we have a wallet that people can store credentials in and quite soon they'll be able to send, presentations, verifiable presentations off from their wallet to people that are asking for that information as well.

And we also offer a wallet, SDK. Meaning that a company that has an existing application for mobile can integrate the features of our wallet into their own mobile app. So that would be an advantageous, where you have a company that's working with Dock that obviously don't want their users to be downloading multiple different apps.

They'll only need to download their app, but they can also access our features through this wallet SDK. So that's kind of how it all fits together. The Web3 ID slightly off to the side and was more of a kind of proof point that kind of became a kind of a product where you can use credentials to log in.

So we can send a one-time use credential to a user, and they would sign that with their DID to log into, a web service. Kind of like "Login with Google" or "Log in with Facebook," but without all the data leaking and stuff that that goes on with those, with those other services.

Steve: I was browsing your site prior to this session, and you've got, Burst IQ in health data, SEVENmile in education, Gravity, is focused on health and safety certificates. Can you go into any detail on, on any of these use cases?

Nick:

Yeah, I think Burst IQ is an interesting one. So that's a healthcare company based out in, Colorado and, and your part of the world, Steve, and they're, they've got a really interesting platform called Life Graph, and they have some, some AI and machine learning as, as part of that network. But the part that relates to Dock is, they have, from a workforce, standpoint, they have potentially managing a lot of nurses, as for, some of their clients. And that's a sector where, as you're maybe aware, nurses all around the world, in fact are leaving the profession in their droves.

And so how do you tackle something like that? And so one thing that you can do is you can start to put nurses in charge of their own professional development and accreditations, and so that's what they're looking as one of the things that they're looking to do, with integrating with Dock is to be able to, put control of the, the learnings and the on job training that, that nurses may be able to obtain you know, an, an issue credentials for those and, and nurses can then have that and control that information.

They're also starting to look at things like patients starting to control their own medical records which is something that's technically very much possible. But there, there are a number of headwinds to that, particularly in the US, so around things like the legal aspects of that and compliance.

But there's a number of really interesting things that the Burst IQ are doing and we're really looking forward to that relationship developing and we'll definitely have more info on that coming quite soon.

I think the other use case you mentioned was Gravity. So that's a health and safety training company. They train like riggers, people that work in construction to work at an at-risk situations. So maybe it's in a mine. So they might be working in confined spaces or they also might be working at height. But how do you prove in these highly remote locations, somebody's showing up at this mine, for example.

Trying to prove that they are compliant and able to work in that job. At the moment, somewhat shockingly, they're walking around with folders of paper. Which are either getting lost, they're getting damaged, they're getting wet if it rains which is a kind of crazy situation that we're in, in this day and age.

And so why not when they pass their accreditations, have them carry these credentials on their mobile phone. And when they arrive at the you know, at the, at the premises, they can have, they can create a QR code or something for their credential and have that scanned and have them verified instantly.

And without them meeting to carrying bits of paper. So that's a really interesting project that, that we're working on with Gravity.

Steve: For the verifying organization, what's the experience for them on how they actually look at these credentials and know that they're authoritative?

Nick: Yeah, the hardest part for the verifying is the first one that you do.

So as long as you can trust so that we do all the verifications on chain. So you can go to our verifier and you can basically drag and drop in a file, like a credential that's shown as, for example, an a JSON format. And that's the, the, the system will tell you whether that's a verified credential or it's not.

If it's a verified credential, it might tell you that it's not expired, it might tell you who issued it as, as, as the blockchain or, or the network understands it. And it would maybe tell you who it's for and what credential type it was, for example, and the date it was issued. It may not verify, for example, if the credential has expired, and that's kind of the easy part, the part that needs to be dealt with as well is off chain verification. So how do you know that person that's on that credential issuing it is, is who they say they are? So there's a first step there of off chain verification that's required. So, for example, as a verifier, you might want to say to someone like IBM, if you're verifying, you might want them to publish somewhere and give you confirmation of the the decentralized identifiers that they will use when issuing on the network.

As long as they know what they are and they, and they continue to use those, you can then trust any credential that comes from those identifiers. Because they're the only ones that would have the ability to send credentials from them. So I think that's the second key part, Steve, with the off chain verification is the one that needs to be established as well, that the two can't be disconnected from each other.

Steve: Well, as you described that, I think a lot about the world of self-sovereign identity and us as consumers eventually being able to assert credentials that are normally like a driver's license or a passport. What do you see Dock's role in that broader ecosystem of that like initial foundation of trust for the consumer themselves?

For using their identity to assert, you know, who, who they are versus what credential they may have.

Nick: I think that's interesting. I think it's one that will so we are kind of currently focus mostly in working with companies and of course they have individuals but I think, or they have employees that that would work as individuals and consumers as well.

But I think where we'll start to see it is when governments start to use this technology more, whether it's Dock or something else. I think we'll start to see that in the next five years. And I think that'll be interesting when we start to see, you know, government issued identities, large company issued identities, and they're able to be controlled only by the user.

I think that's going to be really powerful. And I definitely see Dock being part of that ecosystem. I think we're not seeing that right now in terms of a large adoption by consumers. But I think we're going to see that in the next kind of 3, 4, 5 years.

Steve: Could you see government use of a platform like Dock. Do you see them being a potential user of the solution to help accelerate that, that credentialing process where, let's say it's a DMV of the State of California?

Would you foresee that being a use case where the local government would, would take, take the first steps to kind of move the path?

Nick: Yeah, I think it's definitely possible. Yeah, I think it's possible. I think the thing that we find with government tenders at the moment, it's more technically absolutely possible.

Dock is able to scale up. So in terms of throughput and a lot of the time, like what we're actually talking about with credentials, Steve, as you know, is we're not talking about putting credentials on a blockchain. You know, what we're talking about is having the blockchain act as a registry of identifiers, the credentials themselves are ideally stored with the holder or the individual. And so technically all of that's possible. Governments can use it; it will scale up for their uses. I think it's more a question of the government processes. In certain countries like the UK, often you need to be on a framework for, for these things.

And you know, you need to be able to tick all the right boxes in terms of do you have a large balance sheet? Do you have large recurring revenues and things of that nature. And those are what governments look for. So I think, can they use it today and there's a system able to do it? Absolutely. Yes. I think the question is more around the kind of business side of things and, can we make ourselves look attractive to our government to come on as opposed to probably quite a risk-free decision for them of use IBM. Use Microsoft. I think that would be the, the thing that we need to break down there. But technically, absolutely.

Steve: I think the next few years are going to be really dynamic in terms of governments looking at identity. I know with the pandemic and the fraud that came through for the US, the PPP attacks and the unemployment insurance attacks, each of those really could have used robust, verifiable credential against those identities, but we're, we're just, just not there yet.

Nick: Yeah, it's interesting. Well, Steve, on, on that point, like I was speaking to, to someone, the other day, James Monaghan, who used to be at Evernym, who's been in this space a long, long time as well, and he was pointing, it's really interesting that the, the pandemic really sped up adoption of this technology.

And made people aware that it was a potential antidote that, you know, verifiable credentials to some of the issues that would potentially allow you to travel. You know, knowing, having this guaranteed vaccination history or, or some travel pass or something with you. All of that was possible, but what he was also seeing was as soon as the pandemic ended, and I appreciate it's not ended for all of us.

But largely as the world opened up, the demand for certain industries just absolutely fell through the floor again. It's interesting as well that you know, we'll see the demand in peaks and troughs and that whilst the pandemic was great for alerting many people to this technology, the demand diminished in many cases quite quickly after it, after the threat of COVID started to decline.

Steve: We've definitely seen that in the broader identity ecosystem. The end of 2020 and all of 2021 were really big years for most companies that we're either doing identity verification or passwordless authentication. And now that we're in a soft state right now on a looming recession, pull back in venture capital funds.

I could see, that pulling back a little bit, but man, the last two years, to your point, like there was a lot of transformation activities.

When, when I think about what you were all doing more broadly, back in September you announced a pretty exciting partnership with Auth0 as part of their marketplace.

Can you, can you share a little bit about that partnership and how that's going you know, through this last quarter and what's planned coming up?

Nick: Of course. Like all good kind of product ideas, it really was not intended to be a product. So it was more like we were sitting around trying to figure out like how do we, we have this technology, but we're very much fans of show somebody don't tell them telling this kind of hard to get the message across and they might not listen to you, but it's quite powerful to show them, so how can we take this, this technology that we have and package it and use it to emulate a service that maybe people already have and, and kind of understand, but it has some downsides to it. And so one thing that we, we came up with was without needing to change too much or develop something new, how about we use credentials as a way to log in? So we have this horrible way today of either we have two choices when we log into service we either create a new username and password for it. Which is fine if you get a password manager, but it's still a bit of a pain. But also if you don't, you're probably reusing the same old password you've always used. It's a security risk. Or do you log in with like the use the Google login button of the Facebook login button I mentioned earlier, just to log in basically using the credentials that you use to log into Google or Facebook.

So that is a much better user experience because I don't need to create any new credentials and it's super fast. The problem that many of us don't realize is that as soon as you've done that, those two services can literally track where you go online. Within that, that service that you've logged into, they can see what you're doing.

And so the solution we came up with was, how about we use credentials to log in in a secure, anonymous way? What we have is this system, like I mentioned earlier, it's you can have something to log in with, Web3 ID, is the name of the product. We do actually stress need developers of web services to integrate it.

It's not like you can just pick this up and use it. You'd need the website to support it. But if they did do that through something like Auth0, which is a marketplace for developers, and they can basically be your login button. What they could enable their users to do is we would then log in. They would click log in with Web3 ID, which would send them a credential, which would be one-time use only, which would then be signed with that individual’s decentralized identifier, and then they can just automatically log into that service. So passwordless login, but then no one would be able to track what you did thereafter.

So no privacy, data leakage or anything like that. So really that was, that's the nuts and bolts of it, Steve, is that we, we, we give that functionality over to developers and if they think that that's something that their users want on their website or web service, then they can quite easily integrate it through Auth0.

Steve: Would you say that part of your 2023 strategy includes expansion of similar relationships, like the one that you have with Auth0?

Nick: It does for marketplaces, Steve. I think on the, on the authentication piece, I think that's probably, maybe as far as we'll go just now, I think with marketplaces are interesting so, we try and do lots of different things to make people aware of Dock, and they find out about Dock by coming to one of our channels or one of our mediums.

Whether it's a website or, or our trial platform or any of the social media channels or, or these things that is quite powerful to be able to go to someone else's property where people are looking at lots of this different solutions en mass i.e marketplaces. And so the next thing that we'll be working on is an integration with RapidAPI.

As the name suggests, it's an API marketplace. So if you're a developer, you can use Dock through using an API, which really speeds things up in terms of integration and can automate things and processes for you as well. And so if we bring Dock's API onto that API marketplace which is really aimed at developers, that's yet another location people can find out about Dock and start using it.

I think after that we'd start to look for actual app marketplaces. So like, why not put Certs as a kind of web app and potentially a mobile app. It's already listed in Google Play and on the Apple store, but you can also put that into some kind of business app place. So there's tons of them, like Salesforce well there's a ton of them forgetting all the names right now.

Steve: Would AWS and Azure marketplaces fit for your strategy?

Nick: Microsoft Azure’s marketplace would be exactly one of those. But any kind of app marketplace that's really kind of aimed at businesses I think would be something that, that, that you could focus on. So I think that's going to be probably a key part of our kind of go-to market strategy moving forward for the next couple of years.

Steve: You mentioned a couple times and some of your other responses about on chain, off chain and we were just talking about the Web3 ID and that integration. There's been a lot going on in the last few months with respect to cryptocurrency, the implosion of FTX.

There's a lot of fear and uncertainty and doubt about crypto in general. What's your outlook on how these, they're not all the same thing, you know, blockchain is, is not necessarily cryptocurrency, is not Web3, they're all separate. But what, what is your outlook on the next year in terms of those technologies and do you get into those sorts of conversations with potential clients.

Nick: I think, yeah, I think it's almost the years in like Web3 or crypto that are the most volatile, downwardly volatile, where a lot of people leave this space, in 2022. So the so-called crypto winters, and it's kind of cyclical. It happens, I think it speeds up, but it probably happens every couple of years. But maybe it's sped up a little bit. But I think in those years what happens is a lot of the speculators and kind of people that are vaguely interested leave the space because the financial incentive and the quick wins as they would see are gone. And what you're often left with is the people that are passionate and committed. And thinking about this technology long term, they're the ones that remain. So what you often see as a result of that, Steve, is, in my opinion at least, is the best time you see the most innovation because it's the companies that are able to hang around, keep building and keep thinking long term that they deliver their solutions.

So I think it's ultimately a good thing, but it's a painful thing at the same time. But I think what it, what it gives out is the greatest innovation. And then the market will, will go back in its cycle again. So I think fundamentally '22 has probably been one of those years, a difficult year financially for many, but a very productive year and, and really does focus the mind on what's important.

Yeah, and who knows what will happen to the kind of crypto market and the FTX and stuff. I guess that will run below, and it's really impossible to see for how long and what impact it'll have, but I'd be quite confident that the companies that have stuck around will really innovate quite strongly. And I think ultimately each, each iteration sees the industry come back stronger than ever before.

And like you said there, there's companies in this Web3, or even as they would call it, Web5 space that Jack Dorsey would tell you. Like, I think that's, there's just so much innovation and so much brain power in the space now that it's really hard to see like Pandora's box is opened. It's really difficult to see how that would cease. So I think we're gonna see the, the web, Web3 industry, blockchain, whatever you want to call it, continue to grow and grow.

Steve: And when I, when I think about the last few months I almost see a similarity to the aha moment for the mainstream with ChatGPT that's come out for generative AI and some of these apps that you can create avatars of yourself and it's almost like jumping over the chasm for the mainstream, for the average everyday consumer to go, "wow, I now see the potential of this tool." I almost feel like we're going to have that beyond cryptocurrency with Web3 use cases. Because Web3 right now is very techie oriented. Like when I go and I look at different sites of companies in the space, you really need to be in the space to understand what it is they're doing.

And it brings me to one of your debuts just last quarter with Product Hunt. So despite all that was going on with FTX and crypto, Dock had a Web3 ID launch. And it was very successful. Can you tell us more about your experience using Product Hunt and some of the early results from that?

Nick: Yeah, so we're just trying to think of ways that now that we have something built that we can use. How do you find other ways and, and innovative ways of letting people know about it? And Product Hunt is, is probably a mainstay of, of like new bits of software. And so we, we thought let's give this a try.

So yeah, it was really successful. It's really, we're kind of using it as a way to get feedback really from the market as well to try and understand, "what do people think about this?" Because you'll know yourself, Steve, from being an entrepreneur and being right at the kind of early stages of things. Sometimes it's really tricky to get people to try your product out. You know, so you're trying to guess what features people want or how it is to use, but often really what you need is people actually using it and giving you that feedback. So Product Hunt was great for increasing awareness of Web3 ID for us, and it was actually, web, they have different categories on that platform, and we were the number one product for that week, for Web3, which was really good. But I think as well, the bigger stuff was not only that kind of validation, but also the feedback about like, how it could be used and, and what people used it for and any issues they ran into or any kind of like benefits they found from it. So yeah, it was a really good experience and I, I definitely recommend it to anyone that's got a new product that wants to see what the market thinks.

Steve: And I think of Product Hunt almost like a Billboard Top 100 for, for the music scene, but for startup products, so that's, that's great work.

Nick: Exactly.

Steve: What else do you have in store on Product Hunt? Anything that you can share coming up in this, this next quarter? Yeah, I think we're, yeah, I, I think we'll put Certs out there as well. So I know that's, it's starting to be used and we have, you know, a few paying customers using it. But the no-code app itself I think it's as a way to try and spread knowledge of what we're doing.

Nick: As I mentioned before Steven talking about Web3, I. I think it's so powerful for companies, particularly in our space that, like you mentioned, the crypto stuff and the decentralized identity space is very, very tech heavy. Almost, it's almost like a different language for people unfamiliar and that's fine if you're speaking to people that are aware of what you're talking about. But for people that are trying to say simply what problem does this technology solve that's is use. So, but if you can show people what, what the technology can do, what it does, and the benefits that they can reap from it, that's super powerful. So I think what we'll like to likely do is put search, no-code solution into Product Hunt at some stage as a way of probably letting people know about it and helping the space generally.

But also we'd be keen to get feedback again about the product that we have there. Because we know it's not perfect either, so we like to get that kind of validation and feedback. So that'll likely be our next move, but I'm not entirely. Exactly when that'll be, but it'll be quite soon, hopefully.

Steve: Well, I look forward to that and as soon as I see that, I'll be sure to share it out. We’ve talked a lot about, Dock it's incredible. I've learned a ton. But I like to, to bring in a little bit of the personal side to the audience. So Nick, I see back in your LinkedIn profile you worked 2004 to 2007, you took a break from Big Tech and you were working in a sporting goods company, running operations. It'd be interesting to hear about that experience.

Nick: Yeah, it was interesting. That's actually my wife's parent's business. They had an interesting, so they, they were into kind of, it's a pretty niche thing, this, but they were into making kayak paddles, so that's a double-sided paddle if you're in a kayak or canoe.

And they made it for Olympic, so they both were in the Olympics back in, in the sixties and seventies. And so I was getting pretty burnt out from working at IBM and I was really looking for a change of pace. I started to realize I probably didn't like working in big companies. And they said, look, you know, why don't you come along here and work with us just for a short period of time.

And like these things, it grew into a number of years and so really I was helping them with pretty much everything from kind of branding to marketing to you know, operations, supply chain stuff. Because that's a lot of what I did at IBM as well. And it was great. It was great to be part of a family business.

I was working side by side with, with my wife as well, which, some people may say is a bad thing, but all fundamentally, for me, it was a positive thing and it was a great environment to, to be involved in. And ultimately we sold that business during my time there to a large American company, SC Johnson.

So it was a, a nice, a nice win for us and that kind of really excellent experience and everything worked out well for everyone in the end.

Steve: Sounds like that that role got you experience in a lot of different functional areas which maybe prepared you for your COO and CEO role at Dock. Would you say that was an informative thing?

Nick: I think so. I think that definitely helped. Steve, it gave you a lot of variety and pulled me out of just a, a big company mindset. Like you end up in a big company's, you, you start, you become quite specialized. You become very good at just a small handful of things.

And when you get taken back out of that you and you work in a small company you're doing a million different things. And I know you know that from, from kind of, you know, your own experiences. And so it did help prepare a lot. And then I think moving then into MaidSafe, which was a software company in the decentralized storage space.

That had, you know, was a huge benefit for, for kind of leading into Dock because it covered a lot of the same areas. Decentralized tech. It was explaining complex tech in a simple way. It was go-to-market strategy, marketing, like funding. All of that stuff really played in well. So I definitely believe one thing always leads to another and sometimes your path doesn't seem that clear or far forward and sometimes you think maybe a thing happened, it wasn't, maybe that beneficial, but maybe you learn further down the road that actually was a really good thing that happened, and I certainly believe that move to, to Lendal Products, which I thought at the time was a, kind of even felt like a weird move at the time. Ultimately worked out really well.

Steve: That's great. It sounds like it worked out really well for you, Nick. Well, wrapping up we're just about out of time. For those that are either watching this or listening or maybe reading the transcript what kind of engagement are you looking for in the market? Like would you like people to reach out to Dock or is there a place they could connect with you?

Nick: We'd love to really hear from, from companies who are looking to, understand more about decentralized identifiers and also verifiable credentials. So just to reiterate the ability to, to prove a piece of information and verify a piece of information, anyone working in that space, we'd love to hear from you.

And if you can go to Dock.io, there's contact forms on there. You can even trial out Certs free of charge on there. And certainly you can reach out through the website and we'd be happy to jump on a call with you.

Steve: Well, thank you so much Nick. I really enjoyed the conversation as always. I learn a ton about this space when speaking with you, I'll be sure to put those links into the transcript, into the other assets that I post. For those, again, that are listening or watching, these are on executiveseries.peakidv.com. But thank you Nick. Have good day.

Nick: My pleasure. Thanks for having me on, Steve, and best of luck with the show and your business moving forward.

Steve: Thank you. Bye.

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Steve Craig, Founder & CEO