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Episode 11: From the dawn of the internet to the age of blockchain


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Listen to this IBM Blockchain Pulse Podcast episode and others on iTunes, Spotify, TuneIn and Stitcher.


Connecting billions of people with technology — then and now

Episode 11: From the dawn of the internet to the age of blockchain 1

The deeper our host Matt Hooper dives into blockchain on this show, the more he is surprised by remembrances of the internet’s past. When the idea of connecting billions of people felt new and exciting, when we were all eager to be participants in a constellation of data, and when we all felt we had more control over our digital lives.

Today’s first guest is an innovator whose career helped place him front and center of both the first internet revolution and our newer blockchain era — Irving Wladawsky-Berger! Around the IBM offices he’s referred to as the “legendary IWB”. He worked at IBM for 37 years and then an additional three years as a consultant. During those 40 years, Irving was involved with IBM in a variety of activities, mostly involving developing technologies and bringing them to market.

Irving and Matt discuss some of the killer apps of the mid-90s during the dawning of the internet, what Irving identifies as the blockchain killer app of today, and some key questions enterprises should be asking when looking to build on their blockchain advantage!

Learn how industries are revolutionizing business with IBM Blockchain

In the second half of today’s show, Veena Pureswaran joins the podcast! Veena is a global research leader at the IBM Institute for Business Value. What is the IBV you might ask? The institute uses data-driven research and expert analysis to deliver insights to business leaders about emerging trends, opportunities and challenges. Together, Matt and Veena discuss the five principles of blockchain, how an enterprise can build its blockchain advantage, what she sees as the most appealing parts of blockchain, and what her role as a research leader means for her involvement with blockchain.

Key takeaways

[:01] Matt introduces today’s show.
[1:01] About today’s first guest, Irving Wladawsky-Berger!
[1:52] Irving introduces himself and speaks about his career.
[3:10] As a former IBM colleague, what were some of Irving’s favorite experiences with moving IBM into new technologies?
[5:09] How did Irving gauge a new market opportunity during the dawning of the internet in the mid-90s.
[6:19] What does Irving identify as the killer apps of the mid-90s?
[12:01] What does Irving think might be the blockchain killer app of today?
[21:01] About the IBM Garage and how it can help you begin your blockchain journey!
[22:01] What is Irving’s blockchain origin story? When was the first introduced to it?
[25:50] Irving speaks about what he considers the killer app of blockchain: supply chain.
[29:38] What should some of the key questions be when an enterprise is looking to build its blockchain advantage?
[32:18] Where to read some of Irving’s articles and keep up with his thoughts on all things blockchain!
[33:22] Matt thanks Irving for joining the show!
[33:37] About today’s next guest: Veena Pureswaran!
[34:22] Matt welcomes Veena to the show and thanks her for joining the podcast!
[35:42] What does Veena’s role as a Research Leader mean for her involvement with blockchain? Veena also shares some information about her career background and reflects on the first time she heard about IBV!
[35:36] When, where, and how does blockchain become fascinating/a disruptive technology to Veena as she’s looking across the giant technology landscape as a strategist?
[37:30] Would Veena say that one of the most appealing parts about blockchain is the collaboration aspect?
[38:08] What are some of the hurdles and challenges toward achieving collaboration through blockchain?
[39:20] What are the five principles of blockchain?
[43:02] How can an enterprise build its blockchain advantage? And what does that mean?
[45:55] Matt thanks Veena for joining the podcast!
[46:00] Veena shares a link to check out after listening to this week’s episode!
[46:40] Matt thanks both Veena and Irving for joining the podcast!

Sources mentioned

Tim Berners-Lee
IBM Garage
The Five Principles of Blockchain
IBM Blockchain Pulse Episode 2
Building your blockchain advantage

Follow-up with our guests

Irving Wladawsky-Berger’s LinkedIn
Veena Pureswaran’s LinkedIn

Looking for more episodes?

Visit IBM Blockchain — and for news and updates, follow @IBMBlockchain on Twitter!

Tweetables – For social media

“One of the areas that I most appreciate is helping IBM move from the previous mainframe technologies [into] building mainframes out of micro-processes or parallel architectures.” — Irving Wladawsky-Berger

“Blockchain, in my opinion, is the first time I’ve seen most of the institutions of the world who have a huge influence in this area agree that, yes, we need to develop this common service and start using it.” — Irving Wladawsky-Berger

“In my opinion, supply chain is the killer app of blockchain. And by ‘killer app,’ I mean the kind of application that … I can explain to somebody while riding an elevator to the 20th floor.” — Irving Wladawsky-Berger

“I have the most exciting job! I work for the [IBM] Institute for Business Value … where I have the pleasure and honor of leading a research program on blockchain and other emerging technologies.” — Veena Pureswaran

“I think we’re in a very unique time for the history of technology.” — Veena Pureswaran

“It’s not really about what one company can do; it’s about the network.” — Veena Pureswaran

“Blockchain networks should be designed around the principles of permissioned and trusted access.” — Veena Pureswaran

“Governance is actually the most important factor that can make or break a network.” — Veena Pureswaran

Learn more about blockchain today

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