Moving with a clear vision and strong principles throughout her career, Zara Zamani, Chief Solutions Officer at ChromaWay, has set her sights on entrepreneurship and is now also the Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer at Neoki.
ChromaWay is an early pioneer of ‘blockchain 2.0’ technology and provides a platform for smart contracts and issuing and transferring assets through a blockchain. Meanwhile, Neoki is a virtual reality platform for the world of calculated expressions such as design, music, and the gaming industry.
On the path to building and growing her business, Zara has faced many challenges, such as People management, relationship building, networking, and being super multifunctional yet keeping that strategic and holistic view to ensure her team is walking in the right direction.
Throughout her career, she has also worked in many different countries, mostly in very tough and harsh environments, with almost no other female engineer at work. Alongside the brilliant technical skills she gained, Zara also learned how to communicate with different cultures, how to be patient, how to manage people, along with lots of delivery management skills.
CIOLook, in an exclusive interview with technologist and futurist Zara Zamani, gains insights about rapidly gaining popularity technologies like blockchain and metaverse.
Below are the highlights of the interview:
Zara, please brief our audience about your journey as a business leader until your current positions at ChromaWay and Neoki. What challenges have you had to overcome to reach where you are today?
I studied Electrical and Electronics and Petroleum Engineering at the University of Technology Petronas, where I was under full scholarship by Petronas as a top student. Like every student, I was worried about finding a job. However, I never wanted A job; I always wanted THE job. The job, for me, was something that would enable me to travel the world and gain career experiences besides highly skilled professionals as much as possible. So, I started writing what I would expect from companies and sending emails to the ones at the time I thought would be the right fit for me.
I guess I always knew what exactly I wanted. Out of that effort, I had eight job offers from top global companies by the time I graduated, and I started my career at Schlumberger, the number one oil and gas service company in the world, as a wireline field engineer.
At some point in my career, I thought I needed more to be happy. I needed to be part of the change-making wave. I wanted to be able to leave a legacy behind, and that was not very much possible where I was.
So, I decided to step into the path of entrepreneurship in what I thought I was good at and felt comfortable with, Technology. I became an entrepreneur in TravelTech and FinTech industries and eventually started working with blockchain in 2015 and found blockchain to be THE technology that enables me to make the change I wanted which was to make the world a fairer place for all.
At different levels of maturity and growth in my career, I have faced different challenges. From being a girl and having limited access to opportunities in Iran to leaving my whole family to live abroad alone for education and to starting a career in a super male-dominant industry, moving to tech entrepreneurship, which was not less male-dominant and working in top-class international emerging technologies companies like ChromaWay.
Tell us something more about your company and its mission and vision.
ChromaWay was founded in 2014 with our relational blockchain model, called Postchain, which proved itself to be an excellent platform for private enterprise blockchain applications.
Since then, the team and vision surrounding the company have grown exponentially. In addition to our private enterprise work through ChromaWay, we have also launched a public platform called Chromia, which boasts a rapidly expanding ecosystem.
We strive to provide blockchain applications that are easy to use and create real value in society by providing transparent systems that enhance efficiency and reduce exploitation. ChromaWay was named among the 50 fastest-growing tech companies in 2021 by Deloitte.
Additionally, Neoki, founded in 2021, is a decentralized multi-Metaverse, virtual reality platform powered by blockchain for the world of design and creativity. Our vision is to offer a profoundly immersive design-based Metaverse to democratize the design industry by introducing concepts such as:
- Design to Earn allows every user to create an economy around their obvious or hidden talents.
- DAO is to be utilized as an infrastructure that allows every member of the community to be seen and have a say in decision-making and therefore bring out the real meaning of democratization.
- Collaborate to Earn provides an incentivizing model for users and community members to interact and collaborate with each other.
- Multi-Metaverse as a means to enable community members to build their own verse in our Metaverse.
Anyone or entity who is either an end customer of a piece, a talent, a designer, a collector, a brand, a design house, a design school, a manufacturer, or is in any other way connected to a design piece of interior, fashion- accessory, jewelry, art, automotive, architecture, industrial piece, etc. can create, commercialize design, purchase design piece, collaborate, educate, and monetize their content. The Community of Neoki permanently owns the land parcels in which they fully control and decide on what content is published, which can vary from art, democratized, fast, and direct communication and connection to its users without any intermediary. Neoki was nominated as one of the top 5 blockchain companies in Europe in 2022.
Enlighten us on how you have impacted your niche through your expertise in the market.
I believe what people like me bring to the table is breaking the chain of tech-bro communities. We bring a difference in mindset, worldview, and in consumer behavior analysis. We know the reality of the world, and we try to connect that to the power of technology. I have impacted my niche in many ways, such as supporting building REAL use cases and products for REAL people with REAL values. Besides that, I always inspire young girls and women not to be afraid of stepping higher in the technology career world.
Describe in detail the values and the work culture that drives your organization.
We embrace the working culture of distributed, decentralized and remote-first companies both at ChromaWay and Neoki. I believe that is how every crypto company needs to work to live up to the core values of the technology we are evangelists of.
Undeniably, technology is playing a significant role in almost every sector. How are you leveraging technological advancements to make your solutions resourceful?
We at ChromaWay are at the bleeding edge of technology by creating Chromia, a permissionless blockchain protocol that enables everyone to build the Dapp of their dream and transfers power back to the public while being a pioneer in building blockchain games, fashion Dapps, DeFi, and tokenization Dapps.
At Neoki, we are building a multi-metaverse virtual world based on blockchain and leveraging NFTs, DAOs, and crypto aspects.
What change would you like to bring to your industry if given a chance?
Bring more business-oriented people into the space in order to be able to build more valuable and user-friendly Dapps. If we can merge the mature user experience of Web 2.0 with the technology provided by web 3.0, that will be great.
What, according to you, could be the next significant change in your sector? How is your company preparing to be a part of that change?
From my perspective, the next big thing in the world of blockchain is IP holders stepping in. AT ChromaWay, we are preparing by creating Chromia to enable them to build their dream much easier, faster, and cost-effectively.
At Neoki, we are making the transition of IP holders from Web 2.0 to Web 3.0 much easier by offering plenty of what we call Web 2.5 solutions.
Where do you envision yourself to be in the long run, and what are your future goals for ChromaWay and Neoki?
I envision myself building, building, and building for the next decades. I have no other path to encourage more people to join us in this movement of making the work a fairer place and giving freedom back to the public.
I see ChromaWay definitely being a pioneer and an example not only in the world of tech but also in the world of crypto and blockchain as a company that lives truly to the meaning of decentralization.
And I see Neoki as that one Metaverse world that, instead of competing, is connected to multiple other metaverses and living up to the name of multi metaverse besides closing the loop of the life transition from physical to virtual and back from virtual to the physical world, meaning allowing people to expand their experiences as much as they wish both physically and virtually.
What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into your sector?
Be patient. Constantly learn. Your team is your everything. Stay focused and surround yourself with the right people.