- Today we are talking with Nicolas Van Hoorde who is the CEO of Delta.
- Delta is a Bitcoin and cryptocurrency portfolio tracker app which allows people to keep track of cryptocurrencies, and also allows them to get the latest prices and market charts in their local currency, as well as alerts.
We’d like to kick things off by asking you a couple of questions regarding your formative years.
1) Firstly, can you tell us the things which interested you the most throughout your childhood and teenage years, and what brought you the most happiness?
I think at a very young age I was already very much attracted to software development and everything related to computers.
I remember my father was also very much into computer science and stuff, and I remember taking a chair from the kitchen table and dragging it all the way to the desk to sit next to him, and for hours I would just look at the screen (not understanding what actually was happening) and be in awe of the magic of a screen and everything related to it, and it basically kept evolving. So I think I was in second grade when I knew that I was going to go into computer science, and I eventually did. However, the one thing that I did not expect is the fact that I always thought that I would become an engineer, which actually didn’t happen.
The first reason is because I’m not great at it which was kind of a disappointment, but ultimately something to realise better early than late I would say. The thing was I always thought that I would become an engineer because I was always thinking about concepts, writing down ideas and drawing ideas for applications. At the beginning it wasn't even mobile applications - it could be games or all different source of platforms and marketplaces, and when I started going through high school I actually didn’t know about something called product management or product designer; so I thought the only way to build these things and make them a reality was to become a software engineer/developer. Thankfully, during my internship I actually told the same story to the company I was working at, and they introduced me to product management, and it was exactly what I was looking for as it allowed me to work on new features for their products and build entirely new products from a conceptual phase.
2) Who were your biggest influences growing up, and why did they have such a profound effect on you?
I think very briefly there's not really one person or anything I really looked up to. I think my father in the very early years was maybe the best example, and of course I maybe looked up to people like Steve Jobs at a later age. But honestly, it was not necessarily a person, but more the way of building new products which inspired me.
3) Teenage years are often a turbulent time for many, so on this note, can you name a time which was tough for you, and how you managed to overcome it?
The toughest time was at the end of my teenage years when I was 18/19, thinking in my head that I would become an engineer, to then realise that I actually didn't really like this pathway. This was a very turbulent time for me, and I would often skip classes as a result. It was a tough time because people around me like family and friends had very high expectations of me, and this was very difficult to deal with.
I managed to overcome it by getting myself together thanks to my girlfriend who I met around the time I was at my lowest, and it all went uphill from there.
Q4: If there was some advice you could give young aspiring individuals, advice which you would really have liked to have heard yourself as a young person, what would it be?
I think it would be the thing I just mentioned to my sister who is going to university for the first time - it’s perfectly ok if the thing you think you’ll enjoy doesn't pan out the way you originally thought.
We are now going to ask you some questions which will hopefully give our readers something to go on regarding you as a person.
Q5: Firstly, what are the particular strengths that you feel have made you successful in your field (don’t hold back)?
I think I'm very good at what I do in terms of product design and finding creative solutions for problems in the software category.
I think I’m also quite good at managing a team and motivating them, and I am a VERY perfectionist type of person, and although this could be a bit of a weakness at times, I think having an extreme eye for detail is generally a strength.
Q6: What would you say is your most controversial opinion as regards to blockchain or the crypto space?
That’s a difficult one.
I think in terms of blockchain and the crypto space, I think that 90 plus percent of people that are interested in crypto are actually not interested in crypto, but are more in it for the profit and atmosphere side of things, rather than the technology itself.
Q7: In the course of your day you can become under the most ridiculous pressures and stresses, what is your particular way of dealing with this?
For me it helps a lot when I talk about stuff with other co-founders on one hand, and when I am on my own, playing video games is what helps me the most.
Currently I'm being one hell of an F1 driver in the new F1 2019 game, but other than that I mostly play FIFA which is very typical, and also a lot of Overwatch which is more on the PC side, so yeah I play a lot of video games to be honest. If I’m not working, 75 percent of my time goes to playing video games.
Q8: Outside of crypto/blockchain, what is your favorite thing to do?
Playing video games and playing (or watching) football.
We are now going to ask you some creative and humorous questions, and we are sure people will love to see you what you can come up with.
Q9: What is the most humorous thing you have seen or experienced during your time in the crypto/blockchain space?
The thing is the crypto space is built almost on little humorous things. I think it's actually more of a flaw than a strength for the space, but yeah there's not much I can really share at the moment, nothing that pops to mind. Sorry to be boring!
Q10: If you somehow managed to meet Satoshi Nakamoto (that is he is a male person in this scenario) on his deathbed, but only had time to ask him one question, what would it be? Bear in mind you don’t have much time at all, so make it a good one.
I actually got asked this question a couple of times already, and I always have the same answer - is the initial vision you had for Bitcoin, is what is happening today what you wanted to happen, or are you actually disappointed in how things went?
Q11: Can you give three policies you'd enact if you became the president of a country tomorrow?
Well 100 percent transparency in all income and outcome of funds into the government. I think having this accessible even from your own home (in a very easy and transparent way) is something I think all countries should implement.
Secondly, I'm very lucky to be in a country where profits on non-speculative securities are untaxed, but I think in many countries this is not the case, and I think this is a shame. I think investing in something without any speculative nature should be rewarded instead of taxed, and linked to that, if you do decide to tax it, you should also be able to deduct the losses.
To be honest, I’m from Belgium and it's very pro-freedom here. So in Belgium gay marriage and everything here is possible, changing your gender etc. So everything policy wise that enables the complete freedom of the human being is a policy I think countries should adapt, so I would say this would be my last one.
Communities are often an important backbone for many crypto/blockchain projects, so we’d now like to get some personal thoughts on the community side of things.
Q12: What do you feel makes the Delta community unique compared to others?
I think the community aspect, the importance of it, was higher one year ago than it is today. It’s still usually important, and I think the community is one of the three key reasons why Delta is successful because we handled that very well.
In terms of engagement initiatives, there is not one ongoing initiative going on right now, but we are constantly available in our Telegram and we have awesome support 24/7. From our point of view, the biggest engagement initiative you can have is always being there for your users when there is a problem.
The lovely thing about Delta’s community is that a lot of people feel like they’re (and this is how we perceive them) ambassadors of the project, so they're almost doing free marketing for us in a way. They are always explaining to other people why Delta is the best choice, and why it's better than other alternatives. So when you go to Reddit , Facebook or Twitter, you can clearly see there are people promoting Delta as if they partly own it, and this is really cool to see, and I think this is what I most admire about the Delta community.
Q13: Project aside, what are some other crypto/blockchain communities that you admire and why (this is not an endorsement)?
I think almost any cryptocurrency community has some part of it that is to admire because again they are defending the products. Of course there is an extra element because they invested in it which isn't the case for Delta. So yh, I think without naming one specifically, there are tons of Reddit communities which make me think ok, it’s awesome to see people really putting an effort into building their communities even further.
Q14: What social-media platform do you like most and why, and are there any improvements which you feel can be made to these platforms for an even better community user-experience?
In terms of support (so having support for people), I think Telegram is definitely the best because it's very instant, very easy and trusted. The improvement would be that it would be nice if you can have more thread related stuff like ‘select support’ so you can go deeper into one message without having tons of other messages in-between (the quote system is there but it is not ideal).
In terms of reaching out to your users, Reddit and Twitter are actually most important for us. I think Reddit used to be my preference one year ago, but today I would say Twitter (it changes a bit). I think the crypto market has matured a bit which is why it has moved away from Reddit slightly more, whereas people have tended to stay more on Twitter as they already use it for different stuff; which is less the case for Reddit. I think you have a lot of people using Reddit (or used to use Reddit) purely for the crypto related stuff, whereas for Twitter there is more overlap with other spaces.
Q15: With the endgame being mainstream adoption, do you think crypto/blockchain communities will still have an important role to play in a post-adoption environment?
Definitely. I think adoption doesn't mean no more education is needed, so I think educating users (including those who are already adopting it, yet do not fully understand it) and lowering the barriers for new users to enter is needed I think.
So I wouldn't say that adoption is the key inflection point. I think having the mainstream understanding of what's happening is the bigger goal.
In our penultimate section we are going to ask you a question regarding Delta.
Q16: What do you feel sets Delta apart from your competitors (that is if you have any)?
I think definitely the one thing we've always been the leaders in is UI and UX. I think the gap between us and competitors has been narrowed, which is a compliment to our competitors because I think when Delta launched in 2017, it kinda showed how far behind some competitors were, so we basically pushed other teams to work harder. This is something we are actually very proud of, and it also keeps us on our toes.
Beside from our UI and UX, I would say the most innovative features - like portfolio analytics or our analysis feature on whether you made bad or good investments, are the ones that we’re really proud of. What we’re most proud of, however, is that lots of crucial portfolio management improvements were all Delta initiated. It's safe to say lots of things that became almost standard in the portfolio checking space, simple things such as ok, if I add a transaction for BTC/ETH, when I do a buy transaction it deducts from the Ethereum stack I have - all these features is actually something that Delta introduced. So it goes from big features to very small things, and it's always nice to know that you set the standards in terms of products, which is what sets Delta apart because it means we are always the first with new stuff.
Well that just about does it, but before we end this interview we’d like to ask you for something which we believe will say a lot about your belief in the industry, and which may inspire those who are reading.
Q17: Can you come up with a short argument for our readers on why you feel cryptocurrency and blockchain (or just one) has a bright future?
It links back to the earlier question regarding the policies I would enact if I were the president of a country.
I think cryptocurrency, not only from a technical point of view, but also from a symbolic point of view, represents freedom, and I think people are more and more chasing a complete freedom and independence from governments and big companies. I think cryptocurrency and blockchain in terms of financial markets is the one that will bring this future to the people. And instead of traditional markets changing cryptocurrency, I think cryptocurrency and blockchain will change traditional markets.
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