Microsoft veteran Alex Solomon has joined the Enjin team as Executive Director of Enterprise Platforms. Learn more about his vision for Enjin in Enterprise.
I've spent my entire career with Microsoft.
This is important to know, because it has greatly influenced my thinking and approach to problem solving.
During that time, I spent more than 20 years in numerous roles, from partner and industry marketing in the US, to leading the marketing organisation in Malaysia and looking after marketing operations and product marketing in Europe.
Most recently, I led the Azure Direct business as part of Microsoft’s Western Europe HQ team, creating strategies to drive acquisition and adoption of Azure in the technical community.
Today, I am excited to step into my newest role as Executive Director of Enterprise Platforms at Enjin.
I first experienced Enjin’s passion and desire for innovation back in May 2019 after connecting with Witek Radomski, Enjin’s Co-founder and CTO.
At the time, I was searching for a better way to engage more meaningfully with an already over-marketed to audience.
I had been following Ethereum's progress since 2015 and had a general sense for how a public blockchain could be used to create value. I then started to consider how this technology could be used to complement our team's community engagement efforts.
Could a type of social currency be created to incentivise learning and influence positive behaviours in our communities?
Ethereum could serve as a public registrar for the transactions, providing authenticity and provenance, but we needed a programmatic way for multiple teams to be able to create, manage, and distribute assets to potentially thousands of end-users.
I drafted an early concept and pitched it to our internal team, where the idea was met with keen interest. Our governance team was immediately formed with early volunteers who saw promise in the approach.
In late September, I was in Seattle for a conference. Witek came down from Vancouver to join me and a colleague over dinner to discuss taking the project forward. By then, we had a fairly good sense for what would be required to create the type of experience we envisioned.
Within a few weeks, we had a working plan and prototype.
Though we faced a few initial hurdles in getting approval for the visual identity, we eventually received the green light we needed and began work on what is now known as Azure Heroes.
Microsoft is well-known for fostering a 'growth-mindset' and supporting a culture of experimentation.
The company often refers to this notion of 'tech intensity' to describe organisations that rapidly adopt the very latest technologies to create unique new digital capabilities that give them a competitive edge.
With this backdrop, it wasn't difficult to generate the necessary internal support and encouragement to begin the pilot.
The idea was straight-forward enough. But it was still unclear if a set of verifiably scarce tokens—with no monetary value but styled as cute badgers—would be enough to generate interest in our programmes and promote the type of behaviours we wanted to see in our communities.
After about two months of work, we tested the concept in Helsinki at a live event.
The feedback we received was instrumental in optimising the user experience, and led to the launch of the Azure Heroes programme in December.
The concept was simple: Do good work, earn a digital collectible badger.
It took off immediately.
Hundreds of badger nominations beginning to flow in through the website each month—in fact, our small governance committee of three members became quickly overwhelmed with submissions, generating a backlog that took weeks to clear out.
Meanwhile, community members were sharing their newly acquired badgers on Twitter and LinkedIn, which generated even more submissions as the programme continued to gain organic, worldwide popularity.
A few months into the launch of the programme, the potential for something much bigger became clear.
As Witek, Enjin COO Caleb Applegate, and I connected regularly to review the programme, we all started to see a clear opportunity for something that could be scaled to more use cases.
Leaving Microsoft was not an easy decision, but I felt that I had accomplished the things I set out to do and required the freedom to focus fully on the tokenisation work I had started.
The choice to join the Enjin team was a compelling one.
I saw them as a young company committed to innovating and pioneering in this fast-moving space. They were dedicated, hungry, and agile—qualities that would be critical for success in this space.
And importantly, our vision was aligned on what a scaled service offering might look like, with the aim to help customers rapidly create and deploy their own token economies.
I finally joined the team this month to lead the development of a new Enterprise arm dedicated to working with customers who want to create next-generation digital experiences.
Our goal will be to help organisations find new opportunities for marketing and community engagement, as well improve customer retention and acquisition tactics.
Ultimately, we aim to offer a full-service stack that enables businesses to create powerful token projects quickly through a template-driven experience.
For those customers considering larger, more involved projects, consulting services will help with a structured, hands-on approach to defining the vision and strategy required to meet business objectives.
As we look to open private beta for the initiative, we will be initially accepting a small, select group of customers who have expressed an early interest in participating, and we expect to open this up to a wider group of clients during the next phase.
We are looking forward to sharing progress through regular announcements.