Celer Interview 1.0 — Steve Yu, VP of Business Development & Partnerships

4 min read


Welcome to the Celer interview series! Here you will learn more about the behind the scenes stories of Celer.

Today we have Steve Yu, the Vice President of Business Development and Partnerships.

1. Could you share with us your background, and what you are working on?

My name is Steve Yu, and I currently serve as the Vice President of Business Development and Partnerships at Celer Network. In the past, I’ve worked on multiple successful startups running business development and marketing until I came across a unique opportunity to bring my skill set to the Celer team in Mountain View, California.

In my previous life, I served in the United States Marine Corps with 2 tours overseas. And yes, it was a blast. Literally.

During Operation Infinite Moonlight in Jordan. That’s me third from the left in the back row.

Being on the business side, I actively engage external partners to leverage Celer’s technology to help grow their businesses and ours. Whether that’s partnering with blockchain focused projects to grow the ecosystem together or collaborating with game developers globally, Celer’s technology is versatile, applicable, and more importantly adaptable for the masses today. In fact, since our main net launched with a single game in July 2019, we’re seeing solid KPIs across the board coming from 90 countries. And to date, our gamers have won over $1.7 million USD worth of prizes.

2. What motivated you to step into the Blockchain space?

Several experiences, especially while traveling internationally, have led me into this direction of understanding how blockchain can be used to provide a better solution to some of the most basic actions a person takes as a member of any society — sending, receiving, exchanging monetary value, record keeping, privacy, etc.

Throughout my travels in over 30 countries, I have visited many developing countries including spending some time in Africa. It was in Kenya and Tanzania where I went down the rabbit hole of trying to understand how payment processing and remittance could be better. This is where I saw firsthand how mobile financial platforms like M-Pesa was helping to free up the financial silos and changing lives through faster payments, money transfers, and microfinancing over 3G network phones. This was transformational especially if your bank were 20 miles across the Serengeti and your only mode of transportation are your feet (and hoping that your fiat currency didn’t inflate much by the time you arrived to make a withdraw).

This inspired me to return to the classroom to further advance my learning of how decentralized ledgers, smart contracts, and crypto economics could be leveraged. The learnings I’ve gained only deepened my conviction and I am happy to have discovered this team at Celer Network.

Learning how to throw a spear from Paul, a Maasai warrior, in Maasai Mara, Kenya. Many like Paul use M-Pesa to send and receive money via 3G network phones.

3. What do you see in Celer Network? What made you want to join the team?

The team.

Not often does one get to closely work with some of the most talented computer scientists, developers, and marketers in Silicon Valley to work towards a singular goal.

Whenever you have a small group of motivated individuals with a complementary set of skills working towards a shared goal, interesting things tend to happen. The sheer cerebral horsepower and the willingness to hit our objectives is contagious and keeps you in check.

Many of my teammates’ background are not only recognized and well regarded in the academia world, but in real world use applications — successfully implemented algorithmic game theory to protocol design, led in the building of Google’s data center networking infrastructure, built the core components of Google’s TensorFlow, Intel DPDK, and network designs that were successfully applied by Raytheon, Bell Labs, and others.

Here’s a few of our team members during an event in Osaka, Japan (from the left: Junda, Steve, Sirong, Qingkai).

4. What is your next plan in helping Celer to grow?

The beautiful thing about our underlying technology is that our layer 2 is agnostic to other layer 1 blockchains. This means we can integrate with other blockchain protocols and we can easily integrate with other non blockchain technologies used in different markets and use cases — video games, micropayments, IoT, insurance, etc.

A great way to show that our technology and product are useful now is to take to it the market, learn from feedback and improve. We’ve seen this with our minimal viable product launch with our first game gomoku back in July 2019. Based on this success, we are continuously improving and expanding our business into the mobile eSports market, and later into other industries.

5. What’s your hobby? What do you do for fun besides work?

My family is big on travel, especially international travel, and we’re foodies too. It doesn’t have to be fancy. I even like to make my way out to the local McDonald’s in every country I visit to check out the local flavors and ask questions like why do certain countries charge for ketchups?

Traveling allows us to explore our world while encouraging us to understand (and appreciate) others better. It also provides a firsthand macro view of how the world is evolving. For instance, when I first traveled to China in 2001 for work and then again in 2009, I saw how much the country had changed and more importantly, where it was headed. Gaining much of one’s information about a country via the internet and media are helpful, but there’s nothing like being there for yourself. And of course…the food!

My daughter and I having some fun in Pisa, Italy.

6. Anything else you want to share with the Celer community?

Adoption.

The first time I received an email was back in 1995 while I was deployed to Japan in the Marines. Back then the U.S. military was using it along with some academics and scientists mostly. If you told me back then that the same underlying technology would enable us to manage our banking, book travel, order pizza, interact with our friends and family, have real time video chat with someone halfway around the world for free — literally in just a few years later, it would’ve been hard to comprehend, but all that and much more happened in a short period.

As someone who has seen how technology has transformed businesses, markets, and even countries, I think we’re still at the early stages of what I consider to be in the “information age.” When information went from analog to digital through faster data transfer and without any border restrictions, many more began to understand its impact, which will inherently impact the future generations. So when went from web 1.0 to 2.0 to now entering web 3.0, we’re beginning to see how blockchain can be utilized for a better future.

Fortunately for Celer, we’re seeing a clear path to monetization and growth, and as the greater blockchain community also grows, keep an eye out for when adoption goes from a lag to a log phase (or the exponential growth phase because I’ve seen this happen a few times). This “buidl” time looks very much like the other transformative ones I’ve seen before.

Thanks!

Steve

Junda and I on our way to a conference in Osaka, Japan.

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