Serial entrepreneur Michael-Charles Nahounou caught up with MetroHartford Alliance Content Manager Nan Price for an update about his entrepreneurial evolution since their last conversation in August 2016.
At the time, they focused on Mike-Charles’ company TimePost, where he is Founder and President. He’s also President of NAHOUNOU Investment Group; Chairman of the Board, President, and CEO of petroleum, exploration, and mining company CIPEM SA; President and CFO at MC Petroleum Company; Creator of The Antiquity Project (TAP) and Co-Founder and CFO of PB DOLLA Entertainment—so he had a lot to share.
NAN PRICE: Fill us in on what you’ve been up to since we last connected. Any major pivots or important lessons learned during the pandemic?
MICHAEL-CHARLES NAHOUNOU: One benefit of the pandemic is that a lot of digital products and services were created. Many businesses were born, and the entrepreneurial landscape increased. There are a lot more people in it, which was very exciting for me.
So, I’ve been networking more. I’ve fostered new relationships, including developers and intellectual property (IP) attorneys, who helped me redefine my business model and IP strategy.
The main thing I realized in terms of a pivot was the notion of centralization and how it made things difficult for people who don’t have the same advantages as others. That helped me reapproach things from a more decentralized and collaborative point of view.
This whole idea that we can collaborate with each other versus compete against each other was a mind shift I embraced—largely because of my main focus, blockchain technology, which is a collaborative, open-source protocol.
I resubmitted a new patent in December 2021 for TimePost System and Method for Advertising via Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Networks. I also expanded my suite of trademarks for TIC TOC™ to include cryptocurrency in addition to marketing and advertising.
NAN: How are you forming collaborations?
MIKE-CHARLES: A lot of collaboration is internet based. And it’s across the world. We now have partners in India, Africa, Jamaica, and Canada. Most of those connections I made were all online. Again, the pandemic kind of forced me to me to build a foundation for remote collaboration using tools like Zoom.
NAN: What about local connections?
MIKE-CHARLES: Locally, I’ve built a network of entrepreneurs in the blockchain area of focus. I’ve also connected with some media companies including Black Tech Futures Media, in collaboration with Antiquity Project (TAP) and my company PB DOLLA Entertainment, which turns 20 years in 2023. We created a private crypto-community called #BlockchainRules on Meta (formerly Facebook).
I’ve also formed collaborations with CoinBridge Partners and MC² Technology. Together, we’re focusing on New England to connect hyperlocal communities via arts and edutainment.
NAN: What’s next for you?
MIKE-CHARLES: Last year, I became the first musician to tokenize and sell a song and video as a non-fungible token (NFT), which earned me the moniker “Satoshi of Music.” Since then, I’ve gotten a lot of requests to share my knowledge.
This summer, I’m running an NFT workshop in collaboration with MC² Technology teaching high school kids between the ages of 15 and 19 about NFTs, art, and business. At the end of the workshop, they’ll perform (singing, rapping, poetry, dancing) at the Palace Theater in Waterbury for a chance to win $10,000, $5,000, and $1,000 for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place prizes, respectively.
So, they’re potentially earning money. We’re trying to help them by providing talent and raising awareness. I’m really excited about it because we’re connecting them with local businesses, organizations, and entrepreneurs who have had some success. Those are the types of collaborations we’re fostering.
I’m also currently focused on TAP, launched in 2019, which is a collection of Musical Art™ NFTs inspired by ancient and current events. The business model is to take 70% of the revenues and redistribute it to grassroots initiatives that are focused on expanding the arts.
Finally, I’ll be helping organize the first Crypto Expo in Connecticut slated for fall 2022 and spearheaded by CoinBridge Partners, members of our #BlockchainRules community. It will be held in Hartford.
NAN: Tell us more about your TAP clients and how you’re serving them.
MIKE-CHARLES: In terms of a client base, those are going to be my regular core music collectors, and I get to merge that world with art collectors. But because NFTs are rooted in blockchain technology, we introduced what I call “crypto-literacy.” Now I get to converge my world of arts, tech, and media.
As a result, our clients can range from financial institutions and business consultants to entrepreneurs and nonprofit organizations that can learn how to tokenize their balance sheets and business models to shield themselves against hyperinflation and store their wealth. So, we have a nice area of focus and a broad target.
NAN: What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned on your entrepreneurial journey?
MIKE-CHARLES: The biggest, most valuable lesson is getting your affairs in order. Setting up your business for success is not just getting a client and selling a product or service. It’s really everything before, during, and after that. It’s learning how to protect your legacy. That’s what I want to teach anyone who’s willing to listen.
When my father passed away, I was thrown into the lion’s den. I had to learn how to take an oil and gas company worth millions and navigate around people who were trying to take control of company. How did I do that? By putting legacy first and taking the time to learn about the legalities of the business.
That’s been the biggest lesson for me because once you have your foundation in order, then your business is safer. It’s better to have a stronger foundation to start versus just getting excited about an idea and running with it—and potentially having someone steal your idea.
Getting your foundation in order, figuring out how the business is going to run and how it will operate when certain things happen, that’s the boring part. But, when you build a foundation, you build it once and you never have to build it again. The Good Book says, if you want to build a tower…you must first count the cost. I always keep this in mind when it comes to building a strong foundation.