When it comes to the field of paid data, research, and consulting, what companies are often after is actionable, strategic market intelligence and quality data.

However, quality market intelligence and data is actually very hard to come by; it requires in-depth interviews with industry experts and former employees of market-leading companies, as well as on-the-ground insights that are generally not available to the public domain or on places like the internet. This information can only be obtained from select individuals and experts who are 'in the know'; either through having close industry contacts and/ or deep industry experience.

Management consulting and research firms attempt to obtain this information through their networks by soliciting industry experts and paying them by the hour to get necessary information. The amounts that they pay these experts is often quite miniscule relative to what they ultimately bill their clients. They will then spend hours to collate and review the information, and then prepare it into a nice powerpoint, billing it to the client at a rate many times what they paid to get it in the first place.  

DDR (Decentralized Data and Research) is an exchange where professionals and organizations can find each other and pay for high-quality, customized, strategic, legally-gathered information directly, skipping the middleman, that is, the expensive research and consulting firm.

There are a number of people out there who have the skills and experiences to be paid consultants and researchers. Sometimes, it's just being in the right place at the right time. However, these precious assets really don't have a good platform to market their services. The entry barrier into prestigious consulting and research firms is high- they usually pick only the very top or well-connected graduates straight from the most prestigious schools. However, many experienced people have distinct knowledge bases which are just as, if not, more useful, if only they knew how to leverage them.

DDR is therefore looking to capitalize on this market opportunity. The goal is to take power away from the prestigious research and consulting firms, who have fallen into groupthink in recent years, and put it back into the hands of the individual consultant and researcher.

I, Robert Liou, was a former management consultant and researcher in the Energy industry for a number of prestigious research and consulting firms. I was also a CPA with a Big 4 Firm and have an MBA from a good school. From my time in research and consulting, I found that even top-tier consulting firms often fall into group think, and often do not know how to offer valuable advice to a long-established player in an industry outside of offering a broad framework or technology upgrade. Now that the the world has become centralized in so many respects - from news and information (think Google, Facebook, etc.), to the media (CNN and the mainstream media), and even to the most powerful corporations (Microsoft, Amazon, etc), the groupthink and fear of out-of-the-box thinking has only increased significantly in these firms. It is time for a shake-up.

What it does

What DDR is looking to create is a de-centralized exchange platform where professionals can pay qualified individuals for strategic, legal information directly, skipping the middleman. For example-

An analyst is looking for competitive intel/data in the industry in which he competes. This can range from market intelligence such as number of units sold, to cost data of competitors, break-even points on certain products, etc. He may not reach out to competitor employees to obtain this data directly because that would be a violation of a company’s confidentiality/ trade secrets. However, he may look for a retired industry expert willing to have a one-hour conversation. Or, a 3rd party vendor who sells a related component may be able to provide indirect information which the analyst can use to better estimate parameters for a model he is creating.

On the other hand, in this era of the ‘gig’ economy, a person with rich work experience can often become a consulting asset without realizing it. For example, let’s consider an expat has been working in Asia in the semiconductor industry for a few years at a manager level. All of the sudden, due to economic upheaval, he is laid off. However, he now has experience and contacts. With this background, he could use our platform to contract himself out himself as a knowledge consultant to say, foreign companies that are trying to get cost data on how technologically far along the fabs are in Asia, what their cost points are, etc. 

He/she can effectively become his/her own consulting firm.

How we built it

HTML/CSS/ JavaScript /NEO blockchain

Challenges we ran into

  • Issues with the blockchain, wallet, escrow
  • Neoline having issues
  • Testnet not quite ready- quite a few errors on Testnet
  • Need for a stablecoin due to price fluctuations
  • Inconsistency with N3 send function

Accomplishments that we're proud of

  • Both of my other developers were busy with work or their own projects; though I managed to figure out most of the techinical work on my own
  • Able to do API calls on the Testnet
  • Able to simulate how the exchange would work

What we learned

  • Leveraged nearly the full-stack
  • Key blockchain concepts
  • With better docs, can see how N3 wallet integration could work
  • Nearly designed a decentralized information exchange from ground up!

What's next for De-centralize management consulting

Hope to get sponsorship from the Neo team to continue development of this concept, I believe this is an exciting and important opportunity for all parties involved!

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