In our new “Wachsman Employee Spotlight” series, we aim to highlight one member of our global team to provide you an inside look into the Wachsman family. This week, we’ve chosen Jesse Platz, Director, PR in the New York City office, who is nearing his third anniversary with the company. Below, we ask Jesse a few “getting to know” questions to give you a sense of who he is, what he loves, and where he comes from.
Congratulations on nearing the end of your third year at Wachsman! How did you first become interested in blockchain
When I moved to the United States from Australia in late 2015, I had only heard of bitcoin or blockchain in conversations with friends and colleagues. My earliest memory was in 2014 when I was deployed on military operations in Afghanistan. Some of the soldiers were debating how to put a portion of their war pay into alternative investments. One of them put his money into a single parking space in a crowded district of Sydney, and one of them put it into Bitcoin. I was fascinated by both concepts and researched both ideas that night. While I personally didn’t make any investment moves myself, I can accurately report that both of those incredibly canny soldiers made very wise investment decisions. It wasn’t until I finished my military career and met the Founder and CEO David Wachsman that I became interested in blockchain. The fact that a back-end technology can power an entirely new asset class, as well as possess the capabilities to enhance the way we do business and the way we interact as a society, was incredibly appealing to me. My only regret is not recruiting that second savvy soldier that I spoke to in Afghanistan.
Who or what inspires you?
The thing that inspires me most is great leadership during times of adversity. I’ve always been an advocate of the saying “actions speak louder than words,” so I’m inspired by young leaders who commit selfless, positive, and morale-boosting acts to guide others through difficult circumstances.
What is the last book you read?
The best chance I get to read paperbacks is when I’m traveling by plane. The last book I read was River God, by Wilbur Smith. Whilst I have never been one to conduct immense amounts of historical research (I am more interested in what the future will look like), there’s something about ancient Egypt that fascinates me when I read for pleasure. Further, that book contains immense amounts of wonderfully described battle scenes, which I love.
If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be
I would have dinner with the late Pat Tillman. I’ve always loved sports and genuine role models within each sport, but Pat was a man that impressed me most about humanity. He was one of the very few individuals that cared more about others than themselves. Of course, he was a celebrity who was already a successful role model as an NFL player, but he wanted to serve a higher purpose. He gave up his comfortable, fan-adoring career to serve his country, and to do his part to make the world a better place. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our servicemen and women, who do incredible, thankless acts, every single day.
What is one piece of advice you’d give to aspiring PR professionals?
The best piece of advice I would give to aspiring PR professionals is to be confident early in your career, even if you’re doubting yourself. You’re well trained and well educated, so the only way to get better at something is to speak up and experience both success and failure. Whether you were right or missed the mark, learning from your mistakes stimulates a professional discussion, and the fact that you took action adds experience quicker than it would had you not said anything. This, in my opinion, equates to enhanced confidence in the future.
Where was your first job?
My first professional / career job was as a Television Broadcaster in Queensland, Australia. But, during college, my first part-time job was at a lovely little pub called The Pineapple Hotel. I spent time selling wine and beer in the pub’s liquor store. I have two claims to fame here. First, I once chased a man who stole a bottle of wine from the rack, tackled him to the ground, and retrieved the bottle of wine from his grasp. As I retrieved the bottle, which was valued at a grand total of $6.99 AUS, I told him to never come back to the store. To my surprise, he returned to a few hours later and apologized face to face. He then became a regular customer and an avid fan of the $6.99 special. The owner of the liquor store gave me $100 for my efforts. Secondly, I became a sales force on the wine front, with the same pitch, used over and over again. When someone would ask me what wine to buy, I would indicate that my father’s favorite drop was the Penfolds Bin 389 (which was indeed true). But I’d add to the pitch by saying, “it is a little pricey, but do you want to just drink something, or actually enjoy something?” Got them every time.
When you’re not at work, what’re you doing?
I’m a big sports fan. I love to watch NFL and NRL (Australian Rugby League), but I’m also a fan of console video games. With today’s hyper-connected world, video games are a great way for me to speak with my friends in Australia, whilst we arrest aliens together. My wife, Rachel, and I also love to cook, travel, and binge watch Netflix if we find a show we both like (very rare). Our favorite TV show so far has been Narcos (season two). I also spend much of my Sunday face timing my parents and brothers back home and particularly love chatting with my two-year-old niece Mila.
Where is your favorite place that you’ve traveled to so far?
Mykonos and Santorini, in the Greek Islands. That was the first place in Europe that Rachel and I visited together, and we fell in love with it. The sunsets of Santorini are far too amazing to describe in words, and the color of the water in Mykonos is simply beautiful. I would highly recommend anyone visit the Greek Islands if they enjoy beaches, relaxation, food, and cocktails.
What are three items you’d take with you to a deserted island?
My wife, Rachel, and my toy poodle, Burleigh, are not items but I would absolutely need them if I was stranded on a deserted island. Rachel is a great problem solver, and Burleigh showers me with affection, so I would feel incredibly happy as Rachel built a flare gun out of leaves and signaled for the Coast Guard. If they weren’t with me, I would take a pocket knife, a water desalinator, and, in the hopes of meeting an undiscovered race of island dwellers, the book titled “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”
What’s your favorite famous or inspirational quote?
“The standard you walk past is the standard you accept.”
by Australian Army General David Morrison.