Bitcoin Dip

[embedded content]

As of last month, I’ve been enlisted as a community engagement consultant to the HTDC and its Digital Currency Innovation Lab (DCIL) partnership with the state DCCA Division of Financial Institutions (DFI). The objective is to grow participation from cryptocurrency enthusiasts in Hawaii and help formulate a holistic perspective on the development of digital currency for the state.

It’s going to be a fun assignment. Like many geeks I’m fascinated by where crypto is headed, and after attending and promoting local events related to Bitcoin and other digital currencies, I now have the chance to do so officially, and have a hand in planning them. For the next 12 months, at least.

As national headlines proclaimed a “crash” in the value of Bitcoin and other digital currencies last week, I checked in with reporter Casey Lund and the “This Is Now” team at Hawaii News Now to explore what it means. The segment allowed me to drop a promo for a HTDC webinar coming up this Wednesday, “Crypto for Nonprofits,” featuring Alex Wilson of The Giving Block.

Read more

Building a Better MLS

[embedded content]

I’ve been with Hawaii Information Service for over 14 years, serving as its Communication Director and part of its cross-departmental project management team. Although roughly categorized as a Multiple Listing Service (MLS) provider, we are much more than that. We’re a genuine home-grown technology company that has kept up with, and often surpassed, the national real estate industry.

We don’t often get to “toot our own horn” — we’re far too busy for that — but thanks to a nomination from Hawaii National Bank, Hawaii Information Service has now been featured in a “Business Matters” segment on KHON. Veteran reporter Howard Dashevsky visited with us, and with his videographer Erik, put together a remarkably solid profile in just a few hours.

In three minutes, CEO Faith Geronimo and COO Colleen Yasuhara got to tell much of our company’s story, from its history, to its vision, to the next-generation real estate data platform we’ve been building for the last three years. It’s finally going to be released later this year, so the timing couldn’t have been better.

READ MORE: Building a Better MLS System

Read more

Vinh’s Fruit Stand

This is Vinh. She lives on our street in Mililani.

Her house on the corner is surrounded by fruit trees. For months now, we’ve seen her set up a small sidewalk stand to sell fruits, with a handmade sign, a scale, and an extension cord-powered light. She’ll often sit outside from dusk to 10:00 p.m. Once in a blue moon, I’ll see someone stop, but for the most part she’s out in the dark by herself for hours.

Struck by this scene, I finally went over to say hello.

I learned her name, and that right now she’s selling star apples and longan fruits. She offered samples, the longan being softer and sweeter. I bought a couple.

She said she is 68, and that she suffered a stroke and is recovering. She said staying inside made her depressed. She said she likes being outside and watching people and meeting people. She likes our neighborhood. She doesn’t like the rain.

I’m glad I went over to meet her. I’ll be sure to check on her now and then, and buy more fruit. I think lychee will be in season soon.

Originally posted to Facebook where it garnered 1,600 likes, 620 shares, and 160 comments.

Read more

Beyond the Pandemic

I was asked to participate in the fifth and final episode of a series of town halls marking the anniversary of the pandemic, hosted by Hawaii News Now. The panel included Avi Mannis, Senior VP of Marketing, Hawaiian Airlines, Tiffany Huynh, Director Of External Affairs, Elemental Excelerator, Daniel Anthony, Executive Director, Hui Aloha Aina Momona, and Jahstyce Ahulau, a Campbell High School sophomore.

We examine what’s next and discuss how Hawaii will handle the next year of the pandemic. I was given the last 20 seconds, and scrambled to turn my thoughts into a coherent wrap-up instead.

Watch the 26 minute special on the Hawaii News Now website, along with a brief write-up.

Read more

Unemployment Upgrade

[embedded content]

The Hawaii state unemployment insurance system is not unique in being antiquated, overloaded, and massively backlogged in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. There was a crisis unfolding across the country years earlier. But that’s not much comfort to the thousands of people struggling to make ends meet while they wait for things to catch up.

The Department of Labor & Industrial Relations recently announced a $10 million contract to upgrade the mainframe-based system to a cloud-based one, hiring an 11-month old Idaho company named Solid State Ops. The department says it will take 18 months to stand up, and will be a brand new setup, not a conversion from the current one.

Hawaii News Now sought some context on whether $10 million or 18 months were reasonable. Having previously weighed in on the topic on KITV, I was a sufficient stand-in for DLIR officials, who were stubbornly unavailable for comment.

Read more