By: Sergio Willoughby, TNJ
Charles E. Williamson has a history of serving in senior level IT roles at major corporations, a background that has led him to this moment of innovation in his career as founder & CEO of AppThat.
An award recipient of special honors such as The Network Journal’s 40 Under Forty Achievement Awards, and the Distinguished Alumni Award from the School of Black Studies at Manhattanville College, Williamson describes AppThat as a company that develops emerging technologies such as blockchain, cryptocurrency, mobile commerce solutions, venture capitalist technologies, education platforms, and much more.
Here, we caught up with Williamson to talk about his new venture.
TNJ.com: Tell me a bit about your former roles in the corporate world.
Charles Williamson: Since my departure from J.P. Morgan, I continued to work in more senior roles at UBS and Bank of America overseeing firm-wide technology automation. In these roles, my goal was to find ways to make the company more efficient, reduce costs and increase productivity.
In parallel, I created AppThat, a software factory for emerging technology innovation for companies. We specialize in cryptocurrency, blockchain, and mobile technology. It was clear that cryptocurrency was going to break all the rules and disrupt the global economy, which is exactly where an innovative mind can capitalize.
Throughout my career, I sought to make as much noise as possible, thinking “good press” vs. “bad press” is better than no press at all. You cannot be an effective entrepreneur and a leader across industry by playing it safe, and crypto is a scary black hole that piques people’s curiosity.
TNJ.com: What attracted you to the emerging technologies space?
Charles Williamson: Crypto is the new offshore banking platform designed to gain profit while managing taxation, and nowadays, most people will do more business using their bitcoins and cryptocurrency. Some people are selling expensive items such as real estate, high price vehicles, and even the smallest items in exchange for crypto-currency. It’s difficult to control money that has no national governance such as fiat currency, so there are no real rules to break, unless converted back into fiat.
All capital gains are not taxed like traditional investments such as stocks and bonds. It is an attractive concept for most who like the idea of anonymity and ultimately, secrecy of making money. In fact, it almost feels illegal, as if you’re stealing a bag of cash. While the crypto market is influencing how financial transactions will be fulfilled, the m-commerce market is disrupting e-commerce, as more companies are generating better sells using mobile applications.
TNJ.com: In 2021, what’s new and exciting in the industry?
Charles Williamson: There is a huge shift from e-commerce to m-commerce because accessing products and services to purchase is easily done using a mobile application. The web is slow and oftentimes requires consumers to set aside time to sit at a desktop and load the URL site. Latency with web browsers on both desktop and mobile devices gives consumers too much time to think before making a purchase. This happens, for example, during the process of navigating the site to select and checkout.
Whereas mobile applications are easy to download from the App Store, remain native on the device, and have a point of sale as part of the user profile since the payment method is already recorded, AppThat was birthed based on a disruptive influence, and it was not an easy task to enter an early-stage market that required lots of education before shifting the thinking from traditional to future innovation.
TNJ.com: Are there any current challenges practitioners of these technologies face?
Charles Williamson: AppThat went through many challenges until the market understood there is a hidden market that would completely change our social and consumer interaction. We know our mission is to be disrupters, so we view AppThat as a change agent, paving the way to a better future through technology innovation.
TNJ.com: Any advice for those looking to become entrepreneurs in these fields?
As innovators, we want to inspire early-start entrepreneurs to continue in their pursuit to bring their ideas, innovation, and ambition into the marketplace. The key is to always keep a positive mindset no matter the circumstances, continuously try different approaches, be patient, and enjoy every moment of the journey as you get closer to achieving your goals.