Atheneum Team - Interviews

We’re the Iceberg: Why Atheneum Will Succeed

-by Marshall Clark | CEO, Atheneum

“We always see the point of an iceberg. So I’ve always accepted the idea that people — they don’t necessarily know everything I am. “

— Olivier Theyskens

Forewarning: I may or may not try to fit in as many iceberg puns or jokes as I can. We’ll see.

With the above photo, I’ve never seen something speak so well to Atheneum’s current development progress. I’m certain many of you have seen images of an iceberg with “success” above the water’s surface, while below the surface, the words “hard work”, “persistence”, “late nights”, and “discipline” follow the iceberg’s formation deeper into the water. It’s an accurate depiction since 90% of an iceberg is under water and its maximum width is 20% to 30% larger than what you see on the surface (fun fact).

If you don’t know the iceberg-success correlation, I’ll help clarify it. Others usually only see the success; they don’t witness the late nights of research, persistent network outreach, daily/weekly meetings for organization and strategy, continual growth of team talent through learning and personnel acquisition, community support… I could go on.

In my experience being involved with this project, dedication and persistence are some of the most valuable character traits to have, and they are propelling us to greater depths.

So let’s talk about those depths we are building for Atheneum.

— Alpha platform release date set: August 15, 2019.

The Greek symbol for “alpha”.

I can’t thank our platform developers enough for the time they’ve devoted. On August 15, 2019, we’ll open portions of the Atheneum platform for Alpha-phase testing.

We would appreciate any and all feedback to help improve it. Feel free to click every single button, link, picture, video, document, everything… The stronger we test, the more reliable our platform becomes.

In preparation for opening day, a few courses will be readily available like corporate training, photography, languages, and maybe even a code course. Meanwhile, the team is continuing to search for more content. If you plan to become a platform instructor, please reach out to us and we can help onboard your content for the Alpha release.

— The platform has strong viability for corporate training.

Dozens of employees quietly stare into the vast nothing as they probably came to this training for the free Chick-Fil-A sandwich.

I’ve participated in many corporate training sessions and seminars; it’s boring and, yes, I mostly like went for the free Chick-Fil-A sandwich incentive. I couldn’t tell you which seminars I attended, what I learned, or even locate the paper certificate I received to show I had been in the room when the training occurred. This is where our platform changes everything.

My 1st place state archery medal.

People commonly remember things or events that hold interest to them or are, in the very least, a repetitive part of their day. I’m 27, but I still remember the day and feeling I had when I single-handedly won a state archery contest at age 14 (I still have the 1st place medal). That was a one-time event. 

A big problem with trainings and seminars is that they aren’t engaging. Most are a simple powerpoint presentations lead by an old guy with a drone voice. You know the movie, Mrs. Doubtfire, where Robin William’s character (RIP) lands a job hosting a tv show and instantly becomes a nationwide-hit? How did that happen? Easy answer: he engaged the audience. Even pre-show host, he had the ability to captivate the show’s producer through his voiceover of plastic dinosaurs. Admit it, all of us were entertained by that bit.

Atheneum’s platform will aid an instructor’s ability to engage, which increases a student or employee’s ability to retain information. 

Through recent research and outreach, we’ve learned that even large companies with $200M–300M revenues often suffer from poor-quality training and lack of accessibility. After discussing with a specific large company in this range about our project, they feel the Atheneum platform will solve this by helping them improve their training quality through interactive video, testing their employees, and having it simply accessible anytime.

Often, employees are trained by top-performing sales staff or even a business owner. The organization’s revenue optimization is reduced when valuable personnel are pulled away from producing and expanding. In this case, an organization would create the training content once by your top-performer, then allow them to return to doing what they do best, all the while providing top-quality training material to all new and current employees. I’m sure if you’re a business owner, crunch the numbers on how valuable your top sales staff per hour, then multiply that by the time they spend training others. It adds up.

And what about the PROOF that someone learned something? What does that look like?

Spiderman needs education, too.

Proof-of-Learning (PoL) is not limited to a Microsoft Excel course. 

In 2018, $87 Billion were spent on U.S. workforce training. That’s a lot of money; what percentage of participants actually retained their training? How many needed to be retrained? Atheneum’s platform will test employees and ensure they earn the “PROOF” of learning. This Proof will be immutably recorded through the power of blockchain which we know to be accessible anywhere. PoL can’t be altered or faked, and yet, the learner’s identity will remain private and secure unless purposefully shared with someone else.

The great thing about learning on blockchain is that it won’t disappear like a paper certificate after you move 8 times in 5 years (I don’t recommend you move that much, I speak from experience). Your Proof will remain with you wherever you go.

— New personnel joining the team.

I’m beyond thankful for our team and those who are just now joining the party. We’ve recently added a:

  • full-stack developer
  • mobile app developer
  • graphic designer and writer
  • financial member

This may come across biased (yup, it’s definitely biased), but I’m utterly confident our team’s talent and hard work will take us into the TOP 100 Crypto Blockchains and fully become an industry-recognized platform among educators. That’s where we’re headed.

— Mobile app development: initiate.

Both iOS and Android would be targeted for mobile app development.

As mentioned above, we brought on a mobile app developer. Working in coordination with our platform developers, a mobile app will be designed and transmit the same platform capabilities. 

Let’s get down to reality: just about everyone has a smartphone. You do everything on it from scrolling through social media to reading news or watching YouTube videos. It’s amazing the kind of reach and exposure a mobile app can bring. Popular education apps like Duolingo, where you learn other languages, has 100 Million users. C’mon, Medium, I need a jaw drop emoji. D= <— That’s my attempt.

We’re in the beginning stages, so it’ll be a some time before one is released, but you can definitely be certain I’ll provide updates when I have them. 

In addition to the exponential reach a mobile app might have, let’s talk about the added technology capabilities.

— VR / AR technologies will revolutionize the way we learn.

Not sure if that thing sweats.

If you don’t know what VR or AR is, let’s talk about it. 

According to Wikipedia (super reliable source):

Virtual reality (VR) is an experience taking place within simulated and immersive environments that can be similar to or completely different from the real world.

Augmented reality (AR) is an interactive experience of a real-world environment where the objects that reside in the real-world are enhanced by computer-generated perceptual information, sometimes across multiple sensory modalities, including visual, auditory, haptic, somatosensory and olfactory.

VR and AR technology have risen through mainstream media and fandom over the last few years. I’ve done very little with VR, but my first real experience with AR was from the 2016 Summer-hit wonder Pokemon: Go where you try to capture Pokemon and battle at your local Andy’s Frozen Custard store (that was the closest gym). The developers utilized the iPhone’s onboard Core Motion framework which processes the accelerometer, gyroscope, pedometer, and environmental-related events and transformed it into an application that attempted to encouraged exercise and movement in order to capture Pokemon, and it could be played anywhere with an internet connection.

Sometimes, they would show up in the most unsuspecting or “convenient” places.

Now when we’re thinking about VR / AR technologies, how could they make education more accessible and enhance the learning experience?

The benefit VR brings to the table is its ability to provide a similar experience without proximity. 

What do you mean, Marshall? I’m glad you asked.

Let’s say there is museum that has amazing artifacts and pieces of history, but only receives monetization due to local tourism. What if our platform could be another income stream from an otherwise secluded museum that might be in Alaska hosting 15,000 year-old mammoth tusks? While that would be incredible to witness, not everyone has the capability to catch a flight to Alaska. And what if it’s not just one museum, but a collection of museums sharing with the entire world virtual reality experiences that until now would only be possible if you were standing before them. This kind of technology has the ability to inform and inspire at the same time. If you want to check out something like what I’ve mentioned, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, NY, U.S.A has done a few 360° virtual tours: you can check them out here.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. 

😛 You seriously should be proud and thankful I’ve only done one pun so far.

Let’s begin to dream a little. Imagine how VR could enhance the medical field by showing an entire nervous system up close, defining every detail at makes its way through the entire body. My personal favorite: explore space and galaxies, learn about black holes, and grasp at quantum mechanics. Or what about a virtual classroom where students and teachers participate together in a virtual learning experience?

— Joint venture with another blockchain project on the horizon? 

Brian, our CMO, hinted at it in the most recent Atheneum Fireside Chat video on our YouTube channel. If you haven’t seen it yet, you can watch it here.

Yes, we are discussing potential partnerships with other projects that would help improve platform features, security, privacy, and storage capabilities, and further promotes principles of decentralization and blockchain. 

This joint venture is not yet confirmed so I am not at liberty to say who we are speaking with or how they would contribute to the platform’s success, but the opportunity is very promising. 

— In Conclusion.

Can we hire Lawrence Fishburne to narrate all of our marketing content?

Much is happening behind-the-scenes to develop our platform into a Tier 1 educational platform that impacts multiple industries. Between strong project partnerships, new exchange listings, talent acquisition, network outreach, and more, we’re going to find out how deep the iceberg goes. 


Marshall Clark | CEO, Atheneum