Interview with Matt Hussey
I tell stories in subjects as diverse as technology, lifestyle, human interest and investigative pieces including dementia, and bare-knuckle fighting. At present, I'm Editor-In-Chief of Aysha, a new learning platform. Aysha is helping people understand the amazing world of blockchain. From cryptocurrencies, cryptokitties to running countries and even your music collection on blockchain, Aysha helps you make sense of it all in clear, easy-to-read guides.
What's next for AYSHA, as well as your own career?
Hi guys, I am the Editor-In-Chief for AYSHA. So how did I get into this to the guys at AYSHA? They reached out to me on Angellist and I was a freelance journalist for about 10 years. I've been doing some work in the blockchain independently and they like what I did. So we started talking and it felt like a really good fit. In terms of what I do at AYSHA, I create all the content that goes on the site. I've created different knowledge trees to break down the different aspects of blockchain technology. I do a bit of network building and outreach. I reach out to companies that we write about and ask them what they do. Then we use that to generate different content around different verticals about dating, or gaming, or the film industry. So that we can make it easier for people to understand what blockchain is capable of.
What was your experience launching AYSHA on Product Hunt?
Stressful, because it's a really popular platform and it's based all around the community. The more upvotes you get the more visibility you have on the platform, more people see it and more people then upvote it. So you have this network effect that's really challenging to do on your own. We were just asking friends and family to create a profile and upvote. Which didn't work because Product Hunt has lots of criteria about who can vote. I got in a bit of trouble as well because I pretended to offer to pay people in crypto if they upvoted, so Product Hunt gave me a bit of a slap on the wrist for that. It was interesting to see that when we exhausted our network other people that we didn't know started to upvote. So that was a bit of a nice validation launching that. Did it give us a lot of traction? You got a bigger tick up in newsletter sign-ups and got some nice traffic on the site. In my personal opinion, it's a lot of effort for a 24-Hour spike to get into that newsletter and that top Product Hunt product of the day. The jury's out on whether or not that's a good thing or not because I think resources for a company like ourselves are a bit limited and I think they could have been applied more effectively elsewhere. So that's my two cents on Product Hunt.
When did you first become interested in journalism, and how did you shift this passion into a career in content creation and editing?
I was at university doing my undergrad in geography, of all things and was originally going to try do investment banking but that wasn't going to be a natural thing. When i went travelling over the summer and I started writing emails about what I was doing and what I was experiencing, to my family. Then I went home and I would see family friends, who my parents would forward my emails to, and they really enjoyed them. I had this Eureka moment of: why don't I do this for a living. Then I Googled how to be a journalist and then it said to go to this university, and so I went to City University. Then I got my first job at this magazine called ShortList, and I got that before I graduated. Then how did I shift that two content editing? I think when I joined the journalism industry, the industry was just about to drop off a cliff as the crash was about to happen. Magazines were already in trouble and journalism was having a bit of a crisis moment. So what I felt fulfilled this place was websites and tech companies that were really interested in storytelling but didn't really have the skills or knowledge sets to draw from. So as a journalist it was a natural kind of sidestep into content creation because people really valued storytelling and having research, it works really well with tech science.
What is the most challenging part of breaking down technical lessons about cryptocurrencies and blockchain into easy-to-understand, streamlined tutorials?
Currently, the people that are writing about it are experts or there is an incentive to make it as confusing and difficult as possible. What I mean by that is if you make something confusing and difficult while simultaneously getting people excited about it, and what we see in the industry is a lot of get rich schemes, a lot of shady ico's, a lot of scams and phishing schemes that have taken place in the industry. So I think making things confusing helps that work, to exist and thrive. The challenge that I face is wading through a lot of stuff that which is irrelevant and misleading. Verifying if what one site says about how something works by reading lots of other sites to see if everyone agrees. So it's kind of reading a problem from a research journalism perspective of never trusting one source of information, you need more than one source that backs up the claim being made. That's one side and the other side is how to break it down into tutorials. The way I approach this is breaking down subject matters into different ideas that have different levels of knowledge required. So taking people through some of our knowledge trees, let's say taking people through one about cryptocurrency, the most popular one at the moment is Bitcoin, what I did was think, so most people want an introduction into what bitcoin is, so we created a starter article which explains that. Then created ones about technology and how it's being used in the real world. It’s a flow of information that people can read at their leisure.
How is being the Editor-In-Chief for AYSHA unique from being an editor at a publication or blog?
It's different in the sense that with most blogs and publications the knowledge is already there and that you are more about working to write about subjects that you know the audience are already interested in. I think the difference between working at AYSHA is that there's a real task around learning and demystifying. So it's very different from news writing or feature writing, which I would argue is more based around storytelling and principles of writing news, where AYSHA is all about what's the simplest way of writing, which is in some cases incredibly difficult concepts, so people feel comfortable enough to want to know more about it. It's changing the way that someone feels about something rather than preaching or showing them something that they already know or have experienced. That's the main difference. In addition to that being an editor in other places you're more focused on content whereas here I do social media, marketing, community growing. So it's a very hands-on and varied experience.
Could you please introduce your work with AYSHA and how you became involved in the company?
What's next for AYSHA? Well, a lot. My strategy for next year is to create two other pieces of content, to really make this an authority in the space. We're also doing lots of community development because we want to make this the go-to place to not only learn but to learn about companies and to reach out to companies. One part of the strategy is also to make it easier for people to find jobs in the space. That's part of the big push this year. My own career? Well, I have a lot of feathers to my bow. I'm also a photographer and I've worked for companies like Amazon, Samsung and Uber and at a couple of newspapers and magazines doing work, I do a lot of that in my spare time. Hopefully, there will be a lot of cross-pollination going forward, as we tell more stories hopefully we'll be able to tell those stories in a more immersive way. For me, learning about new things is what makes someone a good journalist. This is an industry that's going to grow very quickly so there is always new things to learn. The more I know about the space the better position I'll be in as a journalist because as the rest of the world catches up with blockchain I'll be in a much more powerful position as a journalist because I’ve taken my time in learning all this stuff. So yeah that's all from me, I'm Matt from AYSHA and talk to you soon. Bye.