In the last year, we have learned how staying true to our values has kept us focused on our mission and made us a better team. Our values are the foundation of Soluna’s innovative approach to the opaque industries of cryptocurrency and energy. They also define how we are going to be different than every other company that’s in the blockchain ecosystem today.
The first time we sat down to talk about core values, we worked through what having values meant to us and why having strong values is so important — especially for a startup.
We knew three things. One, our core values had to be more than aspirational. Two, they had to anchor our team to common goals. Three, and perhaps most importantly, we knew they had to respond to current industries in ethical and innovative ways.
“When I describe core values…it’s more about the reason the team stays together. Even if an idea changes. It’s the problem you’re trying to solve and the way you go about solving it, how you govern it. To me, it’s how the team bonds. If you’re aligned on those core values, then you’re aligned on how you want to achieve this goal, regardless of what the idea is. Which is really nice because values, I think, are what keeps us going in times of difficulty.”
Starting with values sets the foundation for our company. They tell the world what we’re here to do and how our company and our team behave.
In many ways, they hold us accountable because as the company grows, many things will change but our core values will not.
Recently, we sat down again to take a look in our rearview mirror. Like many startups, we faced challenges and some even tested our ability to stay true to our values.
So, what do we value? How have those values guided our decision-making in the last year?
“This market can have dark corners,” as CEO John Belizaire says, so it’s important that we don’t lose sight of who we are at our core, both as a company, and those we work with.
The only way to do that is to be transparent.
If we can’t be transparent with each other, as a team, how can we be transparent with our stakeholders, investors, or community? Our strategy to be open and honest about our project imperatively sets us apart from other projects in the crypto space and simultaneously reinforces the premise of blockchain technologies.
“Being very transparent, and being open about what we’re doing, that’s what the blockchain ecosystem is all about, right?… We’re trying to create an ecosystem that’s going to change the world and make it more open and transparent. So, our core values as a business better be about that, too.”
The last year gave us many opportunities to conceal challenges we faced from each other as team members. By addressing our concerns with one another and being honest about where we’re aligned and where we’re not, we were able to grow closer and more productive as a team. Similarly, our transparency as a company has allowed us to build relationships with others who also share our values and actually accelerate our project.
100% Renewable Energy
Producing 100% renewable energy is not only good for the earth, but it will also positively impact the people who live and work near the Soluna wind farm project in Morocco.
This has been our most tested value in the last year. While we’ve been offered the opportunity to work with nonrenewable energy sources and materials, remaining true to our commitment to 100% green power meant passing up on the offers that weren’t right for us.
At our core, our company is here to help create more renewable power around the world. When we started, we sought to power the blockchain in cleaner and more efficient ways. Quickly it became apparent to us that the need for renewable energy was not only beneficial for blockchain mining, but that clearly the world needed it, too. In the last year, we’ve invested more time trying to understand the role we can play in the renewable energy space as we develop a model that moves beyond our flagship wind farm and instead be replicated around the world.
Supporting Local Economies
The reputation of most mining operations is that they strip an area of its resources, profit immensely, and leave the area with nothing. Not many tech companies, especially in the crypto space, talk about supporting local economies. For Soluna, this value is built into the business model.
Supporting the local economy means creating job opportunities, backing education and training, creating clean energy, and giving back. This is exactly what Soluna is doing with our wind farm in Dakhla, Morocco.
Over the last year, we’ve spent a lot of time learning what support means to the people of Morocco and more specifically, the local region of Dakhla. We initiated dialogues to learn about the community, its people, and their needs. In order for Soluna to support them in the best way possible, it’s important to us that we don’t make any assumptions about what they value.
This is a core value that we’ve remained true to through pursuing the right conversations and doing the research necessary to ensure that we support the local community appropriately during the development stage of our project and well beyond.
The Core Values that keep us focused
A company may have many values, but not all of them are core to keeping the mission clear and consistent. Defining core values required us to take a step back and clarify what our company is here to do, and why we exist.
In the next few years, Soluna will continue to work in line with our core values and learn more about them and ourselves. As our company grows, we will remain committed to the values established in the beginning — and, maybe even add a few more!