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Team Profile: Aaron Cottrell

Team profile Aaron

Get inspired by the talent and passion that drives Validation Cloud forward. Meet Aaron Cottrell, our skilled Senior Product Manager based in Leighton Buzzard, U.K.

Q: What’s your role at Validation Cloud? Tell me about your background and experience prior to joining the team.

A: I joined Validation Cloud as the first product person in a Senior Product Manager role. I’ll spend my time working with customers, engineers, designers, and the exec team to figure out what we should build to help organizations connect to Web3. Then, I’ll work with our team to bring it to life.

Before Validation Cloud, I worked in the blockchain analytics space for Elliptic as the lead product person for their transaction monitoring and wallet screening products. Prior to that, I’ve been lucky to work in product management roles across a number of different industries from cleantech to misconduct reporting. I also spent five years in Australia with Zendesk, working on better ways of offering customer support and proactive engagement.

Q: What motivated you to join the Validation Cloud team, and in what ways do you envision your role supporting the company's mission?

A: For me, the appeal of Validation Cloud was the exciting opportunity to move closer to the technology underlying blockchain networks, providing the ”Lego bricks” for others to more seamlessly create their own apps or leverage their crypto tokens, e.g. by staking.

I was also super impressed by the smart, capable, and friendly team I met through the interview process which was another big factor in my decision to join.

In terms of supporting Validation Cloud’s mission, in my Senior Product Manager role, I’ll be working with our customers and our team to provide the capabilities we identify as valuable. I’m sure that will cover everything from lightning-fast Node RPC access to staking, and beyond.

Q: How did your interest in Web3 technology develop? How do you believe Web3's potential impact can be leveraged by Validation Cloud to empower organizations to tap into its potential?

A: I first became aware of Web3 through Bitcoin six or seven years ago, hearing stories of people running their own computers as mining “rigs” to try to earn rewards. Then, in 2021, I sat down and read Digital Gold by Nathaniel Popper and had the chance to join Elliptic. Since then, I’ve been fascinated by the technology and how it is transforming a variety of industries, often in ways that aren’t immediately visible.

As more crypto-native and traditional organizations create new applications and look at opportunities in Web3, they will need trusted partners to work with. I believe Validation Cloud is well-positioned to help institutions and developers interact with and build on different blockchain networks.

Q: What unique features or advantages does Validation Cloud offer compared to other Web3 infrastructure companies? 

A: The capabilities of the team and their focus are two things that have stood out to me during my first weeks at Validation Cloud.

There are many opportunities to pursue and the team evaluates those against a backdrop of what’s best for the company, industry, and serving the mission. Once a commitment has been made, I have seen the design and engineering teams come together to deliver.

Q: Which team values resonate with you the most, and why?

A: I am particularly drawn to the Integrity and Solutions Orientation values. 

I believe it’s fair to say that some of the bad press that crypto has received in the past has been due to a lack of integrity from some organizations - doing the right thing is something I value.

With regard to Solutions Orientation, I try to be someone who is always gathering input for ways that things could be improved, so having a team that is biased to action and low ego is a great place to be.

Q: What strategies will you implement to encourage effective collaboration with your team members in order to deliver high-performance and customizable products in staking, node operations, and data-as-a-service?

A: I’m a big believer in the saying, “if you want to go far, go together.” Part of my role as a product manager is working out what opportunities to tackle and then bringing people together to solve them. All of that requires input and collaboration from those I work with. 

I’m humble enough to know that I might not have all the ideas, or even the best ones. My approach is to present opportunities I have uncovered, with as much context as possible, so that I can talk with the team to work out if they are worth solving and, if so, how. Working remotely, that could involve sharing snippets of customer conversations, recording Loom videos to explain a problem or user flow, and meetings where we dive deep into a particular topic.

Q: What do you like to do outside of work? Any hobbies or interests outside of Web3?

A: Life with my young family keeps me very busy outside of work.  Aside from family time, I like to run and cycle as regularly as I can and watch football (soccer). I’ll be following the England men’s football team at the upcoming Euro 2024 tournament, despite the cycle of hope and despair that usually brings!

About Validation Cloud

Validation Cloud is a Web3 data streaming and infrastructure company that connects organizations into Web3 through a fast, scalable, and intelligent platform. Headquartered in Zug, Switzerland, Validation Cloud offers highly performant and customizable products in staking, node, and data-as-a-service. Learn more at | LinkedIn | X