As a part of the Morning Lazziness series about NFT women who are encouraging and doing incredible things with their ideas in society, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ayelet Noff.
Ayelet has been in the tech space for over 20 years and has successfully led the PR activities of over a thousand technology companies in various fields, including blockchain, DeFi, fintech, AI, and many more. She has been a force in the blockchain space since 2017, serving as an advocate at the forefront of new industries in the tech space. She has worked on a number of projects in the NFT space, even prior to things taking off.
Many thanks for doing this for us, please let our users know about yourself and your embarking journey?
I moved from Israel to the US when I was nine years old, which was really tough, because I had not yet reached the age when children start learning English in Israel. It was basically a “sink or swim” time for me, and it took about a month for me to get to the point where my English was relatively good. That experience taught me how to adapt well to any change and land on two feet. It had a big impact on who I am today.
I believe we all need to be open to change and be able to evolve constantly throughout our lives. This adaptability has carried over into my professional career, since I am really fearless when I’m dropped into a new environment – whether it’s starting a business in a new country or immersing myself in new technologies.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
I have always been intrigued by new technologies. I immediately fell in love with the world of social media when I was introduced to it in 2006 – long before any of these platforms were what they are today. I recognized that these platforms could be used as highly-efficient marketing tools and that they held tremendous potential for businesses to reach the masses, particularly for startups that are short on resources.
That same year, I started educating founders about why they should use social media, and it didn’t take long to persuade them. While social media is a great way for startups to shout their own message out through their own channels, I also understood the importance for these companies to be recognized on top tier media. It’s one thing to tell people how great your company is on your own website and Facebook page, but in order to be really taken seriously, you need to earn credibility through having journalists write about you, and not just people who are on your payroll.
In 2006, I was living in Israel and working in a tech startup while also writing for TechCrunch, Forbes, The Next Web, Mashable, VentureBeat, and other tech publications. There were a lot of great startups in the country, and I saw that they didn’t have the same access to reporters or investors as the Silicon Valley startups did. Since I had a lot of contacts in tech media, I started connecting Israeli entrepreneurs with reporters, influencers, and investors I knew.
It was an amazing feeling to open doors for these startups and watch them flourish. I felt I was really helping a good cause, acting as their diplomat to the world. This is the main reason I got into public relations. I wanted to help these companies craft their stories and make sure they were getting the recognition they deserved.
The vision behind my PR agency, SlicedBrand, is to take on only tech clients with products and visions that we believe in and want to share with the world. We’ve grown tremendously fast over the past years, developing a solid reputation in the tech space and receiving awards for our work with our amazing clients.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
Every year just gets more interesting, so it’s hard to know where to start. Since I started working in the tech space back in 2000, we’ve seen the rise of Web 2.0, podcasts, e-commerce, and social media. We’ve seen social video technology progress from YouTube to the TikTok explosion. Then came blockchain and crypto. And just when you thought things couldn’t get more interesting, here we are in the midst of a surge of excitement over decentralized finance (DeFi), Web3, the metaverse, DAOs, NFTs, and more. Basically, the most interesting story that has happened to me is being a part of the whole transformation of the tech ecosystem as it happens in real time!
It’s incredibly rewarding to work with companies that are really making a difference in the world. For instance, one of our clients, IOTA, has a project that will enable small traders in Kenya to export their goods quickly and painlessly by removing a mountain of paperwork. Right now, cargo gets stuck at various stations along its route because there are so many documents for Kenyan exporters to fill out, and many of these documents get lost. IOTA’s project will enable fully digital shipment data entry and transfer.
I foresee that much of the technological development that’s going on right now will bring truly positive benefits in the form of not only economic and cultural changes, but also new ways of communicating and forming connections with one another.
You have been blessed with great success in a career path. How is “SlicedBrand” helping businesses and organizations?
This goes right back to that great feeling of making a difference that I felt when I was initially connecting startups with reporters, influencers, and investors. I could see that helping them share their stories with the world and increasing their brand awareness through the media was leading them directly to successful growth. At SlicedBrand, we love championing our clients and their stories to get them the recognition they deserve. They are doing amazing things – from protecting people’s privacy online to creating smarter and more sustainable products and democratizing ownership in the digital space.
We only work with companies we genuinely believe in, and we see ourselves as an extension of their team. We’re not working with them as external advisors – we really are an extended part of their family. And just like family, one of the biggest ways we help is by being completely truthful and transparent when we think something won’t work. We’re not going to smile and nod and go along with every idea just to make them feel good. Ultimately, we want them to be successful, and if we think a campaign needs to be refocused, we will be upfront with our client and let them know.
What would you say are the top 3 skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur, and why?
Resilience – Being a successful entrepreneur requires that a person be resilient. The world is evolving very rapidly, which means entrepreneurs need to continually adapt to the changing technologies and demands of the marketplace.
Determination – This is related to resilience in that a person cannot let setbacks throw them off course. Successful entrepreneurs do not give up easily. If you want something, you have to go out and do everything you can to get it. If five investors say no to your idea, pitch five more. Keep going.
Passion – If you are not passionate about what you are doing, then why do it at all? When you’re passionate about something, it drives you forward and keeps you resilient as an entrepreneur.
What do you think could be the future of NFT? How useful can they be for everyone?
We are just seeing the tip of the iceberg as far as NFTs go, with most of the news currently surrounding comical avatars and digital artworks. However, NFTs are extremely useful as incorruptible proofs of ownership of physical objects, as well – from property to collectibles. Because of this aspect of NFTs, they could be useful for the average person as a digital deed to a house or title for a car.
As with any new technology, the use cases for early adopters are likely to be very different from use cases five or ten years down the road. One thing I know for sure is that it will be exciting to watch this industry grow and evolve.
What is your no-fail go-to when you need inspiration or to get out of a creative rut?
If I am in need of inspiration or find myself in a creative rut, I get outside and go for a walk in nature. That always does the trick. In general, I dedicate an hour each morning to myself where I exercise and do yoga, which I find very valuable for helping me to de-stress. I also enjoy hiking and taking long nature walks with my dog, Jedi, during the weekends. I find that being continuously active and keeping my body fit helps me to also keep my mind fit.
The future of the digital world might be ruled by blockchain and cryptocurrency. Do you think it would be challenging for all age groups to gain knowledge about the same? How can we educate them?
As with any new technology, the early adopters are people who have more technical knowledge than most. Then the technologies gradually become more familiar to the rest of the world, spreading into all age groups and demographics. One thing that is helpful for educating the public is to make sure that the user experience is clean and simple and straightforward. I would also say that what we do at SlicedBrand is to help companies tell their stories in a way that will help all age groups understand what they are doing and how technology will benefit their lives.
Do you think NFTs, which are open to virtual reality, could adversely impact our health due to increased screen time?
Screen time has already increased dramatically since the advent of the Internet. NFTs are really just one of many options for people who want to spend time online. Most likely, it will simply attract people away from other online activities, such as social media or video streaming services.
What’s the hardest thing about being your own boss that isn’t obvious?
The most difficult thing about being my own boss is setting aside down-time. Because I absolutely love what I do, I could potentially work 24/7. But I know that’s not good for me, so I need to keep reminding myself to step away from the computer and get outside. Fighting the temptation to work all hours is something I’ve worked hard on over the years, which is why I treasure getting out into nature and recharging my own batteries.
In moments of self-doubt or adversity, how do you build yourself back up?
I remind myself of that 9-year-old me who landed in the United States not knowing the language, and then I consider how far I’ve come from that moment. I also encourage all our employees at SlicedBrand to celebrate every win – no matter how big or small. We actually have a Weekly Wins session every week where everyone on the team shares their professional and personal wins of the week. Everyone should keep a running record of their daily accomplishments. It’s tremendously helpful to have that reminder of your “wins” to reflect upon when self-doubt comes knocking on your door.
Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
I am one of those people who loves to constantly be learning new things and trying out new technologies. While I may not be able to predict exactly what the Internet or Web3 will look like five years from now, I do know that I will definitely be in the midst of whatever lies ahead in the tech space – be it continued evolution of the metaverse, blockchain and NFTs for our everyday lives, or the next trend in technology. I find it all to be extraordinarily exciting.
Who are your top 5 Women in NFT inspiration?
Number one on my list is Ms Polly, the creator of the Crypto.Chicks line of NFTs, which celebrates the diversity of women. I even have one of the Crypto.Chicks NFTs as my Twitter avatar!
Sandra Helou, Head of Metaverse and NFTs at Zilliqa is another inspiration, as she really has a vision for the future of this space and its potential.
Lisa Mayer, the Founder and CEO of Boss Beauties, is another woman in this space who I find inspiring. Her goal of mentoring the next generation of women in tech is admirable.
I’m also inspired by Cathy Hackl, who some people refer to as the godmother of the metaverse. She’s been writing for many years already about how new technologies will be transformational for brands.
I also have to include Reese Witherspoon on this list, because she is really helping raise the profile of so many of the fabulous women-led NFT projects out there, including The Flower Girls NFT project and World of Women.
Lastly, what do you think this world needs the most?
Right now, the thing that the world needs most is empathy and to be united against evil. We’ve spent the past couple of years physically distanced from each other, and only within this time did I realize how much we really do need each other, more than ever, and how important the social connection between humans really is.
In addition, recent geo-political events have brought to light that we need to unite against evilness and wrong-doing, no matter if it’s happening in our backyard or in a different country. And with a united front, we need to speak out against those injustices we are seeing. We cannot remain silent. It is impossible to remain silent in the face of evil if you have empathy. The ability to empathize with true human emotion is such a critical skill to harness now, in an age where we are interacting with each other more than ever digitally rather than physically.