Life at Arcana

Life & Work at Arcana– featuring our COO Ajay Shetty

Ajay Shetty
Ajay Shetty

This post is a latest edition from our existing series “Life at Arcana” where we give you a sneak peak into the work and lives of our team. Find links to our previous “Life at Arcana” posts in the end.

In this latest blog post, we have our COO Ajay Shetty share his experiences with Arcana, how his journey in web3 began, what he did earlier, and a word of advice for people looking to make the leap to web3. Read on.

Ajay Shetty

How did you become a part of Arcana?

I began my career in automotive engineering with Bosch Limited. Back in the day, it was my dream career. But life ultimately had other plans in store for me.

After a few years spent in automotive R&D and technical sales, I grew inclined towards management roles. This fueled my move to a boutique management consulting firm. I worked with industry experts across multiple sectors, including but not limited to banking, manufacturing, IT, retail, and healthcare.

Over time, I managed a few clients independently, working in areas such as strategy, operations, sales, and business development. It was an exciting stint mainly because of the breadth of exposure I received working in an array of industries and solving different problems every day. Although I enjoyed what I was doing, I felt the need for pursuing a structured program and pursued an MBA, which in turn helped me realize that working in technology is the road ahead. I then took a up a role in IT advisory at a large corporation.

All along the way, our co-founder & CEO Mayur Relekar witnessed my career progression closely. This is because we’ve been friends for more than a decade and often discussed work and interests. Over the last three years particularly, I grew closely aware of Mayur’s work and what he was up to in the world of web3. Around this time, we also realized that we complement each other in terms of business skills and personality. While I am generally not open to the prospect of working with friends, Arcana turned out to be a rare exception. One thing led to another, and I ultimately ended up in Arcana.

What do you do as the COO of Arcana and how does your typical work day look?

Broadly speaking, my main responsibilities at Arcana revolve around overseeing the day-to-day operations of the company. You could say I help the team function smoothly and offer assistance across several departments. Some of these areas are finance, human capital, legal, program management, administration, and stakeholder management.

When the need be, I involve myself in marketing activities as well. To sum it up, my job is to keep the team’s morale high, build strong support functions, and help the company cross milestones.

Coming to my typical workday, here’s how it goes: I start by attending two early standup calls with the entire team. This is when I quickly prioritize my work and clear any blockers or bottlenecks for the day.

Generally speaking, I try to keep my calendar free as a principle. Doing so can help me stay available for mission critical tasks where my presence and time is required. I also tend to block out a few hours every day to plan and execute an array of initiatives in the areas of team building, program management, learning, and other business strategies.

I feel the web3 world is not too different from that of web2’s, especially in terms of business operations. So what I do at Arcana is mixing and matching the best of both worlds to figure out processes and systems that best work for us. Because ultimately, money can only do so much. Rest should be complemented with a strong team culture, solid work ethic, and a drive for continuous improvement.

What are some of the challenges you encounter as someone who’s heading the operations of a web3 project?

The main challenge with web3 is keeping up with the pace of constant evolution. The energy in the web3 space is quite overwhelming, and it is easy to get carried away with all the hype and pressure. Staying level headed and focusing on building a strong core is what will truly set us apart as a web3 project in the long run.

Moving on, the other two critical challenges we face are in areas of human capital and legal. Attracting the right people during the early stages is a mammoth task. If we were to hire people with great skill sets, it would have been a walk in the park. But we are looking to hire people who are also ideologically aligned with our company and our culture.

Coming to the legal aspect, since crypto, blockchain, and the whole of web3 is in its inception, there is a lot of uncertainty in terms of regulations and compliance. We have to be cautious at every step of the way, and be mindful of our stakeholders’ trust as we operate globally.

What do you love the most about your web3 journey with Arcana?

At Arcana, the team is our true power. I have worked with a lot of startups in my career and haven’t really come across teams such as ours where a bunch of talented people work in complete synchrony. In our team, everybody’s aware of their roles in the company and what value they generate. Our team’s receptiveness and openness to feedback makes our lives much easier. What’s even better is that our team doesn’t shy away from offering constructive feedback when necessary.

From a professional standpoint, I love the fact that I got pulled into an exciting journey, that too at its early stages. I consider my role at Arcana as an opportunity to learn, evolve, and inspire the next generation of builders foraying into this space. For me, my journey at Arcana has been all about questioning the status quo and advocating positive steps towards privacy, security, transparency, and ownership.

Any word of advice for someone looking to make the leap to web3?

Learn from first principles.

One of Arcana’s core values is to learn from first principles.

If you are sold on WHY web3 is fundamentally the best way forward, then there is no cap on WHAT you can do and HOW you can contribute to this space. Can you convince at least three people as to why web3 is the most logical way to innovate and build? Then you’re ready to make the leap yourself. At the end of the day, web3 needs more advocates than individuals looking to book a quick profit.

This is all Ajay had to share with us. Follow us and subscribe to our mailing list to never miss an update.