CEO of PARSIQ Rong Kai Wong Shares his Leadership Journey

CEO of PARSIQ Rong Kai Wong Shares his Leadership Journey
Photo Courtesy: Rong Kai Wong

By: Fanny Taylor

Rong Kai Wong is CEO of the Eastern European blockchain data technology company PARSIQ. He has more than 12 years of experience across different roles in law enforcement, strategy and business development. Wong started his journey with the Singapore Police Force, where he held diverse positions in investigation, patrol, intelligence and operations. Before joining PARSIQ, Wong worked in Binance’s investment team, Binance X, looking into the $100M BSC Accelerator Fund. 

What motivated your transition from law enforcement to leading a blockchain company like PARSIQ?

Moving away from law enforcement was difficult because it was a very meaningful job. I left the police due to a shift in priorities when my daughter was born. I could no longer work up to 90 hours a week at a job and never see my family — I needed something else. I am forever grateful for my time with the police, though, because it taught me responsibility, leadership and resilience. I was able to transfer my skill set to the blockchain industry, which badly needs people with a diversity of skills and talents.

I moved into blockchain because I could see how the technologies could have so much impact on everyday lives. I wanted to make a difference in another way, and PARSIQ falls into the exact niche within the industry to make that happen.

How does your experience in law enforcement influence your leadership and strategic decisions at PARSIQ?

My experience in law enforcement taught me to take decision-making seriously in a commercial environment. When I was in the police, a wrong decision could mean someone’s death. Now, as CEO of a company, no one is going to die, but my team members’ livelihoods are in my hands. I take decision-making as seriously as I did back then.

My leadership style has been shaped as much by what I learned not to do as it has by what I learned from positive examples and experiences. I have seen my fair share of poor leadership, poor decision-making and poor priorities. Those give me a very good template of what to avoid — which is actually a great starting point for anyone beginning leadership positions. It’s easier to remember what not to do, and then try out different styles of leadership to find one that suits your own character.

I also learned that different situations require different styles. The fundamentals are the same, however, and the right principles will work in your favor throughout the leadership journey, no matter the size of the company.

Since you have worked in both APAC and Europe, what do you think are the challenges and opportunities, and how do these regions differ in terms of blockchain adoption and regulatory landscapes?

Singapore is multicultural and I am glad to have grown up and worked there — it helped to instill the values and skill sets to navigate multicultural settings. It’s extremely important for everyone in a team to recognize that people have different work styles, even within the same country, much less across continents. From there, it’s about understanding the differences and similarities and avoiding the instinct to jump to conclusions. Working with members across continents means that meetings are almost always virtual, which can lead to misunderstandings, inefficiencies and delays. This can be mitigated if the company has periodic face-to-face strategic discussions at an office for team members to get to know each other better. As much as team building activities are cliched, the benefits are big. People from different backgrounds bring something different to the table. Group thinking has to be guarded against, but once you create an environment that encourages speaking up, you get a way better mix of ideas and issues to focus on. Hiring across a wider geographical range also enables you to find talents rather than being limited to a small space.

Overall, APAC has a more fragmentary regulatory landscape compared to Europe’s EU monolith, but APAC tends to move faster. Blockchain and tech adoption are generally faster in APAC for a number of reasons, but chief among them, I suspect, is that APAC’s overall population is younger, especially in Southeast Asia. The young are hungry, the young learn quickly and the young adopt rapidly. APAC is a powerhouse for the blockchain industry, from developers to ideas to the favorable regulatory landscape. Europe needs to move quicker than now and balance safeguards with a business-friendly model.

As PARSIQ has grown under your leadership, what key achievements or milestones would you highlight?

We’ve moved much further than when we first started out. Over the years, our internal operational organization has become much better oiled. Team members know what to do by instinct and by habit. We can better resolve conflicts and disagreements. These are huge intangibles that cannot be bought with money.

As a company, we have looked at strategic products and gaps to address more than once. The initiators have always been the technical side of the company — what is amazing is how we come together as a whole to make that initial spark become a huge flame. Our upcoming Reactive Network is the biggest and  ambitious yet.

What are some upcoming projects or developments at PARSIQ that you’re particularly excited about?

Reactive Network just launched its open testnet. It’s a major milestone inviting developers to study why and how they can deploy reactive smart contracts to break through the current architectural limitations of blockchains. It’s extremely exciting.

You can imagine blockchains as islands, since they do not communicate with each other architecturally. Various cross-chain communication protocols have already been developed as “bridges” connecting the islands. Reactive Network, however, will be the first-ever autonomous car fleet traveling on those bridges. This is because Reactive Network is a data execution layer for smart contracts, giving smart contracts the ability to react and respond to events on-chain for the very first time.

It unlocks vastly new ways to solve problems, allow developers to explore the next generation of solutions and provide the upfront possibilities to streamline and improve user experiences downstream. All these will shift the industry closer to mass adoption, and Reactive Network will be at the heart of it.

As blockchain technology continues to evolve, how is PARSIQ adapting to new trends and challenges in the industry?

PARSIQ is shifting from a company operating as a SaaS model to a more decentralized blockchain development foundation. All these are in response to market pressures, which are so evident in the bear market, and we emerged stronger.

PARSIQ learned several lessons throughout the past five years. The key is to always look strategically at the drawing board, even when things are going well for us, and ask ourselves what we can possibly do to lead to new breakthroughs in the industry. Focusing on main problems that no one else could solve will help.


What advice would you give to new leaders entering the blockchain industry today?

The blockchain industry is full of different characters from all over the world and various backgrounds. The right principles can differentiate you and build you the right networks in the long run. Taking the plunge can be terrifying, but it’s extremely rewarding if you are open-minded and willing to learn. The opportunity to work with people all over the world is too good to pass up!


Finally, could you share your vision for the future of PARSIQ and the broader blockchain ecosystem?

The industry has been talking about mass adoption for a long time, but we’re still a long way from it, because there are various structural problems that we have yet to resolve. The general population, companies and institutions care a lot more about user experiences — solve it for them, make it streamlined. You will know mass adoption when you see your grandmother using something built on blockchain.

We at PARSIQ are working towards that end on the level that we are good at: data. If the data layer is improved, the layers built on top of it will reap dividends, eventually leading to application improvements that will bring the whole industry that much closer to mass adoption. Builders may be frustrated with how smart contracts are coded and having to combine multiple blockchains’ datasets together. Many of them are also tired of having to code externally only to go back on-chain to execute, because smart contracts cannot detect events. Reactive Network is going to make all that a thing of the past.

Mass adoption and the technical frontier are not mutually exclusive. If enough of us put it as a  priority, adoption will come. I see it coming to the blockchain ecosystem within the decade. Let’s make it happen.

Published by: Holy Minoza


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