Introducing Boz Menzalji, General Manager
July 15, 2020
5 min read
Across every function at Akash, from engineering, to partnerships, to marketing, one Akashian has made a profound impact in the way we collaborate and scale.
He enables our team to relentlessly materialize the world’s first decentralized cloud marketplace.
Today, we’re thrilled to introduce Boz Menzalji, Akash’s General Manager. Unshakably optimistic, curious, and empathetic, Boz is a problem solver with an irrepressible growth orientation. He is no stranger to the roller coaster of building a startup.
A serial entrepreneur and business development leader, Boz spent 13 years navigating the successes and failures of entrepreneurship. Prior to Akash, Boz saw two acquisitions and was GM at Refereum, a blockchain-based gaming rewards and marketing platform. Before that, he led business development for multiple SaaS startups in gaming, agtech, martech and fintech, including Paydici, a billing and payments platform.
Boz and his family immigrated to Oregon from Lattakia, Syria, when he was young. His early experiences gave him an understanding of how economic and political constraints impact companies and innovation. He graduated from the University of Oregon in 2008 at the height of the recession.
A knack for problem solving and an insatiable curiosity made him well-suited for the demands of building and growing startups across industries. This experience prepared him for the challenges and opportunities of building Akash.
I’ve always enjoyed solving problems, building things, and creating value – entrepreneurship is one of my core passions. My capabilities in growth, business development, and partnerships grew out of an innately pragmatic and programmatic approach
Building the Market for the Decentralized Cloud
Before he would agree to join full time, Boz started first as a consultant at Akash with one condition–to verify prospective customers’ pain points.
After multiple meetings with companies, I quickly saw that they shared acute pain points, and there was a clear problem with a common denominator between everyone we spoke with. I saw that the problem was a massive one. 85%+ of servers are sitting idle around the world. Across 10+ million servers, that represents $30 billion of capital–incredibly wasteful. Compounding the issue is an oligopolized cloud services industry…change is needed, and the product, the time, and the market are aligned well for disruption.
Over the first few months with Akash, Boz came to see CEO Greg Osuri as someone he’d be willing to go to battle with every day.
What most people don’t realize, is that the startup becomes your family. You’ll fight and bump heads. You’ll lose your cool. You’ll cry. You’ll celebrate wins and losses…and all of it will be together because at the end of the day, you’re one team. Period. Greg’s core value for everything he does is empathy. That says quite a bit about who you’re working with.
As Akash’s General Manager, Boz leads fundraising, partnerships, business development, and operations. For Boz, sales is a company’s lifeline and requires continual iteration from lead generation, to signed contract, to onboarding and customer success. That journey needs to be comprehensively understood and replicated to enable scale.
First, recognize that your sales process is an engine–make sure you know every moving part of your engine, and how it interacts with each other.
Second, be ruthlessly focused on the customer by executing a root/cause analysis during your customer development initiatives; the what is simple, but always ask the why. Don’t build features that don’t solve problems or add value - verify before you build. Do not repeat the timeless mistake of build it and they will come
Third, think about moats and how to build them early on. Stay pragmatic and disciplined. Focus on one problem and solve it well, and stay laser focused on the shortest path to generating value at first (it’s not as easy as it sounds). For an understanding of moats, I recommend Peter Thiel’s Zero to One and Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne.
Growing the Dream Team
Boz’s invaluable contributions beyond his role include clearing roadblocks for the team, establishing a collaborative culture, championing the happiness of our team, and ensuring we celebrate together.
In the past two quarters, Akash has doubled in team size. Boz has been involved in recruiting and hiring each new team member. At Akash, culture starts with empathy. Boz also looks for candidates with a deep sense of ownership and purpose.
But if empathy doesn’t come with ownership and purpose, we don’t make the hire.
Startups aren’t your typical 9-5. You’re going to share large milestones and deliverables. You have to care enough about your team to support them, and you’ll need them to support you. Startups are family. I want to ensure our people grow alongside the company and share in the prosperity of the company’s success.
Empathy impacts Akash’s one metric that matters, which is total network spend on Akash’s marketplace, or GMV (gross merchandise value).
We build our platform with empathy for the developer. We want to remove the cognitive tax it takes for developers to adopt Akash and deploy their applications.
Looking to the Future
After launching our successful incentivized testnet competition, The Akashian Challenge, with 211 teams, and selling out the first production run of our Superminis, Boz is excited to bridge the gap between crypto and traditional markets, first with strategic partnerships, and customer development.
At Akash, I’m excited about creating a new market category of edgeless cloud infrastructure, and leveraging blockchain to enable permissionless access to compute from anyone, anywhere.
An insatiable learner, Boz’s core passion is space and like space, his desire to grow and push himself seems limitless. After completing consecutive cloud certifications, he’s currently learning Bash/Shell and voraciously studying the rise of FinTech 2.0 (DeFi), which he believes will have tremendous implications for global markets.