Meet Caroline Ellison - Investor. Leader. Researcher

In Women in Crypto
You have gone from an equity desk position to becoming CEO of a company. What was that journey like for you?

Pretty crazy. When I left equities for crypto, I had no idea what to expect, and effectively just decided to take a blind leap into the unknown.

It turned out to be a lot harder than I realized, and that was my main experience for the first couple of years. Then ultimately, it paid off a lot more than I expected.

What are your plans for Alameda Research? What will the company add to the crypto industry?

I’m really excited about everything we’ve done so far and will continue to do. I think we’ve come to occupy a fairly unique space in the crypto industry: bringing traditional finance backgrounds to help the crypto markets become more orderly and efficient, but combining it with a crypto focus that lets us adapt to a weird and ever-changing market.

What do you think are some of the most important priorities for a successful corporation?

I think it’s really important to make sure everyone is on the same page and working together toward common goals rather than working at cross purposes. The latter is unfortunately common in crypto and makes it really hard for those companies to operate.

Also super important to have a culture of getting stuff done quickly. I think at most companies, by default things take too long and get bogged down in stuff, and one of our advantages has been being able to move quickly and flexibly.

Any advice for someone who may want to tackle your kind of endeavor?

Women are a pretty low percentage of crypto, trading, and executive roles in general. I don’t think there is any substantial gender difference on average in general intelligence and competence. But women do tend to be substantially less self-confident, assertive, and risk-tolerant, and more anxious, compassionate, and emotionally sensitive--all of which I think is pretty relevant to the fields I work in.

So I guess the good news is, there are lots of women out there who are smart enough to succeed in the fields I work in, and if you’re one of those women, a lot of the battle is believing in yourself. The bad news is, that doesn’t mean it’s an easy battle.

So I guess my advice would be: try not to let your ambitions be limited by what you think you can do, or assume that something is too hard. Working hard matters a ton, and working long days and sacrificing your personal life will actually increase your chances of success. And it’s really hard to accomplish anything if you’re afraid to fail, look stupid, or get people pissed off at you.

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