Faculty in Focus - FSE
Founder: Joe Fogg
Kindness towards planet Earth at the heart of new Web3 lifestyle platform.
MEC: Joe, your business Haon Earth aims to be the sustainable future for Web3 and blockchain, please tell us more about that.
Joe: Haon Earth merges sustainability and Web3 because I think they will be the two most important and biggest business trends over the next two decades.
Haon Earth is the Web3 lifestyle platform that encourages and incentivises sustainable lifestyle choices through tokenization, Game-Fi and Social-Fi mechanisms. Through our pioneering ‘live sustainably to earn’ model, we aim to introduce millions of people into Web3 and carbon management technologies whilst rewarding them, financially, for making more planet friendly choices. We will nudge users towards making more sustainable choices like cycling to work or using public transport, instead of driving, with the ability to earn Megatherium, the currency of Haon's universe. All you need to do is buy a digitally generated sloth, equip it as your carbon companion and start earning.
Users will upload receipts of sustainable purchases, such as a train ticket or a T-shirt from a selected sustainable retailer, or track a walk or cycle to work, to earn Megatherium.
We will begin with 10,000 non-fungible tokens (NFTs) each assigned to a unique sloth piece of art which we will sell. The income generated will be used to continue to build and develop this gamified sustainability platform.
Every purchase in the app will go towards funding sustainable energy projects which, in turn, can generate carbon credits and get the green economy wheels turning in Web3.
I’d been into NFTs right from the start. I was less enthusiastic about just buying and selling NFTS; I wanted to build something. I saw it and I thought OK this is going to be a thing, this is going to be massive and I need to think of something cool I can build in this space and uniquely position myself.
So, then I thought Web3 is not going anywhere and neither is sustainability - I’m going to try and blend sustainability and block-chain technology.
It wasn’t really a lightbulb or Eureka moment - it was more of a slow burn.
I had to come up with some kind of story. I thought of a sloth, a slow-moving creature that people relate to quite well. They also provide an interesting parallel to the pace of change concerning climate change. I started doodling loads of sloths.
We’d like to see our unique sloth pieces of art out there with people putting them on their profile pictures on Twitter, for example, as part of their digital identity It would be nice to have our sloths as some kind of digital signifier about someone that is engaged in blockchain technology but also cares about sustainability.
Haon is the inverse of Noah. Noah’s Ark was getting all the animals to leave this doomed planet, we’ve flipped it and changed the story and the narrative because these animals are staying on their planet to try and help it in the wake of a climate crisis.
Haon Earth was born out of rationality. Let’s be honest about it; it’s a cold hard fact that we have to do something to curb the climate crisis; it’s as simple as that. It’s not a case of injecting emotions into it; it’s the sensible and rational path we have to take; it’s our responsibility.
MEC: How did you discover MEC and what were your initial impressions?
Joe: Both my undergraduate studies and my Masters have been at The University of Manchester. In 2019 I graduated from the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures with a BA in Drama and then went straight on to do my MSc in Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship at the Alliance Manchester Business School.
I think I must have walked past MEC when I went into the new Alliance Manchester Business School so I probably just saw that and that’s how I heard about MEC.
But when I was an undergraduate I was pestering Tony Walker, who is now the Deputy Director of MEC, every week with some idea of some sort, I was emailing every week saying: ‘what about this?’ I was always engaging with stuff like that. My Masters was a MEC course so I gleaned a hell of a lot from that. I learnt a lot and, to be fair, I actually felt that I could actually apply some of the stuff that I learned on that Masters which is really cool.
I met some awesome people and it made me feel a bit more validated in what I was trying to do. There were other people with similar thought processes to me.
I’d started going to some of the MEC events but I’m definitely going to go to more. I try to meet as many people as I can because birds of a feather, right?
There was also blockchain specific talks including ‘Innovation Begins at Home’ with Professor Andy Stanford Clark, CTO, IBM discussing the future implications of blockchain. He was talking about some really cool applications of blockchain tech that I hadn’t considered.
It has been really valuable meeting likeminded people, who’ve got a similar thought process to you, who are trying to achieve similar things, at a similar stage in life to you.
I have to admit it can be quite lonely being a founder. Talking to your friends about what you’re doing and comparing yourself to them can be a killer. If you’re always looking sideways, and not focusing on what you’re doing, you’re just going to frustrate yourself. Why compare if you believe in what you’re doing? Just get your head down and stick to your guns.
It is a bit of a sanity saver when you’re talking to people who are in a similar position to you and I try to be a sponge absorbing as much information as I can.
MEC: Tell us about how your entrepreneurship skills have developed over the course of your time here.
Joe: I got a hell of a lot from my Masters course. I met my tribe of like-minded people.
I learnt about trial and error when you’re building something; learning from your failures is really important because it toughens your skin a little bit.
I learnt how to hone my networking skills because it’s so important for any kind of founder; it’s something you really need to sharpen. Anyone I know with a successful business started by approaching their own network of trusted supporters so it wasn’t a cold sell and they had a soft in-road.
MEC: What were the pivotal shifts in your thinking or behaviours along the way?
Joe: I’m starting to mature a little bit now, the way I think about things now and my outlook is different including my critical thinking skills. The way I approach things I have a much more refined perspective and I feel that I know a lot more.
MEC: How did MEC help you with any challenges or obstacles?
Joe: MEC was a great outlet for ideas, something of a sounding board. It’s a problem having a big idea but having zero infrastructure to be able to facilitate it or bring it to life. It’s great to have somewhere like MEC as a point of contact because otherwise you’re floating about in the ether. It’s fantastic having these great ideas but if you have no vehicle to actualise them they’re valueless. It’s fantastic to have a place like MEC to go for anyone with an idea.
Don’t spend too much time thinking and try to spend as much time as you can doing. Meet as many people as you can; be a friendly person because if people have got a good impression of you it’s going to help you in the future. Get something down like a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), or a wireframe, which shows people your intent. I remember when I was speaking publicly about my HAON project about five people came up to me afterwards to say my website was cool. An idea is fantastic in your head but when there’s nothing down on paper it’s hard to get people engaged in it. Get anything physical, anything you can show, anything that demonstrates that you’re working towards something and that you have a bit of momentum.Joe Fogg / Founder, Haon Earth
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