Max Ward saw a problem in logistics. The problem was paperwork. Mountains and mountains of endless paperwork that made it impossible to find out important information when shipping freight.
Taking his desire to build a startup company, Ward did something about all of that paperwork. He developed OpenPort to provide transparency to anyone sending road freight around the world. His goal is to improve the efficiency of logistics, especially in areas of the world that have been known for being inefficient.
Thanks to his work with OpenPort, Ward has become a leader in the logistics arena. In October 2017, Ward was a guest speaker at the World Blockchain Summit in Dubai. He spoke about many of the logistics nightmares that comes with doing business on the Asian continent.
Ward hopes to change the way companies track the freight they ship, and he wants to improve businesses along the way. The OpenPort founder and CEO sat down with Totalprestige Magazine to tell us a little bit more about himself and his company.
Max, can please tell us about OpenPort and the services you provide?
OpenPort provides irrefutable supply chain transparency from any road freight transporter, for the world’s largest companies.
Max, please tell us why OpenPort is needed and what makes your company stand out from competitors?
Logistics, particularly in Asia, are extremely inefficient. Companies don’t know where their shipments are and confirmation of delivery takes too long in the world of paper. This is important, because it drives cash flow for all business to business transactions. In general, third party logistics, 3PL, is a closed book, old industry that needs to change.
Tell us how OpenPort began and what have been some of the highlights?
I always wanted to have my own startup, since a stint in Silicon Valley in the dot com boom long ago. When I started working with the world’s largest consumer goods companies on their emerging Asia distribution, I saw how unhappy they were with what they got from the traditional logistics market, combined with the demographic trends, global shift to demand from consumers in emerging markets, the big business problem that needed to be solved with technology was clear. We bought a small company in the US with a transport management system, TMS, and that got us started.
You have operations in eight different countries. How do you deal with different markets?
I have always been a heavy traveler, something I enjoy, but the real challenge and opportunity is to build a cross-cultural organization that works effectively across borders, managing time zones, in the interest of our multinational customers. To do this, we hire for values such as respect and openness and as leaders in OpenPort make sure we ‘walk the talk’ when it comes to incorporating diversity into our management culture.
Max, instinct versus expertise: Which is more important and why?
Instinct is more important, because these days, younger talent have access to knowledge, and their ability to learn new technology and concepts is stronger than more ‘experienced’ talent. So, the hunger and instinct to learn and drive value helps them to be more successful than expertise
How do you find inspiration?
Learning something new makes you look at the world differently. The opportunities are everywhere.
What is the most challenging part of your work?
Balancing all the different critical components of a company such as finance, sales, operations, customer service, marketing, strategy, investor relations. You can’t drop any of the balls that you are juggling.
What do you have your sights set on next?
Making OpenPort a global blockchain logistics leader that changes the industry. We will do that with the new protocol we are developing and microrewards.
Were you ever influenced by other entrepreneurs?
I worked for a couple of silicon valley startups when I was in my 20s. I think a lot about those founders and how they did it, made mistakes and tried to learn, stay positive, and keep rolling.
What is a day in your life like?
Ahh, good question. Today, I landed in Hong Kong at 11:00 from Dubai, and immediately started contacting team members, investors, and most importantly, customers. A good rule is to take the first 90 minutes of your day and talk to customers. Sounds easym but it takes some discipline.
What makes you smile?
Happy customers and team members.
What scares you?
What has been your greatest achievement?
Building a multi-market digital logistics company powered by Blockchain.
What is your secret talent?
Liking all countries and the people that come from them. Once you genuinely like people, they will buy from you.
Which historical figure do you most admire?
People that change the world they live in and not usually politicians. However, I would make an exception for JFK and Suharto. Wish there was an audio of the time those two met.
Max, do you have any hobbies?
Airline miles and various ways to get the most out of the airlines.
What are you never without?
Can you share two of your favorite quotes with us?
“The new Billionaire is someone who positively impacts the lives of a billion people.” – Brock Pierce of Blockchain capital.
“Do right and face the consequences.” – Sam Houston
How do you define success?
See billionaire above. Now, that’s success.
What advice would you give to anyone starting a new business?
Make sure you are a little bit crazy, but have a lot of passion for what you are doing. There will be obstacle.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
The world is changing fast. Technology and the shift in consumer demand and economic power should allow a lot of people who have been on the sidelines to enter the mainstream economy. This will change the planet fundamentally.
To find out more about OpenPort and Max Ward, please visit www.OpenPort.com.