“If we never get our feet wet, we’ll never know if the water is cold,” says Cholo Maputol, founder and CEO of PIF Nation, and member of the Robb Report Singapore Thought Leaders community
If life is a game, Cholo Maputol wants everyone to be a winner. Although he cut his teeth making money the old-school way—as an investment banker—Maputol leapt into the gaming industry in 2022 and now reckons that it is one of the best decisions that he has ever made.
His company PIF Nation (short for ‘Pay It Forward’), is based on the play-to-earn (P2E) model of game-playing that has risen from the burgeoning Web3 space, which is built on the tenets of decentralisation, NFT communities and blockchain technologies. Maputol hopes that PIF Nation will present opportunities for gamers, especially in underserved and marginalised communities, to earn a living through customised game-playing.
“It is a user acquisition and publishing platform that connects game developers with players in the ASEAN region,” he explains. “We work with both Web2 and Web3 game developers in solving one of gaming’s key pain points – user acquisition and retention.”
Describe a typical day for you.
The great thing about being an entrepreneur is that no day or week is ever the same, that is the nature of pursuing disruption. It may consist of meetings with internal and external stakeholders, as well as some quiet time to think through ‘big picture’ and strategic work.
However, I do make sure to block off time for activities that are important to me. As a father to young kids, I endeavour to be fully present during my time with them. That’s been one of the key positives that came about from my career shift.
Tell us about the biggest risks that you have ever taken.
One of the biggest risks was leaving my banking job to pursue a startup in gaming and blockchain, which is a very risky leap for most people. Personally, I have no regrets and I am learning a lot through this journey.
I’ve never been one to shy away from risk and have always been a contrarian thinker. There have been times when I willingly stepped out of my comfort zone with a purpose of expanding my knowledge, such as moving abroad for work, and being an early investor in crypto.
Give us an important life lesson.
I’m a big believer in learning by doing. If we never get our feet wet, we’ll never know if the water is cold.
Where is the gaming industry headed?
Blockchain technology will become even more embedded within our lives, in gaming, finance and beyond. The power of true digital property rights and the benefits to the individual cannot be overstated.
A lot of things need to be built for true adoption to take place, but I am very optimistic about the path that we are on. This pause in the macro backdrop is a great time to keep building and working on the groundwork for what will enable a future where blockchain tech becomes as ubiquitous and as accepted as 4G technology or cloud computing.
How does your work align with your personal values?
I came from the Philippines, and I am aware of the stark difference in living conditions and growing gap between the extremes of our society. Technology is a tool by which we can elevate the conditions of those less fortunate than us.
I endeavour to measure my work by the yardsticks of innovation and impact. Are we doing our part to keep the industry and society moving forward? And are we doing enough to create meaningful change that is broad-based?
Photography by Eugene Lee, Enfinite Studio
Hair & Makeup by Sophia and Victoria, Suburbs Studio