Meet The Disruptors: Joshua Otten Of Ronin Content Services & ALTRD TV On The Five Things You Need To Shake Up Your Industry

An Interview With Fotis Georgiadis

Don’t work 24/7. — We celebrate the “hustle” and “rise and grind” but the reality is we are all here for a limited time and to spend it all working would be a shame. I try to turn my phone on and off at specific points of time every day and allow myself to be present.

As a part of our series about business leaders who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Joshua Otten.

Joshua Otten spent the last 20 years as a trailblazing developer and producer of premium entertainment, builder of digital media platforms, and creator of content marketing solutions. He has founded a digital marketing agency and a cannabis content platform (PROHBTD) and has produced over 50 documentaries, TV shows and films. His most recent company, Ronin Content Services, is focused on integrating the connected-tv experience into the blockchain via their CTV network ALTRD.TV.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

I’ve spent the first ⅓ of my career working with some of the prolific and creative storytellers in the world in what would be considered traditional “old school” Hollywood. It really opened my eyes and showed me how powerful content is — it can shape our youth and elect politicians and it can also bring communities together. The age of social media has made this power accessible to everyone and it was fascinating watching big brands and major media companies try and pivot to this new reality. At the same time the democratization of content creation and the sheer amount of content out there meant that premium quality content was even more relevant. I took my background of broadcast TV development and production and experience working with some of the biggest brands in the world and merged it into a company that is focused on helping brands tell their stories to dedicated audiences while still maintaining authenticity and creativity.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

We are taking our existing CTV Network — Social Club TV (, which has been focused on cannabis content, and evolving it into ALTRD.TV which will be the largest blockchain-powered “Watch To Earn” CTV network in the world. The key to its success is our content focus and our audience — we are creating content in the cannabis, psychedelic and crypto space with a focus on lifestyle, education and entertainment. I like to say we are ADULT SWIM meets VICE NEWS. These audiences demand authentic content and are turned-off by the mainstream media and the control large media conglomerates & social media companies have on content and distribution.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

When we first launched PROHBTD in 2015 the two other co-founders and I flew to Denver, CO to High Times Cannabis Cup to sort of celerbate but also promote the company and meet with brands and media companies who were in the space. Walking around I just started eating every gummy and smoking every joint handed to me — and honestly I’m pretty much a lightweight when it comes to cannabis. Needless to say about 2 hours later I was stuck in my hotel room listening to some “Calming Music” app on the phone and trying to talk myself out of a panic attack. The lesson there is don’t eat whatever gummies strangers hand you.

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

I’ve had way too many mentors to mention but I think the ones that have had the most impact are my family members. My Uncle, Mother and Grandfather all had their own small businesses as accountants and my Father worked his way up from a starting job in administration to run a large hospital group. Their focus, drive and hard work showed me what was possible and what it took to be successful.

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

I’ve found that the most transformative disruption happens when someone starts a new business focused on disrupting an existing business ecosystem. The entrenched players are usually too stuck in their way of doing things, the employees are not incentivized to find new ways to do things and they are set to maximize profits vs. take risks on new ideas or business models. There are obviously dozens of examples of this: Netflix taking on Blockbuster, Apple / Spotify changing the music industry, and social media companies like Facebook and Twitter completely changing news and media publishers. The common denominator is that technology companies end-up being the ones to disrupt the established players. And I think we can all agree that it hasn’t been “Good” — a specific example is Facebook and what they did to the media and publishing business promising them they would be able to grow their business if they invested in their ecosystem only to basically crush it years later. Not to mention the total dumbing down of our political discourse. One thing I’ve found is that no matter who the gatekeeper is (goodbye Sony hello Apple Music) the reality is the creator class is usually the last to come-up or benefit.

That is one of the unique things I really love about the entire blockchain platform — it is based on decentralization and distribution of power and resources to the masses — I’m sure Facebook will find some success in their Meta platform but in the long-term it may not be the biggest or most successful. And when you look at how the creator class can utilize NFTs, cryptocurrency and blockchain technology it becomes clear that even some of the big companies that emerged as winners from the last 20 years of technology disruption may not be the winners tomorrow if they can’t or don’t adapt.

Can you share five of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

Don’t work 24/7. — We celebrate the “hustle” and “rise and grind” but the reality is we are all here for a limited time and to spend it all working would be a shame. I try to turn my phone on and off at specific points of time every day and allow myself to be present.

Learn from your (and importantly other people’s) mistakes — this is super cliche but still one of the most important business lessons. Mistakes are guidelines and provide knowledge on how to improve and do things differently and more efficiently.

Wisdom = Knowledge x Experience — It can take some time before what you are working on can become successful and even grow to where you want it to go. You can have all the knowledge in the world but without real world experience (and mistakes / failures) you won’t have the wisdom on how to apply it effectively.

Don’t be afraid to pivot — You don’t want to try and be all things to all people but being able to pivot is important if you recognize a unique opportunity or what you are doing isn’t working but can work for something else.

Separate yourself from your work — It is easy to allow yourself to get caught up in your job and business especially as an entrepreneur. You see people celebrate their success and create identities that are tied to their business or job. I’ve seen and heard way too many people talking about their legacy and not enough time being present and creating personal joy in their life.

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

I am beyond grateful for the team and co-founders I have. We have a very unique opportunity to create a massively successful platform with ALTRD.TV — we are in over 60M+ homes with 2500 hours of content and the largest broadcast quality cannabis, psychedelic and crypto content library in the world. We have a dedicated audience and with our upcoming integration into the blockchain and the capabilities that will bring including unique NFT projects tied to content and watch-to-earn technology.

Do you have a book, podcast, or talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us? Can you explain why it was so resonant with you?

Yes — I highly recommend people read “Wherever You Go, There You Are” and “Awakening from the Daydream”. The former is a powerful book that provides amazing tools so that anyone can cultivate presence, peace, ease and stillness. This is incredibly important for everyone but especially important for entrepreneurs where there are ever shifting goals and milestones and the job truly is never done. Awakening from the Daydream is a Reimagining of the Buddha’s Wheel of Life. It provides perspective on life in general and is incredibly grounding. I strongly believe that curating peace and ease in one’s life is incredibly important and without mediation it is nearly impossible.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

I believe the keys to a peaceful, successful and joyous life are built on cultivating compassion, generosity and enjoying being present at all times in the experience you are in (even if it isn’t the experience you want to be in). The deification of wealth and “success” can create stress in people’s lives by creating unattainable goals (or even goals that should be attained do not come with the happiness and peace one has envisioned).

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I think if everyone would meditate for 20 minutes a day and focus compassion for those they think least deserve it we would see a world has absolutely changed for the better.

How can our readers follow you online?

ALTRD.TV is the best way to follow my work.

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

Meet The Disruptors: Joshua Otten Of Ronin Content Services & ALTRD TV On The Five Things You Need… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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