Below is our recent interview with Amber Scott, Founder & CEO at Outlier Compliance Group:
Q: Could you provide our readers with a brief introduction to your company?
A: Outlier Solutions Inc. dba Outlier Compliance Group is a boutique compliance consulting firm. We specialize in anti-money laundering (AML), privacy and regulatory compliance. The company’s name was inspired by the book “Outliers – The Story Of Success” Malcolm Gladwell states that it takes an awfully long time to truly master any skill (roughly 10,000 hours). Reading this book from a consultant’s perspective, our founder had an “aha moment”. To truly excel in a consultative role, one should have deep subject matter expertise (and that expertise should be continuously improving). We set out to build a team of experts to share in the work and profits.
The company first became involved in virtual assets in 2013, when a client asked for a risk assessment update that included bitcoin-related payments. In order to better understand bitcoin payments, and the Bitcoin network generally, our founder asked that a retainer be paid in bitcoin. The company has been accepting bitcoin payments since then, and our team has worked with a wide swath of technology companies in the virtual asset space.
Q: Any highlights on your recent announcement?
A: We believe that it’s important to understand technology first hand. Like that first bitcoin payment in 2013, we want to be able to “play” and truly understand what we’re dealing with… and what we’re seeing in the metaverse today is definitely the tip of a significant virtual iceberg.
While the idea of having a virtual office in the metaverse is probably not very sexy on its own, it provides a great jumping-off point for our team to understand and explore. It also provides another avenue for us to connect with companies doing work in the space. It always makes it easier to have a conversation about the regulatory implications of various business models and technology use cases when we don’t need an explanation of the basic mechanics of the technology itself. We can jump straight to more interesting conversations – and we’re less likely to miss important details.
Q: Can you give us more insights into your offering?
A: We’re here to support builders – it’s in our DNA as a company. I don’t think that there is anything more exciting to our team than working through the implications of a business model that we haven’t seen before. We expect to see this often in the virtual asset space, and in the metaverse. We’re entering an era where the parties to transactions might be machines or smart contracts, as opposed to individuals or companies. There’s often a real disconnect between what tech company founders and regulators see as being true, and we aim to bridge that gap.
We spend a lot of time explaining technology to regulators, and regulation to technology folks. Ultimately, both groups have good intentions but don’t always see eye to eye. For instance, there is a running joke (not sure if you can use memes in your articles, but it’s attached just in case) that technology founders (most often mistakenly) believe that new models are exempt from existing regulations. In our practice, we aim to help our clients find effective (and compliant) means of meeting their goals.
Q: What can we expect from your company in next 6 months? What are your plans?
A: While we’re excited about what’s happening in the metaverse, I think it’s safe to say that we’re equally excited at the prospect of more interaction in meatspace as well. We’re based in Canada, where lockdowns have been enforced more than in some other places, and we’ve been almost exclusively remote for almost two years! Wherever we are, we’re going to continue exploring and supporting our clients.
Q: What is the best thing about your company that people might not know about?
A: Every single one of our consultants has over 10,000 hours of in-house compliance experience. It’s really hard to keep to this sometimes, especially when we identify a stellar candidate that is a great fit with the team. I think we started talking about when we could recruit Hannah two years before she joined the team. Everyone was so impressed by her, but we wanted her to have the right experience under her belt first.
We’re also all huge geeks (that last bit might not actually surprise anyone). I think every one of us has picked up a technology-adjacent passion project during the pandemic (3-D printing, coding, Linux, cyber security, blockchain investigation). It’s likely that part of the reason that we’ve become so involved in the technology space is that we’re all genuinely passionate about it.