[Thoughts #42] Consensus Part 2: Themes

Themes of Consensus 2022

Still riding that post-conference high from Consensus! For Part 2 of the recap I'm going to cover some larger themes based on my experience and observations. Part 1 is here if you didn’t catch it yesterday.

For those that are dabbling but not deep in Web3, these themes are still relevant on a personal and professional level. So, without further ado…

1. There’s a LOT

I think this screenshot sums it up.

I attended a grand total of 3 sessions, less than 0.7% of all the scheduled sessions for the conference. On top of that, there was a conference floor with hundreds of booths with companies promoting their products.

Interested in Crypto? Cool! Which niche?

Oh, you’re into Blockchain gaming?

  • Which blockchain?

  • Which genre?

  • What’s your role in the space?

Overwhelming, right? Alright, time to take a break with the questions.

Takeaways and Recommendations

When starting off in the space, pick and choose where you want to focus your attention. In the past year and a half, I’ve spent most of my time in the NFT space. That’s allowed me to really understand the ins and outs of this ecosystem and speak more knowledgeably about the niche.

Now that I’m in a comfortable position here, I am gradually branching out into Defi (especially with the current events with Terra and Celsius) and DAOs.

It’s like learning how to cook. When you start off, you don’t cook all cuisines. You specialize and then you expand and explore 🧑‍🍳

2. Diversity

Here is a pic I took at the conference. If I zoom in and squint, I think there are a total of 6 women in this shot.

Fortunately, the ratio wasn’t THAT bad, I think it was something closer to 70/30 male/female.

That said, there needs to be more diversity in the space in many aspects (gender was the easiest for me to identify) and it will take time.

There’s obvious reasons why we should support better representation in this space (equity, helping underrepresented groups, etc.). But one angle that I think anyone can get behind is:

If we are serious about getting the next 1 Billion people onto crypto, do we really think they are going to look and think like us earlier adopters? And if they aren’t, that means we need more of those people joining so we can build for them, not just for us.

THIS is why and how we win from a diversity POV.

That said, I’m glad that I met folks from Korea, England, Lithuania and Australia. Also I did hear some Mandarin and Japanese being spoken (I didn’t eavesdrop, I promise!), so it was nice to observe the geographical diversity. Also, Dapper hosted a woman-specific event, and We3 hosted a Happy Hour.

Takeaways and Recommendations

As this space continues to mature, I am confident that we will see a more accurate representation of professionals and consumers in this space.

If you’re building, be sure to consider the prospective users that aren’t like you. If you’re a crypto OG, that’s awesome! However, chances are someone entering the space today probably won’t look like you.

Also, there may be different representation in certain segments of Web3 like NFTs. I’ll report back on this after NFT NYC :)

3. You Never Know Who You Might Meet

One of the most impressive aspects of my experience at Consensus was that no one really cared about who you were. As a terrible liar, I was honest about what I “did”:

“I have a background in Growth and Marketing at large and small tech companies, and I’m currently on sabbatical writing and exploring the space further”.

No one brushed me off, and I want to say some folks even got more comfortable speaking with me when they knew I didn’t have a particular agenda.

When I was younger attending conferences, I over-indexed on the company printed on the nametag. Now I focus on good conversation and if it gets to a certain point, I learn about what they do and where they work. Put the person first.

Takeaways and Recommendations

Remove the ego! You never know who you might meet.

4. The Lines Between Digital and Physical are Blurring

This one is fun especially in a post-COVID world. Over the past decade, having online only friends has become normalized. Whether through video games, dating, or social media, many touchpoints are becoming digital-first.

Here’s a dated but relevant infographic:

If 2017 was 39% of couples meeting online, I can’t imagine what 2022 is.

Also, 2% of couples met online in 1995?!?! Regardless of the caveats to that stat, that’s wild lol.

I’m going to reshare one of my pictures from yesterday’s post.

This is a picture of Michael Rippe and myself. We met for the first time during a conference Happy Hour.

How’d we first meet? About 6 weeks ago, I spoke on one of his community Twitter Spaces and shared that I started a newsletter about NFTs and Web3. He followed up with me via DM and we’ve since become friends in the space!

I used to think this type of situation would be weird, especially as someone that doesn’t really curate an online persona. I was active but just lurked all social media platforms. Now that I am more focused on creating a digital presence through this newsletter, Twitter, and LinkedIn, I’m understanding that there is a different but complimentary world with digital relationships.

And best of all, some of these relationships can cross the physical/digital plane!

Takeaways and Recommendations

We all have our preferences for digital vs. physical, but it might be worth exploring digital + physical.

What might happen if you’re a hardcore League of Legends player and attended the World Finals in person?

What might happen if you are an animal lover and participated in online communities focused on pets?

5. The Quality of Conversation

On Sunday (the last day of the conference), I spent 10 hours having amazing conversations from 11am - 9pm. It went from a group brunch —> hanging out at a hotel lobby —> dinner —> watching the Austin bats fly off into the sunset on the Congress Bridge.

Why did a group of us spend all this time with each other? Sure, some of us didn’t have plans or were waiting to head to the airport. But it was the quality of people and conversation that kept us going. I mean, doing 10 hours of anything is a long time.

There were a few times halfway through the day where I thought to myself “Alright TPan, it’s time to say goodbye and catch up on work.” However, every time I wanted to interject and peace out, I couldn’t (I’m also terrible at goodbyes). Eventually, I just let those feelings go and enjoyed the company and conversation for the rest of the day. 100% worth it.

Takeaways and Recommendations

Similar to #3, focus on the quality of conversation. If you’re in a Sales role or have a packed schedule, sure run off to the next thing. But if you have a great conversation and need to run, see if you can follow up with that person later in the day! The interest will be more than likely be reciprocated if it was a great conversation :)

Also, this space is still quite early. You never know what connection(s) might end up being valuable down the road.

See you tomorrow! I need to catch up on my conference sleep deprivation 😪

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