Personal Brand26 Apr 2020
I was recently invited to give a short presentation about my experience working in blockchain for the Blockchain for Developers DeCal. The staff have been hard at work revamping that course over the last few months, and it’s been great seeing their progress, especially when compared to the DeCal’s first iteration 3 years ago. One of my first experiences in “blockchain” actually, was to maintain the Blockchain for Developers DeCal website and also edit their videos, while auditing the class. Oh how times have changed.
Since I’m fresh out of college, I figured I would reframe the presentation as a personal narrative. Instead of it being about “my experience working in the blockchain industry”, it’s now about “my experience learning blockchain” – from when I was a student who just barely understood cryptographic hash functions, to now where I hopefully know at least a tad bit more. Especially in the blockchain industry, popular startups and their founders achieve demi-god-like status. This causes many to think that they too should rush to achieve such clout. This can be seen partly as entrepreneurship, but of course, everything must be in moderation.
To chase the high of having instact gratification and impact in the blockchain space, some students might neglect their studies. While they might learn a great deal about the newest stable coins or smart contract programming languages, they risk missing out on the big picture: something universities and large research institutions have experience teaching, especially if they have the nerve to teach the same curriculum for decades. Of course nothing’s inherently better or worse for all indivuals, as everyone has their own way of learning, but explicit action (note the word “action”) to seek fundamental truths and context should be more widely valued. Otherwise, the next hot startup might realize too late in production that (1) blockchain is actually not required, and (2) they ended up reinventing the wheel in some areas. Members of the Education team at B@B have always understood this: that blockchain is a very specialized solution to a specific problem, and aspects of which have been applied to solve other problems. This is inherent in the name of our primary curriculum: Blockchain Fundamentals.
Part of my presentation argues to take it slow and learn the fundamentals, and to not conflate motion for progress. The rest consists of my experiences learning blockchain, and the various life lessons I have accidentally learned along the way:
- “Extract simplicity instead of mastering complexity” - Scott Shenker and various networking gurus
- Focus on breadth, but understand that breadth can only take you so far
- Track your progress, and reflect to bring it back to simplicity
- Have fun, and learn by accident
- Optimize for your day, since days add up to careers
Normally, when giving presentations, I would just use the B@B slide deck template, as I’ve been using that for years now. However, it dawned upon me that I’m no longer a student in that org anymore, and that this was the first presentation I’m giving after graduation. (Diploma actually came in the mail yesterday!) Guess I’m in the next stage of my life – time to revamp everything! Hence forth, everything shall be various shades of gray, blue, and purple, and consist of the fonts Oswald and Roboto Light :)