Since 2017's major rise in cryptocurrency capital, there has been a massive amount of conferences taking place around the world on blockchain and cryptocurrency technology.
Most of these conferences are just hot air, speculation, hype, and a marketing platform for blockchain startups to feel important in an industry without much actual use.
A literal example of putting themselves on a pedestal with nothing to show but some unfinished code, a whitepaper, and some interesting conversation.
It reminds me of how digital marketers huddle around conferences to talk about how awesome they are to everyone doing the same things as them.
What are the purposes behind these events and why does this industry cling to a marketing method so self aggrandizing?
The answer really boils down to most of these startups not having actual working products and services, and so they are working hard instead to build partners and accrue resources to help them along as they stumble through the real world creation of their products.
Now don't get me wrong, blockchain technology has some amazing use cases, and there are companies out there providing real solutions with their developments, otherwise why would I be a blockchain developer in the first place?
So why the rant on conferences?
Well, today marked the start of yet another massive conference (Consensus 2018) which is powered by CoinDesk, a blockchain focused media outlet. Possibly the most anticipated blockchain conference all year, they aim to be the center stage for everything blockchain.
Is Consensus 2018 any different? Yes and no. The thing about the biggest conferences in any industry, is that they often have some amazing talent present, but it's shrouded in promotional speech after speech from people not very interesting.
How can you detect that a conference is likely to be a dud before you sign up and part with your registration fee? After you sign up, how can you detect sessions that are likely to be a waste of time? How does one actually find the practical advice and insight they are looking for?
There are a variety of approaches, but one that I use is to find and avoid presenters in these three categories:
Who should you find time to listen to?
During these events, the best way of making use of your time is to seek out three targets:
Businesses with working use cases, especially in blockchain, are a goldmine of information when they pertain to what you are working on.
The academic and developer nerds are too busy working on their projects to put out amazing information in the public space often, so listen up while the real experts are talking, assuming they are speaking your language still.
Lastly, successful startups are often in celebratory moods and want to share their success with others by detailing their issues and how they overcame them. These speakers are priceless.
As the conference goes on the next couple days, I will synthesize important tidbits for practical minded individuals looking to actually find some actionable information and resources in the blockchain industry.
Do you have any thoughts on Consensus 2018? Let's talk about it below!