Back in the saddle again, blurbing..
Suffering from crypto-circuit fatigue, post one week in SFO for blockchain week (with a short detour into Vegas for Hoshocon), and then a quick stopover in Tokyo.
I believe SFO is still the best place to build your company, if you can make it happen. There are quite a few reasons not to choose SFO, but if given a choice, most people would choose SFO over other options including Austin, Boulder, NYC or Boston. Outside the US, folks are more likely to choose Berlin over London in Europe. In Asia, it seems to be a toss-up between Singapore and HK, as is the case in traditional finance as well.
As we have noted earlier the conference format needs reworking. There are some quality speakers at all these event panels, but most of the conversations happen in the corridor, off-chain! The Tokyo event was interesting in its format, more close-knit etc but still had a paucity of really good conversations on-panel. Some great points made by Matt Roszak@Bloq & Nithin Eappen@Arcadia & Miko Matsumura among the ‘on-chain’ sessions I attended, while not flitting around Tokyo for meetings. Interesting to see that all of these gents are north of 40 age-wise, and seemed to make the most sense, with their balanced views on a range of topics related to crypto.
Tokyo is a great city; If you are a gearhead/gadget freak, you cannot miss out on Akibahara. Tokyu hands is also pretty cool.
One recurring theme - A number of the knowledgeable folks out there think there is an oncoming crypto winter, in terms of funding for projects as well as in terms of cryptocurrency valuations. The easy financing wave is done, the walk-on-water ETH competitors are so 2017, now is the time to build some real businesses with real products, cash flows, and real traction instead of ‘air-dropped/growth-hacked, influencer-BS telegram shitcoinism’ ( That would have been one nice compound noun in German!). As my professor in B-School taught us - Topline is vanity, bottom line is sanity, cash flow is reality! Look at the number of folks are looking to hosting events, starting podcasts (Rohit
has a nice term for this - the fat podcast
hypothesis) and generally repositioning themselves as ‘crypto-influencers/luminaries’ while also angling for a variety of cash-flow focused businesses.
Shoutout to Dhruv Bansal of Unchained Capital and Hartej/Yo@Hosho
, both building great companies, far from the maddening hype of crypto twitter!
Another recurring theme in conversations both in SFO and Tokyo - a A number of seriously legit crypto luminaries are pretty unhappy with the lack of nuance, the highly entrenched positioning in the discourse in the crypto universe - one is either a crypto maximalist or a no-coiner, a DEXer or a centralized exchange guy, with crypto or against crypto, or with blockchain but against crypto. There is no gradations, shades of grey or middle ground, or no room for fact-based debate in these loudly articulated, strongly-held positions. Most of crypto twitter seems to be random shillers pushing their ‘shitcoins’ or projects or podcasts or whatever, with very little original content, or authenticity. The vast majority of the loudest of the crypto social media army are less than 35, and are either lucky/unlucky to have missed the last dotcom bubble. A lot of the articulation and the communications seem to be just for posturing. The sad part is that for every successful ‘influencer’ who makes a name for himself/herself in crypto with this approach, there are 10 other wannabes that want to emulate this strategy, further stirring the pot.
Or maybe it is a generational thing…