Feb 28, 201901:14 PMProgressive HR
with Coreyne Woodman-Holoubek
The future is now: Lessons from the Milwaukee Blockchain Conference
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3. Panels that are fun and involve the learners
The “Disrupting Crowdfunding” panel featuring Robert Bardunias of GetSwift, Dusty Granite of Digital Bridge Partners, and moderated by Paul Monsen, was the most entertaining panel I have come across in my 16 years of conference going. Offering an initial coin offering (ICO) provides the crowdfunding model with a new pool of liquidity. However, globalization does not pair up with domestic regulation. In the U.S., our rules and regulations put us at a bit of a disadvantage for ICO, and leave us lagging behind Asia. For example, you cannot trade your token for 12 months in the U.S., while in Asia you can sell your equity quicker.
Learning outcomes: Gone is the day you can raise $20 million by sending 800 email messages. Today you need to do more to get your fundraising campaign seen. You could probably call tokenization “Crowdfunding 2.0.” You have to make sure your company, company agents, and front men stand behind it. As the panelists said, you cannot have your CEO go off to Burning Man and expect your equity to rise. (That drew a big laugh.)
Involve the crowd, or in this case the audience, by having fun, unlocking better questions, and pushing core assumptions to the edge. Laughter helps the learner by creating relaxed, safe spaces.
4. It’s OK to stretch convention
“We are really ready, so just go for it,” said Roz Stengle of Badger Blockchain, in her “How to get a job in blockchain” panel. “But don’t expect to be paid in dollars, but rather a random token.”
The rules of applying, interviewing, and selection are trumped by what Derek Urben from Coingy suggests: “Just put yourself out there via Twitter and have the assessed risk. Twitter is an underutilized resource. If you tweet them [blockchain startups], they will probably tweet you back.”
Alex Mortberg of JST Systems suggests a more traditional approach: “Write letters and thank-you letters after meeting a blockchain leader. It’s gotten me every job so far.”
Learning outcome: We all agree that the best way to obtain a job in blockchain is to show up, follow up, and make yourself stand out. “Prove you have ambition and show that you want it,” noted Mortberg. “Be passionate and able to demonstrate your abilities.”
There is no right or wrong, but the status quo is out. Taking risks in learning, growth, and getting a job is “in.”
5. Mix it up during networking and breaks, and do something different — preferably live and inclusive
We’re meant to be learning, innovative, and creative. Live podcasting from a conference is currently on trend, but very rarely does the audience get to watch and be involved. Richie Burke of the GoGedders podcast did just that with his guest, Davis Marklin of Euphrates.io, James Hischke of Northwestern Mutual, and Paul Monsen of Digital Asset Advisors in LA.
What existed in every session that I attended was the understanding that everyone was candid and authentic. While they didn’t have all the answers, part of their job as experts on the stage was to immerse themselves in the audience’s questions and be their guides, rather than be authorities on topics or solely on stage to sell their business. Part of learning is creating a space where big questions can be asked.
Kudos to the team behind the Milwaukee Blockchain Conference for making it a distinctive educational opportunity, inclusive to all who attended, and a place where all cross-functional professions could meet and learn from each other.
As a final bit of food for thought, here’s an excerpt from a recent Fast Company article by Vivian Giang, How America’s dying rust belt town can transform into “smart cities” of the future, that looks closely at Madison and other south-central Wisconsin cities: “Getting cities to adapt and be ‘smarter’ isn’t easy, but it’s necessary. Cities are complex, living ecosystems that can only thrive if they look toward the future, rather than getting dragged down by the past. At the same time, cities can’t truly transform if they’re only focused on inviting new talent and new economies without preparing workers from the old economies on how to foster and thrive. What will happen when 50 percent of U.S. jobs are lost to automation? How will cities and organizations prepare then?”
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