The hottest week of my life (literally the heat was suffocating!) is over. Also, the market crashed once again so it is not a pleasant end to the trip, especially with a ton of work awaiting me. I did not expect too much out of this trip, but surprisingly enough I gained a LOT after this week. Here are some instant observations and takeaways.
What I did at Consensus:
- Hosted a private “Steakwallet x KryptoSeoul Proof of Steak” lunch. It was invite-only due to limited space and tone/manner of the event, and it went so well. Most who were invited showed up on time, and we had an absolute blast. Also, the space was fully ACed, so people were generally content :) Some people question the small scale of my events but I strongly think the focus and human connection matters, so curation is key.
- Participated in a Women in Web3 panel at WRST NFT Gallery opening event. “It is ok to be slow and imperfect. The process is what matters most.”
- Hosted a casual Korean gathering at Stakefish Daniel Hwang’s Airbnb. It was very last-minute planning, but many good people showed up and we were able to comfortably connect there. Before Consensus, I initially created a “Let’s go to Austin” Telegram groupchat amongst Koreans, and it mounted up to over 150 people. I could NOT put that group to waste :P
- Reunited with old crypto frens. It was obvious that we did not like the noise and bustling with too many people (like ETH Denver). But we enjoyed syncing - Dani, Anett, Shawn, Teck, Shelley, Billy, Jin, Daniel, Adrian, Awa… you know who you are.
- Meeting IRL with online frens for the first time! Molly was one that stood out on this one. It was amazing to see in real life - what a sweet person. Also Jeanine from Aleo! So many people I conversed over calls and emails only - I was able to connect face-to-face and it felt absolutely amazing.
- Meeting new folks! I met people from the Fed, DOJ, RMIT, Sequoia, and the list goes on. It was such an eye-opening experience! Five years in crypto, I feel like my network has grown more than ever, yet I realize that I have much more to go in connecting with solid players in and out of crypto.
What I observed:
- Terra, Luna, UST… everyone is curious what the Korean sentiment & situation is like in response to the Terra crash. And they do NOT think Terra is a Korean project, more like a global one - which I think is a relief. Humility is the way to go for a leader. Since literally everyone is talking about Terra, the need for DeFi regulation or group action comes up to the surface.
- Korean participation in global participation is growing day by day. As I mentioned earlier, nearly 200 Koreans flew to Austin for Consensus, and I am sure it is more than ETH Denver, which was quite a lot. Especially this time, people from conglomerates, securities companies, media companies, gaming companies attended - mainly to survey the main trends and people in the scene.
- Private events are the alpha. Of course, massive, flashy parties are fun and all, but the actual fruitful conversations and connections are made through private, more intimate events. For one, I had the chance to connect one-by-one with Polygon C-levels, and the entire Interchain Foundation team including Ethan Buchman himself. Also, I attended a Federal Reserve Roundtable discussion which was extremely focused. It reminded me of the Standard policy days - it actually felt great. By spending five years grinding myself in operations/execution, I did not really have the capacity to think deeply about the implications of certain trends. These focused, insightful conversation definitely opened my eyes and helped me turn on my policy brain again.
- Dilemma between commerciality (shill factor) vs sincerity (substance). This isn’t a binary division - there needs to be a balance between the two to build your brand. I’m always keen on personal branding, and on how to deliver that in a successful yet substantial/solid way. Are events meant to be random in terms of curation and quality, as long as it draws a large crowd? Are numbers the only measure in describing success and potential? It would be great to get more insights from others on this and discuss together :)
- I have never experienced such intense heat. I nearly passed out one time, and I am glad to hear that next year’s Consensus will NOT be in June.