Blockchain Events, Trade Shows And Summits
The blockchain and cryptocurrency space is so vibrant and full of energy that events, trade shows, and summits are great avenues to showcase its dynamics while learning and having fun at the same time. Tracy and Monika share the events that made particular positive impressions on them, showing what you don’t want to miss the next time. Learn about the events to learn at and the events to network at, and discover some great points to assess them. As the saying goes, you are the average of the people you spend most time with. Through these events, you can definitely grow your value and learning.
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Blockchain Events, Trade Shows And Summits
Monika, you’ve got back from a big trip to Puerto Rico.
I was there for a huge financial summit that was over the top and knocked out all of these different summits and trade shows I’ve been to out of the park. It was absolutely incredible.
This is so interesting for us to talk about all of these summits, trade shows and events that are going on because of this blockchain and cryptocurrency space is so vibrant and so full of energy and events. As we’re looking to that, how do we decide which ones are going to be good? You didn’t know that ahead of time but it turned out to be amazing. We have to talk about this more so that we can get people to go, “This is what I don’t want to miss next time. This one looks like it’s going to be good.” Here’s how I might be able to tell. Let’s talk a little bit about why this event was so good.
For me, it was so good because the attendance was capped. It was not for 400 or 500 people, it was 120, very specifically selected.
What was it called?
It was the Kinetic International Financial Summit. They’re the only international bank in Puerto Rico. It was a private event. We had the charterhouse rules. We can’t talk about who was there or what we talked about but it was fantastic and it’s a very useful summit. I found that getting into more exclusive events is worth the investment and it’s worth the time, especially if you’re invited versus you’re paying. Even to pay to invest in your network has been a huge part of my financial success. You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. You’re probably the average in your year of the five summits that you go to, so you better choose wisely.You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Click To Tweet
That’s such a good point. I have the same experience. The events that are under 200 people are much more valuable at the end of the day. You have more opportunity to meet people. I find even some of the ones that I’ve done that are under 50 have been absolutely amazing, in terms of connecting with people and having time for that. That’s one of the things that I value most in an event or in a summit, an event style or a mastermind even, as long as there’s time to sit and communicate with each other. When you’re running an event and you’ve got all these speakers and then everybody’s out in the hall because they left no time for networking, I can’t stand that. That drives me absolutely crazy.
It’s not even networking at some point, you’re drinking from a fire hose but there’s no time to actually metabolize that and do anything with it. This was like a very little fire hose, a lot of communicating. I’ve even found that some events where they have intentionally, “Let’s go do the sound bath meditation,” or a totally, completely unrelated thing ends up being the place where you can make those more genuine connections.
One of my favorite events that I’ve ever done, there were only ten of us and there was a sound bath meditation, which I totally love.
The sound bath thing works for everybody.
I was talking with Alon Goren and he was talking about the CIS show. They have two shows that run in conjunction with each other. One where it’s much more intimate, invite-only and it happens the day before. It’s focused on investors and startups that might be considering investment and starting to how to get advice. The next day is all for CIS. It’s like a thousand people. It’s huge and one of the biggest shows is out here in California. That’s where I was like, “I want the invite to the smaller one.” I’ll check out the other one and write about it in my column or something. I know I’ll find something interesting there but it’s a lot more work to find something interesting at these big events.
I can’t do big events anymore. I get so overwhelmed that I literally have to budget my time to go back to the hotel room and be away from people and recharge for a minute. I don’t even think that’s an introverted thing. It’s too overwhelming when there’re thousands of people and there’s no way that one human being with two eyes, a nose, one mouth and two ears can take in and get out all the things that could be done with all those people. It’s exciting beyond capacity. I don’t find it even helpful at all anymore.
There’s this trend going on of, “Let’s put a bunch of celebrities at our event and bring people in.” What do you think of that? They’ll attract people to come in to the consumer information.
Whether it’s about consumer information or not, celebrities are the conduit for a B2C play. Celebrities bring in the C. When people go, “Miley Cyrus was at Art Basel, Miami,” the Art Basel, Miami attendance went up. Did the really valuable people not find value there anymore? I think that also was true eventually and it wore itself out. In some ways, B2B is where you usually are playing when you’re at a trade show, B2C not so much. Putting your attention on the consumer direct via the celebrity interest is a distraction. Although I can see how it could bring in more high-ticket sales, which in the end is where the conference coordinators and their interests are not aligned with their own people that they’re serving at some point.
It an interesting play from a press perspective. I write a column, I’m usually invited to events to cover events. The bigger the celebrity is, they’re like, “You should be totally excited to write about this.” I’m like, “No, not so much.” It’s not my beat. I’m not an entertainment writer. They don’t seem to understand that. It’s an interesting dynamic that they think, “That will be great for your column to be writing.” I interviewed Colin Farrell and I have to say he’s the most articulate celebrity I have yet interviewed, which is saying a lot. He was very articulate and interesting. The application to my column and to business on that side. He doesn’t even consider himself as an entrepreneur or a business. How does that apply? It’s a big stretch to get inspiration from that and that’s about all it is.
I don’t write an inspiration column. I write the how-to. I write, “Figure out how to do this, bootstrap it.” It’s not a play. I don’t think that the event coordinators always understand that. If you want to attract the media, it’s going to write about the nitty-gritty of what’s going on at your event, who’s there, who’s worth taking a look at and how I can be of service to the people. Sometimes there are trade shows in conjunction with an event. You’ve talked about vendors in a way or sponsors. How can they get exposure? You want the right press there. That celebrity play doesn’t always work for it well either. What’s some of your criteria as you’re going through and looking at the events that are coming up? Why should I be there?
I no longer do international travel unless they’re paying me as a speaker, moderator or panelists. I don’t do it. They have to be getting my travel and accommodations, otherwise, I’m not seeing value. It’s too expensive. The heavy lift is too heavy.
What about if you were an attendee, what would you think?If you don't meet people that are already friends of friends, the network is not actually going to grow. Click To Tweet
I attended Web Summit for the first time and I actually was underwhelmed. The programming was fantastic but it was too big. It was too much and it wasn’t my speed. I ended up hanging out with the same crew that I already knew. We didn’t do the things, we stayed together and that’s normal social dynamics. It was not the kind of scale that served me. I left going, “I am done with big conferences.” I’ve done with the strategy of, “Go meet strangers.” If I don’t meet people that are already friends of friends, the network is not actually going to grow. It’s going to be more business cards to process. The stack of business cards, I’m done. If it wasn’t a meaningful conversation then it’s not going to be, the follow-up is going to be weird. It’s going to be a template that they’re going to get on my mailing list. They won’t appreciate it. There’s no value out there. I go to the smaller the better even if it’s more expensive, I would rather do three meaningful small well-curated events than anything big again.
I like to attend events that do three things. I like to attend events that expand my mind. Sometimes I will reach out into new areas and new communities, which is how I ended up coming into the blockchain world. Someone was pushing me saying, “You should be there. This is going to be very cool.” There was an application for what I could write about. I was like, “That makes sense.” I knew it would expand my mind. That is important to me that I do make sure that I attend events but I try to attend events that are within a certain radius to check it out. That was Las Vegas. It’s a four-and-a-half-hour drive, not a big deal or a short cheap flight. I’m going to do that. I’ll go into an area like Austin where I have clients and network already, so at least I can do more than one thing while I’m there. That’s one of the things I try to do. At least I try to do that about two to three times a year because I want to make sure I’m always growing myself. I like the smaller events. I look for the ones where there is going to be the right type of audience, they’re at the right level. They’re advanced enough, it’s going to grow me there and that might be 50 people or less in that area. It’s about deep networking in those things. We do two large trade shows a year.
You have to because you’ve got some consumer-facing product.
Those are the only times that we do that but we’re sponsors. We’re about to be at Podfest. Podfest is a thousand-plus podcasters who come to that and try to grow and expand. We’re badge sponsors and our name’s on it. They named a room after us and there’s speaking going on. Those things are important to us. I agree with you, I don’t do international without being paid to speak.
As an entrepreneur, where I can be on the attendee’s side, I could be on the speaking side or I could be on the sponsor side because people are always pitching to a startup person, “Come sponsor this.” I’m like, “I have not paid for a single sponsorship yet and I don’t.” The person who’s on that founder position where I’m right between having the budget to go and get our name out and then, “You have to pay money to make money and here’s your access to investors.” I don’t buy it ever.
We wouldn’t have sponsored if we hadn’t gotten and said, “This is a worthwhile event. It’s big enough and it’s got qualified people. It’s worth going to.” We also established a relationship with the organizers and the founder. We know that it’s valuable. That’s where we too quickly get an email and sign up for something and be like, “I’m going to go to this thing.” You’re like, “Do you even check out who’s running this?” That’s like more of the play that has to happen as you’re looking for, “What should I go to?” This is in the crypto and blockchain space, most of the local meetups and I check them out because that’s how I met Alon Goren. He was speaking there. He was fantastic and he has a connection to a bigger network. For most of them, they’re sponsored by lawyers. By securities, by firms that are selling you something. That’s where these meetups are. For the most part, I find them just all sales. You have to sit through that and go, “Do I need to waste my time doing this again and again? Am I getting something valuable?”
I have had great luck at the local meetups that are here in New York City. They’ve been fantastic. Then again, we’re at the epicenter of Fintech. There are lawyers around, but a lot of lawyers here are still kept getting up to speed on it. They’re like, “We think so. We’re not sure. I don’t want to say anything I can’t say.” Because of that conservatism, the people that know crypto are actually the ones that are usually on stage, the ones that are talking. I speak at them sometimes and it’s great because it means that we can bring value and bring attention to what we need our attention to be brought to, like our own endeavors for me and my own book or whatever. That works out really well. I found some amazing connections. That’s how I got to the Financial Summit in Puerto Rico. I met somebody at a blockchain meetup during Blockchain Week. I started talking to him. Also the daytime stuff, not so much. I don’t need to learn more about blockchain. I wrote the book. It’s fine.
There are some of our audience who really do, so that’s the thing. You do have to balance if that’s what your goal is.
Are we talking about conferences to learn at or talking about conferences to network at? Because networking all happens at night for me. I think consistently it always does. I just skip the daytime stuff. I sometimes don’t even get the ticket, but I’ll go and I’ll be around and then I go to all the lounges. If I can’t get into the actual event, I just go and hang out at the restaurant bar. All the people that are having downtime where you actually get to talk to them and make a connection, that’s where you get it there. If you’re going to bootstrap and hack the conference approach, just go and hang out at the bar.
That happened to me at an event. I met some of the most interesting people at dinner and at the bar. That’s so true. I think there are a lot of people who are looking for, “What is the best place for me to get good information?” I think that’s something you have to actually bet. If it’s a brand-new event, go there with that skepticism in mind. If it’s not a brand-new event, go ask some people who have been before. Look up some of the older speakers. A lot of them will have their speakers from last year. Go check them out and say, “Would I want to hear someone like that?” Usually, their videos are on YouTube, so they usually share their past speeches and share them afterwards as part of their promo. That’s important to check them out as well.
I did Larry King, which was super exciting. It was Larry asking questions about, “What is this blockchain and cryptocurrency stuff? What do you think, Tracy?” I was like, “I grew up listening to this.” He’s still doing it and it’s so amazing. The response that I’ve gotten so far was really what’s most interesting and the response back that we’d been getting online and in social media and in emails on our show here is that we’re nicely treading the line between making sure that we’re keeping them up on the deeper understanding. “Do I get this or am I missing out on this? Do I not have a fundamental understanding?” We’re giving them a real-world perspective like, “Is this working? Is this going to be applied?” rather than just talking all tech. I’m proud of us for that.
I think that we’re doing good service here and we’d like to do more of that. Keep reaching out to us, New Trust Economy audience. We want to serve you well, so please reach out to us what types of things would you like us to dive deeper in? We were just talking before that we’re going to dive a little bit deeper into what’s going on in Wyoming for corporation formations and cryptocurrency holdings and banks that are going on there. Let’s find out what’s going on there and we’ll give you our perspective and thoughts about it based on our experiences.
Any other things that you want to talk about in this particular episode? Should we do a separate one just for Wyoming?
Let’s do a separate one from Wyoming. We’re going to bring on someone who’s a professional in that, who has been lobbying and been doing all of the things to try to make sure that the laws are crypto-friendly as it’s been in Wyoming. I think that’s going to be coming up soon. We love to hear more from you, guys. What do you want to hear about? What can we bring to you? What kind of experiences can we go to while we’re at these events, trade shows and summits and find people for us to interview for you or find information on things that you’ve never heard before? Your job is to give us some feedback here so we can help you.
Let us know what you’re interested in and we will go and sleuth it out.
Monika, I’m so glad you had a great trip and you’ve got to rest up. Hopefully, we’re going to keep our fingers crossed, the South by Southwest is still happening.
I’m going to be there for sure. Some of our accommodations might be iffy. We’ll see. I believe we’re going to see each other at the podcast meetup.
We’ll see each other at least at the podcast meetup, and hopefully, we’ll be able to do some South by Southwest New Trust Economy episodes from there. Also hopefully the CryptoVixens, that’s all going to happen. Let’s talk CryptoVixens soon. A few things are going to be coming up, so stay tuned for those episodes. Until next time, this is Tracy and Monika on the New Trust Economy.