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Here’s some basic guidance I’ve found useful for myself when moving from a data solution architect role to writer/advisor in the blockchain industry:
Don’t quit your day job
I was invested and working in the blockchain industry for almost two years before I made the decision to leave my job. While I knew there was a lot going on in this industry, it took me all that time to find a way to make this industry work for me. If my financial situation had been different when I left, I may have even stayed longer in my job. So don’t give up your stability for the ‘excitement’. If you never build your stable base, you’ll always risk total ruin when moving careers.
Experiment like crazy
Blockchain isn’t like most fields: it’s moving so fast that the landscape is changing on a month to month basis. Because of this, you can’t create a plan that won’t be broken within a few months due to new developments. So instead, create a lot of short experiments on all sides of the industry and keep finding ways to apply yourself. In my instance, even with my technical background, I found I was most useful in my ability to network and communicate about this industry over my development skills. If I had planned on just being a developer, I would have never found my niche to grow. Speaking of networking…
Network, Network, Network, Network
Go to meetups. Join slack channels and chat with teams. Emails founders of projects you’re interested in (and not just the big ones, small ones too). Post on forum boards. Start a discussion. Most of the major turning points in this adventure have all come from chance encounters with people I just happened to find while networking.
One of my closest friends in this industry came from a random slack message I sent. I closed a few business deals because I asked a guy I met at a meetup for a recommendation on a consultant. My writing is now being published frequently because someone I had a phone call with introduced me to a publication I had never considered before.
As my friend and colleague Hector Quintanilla says,Hard work is not enough. Your experience silos you into certain choices, and other people help open your eyes to new possibilities. Networking is the fastest way to introduce this randomness into your life.
Learn the Basics (in this case, Bitcoin)
Everyone wants to talk about how their project is going to kill Bitcoin. If you listen to their bullshit, you might believe that you can just learn the latest developments. That doesn’t work very well. Even if you want to learn Ethereum’s smart contracting platform, start with understanding how Bitcoin works and operates. All innovations from this industry stem from this project. If you understand how this project works, you can then understand how newer projects deviated from the design.
This may seem like it takes more time (why learn Bitcoin when you’re never going to use it?), but it’s actually a long term time saver. If you learn the basics of Bitcoin, you open the door to understanding other projects and only need to focus on the deviations. Just learning your project’s way of doing things make it harder to know how a sibling technology works, but understanding the common ancestor gives a basis for all project.
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