Six weeks ago, I had an idea to host a conference bringing together different communities in crypto. That idea quickly morphed into a multi-disciplinary melting of ideas and opinions about the state of the world, and our uncertain future.
I'm talking about Reset Everything, an online conference organized together with Alex Masmej, and the YAP Global team. The event took place over two days, April 29th and 30th, as a Zoom Webinar. All the talks and panels are available to watch on YouTube.
I couldn't be more pleased with how things turned out. It all came together in a very grassroots sort of way, but it exceeded all of my expectations! We held two days of incredibly thoughtful conversations around the many ways in which the world is changing as a result of the COVID crisis.
Here are a few figures:
- 1,300 signups
- 34 speakers
- 24 talks and panels
- 20 hours of conference time
- 200+ questions asked in the Q&A
- Over 400 attendees on day 1 and close to 300 on day 2
- Hundreds of likes and retweets
Lessons from this experience
One of the main takeaways, for me, was the message of hope which permeated throughout the conference. The post-pandemic world is ripe with opportunities – slowing down, strengthening communities, increasing health awareness, better protecting our privacy, accelerating impact investment and the development of vaccines, creating more robust government institutions, and fostering a more civic society.
But it's clear that what comes next will likely be a time in which many will suffer. Many are estimating that more people will die from the ensuing economic crisis than from the virus itself. If subsequent waves pick up in Europe and the US, and confinement is reinstated, the effects on our economy would be catastrophic. And as with any major crisis, we must also be mindful of the dangers – the erosion of democratic freedoms and digital rights, and the widening of inequalities.
Bringing it back to the conference (and a more positive note), the pandemic has made everyone more accessible. Azeem Azhar mentioned in his talk that the coronavirus is a "great equalizer." Attracting highly renowned speakers was surprisingly easy and I think much of that has to do with the unique situation we're faced with.
Planning and organization
One of the biggest lessons for me were around planing and organization. I'm not a great planner, and it definitely showed here.
Note to self, before announcing a conference in the future:
- Spend more time researching topics and speakers, and defining the scope of the event
- Create a tentative agenda, with time slots, which includes the different tracks
- Plan around panels – identify moderators for each panel, and empower them to build the session with the people they find most relevant
- Use better tools – drop Google Sheets and move to AirTable
This all sounds obvious, but I put the chariot before the horse. I procrastinated on doing the research, made a big list of potential speakers, and when the pressure began to mound, started reaching out to them, doing my research as I went. This was a bad way to go about it, which caused a lot of unnecessary stress and anxiety. But, in the end, it all came together, and I'm extremely pleased with how it turned out.
Zoom is great for online meetings, but not for events. Where it excels in video quality and ease of onboarding, it lacks in collaboration tools and user experience.
Since the pandemic started, we've seen lots of new online event platforms sprout up. And one appears to be setting itself apart: Hopin. I'd like to use it for my next event.
What's next for Reset Everything?
Organizing and hosting this event has taught me a lot. Not only about the trends surrounding the pandemic, but it was also an important personal learning experience. For the first time in a while, I feel energized about the prospect of starting something new which people find valuable.
I'm passionate about crypto, and hopeful that the industry will continue to grow. The intersection of technology, politics and economics, is also an area which I find immensely fascinating. And I would love to create a space where I can explore these areas.
I have ideas of where to take this – perhaps a newsletter or a new podcast. One thing is certain, I intend for the community to be a part of the creative process around building what comes next.