Written for Daily Hive by Hussein Hallak, Founder and CEO of blockchain and emerging tech education company Next Decentrum and a serial entrepreneur who has built 20 startups. He runs a popular Intro to Blockchain meetup at Launch Academy.
Whether you are a student, a business owner, a manager, or a professional, you can no longer ignore blockchain as some obscure technology just for techies.
While cryptocurrencies continue their classic up and down market dance, the “techtonic” disruption wave that is the blockchain has become a key market force and technology trend impacting every industry, not just the financial markets.
Today’s top companies are investing in blockchain. But these companies are also investing in other emerging technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI).
Artificial intelligence, in particular, is sexier and in the news far more than blockchain.
So considering that the demand for highly informed tech-minded professionals with skill and education in any emerging technology is more than likely to skyrocket, and considering that blockchain is really hard to learn, why should you invest your time in learning blockchain instead of AI?
The first part of the answer is in the questions itself, you should learn blockchain because it’s hard. The barrier to entry is higher and therefore you will face less competition.
The second part is that blockchain is a foundational technology, it has the potential to create new foundations for our economic and social systems so its impact will be enormous and its adoption will be gradual and steady.
It’s mid 2019 and the crypto markets are abuzz again after a year and a half of crypto death. And according to Andreas M. Antonopoulos, this new hype cycle seems to be bringing a new wave of scammers.
So it’s very likely to see a come back of the startup pitch decks once littered with “blockchain this” and “ICO that” then frantically redrafted and cleaned up in 2018 when the market crashed!
But that’s hardly the biggest news out there, or why should should jump in and learn blockchain now.
FACEBOOK IS IN THE RING!
Yeah! So if you were one of the “wait and see” people, it’s time now.
In fact, where ever you are on the blockchain interest spectrum, from “not very interested” to “die-hard blockchain enthusiasts”, you can start to panic.
And if there is one thing you need to know about Facebook, “it’s still here!” All the lawsuits, all the breaches, and all the controversies, and yet still, Facebook has market dominance with Zucks at the helm, a stubborn calculated founder with a $45 billion cash war chest.
So if you were waiting for validation that blockchain is worth your time, and everything that happened in the past couple of years (top 10 blockchain companies worth over $50B, over $10B raized through ICOs, and Silicon Valley powerhouse Andreessen Horowitz launching a $300M crypto fund) was not enough to get you in, Libra should be your wake up call!
The good news for you is that banks and financial institutions are not going to stand by and watch as Facebook eats into their market, which means a talent war is coming.
A similar scenario is likely to happen across different industries as some of the largest public companies in the world take their blockchain initiatives to the next level and their competition follows suit.
The biggest misconception is following the “just do it” motto, popularized by the tech startup pop culture, and stories of founders who jumped with both feet in into something and became massive success stories.
Let’s say you “just do it” and start by Googling “blockchain.” You will end up with over 251 million results!
So where do you start? And how do you know they do not have an agenda that includes selling on something, usually their version of what is the best blockchain and why everything else is BS!
It’s important to take action and do not procrastinate, however, a little structure and planning go a long way to make sure your action is directed and impactful.
We suggest a learning framework that we found very helpful to learn emerging technologies:
Define your BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) and grand vision you want to pursue.
Go beyond finding a job, and think of the impact you want to create when you have found a great job, worked with a great team, in a great company doing great things. What is the impact?
So if you are in the clean energy sector, for example, instead of having the usual goal of working for a market leading company, think of reversing climate change through making collaboration possible between the biggest players in the industry.
If you are working in the finance industry, instead of working of a leading bank, think of providing access to life-changing financial services to remote communities around the world.
Take the first small steps toward your goal.
Learn the fundamental concepts and building blocks of Blockchain Technology. Find out how will blockchain disrupts every industry, not just your industry. This will give you a better understanding of the technology and its different applications.
Focus on an area that captured your attention and piqued interest.
Go in-depth, and read as much as you can on that topic.
Mentorship is crucial at this stage. Reach out to experts, connect with them, ask them, and learn from them.
Time to take a pause, examine how far have you gone, and how to best continue to keep moving in the direction of your BHAG and grand vision.
A good question to ask is, know what you now know, what direction would you choose to go in, and what actions would you take.
It’s recommended that you do this step every month and at the very least every 3 months, so that you do not go too far down a route without examining if it’s taking you where you want to go.
Simple, execute on the actions you’ve just decided you should take, head in the direction you just chose, and go after the goals you have set for yourself.
Now that you have advanced and achieved some progress, no matter how small, the best way to deepen what you’ve learned, push yourself forward, and stay on track, is to help someone else learn.
Become a mentor, make videos, write articles, and/or start a local meetup, anything to share what you have learned because learning by teaching others is extremely effective.
Revisit your BHAG and grand vision, see if they are still relevant and resonating with where you are at the moment and given everything you have learned and experienced so far.
If yes, then continue, if not, adjust accordingly and continue.
I’ve found this framework to be very powerful, especially when learning something complex and technical like blockchain, cause you can easily get lost in the details and technical difficulties of the subject and lose sight of the important goals that you are after.
Now that you know why you should learn blockchain, why now, and how to go about it I have a gift for you to get you started and help you take action now 🙂
I’ve curated several highly selective blockchain resources in a free email course to help you start your blockchain journey on the right foot.
So you no longer have any excuses to stop you from taking the next steps to discover blockchain technology and prepare yourself for the next technology revolution.
Become better informed and step up your game.