A personal recap of Consensus 2018 and New York Blockchain Week

  • May 25, 2018

5 rules to make the best out of your conference experience:

Maybe it’s just because I’ve been to too many conferences in the last several years. Or maybe it’s just because of the relentless need to structure and evaluate everything. In fact, I’ve found that the more chaos there seems to be, the more we crave structure.

I recently attended New York Blockchain Week, and with it, Consensus 2018. The world of crypto was on display, and among the crowd of people, I learned some very valuable lessons. So here it is: my takeaway from my week in New York, and my personal guide on “how to do conferences right”.

1 - Spend a bit time preparing

If you have something to say – get on the stage. This isn’t always as easy as it seems, but if you put in the time early and strategize / plan it right, getting a speaking slot at your big industry event will open the door to success.

The secret formula here: apply early. The prerequisite here is to build a good “speaker profile”. It needs to be slick, with links to previous speeches, interviews and press. Practice really does make perfect, and the more speaking opportunities, interview and bylines you do, the easier it gets.

After 4 years going to Consensus, I was finally invited to speak. Not as a sponsor orco-organizer, but just as me: Olga Feldmeier, CEO of Smart Valor.

on-chain-financial-productOlga Feldmeier (SMART VALOR), Mr. Marc Hochstein (CoinDesk), Mr. Shawn Owen (Salt), Trevor Koverko (Polymath)

At Consensus, I was asked to speak on On-chain financial products and services - what it is, how it lowers risk, increases wealth and improves liquidity. We also covered offshore banking and asset protection, better regulation and the legacy of crypto.

Get in touch with people you want to talk to in advance. Identify who you need to get in touch with, whether they’re speakers, attendees or press. Reach out! The crypto community is a closely-knit one, and I personally get a lot of messages from people looking to connect.

Consensus was a great chance to meet a lot of great people. My personal highlights was meeting Mike and Chris in their Galaxy office.

Oliver Feldmeier, Chris Ferraro & Olga Feldmeier

Ever since I learned about Mike’s plans to build a fully fledged merchant bank on blockchain technology, I thought: “Finally – somebody who picks up this Herculean work!”

smart-valor-consensusMike Novogratz & Olga Feldmeier

2 - Use conferences to make a splash

If you have a product release, new service offering, major partnership or anything new and newsworthy, use a conference to shout about it! In most good conferences, there are always lots of media present, looking to speak with companies with interesting stories to tell.

At Consensus, we announced our newest partnership with Ledger. With it we are a part of the group of 6 companies n an early access program to jointly implement an enterprise-grade custody solution for around 30 different blockchains. This is a highly strategic move as we will be using Ledger Vault not only or securing assets on our VALOR marketplace, but also to provide third party custody to Swiss family offices and banks – services that are desperately needed and not yet available in Switzerland. Read more about our newest partnership with Ledger here!

crypto-custodyThomas France, Oliver Feldmeier, Olga Feldmeier, Nicolas Bacca, Vincent Debas, Pierre Osdoit

Later we met at the private dinner organized by Ledger, which recently raised $75m in B round. The CEO of Ledger, Eric Larchevêque, has managed to build one of the most trusted brands in the crypto security space. Ledger wallet Nano S was sold over 1m times by now. I myself used it from the very beginning for ETH and some other crypto I hold.

sv-ledgerAt dinner with Eric Larchevêque

3 - Side events are just as important as the conferences

This is actually the best part of most conferences. Sometimes these events are organized by main sponsors, funds or crypto celebrities, but other times attendees organise drinks or dinners - a great way to network! In the world of crypto, if you’re not an insider, it’s not always easy to break in. These side events provide a real opportunity for newcomers to network with industry veterans. A great way to find out what’s going on is to go to the pre-conference speaker and sponsor events. There you meet many of the people who will be at the stage and can figure out what private events are coming up in the next days.

smart-valor-consensusMarkus Rinderer and investors

At Consensus, there was a record number of events, competing in extravaganza, from Anthonio Diiorio boat party with two Lamborghini being given away to Ripple Party with Snoop Dogg. My favourite is however still Matthew Roszak`s event which I pay visit every year. This time around he threw his annual bash. The gathering was about 200 people networking informally around food and funny speeches. This is exactly the type of event where people let their hair down and chat more informally than they might do on the conference floor.

smart-valor-consensusMatthew Roszak (CEO of BLOQ)

4 - Select the sessions carefully

With so much going on both at and outside the conference, chances are you won’t make it to the conference unless you really plan it. I’d recommend choosing your top 3-4 sessions you definitely want to go.

This year I made it to just a few. The foolest sessions where those with crypto funds. People stood, and sit on the floor on every inch of that space. Here are some highlights:

Joey Krug of Pantera Capital

Meldem Demiros, Founder Athena Capital, previously at Digital Currency Group speaking about how to value the token.

Insightful panel with Timothy Enneking, Tuur Demeester, Alex Tapscott and Metthew Goetz about rationale for token-driven ecosystems and more crypto hedge strategies.

5 - Don’t forget to sightsee

Finally, let’s not forget that there’s more to life than business. No matter where a conference takes place, there’s always wonderful places we go and things to do outside conference walls. I call it “conference tourism” – ensure you make time to see the sights and enjoy your travel.

Smart-valor-conensus-new-yorkIn New York, just walking the streets of Manhattan felt like vacation.

So there we have it - the Olga Feldmeier guide to successful conferencing. To practice the perfect conference experience please join the Smart Valor team at our upcoming Crypto Summit this October In Zurich and little side attraction of October Fest in Munich! Prost!