The Index Podcast
March 2, 2024

Web3 Community Building and the Future of AI with Alex Pisarevski, Co-founder of Epic Web3

Web3 Community Building and the Future of AI with Alex Pisarevski, Co-founder of Epic Web3
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The Index Podcast

This week on The Index, host Alex Kahaya welcomes entrepreneur Alex Pisarevski, Co-founder of the Epic Web3 conference. Join us as we explore how Alex is shaping a future where developers and founders come together, sharing insights and driving innovations at the forefront of the decentralized future.

Host - Alex Kehaya

Producer - Shawn Nova

 

 

Chapters

00:06 - Building Web3 Communities Through Events

13:08 - Networking and Opportunities in Web3

18:39 - AI and Web3 Tech Summit Bullish

Transcript
WEBVTT

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Welcome to the Index Podcast hosted by Alex Cahaya.

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Plug in as we explore new frontiers with founders, developers and investors, building the next wave of the internet.

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Hey everybody and welcome to the Index.

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I'm your host, alex Cahaya, and today I'm excited to welcome Alex Pizarrefski, founder of Epic Land 3.

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Yeah, you hit it right.

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A global hub for web-free founders to learn, build and raise funds.

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Welcome to the show.

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Thanks for taking the time.

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Yeah, absolutely.

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Thanks for having me.

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You even pronounced my surname correctly, that's great.

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Where are you from?

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What's the ethnicity?

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I'm from Russia initially.

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Okay, okay.

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That's not super Russian surname, but still.

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Why don't you start with filling me in on your background and sort of how you got to doing what you're doing today?

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Yeah, sure.

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So my career as an entrepreneur starts in Russia.

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Back in 2013, when I founded the mobile app marketing agency.

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It went rather well.

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Then we created Epic Growth, which started as a conference for product managers and growth marketers and evolved into an educational platform with online subscriptions and kind of a Netflix for product managers.

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It started as a site project but eventually became a full-time job.

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It was a local Russian business, but we always wanted to do something global, to do something at least for Europe or US, for a bigger world.

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We made some first attempts to build something global and then, as you might know, two years ago, Russia invaded Ukraine and we decided that it's certainly time to move on.

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We ended up selling our Russian business.

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We moved to Lisbon together with my co-founder and launched Epic Web3.

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We just loved Web3 industry and thought what we can do for this industry.

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Our background was in events, so we decided to start events business and it turned out to be good.

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So that's here we are doing events for Web3 builders.

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Thanks for sharing your story.

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I think it's important that you're safe and living in a country where you can be safe and work productively.

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So I understand that I've actually heard of a bunch of Russian nationals moving to Lisbon to find a better environment.

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So there seems to be a community there.

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To be honest, there are now Russians all over the world, as well as guys from Belarus and from Ukraine.

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From this part of the world, People are moving to different countries in Europe, Asia, US as well.

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So yeah, that's true.

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Help me understand what these events are like.

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What kind of people are coming to them?

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What are they about?

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Yeah, right now we focus on side events to be conferences.

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When we started, we made our first standalone conference, but soon we realized that it is hard to gather people in one place, at least when you are developing a brand.

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It's much easier and more productive to make side events, especially given that crypto industry is super convenient environment for making side events.

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So I don't know, I think lost token 2049 in Singapore had like more than 400 side events.

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It's crazy.

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It looks like we find a way to do it good.

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We gather mainly developers, builders, technical founders.

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It's more like an educational format with workshops, talks, some panels, networking sessions, so like one-on-one speed networking sessions.

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You can think of it as a meetup near a bigger conference.

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And, yeah, we found that people like this format.

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They like to come to our events, so it goes rather well so far.

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What drove you to do this?

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I know that you guys are good at events.

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That makes a lot of sense, but what's the why that drives you to be in Web 3?

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And why are you so passionate about doing this?

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These are two questions why events and why Web 3?

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So the shortest answer would be it just turned out to be like this I mean, who died deeper?

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So I've always been kind of a community person.

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Even when I started Mobile Advertising Agency, it was about community.

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I loved talking at the conferences.

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I loved building the community around I don't know around myself, around the brand.

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It was a mobile app marketing community at times, but I realized that I'm not.

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I'm not doing a mobile agency.

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I'm not about the actually ads, I'm about community.

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I realized that I like making events.

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My co-founder, oli, she's even more hands-on in events organizing, so she loves it.

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We just realized that that's what we like to do.

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Of course, there is some dream of building some I don't know SaaS product or some technical thing which is super scalable and you can make I don't know unicorn from it.

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Of course, it's hard to build a unicorn from event company, but we just said true to ourselves so we like it.

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That's probably why we are in events, why we are in VEP3, that's another story.

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We have been always looking into this industry.

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I don't know when in 2017, when it was an ICO boom, I had a strong FOMO that I'm missing something big.

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But I didn't know how to how to start something in blockchain industry.

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Then we just thought that, okay, so we don't understand anything in VEP3, but we know how to do events.

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So let's start here and see where it goes.

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And here we are.

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We already know a little bit more about the industry, but still we are not those technical founders who create blockchain protocols or I don't know difficult ZK algorithms or something like this.

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We are more of the sort of community building, helping people to meet each other and to learn.

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So, yeah, I'd argue that that might be even the most important part.

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We've seen it throughout history.

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I think we've seen a lot of times that great marketing and great community building can beat great products.

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Sometimes you can have like, not as good of a product, but if you have the best, strongest community, you can win.

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The future of the internet is all about community.

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It's something I think we've seen a lot.

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There's this guy, axshadebd, on Twitter who is the founder of Superteam.

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You might have seen Superteam for the salon ecosystem, but they focus on building community and I've seen him talking about how we're going to see and we are already seeing, you know, billion-dollar communities pop up that are decentralized but they might have like a governance token or they have an NFT associated with them in somewhat of a brand, and I think I would be curious how you think about that, how you think about community building in the context of Web3 and projects trying to be successful in this space.

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Community is definitely the native thing for Web3.

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Web3 is all about community and we also thought a lot about how we should use Web3 technologies tokens, I don't know NFT or something like this in building our own community.

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To be honest, right now we are more like a Web2 business.

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I mean, I don't know Web2.5.

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We can call it.

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We use PohlApps for our attendees, something like this.

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We accept payments in crypto, but not too much.

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I think the strongest use cases of crypto in community are still not there.

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What we see in NFT communities, in communities around tokens, so far, it's more, I would say, speculative things than real utility.

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The potential is great.

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I'm super bullish on this and the idea itself to start making business from community to share equity in the early stage.

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It's super, super cool and I think we will see more use cases yeah.

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I think probably the best example of this, though working, is Bonk.

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Bonk on Solana is a meme coin.

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It's like the Solana meme coin that really kicked off a lot of some of the growth in the ecosystem this past.

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Like six months the team there has been building all through the bear.

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Like I think Bonk launched during the bear market.

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They built actual, real products.

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Like yes, there's a meme coin and it's fun and it gets some like viral attention that way, but there's a real community and a lot of different teams that are building actual products in that ecosystem that have utility.

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Like it's kind of funny but they have this product called the Pooper Scooper and you connect your wallet to it and it like will sell all your other meme coins.

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If you look at my wallet, I've got probably a hundred different meme coins that are worth like a penny each.

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It's like maybe $200 worth of meme coins and you kind of want to clean that up.

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So you use the Pooper Scooper and it automatically sells those meme coins and buys Bonk.

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That's just one example of a tool, but the user experience for it was really, really impressive and I would call that utility.

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It's an interesting dynamic where, like, it actually made you buy the Bonk.

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They have several products Like.

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I don't know which ones they are.

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You could probably go to their website and find them out, but I know that they're making money and it's like an actual business.

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It's a crypto native business where these projects are actually making significant like in the millions revenue off of that the people who are interacting with that token.

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That is honestly the first example that I know of.

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I'm not really I've never really been involved in or in that community really heavily or in any other meme coin like Doge or anything like that, so maybe they have products too.

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I do agree with you that they're like few and far between, for sure.

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I like this example and, yeah, this is definitely a nice case.

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I would say it's still a little bit round money, the incentive is still earning money and I would say the whole crypto is still in the stage of earning money.

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Most of crypto users are here for this.

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I totally believe that we will see I don't know normies coming to crypto, not just to earn 10x on the meme coin or something like this or on the airdrop, but because it's I don't know convenient or because there is some new utility of blockchain technology or something like this.

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So I noticed from your website you guys have some pretty notable speakers at your events and I'm curious who are some of your favorite speakers that have come to your events and what things have they inspired you about?

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Like, what are some things that they've said that were inspiring to you?

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I think our best event in terms of the lineup of the speakers lineup was in Paris, near East DC, last year.

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It was a layer two day and we had a panel with co-founders of many different layer twos.

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We had Arbitrum, we had ZK Sync, we had Fuel, polygon, tyco.

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I think that was probably my favorite so far.

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That's true, we had a lot of speakers.

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As a last technical person, I like more business talks.

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I don't like the deep dive technical workshops.

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I see that among our audience there are enough people who are actually listening to workshops and learning how to build, on top of the one protocol, another protocol Regarding the exact topics or something like this.

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Let me think I wasn't ready for this question, sorry.

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No more.

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Let me think, maybe I'll remember something and come back to it.

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Okay, yeah, I was just curious if there was anything that stuck out.

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So are you guys doing anything around ETH Denver?

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I know that that's coming up.

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What's happening there for you?

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Yeah, sure.

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So with Denver, it is probably one of them, one of the main crypto events in the industry.

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There are I don't know five, six major Conferences all over the world.

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If Denver is among them, we are hosting a Infra it's infra day on the 1st of March.

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It will be our classic half day event, one day event with a rather Good agenda, I would say, talking about infrastructure, about I don't know blockchains when you say infrastructure, what do you mean, like servers, or what kind of infrastructure are we talking about?

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No more like layer ones, layer tools, protocols I don't know interoperability protocols or something like this.

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So deaf protocol, deaf protocols, deaf tools, something like this.

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So I mean not B2C DeFi apps, but the infralayer of blockchain.

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We'll have Celestia, polygon, other companies, remedy by Hexens, who is co-host.

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They're building a platform for security.

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Security is definitely one of the Topics we cover a lot.

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I have been working in the Salon ecosystem mostly for the past couple of years, but you've, denver was my favorite one, back starting in like 2016 through probably 2020, end of 2020 that I used to look forward to every year.

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It was just super wholesome, like they always.

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They had this like book that they made bees for buffa corn.

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That was a kid's book that I that my kids still have, but actually I need to get another copy because they destroyed it recently.

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I've got I've got young kids at home, but yeah, I remember the governor of Colorado getting up and reading bees for buffa corn to a bunch of Kindergarteners who were sitting on stage.

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One time I think it was maybe the second year that I went and I just thought that was great.

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You know, it was really fun family friendly event to go to and also like a lot of alpha, like I remember meeting like the super rare team there and when they were just like two guys, two or three people.

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I haven't been in a couple years, like I said, but you would just bump into people everything from you know the three-person startup that ended up becoming a pretty big, successful company all the way to, like you know, the talent would be like walking around or you could run into the Zcash guys would be there at sometimes, you know, you would just run into a bunch of different folks that I think.

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I think a lot of people realize that this industry is actually very accessible, like if you show up and you're a decent person like you could talk to almost anybody that works in this space pretty quickly if you're just willing to show up and network.

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That's what I like about it.

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I agree.

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I agree, and events is probably the the easiest way to do this, because when, when everybody is online on Twitter, people hide often hiding behind the PFPs or something and remain, and maybe, if not, anonymous, but usually don't show their face.

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But in the in-person events, everything is different.

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Everybody's super open, super Well-coming and, yeah, when I when I started to dive into this industry, I was also impressed how, how welcoming it is.

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So, yeah, I can agree a lot of people don't realize that it's pretty easy to get involved in this industry, like if you're just willing to put in some work, it's not that hard.

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You just got to figure out different ways you can.

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You can add value in.

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Community.

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Organizing is one Really simple way to do it right.

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Like figure out how to get people together around a specific topic or cause and people will notice you and then you'll eventually like I've seen tons of people get hired that way for jobs, and everybody has this perspective that this is such a highly technical industry so you've got to be technical to be a part of it.

00:15:31.826 --> 00:15:37.166
And yeah, it's true it's technical and you probably, in certain roles, need to have some technical capabilities.

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But there are also just a lot of roles and things you can do that are completely non-technical.

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What do you think is the best way for people who want to get involved, that are non-technical kind of like you and want to get involved in and find a role in this space?

00:15:51.491 --> 00:15:53.567
Like you're pretty connected to a lot of projects.

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Is that something you guys help with, like finding talent for these projects ever?

00:15:57.720 --> 00:16:01.628
Just, I guess that's two questions, but yeah, I'll let you answer one of them.

00:16:02.059 --> 00:16:03.304
We are not yet helping with that.

00:16:03.304 --> 00:16:11.068
Probably we should do it or we'll do it in the future, I don't know making some, at least some job boards or something.

00:16:11.068 --> 00:16:28.860
That's true that the industry is rather technical and even though I have a technical education I graduated from one of the top technical universities in Russia it's still hard for me to realize all the things which is going on.

00:16:28.860 --> 00:16:39.592
When I host a podcast, my own podcast, and invite guests, I make a long research trying to understand what the protocol is doing is actually doing.

00:16:40.140 --> 00:17:08.585
Yeah, I can totally agree that there are a lot of jobs in marketing and community management and event organization, in sales business, for sure, I would say crypto projects usually often lack this business expertise because they are made by developers for developers and it's really important for crypto native projects to have somebody from maybe traditional web two companies.

00:17:08.585 --> 00:17:22.193
So the main point here is to be genuinely interested in the industry, to have some coins yourself, to use wallets, to be curious about new tech when forecaster is booming, be there and everything.

00:17:22.193 --> 00:17:25.449
So, yeah, I would say genuine interest is the key here.

00:17:25.920 --> 00:17:33.390
We're getting closer to the top of the show here and I always kind of ask this but what have I not asked you that you wanted to talk about, that we didn't get to.

00:17:34.579 --> 00:17:41.021
I noticed that in the description of your poll there is a thing that you are also talking about AI.

00:17:41.021 --> 00:17:44.871
I haven't seen an episode there about it.

00:17:45.191 --> 00:17:45.992
We have more coming up.

00:17:45.992 --> 00:17:54.308
We started the show and it was really focused on just Web3, as defined as blockchain technology and crypto, but I've since kind of changed my thesis there.

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I really feel like Web3 is about the future of the internet, and I believe that the people who are building the future of the internet are worth knowing, and so I like to tell their stories.

00:18:03.046 --> 00:18:11.493
And for me, that's blockchain technology, it's crypto use cases, it's AI, ai and virtual reality.

00:18:11.493 --> 00:18:27.765
I think that those are the things that are composing to make up the future of the internet, and we have a bunch of different episodes coming soon that are going to be more AI focused, and I think I have one AI and VR episode that we're going to record this year, but we're pretty booked out.

00:18:27.765 --> 00:18:32.351
We're booked out through maybe end of April, so far recording once a week.

00:18:32.640 --> 00:18:38.451
That's why I asked it, because we also followed this trend that looks like we cannot ignore it.

00:18:38.451 --> 00:18:45.689
The whole last year we were stronger Web3 believers but finally we gave up and made an AI summit.

00:18:45.689 --> 00:18:47.506
We started with online.

00:18:48.522 --> 00:18:53.584
Oh, I saw you had the founder of Huggingface on that's cool, not the founder, unfortunately.

00:18:53.584 --> 00:18:54.887
Somebody from there.

00:18:55.108 --> 00:18:59.569
Yeah, yeah, we had a kind of chief evangelist or something like this.

00:18:59.569 --> 00:19:03.400
We had a guy from Metaslam, a second.

00:19:03.400 --> 00:19:05.607
Yeah, we had a bunch of cool speakers there.

00:19:05.607 --> 00:19:13.949
So far it's online because we are more focused on educational content there and the industries a lot different from WebT.

00:19:13.949 --> 00:19:15.211
We're still researching it.

00:19:15.211 --> 00:19:18.157
I decided that probably worth mentioning that.

00:19:18.157 --> 00:19:23.376
Yeah, and also there are a lot of potential use cases of web3 plus AI.

00:19:23.376 --> 00:19:27.904
Vitalik writes articles about that, a lot of narratives about that.

00:19:27.904 --> 00:19:34.538
I think there will be around six different events in Denver dedicated to AI plus web3.

00:19:34.538 --> 00:19:37.295
So I am Super bullish on that.

00:19:37.881 --> 00:19:38.325
I am too.

00:19:38.325 --> 00:19:43.942
I think that there's a lot of really interesting things on the compute side that already exists.

00:19:43.942 --> 00:19:59.469
You've got a cash network, you've got render network, you've got a bunch of different ones that are sort of like aggregating GPUs from various places, and then you've got you know, things like alio and various ZKP Technologies coming out.

00:19:59.469 --> 00:20:04.924
Actually, I had a really good show with Jake Berkman, the co-founder and CEO of coinfund.

00:20:04.924 --> 00:20:09.729
He recorded with us recently, so that would be coming out in a couple weeks when we talk about this a lot.

00:20:09.729 --> 00:20:24.028
There's definitely still a lot of things that need to be done to make AI work in the context of decentralization, like a fully decentralized AI stack, technology stack, especially on, like, the privacy front, privacy and security.

00:20:24.028 --> 00:20:36.711
I think there's just so much happening so fast, like and it's funny this company at the CEO I connected with him on Twitter million million network, nill Nillion dot com.

00:20:37.314 --> 00:20:46.896
Like a year ago, maybe six or seven months ago, I can't remember I meant to read their white paper, but then you know, life kind of like my work and everything kind of took over and I just didn't get to it.

00:20:46.896 --> 00:20:49.653
And then I recently came back across it last week and I actually read it.

00:20:49.653 --> 00:20:53.984
They built a new technology that's similar to multi-party computation.

00:20:53.984 --> 00:21:04.895
So MPC wallets, for example, are a technology that allow you to have a wallet but just like log in with your Facebook account or Twitter account and Still have it be self-custody, which is super important.

00:21:05.865 --> 00:21:09.333
What million network is building is called NPC.

00:21:09.333 --> 00:21:11.416
It's not blockchain technology.

00:21:11.416 --> 00:21:30.431
It's basically like a decentralized compute layer where you can do things like machine learning and AI without each node having to know what data is on the node and it stays encrypted the entire time and there's like a ton of game-changing use cases that are possible if what they're building works.

00:21:30.431 --> 00:21:31.934
And I haven't had time yet to.

00:21:31.934 --> 00:21:38.950
I'm getting a few people I know who are way more technical than I am to read that white paper, but from what I've read in the paper, I'm pretty excited about it.

00:21:38.950 --> 00:21:40.886
It's probably Right now.

00:21:40.886 --> 00:21:52.625
It's my top like three thing that I'm like most excited about in our in our industry is what's in that paper, and I don't know when they're launching or anything like that, but if they're listening or if anyone who's listening knows them, I would love to have them on the show.

00:21:52.945 --> 00:21:53.789
Yeah, I think they will come.

00:21:54.366 --> 00:21:55.191
Yeah, I hope so.

00:21:55.191 --> 00:21:57.805
Again, if you're listening, go to nillioncom and just take a look at the white paper.

00:21:57.805 --> 00:22:02.538
Hit me up on Twitter if you have thoughts about it, but it seems pretty, pretty cool, nice.

00:22:03.019 --> 00:22:03.240
Nice.

00:22:03.540 --> 00:22:05.386
Well, hey, thanks so much for being on the show, Alex.

00:22:05.386 --> 00:22:08.857
It's been good to get to know you and, yeah, how can people find out more about you?

00:22:09.520 --> 00:22:09.882
I don't know.

00:22:09.882 --> 00:22:13.352
Follow me on Twitter, it's Alex PI HQ.

00:22:13.352 --> 00:22:15.557
That's it, and come to our events.

00:22:15.557 --> 00:22:20.545
See you in Denver, then in London, then in Seoul, then in Dubai.

00:22:20.545 --> 00:22:23.476
So yeah, pretty much a lot, of a lot of events.

00:22:23.496 --> 00:22:25.061
I love trotting events organizing.

00:22:25.061 --> 00:22:26.046
I do not envy you that's.

00:22:26.046 --> 00:22:27.990
That's a lot of work and super tiring.

00:22:27.990 --> 00:22:28.854
So thanks for what you do.

00:22:28.854 --> 00:22:29.895
Thanks for being on the show.

00:22:30.766 --> 00:22:31.909
Thanks for having me, alex.

00:22:31.909 --> 00:22:33.053
My pleasure to be with you.

00:22:33.053 --> 00:22:33.915
Okay, bye.

00:22:40.605 --> 00:22:44.596
You just listened to the index podcast with your host, alex Kahaya.

00:22:44.596 --> 00:22:51.424
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00:22:51.424 --> 00:22:54.053
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00:22:54.053 --> 00:22:55.457
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