ETHDenver in retrospect

My experience at ETHDenver 2022 as a non technical women in web3.


3/25/2022 4 min read

Now that the dust has settled and the experience has sunk in, it’s the perfect time to talk about my trip to ETHDenver but first…

If you didn’t know I’m a bit of a web3 evangelist. I first bought crypto during the 2017 bubble and once it popped I was left a little disheartened and with a lot less money. I had no idea that for the past 5 years developers had been building out the foundations for the future of the internet. I found my way into the web3 in December 2021 when I bought my first NFT. One thing I have to say is that everything in this space moves so fast.

So how did I end up at ETHDenver?

To be honest a lot of it was by chance, I was on discord when I got a notification from Surge letting the community know about an exciting scholarship made possible by H.E.R. DAO and Harmony One Protocol. The only reason why I applied was because I had seen the same opportunity in Niyo Enterprise’s newsletter on the same day. I felt like it was a sign and I just had to apply!

I was a bit sceptical about going at first as I didn’t know anyone else who would be going and I was very new to web3, but the pandemic stole 2 years of my prime so why not bite the bullet? Initially the scholarship was only supposed to cover travel but Harmony generously extended this by providing accommodation for 11 days as well! Receiving a full scholarship for the entirety of my trip was a real honour.

The colour blue belongs to Harmony One

My experience started off at one of Harmony’s TGI’s, I went along to learn more about the protocol but came away filled with so much more. It was so warming hear Stephen speak about his background and his vision for Harmony. Everyone took it in turns to introduce themselves and talk about their journey into web3, it didn’t matter if you were new it only mattered that you were curious and willing to learn.

Harmony had a huge presence at ETHDenver and I’ll be forever grateful for the warm and inclusive environment that they created. There was a huge focus on the importance of diversity, not only did they help over 100 women to attend the conference, they also organised a series of events which created space for discussions about blockchain solutions in Africa.

Being able to talk with Harmony’s core team and contributors really allowed me to learn more about the protocol and has encouraged me to build! My interests lie in Product and what it will look like in a decentralised ecosystem. I was also very happy to have been welcomed into Harmony’s family of grantees as a recipient of a $10k grant to help kickstart my web3 journey.

An ode to H.E.R. DAO

The only way that I can sum up my ETHDenver experience is life-changing. I went to the conference with the sole purpose of learning more about web3 but I ended up with a brand new perspective on life. I want to take the time to appreciate the work that these organisations are doing to promote gender diversity in the web3 space. H.E.R DAO is providing the platform and creating the opportunities to build a decentralised future that truly represents our society. There is still so much more that needs to be done so that we can make web3 representative and accessible for everyone but H.E.R DAO is paving the way.

The H.E.R. DAO Hacker House was the biggest highlight during BUIDL week, it was definitely the place to be! Imagine a mini conference with a jam packed schedule filled not only with workshops and talks from top web3 sponsors but also a range of wellbeing activities. I am not a developer but I had my first taste of blockchain development at the hacker house as I built my first dApp. I learnt about zero knowledge proofs and validator nodes there too! While there were many events at the house it also provided a oasis of calm; there was space to relax, meditate and take a timeout if necessary.

I felt like I found my tribe and to be honest I’ve made friends for life. None of the business opportunities, grants, networking and upskilling would have been possible without H.E.R. DAO. The best part was that it was filled with womxn just like me; womxn that want to build the future, womxn that want to create opportunities for other womxn to learn and grow.

Hacking as a Product Manager?

ETHDenver is really a 3 part experience: there’s BUIDL week, the ETHDenver conference and the hackathon. As someone that is relatively new to tech and doesn’t code I hadn’t taken part in a hackathon before but that didn’t stop me from getting involved. My teammates and I worked on an concept to develop a DAO that looks to help ease web3 onboarding pain through mentorship and apprenticeships. I also had the pleasure of presenting our concept on the main stage of the Sports Castle! We still have a way to go to build out our MVP but it was was a great opportunity to exercise my product skills by carrying out discovery and learn more about the technical side of product.

I’d recommend other PMs, new and experienced, to take part in hackathons but bare in mind that Product Manager isn’t an ‘official role’ in a hackathon so I’d say I took on the hybrid role of Project Manager and UX/UI Designer. It’s the perfect place to develop your skills but also identify where the gaps in your knowledge are. Participating in this hackathon really inspired me to 1. to learn how to code and 2. to build something from scratch...someday.

So hi, let me reintroduce myself. I’m afrishan.eth and I’m a woman in web3.

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