ETH Chicago: Day 0

ETH Chicago: Day 0


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We have closed out the first day of ETH Chicago. The first ETH hackathon in Chicago. I am exhausted. Please forgive any lack of wit you may experience ahead.

There's something in me that loves being the gopher. Around 16, I took a week off from being a bus boy (you could do that without being placed under the threat of termination back in the good ole' days ;) to work Country Thunder.

My parents raised me with a strong work ethic. Although I enjoyed laughing with friends, my head was in the job at hand, even in those middling days of youth. Soon, the foreman, a middle-aged man from Alabama, took to calling me Squirrel. Send me out and I'd retrieve.

I gained freedom the other youth working the event lacked. After the supers sent the other youth home, I had permission to hang around with the other men until my mother or father needed to pick me up for the lateness of the hour.

Anyway, playing that role allows me to pretend I'm still in possession of my youthful vigor. The game is slightly changed, now, however, for in this age I carry authority and yield responsibility with greater skill.

Enough about me. You want to hear about the event?

The university students are alike in one way only: they are eager to apply their talents.

Teams I spoke to have interesting thoughts. One is considering a live bartering platform for NFTs, another is exploring cross-chain governance models, and others are exploring music NFTs and new ways to approach real estate.

However, I haven't seen a strong mix of creatives working with engineers. We have both personas in-house, but I haven't seen their mixing. Perhaps my sample size is too small. Maybe the groups I happened to speak with are outliers. It's to be determined.

Those who asked, I consulted to think hard about the design and presentation. Engineers can certainly get the job done, but one must often be intentional.

With the advent of consumer AI, I am waiting to see a hacker team that is able to rapidly build an MVP, perform initial UX testing, broadcast to social, perhaps spend $100 on AdWords and secure their first paying customer by time of submission.

I believe we will see a company fully launched, perhaps properly licensed in or out of state, with a small cash flow inside of a weekend within the next 18 months.

It can be done. The timing is a matter of vision and skill, and a little bit of luck.

Tomorrow I look forward to supporting our speakers, connecting and mentoring teams, and enjoying some delicious catered food.