My key learning points from one of the largest tech gatherings in the world.

Alishba Imran
4 min readOct 15, 2019


🙋Hey! I’m Alishba, a 16-year-old researcher and developer who’s really passionate about leveraging technology to solve some of our hardest problems. I’ve been doing tons of work with Blockchain ⛓️, 🤖Machine Learning and nerding out to ☀️Nanotechnology.

This past week, I had the awesome opportunity to attend DevCon 2019 (basically largest Blockchain conf. in the world) as part of the scholars' program, where I got to meet young leaders from all over the world, sat in on special sessions with people who are shaping this industry, got exposed to new cultures and developed relationships with some of the biggest names in the space.

The week was filled with a lot of interesting experiences, realizations about the world, myself and of course the Blockchain ecosystem.

It was a pretty intense conference from speakers like Vitalik, Joe Lubin, Aya Miyaguchi and many more!

Joe Lubin Speaking!

Here are some of my 🔑 key learning points from this week:

The future is in the intersections.

There were tons of interesting companies at the conference tackling important issues like the financial gap, digital identity, energy distribution, for example. These are problems with high stakes that generally take a lot of time to solve.

One thing I realized about companies that were high-performing was #1 their team members having a diverse set of 🧠knowledge, skills and #2 the awesome culture (I talk about this more in the next point)!

Having as many tools in your toolbox as possible is so important (tools = technology, unique skills, knowledge). The idea is to know about a bunch of things and know about them really well.

For companies, it allows you to look at a problem and find unique solutions because you know about more technologies & ways to solve it. For example, companies using AI to facilitate financial transactions AND Blockchain to create an infrastructure around your solution. That could be 10x more value which wouldn’t be unlocked otherwise if you were limited in knowledge & experiences.

Action Item: if you’ve been working in one field or doing the same thing for a while, branch out and try learning about new innovations.

— -> For myself, I want to increase my knowledge consumption by a lot. Consume more interesting articles, podcasts, videos and start to draw my own insights.

[Internal] Company Culture is everything.

More than anything an internal company culture (the culture inside the building, within the teams and people) is so important. We focus a lot on external company culture but most fall short on their internal. The problem is, everyone talks about company culture as if it is something that simply evolves naturally within an organization.

In thermodynamics, entropy tells us that systems tend to gradually decline into disorder. This principle can be applied to companies, unless we have positive forces which are constantly pushing the company culture toward a positive structure, you can expect the culture to decay into disorder.

One of the biggest things I’ve seen bring companies together is a strong sense of pride and enthusiasm for the company and work done. A lot of this comes from working with people who are 100% aligned on goals and vision. We also don’t spend enough time focusing on people & understanding them. Companies = people. The company will be just as good as the people in it & how they feel working there.

Action Item: when you’re working with a group of people, figure out what your intentions are, build a vision around that and deploy a sense of belonging while working towards something that brings you a feeling of accomplishment.

For example, we see companies like Ikea who have a very simple culture with ambitious people who are passionate about helping everyday people.

Independence and Figuring Things Out

Being pretty independent for a week in a foreign country can seem like a scary thing at first but it was a great learning point.

Most of us are very codependent. We constantly rely on others to work or support ourselves. We let others shape our beliefs and decisions — so much so that we lose sight of who we are.

Being independent and learning to figure things out on your own can be a great experience for 1. Getting to know yourself, 2. Challenging your beliefs and assumptions, 3. Becoming assertive and 4. Starting to make your own decisions.

Action Items: spend more time by yourself just reflecting, thinking for yourself and figuring things out on your own.

To sum it up:

  • Spend time developing a bunch of skills (learning about tech, unique knowledge) and getting good at them.
  • Focus on people and understanding them. People are everything in companies.
  • Become a visionary & connector. Company culture is very reliant on visions, aligning on goals and bringing together everyone's ideas.
  • Put yourselves in situations where you have to adopt independence and can start to break out of your normal shell.

Before we ✌️out, I wanted to thank a few people for making this experience happen!!

  • Susie Batt from Consensys Academy for your endless support and energy!
  • Robby Greenfield for organizing the entire program & making everything run so smooth.
  • Simona Pop for organizing the bounty platform, creating fun courses and programs for us to learn!
  • Aya Miyaguchi for being such an inspiration and all your great knowledge/advice about this industry!

all the scholars & everyone else on the team who made this experience memorable!!

If you’d like to talk about anything tech, or philosophy related, I’d love to connect:



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Alishba Imran

Machine learning and hardware developer working on accelerating problems in robotics and renewable energy!