Some people become what they wish for and some people wish for what they could have become. Sharing my opinion on how to become a better coder based on my own experiences
Vitalik, Halloween, and how to growth hack a conference
Last year in September, one of our clients — a top-15 cryptocurrency exchange — asked us to host an event during Berlin Blockchain Week. We’ve organized events before, but never on our own turf of Berlin so we were naturally excited about the opportunity. After a great evening and running a quick post-game analysis of our efforts, we felt our biggest blocker to turn the evening into a success hadn’t been something inside our sphere of influence. It was the fact that Berlin Blockchain Week, despite its best intentions, wasn’t able to cash in on its potential of uniting the community and offer them a banquet of events. There was a website and that’s about it.
The aforementioned Ethereum conference Devcon 4 in Prague was the next big conference, and only a short train ride from Berlin. It was the perfect opportunity to get involved. We had been brainstorming on what we could do with limited resources and found inspiration in an annual music festival in Barcelona.
We already knew that Devcon 4 would bring out a lot of people in the industry, and that soon meetups, workshops, hackathons, parties, and events would pop up all over Prague. So what about launching OFFDevcon?
To launch the initiative and unite all events, there were a couple of things we needed to build from the ground up. It’d be an understatement to say it was going to be challenging without any brand equity and only 6 weeks to go.
We figured we’d at least need:
While working on the branding and figuring out what other opportunities there might be to make an impact, we came across something that it seemed nobody had realized yet. Ethereum’s biggest annual party would coincide with the 10 year anniversary of the Bitcoin whitepaper, which in turn fell on Halloween.
We decided to double down on our message that there is more than just ETH and developed our branding around that. The visual part consisted of an outline of Vitalik, who reached near-immortal status within the ETH community, with red spray-painted crosses over his eyes, and the brand abbreviation ‘OFF’ in bold letters.
The website focused on guiding visitors through the OFF-conference and highlighting a few current or social responsible events. We used our in-house growth power to spread the word through a multitude of organic channels and communities, used paid marketing and our Twitter channel for more reach, and went viral with our final trick. Organizing the biggest party of the week to celebrate Bitcoin, in the middle of an Ethereum conference.
Quickly after launching the website and events guide we were surprised by the outreach of hosts asking us to list their events and help them get some exposure. Thousands of people used the website and spreadsheet to keep track of what’s going on during the week. The guest list for the OFFDevcon party was full in no time and we had to scramble to get the venue to increase their capacity.
Most of all, it was rewarding to see and hear people adopt the term ‘OFFDevcon’ to describe events, parties, and other activities happening outside of the walls of Devcon 4. The pinnacle was the OFFDevcon Halloween party, where more than 1500 people came together to network and dance the night away — on a Wednesday night. Blockchain projects, investors, and the community joined to support our mission in mind blowing ways.
And the best thing? We were able to make a splash in the crypto industry by supporting the community and did not mention our company once. Sometimes the best marketing is to not market yourself at all.
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