Nov 8, 2023

Exploring Istanbul: Beyond the conference bubbles

After a few years immersed in the crypto world and a decade on the startup conference circuit, I’m taking a different approach to Blockchain Week in Istanbul. This time, I’m skipping the pinballing and back-to-back events. Instead, I’m dedicating this week to the art of connection — reuniting with old friends, making new ones, and truly experiencing the city’s culture.

Travel for me has too often meant a blur of conference centers, hotels, and bars, with the local culture a mere backdrop. But not this trip. I’m inviting anyone I know, and friends of friends, to join me in exploring this wonderful, historical melting pot.

On Sunday, Boyana and I will host a market exploration, complete with a side of ethnography training — a skillset I’ve found to be rare yet invaluable in the Web3 space. It’s an open invitation to learn, play, and see through a local lens with us.

The rest of the week promises a tapestry of markets, galleries, tea houses and flaneuring. I’ve always found joy in reaching out to local contacts to discover places pulsing with authentic life, the places they love. These are the experiences that show me something new about the world and myself. That’ll be my focus - though I’m happy to tag along to specific events if someone invites me. Just going with the flow.

So, if you’re in town for Blockchain Week and you know me or my work, let’s make plans. Let’s wander, talk about life, and remember why we travel — not just for business, but for the soul-enriching encounters that happen along the way.

What am I up to these days?

I’m a new parent, and prioritising my attention on our new rhythms as a family. I’m also having fun with slow creative pursuits: making a few apps, writing, etc.

Work-wise, I’m trekking along at a cozy pace, with a few non-exec, advisory roles for cryptography and microchip manufacturing programs.

In the past, I've designed peer-learning programs for Oxford, UCL, Techstars, Microsoft Ventures, The Royal Academy Of Engineering, and Kernel, careering from startups to humanitech and engineering. I also played a role in starting the Lean Startup methodology, and the European startup ecosystem. You can read about this here.

Contact me

Books & collected practices

  • Peer Learning Is - a broad look at peer learning around the world, and how to design peer learning to outperform traditional education
  • Mentor Impact - researched the practices used by the startup mentors that really make a difference
  • DAOistry - practices and mindsets that work in blockchain communities
  • Decision Hacks - early-stage startup decisions distilled
  • Source Institute - skunkworks I founded with open peer learning formats and ops guides, and our internal guide on decentralised teams