Devcons are always a unique experience since they bring the ethereum community to a commonplace. It’s not the venue that makes devcons so special. It’s the people!
This is the first post of my Devcon post series. This post talks about how the event was in general. I’ll soon be writing another blog post that goes into detail about the discussions I had, the debates I did and the talks I gave. If you are here for the technical posts, stay tuned for my next post. If you want something casual to read, carry on.
Let’s talk about this year’s Devcon now. Overall, It was a great conference but it had its lows as well. It was nowhere as good as Devcon 4 and you can argue Eth Berlin was better than this year’s Devcon but you gotta admit, it’s really hard to beat this:
Why was Devcon 5 great?
As I mentioned earlier, it’s the people from the community that make Devcon great. The sheer number of quality blockchain discussions you can do at Devcon is unmatched. You get to learn about new technologies, products, vulnerabilities and more. There are so many familiar faces that you want to talk to but you really can’t talk to everyone due to lack of time. Any gathering where you feel like you could’ve had another interesting chat if you had more time is an awesome gathering.
Talking about gatherings, there are always a ton of great meetups and parties around Devcon. This year was no different. There were days where I had RSVP’d for five parties because of FOMO. Apart from a couple of disappointing ones, most were litt. There was so much to do at Devcon that by the time Devcon was over, I was so tired that it literally took me a week to get back to full force and then more to find time to start writing this blog.
A Devcon won’t be a Devcon without free swag. We had everything from lip balms to fidget spinners this year. I now proudly own two lifetimes worth of T-shirts. I already gave out a few to my friends and family. Shout out to the friend who used to work at AWS but completed my challenge of wearing the “BUIDL on Azure” T-Shirt to the office. For totally unrelated reasons, he is now looking for a new gig.
Coming back to the topic, the talks at Devcon were of top-notch quality but I might be biased since I gave 3 of those talks :). The fact that Devcon was in Japan was awesome as well. It became an excuse for me to explore Japan. I absolutely loved the country and the people. If it weren’t for Devcon, I probably would’ve not visited Japan anytime soon.
It wasn’t a perfect event though. Let’s talk about a few things that left me disappointed.
What could have been better?
The organization. That’s all that was lacking but unfortunately, it was not good at all.
The event location was a commercial complex. Devcon was mainly spread across the basement and 6th floor of the complex but there were shops and businesses on other floors. With only four lifts going up and down, there were queues for the lift longer than the ethereum transaction queues when FairWin was going on. I heard some engineers debating on increasing the gas cost for using the lift and increasing the passenger limit per block of the lift.
The rooms for the talks (other than the main hall) were quite small and didn’t have enough ventilation. On the positive side, it felt like I was back in India! Don’t believe me?
The WiFi did not work. It just didn’t work. Not even for a second. I had to create a hotspot from my mobile to load my slides. Talking about hotspots, EF announced that they will be giving free sim cards to everyone for internet connectivity. Guess what, they ran out of sim cards. Did a unicorn steal them? Did EF not know how many Devcon tickets were sold? Talking about running out of things, they ran out of food vouchers. Maybe EF assumed that most people who bought Devcon tickets will bring their food from their home.
If I were to rant further, I’d say that I wonder if Satoshi would’ve approved of Devcons. It’s not like Devcons are organized by a centralized organization or that companies that go against the Ethereum’s ideology are given the main stage. It’s not like closed room meetings about Ethereum’s future have happened at Devcons in the past either. Then again, Satoshi was probably a bit too picky.
I must admit, I’ve been reading a bit too much of Coin Jazeera lately.
The Final Verdict
Despite the shortcomings, I still very much enjoyed my time at Devcon. I get that every event has its flaws but I blame EF for raising the bar so high with Devcon 4 and then not reaching it. Devcon 5 wasn’t a bad event but it was nowhere as nicely organized as Devcon 4. If Devcon 4 can’t be topped, I expect the next Devcon to be at least as good as Devcon 4. Unless a pizza rat poisons all the ethereum developers, I will probably attend the next Devcon as well. I just hope that EF will learn from their mistakes and hire a good event organizer next time. Peace out!