The Power of Communities

Throughout the years I learned how powerful communities can be. Being able to share knowledge and experiences is extremely beneficial. In today’s episode, I met with the members of, a community project dedicated to news in the blockchain space I created.

Video Transcript

Alright, it’s another beautiful morning and I’m on my way to the Mediasign office.

It’s been a week since my accident. My shoulder has pretty much healed 100% which is amazing and I’m so grateful.

Meeting and call days

Wednesdays are usually my call days and meeting days. So all the regular calls and all the recurring meetings, I usually have on Wednesdays. Typically in the afternoon, so from 1:00 p.m. till 8 p.m. I have one meeting after another. Typically they’re between 20 and 45 minutes long.

What’s special today in the morning is that the Swiss national TV is coming by. They’re working on a segment about minimalism and living with fewer things and how to function with just 64 items. And so they’re going to come by and shoot the few last scenes, they want to see all the 64 things.

In the evening, I’m going to head to Zurich for a nextblock meeting. Nextblock is a crypto community that I founded a year ago. Looking forward to meeting everyone here in Zurich. It’s our first Zurich meetup. We’ve done other meetups in London and New York and Berlin before. But Zurich – this is the first iteration and there’s quite a big group – about 20 people. And so I’m looking forward to getting together and exchange ideas with them.

We worked on the last scenes with the Swiss TV crew this morning. They’re still working with some of my stuff and I had a couple calls already. Now I have a quick break. After the break, I have another 4-5 calls for another six-seven hours. It’s an intense day but I like to group meetings together so that I know today I’m not going to be able to respond much and I’ll be mostly reacting to phone calls and talking to people. But at least then it’s done and the rest of the week is more flexible to plan for more long-term work.

Got my laptop back!

So we finished shooting in Rapperswil and now I’m headed to Zurich a) to get my laptop back and b) to meet the nextblock community.

So I got my laptop back and just got a bunch of work done from the Apple store. I had about 45 minutes to kill. And now I’m walking over to the nextblock meeting. A project that organically developed over the past year, probably 14 months. And it started when I was looking for someone who would read the news in the blockchain and crypto space and summarize them for me.

Because what I had realized about a year ago is that as I became more involved with DFINITY and more interested in the blockchain space (while I still had my other businesses to run), I realized that I would never have enough time to follow all the news that is coming out in this space in a rapid pace. So I started looking for someone online through that process that I described in episode 6.

The origins of nextblock

I started looking for someone who would help me stay up to date without having to spend several hours each day reading blockchain news. And I found Connor. Connor is a very smart guy, he just turned 22 today and he lives in London. He used to be an FX currency trader but then a couple years ago decided to leave his day job and spend all his time investing in and trading cryptocurrencies.

Connor responded to my ad and that’s how we started working on nextblock. So he started working on daily summaries. In the beginning, we would send them via WhatsApp, email, and Slack where he summarized the last 24 hours of news in a very short and compact message. That message typically takes me between 30 and 90 seconds to read and it gives me the gist of what happened that day.

Initially, I thought he would just do that for me and I would get the news and that was it. But then I started talking to friends and telling them about this news service and suddenly a lot of people showed interest. So we decided to create a WhatsApp group where he posts this. And pretty quickly grew to 30 to 50 members.

And so now we had this daily news summary and around that, we started to assemble people that were interested in the blockchain space and wanted to have discussions around that.

So I think what’s different in nextblock compared to many other crypto and blockchain groups is that it’s not so much about price and whether the market is going up or down, but it’s more about understanding the concepts and ideas and brainstorm what blockchain could do and how it could change our world.

Getting serious

And so fast forward to last summer, about nine months ago now, is when I talked to Simon. He had recently exited his business. He’s also an entrepreneur. We initially connected through EO.

Simon and I were talking and he mentioned that he also has an interest in blockchain so I added him to the group and he offered to become a bit more active and help manage everyone in nextblock.

And so suddenly we had a community manager. And Simon does a great job at onboarding people, making sure things go the right way and people are polite and we don’t get any of that FOMO talk that is so prevalent in some of the other groups.

Since then, we’ve grown to almost 250 members. We’ve launched a number of subgroups so it’s not just the main group. There are groups for people who are just interested in mining, people who are interested in ICOs, people who are interested in bot trading…

About three months ago, Simon, Connor and I finally met in Berlin for a face-to-face meeting. And we also took the opportunity to organize a face-to-face get-together for nextblock members in Berlin. It was extremely cool and connecting to meet other nextblock members in real life. And that’s why we decided to duplicate that idea or do it again. And since then we’ve had meetups in New York, London, Berlin, San Francisco, now Zurich, and probably a couple more.

It’s really cool to see this worldwide community come into existence and I’m super excited to meet some of the Zurich members tonight.

One thing to focus on for the next few years

I think we had a great meeting with the nextblock group. Good food but more importantly good conversations and great people. Very interesting to hear what everyone’s working on. Unfortunately, there’s never enough time to hear everyone’s full story.

So my takeaway is that we have to organize more meetups here, bring these people together. It just reminds me once again of the power of communities. If you bring people together with similar interests and similar values and you provide them with a way to align their actions and help each other, I think that’s extremely powerful.

And so one thing that I want to focus on over the next 12 months or potentially the next few years are tools that help communities align their interests and actions.

What’s your community?

And I think one takeaway that I want to share is if you have an interest or a passion and your usual friends or family or the people you typically interact with don’t share the same passion, just look for a community. There are so many communities out there. And of course, if you’re into crypto and blockchain, if you studied the basics and you’re ready for a higher level discussion and being challenged and sharing ideas, go and sign up on and we’ll see you there!

Talk to you tomorrow!

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