We waited 2 years for the first ICP conference and what better place to host it than Miami!
As the organizers of this conference, Code&State brought together a good mix of the most active and vibrant players of the IC ecosystem. There was a good mix between professionals on the investments side to the builders launching dApps on the IC. In this article, I will be sharing my personal highlights and takeaways from the conference and touching upon some interactions, insightful keynotes as well as some thoughts on the Pitch Session that took place during the ICP Conference. And, while most of the Aviate Labs team operates from Belgium, it was a great opportunity to reunite with our LA-based team member George!
Attending more than just a few conferences and events each year, the vibe of our real-life community was quite unique. In line with the LA meetup in 2022, the topics ranged from existential conversations (about the protocol) to what’s living on the forums and the feature requests.
It’s the former that connects most of us, or is it the struggle expressing these? It feels like we all have a sense of where the network is headed but lack the words to make these explicit. More on this later in this recap!
It was great seeing and catching up with some of the “OG’s” in the IC ecosystem like Jordan Last, Bob from Toniq Labs, Rick from DSCVR, Mike and Austin from Origyn. Speaking of Origyn...
The conference was just 2 days, and aside from all the networking (and good food) we still had the opportunity to hear some fresh keynotes and untold stories. Like the one keynote that stood out to me, it was late day 2 when Mike Schwartz took the stage to guide us through his personal story to the (co-)founding of Origyn. But before any of us were aware, he took the deviation of the conference and turned it into the founding story of the Internet Computer. Starring Dominic (DFINITY), Rick (DSCVR), Austin and the whole crew. The question was raised: was the Internet Computer founded as the “fabric” to power the grand vision for Origyn? I advise you to watch the recording yourself, once available on Code&State’s youtube channel.
I had the honor to share my experience from the Investments aspect on the Investment panel together with David from 9 Yards Capital, Philipp from FYRFLY Venture Partners, Tom from Warburg Serres, Simran from OSR and Cedric from Code&State. All of us acknowledged the development cycles still ahead of us, but we are finally in the moment where there are early commercial projects being build. We do need a strategy to attract new investors to the ecosystem and to make sure that our ventures have sufficient ways of funding to not only build out but scale this new layer of the web.
If I can share one thing to all the projects out there: regardless how “good” the solution is, don’t forget to validate a good market-fit first, then grow a solid business-model and attract strategic partners to help you with this.
Looking back 2 years ago, the onramp for new developers was steep but they’re crucial for the growth of an ecosystem. That’s also why we’ve invested so much into developer packages (link aviate labs github). By now and thanks to the joined efforts of many, we should be at a level to welcome the curious but serious developer crowd. For this, there are 2 important things needed: a narrative & a developer ecosystem.
To find this narrative we need to look for factors that differentiate us from other networks. This goes beyond facts like “we’re 1000x faster than Ethereum!”, it comes down to what are users and developers looking for that our unique edge brings them?
I personally think, based on community input, that we’re ideally positioned to be one of the most interoperable networks out there. Chaining together the next web with a financial ledger like BTC, actionable truth with ETH but the ever so important easy-to-use interface and distributed computing power of ICP. And on which of these three will most of the (d)apps be needed, you think?
This developer ecosystem is more abstract. Things like an online education tool acts as an entry point that drives them in. An open-source mindset to maximize knowledge sharing and capitalize on the growing number of ICP-native projects. And lastly, following this first community conference, a developer conference.
The conference provided a platform for exchange in expertise and collaboration. As we return from this lovely conference trip from Miami, fueled by the conference's energy, it is evident that the coming months will show some advancements in ecosystem maturity and hopefully attracting even more talent. As I wrap this article out, I want to give a shout out to the host of the conference - Jesse for bringing and gluing it all together making the event maximally inspiring for the attendees!