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3/13/2022Meritocracy Exists Where Opportunity Has A BaselineWritten by James Adams

I first of all have to give huge respect to the Cambridge Blockchain Society for setting up an incredible panel yesterday. Pulling together founders and as senior as they come people from Aave, Wintermute, Starkware and Polygon, is by no means an easy thing to do. Congratulations.

The essence of the panel was education in Web3, which when you consider our positon in what we are trying to achieve. Was more than perfect timing.

Build, Build, Build

It was an interesting dynamic. Sat in a room full of students at one of the most prestigious universities in the world, to be told that a class leading education will only get you so far. To get the biggest, best jobs in Web3, you should be building in Web3. It may just take you to the founder position.

The UK university system rewards individuals who achieve the best grades at A levels to go to places like Cambridge. That is meritocracy and a huge achievement. The point I am looking to make is, meritocracy can take many forms, and that is one part of the equation. As the panel outlined yesterday, in Web3 - Build Build Build is bigger.

Web3 is changing the dynamic of meritocracy. Hiring companies want to know what code you've pushed, what bounties you've worked on, what DAO's you've been involved in, what activity your wallet has had. This is space being built for everyone. You've just got to dive in.

Meritocracy Works, When We Have Equality of Opportunity

My main issue with meritocracy always been the concept of opportunity. As a society we have a duty of care to allow all individuals the same opprortunities as each other for true meritocracy to prevail. Let's be honest, we can't achieve that across the East of England. So in comparison, the global scene is pretty dire. However, let's just take a moment here. If we are saying that everyone should achieve where they get to on merit, we have to ensure that all people have access to opportunity that resonates with them.

If your acedemic, a Computer Science, or degree in Maths, remote learning code as an academic persuit may just be your calling (Cambridge itself has provided some notable individuals within Web3 this way). If you are able to learn remotely at your own pace, perhaps BuildSpace or joining DeveloperDAO is for you.

In fact, I would take a look at the recent web3 Education Map coming out of Kernel KB5. The team segment education into three main pillars - Social Learning, Scaffolded Learning and Information and Resources.

All of these are great and it shows the requirement that we need excellent education in Web3, and we are certainly building it. In a short space, we have created public goods that level the playing field of opportunity, but its still a lumpy path.

Opportunity Assumes Perfect Information

For me, there's another area we can and must improve on. Symmetry of information. The majority of these programs take individuals who are crypto curios and usually Web 2.0 savvy, knowing at least one coding language.

For the demands of tomorrow, on-ramps need to be bolder. Bigger. Faster, and most importantly not require a knowledge of either crypto or JavaScript.

Stop. Collaborate and Listen.

Super proud of myself for that title.

Education has come a long way in Web3. As highlighted by the Kernel post above. Whilst most people are aware of the fact that we learn in different ways (the Visual, Audio, Kinesthethic model or learning by Seeing, Hearing and Doing), we should take the time blend models which incorporate all elements of information and resources, scaffolded learning and social learning into our ongoing education. There is a responsibility for actors within the space to work together and largely, this is happening. We aren't competing for the prize here, we are working together to drive an outcome.

Notably, we don't have a classroom based model in this process. Which whilst again, will be completely the wrong approach for so so many. Is the way that a majority of education is taught today, certainly in the UK up to 18. Decentralisation does not need to mean remote in all we do. Meetups, conferences and events show this (note for the coders I wanted to make this `joke` decentralisation != remote)

The Beacons: Show Me I Can

One of the very first things that's super important, is creating beacons in a community. Beacons show people that they can achieve something because someone just like them did it too. Whether that's a situational resonance, such as a career switcher, or someone of the same gender, race, socio-economic background, sexuality, etc.

However the individual resonates with the story they hear, it shows them it can be done. Resonance is hard to qualify, so for me, I think we push out as many stories as we can. Every day someone makes it in this space, and every one of them will have a story.

Let's continue to tell them.

The Crunch Point

People generally take action to solve a problem. It's the same reason why people start businesses. You can catagorise "career switching" as losing your job, being unhappy in your job, wanting to start a business. Ultimately, for me there are two crunch points we should look at. Crunch point one I just mentioned, I am looking for a change. Crunch point two, I am leaving education and need to get a job.

Funnily enough governments have identified this and put in place strategies to support it. In the UK, we have tens of thousands of individuals who fall into the career switching, or recently graduated arena, that are eligible for support and go on to do coding bootcamps. We are the first trying to push this into the Web3 space, through gaining our UK Register of Training Providers listing, and offering bootcamps that fit within the governments recognised approach for delivering such school leaver and career switcher programs.

Our commitment to the community

We have been working on another on-ramp with this thinking for a few months now, with our first of our blockchain bootcamp kicking off a week tomorrow (starting Monday 21st March). However, we have had to put the groundwork in understanding the market, the crunch point decision makers, how to engage governments (in the UK certainly) and the general elements of seting up.

We have also been working with our local university on their MBA research project to gain a deeper understanding in this space.

My Twitter and email is always open to share our approach, what's worked, what hasn't so please, if you are thinking of a similar approach elsewhere. Get in touch. We will also be sharing as much of the work the university complete as we can, as soon as we can.

Whilst you are here, have you seen the ETHAnglia GR13?

Whilst you are here. If you didn't know, the ETHAnglia GR13 will be funding scholarships for 0 to Web3 bootcamps as we move into supporting a fully funded model. Please do take the time to check it out for more of our roadmap, and if you want to drop a dollar, it all goes towards paying for 0 to Web3 scholarships.


About the author

James Adams

James has 8 years with Fortune 200 US firm ITW, experience of managing projects in China, USA, and throughout Europe. James has worked with companies such as Tesco, Vauxhall, ITW, Serco, McDonalds. James has experience in supporting start-up and scale up companies such as Readingmate, Gorilla Juice and Harvest London. James completed his MBA at the University of East Anglia in 2018.