After close to 6 years at AWS, I decided to leave a high paying tech sales leadership job to join a web3 company full-time. I loved my job at AWS, worked with amazing people, had an incredible boss/mentor (akin to Yoda), led an awesome ten person team, and managed a $100M business. I had career growth opportunities and was making more than enough to be comfortable and save.
This was not a simple choice, there was no ‘push’ to leave. However, there was a very strong pull, web3.
I have seen more enthusiasm in the blockchain space than anywhere else. Even when cloud hit an inflection point, there was not nearly as much passion as there is with blockchain. If you speak to anyone working in web3 you will immediately see what I mean. Blockchain feels like a modern renaissance, with new ideas and inspiration flowing nonstop. This enthusiasm is contagious. These are some parts of web3 that excite me the most:
- Exciting projects with world changing potential: banking the unbanked, universal income, getting rid of middlemen (ex. title insurance), ownership of your data, and even cleaning poop off the streets of San Francisco. These are just some of the monumental blockchain projects being worked on.
- New ground: there’s no playbook, no best practices, and no rules. Blockchain is a work in progress and figuring out how to add value in a rapidly developing environment is what I’d consider a dream job. All the work done over the next few years will have a lasting impact.
- New business models: play-to-earn gaming, organizations with no central leadership (DAO), tokenized incentives, micro economies centered around a creator, permissionless finance, and more being experimented with every day.
- Constant learning: every interaction, every customer conversation, and every action will teach me something new. If you enjoy learning, web3 will keep expanding, so the learning never stops.
- Web3 is a lifestyle; a fun one with limitless creativity, and it’s the lifestyle I’m most drawn to.
To me, sales is the transfer of enthusiasm. I need passion to have enthusiasm. The more passion I have, the better I can transfer that enthusiasm.
I am truly passionate about blockchain. During Covid lockdowns, a lot of extra time was made available with no travel or commuting. My wife was pregnant, so we locked ourselves up for over a year from the outside world. I found that most of my free time was spent keeping up with and learning more about blockchain. I immersed myself in the ‘metaverse’ and consumed blockchain podcasts, news, articles, scrolled blockchain twitter (also known as “CT” or “crypto twitter”), and engaged with blockchain people. This passion got more intense and culminated with me facing a decision to enter the space.
The decision came down to two choices:
- Continue down a low-risk path at AWS with decent upside in an industry approaching maturity.
- Make a bet on an emerging shift in technology/culture/economics that I am passionate about with limited downside and huge upside.
Shifts like this don’t happen often, and the chance to be a part of one is a life changing opportunity. After spending years learning, networking, and leading in the cloud sales space, I’d be able to go back if I wanted.
The decision became more clear the more I thought about it. Follow your passion, learn even more, work at a potentially world changing startup with an incredible team, have the opportunity to make a big impact, create meaningful value, do something really interesting, and get in an exploding market early.
Once I came to that conclusion, I had a pit in my stomach. It wasn’t easy leaving behind everything I built, all the people I loved, and the comfortable lifestyle. I had many sleepless nights.
I don’t know where I heard this quote, but at the end of the decision process, it popped in my head: “If experience is your gold, life will make you rich.” Aside from all the exciting parts of web3 and Alchemy, I have a chance to take my destiny in my own hands and bet on myself. Knowing a world class team would be behind me, I was ready to do it.
Why a blockchain developer platform?
When you use Netflix, Doordash, or most websites, you are touching AWS. AWS powers the majority of the web. The same is true with Alchemy: when you buy an NFT or receive crypto in your wallet, it is likely powered by Alchemy. Alchemy powers 70% of the top applications on ethereum, as well as other protocols. They work with the top names in the space including OpenSea, Sushiswap, Dapper Labs, Aave, the Graph, 0x, Nifty Gateway, and many more. History doesn’t repeat but it rhymes, and Alchemy sounds a lot like the next verse after AWS.
Blockchain platforms are what enable crypto wallets, NFT’s (non fungible tokens), Defi (decentralized finance), Dapps (decentralized apps), DAOs (distributed autonomous organizations), protocols, and all entities in the blockchain ecosystem to function. By joining a company that serves as the foundational component to web3, I am exposed to the entire space.
Is web3 right for you?
At a certain point, saying you work in web3 will be like saying you work in tech; it will be one in the same. End users won’t be thinking “I’m using blockchain” just like you aren’t thinking “I’m using cloud” when you order an Uber. However, the space is new right now, and getting in early has to be a purposeful and self directed effort.
The best way to start is by learning. So many people are so passionate about this space, and if it is interesting to you, follow those interests. There are so many categories within web3 to explore: art, Fintech, infrastructure, gaming, community, etc. If you relate to any of those, dive in and devote effort to learning. Take notes, organize your thoughts, start experimenting (even as simple as owning a small amount of crypto, learning how to acquire an inexpensive NFT, an ENS domain name, etc).
Here are some resources to immerse yourself:
- What is web3? What is the potential of web3?
- Twitter: easily the best place to follow what's going on. I know many people (especially in sales) don't use twitter, but if you make a habit of going on and following the right people, you will have access to a gradual, slow paced and powerful trove of information. Start with the list of accounts below, and then (again) follow your interests. If someone posts something that interests you, follow them. If you find an interesting thread, comment on it and bookmark it. For the people you really like, set alerts to get live updates.
- Some starter accounts to follow: @naval, @balajis, @vitalikbuterin, @sassal0x @cdixon, @packyM, @defi_dad, @aantonop, @nikilster, @thejoelau, @0xShah, @alchemyplatform
- Follow who I follow
- News: coindesk, cointelegraph, techcrunch (use search terms like blockchain, web3, crypto), Future by a16z, Morning Brew (has crypto content in most newsletters), and follow the blockchain topic in google news
- Podcasts: this is my favorite way to learn, and there are too many good ones to count, but here are some I learned from: Epicenter, a16z, Uncommon Core, Bankless, The Defiant, the Metaverse Podcast, Modern Finance, Invest Like the Best, and Unchained (to deep search for specific content, search a term on Listen Notes).
- A solid resource list from my colleague Jason Shah: https://www.0xshah.xyz/leaving-tech-for-crypto-how-to-move-into-web3/
- Great thread on how to get a job in web3
- Comprehensive directory of resources for almost every category in blockchain
- What is Alchemy
Once you have a sense of what’s going on, you will have a clearer idea of where you can add value. While there are clear technical resource needs such as devs and engineers, the secondary functions are not as obvious. This is a great chance to take what you’ve learned, what you are passionate about, and figure out where you can make the best impact.
Hopefully this was helpful. If you are considering a move into web3 or want to chat more, please DM me on LinkedIn or Twitter (@glennmon). I’ll be sharing my journey at grach.net, and on Twitter/LinkedIn. Also, Alchemy is hiring: https://jobs.lever.co/alchemy, join us!