• David Strittmatter

Learning something new - what an incredible journey so far

The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing - Albert Einstein
Photo by Joseph Rosales on Unsplash

Dear friend,


Last night at 10.30 pm, I had a meeting with an American I got to know on LinkedIn. He gave me great advice on how to learn more about Web3 (blockchain, decentralized finance, NFTs, etc.) from a business perspective. As a successful founder and Harvard business graduate, he provided me exactly with the knowledge I needed. So, having this meeting even that late at night was definitely worthwhile.


Overall, the conversation was incredibly valuable to me for 2 reasons: (1) It brought me very far ahead on my journey to learn about opportunities in the space of Web3. (2) It made me very excited about it.


Since I was a kid I loved learning. I’ve always been a very curious person. I remember the days when my dad picked me up for the weekend. During the 30-minute drive, I couldn’t stop asking him about things I didn’t know or understand while he fueled my curiosity by providing me with great explanations about all the different things.


Today, though, I have to realize that I don’t really spend much time learning something new. Once we enter our first job, we make a 180-degree turn: from learning insights as a student to producing insights as a knowledge worker.


It’s not that we stop learning and stagnate once we enter the job world. Actually, we do a ton of stuff making us even more valuable to the job market. Yet, it’s rather improving our current skill set, e.g., communication skills, and already existing expertise, e.g., in marketing.


To learn something new, thus, we have to force ourselves and spend time asking questions, reading, listening, and watching. In my case, I spent my last weekends, or at least a few hours of them, learning about Web3 and possible business opportunities.


But why do I want to learn about things like Web3, why should we never stop learning new things, and how can we best acquire new knowledge? This is what today’s blog article will be about.


Summary:

  • When we’re in college, we learn so many new things that we would rather learn less than more

  • Once we enter the professional world, though, the situation turns around. After the first few months with a steep learning curve, we don’t really learn anything new

  • By learning new things, we enable ourselves to better envision a future and build it

Practical advice:

  • First and foremost, the most valuable source to learn is people

  • Second, I recommend listening to podcasts, particularly at the beginning of the journey to get a better sense of the broad picture

  • Third, newsletters, blog articles, and books are the best source to deepen knowledge

Learning about Web3


Web3 will become a major part of our future. And that makes me very curious to learn more about the technology behind it and the opportunities it brings along.


Today, we spend major parts of our time online. Most knowledge workers, people who earn money by thinking and solving problems, work on a personal computer, interacting with information and other people via tools and applications such as Google Mail, Slack, Zoom, and Microsoft Office.


What we can tell from the last decade: We will spend rather more than less time online in the upcoming years. Almost every part of our life can be digitized and interlinked via the world wide web. And while we as a society and the tools we make use of will evolve, the infrastructure that all is built upon will do, too.


Web3 can be seen as a new iteration of the internet harnessing blockchain technology. In contrast to the “current internet” (”Web2”) characterized by large enterprises, such as Microsoft or Amazon, managing major parts of it centrally e.g. via Amazon Web Services, Web3 is characterized by a decentralized network of players not only using but managing it.


As consumers/users of the next-generation internet Web3, we will have more transparency, more power, and more utility.


Even though the concept of Web3 has been around for over half a decade, it first gained traction in 2021 with the surge of interest in blockchain technologies, expanding NFT markets, venture capital investments, and ongoing calls to reduce or at least limit the power of big tech players.


I truly believe that Web3 will be the future of our world. It’s like back in the late 90s when the first internet companies like Amazon started. Nobody really knew what would happen and what the internet of today would actually look like. Yet, as with every other technology, change is for sure.


Never stop learning


When we’re in college, we learn so many new things that we would rather learn less than more. Once we enter the professional world, though, the situation turns around. After the first few months with a steep learning curve, we don’t really learn anything new. We become experts for whatever we’re doing. And only a minority spends a conscious effort to continuously learn something new.


For me, it’s clear that I’ve to never stop learning. I decided for myself that I will never be satisfied with anything. Life is a like train ride on which we travel to beautiful destinations. It’s important to pause and rest at some destinations to enjoy what we’ve achieved. Yet, we have to get back on the train as, otherwise, we will get stuck, get used to it, and miss other great places. When I will be 80, I don’t want to regret not living my life to the fullest.


People who seek new knowledge and skills have the best chances to change our world for the better. By learning new things, we enable ourselves to better envision a future and build it.


Someone who has no clue how to use a computer, use software, or browse on the internet, won’t have a chance to harness this powerful technology. The same goes for almost anything else. Once we enter the professional world and become masters of our role, we stop learning to adopt new technologies. That’s why many elder people don’t even know how to download an app on a smartphone.


How to learn new things


First and foremost, the most valuable source to learn is people. When we talk to people advanced in a topic, we can accelerate our learning rate. I got some friends in the crypto and web3 space, whom I contacted immediately so I can talk to them. Additionally, we can ask co-workers, fellow students, and family whether they know someone in the space.


Second, I recommend listening to podcasts, particularly at the beginning of the journey to get a better sense of the broad picture.


Third, newsletters, blog articles, and books are the best source to deepen your knowledge. Experts of any topic publish their knowledge on the internet or at least as a book. By reading their work, we can directly tap their expertise and make it our own.


Ultimately, though, we have to put our new knowledge into practice. So, we should at least talk about our findings with friends, family, or colleagues. Ideally, we put our knowledge into practice, for instance, I’m going to program a smart contract today.

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