Breaking up with a TradFi career for Crypto and Web3
7 tips on who to know, what to do & how to make it happen
Earlier this year, I traded in my BlackRock swag and rock solid health benefits for DeFi whitepapers and killer stablecoin lending yields. After four years at the world’s largest asset manager, I was ready for something new, opting for a seven-person executive search and investment firm focused squarely on crypto. I’m nine months in and, I have to admit, the view from this seat is pretty incredible.
As executive recruiters and crypto investors, our phones are constantly ringing with friends, colleagues and strangers stuck at banks and asset managers asking how to muscle into this white hot industry. With that in mind, we’ve condensed our usual responses into seven key things to do if you want to make the jump from TradFi to Crypto and Web3.
1/ Understand the tech. At this stage in the game, it’s not enough to name drop Satoshi, Beeple or the Winklevii. If you want to gain respect from people in the crypto world, you have to be willing to put in the work. Take a course on blockchain technology. Dive head first down a crypto Reddit hole. Know the protocols.
Whether you’re reading whitepapers on decentralized finance while waiting for Season 2 of The Witcher to drop, or listening to The Pomp Podcast as you recipe test banana breads, our advice is simple — Always. Be. Learning.
2/ Study the competitive landscape. Another way to build credibility is to master the news of the day. Before having a conversation with a crypto company, brush up on who the major players are in that particular field.
Who’s leading the market? How has the industry evolved and what trends are driving that evolution? What changes might we expect in the future? Start asking those questions and you just might ask your way into a new *and hopefully better* job.
3/ Showcase your inner entrepreneur. Whether you’re a crypto fanatic or not, there’s no denying that the space remains nascent. To prove you can thrive in this burgeoning but emerging industry, it’s crucial to showcase traits like adaptability, creativity and intellectual curiosity. This is even more important when you’re transitioning from a TradFi career such as investment banking, asset management, etc.
So how does one do this? Step away from the resume buzz-words and do something that feeds your inner entrepreneurial spirit:
- Lead a cross functional team
- Raise your hand for a new project
- Start a podcast or newsletter
- Brainstorm new business ideas
4/ Put some skin in the game. We’re not talking about just buying Bitcoin or opening up a Coinbase account. Really get into the weeds of the crypto universe. Play around with an open source project on GitHub, mint your first NFT or even start your own Raspberry Pi-powered Ethereum node.
Explore the esoteric. Embrace new ideas. Invest your own capital. Trust us, the market is much harder to ignore once your net worth is involved.
5/ Speak the language. What’s the fastest way to learn a new language? Date a foreigner or move to a foreign country. The common thread — you have to commit. Fully immerse yourself in crypto content and you’ll start picking up on the lingo, the trends, the lifestyle in no time.
IGP’s favorite crypto content:
- CoinDesk and other crypto news sources
- The a16z Crypto newsletter
- On the Brink podcast with Castle Island
- RealVision — check out the interview library and thank us later
- Digital Gold: Bitcoin and the Inside Story of the Misfits and Millionaires Trying to Reinvent Money by Nathaniel Popper
- The Fintech Blueprint newsletter by Lex Sokolin
6/ Prioritize warm introductions. Bathroom floors, car seats, bread baskets — most things in life are better warm, and introductions are no exception. Rather than blindly applying on LinkedIn or bombarding HR personnel, use your friends, family members or colleagues who might have connectivity to the crypto space.
Staying connected is even more important in the world of remote working, so we’d encourage you to reach out to venture investors, academics, advisors — anyone on the inside who can help you navigate the industry and establish credibility with prospective employers.
The TLDR? Use your network to your advantage and don’t hesitate to ask for warm introductions.
7/ Be nice to recruiters. We know many recruiters are flakey and we realize you all receive a million LinkedIn messages a day, but please don’t bite the hand that feeds you. Whether you’re working with someone in entry level recruiting or boutique crypto executive search, those people often hold the keys to some really exciting roles. Engage, be direct, and stay open minded to new opportunities. Call me biased, but I promise we come in peace 👽.