Building relationships and Web 3 in Bali

Bevan Barton
Apr 8, 2019 · 6 min read

What do you get when you assemble a group of blockchain enthusiasts in a remote Balinese villa for ten days? Great conversations, immersive adventures, and deep connections!

In late February 2019, Peepeth hosted a 10-day blockchain-themed working retreat in the Balinese countryside. This is what we did.

Our group. A few of us wanted to remain anonymous, hence the masks, which are coconut art we saw at a cafe.

We talked

Conversation flowed from the moment we met at the airport.

We talked about culture, books, and relationships. We debated politics, philosophy, and health. And of course, we exchanged ideas about crypto, social media, and Web 3.

Our conversations were only interrupted by the crashing waves of Balian beach as we swam, by torrential downpours that drowned out our voices, and by the sounds of the night forest. Plus a workout, nap, or private moment here and there.

The backdrop to many of our conversations at the villa.

We swam

We all went in. Our villa was close to Balian Beach and we frolicked in the waves most evenings. We surfed, boogie-boarded, and waded; a great pre-dinner ritual.

We read

Everyone had a copy of Will Macaskill’s Doing Good Better, a book about Effective Altruism, a social movement & philosophy that seeks to find the most effective ways of doing good (the inspiration for Peepeth’s mosquito badges). This provided more fuel for our conversations:

  • What is the greatest good?
  • How should we value the well-being of future people?
  • (To a vegan) If a chicken just happened to drop dead at your feet, would you be ok eating it? 😜

We adventured

Every few days we’d have a day-long excursion. We saw temples, markets, monkeys, a waterfall, a fire dance, tourist traps, beautiful rice paddies, gas station mini-marts, and much more.

Andrew B Coathup’s vlog of Day 3.
My recap of Day 3, one of our adventure days.

We ate

The Balinese food was at times crispy, spicy, soft, delicious, bitter, fishy, lean, fatty, bland, snake-like, refreshing, and sweet. I loved it; we had some great meals on the island.

We luckily averted food-borne illness for the most part (until we hit the night market, which was the cause of minor stomach troubles).

We bought a kilo of passionfruit for $2USD, which had just been picked from behind the shop.

We worked

Although we had a lot of fun, this was also a working retreat. Some of us coded, some of us wrote, some of us read. We all learned and grew.

Day 9 was Demo Day, an opportunity to share our creations with the group. Among the works was a crypto trading bot and a novel collectible token. I presented the progress I’d made on Peepeth.

Here’s Andrew B Coathup’s take of Day 9, which was Demo Day.

We talked some more

One morning, we sat down and started talking. Breakfast arrived; we ate it and continued chatting. Soon, the villa staff arrived with lunch. A few hours later I had to pry myself away to finish a feature for Peepeth.

We climbed

The final day of retreat we awoke at midnight to climb Mount Batur, an active volcano. It was a steep two-hour hike that none of us will forget. We all summited, despite one or two of us battling flu-like symptoms.

Climbing Mount Batur was both the most challenging and most rewarding experience of the trip.

Andrew B Coathup’s vlog of our Mount Batur climb and final day together.

We bonded

Bringing together a group of mostly-strangers in a secluded villa for ten days is a recipe for deep connections. The environment, duration, and activities helped us bond more than is possible in most other contexts.

We only show a sliver of ourselves over coffee, at conferences, and at parties. Meetups and mixers are great ways to connect, but they don’t allow for the depth that can be achieved in low-distraction environments over a ten-day period.

We lived a unique first-hand experience

In 1849, Emerson lamented that only prior generations experienced life “face to face”, his own living vicariously through the eyes of others. That statement seems even truer in the age of social media.

#buidl_bali was a rare kind of experience. We immersed ourselves in conversation, in Indonesia, in the sea. We didn’t get as much screen time as we might have during our regular lives, but that was a feature, not a bug. We each took a chance by meeting new friends and experiences face-to-face; and it paid off.

“The sun shines to-day also.” — Emerson.

Thanks to the extraordinary #buidl_bali goers who had the courage to jump in!

Want to come on the next retreat? Subscribe here for updates.

ps. Check out Andrew B Coathup’s vlog playlist for beautiful, day-by-day, 1–3 min recaps of #buidl_bali.

pps. Check out the #buidl_bali hashtag on Peepeth for more photos, videos, and updates from the retreat.

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Bevan Barton

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