Blockchain is like my first time with weed.

October 26th 2017
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@jessekorzanJesse Korzan

The daze of confusion for a designer.

First time my buddy and I tried pot, it was a big letdown. Maybe my first “fail fast” moment.

We were curious. We heard the chatter. We’d seen the flicks and bought the music. Not much too it, it seemed. Just “roll it up” and light it on fire?

There we were, after “scoring”, sitting in a dank basement listening to Hendrix. In the glow of a lava lamp, we looked at “our shit” and wondered what to do. We ended up wrapping some printer paper around it (dot matrix) and, well, no one touched the sky. Bogus. Totally.

Dude, you want to do some blockchain?

As a designer with 20 years under his belt, I’ve cleared a few technical hurdles in digital design. From table based HTML to CSS layouts. Friendster. Dynamic websites. Actionscript. CMS’s. Responsive design. iOS. Conversational UI.

I could sit down, tinker/hack/copy until I gained an understanding and built something. I never felt like I didn’t know what questions to ask when I was stuck. I picked up the slang. I was hip, man.

It always felt easy to learn (hard to get good)and momentum was generated. I was hooked on all of it.

With this blockchain stuff, and perhaps it’s an age thing now, I struggle to grasp it. Proverbially trying to avoid smoking a flaming pile of printer paper.

Recently, I was approached about “taking a gig on the blockchain”. The rusty white van on a cold fall evening…

Naively, I asked what they knew about me and did they know I was a UI designer.

“Yes. Of course. We need some design help.”

“Ok. With the block or the chain?” I joked.

“You’re a smart kid. Good thought. Yes. Both.”

Did they know I was joking? Did I realize I wasn’t joking? This person had good credentials (LinkedIn never lies) and droned on for a bit until they pegged I wasn’t picking up what they were putting down.

“Talking shit”, I wondered. But I knew I needed to step up and inhale some knowledge. Deeply. Deep learning. #oceanfloors

The more I learn, the less I know.

There are plenty of smart people who can offer reams of material on this stuff. Go and search Google or Twitter. You can grok it’s technology changing the very fabric of humanity. The amazing new thing that’s eluded Huey Lewis for so long.

But I have to try it. At least once. And “rolling my own” is really the only way I I’ll get deep into the jungle.

Trouble is… like my first experience with the Devil’s Lettuce, I am confounded where to start or even what questions to ask.

Do I “do” the blockchain? Or do I “get on” the blockchain? Am I more chain than block? Is flannel still OK or do I need a cardigan?

Can’t wait for that first hit that finally let’s me Kiss the Sky.

I suspect that first weed purchase was rotten oregano. And that’s the problem with the promise of early-stage, transformative tech. I gotta get hip again. Know what’s snake oil and what’s legit.

If you’ve been able to score on the blockchain as a designer, be cool and drop a note where I can turn on, tune in and dapp out.



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