In 2021, I was a 20-year-old kid studying at a shitty college and doing miserable random freelance gigs for pocket money. Traveling the world and exploring the mysteries it had to offer was something I had always dreamed of. But dreaming is where it had to stop. I come from a middle-class Indian family so I could never afford to travel abroad.
In 2022, everything changed. I got a job because people saw me building some cool stuff with this new DAO I joined. I earned a scholarship to an Ethereum conference in Dubai and left home for the first time in my life to meet my 'online' friends. This trip turned out to be a life-changing experience.
Developer DAO made all of this happen for me. This is my story.
Getting to fly to EthDubai
I joined D_D back in September. I was still fairly new to web3. Minting the D_D NFT was my first ever mainnet contract interaction - that says enough. D_D gave me a safe place to meet new friends who wanted to build open source software together. And that's exactly what we did.
I started working on a React UI library for web3 with some friends at D_D and started tweeting about it. People loved this. This did lots of good for me, but also for D_D since this was one of our first 'projects'. I made friends with many people in web3 because they liked my work.
This project also literally got me my current job. When I say this project changed my life, it's not an overstatement.
Meanwhile, EthDubai announced a scholarship program. I applied. My application was backed only by my work with D_D. Nader, the founder of Developer DAO, was going to be speaking at the event and I already 'knew' him by this time. He had seen the stuff I was building at D_D and was kind enough to support all of it whenever he could. Nader was in touch with the organizers of the event and he put in a good word for me when I told him that I had applied. This along with my work at D_D was enough for me to secure the scholarship.
I had no expectations when I applied. I thought, ‘this cannot be real’, but it was. I was flying overseas for the first time ever. You could bet I was the happiest guy on the planet.
Meeting my D_D friends and making new ones in Dubai
My time in Dubai was exciting and...chaotic - isn't that just what crypto conferences are anyways? D_D already had a gathering planned for lunch on the day I landed. On my very first day away from home in a foreign country, I was going to meet some of my friends that I had known only through Discord.
Six months ago none of us knew each other. During these six months, we shared lots of laughs, built some awesome stuff that we were insanely proud of, built some silly shit, and had gone through our fair share of tough times together.
We had built Developer DAO together from nothing. I was now going to meet these people IRL. I was extremely excited, but also nervous. Even though my English is honestly quite good, I was not at all used to being in an environment where everyone around me spoke this language. The way you greet people, the way you share stories, the way you make jokes - all of those little things were very different.
Learning how to socialize with people from different cultures was one of my biggest challenges and learnings in Dubai. It was new, it was exciting but it was also not all pretty. Sometimes it could get really difficult, but I knew I had to put myself through this at one point. As a result, I feel like I did come out of Dubai feeling much more confident about myself socially. The struggle was worth it in the end.
But hey! Let's get back to the fun part. I was meeting my friends from the DAO IRL and that was the best thing EVER! I cannot stress this enough. I was so happy to be finally able to share a beer with these amazing people that I had the pleasure to know. Some of us couldn't even recognize each other at first which was awkward at first but of course, we laughed about it later.
Meeting Nader - the founder of D_D
Meeting Austin - my 'web3 teacher'
qedk, kemp and Manny - my D_D frens
The other great thing about all of this was that I didn't only get to meet people from the DAO, but also people from other places. Many of these people already knew about the work I was doing at D_D from Twitter. I was quite literally blushing on multiple occasions!
Both at the D_D lunch and at other parties that I crashed in Dubai all week long - I made new friends. All of them had their own interesting stories to share and I am very glad I got the chance to get to know these people. You know who you are!
Meeting people from different parts of the world, hearing their stories, seeing how they do things in life, and learning from them is something I genuinely got to love during my time in Dubai. I had always wanted to travel the world, but this gave me just one more reason to do it. I believe this realization will leave a lasting impact on my life.
Apart from the conference and the numerous parties, almost all of us from the D_D group saw Dubai together as well. Seeing some of the jawdropping architectural marvels of Dubai together with my 'online' friends was quite weird, in a good way. I'm sure I sound like a broken record at this point, but I couldn't believe this was real, that this was actually happening to me. I was still struggling to take all of this in.
Standing at the coast with the cold breeze at night with my DAO friends looking at the beautifully-lit Dubai skyline and talking about all things life is a memory I will never forget. I will always cherish moments like these from Dubai.
The Moonswap squad! qedk, Ryan, Miral, Nazeeh
I returned from Dubai with new friends, new learnings, and full of life. My DAO made all of this happen for me. My DAO changed my life for the good.
I'm grateful. Here’s to Developer DAO. Here’s to changing lives!