Crypto · April 2, 2022 0

Is NFT LA Worth It?

So I’ve seen a different takes about NFT LA (2022), and I figured I’d throw my experience into the mix as well.

But before I do, I figured it would only be fair to share my goals and plans going into the event.

I won’t go into too much detail on the various talks (just mention which ones I attended and give a quick overview), and for those that don’t want to read the entire thing, there is a TLDR (too lazy, didn’t read) at the bottom of this.

My Goal For NFT LA 2022

My goal with NFT LA was to network and connect with people. I had made friends with quite a few people in the crypto / NFT space and thought it would be awesome to finally meet up with them in real life and get to know them in person.

So, with that goal in mind, I decided to make the 17 hour drive down from Portland, Oregon to Los Angeles, California. My reasoning in a drive (over flying in) was that I would make it into a little road trip, and it would be nice to have a car for/during the week to be able to do things without relying on others (and Uber) to explore and go places.

And with that in mind, I drove out Saturday evening, arriving to my friend’s house on Sunday Afternoon – giving me plenty of time to get settled in, hang out with my friend, and get a good night’s sleep.

NFT LA – Day 0 (Monday)

I woke up early because I knew that I had to factor in LA Traffic into my drive time – and a good thing too! My 35 minute drive to the convention center had turned into an hour and a 15 minutes…

I arrived at the 10:30 am to scope out where the Early Registration was taking place. Finding it was fairly easy (thanks to the signs and helpful security personnel. I got into line at 11am – an hour early (because why not) and started chatting and networking with the 8 other people there (lol).

Once the Open Registration line started moving (at noon), the line moved pretty quickly. Registration was pretty uneventful, I went and grabbed a goodie bag and started networking with people that were hanging around the area, meetings quite a few newbies to the NFT/crypto space, as well as some more seasoned vets.

Left to Right: ItzJoshuaJake, BlockchainBoy, CryptoMasun, and myself (Zombie)

As the evening of Day 0 progressed, I met a few others, including a few friends and acquaintances that I’ve made online, exchanged contact information, and went home for the day.

NFT LA – Day 1 (Tuesday)

I must have thought that the alarm was playing a game of wack-a-mole, because I must have hit the snooze button quite a few times – only realizing my mistake when I realized that it was already 8am (I had originally planned to wake up at 7). Quickly taking care of the typical morning things, I jumped in the car and enjoyed some more of that world-famous Los Angeles Traffic.

Arriving at the convention center at right around 9:25am, I had just enough time to squeeze through security and get seated in the main hall for the State of the Union talk (which was actually running late due to the Ronin-Ethereum bridge hack), which was given by The Jiho (of Axie Infinity).

Left to Right: Jiho (of Axie Infinity) and Shelly Palmer (of the Palmer Group)

Following the SOTU address, I was excited to hear what Mark Cuban and Falon Fatemi had to say about “The Future of Interactive Entertainment and NFTs”, but the entire talk seemed to center around a promotion of their Fireside platform.

Now, don’t get me wrong, Fireside is a cool platform for content creators (I’ll do a write-up on it soon), but that’s not what I was expecting from a talk about Interactive entertainment and NFTs. I will say, though, it was awesome seeing and hearing Charlie Sheen (who made a surprise visit) talk about getting into NFTs – he was hilarious.

After the Fireside Chat [advertisement style], I went out to get some lunch and network some more with awesome people. I caught some other talks, but the remainder of the day (and evening) was spent networking and hanging out with awesome people like the CryptoKnight group, Mack and Alex from the Faceless Many, and a few others.

Left to Right: Myself, MackLorden, and DemonykCrypto

NFT LA – Day 2 (Wednesday)

In typical Zombie fashion, having gone to sleep late the previous night, I woke up [later than I would have liked] and headed off to the Los Angeles Convention Center for “Day 2” (technically Day 3, since I was networking on day 0) of NFT LA.

Day 2 was different from Day 1 in the sense that instead of speakers being on the main stage, you had multiple options for talks to listen in on, each in separate rooms in the convention center. I know that this isn’t unique to NFT LA – but I loved the options that were available (You can review the agenda/talks here).

I got to listen in on talks by EllioTrades, Richerd, Ben Lakoff (of Charged Particles), Roman Tyrone (of Virtually Humans / Zed Run) – Also got to chat with him a bit, and many other brilliant minds in the space.

Left to Right: Roman Tyrone and Myself

Not only were the options for talks great, but being in smaller rooms, you actually have a better chance of asking a question of the speakers and (like what my goal was) to actually catch the speakers after the talks and chat with them in person – granting you opportunities to meet with, and talk to, brilliant people that would be otherwise very difficult to get to meet in person.

After attending a few of these talks and chatting with some of the speakers, I decided to head down to the food court for a quick lunch – where I met someone I didn’t think I’d run into at one of these events – none other than one of my favorite Fast and the Furious actors, Sung Kang (who played Han in Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift) :

Sung Kang (right) was super chill and awesome. He’s co-founder of KurumaNFT

After getting over the surprise of seeing one of my favorite actors [at an NFT event], I decided to push myself out of my comfort zone and approach the group to strike up a conversation. Planning it out in my head did not help prepare me for actually talking to them (lol). I stumbled on the first few words (trying hard not to fanboy over actually getting to chat with him), I finally managed to ask what they were doing at NFT LA. Sung Kang explained that they were working on an automotive-centric NFT Project named Kuruma NFT.

Personally, being a big fan of Sung Kang, I was surprised to see that their twitter following was only at 404 followers, so I knew what I had to do. I concluded my quick chat with the KurumaNFT Founders and raced upstairs to try and find some of my larger content-creator/influencer friends.

I was going to help connect them with some people that could help them with exposure, and at the same time get my friends/acquaintances to meet with, and potentially help, a celebrity. Unfortunately, half of my friends (the CryptoKnight group) were on stage talking about “The Power Of Creating Influence Using Social Media and NFTs”, and the other half were attending in the audience.

Left to Right: Mike Sessa, Crypto WendyO, TheBlockchainBoy, Joshua Jake, and Giancarlo Rios

As soon as the talk was over, I told them to meet me on the main level by the escalator where I had asked the founders of KurumaNFT [that] I’d introduce them to my fellow content creators. It was awesome seeing and listening to these groups of people talk about their passion(s), it was also hilarious to watch them (like myself earlier) try not to fanboy over meeting Sung Kang in person.

I think I’ve discovered a new passion of mine – connecting people. What was even more awesome, was seeing other project founders (of automotive-based NFT Projects) gathering around and networking as well.

I Think I Found a New Passion at NFT LA

I personally don’t see myself as an influencer or a “serious” content creator (yet), mainly because I create content for fun (and where I see a need for it), but you know what they say about butterflies causing hurricanes – this moment was something like that for me (me being the butterfly) when I connected these awesome people and watched a whirlwind of networking and passion take place.

From that simple connection of people, I met so many other awesome people, that this was definitely the highlight from NFT LA for myself, personally.

Afterwards, I went to check out the booths in the expo hall, chatting with NFT Game Developers, artists, and other awesome people in the space. I also made it a point to go visit “The Batcave”, a room dedicated to the announcement of DC Comics’ partnership with HRO.GG (for a collectible trading card NFT collection – more on this in a separate post soon) and their upcoming NFT Launch of 200,000 Batman cowls.

After checking out the booths, chatting, and getting some awesome t-shirts and other goodies, myself and a handful of other content creators and NFT Developers went out to get some late lunch/early dinner at Chinchikurin in Little Tokyo (amazing food by the way, highly recommend).

A Pleasant Surprise at NFT LA

After heading back to the convention center, I went back to the food court area to network some more and was greeted by a surprise visit (to the stage, not to me personally) by none other than Nelly.

unlisted video uploaded after the article went live

After Nelly, people started going to after parties, and I decided to call it a night, wanting to be sure to get in early/on time for the opening talks on Day 3.

NFT LA – Day 3 (Thursday)

Ok, I’ll be honest, Day 3 (after an eventful day 2) seems boring, but there were some awesome moments and interactions that I had. Having already met up with and spent time with, and made a ton of new friends, I wanted to spend more time in the Expo hall chatting with some of the project representatives.

I got in early in the morning and…

NFT LA after parties get wild 😅

♬ Zou Bisou Bisou – Gillian Hills

The place was DEAD; at 9:30 in the morning, almost no-one was there. Must have been some crazy after parties or something… Regardless, being in that early in the morning was an awesome opportunity to chat (and connect) with some amazing business-minded people (including VCs, Journalists, and a few early-bird developers). After the first talk, I went to check out some of the amazing art on display

and once more do another round of the Expo Hall where the projects had booths – that’s when I finally got to meet Jesse Johnson, the artist behind the awesome art of the Eternal Royals NFT Collection:

Funny enough, the person to introduce me to Jesse was someone that had seen my Alethea AI Content (I’m sorry if you’re reading this – I forgot your name [but your kindness will live on]) and talked me up enough to where Jesse actually signed one of his pieces for me as a gift!

The rest of the day was spent chatting with people [and collecting swag from the expo hall booths], hanging out on the patio and enjoying the music.

As evening approached, a few friends and I decided to go get some steak at Wood Spoon (again, highly recommend, their Picanha (Australian Waygu) was amazing) with the team behind the MetaTuners NFT Project who I had made friends with over the last couple of days, and decided to head in for the day, in preparation for the grueling drive back from Los Angeles to Portland.

MetaTuners Team and I enjoying the amazing food at WoodSpoon, LA

NFT LA Summary / TLDR

I went with the goal of networking with people in the Crypto/NFT Space, listening in to some talks (and talking with those speakers), and having a good time. I managed to accomplish (and exceed) every one of those goals and made friendships that I believe will last a long time. If you’re wondering if events like NFT LA are worth going to, you need to figure out what your goals would be, budget the cost of the trip(s), and see if that investment is worth it for you.

For me, it was.

Next events/goals are VeeCon 2022 and NFT NYC 2022

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