On the Power of Community
This starts off pretty rough, but the story gets better thanks to the awareness and faith of a tribe.
It’s 2017. I’m in the process of developing the idea for what will become my personal fitness brand, strvtmvmnt. I don’t remember what day it was; only that it was a day in February. I do remember I was building a prototype for a new website. And when I say “building,” what I really mean is that I was looking for a Wordpress theme that was both attractive and functional, and one that I could customize to my vision.
And I was drinking coffee. Gotta have the coffee. Except, this was not the day to be drinking coffee and working.
I won’t go into the details. Suffice it to say that coffee and MacBooks don’t mix. Or, rather, MacBooks apparently do not like to drink coffee. Because as soon as the MacBook tasted of the nectar of life, it died. It died a cold — okay, no, it was a very hot — death. Never to be revived again.
I’ll never forget the complete and total dismay I felt at the demise of my precious workstation. I used it for everything: writing, blogging, music production, design. Anything I had my hand in digitally, that was the beast I used to create and deliver my masterpieces. And now it was gone, forever.
Fast forward to Fall of 2019. I never returned to music production. However, while I was no longer actively blogging, I was still writing, with two books in the works, and a series of rather dense, physiologically-based articles under my belt. And strvtmvmnt was launched quietly, earlier in the year.
I did not have another MacBook. I had learned to do without. No laptop, just an iPad, with a handful of apps and an unrelenting spirit.
With the launch of my company, I was looking for ways to streamline the work I was doing online. Anyone who’s ever started a business from nothing knows the struggles of a fledgling business owner. I didn’t have money. Any money I made from my company was being invested back into it. So of course I looked into cheap or free solutions to handle what I needed to handle online. And all of the work was done by myself. I moved my programs over to Discord. And once I learned about the power of bots, I became enamored with building a Discord bot that would handle the more mundane aspects of server administration. So, with my unrelenting spirit and a new vision in mind, I decided to learn to code.
Learning to code turned out to be one hell of a journey. It’s one thing to practice on websites like freeCodeCamp. It’s a completely different thing to attempt to build something when you don’t have easy access to a console. It was not easy figuring out how to create a development environment. The journey to code, in terms of not just learning, but continuing the journey to build, proved to be challenging beyond what I had anticipated. But I was relentless in pursuit of my desire to learn. And so slowly but surely, I began putting all the pieces in place that would allow me to not just write code, but to run the damn things I was writing. If you’re curious to know how I did it, this article will explain it in detail.
Fast forward to Summer of 2021. It’s been almost two years since I began my coding journey, and I got used to doing everything on my iPad. My iPad was my workhorse for everything. It had become a natural extension of who I am in terms of my digital work. I designed and redesigned my company’s website on the iPad. I built a couple Discord bots on my iPad. I started and dropped numerous website projects on my iPad. I had become so intertwined with my workflows that I thought nothing of them. This is just what I did. Nothing was going to stop me.
And so, it was this tenacity and spirit that I brought with me to Bankless DAO. When the DAO was announced, I quickly made my way into the groups I thought I would most enjoy working in, namely the Writers and Developers Guilds. I wanted to write for the DAO. And I wanted to code for the DAO. And I could do both. My trusty iPad and I, we could do anything.
And so the work began. I involved myself in a number of projects and focused on putting in work where I could. I believed in the vision, I believed in the message, and I believed in the people I was surrounded with, all working to the same ends. I was rubbing elbows with people who had so much more experience than I, and from whom I could learn much, and I was thoroughly excited for the opportunities that presented themselves.
One night, there was a conversation that was just rolling along in one of the developer channels. Someone asked what code editor I used. Not thinking anything of it, I talked about using my iPad to code and how I had made it work for me.
The response was kind of all over the place. There was some confusion, some interest, some people were outright blown away. And then something I never expected, anticipated, or dreamed of happened: one of the DAO members called for a waterfall of contributions from the other DAO members to get me a new workstation. I watched awestruck and in total fascination as members all pitched in, sending BANK my way for the purpose of getting me into a machine on which I could put in work.
What could I say to that? In that moment — and even as I wrote this — I was emotional, tearful, and dumb. All I could manage to say was “thank you” over and over and over again with each new contribution that was coming through. And when the surface settled from the waterfall, I was left with enough BANK to buy a new laptop. But the story doesn’t end here.
Bankless is incredible. DeFi is incredible. And I came to have a taste of how powerful this was. The same individual who called for and started the waterfall showed me how to convert and deposit my holdings to borrow against them. He showed me how to collateralize my own loan. Not only was I able to purchase a brand new, powerful laptop, but I did it without having to liquidate my investments. One day, I’ll be able to buy the BANK back, and when that happens, I’ll be able to turn around and help someone else with their own waterfall and workstation.
I went out and bought a brand new 13" MacBook Pro. And I have a community of people to thank who took one look at my effort and my work and said “he’s worth it.”