In 2022, my life turned upside down.
It was my first major change of career. I left my job as a journalist and newscaster of seven years at Malaysiakini.com - Malaysia's pioneering independent news outlet to pursue a career I have been trying to land since 2018.
After three years of moonlighting as a crypto and NFT content writer, I was given an offer without interview at a mobile gaming company seeking to embrace the world of web3. Having done some part-time work with them, I decided this is the path I want to travel.
I have no developer experience aside from some HTML and PHP mangling, thus every other full-time position in web3 I had applied for in the past was met with that brick wall. I turned 30 in 2022, so I did not have the appeal of a fresh graduate nor did I have the spunk of a teenage code wizard who picked up their first, second and possibly third programming language while bored out of their minds in high school.
The other side of the problem is that whenever I said I was a crypto enthusiast since 2012 (that's when I made my first Bitcoin wallet and took a keen interest in the blockchain), people ask why I'm not filthy rich. While I am rather well-off and maintain a good relationship with my parents whom I still live with, I didn't have an extra few hundred dollars to throw around in 2012 and I still don't. A journalist's salary isn't anything to brag about - but I'm not ashamed of it either. I invested lightly in crypto and whatever returns it brought me, I used for my hobbies and my travels. Being from Malaysia, the Malaysian Ringgit is worth pittens in the western world - so the few trips I made to that side of the world cost small fortunes in themselves.
Here's where my position is the total oddball - I'm not in crypto for the money. I'm here for the technology and what it can do to make the world a better place. I hate the capitalist hellscape the world is as much as the next guy - and to me, this is the solution to taking back the power. No one can predict the future but we can certainly build it and this is where I choose to lay my bricks.
That's why I'm privileged and super lucky to be employed in web3, with a permanent position, a good salary, EPF (mandatory retirement fund for privately-employed Malaysians) and employee benefits.
I don't spend days checking charts or worrying about my DeFi returns. Unlike my colleagues, I prefer to dig into conversations about MEV, exciting NFT protocols, new ERC standards, Solidity hacking and more. While I can't code, I do know enough to grasp what's going on. Every hack is an opportunity to discover vulnerabilities. Every heist is a lesson in social engineering. Every overnight millionaire is a chapter on how to fix this broken system. Every artist who digs through my social profiles on their own initiative to personally thank me in a tweet or DM for buying their NFT is a success in my books.
What working in web3 gave me was the ability to learn something new every day. Whether it is trying to brain Solidity or trying to craft the ideal metaverse, this is a playground where I feel young again, where I can run around and have fun. It's where I dance in the rain without having to give a damn about what the naysayers say.
I got my first chance to travel for a web3 conference overseas and was immersed headfirst into the reckless life of crypto VCs and the often myopic vision of many copy-paste crypto projects.
I prefer to live a life of transparency - to be an open book and to wear my heart on my sleeve. I keep very few secrets (most of them in the form of environment variables). I proudly wear my ENS on my social media. I prefer for someone who wants to know me to get to know me for who I am and not some feigned image of someone who's trying to be liked. I take pride in not having an Instagram account.
This did of course come at a price. I'm also a proud brony - and much of the western side of that community decided to either cancel their friendship with me or give me an indefinite cold shoulder. I lost my relationship of three years. Some people who worked with me on personal projects abandoned them quietly, leaving me with a bunch of broken links and code that has stopped working since - which I am also clueless about how to use or fix.
Even those outside the community took notice as my face disappeared from the evening news on KiniTV, the YouTube channel where I was a frequent newscaster.
However, I didn't really lose friends in this process. I just found out who my real friends were and that's a blessing in disguise. As a wise princess discovered through a decade-long journey, "Friendship is Magic".
Amidst the speculation, the scams, the bullshit and the hate, I believe that there's a bright future in web3 and what it can do. The tip of the iceberg couldn't be further from its full potential. If I'm wrong, I'll die on this hill.
Today, web3 is a shitshow - but there's no place I'd rather be. I'm an extrovert who's at home in this noisy space. It's a chore to separate wheat from chaff in all the buzz but the fruit of that labour is every bit worthwhile.
That's why my resolution for 2023 is to build. It's time for me to make my mark here - because it is one place where I know I will be remembered forever - for as long as the Ethereum Mainnet is alive.
That's my Dev Retro 2022!