Plant The Seeds: Making Your Bitcoin Meetup More Family Friendly

https://bitcoinmagazine.com/culture/bitcoin-meetups-should-be-more-family-friendly

This is an opinion editorial by Tali Lindberg, a mother, the co-founder of Free Market Kids and host of “Orange Hatter: Bitcoin Podcast For Busy Women.”

Typically, Bitcoin meetups come in two types: “BitDevs” and “plebs.” In the former, coders gather to discuss technical developments in the Bitcoin ecosystem, and the discussions are heavy with jargon and intricate concepts. In the latter, Bitcoin enthusiasts gather to discuss current events in the Bitcoin space and offer beginner-friendly workshops. In our travels, my husband Scott and I have attended many of both types of meetings.

Yet, recently, we found ourselves at a meetup that turned the typical rulebook on its head. Allow me to take you on a journey through that evening and perhaps inspire your own Bitcoin groups to do something similar.

‘This Is Going To Be Different!’

When Scott and I pulled up to a meetup venue in Winchester, Virginia, we were greeted by two little girls giggling at the door. They pointed at us, waved, and then scampered back inside. Scott and I smiled and thought, “This is going to be different!”

Walking in a few moments later, we were again greeted by something unusual. There was a cacophony of drum beats and loud notes banged out on a small grand piano at the front of the room, opposite the entryway. The same two girls who waved at us at the door enthusiastically announced, “We’re doing a concert!”

The two of them laughed and wiggled in their seats, heads bobbing from side to side in time with their own music.

The event organizer, Gary Krause of the Shenandoah Bitcoin Club, walked toward us, holding out his hand, welcoming us to the meetup that night.

He explained that several families had RSVP’d for family game night and, despite the rain, he hoped we would get a good turnout. While we chatted and waited for the guests to arrive, one of the 5-year-old girls grabbed both of my hands and pulled me to the front of the room where she danced and pirouetted on tiptoes with her hands held high above her head, forming an arc.

“Come on, follow me! You can do it!” her little voice encouraged me. The other little girl banged on the piano as the impromptu accompanist.

The first family to arrive came with a baby and a 3-year-old. The baby was immediately whisked away from mama’s arms by a family friend who cooed and bounced the baby while the adults greeted each other. The baby’s older brother approached the little girls who had stopped performing by now and the three of them shared an instant understanding of a secret game and darted away.

One by one, more families came. More kids. More noise. More laughter. And we hadn’t even started playing games yet!

‘I Wish These Were Real Bitcoins!’

When pizzas had been delivered and we were all seated, I looked around and realized there were more children than adults at this Bitcoin meetup. Their ages ranged the full spectrum of childhood: from wide-eyed 1-year-old to mature 17-year-old.

We set up two game tables. I wasn’t sure how it would work, with some of the kids being so young. At my table, the kids’ ages ranged from 5 to 9. I explained how to play “HODL UP” the best way I could to such a young audience. Thankfully, there were two parents standing by to help explain the game to their kids. The youngest ones didn’t last long. Very quickly, they grew tired of listening to the rules and asked to be excused. My table was left with two adults and three kids from ages 7 to 9. At Scott’s table, the kids were aged 13 and up.

Source: author

The game began, and the kids quickly grasped the concepts. After just a few hands, they knew that getting their bitcoin into cold storage was the only way to protect their earnings. They played good naturedly and reacted with exuberant exclamations and disappointments when they won or lost their bitcoin.

The boy who sat next to me repeatedly said, “I wish these were real bitcoins!” pointing to the tokens piled on his wallet card. Isn’t that what every Bitcoiner hopes to hear from their kids: that they want to HODL some real bitcoin?!

Source: author

At the other table, where the older kids were playing with several adults, the wins and losses evoked even louder responses! Their game lasted longer, as each player was intent on winning and took their time evaluating strategies.

When both games ended, all the kids dispersed. The older kids pulled out their phones, the younger kids left the table to run around the room and the baby had been passed to yet another doting family friend who was lying on the floor, holding the baby above her head in a Superman pose.

The adults, who learned the game mechanics and strategies from the first game, were engaged in a new game, determined to HODL even more bitcoin in their second attempt.

Taking in the scene around me, it felt as though I had stepped into a heartwarming Hallmark movie. What made this evening truly extraordinary was the inclusivity. Families stayed together, chaotic as it was. The children weren’t asked to sit quietly or sent to another room. Bitcoin, in all its complexity, was demystified through a simple game in the most natural, family-friendly setting. There were no stern lectures about how bad our fiat system is, how the government is printing money or how bitcoin has a volatile dollar-exchange rate.

A simple yet crucial takeaway for everyone that night was to secure their bitcoin in cold storage. No lectures, just a fun-filled evening where even the youngest of players learned the most critical of lessons.

Bitcoin Is For Everyone

Returning from Virginia, Scott and I hosted a family fun event at the park with our Bitcoin meetup, the Kentuckiana Bitcoin Club. Instead of having our meeting at a pub, restaurant or office, we chose to have it at a local park where there is a playground and a volleyball court. While the setting made it a bit challenging to hear a wonderful Zoom presentation about Bolt 12, it was great for the families of Bitcoiners to meet. The children dashed back and forth from the playground to the table where the adults were sitting, and that was fine. Kids learn through osmosis. Our job is always just to plant the seeds. Who knows how the seeds will be watered and how long it will take for them to germinate? We just know that our job is to plant seeds, especially with kids.

Source: author

So, what’s the takeaway here? How can your Bitcoin meetup involve your families? Instead of the meetup taking daddy/mommy away for a few hours every week or month, what if the whole family were involved? What if the spouses met each other and the kids played together?

I’m not suggesting that all Bitcoin meetings involve the whole family. There is certainly a place for technical debates and current event discussions, but perhaps every once in a while (once a quarter or twice a year), the families can come together. After all, Bitcoin is for everyone. We ought to scatter and plant seeds far and wide, beginning in our own homes, with our own families.

This is a guest post by Tali Lindberg. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.

To Reach Women, Bitcoiners Should Change Their Approach

https://bitcoinmagazine.com/culture/three-ways-to-reach-women-with-bitcoin


This is an opinion editorial by Tali Lindberg, co-founder of Free Market Kids, a company focused on financial literacy and Bitcoin education.

Author’s note: This is a politically-incorrect article because I’m about to make gross generalizations about men and women. If you are easily offended, you probably shouldn’t read on.

When I first entered the Bitcoin space, I met a woman who asked me if I was interested in starting a woman’s Bitcoin meetup.

“I wish there was one,” she said.

At the time, I was a bit offended by the idea.

“Bitcoin is already a small space, why would we want to separate men and women?” I wondered.

Since then, I’ve had a change of heart.

Source: Author

Having participated in many Bitcoin events in different cities and states, I’ve noticed that women are always outnumbered by men… by a lot! I would estimate that 80% to 90% of the people I’ve met in the Bitcoin space are men.

This is a problem.

Women have the power to shape the future leaders of this world through their intimate bonds with their children. A baby who is born this year may enter adulthood in a world where fiat currency is a thing of the past, and bitcoin is the global, digital currency.

This timeline, however, will not be possible without having the buy-in of more women.

In this article, I will discuss what I’ve observed and make some recommendations on how to effectively introduce Bitcoin to more women.

Facts Vs. Stories

If you asked my husband what he thought about the state of the economy, he would immediately spout out facts about how our market is not free and how the government picks winners and losers. He would go on about zombie companies, malinvestment, how much the Federal Reserve inflates the money supply and how the chairman manipulates the interest rate, etc.

If you asked me the same question, on the other hand, I would talk about some of our elderly neighbors, and go into great detail about a recent conversation I had with a retired grandmother: Standing in the hot sun next to squawking hens as they pecked loudly and aggressively at their food, we discussed the challenges of protecting our chickens from predators and growing a garden, even though neither of us was passionate about farming.

(I can feel some of you getting impatient with me as you’re reading this. Get to the point, why don’t you? What does this have to do with the question? Well, hold on, I’m getting there!)

We chatted at length about prices going up and how raising chickens and growing gardens were our ways of hedging against crazy price increases at the grocery store. I would then tell you that she and her husband are on a fixed income and about her worry that, with the way things are going, one day soon she won’t be able to buy enough groceries to keep from going hungry.

Source: Author

In my mind, this is what the “state of our economy” means — the peoples’ stories. And in the presence of men, despite them being friendly, welcoming and very encouraging, I still feel pressure to cut out details and “get to the point.” On the other hand, in the presence of women, telling peoples’ stories often feels natural and easy because that’s the way many women hash out important topics.

This is a major difference between men and women: men typically get to the facts, and women tell stories.

Cigars And Whisky Vs. Tea And Biscuits

My husband and I have been on a mission to bring Bitcoin education to homeschoolers. In all of the conversations we’ve had, our experience has been that 90% of the women say the same thing: “I don’t understand Bitcoin, I don’t think I can figure it out. My husband handles the finances and investment decisions.”

Why would women, who are equally as educated and intelligent as their spouses, leave this vitally important knowledge solely to the care of men? Dare I say that this is because Bitcoin educational materials and learning environments tend to lean heavily toward the way men communicate?

Perhaps we need a women-to-women approach. Please don’t misunderstand me; I am not saying that women are incapable of understanding technical and factual information in the same way that men are. Both genders are equally capable. However, in our pursuit of equality, we must not lose sight of the fact that men and women differ not only biologically but also in the way they perceive and interact with the world.

When men gather, they can often exchange quick pleasantries and get right down to business. At the end of such a meeting, everyone feels satisfied. Most women in the same scenarios, however, would not feel satisfied. We need to visit first, ask about one another’s weeks, how the kids are doing and any challenges that we have faced during the week. We exchange stories and empathize to show that we care. To quote the famed sales guru Zig Ziglar, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

Are we not all salespeople trying to sell the idea of Bitcoin? Maybe we can take a page out of Ziglar’s book.

Why Vs. What

When I first tried to read up on Bitcoin because of my husband’s insistent nudging, I found it exceptionally frustrating. There are many books on the market, numerous podcasts and a plethora of YouTube videos explaining Bitcoin. However, until I understood why Bitcoin is important to me personally, I would rather have done something else with my precious free time.

Charts and graphs and angry rants about the political landscape or the corrupt system wouldn’t convince me. Although these issues annoy me, I mostly chalk them up to things I can’t do anything about. My schedule is already full of more things to do than the time to do them. However, if you tell me a human story about someone facing hardship and difficult consequences due to the fallacies of our monetary system, then my anger at the injustice would propel me to do the necessary research and learn about how bitcoin is an alternative currency, not just a risky speculation or possibly a wild gamble.

To reach women en masse, we’ve got to focus on telling good stories about the “why” of Bitcoin.

It is not my intention to suggest that men and women Bitcoiners cannot benefit from the same meetups or education materials. Our society is currently obsessed with labeling everyone with some obscure name that separates them from each other. I don’t want to play that game. I am suggesting that if we are mindful of the audience we are trying to reach, perhaps we could craft our message differently to get our point across more successfully.

Here’s an example of how women perceive men talking about the why of Bitcoin — my niece drew the following comic strip to highlight what she had learned after listening to a Bitcoin podcast:


I wonder how different the comic strip would have looked if two women had done the podcast, even if they had discussed exactly the same topics and come to the same conclusions as the hosts of the podcast that my niece listened to.

Here are some suggestions based on my personal experiences in reaching precoiner women:


One: Anger Mama Bear!

Tell personal stories to share the why of Bitcoin. Following the story I shared earlier in this article about elderly retirees, most people would feel sympathetic toward them having to work in the hot sun day after day to grow their own food. But if you explained to a young mother who is lovingly and protectively cradling her newborn baby against her chest that the impending hyperinflation means her child would grow up to be in the same situation, having to literally labor in the field for food, you will have incited the most powerful force on earth: a mother’s instinct to protect her young. Now you’ll have a motivated individual who is ready to do whatever it takes to learn about this crazy thing called Bitcoin.

Two: Host Women’s Events

Remember that book “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus”?

We need to embrace who we are. Being different is good, just as specialization is a positive force in truly free markets. Marketing a new and mysterious idea like Bitcoin can only be effective with customized messaging and delivery methods to reach different target audiences.

Recognize that women and men socialize differently and feel comfortable in different environments. When women talk to women, we have more freedom to express ourselves with an ease that is not as readily available in a co-ed gathering. This is not to say that men and women cannot speak to one another, but simply that certain conversations can feel more comfortable woman to woman.

Three: Less Is More

Don’t vomit facts and charts and numbers at a woman precoiner. You can’t “logic” women into Bitcoin. You have to emotionally persuade women into Bitcoin. Ask questions about their lives and concerns and let them have enough time to fully share.

Talking less is actually more persuasive than talking more. Allow the conversation to naturally develop to the point where they ask the first questions. That’s when you know the floor is yours. Share in small bits. Keep a low-time-preference mentality.

I hope this article helps men Bitcoiners to communicate more effectively with women and finds its way to women Bitcoiners who are willing to work together to reach other women in a way that only we can: woman to woman.

This is a guest post by Tali Lindberg. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine. 

When The Student Is Ready: Three Times I Was Able To Help Strangers Understand Bitcoin

https://bitcoinmagazine.com/culture/helping-strangers-understand-bitcoin

An educator recalls three times she was able to help strangers better understand Bitcoin out in the wild.


This is an opinion editorial by Tali Lindberg, co-founder of Free Market Kids, a company focused on financial literacy and Bitcoin education.

Source: Author

My husband and I decided to become Bitcoin educators because we passionately believe that Bitcoin is a money standard everyone should know about. However, it can be very discouraging sometimes when most people see us as religious, cult evangelists who they should avoid or only politely tolerate.

But then, out of the blue, I’ll experience amazing conversations with people who are ready to hear what we have to say. They are just waiting to find someone to discuss Bitcoin who can help them understand it better.

This article describes three such encounters I’ve had in unexpected places. As the saying goes, (slightly modified), “When the student is ready, the teacher (me) will be sent to them.”

One: GoDaddy Tech Support

A few months ago, when my husband Scott and I were just starting our financial-literacy- and Bitcoin-focused organization Free Market Kids, we had a lot of trouble getting our website to work correctly. I spent hours with tech support through various service providers. During this incident, I called GoDaddy support and was instructed to reboot my computer.

While we were waiting for the computer to do its thing, instead of sitting on the line in silence, I began to chit chat with the support guy about where he was located, the weather, etc. Pretty soon, we were asking each other about our work and life experiences.

He asked, “So, what is Free Market Kids?”

“Well, we teach people about Bitcoin and money with our board games,” I answered.

“Bitcoin!” Sighing deeply, he continued, “I sold mine years ago.”

He explained that, early on, he had been persuaded by his friend to mine Bitcoin. When the price went up, he got excited and sold all his bitcoin because he needed the cash for something.

“And now,” he lamented, “I’m watching the bitcoin price go up like crazy, and I can’t believe I blew my chance!”

I asked him what he knew about Bitcoin, aside from what his friend told him to do.

“Very little,” he replied.

So, I explained the fundamental properties of Bitcoin to him and pointed out that he could always get back in. Thirty minutes later, long after my computer had rebooted and the original issue was resolved, we finally ended the call.

I was so excited about the conversation I went to tell my husband about it.

“I thought you were on GoDaddy support?” Scott asked.

“I was!” I responded excitedly.

When the student is ready, the teacher will be sent to them!

Two: The Veterinary Office

In preparation for some conferences we were attending, I designed a company t-shirt. Unfortunately, the first batch didn’t turn out well, so I decided to wear it around the house. Remembering a veterinarian appointment at the last minute, I rushed out with our dog, forgetting that I was sporting our company shirt.

After getting checked in and ushered to a tiny exam room, I sat down to wait with my elderly standard poodle, Ava, panting by my side. Moments later, the door opened, and the vet tech walked in, clipboard in hand. He looked at me without saying anything and squinted his eyes.

“Uh, do I have something on my face?” I thought, feeling a bit uncomfortable.

Then he broke the awkward silence and said, “Bitcoin, huh?”

“Yes?” I answered tentatively, looking down at my shirt.

“I have some questions for you!” he boomed. “Someone told me that bitcoin will go to zero. What do you think?”

“Uh, right… What do you know about Bitcoin in general?” I responded.

“Not much,” he admitted.

We chatted about Bitcoin, and he had endless questions. I watched the pen in his hand hover over Ava’s chart, but we didn’t talk about that patient, panting dog for a long time.

The vet visit that was supposed to take 20 minutes ended up taking an hour and a half.

When the student is ready, the teacher will be sent to them!

Three: The Jewelry Store

I went to a jewelry store to replace a broken necklace. Once again, I was wearing our company shirt and running errands. Two ladies stood behind the counter. While one was packing up my purchase, the other eyed me intently, leaned toward me, and whispered, “My brother is into cryptocurrency, but I don’t understand it. I know the economy is going to sh*t, but I don’t have a million dollars to invest in bitcoin.”

She continued, her eyes filled with tears, “I’m a single mom, and I’m scared of what’s going to happen.”

She looked tired, discouraged and very concerned.

“You don’t need a million dollars to invest in bitcoin,” I answered. “You can start with very small amounts, $1 or $5.”

We chatted for a long time, and I hugged her before we said goodbye.

“There’s a reason we met today,” I told her. “Reach out to me any time!”

When the student is ready, the teacher will be sent to them!

And, oh, maybe I should wear our company shirt more often!

This is a guest post by Tali Lindberg. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.

Game On: The Challenge Of Introducing Bitcoin To Uninterested, Gen-Z College Students

https://bitcoinmagazine.com/culture/how-to-introduce-bitcoin-to-gen-z

The mother of a college student shares lessons from a recent orange-pilling session with her daughter and her friends at school.


This is an opinion editorial by Tali Lindberg, the mother of a college student and co-creator of the HODL UP Bitcoin game.

Source: Author

Hyperbitcoinization is a future that all Bitcoiners hope to witness. It is defined via the Nakamoto Institute as “a voluntary transition from an inferior currency to a superior one, and its adoption is a series of individual acts…”

But who are the individuals who must act to transition from using a given currency to using Bitcoin? I submit that today’s Gen Z college students will play a major role in that transition. Unfortunately, most of them are not following Bitcoin threads on Twitter, nor are they reading articles about the latest developments in monetary policy. Yet, they are the future leaders of our country and the world and possess the power to influence policy. It is crucial that we find a way to reach them and educate them about Bitcoin.

That’s why, as a passionate Bitcoin enthusiast, I am determined to make a difference and introduce this revolutionary freedom technology to college students. For me, making a difference means investing my time to impact, however slightly, those who have not yet joined the Bitcoin ranks. In this article, I share my experience and lessons learned with a recent example. My conclusion is we are empowered, obligated even, to make a difference in sharing Bitcoin with the young people in our lives.

Visiting My Daughter With A Bitcoin Game In Hand

I recently traveled to visit my oldest child at her college. Thankfully, she has a healthy friend group that shares traditional and respectful values. They’re good, salt-of-the-earth kids who just so happen to know nothing about Bitcoin. My perfect audience!

I arrived armed with nothing but my passion and a Bitcoin board game that I created with my husband, HODL UP. For the next two hours, I sat on a cold, hard, dorm-room floor playing the game with six students. My goal: to spark their curiosity about Bitcoin in a fun way. These students major in business, environmental science, mathematics and psychology. While they had all heard about Bitcoin through media headlines, they had no real knowledge of what it is and how it works, or even why it’s important.

Explaining the game to them was fast and easy. They had no questions about Bitcoin. They just wanted to know how to play the game. So, I spent no time explaining the parts of the game and what they meant in real life. I simply told them each player’s options at each turn. The game began and the students picked up the pace quickly.

As the game progressed, the students shared friendly smack talk as they attacked and defended their play bitcoin. The room echoed with their laughter and it warmed my heart. At the same time, however, I was itching for them, any of them, to ask me anything about what they were experiencing in the game: the difficulty adjustment, the halving, the hot and cold wallets, anything. It was hard to hold my tongue and not spoil the fun.

The game ended with a three-way tie and a close fourth place. All the students had wide beaming smiles on their faces as they high-fived each other and celebrated. Then they began to help me pack up the game pieces. As the last piece was put back in the box, I was feeling anxious that still, no one had asked me any questions. “Oh my gosh, is someone going to ask me something?” I thought. “Somebody ask me something!”

Now We’re Getting Somewhere

The students all exclaimed that the game was super fun and thanked me for sharing it.

“Great, I’m glad you enjoyed it,” I smiled and answered, but inwardly, I shouted: “Ask me something about Bitcoin!”

Nope!

Unable to contain myself any longer, I asked them, “Does anyone have any questions about the game?”

No response.

One more try: “Does anyone understand why Bitcoin has a difficulty adjustment?”

“What?” one student responded. “That was real?”

“Yes, everything in this game has something to do with how Bitcoin works in real life,” I answered. “What did you learn about the hot and cold wallets? What’s your best practice?”

One student answered, “Well, I learned that I should keep some money in cold but some in hot so I can make educated investments.”

“What?” I thought.

“What do you think the hot and cold wallets represent?” I asked them.

A different student answered, “Liquid and non-liquid assets.”

“Oh, now we’re getting somewhere,” I thought. I clarified what cold storage really is and the importance of keeping their private keys offline.

Then I asked, “If you have a dollar and shoved it in your pocket, how can someone steal it without touching it?”

Without hesitation, one of the students replied, “Through money printing.”

I then explained that one of the best features of Bitcoin is that there will only ever be 21 million BTC, no more. No matter how much someone justifies needing more, there will only ever be 21 million bitcoin with a scheduled release that is managed through halving events.

It was tough not to sound preachy. I wrapped up by telling the environmental science student how Bitcoin uses wasted energy, making it productive, and forwarded a couple of articles to him. I also gave a few book recommendations to the business student who said he wanted to read up on Bitcoin over the summer.

As I was driving home, I replayed the evening in my mind and wondered if I’d made any difference at all. Then I received a text from one of the students. He thanked me for the opportunity to play HODL UP. “It was rather insightful,” he said.

“Insightful? ‘Insightful’ is good,” I thought. “I’ll take ‘insightful.’”

“I’m just there to plant a seed,” I reminded myself. Instead of focusing on trying to orange pill someone, I’m just planting a seed. In time, life and circumstances will water the seed and, hopefully, one day the person will find themselves sliding down the Bitcoin rabbit hole. But I can’t insist on seeing the fruit of the seed as soon as I plant the seed. That feeds my ego but is the wrong focus for what I’m doing and will place an unnecessary and unhelpful strain on my interactions with students.

So, going forward, here are three things I plan to keep in mind and that I recommend to parents, grandparents and teachers in sharing Bitcoin with young adults:

  1. Warm up the audience and create positive association — it was infinitely easier to gain the students’ attention in discussing Bitcoin after they’ve associated a fun experience with Bitcoin than if I went in cold. Hence, the game first.
  2. Focus on a good time, not on teaching the nitty gritty — keep things simple and light. Explain only as necessary or if asked and avoid soap box syndrome.
  3. Remember, we are just planting the seed. Everyone comes to Bitcoin when they are ready. We must keep a low time preference perspective.

On to the next! Game on!

This is a guest post by Tali Lindberg. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.