For those who aren’t familiar, Koosha Azim is a 16-year-old full-time highschool and community college student that advises multiple international blockchain projects. The projects he works with are based on his passion for cryptocurrency adoption and his affinity toward financial technology. Coming from the Silicon Valley, Koosha leverages his technical environment to grow awareness of blockchain technologies among young peers.
Koosha has had the opportunity to work alongside business leaders from four continents allowing him to advocate blockchain technology and grow his influence. He began his professional journey at the age of 14 with several cryptocurrency investments and a curiosity for digital finance. Being persistent with his LinkedIn activity and outreach on the Blockchain at Berkeley slack group, Koosha began building relationships with UC Berkeley and Stanford University students and faculty.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Koosha, and here is what he had to say about building his first connections in the new cryptocurrency industry:
Koosha Azim: Although the crypto market was slowing down in early 2018, the whole industry was still fresh. I had just lost a bunch of invested money through Bitcoin and other altcoins, so I was pretty pissed off. I spent every day checking the market on coinmarketcap.com only to see that my assets were depreciating. I was crazy desperate to make up the money I lost, so I ended up joining the growing Blockchain @ Berkeley slack group and contacting many blockchain business owners through direct messages. I was lucky to get responses from several other young entrepreneurs who were willing to take me on board their project as an intern. After getting that first opportunity, I stopped thinking about finances and became thrilled with the idea of helping a startup. From that period on, I frequently began contacting more organizations in the industry to build strategic relationships. I didn’t know much at the beginning but learned how to deal with people and advise projects as time went on. Having the chance to find startup opportunities out of my little experience became one of my most helpful feats. I learned to initiate conversations, build relationships, and reject fear of what may come ahead.
Growth and Grit
Koosha Azim: When starting out in an emerging field, I would advise working on communication skills and growing one’s inner confidence with strangers. I struggled with my self-confidence growing up, but I understood that for my goals and aspirations, things had to change. One day I woke up to see my cryptocurrency wallet completely wiped out on some lesser-known exchange. Following this crazy experience, I learned to be more careful with my decision making and be courageous when feeling down. People need to understand that many times the only thing stopping them is themselves. Aspiring to grow and cultivate communication skills and confidence helped me and can help anybody reach that next level.
Provide Value First
Koosha Azim: It was hard to grasp at first, but you can’t rely on others to help you for no reason. ROI is the name of the game. I struggled to find opportunities for a long time because I had this preconceived notion that I am enough for a job. Unfortunately, people want to see value in every situation. In order to get that next client or secure that next advising gig, people must provide some form of value upfront. This could be in the form of content, social media promotion, urgent tasks, or anything that sparks the receivers’ particular interest.
“Do not expect everyone to treat you how you treat them. Providing value does not grant anything in return. What it does grant is a sense of loyalty, trust, and understanding of social relationships.”
What Is Success?
Koosha Azim: I view success as a symbol for both mental and physical fulfillment in a given industry. But it is even better to view success as a subjective term defined by every individual for an ideal situation where they are content with their position. I have not personally achieved this place, but I work hard everyday to get there.
Guidance For Beginners
Koosha Azim: Grit is what takes you from point A to point B. Do not let the opinions of haters or doubters faze your destiny. Hate is inevitable when starting out, and not all will support your journey. Build relationships wisely and develop communication skills to understand people. From there, the sky is the limit if one makes sure to focus, have fun, and aim high.
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Koosha pictured above in South Korea (2022)
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