By Ana-Maria Yanakieva & Lawrence Lundy-Bryan, April 2019
Web 3 is coming. Slowly but surely. Piece by piece. Protocol by protocol. But there are some familiar barriers holding back the coming wave. Bitcoin, blockchains and the broader ‘crypto’ industry is still in the early adoption phase. Using the diffusion of innovation model and Geoffrey Moore’s Crossing the Chasm, we need to move from enthusiasts and early adopters to a different customer group: the ‘early majority’. Technical debates around performance, standards, and security should continue to be vigorously debated, but other questions now need to be asked. How will cryptonetworks get Web 2.0 users to use the products? How will they get users to come back regularly? How will they build trust in the products?
Knowledge is the first step in adoption. People are exposed to innovation, but they lack the information to understand it. Once this job is done, people need to be persuaded to give the product a try. Humans are driven by emotions. Capturing people’s hearts is just as important as capturing their minds. This post will look at how to educate, spark interest, drive inclusiveness, and ultimately reward users.
Spread The Word
Knowledge is the foundation of all invention and with the Internet, knowledge exchange is easier than ever. The Internet, smartphones and social media make it seamless to share information in seconds with anyone around the world. Use it to your advantage. The modern decision-making process needs to be more and more informed every day as we are presented with plenty of commodities and the freedom of choice. The established marketing channels like social media and email can be used effectively to attract potential users and to educate them through interactive content. Nano influencers can be used strategically to extend reach. Their audiences are emotionally attached as they can relate to these real life people and usually trust their judgement. For better of worse. Let’s make it clear, you don’t have to buy influencers’ opinion. Just show them your product and get honest feedback then iterate until the group is happy with the result that then they can genuinely promote. A success-based model remuneration can be established once you see some traction.
“The established marketing channels like social media and email can be used effectively to attract potential users and to educate them through interactive content.”
Spreading the word and getting people to know what you do is only the first step. Using legacy platforms to reach out to users can be done strategically and not break the bank. People need content to be pushed to them and not to proactively seek it. Once they’re introduced to your offering, spark interest by making your onboarding process as easy and as fluid as possible. If your cold leads have to dig deep to find you and then stumble upon difficulties in the very first steps, the chances are that you’ve lost them. People have three simple requirements for most services:
- To be addressing a real problem
- To be easy to use
- To be convenient
Nobody apart from the very early adopters will bother with a steep learning curve. The notion of decentralising business and using tokens is already complicated enough for most people. Make it as intuitive and as easy as possible to get them interested. Brave is an example of a crypto project doing this well. To the regular non-tech-savvy user they’re just a browser with ad-blocking features. Then after some time passes by, these new users get a pop-up for using the ad network and BAT. Some of my friends got interested in the market through Brave.
“People have three simple requirements for most services: to be addressing a real problem, to be easy to use and convenient.”
Keeping Up With The Users
Now that you’ve acquired your first users through knowledge sharing and an easy onboarding process, you need to make sure they will stay with you. Let’s borrow another useful concept from Web 2.0. Customisation has been exploding in the past couple of years, Adidas and Lego even created challenges for the coolest designs. Direct-to-consumer businesses are being funded and acquired at record rates. If we can involve the users (consumers) as deep as the design phase of the product, why can’t we involve them in the upside of the value created or even in governance? We are already crowdsourcing intelligence, but as consumers we do not have a say in how the aggregators are being led. It is important that we own our data. But this should not stop us aggregating and analysing it in anonymised and private ways. Without being able to draw conclusions, insights and predictions from data, it is almost worthless. Let your project be the data aggregator, let your users contribute and split the upside based on merit. Numerai (Erasure), Fetch.AI, and Augur are all actively engaging their respective communities. An emotional bond always leads to loyal users.
“If we can involve the users (consumers) as deep as the design phase of the product, why can’t we involve them in the upside of the value created or even in governance?”
Reward The Network
Bonding with your users is awesome and pretty much the only way to get the Gen Z-ers. There is a difference between incentives and motivation. Motivation is the bonding process we’ve already described. For the ultimate success it should be paired with incentives. The incentives are the sugar for every network – everybody pretends to hate it but ultimately we all know that’s not true. Distributing part of the upside to our users is a great way to keep them satisfied and intrigued. Depending on what your token’s purpose is, the distribution can happen through revenue share in real time (e.g. fee-sharing), profit sharing, direct payments between users (e.g. data markets), etcetera. There is plenty of room for creativity. Incentives like revenue share and motivation at emotional level together turn your code in a fully functioning network. Steemit has experimented with paying contributors to submit higher quality content and Brave are also hoping to use this strategy to pay users for their attention. Patreon is another example from the ‘old world’ where people can pay their favourite content creators and then interact and take part of the creative process.
“Incentives and motivation together turn your code in a fully functioning network. Financial upside keeps the basic needs satisfied whereas the emotional bond gives your users the sense of belonging.”
Incentives can give a really nice shape to a couple of thousand lines of code. But what is it good for if it is always the same people participating? It can get really boring if your network gets too specialised. Thus, we would encourage the promotion of diversity. Diversity of background, experiences and opinions can turn a network from a good data aggregator to an awesome data aggregator. The more diverse the network is, the less prone to bias the output will be. Unconstrained growth can be both good and bad for the sustainability of the network. Monitor the demographics and make sure no group is outnumbering the rest to ensure valid results. It can also give a sense of exclusivity which by itself will drive even more interest.
“A diverse network reduces the risk of output bias”
We create more content than ever, yet, no platform can summarise it accurately
Nowadays we live in constant information dumping. People can easily get overwhelmed while sifting through to find the quality. To drive user adoption, first start with carefully establishing a profile of your users. Then get in front of them and educate them on your solution to their immediate problem. Spark the interest and onboard them. To differentiate from your web 2.0 peers, include them in the upside of the business and make them feel like they belong. At this point, we are building networks, not single products. Acquiring and retaining users doesn’t have to be a difficult exercise. In fact, it should be easier than ever. Users benefit from the success of the product. Not only is that fairer but it can also mean money back in the pocket of the user. If done well, we expect to see blockbuster virality from Web 3 businesses. In the end, it might not be a chasm at all. It will be more of a hop.