Developing the discussion for a Community Framework for Token Economies.
Introducing: The Tribe Project (work in progress)
Goal: Develop a commmunity-led project to provide products, tools and services for companies using Blockchain technology in order to help build meaningful communities.
- The Project
- Building Blocks (Community Blueprint)
Companies often ask how they can build a community around their product/services but they are really asking for evangelists to refer others.
‘Users’, ‘customers’, ‘community’ are all thrown around a lot, with little thought on distinction. This is how I see it;
- user; a lurker, someone seldom engaged, or who does the minimum but can also be an avid user of a platform. “I’m a Facebook user, I rarely engage or post but may like a post every now and then. Other people post daily/weekly (you know who they are).”
- customer; someone paying for the platform or its services. “I pay for Carrd.co, I build websites with the platform and use its services.”
- community; a group of engaged members, incentivised by a platform and its mechanics. “I engage on Product Hunt daily/weekly, incentivised by the connections I make, products I discover & use, ideas I come up with & launch, and discussions with makers.”
Not every company needs to ‘build an actual community’ in this sense. Customers aligned by their love and usage of a product/service doesn’t mean there is a core community formed. Other Carrd customers don’t engage with each other regularly and that is okay. They are aligned by their love and usage of the product/services, which makes them feel part of ‘a community’.
However…The Tokenization of companies allows their users and customers to also become community members. Members that are engaged by the incentives of the platform.
The key benefit of tokens is to align incentives among participants of the ecosystem. It’s a positive-sum game among the tribe of token holders. — Trent McConaghy
I encourage you to read the whole post on tokenizing the enterprise.
The new-age of technology has re-surfaced the old-age of marketing and community; hype marketing, celebrity endorsements, social media shouting, large forums, IRC & more.
Let us learn from Venture Capitalist firms who provide portfolio companies with excellent value-add services to support their community. A stellar example is First Round Capital — who offer offer a range of extra services for their portfolio;
- First Round Review,
- Pitch Assist,
- First Round Talent,
- Expert Network,
- First Round Network,
With the new funding mechanism of ICOs, there is less emphasis on one company to develop, maintain and deliver value-add.
Highly technical teams working on blockchain projects need to remain focused developing the product and technology. Having a community to serve, with products, tools and services, etc. can easily become overwhelming and not a focus.
The focus of The Tribe Project is to provide the value-add service to plug into your project. To build and offer a suite of products, tools and services built by the community. Examples;
- Community Blueprint (below) — Considerations to help develop a community standard framework
- HumanBlockchain (in development) — Performing tasks and fulfilling bounties, by vetted individuals
There are a number of projects currently trying to help the Crypto-ecosystem: Project Transparency, SAFT Project , Aragon and Token Ethics. Tribe Project is aiming to fill a gap that still exists while also complimenting the existing projects out there.
The governance of this project will aim to become automatic over time, as it grows.
There are many possible governance structures, from (1) fully on-chain and automatic (still dangerous, as we’ve seen with TheDAO), to (2) using a traditional non-profit controlled by a set of 20+ caretakers, to (3) starting as a traditional non-profit then becoming automatic over time (my fav, like inIPDB). — Trent McConaghy
The top cryptocurrencies do not have dedicated efforts to manage a community, and others may be able to do the same. But as the space grows and many other players enter, I think a lot of companies could benefit from exploring how to build a meaningful community.
Working towards a Community Framework
- Introduce The Tribe Project
- Describes what the current problem is
- Explore solutions for the current/future landscape
- Explain the vision of the project
- Open ask for contribution to help develop the initiative
Project Part I: Human Blockchain (in development)
Performing tasks and fulfilling bounties, by vetted individuals.
- Introducing on-demand tasks for Crypto-projects
- Using your community
- Explains what is on offer for projects
- Describes the benefit of the network
- Development of the project
Building community is not a replacement for making an awesome product. Focus your efforts on executing your product vision and if/when you have the resource to assign to community building, do it well.
Tips and tricks for a Community Blueprint, adapting standard community practices for the Crypto-space.
(Focusing on the core community — not the speculators & retail investors)
Why does the community exist? Who is the community for? What is important to the community? Users of the product are the core community and what drive the value of said community. Investors (who are not users/stakeholders), lurkers etc are also a part of the community but can be seen as ‘second tier’. Is the community being built to service the core or secondary tiers? In the community building lifecycle, servicing the second tier will happen. But consider that this tier may be serviced indirectly. For the core, the success of the product should be important and the strength of the network. What efforts should be prioritised?
How do people join the community? What experiences do members share? To build up the core community, you want members to be users of the product, believe in the mission and subsequently become a stakeholder. Second tier members could be stakeholders for various reasons, including speculation, which makes them less valuable. Core members share product gains and pains; what can be developed to facilitate these experiences?
What content creates value for members? What rituals happen regularly? What are the community’s rules? What roles can members play? Consider what is beneficial to communicate to the core members; product updates, deep-dives, open discussions, roadmaps etc. Think of regular rituals; Weekly/monthly updates using various platforms, distributed hackathons, community calls, AMAs etc. Lead by example, are there community guidelines and practices members should follow? If there are various roles the community can participate in, outline how members can move from one role to the other. Think of core community tiers and what the rewards are for each level of participation.
Who runs the community? How are decisions made in the community? How transparent is the organization? A decentralized community will need to be built to govern itself. A participatory approach to community building does come with it’s challenges but combining user roles, rewards, bounties and tokens, custom initiatives could be built to achieve this. Take a look at Aragon Project’s Community Governane Model. If a decentralized community is not the goal and it is governed by the company, participation is still necessary to create a valuable community. Lay out clearly how decisions are made. Adopting transparency is a positive signal for companies, and a number of projects have joined Project Transparency. district0x have a dedicated resource to explore their transparency efforts (also part of Project Transparency), Aragon have also published the Transparency Framework.
What channels does the community use to communicate and gather? There are various ways to facilitate interactions between your project<>community and member<>member. Setting up a social profile on every platform is not a strategy. Focus on the platforms where you’re users are and what is effective for your efforts. Each one has it’s strengths and challenges, but experimenting to see what works is encouraged.
A great example of an awesome community built in the crypto-space is district0x Network — A network of decentralized markets and communities. They have a Community Reward Program, District Proposals, district0x Network Token, Power Plant,
Transparency hub which includes; Multisig Wallet, Wages Paid, Project Roadmap, Github Repo
Governance powered by Aragon
Blog which includes; Dev Updates, District Weekly, District Spotlights,
Looking towards building a decentralized model where people participating in the project are also the decision makers.
The development of meaningful community products and services requires international collaboration, sharing ideas from all corners of the globe with people of various backgrounds and opinions. If you want to help then please join the project.