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Business Opportunities: Community Builders (2/2)
Last week, we wrote the first issue on Community Builders.
As announced, we share a second issue on Community Builders this week, but with a stronger focus on web3.
One thing we want to re-iterate is this: many of the problems we discuss below are not web3 native. This means that the problems are existing both within web3 and web2 communities. They are inherent “community” problems, but they seem to be surfacing more now within the web3 hype.
We hope you enjoy this report on business opportunities around Community Builders and we’re looking forward to hearing from you.
Problem: Joining new communities is overwhelming
The current situation looks like this: most (web3) communities are gathering on their discord server, and there’s a ton happening.
If you’re not a gamer or nerd, the discord experience in itself can be overwhelming and off-putting. On top of that, many of those communities are BUZZING. There’s always tons of stuff happening, and it’s super hard to wrap your head around all of this.
So these two aspects make the onboarding experience onto (web3) communities unpleasant. Build a solution to this problem, and you’ll probably have many users/customers.
Solution 1: Bots
On the technical side, you can build Discord bots. How you could approach this? Join some communities yourself and see what annoys you during the onboarding process. Then try to see whether you can build an automated solution to this. Or you could go out and talk to community managers. Ask them about the biggest challenges they have in onboarding. Try to identify common problems that you can build a bot for.
Solution 2: Frameworks and Content
On the human side, you might want to think about frameworks or content that can help Community Managers with onboarding.
You could build a framework by collecting best practices and then collect them in an easy-to-apply framework. Or you can start researching the topic, produce original content, and share it with relevant communities or Community Managers. See how they react and adjust the content accordingly. The great content you produce this way can later flow into your framework, so these two approaches really go hand in hand.
Here’s a recent example of Zeneca, a famous creator in the NFT space, creating exactly this type of content.
Problem: Measuring community is tough
What you often hear in the web3 narrative is something like: “The value of a project is strongly correlated to the project’s community.” So this begs the question: how do you measure the value of a community? For people who see web3 projects more as financial assets than ideological movements they wanna be part of, this is an important problem to solve.
On a side note: We think, this also begs the ethical question: do you want to quantify human connection? If we quantify everything, we run the risk of managing communities merely by quantitative metrics and less by the qualitative impact on human lives.
Solution: Do research and create novel approaches to measuring community
We’ve talked to some web3 people about this problem, and there doesn’t seem to be too much content/approaches to solving this out there yet (except, for example, Andrew’s article on “Creating a Community-Specific Reputation Score for Mirror Users”). This means there’s a lot of opportunities for research-minded people to try and develop approaches to solving this problem.
We would probably apply a multi-disciplinary approach and find work from relevant disciplines (sociology, organizational studies, …) and map those findings onto the web3 space.
🤝 Hiring: Community Manager
Problem: High demand for community managers
The explosion of web3 communities necessarily drives high demand for community managers. But there aren’t that many out there. There needs to be a solution to rapidly educated new Community Managers.
Solution: Boot camps
If you have expertise in the community space, great! Go for it and offer (recurring) courses. If you don’t have the expertise, you can try to borrow the expertise of others. You could be the host of the boot camps, taking care of all the organizational and administrational things, and invite experts to speak at your camp. This is great for the experts as they don’t have to worry about organizing all the boring stuff and get to do what really matters: sharing their wisdom on all things community-building (shoutout to Rosieland by Rosie Sherry)
Problem: web3 is kinda exclusive
We understand the ethos of web3 as being this “power to the people,” and “break down centralized organizations that have been enslaving us for centuries” kinda ethos. But one problem we see in current web3 projects is that they’re kind of exclusive. Access can get really expensive (see social token paradox), and for non-crypto enthusiasts, the space is difficult to understand (wagmi, ngmi, gm … you get our point).
Web3/crypto is supposed to distribute power, but how distributed is power when access to certain communities costs $1-2m for buying an NFT that allows access to your exclusive golf clubs, eeeh, crypto communities. Not sure if this is what Satoshi Nakamoto and other crypto OG’s wanted to build.
Tbh, we don’t know how to solve this problem! It’s a tough one.
It requires a change in the minds of large groups of people. History has shown that doing this isn’t that easy. Maybe if you’re a charismatic (thought) leader, you might have this kind of power.
What mortal people could do is try to introduce a more inclusive vocabulary in the web3 space, or help people understand it more easily. And to find ways of making projects more accessible for people without the financial means of buying expensive NFTs.
And to close this: even though we criticize this aspect of web3, this doesn’t mean that we aren’t excited about the possibilities the space has to offer. Both of us are definitely feeling the gravitational pull of the web3 hype and are tempted to build something in this space.
📙 More Resources:
Some other problems we encountered, but don’t feel knowledgeable enough to talk about them, are: Voting mechanisms for web3 projects could use some improvement and there seems to be a lack of web3 project management tools.
Also, in case you missed it, there was “A founder’s guide to community” shared on Lenny’s Newsletter this week. If you are a founder thinking about building community, this is definitely worth checking out!
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