August 31, 2022

Building communities and decentralized markets in Web3

We're joined by the Metacampus team today to speak about building companies for the decentralized world and getting started. I'm Ankur, the co-founder of UUKI, an all-in-one community platform for creators' brands and businesses to create their own branded community directly on their website or an app and host discussions, events, or polls with their audience and create deeper relationships with them to get started. I think, Alison and Christian, you can introduce yourselves and follow it up with Christian and you can talk about how you got into the business and your backstory.

First and foremost, thank you for inviting us both to be here today. It's given us a real opportunity to think and, hopefully, to come to the group and share our thoughts and learn from other people's questions and ideas. My name is Alison Alexander, and I am the co-founder and director of ethics and social policy at Metacampus.

Team UUKI thanks very much for having us on this today. My name is Christian Byrne, and I am a strategic advisor to Metacampus. I know my work is mainly focused on the commercial side of the business, but given my previous role, I spent 15 years in the advertising industry in London and later in Dubai in 2000. I also contribute to the growth of the brand and a lot of the content before Metacampus.

Q & A Session

Q1. What factors other than technology are driving the transition from web2 to web3?

 The question is what factors other than technology is driving the transition from web2 to web3? This is very important because I think when most of us feel about web3 or we're talking about web3, we instinctively go to the stack as it is being driven by technology. The ideologies of decentralization and the power of community, if we look at some of those, we're talking about fundamental human and cultural principles that we'll probably discuss throughout the next hour, such as equality. Web3 levels the playing field, it supports meritocracy in the fairest way possible.

If we want to leave, we can take those communities with us, whereas in web2 and centralized platforms, the platform owns everything that you do. Still, when we look at what's driving this transformation, yes, technology is enabling it, and we couldn't do a lot of things that web3 is doing without the blockchain and without smart contracts.

2. What’s the difference between decentralized, centralized, and hybrid marketing structures?

I think the best way to talk about these is to use live cases and examples rather than talk about them in theory. Let's deal with centralization straight away and get that one off the table because we've lived with centralization for many decades. Right, so centralization is vertical structures top-down particle management governance and decision making where the value and the profit the upside flows back up to the thin layer of power at the top we all know where it is. We're all surrounded by it. It's not to say it's necessarily been wrong, but I think now that we've got web3.


We understand the potential of decentralization we have. We have contrast and something to compare it to, and that's what people are pushing back on, so when we come to, uh, the idea of decentralization that doesn't necessarily turn centralization on its head, I think we need to think on terms more how we would visualize a community which is very apt given the conversation we need to think in terms of a circle with everybody connected where management governance and decision making is done by a community and orchestrated by some recognition value currency whether that's a token or whether it's you know it doesn't necessarily have to be in token it can be recognized in other ways.

 I mean I'm sure we're all part of nft communities. Here on discord and our contribution to those communities is tracked and monitored by community managers. Sometimes we're given access, white lift drops, and various incentives due to that behavior. Still, because we're all galvanized around a central idea, that's hugely motivating and means we have skin in the game.

So I think when we think about decentralization now within a business sense, I guess the best example is to talk about dows, you know, in which decisions are made from the ground up governed by. You see, the dao is a decentralized autonomous organization, if anyone wants to learn more about them, we can talk about those, but those are the kind of corporate that might not be the right word. Still, they are the organized the new contemporary organization or organizational structure that's been created by decentralization. Very simply, they're a modern version of online communities that share one bank account and where the members vote to decide how things are done based on their contribution or the level of ownership of the token of the particular community.

 Then when we come to hybrid, it's a mix of the two. I think most of the projects and use cases we read a lot about in the media are hybrid examples. I guess the easiest one to talk about would be uglabs. I mean uga labs is a centralized business, a profit company incorporated in Miami, and yet most of the projects it does are decentralized. Namely, the broad eight yacht club at the eight coins released as its token and the other side launching imminently. Still, some other fantastic examples of hybrid projects leveraging the power of the decentralization community to drive their business. I don't know if you know a brand called the hundreds; it's a trendy streetwear brand. They have, and they have a mascot called the adam bomb. So if anybody's got the adam bomber nft let me know because I think it's a brilliant project. By holding an adam bomb nft you get access to the discord community and where there are other fans of the brand that have come together. Through various contributions, you get access to merchandise. 

It's just an excellent way to provide brands in a way to me but what's interesting about this use case that I think is relevant to show how communities can drive value and be recognized is that the hundreds from their centralized operations spontaneously announced that it would be paying royalties in the form of in-store credit so that owners of any of the art nfts are associated with their up-and-coming collections so what that meant if I had a particular the added bomb that was showing up at a collection I own a percentage of that it. So what that does to me is it raises my level of commitment and fandom up to the next level.

3. What are the new tools and platforms in the market that will empower community members to lead the decentralized marketing revolution from the very beginning?

So this is about the tools and the platforms in the market that will empower community members, and I want to take this in two bits about the tools that I think are there to empower community members. Then it's about how they use those in that decentralized marketing revolution. So in terms of the tools, I see the devices are around those that many of us. So, I'm going to suggest on this call might be familiar with the tool of the blockchain, the tool of crypto, the tool of wallets, the device of nft projects, and the tool of the metaverse platforms. So, you have all these tools in our armory; the most important thing is that we need everybody to know about them.

When people join nft projects, one of the most important things many of them offer utility, and the utility is around education. Because they will also say that the most critical empowering tool is the more people know how to use the tools of web3. The more they will become powerful as an individual, so we see the tools very much around those like blockchain wallets and crypto metaverse nft projects. But what are some of the usages, for instance, the blockchain? If we look at somebody like myself, I could think, oh, that's a technology, and I don't understand how all the technical work, but I don't need to know that. What I need to know is what it can bring me, how it can benefit me, and what we've been doing.

Many people have discussed how a blockchain is a helpful tool for people to store their information. As we said earlier, in centralized systems, everyone owns our data, sells it to the highest bidder, and does what they want with them. So, in the blockchain, I would hold my data and sell it if I wanted to; therefore, I could use that as a resource.

I can monetize myself through the blockchain by doing that, so it's about how we use the blockchain. One example is we can hold our data and sell our data to those who want access to that data but also the point of holding identity there for me. So I think it's essential that people have their credentials in there. 

4. How do you guide and recognize the contributions and achievements of your community members while growing your projects and communities? What are your most important engagement values, and how will you make sure these values are reflected in the engagement process?

If you want to grow the project, either through the lens of web3 or not, I think it starts with essential planning and a clear understanding of the structure on which that community was built. And I know that sounds obvious, but you can easily see it being part of the community that lacks any structure around it. 

And an excellent tool for that is something like; there's a minimal viable community canvas. Hence, an MVC canvas you can find online looks a bit like a lean business canvas. All this does is, help you get clarity and visibility to the fundamental pillars around which you're building your community. This sounds like the purpose, goals, values, and behaviors you want in the papers and rituals. Coming back to the question that was posed by Anupa and just by having that as a document and making that information freely available to everybody that comes in, you start to set you to begin to set the roles. You start to set the framework and the conditions for being part of that community; any discord community you go to, the first thing they do is read the rules, and you have to scroll down and click an icon.

So I mean, but that's standard practice, so and when we go to when we talk about growth and contribution and recognition, they're all sort of part of the same conversation really because when you're in a community, if it's run anybody properly in that the community can see what needs to be done. Anyone can see what the goals are and the activities that they need to do. They can vote on the key decisions that can be tracked either by a tech layer or it can be tracked manually as well, so the community managers track and reward members in the way that has been set out in the community mandate, and that ranges vastly in complexity.

I don't know if anyone here knows operation sin, which is llama new project. So, I've been part of the operation since it started for the last several months that hasn't that's no one knows still to this day. So, what that mint will look like as an nft project, yet it's probably one of the most thriving active communities, you know, on Twitter and discord. So going back to the question regarding how they recognize contribution, they have a very busy, always-on global community and community of community managers. Watching different people on Twitter, watching their contributions, and rewarding them with various certificates and roles within that project is extraordinarily successful, even to the point. Yet, where nothing's been minted, nothing's been fully revealed in terms of what that's going to look like, but people just love the community. So yeah, and going back to friends with benefits, I mean that that's one of the original communities. They have both an nft to get into the community as your entry card, but then they have a social token that you earn based on your contribution. The FWB social token governs the community and what's interesting with all dowels is that the value of the tokens rises the better. 

The community does as a whole certain, so the incentive is aligned for all the members to work together towards that common goal. Hence, I think it starts by being very, very clear upfront about the structure and framework of what your community does. A minimal viable community canvas is an excellent and simple tool. It works equally well for a web3, a decentralized community, as it does for perhaps something you might be building on your own in a slack channel or something else. It just gives you that clarity on all parts of that so that everyone knows.