While I have been researching for this article I noticed, but unsurprisingly, that Reddit discussion titled: How are the Cardano Foundation driving adoption and by what metrics are their success measured?
It seems that much of the progress currently on display is focused on Shelley and its role-out. But one person in the reddit discussion expressed it very well, that the non-technical community don’t feel engaged and they have been looking at Cardano Foundation for attention. To me, they are looking for something to tweet or snapchat boastfully about.
They believe in the Cardano ecosystem, and some are Cardano ecosystem maximalists who love the extraordinary achievements and “True Grit” shown by IOHK. But they don’t see an expansive vision of a future world of the Cardano ecosystem. Not even tantalising snippets like Apple, Microsoft or Samsung that we are so accustomed to get ahead of major new product releases.
For these maximalists, Shelley rollout will not be their final world, they want to see visions of products that will solve their problems, both very personal or Governmental and also International. And most importantly, how are they going to be deeply involved in bringing to reality these visions….something to tweet and squawk about…Will McCann do that for them always, or should it be a Cardano Foundation thing?
Cardano Ambassadors are already being supported by the Cardano Foundation
We know that Cardano Ambassadors have already committed to being on the frontlines of the effort to attract new interest through Stake Pools, YouTube videos, and articles in Social media.
Ambassadors are by definition constrained in their activities
Ambassadors by definition are legally constrained on how they represent the Cardano Foundation and its strategy for well-established good corporate governance reasons. However, the rest of the Cardano community are free-wheeling, entrepreneurial and unconstrained to use whatever their creative imaginations leads them to maximise their application of the Cardano platform.
No doubt, the Cardano Foundation will need to set up a 24/7 Emergency Fire department to handle any Social Media firestorms because of some overly enthusiastic community member claims about Cardano ecosystem. But this comes with the territory and is well established in the corporate world. We have all seen this when Apple, Microsoft, and more recently Facebook official representatives have had to publicly repudiate or provide clarifications on claims about the platform by its user base.
But what about the rest of the Community of which there are tens of thousands who are mostly passive ADA holders, who could be activated to become advocates for the Cardano ecosystem?
How can Cardano Foundation help the Cardano Enthusiasts/Maximalists to achieve the multiplier effect in community awareness?
How can the Cardano Community breakthrough the crypto-suspicion barriers to mass adoption? The global community still have as much skepticism about the crypto and blockchain as they had in the early days of the Internet. Will the clear first mover advantage to bring global change of mind for the blockchain by the Cardano ecosystem be achievable without its majority of non-technical enthusiasts/maximalists and champions?..not likely. It has never happened before in the Technology ecosystem when you look at the winners since the PC and Internet era.
The real traction of the value proposition of the Cardano ecosystem will only be expansive and embedded in global consumer market through promotion of DApps built on the Cardano platform, and most importantly, the community network promotions of these products by Cardano enthusiasts/maximalists and champions.
Here are some lessons from start-ups that had to fight their early competitive wars to win the world.
Lessons from the user application wars of Apple vs Microsoft
According to Forbes magazine, Apple has won the advertising war against Microsoft and other industries. Below is a selection of strategies:
Create an Experience Ecosystem - Apple has a legendary focus on the customer experience. Every customer touchpoint (products, the website, ads, app store, and retail store) yields a consistent Apple experience.
Foster a Community of Evangelists . Apple has always empowered customers who “think differently”—seeking to inspire customers to do things in unique and creative ways.
Organize Sales and Marketing by Customer, not Product . Apple targets four main B2B customers—education, government, SME, and enterprise. For the diverse SME and enterprise segments, the company organizes its sales teams based on the industry served, not products sold. Salespeople work on teams that focus on different types of customers.
Unpack Simplicity . Apple has mastered the art of minimalism—where product aesthetics, user interfaces, the brand logo, support functions, and even advertising are stripped down to the fundamentals. Products have simple, clean lines, with even simpler, self-explanatory names. The core purpose of this simplicity is to make the products easy to use so they can be understood and easily adopted by non-experts. As Steve Jobs said, “The way we’re running the company, the product design, the advertising, it all comes down to this: Let’s make it simple. Really simple.”
Start ‘With the Why’ . A common tech marketing misstep is focusing on technical features, not customer benefits. This is the classic marketing myopia that Theodore Levitt wrote about in 1960 in the Harvard Business Review : “In the ease of electronics, the greatest danger which faces the glamorous new companies in this field is not that they do not pay enough attention to research and development, but that they pay too much attention to it.” Tech companies are not in the technology business—they are in the business of providing customer benefits (just like every firm, no matter its industry).
Lessons from the significance of the browser wars – Google vs the rest of the Search Engines
“In his book Weaving the Web , Tim Berners-Lee writes:
“I was excited about escaping from the straightjacket of hierarchical documentation systems…. By being able to reference everything with equal ease, the web could also represent associations between things that might seem unrelated but for some reason did actually share a relationship. This is something the brain can do easily, spontaneously. … The research community has used links between paper documents for ages: Tables of content, indexes, bibliographies and reference sections… On the Web… scientists could escape from the sequential organization of each paper and bibliography, to pick and choose a path of references that served their own interest.”
Google’s founders were the first to seize on Berners-Lee’s insight and build their information retrieval business on tracking closely cross-references (i.e., links between pages) as they were happening and correlate relevance with quantity of cross-references (i.e., popularity of pages as judged by how many other pages linked to them). This was what set Google apart from its competitors, including Yahoo. Having a so-called “first-mover advantage” (yet another example that there are no universal “business laws”)…”
(Source: Forbes.com: why-yahoo-lost-and-google-won)
A Focus On User Experience
Google started with the idea that users essentially wanted access to the most relevant information in relation to their search queries. This is an idea that, despite its exponential growth and development, is no different from Google as it exists today.
Using the idea of relevancy , they built Google in a way that - in comparison to other search engines at the time - was simply better at connecting users with more pertinent results.
A query typed in Google provided more utility and relevancy than did Excite, Yahoo and other search engines.
A Different Way Of Advertising
What Google did differently, however, was introduce the same emphasis on relevancy of results and applied them to Overture’s advertising model. The system was based on the notion that search queries not only reflected what a user was interested in, but also what they were interested in buying . Whereas Overture used a model where the highest bid received the most exposure (meaning irrelevant ads could get the top spot), Google implemented the clickthrough rate into the algorithm as a way to measure the relevancy of the ad. Thus, if an ad with a lower bid had more clicks, it would rank higher. This seemingly small tweak to an already good idea is what really laid the foundation for Google’s advertising model and its huge success today.
Lessons from the significance of platform maximalists in outcomes of Social Media wars – Facebook vs Chatrooms and other online discussion groups
“All the early Facebook employees have their story of the moment when they saw the light and realized that Facebook wasn’t some measly social network like MySpace but a dream of a different human experience . With all the fervor of recent converts, newly recruited followers attracted other committed, smart, and daring engineers and designers, themselves seduced by the echoes of the Zuckian vision in others.”
Here is a real challenge which needs a planned and long-term strategy
Cardano Foundation needs to assist the change of general Crypto’s culture and community focus from short-term profiteering to long term focus on a new Financial/Economic ecosystem
DeFi entrepreneur Alex Mashinsky (Holder of Patents for VOIP 1994 and two unicorn start-ups that raised over $1 Billion combined) has been quoted in an interview by Cointelegraph as frustrated at short-term profiteering and partisan approach of the general Crypto Communities across all projects.
“ And what is the community doing? Well, we are fighting with each other over regulation and technology — all kinds of other issues instead of getting together and convincing everybody in the world that this is the solution, this is the replacement for all of these fiat currencies that are just eating away at our savings.”
“When asked about the crypto community’s efforts to drive mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies, Mashinsky stated: “If I had to rate the community, I would give us a C-minus for adoption.”
AM: We created amazing technology, we celebrate it internally, but we have not delivered to the masses out there what they need to come on board. We didn’t solve their problem — we solved our problem.”
“ Our community is not focused on growth, adoption or winning, it is focused on the short term — it is focused on “how do I extract the most value out of all these people because who knows, maybe the whole thing will disappear.” They are all short-term thinkers.”
So, what are possible options that Cardano Foundation promote, endorse, fund?
Staking Rewards and Stake Operator rewards will provide direct financial incentives at competitive relative rates to other forms of investments
Would Cardano Foundation as the umbrella organisation endorse designs for T-shirts, Caps, and other promotional paraphernalia? These could unleash spin-offs for small businesses and individuals selling in the clothing and accessories sectors.
“Never let a crisis go to waste” the saying goes. A virtual conference launch of Shelley, in the midst of COVID-19 crisis is a great opportunity to engage the vast numbers of potential interests in the Cardano ecosystem who are willingly spending hours of idle time watching movies or playing video games. How could this be done? Is there a strategy to get this captive audience with something exciting and entertaining for the vast major of the Cardano community that are non-technicals? Or are they just going to be watchers on without any means of engagement, like people who have been invited to a long awaited movie premier at a drive-in Cinema but not provided with the sound-speakers?
Provide incentives to existing members of the Cardano Community to launch a massive blitz to their Social media contact lists about Shelley launch and what it will mean for the entire cryptocurrency ecosystem and how the world will be changed by the Cardano ecosystem. To encourage them to watch, specific presentations that is addressed to the general public globally, Cardano Foundation should provide some free ADA which is obtained using a QR code or Promotional code. For those who don’t have Daedulus or Yoroi can be redirected how to download the DApps and claim the free ADA. What an opportunity to increase the community base!
NOTE : This campaign can happen during or after the launch. It doesn’t matter since these are newcomers. The main focus is that there is a fantastic user experience and information/education experience that can turn them into promoters.
The Cardano Foundation need to consider as part of the short to medium term strategy for promoting the Cardano ecosystem sponsoring and/or endorsing some or all of these ideas to not leave the Cardano enthusiasts/maximalist community stranded for lack of a means of active expression of their burning desire to be a part of something that will change the world.
The always Apple, always Microsoft, always Android, always Twitter and Snapchat communities are never left in doubt about their importance in promoting any new product, service and the benefits they will get out of it.