Over the Hump with SC03
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October 26th, 2021

Although it seems somewhat impossible, the calendar suggests we’re already past the halfway point of SC03.

It feels like just yesterday we had a bunch of baby ideas crawl into our discord, and we’re so proud of the projects they’re becoming 😭. Not really true, many were already off to the races, but you get the sentiment.

We’re lucky to have the support of some of the biggest brains in web3, and even luckier that they’re willing to spend time sharing their knowledge and experience with our projects. We’ve already had group sessions with Trevor McFedries, Cooper Turley, Denis Nazarov, Reuben Bramanathan, Alex Zhang, and more focused coaching sessions with many others.

We’re actively working on finding the right way to record and distribute all the knowledge that’s shared in these sessions with our broad community without hurting the intimacy of them, but aren’t quite there yet. So in the meantime here’s an overview of some of the big topics we’ve discussed so far, followed by some project updates, and finishing with a hot alpha leak.

Proof of Community

Many of our projects are either early in their community building phases, or have large existing communities on web2 platforms, so advice on how to kickstart and grow web3 communities is something we frequently discuss.

We typically advise projects to start very small, find a core group of people who are value-aligned with the community they’re trying to build, and focus on engagement and having quality conversations. Trying to attract a big name, or bringing your entire web2 audience over is often counterproductive to this.

Trevor McFedries perfectly conveyed how scrappy this stage can often be. He recommended to start by just finding “some group chat that you’re into and then find more people that are having those same conversations in different places and get everyone together.”

Jess suggests pitching your community through the narrative of a huge adventure that you’re embarking on, and to make it so compelling that people can’t ignore. If you get that right and are able to bring together a group of people who are really bought into that adventure, then you’ll be in a great place to start figuring everything else out.

Community Building

Once you have some semblance of community and a shared mission, your focus turns to building momentum towards a shorter term goal. Ideally you’re able to pull some early community members into this, but that often takes time so don’t be discouraged if your founding team is doing all the heavy lifting for a while.

Even if community members aren’t stepping up it’s important to go out of your way to involve them. Alex Zhang told us that he was having individual conversations with 5 or 6 community members per day when he stepped in to lead FWB to gather input into the vision and roadmap. He dropped the gems that “community building is gardening not architecture” and that “being a good leader in a DAO is like being a good dinner party host” which we fully agree with.

It’s this type of leadership that will earn trust, encourage community members to start contributing, and attract new members. It also helped Alex identify the people that had potential to move into core contributor/leadership roles.

A week later Denis dropped arguably the bomb of the cohort so far when he told everyone to “build for people to collectively lose their shit together”. That’s what we’re talking about.

Path to Tokenization

We’re a tokenized community accelerator so naturally if and when to launch a token is something we explore deeply with our projects. While this is very contextual to the product and vision you’re building towards, our speakers shared some helpful lenses to help us explore the question.

The first thing we make clear is that you don’t need a token to build a community, and introducing a token won’t make a stale community vibrant. Tokens are used for governance, shared ownership, and rewarding contributions. If there’s nothing valuable to govern or nobody wanting to contribute to the mission, tokens aren’t going to help.

Many of our speakers have also recommended using NFTs as membership as a stepping stone to launching a fungible token. If you don’t immediately need to reward contributions, or have the need for flexible governance, this can be a great way to introduce ownership (and raise money) without having to jump into a token model.

But all of this being said, as Cooper explained there’s “never a right time to launch a token because you have no idea what you’re going to need until you actually do it”. So we always tell teams to just go. Jess frequently reminds everyone that as long as you operate with transparency and earn credibility from your community, you’ll have the freedom to make adjustments to your token mechanics as your community and needs evolve.

Once you are ready to launch a token and planning a crowdfund or airdrop it’s important to take a step back and remember why you’re doing this. Alex told everyone to “get your token in the hands of people who are value aligned with what your building, aren’t price speculative at all, and will ride or die with the community”.

Maturing Your DAO

We have a few projects that have already launched tokens and have communities really leaning in to contribute, so we’ve been exposing them to a lot of advice about maturing their DAOs. This includes topics like treasury diversification, legal, hiring for consistent roles, generating on-chain revenue, collaborating with other DAOs, etc.

Discussing these is beyond the scope of this article, but here are some treats for you to chew on.

“Over-incentivize early contributions and make those people feel wanted and loved and let them really lean into the roles. The more they get to define the roles themselves the better.” - Cooper

“As the leader of your DAO your fingerprints should be all over the project as well. If you’re too much of a researcher you’ll get stuck in this middle ground where you can’t make the decisions.” - Alex

“When it became clear [that FWB was going to work] we took a few steps backwards to build the foundation and make sure it was built correctly. We wanted to weather proof it for a crypto winter because things change a lot when price go down.” - Trevor

Just Go

While all of this general advice can be helpful to give you the confidence to move, it’s the movement that will provide you with the answers. So much of the real progress is made in our office hours or intimate coaching sessions where we work directly with teams to clarify their next steps and then push them to take them. So if there’s one thing we want to leave you with, it’s to “just fucking go”. Or maybe it should be “join SC04”.

SC03 Project Milestones

It’s only been 3 weeks but we’ve been blown away by what these projects have been able to accomplish so far. Here’s a selection of some big milestones from the SC03 crew.

  • Completed Season 1 where they hosted 3 cohorts of creator residencies at their first village node in the Texas Hill Country
  • Left a big web2 opportunity on the table to fully commit to building out their cinematic universe in web3
  • Completely revamped onboarding which is getting recognized in their pursuit of best-in-class onboarding
  • Exploring the formation of social sub-DAOs, starting with the NOLA Pelicans
  • Dropped her first NFT project, ACAB, and proceeds went to charities supporting victims of domestic violence
  • Performed at the Texas Women’s March and raised over $10,000 for the Texas Equal Access Fund
  • Went from 0 to top 10 in the $WRITE race (we swarm hard)
  • Minted $REFRACT token
  • Lots of building: new sites, new aesthetics, new organizational frameworks, new infractures
  • Played integral roles in Pussy Riot ACAB, Jadu Jetpacks, and other prominent NFT projects
  • Published their first crowdsourced and collaborative research report, a big step towards pioneering a decentralized research model for the music industry
  • Two emojis from the collection were added to the official unicode emoji list and will be available broadly next year

🔥 Alpha 🔥

For the first time ever we’re going to host a Demo Day at the end of the cohort. This is your chance to see the most exciting up and coming web3 projects before anyone else. Details are being finalized but it will be held on Nov 12. Sign up here to reserve your spot and stay updated.

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