Community management in “cryptoverse”

Joining the crypto world🚀

It’s been about 3 months since I’ve moved out of HasGeek to join Constellation Labs as a community manager.

I joined HasGeek as a full-time community manager in January 2017. It’s been a wonderful journey, thanks to the entire team and the amazing community. I must admit that it did seem daunting in the beginning to be thrown into the middle of a community of open source developers, designers, developers who work on bleeding edge tech. What do I talk with them? Am I an outsider?(Imposter syndrome is a bi*ch).

Fast forward a couple of months, I found myself discussing topics ranging from current DevOps practices, ethics in AI, to design prototyping, and more, with some the best people. Wow! Who would’ve thought. I was also entrusted with the responsibility of curating and putting together a series of mini-conferences as the Editor.

HasGeek was the point where I knew that working in the intersection of amazing technology and building open source communities is what I want to do. It was a validation for me after participating in Mozilla for over 6 years. So when the opportunity came up with Constellation Labs on CMX’s Facebook group(huge thanks to David and the entire CMX team), there was no turning back. A Skype call with Altif Brown, Constellation’s Chief Community Officer, really sealed the deal. I mean, the guy ran a community of millions of users, and really understands the dynamics of communities.

Fun fact: He’s also known as ‘Crypto Jay Z’.

This was also the first time I was formally working with a “community team” and not as a solo community manager. We now have a community team with moderators spread across the globe.

Why crypto, and more importantly, why Constellation Labs?

Blockchain, Bitcoins, and ICOs have become buzzwords. But the space is super interesting. I mean, it gave us cryptokitties😸! But you know what? Cryptokitties broke the Ethereum network😼. The community manager role at Constellation gave me the perfect opportunity to work on building open source communities, at the same time be right in the middle of some of the most exciting technology out there. If you’re curious about the tech, we use Directed Acyclic Graph or DAG(or Blockchain 3.0, as some might say).

With the amount of fear, uncertainty and doubts in the space, Constellation seemed like a great project with an amazingly capable team, dedicated to executing this vision. I mean, Wyatt, our CTO, who worked with SETI Institute (yeah, the one that looks out for extraterrestrial intelligence) is often referred to as the alien👽 with infinite knowledge.

So, what is Constellation Labs?

Interesting! So, how’s the crypto community space different?

You have a community supporting and rooting for you, even before you even have a product out.

This is one of the most interesting things about crypto. In the traditional tech industry, this would’ve been impossible. Hell, it takes a lot of time for a great product to build an organic community from the scratch. This also offers you a validation for your idea(think Kickstarter), and the money to get it from idea to execution. What’s the best part? You don’t have to be in Silicon Valley or be an IIT alum to fundraise through an ICO. Truly decentralized!

In crypto, you have the community support you at every stage. Right from being your first critics reviewing the first draft of your whitepaper, to being your most active evangelists on platforms like Reddit and YouTube. We get messages and emails from our community members expressing interest in translating our whitepaper, helping us with marketing, or even running sub-communities. This is the first time I’m experiencing the power of global community at this scale, first hand, and it only keeps growing!

The community has the incentive to promote the product.

Think of a company that has done an ICO/crowdsale. The community that has participated in this crowdsale obviously want the company to do well, because they’ve “invested” in the product. If you’re new to crypto, this is like shares in a company. If you own a share in a company, you obviously want it to do really well, so that the value of your shares increase.

At Constellation, our community is at the core of what we’re doing. At the same time, the entire team is invested in building a sustainable community. Oh, and we’re not doing an ICO.

There’s also the general observation that crypto is now very mainstream and most people are financially motivated, which explains the sudden growth in the community. The penetration is also very high because of the fairly low entry barrier, starting with educational videos about blockchain and bitcoins in different languages, to wallets being available on phones, and websites like Earn.com that offers BTC to do complete small tasks.

My middle-aged relatives in Kerala are asking me about bitcoin and blockchain tech. I don’t even remember the last time they asked me about any other tech!

I’m not stereotyping but just to give you an idea of how popular this tech has become, these are people who started using WhatsApp on their phones in the last 2–3 years.

On a related note, here’s a fun read: The Internet Is Filling Up Because Indians Are Sending Millions of ‘Good Morning!’ Texts

Now, assuming you’ve gotten to that point where you have an exciting project and a lot of people joining your community on whatever channel, the real question for crypto community managers is

how do you plan to channel all the traffic from this buzz into a valuable community?

I’ll write more about how we’re thinking about some of this at Constellation in the next blog post.

You know you’ve fallen into the crypto rabbit hole when:

  1. Gas💨 no longer means an air-like fluid substance which expands freely to fill any space available, irrespective of its quantity but is the execution fee for every operation made on ethereum.
  2. Someone says mining ⛏ and you suddenly think of ‘the process of trying to ‘solve’ the next block in the blockchain and not the extraction of valuable minerals or other geological materials from the earth.
  3. You friends talk about whales🐳 and the first thing that pops up in you mind isn’t the aquatic placental marine mammals but someone that owns an absurd amounts of crypto-currency.
  4. Moon🌜 means crypto price going up astronomical levels and not an astronomical body that orbits planet Earth(for the sake of keeping this SFW. If you’re thinking of something else, you nasty!🌚)
  5. Fork🍴is no longer an implement with two or more prongs used for lifting food to the mouth or holding it when cutting but it’s when new ‘governance rules’ are built into the blockchain’s code.

Disclaimer: I’ve been dabbling around with crypto back in 2013, thanks to the internet forums that I was a part of. Hell, I even tried fundraising for an open source hackers space🤷🏼‍♂️(and I didn’t even know about ICOs back then). So I’m not entirely new to the crypto world.

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Shreyas Narayanan

Shreyas Narayanan

1.5K Followers

All things open | Community 🧙 @NEARProtocol | 👨‍🏫 @mozilla | ❤️ Startups | Remote work 🌐 | Blockchain ⛓| Technology 👨‍💻