This is not a magical recipe of “10 things that you must know to be a successful product Manager in a decentralized environment” or “5 must-have skills to be a web3 product VP”. This article looks to summarize the main challenges that product managers are facing in the web3 product industry.
Product Managers are not part of the product conception
Web3 is full of technical founders, builders, and early-adopter users. Most of the products are created with a great idea but without a Go-to-market strategy and a conscious prioritization of problems to solve or value to deliver.
We know that generally, start-ups do not start with teams that include product managers. CEOs and founders are the ones that help with the product definition. We have our first potential issue here. They are the visionaries, and the product is their baby. So, how can they be objective?
This scenario makes it difficult for a PM to take ownership of the product when one finally arrives at the company.
Products are built full of bias
As we mentioned before, all of them start with a great idea, but is that a great idea for the users as well? How is this hypothesis validated? As PMs, we have a mantra that says: “Always test your assumptions”.
That is something that does not happen often in this ecosystem. New products are created based on the assumptions and desires of the founders. Web2 has taught us that in most cases that is not enough. Of course, there are exceptions, but are you going to risk your investors, your time, and your credibility because of them?
New Dapps and new DeFi protocols sometimes get a bunch of new users when they are launched, and most of the time there is a community of web3 “influencers” being bullish about that. However, at that point, the problems start. Is the product strong enough to provide value to these users? Are they going to stay? This abrupt growth makes founders think that they are right and their path is the only valid one. Who needs hypothesis validation? I have 1M users!
Product Managers need to be able to discover where the real value is, test it quickly, to fail even more quickly. This is not only a new industry but a new era, so we are going to fail, but we need to be prepared to pivot the original idea if that is not what our community and users need.
In web3, we have an extra bias that seems to be all over the place. Products are built for people that already know how this world works. If we want to achieve the vision of blockchain and web3, bring economic freedom, or decentralize the internet, we need to include a broader audience. We cannot think only of the users that are already here.
Products are community-driven
As Product Managers, we are used to taking care of our product metrics: is the conversion rate enough? Where is the drop-off in my funnel? What about the churn? Our DAU?
From now on, if we want to succeed, we need to take care of our product and most importantly, our community: How many daily contributors do we have? And what is the retention rate of my community members?
The challenge has increased, engagement is no longer with the product but with a community that we need to build, take care of, and maintain.
Building a community is not a challenge that Product Managers are used to. We can do some analogies with the users, but it’s not the same, especially because communities are stronger actors in our product development cycle. We are talking about people that could participate in product decisions. So, we need to create a solid community, we need to be open to hearing what they have to say.
Remember when we used to be data-informed when defining our roadmap? Well now we need to develop a new skill, which is one of being community informed.
Data vs Community desires: The priority Matrix increases
So now, communities are pretty well informed about what they want, the trends, and what we should build next to keep them engaged.
Nowadays, do communities handle the roadmap? No, it is not like that. As we mentioned earlier, they are important drivers of prioritization, but they are not the only ones. One thing that we need to consider is that communities are still immature, they probably give us solutions or new cool features that they would like to implement. On some rare occasions, they are going to come to us with problems. As Product Managers, we need to be able to understand the real issues, the impact, and the value that we could deliver if we work on those.
If we have communities telling us what is next, do we need data or is it no longer relevant? In fact, data is more important than ever; the difference is that now we have more ingredients in the prioritization matrix:
- Business Impact: Even if we are talking about Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs), or any kind of company our product needs to be aligned with the vision and objectives.
- User Impact: Not all users are part of a community, so, we cannot forget to bring them value. They keep the product alive!
- Community value: Our star users, early adopters, and promotors are part of the trends. Are we keeping them engaged?
- Technical effort: How much does it imply? How long is it going to take us?
The Go-To-Market strategy is not enough
Another important task as a Product Manager was taking care of the Go-To market strategy. We even thought that we had some kind of recipe for it. We were full of frameworks that we could use to define our MVP, we put our users at the center, we followed prioritization techniques, and we did experiments and AB testing. But, what about now?
One trend is the Go-To Community strategy which implies defining (and building) our MVC: Minimum Viable Community. It is this minimum validation that we need to do as Product Managers, to understand if our product is going to succeed in the community.
And how can you formulate a Go-to Community strategy? Well, we will be seeing just that in the next chapter 🙂
As you can see, there are plenty of challenges that we need to deal with every day. The good news is that as Product Managers, we have developed skills that can help us with that: re-inventing ourselves, adapting to new environments, learning, and learning again. If we want to be part of this revolution, we need to evolve first.
We are always looking for Web3 talent !
Mighty Block is one of the partners of Forte, a platform to enable game publishers to easily integrate blockchain technologies into their games. We believe blockchain will enable new economic and creative opportunities for gamers around the world and have assembled a team of proven veterans from across the industry (Kabam, Unity, GarageGames, ngmoco, Twitch, Disney), as well as a $100M developer fund & $725M funding, to help make it happen. That’s where you come into play.
Feel free to browse all our current open job opportunities in the following link 👇