Shifts in Product Dynamics

There’s been some clear shifts in how product is being built in web3 since the onset of the bear market.

  1. Velocity is the new constant: We're not just moving quickly, we're at lightspeed. The pace of what is getting built in the space is a constant change of new technologies & UX patterns (eg. bridging directly into Base on Friendtech, AA/MPC, zkEVMs, etc). Interestingly the platforms where the discourse is taking place is highly fragmented this cycle, especially given the onset of alternate social media protocols like Lens, Farcaster, Bluesky, and Mastodon.

  2. The frontier paradox: Most operators are tethered to an unwritten ‘playbook’ of how to build in the space. There are valid reasons like regulatory and compliance, but this can feel like a glass ceiling & a moving target for those that really want to innovate outside of the box.

  3. Headless brands: With protocols at the core, a brand is less and less about a logo and more about the cooperative incentive structures – crafting mutual benefits to weave a community together. Today, internet scale protocols are being built by bootstrapping an application (Warpcast on Farcaster, Orb or Lenster on Lens, Rabbithole on Quest Protocol, Zora on Zora Network, etc) and brands persist at the community level. More reading on this here.

  4. The Multi-Application Flywheel: Web2 introduced us to the notion of flywheels, where a single platform or application creates its own reinforcing momentum. In crypto, the flywheels are multi-application. For example a user may start buying Eth on Coinbase, transition to swapping it on Uniswap, lock assets into Aave for yield, and then return to Coinbase to purchase more Eth with yield. A more relevant example today is the launch OnChain Summer campaign by Base. These multi-app flywheels help teams make critical business decisions – it’s why Metamask integrated Swaps into their wallet UI & it’s why Uniswap acquired Genie for NFT purchases. Base can make better business decisions as a result of knowing where users that onboarded to Base transacted (see below).

  5. First the audience, then the product: In today’s evolving landscape of platforms like Twitter post-Elon's acquisition, it's become increasingly apparent how platforms can be gamed. We've witnessed an uptick in the prevalence of bots and Sybil activity, making it far simpler for individuals or teams to build significant audiences. This mirrors strategies traditionally reserved for celebrity or influencer PR. The current playbook: first, nurture and grown an audience (whether that’s through ads, etc), then introduce them to a product, and finally, refine that product based on the feedback received. While I have personal hesitations about this approach, primarily because it leans heavily towards growth-hacking, it's becoming a predominant strategy for numerous venture-backed initiatives.

#4 - H/T Spindl:
#4 - H/T Spindl:
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