Eco: First AMA “State of the Discord” with Andy Bromberg

Andy Bromberg: CEO at Eco, Co-founder at Coinlist, Founding research scientist at the Stanford Bitcoin Group.

This is a slightly simplified version. You can listen to the original recording here.

19 March 2021

We are two weeks and a day into this Discord. It opened up on Friday March 5th. Right now we are almost 13,000 people stepping up for really large-scale contributions. There are Korean, Russian, French and soon more communities.

Also people building bots taking time out of their data, put together code and develop bots to make this experience better. There’s a bot that pulls out the best memes into the top meme channel, there’s an FAQ bot. The other thing I just really appreciate is people that are answering questions. We’re getting tons of new community members every single day. Those new people have questions and it’s been really helpful for the ECO team that you are stepping up and answering those so I really appreciate everyone taking leading roles in the community.

Also creativity. I’m sure you all are looking at the bounty submissions, the memes and the art. It’s been awesome.

Another thing I’m excited about. All these organic initiatives that we as the ECO team haven’t started. There’s that channel where people are putting themselves at the map. There’s Russian communities that run a bunch of internal contests. So you all are the ones that are gonna shape how this community evolves.

I’m loving translation efforts. The site has been translated into French, Korean, Russian. There’s Polish the other day. ECO is a global project in a global community.

Look in that economics channel. There are brilliant discussions happening there not just about the ECO project but about the economies as a whole and asking really interesting thoughtful questions and answering them for each other. And that’s been really helpful.

And last thing I’ll say here. Just the natural growth of this community, we haven’t marketed ECO. I just haven’t seen a more positive community. And a community that understands our message and our goals and supporting each other and supporting ECO. I’m really happy to be just a member of this community.

I’ll tell you a few things though that I’d like to see improved. One thing I’d love to see is more foreign language channels to appear and more communities to join from other places. I love the Russian, French, Korean channels. I think we can keep growing and there are people all around the world who should be hearing about this project and being a part of this amazing community. What everyone here can think about is if you are from somewhere else and speak another language. Try to find your people and we’ll make new channels if there’s enough demand for them, so I’d love to see that happen.

The other thing we can do is if you’re a member of the Russian or Korean or French communities. Think about what a new community would need to have to get started. What do they need to do, what you have done already that would be great first tasks for them? Is that translating the website, is that translating the FAQs, is that putting together some sort of internal contest? It’d be really good to think about the checklist.

Another thing I’d love to see and we’ve been seeing this already. Let’s step up the average quality of the memes. Keeping the quality power going higher and higher over time for the content is a big goal of mine.

A couple other things we have a lot of work to do is the ECO team. The administrators of Discord, better channel organization, better overall administration, moderation. It is just something for you to know that we’re working on. We now need to make sure that we’re moderating this like it is a large discord which it is. So if you have ideas, suggestions on how we can be doing better in terms of organization and moderation and all of that, please do let us know.

I want more people earning points and feeling engaged. There’s always going to be a small community of hyper engaged like very helpful active people, but let’s make sure that the kind of outer edges of that circle expand and more and more people get involved. So let’s enter the inclusive and try to bring new people and get them active. That’s a really big focus.

Last thing. I’ll say that I think we can do better. This is more for the ECO team than for you all. It’s just even better transparency. Right? I think we’re pretty good at this and certainly I try to be active and Dave tries to be active and Bryce and Henry try to be active in here. But we can be better. So hopefully this chat today helps with that. But we’re open to other ideas about how we can be more transparent and tell you more about what is going on and what we can be doing better.

I’m incredibly happy, incredibly proud of this community. For its size but also especially it’s positivity and inclusiveness and alignment with really interesting powerful ideas. And I’ve been really impressed by how smoothly this has gone from zero to 13,000 nearly today and I hope you all are too. It’s been really cool to be a part of it.

You all if you’re here on this voice chat today, you are early on this project. This is two weeks old. It didn’t exist two weeks ago. And there is a lot that will be coming down the pipeline and these things are always going to go up and go down. Good things will happen, tough things will happen. But you were here in the first two weeks. No one else will ever be able to say that. And as we said ECO pays to be early but even more importantly it just feels really special to be a part of this community so early and help shape it. So keep trying to make the right things happening here and drive the community towards success. Community matters more than almost anything else and ECOs success or failure will be the large part dictated by the strength of its community.

We have a lot to deliver too on the team side, but if we can have this amazing community persist and grow, we will be even better and more likely to succeed.

Questions and answers

It’s a great question. We’re two weeks in. A month is twice as long, so it’s hard to predict when things are growing as quickly. I think what I would love to see and I was just mentioning some of this is I don’t really care so much what the total size of the discord is.

So whether we’re still at 13,000 or we’re at 15,000 or we’re at 20,000. I don’t think that makes as much of a difference as looking at the closer more engaged layers. So, I think success for us in a month is a core community of some set of people who are really engaged in doing amazing work whether that’s in moderation or bot building or just participating with community and having discussions or creating content. But what I’d like to see in a month is hundreds or even a thousand or two thousand more people that are a step closer to that engagement and are doing things, are creating content or talking about stuff, are thinking about the ideas behind the ECO and are engaging. And I think ramping up that set of people that are one step out from the most engaged ones will be a really important success metric.

The other thing I’ll say is that we’ve got some stuff we’re working on, new ideas and things for everyone to do in participating in discord. Very interesting ideas. But in a month or so, we’ll have even more cool stuff happening in here, so. We are working on that.

It’s a really interesting question. It also depends how you define competitors. If we’re talking about the ECO app here, the reality is that our product is structured and our business is structured in a way that we want to give all the benefits back to the users. We want your money to be working for you. And so when we think about that, our durable competitive advantage is that our business model doesn’t require us to skim from users. Every financial services company has a business that requires them to take money out of users’ pockets in one way or another. And ours doesn’t. And as a result of that we are just able to durably and sustainably offer better benefits because that margin that another company would be taking to pay themselves, we don’t take and we just give back to users and so we have a lot of work to do on shipping more product and more features and more abilities, but the durable sustainable advantage is that our business model is such that we don’t need to take money out of your pocket and we’re able to pass all the benefits back to use as more we can talk about there, but that’s the core sustainable advantage.

I’ll give you one piece. We like to blow minds one step at a time as is acknowledged in this question.

First of all, I think the thing that will continue to blow everyone’s minds is what this community does by itself. I saw something very interesting happened very early on in this discord. We have points for research purposes only but people start to use these points in really interesting ways. And experiment with them. And one of the things we say sometimes is these points of research purposes only, we are all researches and we are all research subjects. It is not the ECO team, that is researching all of you. You’re researching us, we’re researching you, you research each other and that’s how these experiments run most effectively. And so when I started seeing things like people exchanging points for things and moving them around and send them to each other, that’s the sort of stuff that blew my mind. And so seeing how that evolves, I think it’s likely to be the most interesting. And unusual thing for all of us. But in terms of stuff that we’re working on, that I can give you a little teaser. I think one of the really powerful things that we did when we launched is that you all got in here by going through eco.com. And you only got into discord if we thought you were crypto savvy and the way we figured that out was we either detected that you had metamask or another web3 wallet and so we knew you were crypto savvy and we brought you into discord. Or you answered some questions correctly in a way that made us realize that you knew something about crypto so we were able to segment people and everyone who’s not crypto savvy has no idea that this discord exists.

Didn’t even make it in here. That’s really powerful. We got all of you here to hang out with each other, with your people, with our people and we put everyone else on mailing lists and waiting lists to get the app who are not cryptos savvy. And I think something that would be really interesting and you should keep an eye out for is what if we took that idea one step further. What if we did something like that within discord itself and started to understand what each of you is good at and what you’re best at and where you should be in and who your people even within this discord are. And so I won’t say much more than that. One step at a time as we say. But keep your eyes peeled for finding even sub communities within discord and how we can do that effectively.

(To be done, come back later).

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