This question is directly addressed to @foam_cs because we all know he’s the guy when it comes to analyze FOAM data and the answer to it aims at helping the FOAM members put things in perspective know more about where the project is in terms of usage and adoption and also in terms of community one year after the token sale.
I personally use a lot the FOAM tools and often check when new POIs are added where they come from and it seems that most of them have been added and are still added as proof of use requirements. Very few are added outside these requirements. Out of the very few POIs added without proof of use requirements, most of them are added by one cartographer who is Andrew.
I do really think these numbers are very important to assess the usage of FOAM map, the community building efforts made by the team, and also how the incentives work. If most of the POIs have indeed been added as proof of use requirements and the remaining added mainly by one or two cartographers then there are important conclusions to be made. These numbers are most important than any other vanity metrics.
Proof of Use looks like a good way to kickstart an ecosystem. FOAM is one of the most widely used TCRs.
There is a growth opportunity to engage the remaining ICO participants before all of the tokens are unlocked (which happens 1 year after distribution). The maximum height of the blue line is 10,020.
Most points are not related to PoU. Especially recently, the points contributing to PoU (defined as an ICO participant’s first 10 points) are almost negligible. You can see in the graph how the blue line has flattened as the orange line grows.
Andrew’s contributions are impressive and represent about 5% of the points on the map.
I think these numbers are impressive for an experimental TCR project. There is no direct incentive to add points in this version of the protocol. There has been no major campaign to incentivise adding points in bulk. There have been no mass upload of points. Yet, the map has 5k+ carefully crafted points added with no relation to PoU.
The side of the ecosystem with direct incentives – the speed and effectiveness of challenges (i.e. data validation) – is also worth paying attention to. These super engaged early cartographers are still having their points successfully challenged about 5% of the time. @Elvo is an example of a super thorough researcher on this side of the ecosystem.
Data validation is valuable and FOAM does it well.
Thanks a lot for your very detailed answer full of interesting insights on FOAM. it helps understanding much better where the TCR is at the moment even if some great improvements could be made to collect the data that really matter and represent them in a way which is not misleading. I will develop on this later but I will first go through your answer and continue the discussion based on it to make this thread more useful.
First of all, it’s surprising to see that 40% of token sale participants have not participated in the map, almost one year after the token sale it’s a lot. It’s very important for FOAM team and blocklytics to understand what might be the reasons. Did they lose interest in the project ? Are they holders of big/small amounts of FOAM ? Did they forget about POU because they are long term holders ? Are they concentrated in some countries ? There is likely one main reason for all of the 40% people and knowing it is important to know what has been missing to engage them. Again, 40% is a lot almost one year after the token sale.
This is also very interesting. It seemed to me that most were related to POU because there are very few new users coming to the map and after checking on FOAM tools it looked like most part of new users were doing their POU. However this number alone is not enough to analyse and understand what’s really going on with this POIs added outside of POU. Indeed, they could be added for many different reasons and by different people. What triggers people to add them ? Is there a similar trigger ? How many people add them ? Do they add them following POU and then leave the map and doesn’t come back ? This is important to know because this POIs have been added for specific reasons that can help acquire and retain users, understanding WHY is the key.
This is not surprising but sad news for FOAM members. The hard truth must be said, almost one year after the token sale almost no new users is coming to participate in the map. There is clearly something missing here and something big. It is not surprising though because no efforts have been made by the team to pursue traction and build a rock solid community as I developed in my other thread Why FOAM team is only focused on technology development and not on product/market fit and growth? Product/market fit and growth NEVER happen by accident.
I don’t believe POU alone is a good way to kickstart an ecosystem. I think it’s a good way to gather early feedback, analyse it and generate the first feedback loops to iterate quickly on the product. What matters is engagement and retention. POU doesn’t help kickstart an ecosystem if it’s not integrated in feedback loops to retain users and keep engaging them. Otherwise the bucket is leaky and very well targeted users leave and don’t look back. This happened to FOAM and it’s no surprise if you link POU to the AARRR framework. Proof of use helps acquiring users (A), activating users(A), but has nothing to do with retention, referrals, and revenue (RRR).
It’s not the first time that I read that FOAM is the most widely used TCR and it’s nice that FOAM is a pioneer and leader in this new experiment. While it might be interesting to use such “buzzwords” for marketing or for the general public, if we are honest being the biggest of a small category doesn’t mean much. It may help feeling good to say so but what matters is again traction/growth.
I would like now to make some suggestions and explain why the data you collect are not what really matters and how the way they are represented is misleading. Your graph is always going to go straight up to the right. This is clearly misleading. I know it’s not done on purpose which is often the case with vanity metrics. For example the most commonly know is showing a graph of new users acquired growing months after months because they are added like you did on the graph but in reality this tells nothing about growth and retention.
More precisely, Let’s consider 5 consecutive months with : 10000 POIs added, then 7000, 4000, 2000, 1000. There is clearly something happening here. Numbers of POIs added are the key metric for static proof of location and in this case less and less are added and it would be extremely important to know why because the situation is alarming and again what matters is growth and usage. However in your graph it would still be nice to see it go straight up to the right. Everything will look good but in reality less and less POIs are added. What matters is what happens month after month or weeks after weeks. Another thing is that it’s hard to assess this data without the number of new users and returning users month after month or week after week. A total of 1000 POIs added by 5 people is clearly not the same as 1000 POIs added by 100 people. If there are mainly returning users retention is working and this is incredible news, if they come from users that never come back some works need to be done for retention. I think these examples are explicit to understand why this graph is misleading, it gives very few data and they can’t be analyzed because it tells a very tiny part of the whole story.
That being said I love the work you do with blocklytics and would love your tools showing to show data that matter the most in the most accurate way even if it doesn’t look or feel as good as a curve going straight to the top right corner. You have done an amazing job with blocklytics so thank you again and thank you also for your answer which still helped me understand a bit better what’s going on with the TCR usage.
The purpose of the first chart (cumulative points over time) is to show motivation of cartographers. If you want to see monthly breakdowns or retention charts, this isn’t the right tool. We are adding a statistics section to foam.tools, so you can look forward to that and hopefully offer more feedback about what data is included. In the meantime, map data is open/available in many places including the FOAM API.
Agreed. And I see the team and community working on it – there are examples of engagement campaigns (e.g. Scavenger Hunts, badges) and UX improvements (e.g. challenge alert emails and storing reveal phrases).
The map has a severe new user onboarding challenge. New users have to own Ethereum, install Metamask and acquire FOAM – all before interacting with the map. The new Uniswap widget is big step in the right direction, along with the extensive new user guides that @Katya_Zavyalova recently posted.
I think the reason ICO participants are making up so much activity is that the sale and map captured the overlap between mapping enthusiasts and cryptocurrency enthusiasts. The growth challenge will be to figure out how to engage enthusiasts outside of that overlap. I’m hopeful that you will help by posting some growth ideas.
First of all I would like to thank you a lot for engaging in this thread. I do really appreciate it. It used to be great when @Ryan_foam was more involved with the community to engage in discussion.
I will insist by saying that by essence this chart is biased and misleading. It actually doesn’t show motivation of cartographers. I insist because it is fundamentally biased and I don’t ask you to believe me. You can ask any sound entrepreneur, VC, or growth hacker they will tell you. What is “dangerous” with data is that they can easily be wrongly analyzed and in particular in a way that shows you what you want to see.
To show motivation of cartographers cohorts of users have to be used to analyse retention and number of POIs added by cartographer on a weekly/monthly basis. I will use again my previous example, if less and less POIs are added on a weekly/monthly basis this lack of motivation will not show in your graph. Even worse, if no user comes back to the map because there is no retention (the bucket is leaky) but you have a good traction channel to acquire users then you can have a ton of new users each week/month and more POIs but they never come back because they lack motivation/incentive. This will not show on your graph in fact it will go nicely to the top right corner.
wow, that’s good news ! you are doing an amazing job. I can’t wait to get a better understanding of FOAM usage and bottlenecks with your tools by analysing data that really matter.
This comment has drawn my attention very much and raised a lot of questions for me. How do you know the map has a sever new user onboarding challenge ? Is it something you and the team assume or is it a conclusion that comes from analysing data ? I agree with you there are friction and a few steps to make before adding a POI but one cannot assume this is the reason why almost no new users outside the token sale participants add POI. Fist of all how do you make the distinction between a curious visitor who visits the map and has no intent to add POI and someone who has the intent to add a POI but failed to do so because of the friction ? A user coming with the intent of adding a POI but not doing so because of the friction or anything that can happen in his mind would be the equivalent of a user going to an online business putting something in his cart and leave the site without paying (this can be analysed with data) or it could be someone registering to a social platform and then not making the first tweet or message. In these cases the user has been acquired but not activated (see AARRR framework). If I say that it is because I have the feeling with your comment that FOAM team assumes that friction is a big problem to onboard new users whereas I do think most users coming to the map have no intent to add POI and that they are not well targeted users. Friction can user behavior can only be analysed with a big enough sample of users. If a significant number of new users came to the map with the intent of adding a new POI and starting doing it but not finishing it then conclusions/decisions can be made on friction.
It all comes back to WHY new users come to the map ? There are different reasons, not all users are equal.
WHY would they add a POI ? the FOAM team has studied theoretically incentives but they have to understand that theory and actual usage are two different worlds. So it’s important to always ask this question WHY would someone add a POI ? If the reason to add a POI is important enough for a user then friction will not be a big deal for him because the efforts will be worth it. Of course it’s important to work on friction I’m just trying to put things in perspective here. Think 80/20 and chronology, have the image of a funnel in mind for the user’s journey.
I strongly disagree Caleb regarding the high activity of token sale participants (agree with you for the overlap of mapping/crypto) and it’s important to see things as they are. Again, if most activity one the map is made by token sale participants, which happened one year ago, one year is a lot, it’s only because growth and product/market fit has not been a priority and probably not taken seriously enough by the team. For example did the team made qualitative interview to the most enthusiastic cartographers to engage with them and understand their motivation ? Do they know why @AAbranches add so many points and his thoughts on FOAM strenghts/weaknesses/challenges ? Do they know why @Elvo put so much efforts in curating the map ? Do they know why @cryptozen added so many points to the map in a short amount of time and then didn’t come back to add POIs and what was his motivation and what he deeply thinks of his experience as cartographer ? This is invaluable insights that can only be gathered with interviews and has to be done by the founding team, they can’t just assume they love the map and all is good. Another thing is I’ve never seen a questionnaire sent to all token sale participants with questions regarding their experience with adding POIs and what they think of the map : UX, engagement, strength, weakeness, challenge, motivation, incentive … This is one of the many reasons I say the team is not focused on growth and that’s a big and dangerous mistake. Invaluable insights and data are not gathered and leveraged in order to grow FOAM. In other words, there has not been any feedback loop in place for FOAM growth.
Startups take off because founders make them take off A good metaphor would be the cranks that car engines had before they got electric starters. Once the engine was going, it would keep going, but there was a separate and laborious process to get it going.
The growth of the FOAM map will start when the team starts doing things that don’t scale which means in this case by manually recruiting users.
This can only be done by carrying out a ton of growth experiments on a weekly basis to see what traction channels work the best. It cannot be guessed. People have no idea how many experiments AirBnB founders made during 18 months before product/market fit. They made thousands and thousands relentlessly in both a scientific and a creative approach but most important with a growth mindset. Not everyone has a growth mindset yet everyone in a startup has to be focused on growth. Everyone. That’s the paradox.
I could and might do it when I see that growth becomes the focus. It would be very time consuming for me and I’ve already spent much of my attention in the past 18 months on FOAM only to see less and less people involved and no new users. I’m personally losing momentum in my involvement to be honest. That being said getting growth ideas is not a big deal, what’s important is to have a process in place to carry out growth experiment at all time to see what works or not.
I will give you some general ideas. For a marketplace the supply side is very often manually forced (think Uber) this would mean in the case of FOAM to manually force the addition of POIs so that there are enough in a concentrated area to create demand for them and start producing network effects and an ecosystem with supply and demand. Another famous growth hack for marketplace is to grow on the back of a leading platform (think AirBnB with Craiglist or paypal with ebay) this would mean for FOAM to find a growth hack to attract users from leading open source maps and drive them to FOAM.