I decided to repost this here because it is more related on growth and there are actionable suggestions made in it to grow FOAM and help the team understand that there must be a process in place to grow.
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.
The purpose of the first chart (cumulative points over time) is to show motivation of cartographers.
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.
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
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.
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_Zavyalovarecently posted.
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 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.
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 @cryptozenadded 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.
I will go further by saying that the team has to do things that don’t scale in reference to this essay of YC founder Paul Graham : do things that don’t scale
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.
The growth challenge will be to figure out how to engage enthusiasts outside of that overlap.
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’m hopeful that you will help by posting some growth ideas.
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.