Editor’s note: Andreessen Horowitz Crypto startup school To learn about the creation of crypto companies in a seven-week course in the U.S. And about 45 participants from abroad were brought together. Andreessen Horowitz is partnering with TipsClear to release an online version of the course over the next few weeks.
In week four of A16z’s crypto startup school, the spotlight shifts to companies being built by growing communities of users, developers and employees in a decentralized context.
In a virtual fireside chat, 16z general partner Chris Dixon and GithHub and Chatterbug co-founder Tom Preston-Werner discuss “building companies and developer communities.”
Preston-Werner explains how open-source ethos is a great way to build social virility among developers, and how GithHub’s clean, developer-centric interface embraces it widely and allows developers to demand it within their organizations Caused to do.
He also offers marketing lessons from the early days of GitHub, when the company used informal methods of building community in a bid to create a “superfan”.
He urges the founders to see a company’s brand as an expression of its core beliefs, with a focus on how it helps its users succeed. People put stickers on their laptops or wear company t-shirts, “because what they believe they are communicating to others with that sticker or shirt … is a shortcut to communicating values. “
In the second video, J16 Walden, a former a16z investment partner and co-founder of MediaChain, and the founder and CEO of the compound, Robert Lesnar, do “Dive Dive on Decentralization”.
Walden begins with a playbook for progressive decentralization – the process by which crypto project creators build a useful product, build a community around that product, and then gradually hand over control of the mature network to the community Give. This process is in keeping with the cooperative model of crypto networks, which drive rapid, complex innovation through improved alignment of incentives and open participation.
Lesher follows with a case study of his experiences at the compound, an automated money market for crypto assets in which lenders and borrowers can come together for transactions without the involvement of third parties. Compound, one of the first crypto projects to move forward through the full progressive decentralization model, created a thriving community of third-party application developers who have set up shop on top of the compound’s smart-contract protocol.
The compound team has gradually brought this community forward into the internal workings of the protocol; In the final stages before handing over to the community, the founding team made changes in a transparent manner, with greater reliance on community input, and created a sandbox to be used to test governance mechanisms. Decentralizing “allows protocols to live forever,” says Lasher, who promotes innovation because developers can rely on protocols with their businesses and livelihoods.
In the final video for week four, Tina Ferguson of A16z’s Tech Talent and People Practice team provides guidance on “managing a distributed workforce”. Due to the decentralized mindset and evolving business model at the heart of crypto, founders and managers face unique challenges. For example, in such a high-speed location, it is important to appoint someone who has the right skills and will adapt to what is required in 12-18 months.
Compensation, which may involve the allocation of tokens instead of more-traditional shares, also needs attention. When hiring in other countries, teams should consider employment laws, as well as use professional employer organizations (PEOs) to move quickly through local contacts on important work. Finally, real-time feedback in a distributed workforce is particularly important, as is the clear and timely dissemination of information.