Bootstrapping New Ecosystems Using Blockchain
Craig DeWitt has spent the past five years building the Internet of Value at Ripple where he’s been responsible for the strategic development of RippleNet, the world’s only enterprise blockchain solution for global payments. Previously, he worked at Bloomberg on the core platform of financial analytics products.
He recently spoke at a Product That Count hosted webinar and discussed how to leverage cutting edge emerging technologies, such as Digital Assets, to bootstrap new multisided ecosystems from scratch. The talk began with an overview of identifying the technological platform and moved on to deciding which of your stakeholders are customers vs. partners. From there, Craig discussed leveraging all three (platform, customer, partners) as instruments to build valuable ecosystems.
In the webinar, Craig DeWitt shared some insider insights from his time working on RippleNet on bootstrapping new ecosystems using blockchain technology. You can watch Craig’s entire webinar presentation above. Otherwise, the highlights are detailed below.
What is blockchain?
First, Craig made sure that the webinar attendees had a base understanding of blockchain. He even shared some of the current issues with it.
“A technology that allows truth without a central authority.”
- Peer to Peer interactions without a 3rd party arbiter of truth
- Relatively inefficient database in terms of cost and speed
- Difficult to scale on-chain functionality
“A platform for value transfer.”
What it takes to get kickstarted from zero to one
There are three steps to scaling a network business, but the first one is the hardest. That’s kickstarting it. Craig broke it down into two key aspects.
“There are two aspects of really bootstrapping your network and going from zero to one. The first aspect is delivering what is called your minimum viable happiness. So, a lot of people think about it in terms of MVP. Well, in terms of the network, when you have more than just the technical product, you got to think a little bit bigger in terms of the minimum viable happiness aspect.
The second piece is really getting the mix right of various participants so that participants can match on your network. And so that you can start getting the virtuous circles as you move on to the tip phase, which is phase two.”
On a problem with blockchain and how to avoid it
A problem some face with blockchain is that they try to do too much. Great product leaders should take note.
“A big mistake that consistently happens in the industry is that folks try to say they have a million different use cases. From my perspective, if you’ve come out on day one and say you have a million different use cases, you actually have exactly zero. Chances are, you’re not doing any of them well.
Step one, don’t boil the ocean. Focus on a use case, focus on a specified one use case that you think you can win. It doesn’t matter how big that use cases just as long as you can make the initial users meaningfully happier than the alternative. This allows you to really build a highly optimized experience for that specified niche. That’s your beachhead, that will become your toehold. Once you have happy users who want to talk about your platform in return, then it becomes easier to get the flywheel going. Easier to get recurring users in terms of measuring the minimum viable happiness that you’re bringing product managers.”