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Breakpoint 2023: How to Build Products and Influence Users

Chris Abi-Aad discusses the key principles of developing strong crypto products and capturing users' attention.

The notes below are AI generated and may not be 100% accurate. Watch the video to be sure!

Summary

At the Breakpoint 2023 event, Chris Abi-Aad, founder of Frens Capital, shares his insights on how to build compelling crypto products that resonate with users. With his background in both traditional web (Web 2.0) and the emerging decentralized web (Web 3.0), Chris brings a holistic view on product development that is grounded in core digital product principles. His speech emphasizes the importance of solving real, pressing problems for a carefully targeted audience, creating solutions that deliver exceptional value, and crafting a narrative that connects users from the problem to the solution. Chris outlines strategic frameworks and growth strategies while comparing the crypto user landscape to the broader web user base, highlighting the challenges and opportunities in extending crypto adoption.

Key Points:

The Foundation of Crypto Product Building

Chris begins by affirming that crypto products are a specific type of digital product and, as such, must adhere to the fundamental principles of digital product development. To create products that will resonate with users, developers should start by focusing on a critical, well-defined problem. He insists that solutions should be proposed only after deeply understanding the problem, and they should be measurably better than existing offerings either in speed, cost, or efficiency. A product narrative that guides a user from having an issue to finding a resolution is critical for success.

Framework for Evaluating Use Cases

Chris introduces a framework used in his Web 2.0 experience, involving three axes to evaluate a product's potential: the breadth of the audience it serves, frequency of use, and the value it adds. He gives examples like Helium's data plans and Drip's collectibles platform. Striving for excellence in at least one of these dimensions can position a product to address niche markets effectively before scaling more widely.

Market Strategy in Web3 versus Web2

Further, Chris compares the crypto user base to that of traditional web users, illustrating the relative size and composition. There are 3.5 million daily active addresses in Web3, contrasted with Chess.com's 20 million daily users, and the greater Web2 space's billions of users. He suggests that crypto projects should initially target a small, precise market segment—the 'wedge'—before expanding. The strategy depends on the product type; for example, consumer apps might start with a Web2 audience, while a DeFi project might focus on the existing 420 million token holders.

Understanding and Building Traction

The talk delves into building the traction necessary for a product's success by focusing on usage and value. Chris touches upon the "toothbrush test" for evaluating usage frequency and categorizes products based on their habitual use. He concludes by stressing the importance of understanding where a product falls on this spectrum to maximize engagement, alongside delivering superior value.

Facts + Figures

  • Chris Abi-Aad is the founder of Frens Capital, a liquid token fund.
  • His background includes 10 years in Web 2.0 before transitioning into the crypto space.
  • Chris presents a three-axis framework based on audience size, usage frequency, and value addition to evaluate product use cases.
  • Examples given include Helium (offering affordable data plans) and Drip (connecting creators with audiences).
  • Chess.com, a non-crypto site, boasts 20 million daily active users, far exceeding the 3.5 million daily active addresses in Web3.
  • The crypto space has around 420 million token holders.
  • The entire Web2 user base amounts to roughly 5.3 billion users.
  • For building traction, He introduces the "toothbrush test" to measure product usage frequency.
  • Categorizes products as high-value (like crypto payments), medium-value (like Netflix), or low-value (like street coffee).

Top quotes

  • "Crypto products are a subset of digital products and should abide by most core principles of building digital products."
  • "It's very important to think about a problem in a specific way, to think about a very focused audience, and that problem should be extremely dire to the user, a real problem."
  • "Build a narrative complete product."
  • "Your hypothesis solution should be better, faster, cheaper, not all three but it should add value to what exists already."
  • "Let's get building and thank you for having me."

Questions Answered

How should creators approach building crypto products?

When creating crypto products, developers should focus on real, pressing problems faced by users. The offered solution should be 10x better than existing options and it must create a compelling narrative that guides users from encountering a problem to finding a solution.

What are the critical axes for evaluating a crypto product's potential use case?

A product's potential success can be evaluated on three axes: the size of the audience it can serve, the frequency with which the audience will use the product, and the value the product offers compared to alternatives. Excelling in at least one of these areas can distinguish a successful product.

How can a crypto product gain market traction?

To gain traction, crypto products should either be used frequently, like a toothbrush, or provide significant value, like borderless crypto payments. Understanding where a product sits on this spectrum can guide strategies for building and maintaining user engagement.

What role do narrative and storytelling play in product development?

Narrative and storytelling are vital in product development. They link each stage of the user's journey, forming a cohesive experience that convincingly transitions a user from having a problem to utilizing the product's solution effectively.

What's the significance of understanding the size and composition of the crypto user base?

Understanding the size and composition of the crypto user base helps tailor a go-to-market strategy. A smaller, fragmented user base like Web3's necessitates starting with a significant "wedge" and addressing a specific problem before expanding.