[Thoughts #110] (Re)Engagement through Onboarding

PLUS: 🧑‍🎓 Student DAOs

In the world of Web3, everything is exciting. It’s (relatively) easy to generate hype and get folks to follow a Twitter account, or even join a Discord server. Getting the community to mint your NFT is harder in this environment, but minting out is still commonplace especially if the quality of the project is high and team is established.

IMO, the real challenge of building and fostering community is after the launch phase. How do you continue to continue engaging a community over a longer time horizon?

In the mobile app space, retention is one of the most important problems to solve. How do provide enough value so your customer continues to pay you over time?

It’s hard:



In Web3 (especially with NFTs), retention is an even more complex problem:

  • Most projects bring in a lot of speculators - How do you know who’s genuinely interested vs. pretending to show interest only to sell for a potential profit?

  • Multi-channel communication - Most NFT projects have multiple channels for communication. How do you coordinate comms across channels?

  • Competition for attention - You’re not the only project out there. Consumers are splitting time between dozens or even hundreds of other projects.


Hell if I know 🤷🏻‍♂️

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Jk, I have some thoughts about this (maybe for another time), but I bring this topic up because I wanted to share a tactic I haven’t seen before from one of the projects I am a holder of, Smolverse.

TLDR: Smolverse is one of the first projects from the Treasure ecosystem on the Arbitrum blockchain. Does Arbitrum sound familiar? Opensea had an announcement last week supporting Arbitrum NFTs.

OpenSea @opensea

1/ We’re excited to share that OpenSea will soon support @arbitrum! 💙🚀 This is a first step in building our goal of a web3 future where people have access to the NFTs they want on the chains they prefer.

3:46 PM ∙ Sep 20, 2022


Last week, I came across this announcement from Smolverse that caught my eye:

Why is this notable besides the fact that I haven’t seen this tactic before?

  1. The onboarding sessions are for new and returning members: The longer a NFT project is around, the higher the chance that holders fall off. Whether its due to personal, professional, or other reasons, it’s hard to keep up with everything going on.

  2. This is a live session: This provides a more personalized experience for participants if there are specific questions and will consist of the most up-to-date info on the project. 1 month is the Web3 equivalent of 1 year.

  3. This is a manual effort: I’m sure there are tools out there that can help automate aspects of these onboarding sessions, but at the end of the day this requires time and effort from the team and/or community to lead this initiative.

For the majority of the community (there are 16,511 members in the Discord), this is irrelevant, but the session is likely more valuable than reading a 20 page onboarding doc or overwhelming Notion site.

That doesn’t mean onboarding docs and Notions don’t provide value, but the reality is joining an established community or coming back to a community you’ve been MIA with is intimidating.

The new or returning members have missed out on weeks or months of announcements, inside jokes, and lore. How can communities help reintegrate new and returning members to go from intimidated to excited?

If you’ve watched Shawshank Redemption one of the characters, Brooks Hatlen, was released from decades in prison and went back to the real world. Since he was in prison for so long, the adjustment was so harsh he eventually committed suicide in the outside world.

Great movie, highly recommend

I hope not one goes on the path of Brooks Hatlen, but there are parallels in those emotions. These dynamics exist in the workplace too. How do new coworkers integrate with the existing team? How does a new remote employee integrate with an in-office and established team?

Of course more time helps, but I hope to see more efforts like Smol’s to help reintegrate churned members and new ones alike. If not, communities will have to rely on existing community members (aka buy more NFTs), or for new members to be motivated solely from a financial POV (purchasing a NFT because it’s a good investment, but aren’t actively participating).

A couple of additional examples of high-touch onboarding from personal experience:

  • Superhuman - Was a subscriber ~5 years ago, and one of the earlier examples of high-touch onboarding that I’m aware of in tech.

  • Eco - A Web3-centric neobank. Their high-touch onboarding process was memorable to me. Though I don’t use them (yet?), I hold them in high regard because of the experience and what I believe they will do with their ‘Eco points’ 😏

(Re)Engagement through community is hard, but one that’s worth thinking more about especially when it comes to retention. And plus, isn’t Web3 all about community?…

Student DAOs

Yesterday I came across this tweet (thanks Twitter algo lol)

Twitter avatar for @franklin_dao

FranklinDAO @franklin_dao

Introducing FranklinDAO: an off-campus organization for Penn students passionate about contributing to the web3/crypto ecosystem❤️‍🔥 Our members demonstrate vast industry experience and skills derived from our educational program. Learn more about it below!🧵👇

12:57 AM ∙ Sep 27, 2022


First of all, how awesome is it to be in college while Web3 is in its nascent stages? Community is one of the pillars of the College experience.

I still remember when I was a first semester Freshman, I joined a dozen clubs attending events for all the free food. Good times.

How does FranklinDAO operate?

  • Similar to a traditional club, there are various committees for members to contribute to: Development, Events, Governance, Investments, Operations, Research

  • Prior to joining, students are required to take part in an education program

  • The different committees combine real-world experience with their skills

    • Dev committee builds protocols/dapps for industry partners

    • Events committee sets up hackathons, competitions, fireside chats

    • Governance committee has delegates in different ecosystems like Uniswap, Maker, and Compound

This sorta reminds me of Dorm Room fund, a VC fund that is run by students and established by First Round Capital in 2012.

Digging in more, FranklinDAO is not just a lone operation. They’re supported by EduDAO.

…and EduDAO is an effort in partnership with BitDAO.

Some BitDAO partners:

$33 Million for EduDAO, awesome stuff.

The BitDAO treasury is a force to be reckoned with (they also raised a $230 private equity round in June 2021 by with some big names backing).

Wait…BitDAO just announced another ecosystem partner!

NICE! $6.50, I’ll take it!

See you tomorrow 🙂

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