Go to Market aka Go to World strategies

There is a lot of talk in the forum lately about “product market fit”. For Flock as a program to be most resource efficient in achieving product market fit (and defining our milestones toward that path), it would cut costs and reduce redundancy to talk about this more as a community.

There are aspects of these “deal flows” that are important to keep private (such as potential organizations we are aiming to onboard), but I think execution and implementation should perhaps be shared more publicly, especially if our vision is about changing the world and not necessarily competing with other DAO platforms. We have a pretty solid community and I’d hope that a combination of transparency and passion will overlook any fear about competitive products in the Ethereum landscape since the market is much larger than crypto projects. But if our “target market” as a network in the next 1 year should only be crypto projects, then let’s spell that out too. I know this has been discussed in strategy calls but I don’t think there has been any kind of hard rule about this.

I have some ideas brewing that I’ll share as soon as I have the space to braindump & document them, but wanted to put this post out there so others can start to document and share theirs too. With both Fundraising and Open Enterprise going live in a few weeks, alongside Dandelion and EmpowerTheDAO – we will be able to implement common strategies on a pretty diverse market. Launching apps isn’t enough, nor are blogs, tweets, talks and one-on-one meetings.

While these are all important, if they are done in an ad-hoc manner, outcomes are not shared, and Flock teams are not on the same page about product roadmaps – then I think it will take longer to reach our goals. We can maximize our potential with more synergy and in turn accelerate the impact we have on the world with more cross-collaboration and uplifting each other along the way, balanced with some constructive criticism and healthy conflict. (While whatever has happened on the forum in the past week may have seemed important or useful, I think we can do better. I know I personally said many things I regret and things were said to me as well that lead toward a depression, crying, and being unable to be productive but I have snapped out of it now and feeling much more clarity.)

Additionally, I’d like to hope that Aragon’s goal is not for Flock teams to compete with each other for funding every 3 months, but instead to bring this technology in the hands of those people that need it most. I’d like to believe that the Donald Trump “You’re Fired” mentality isn’t the one that we want to live out in Aragon. This will happen faster if we don’t operate in silos. Let’s really make use of the time that many of us are going to be dedicating in working groups and try to connect the dots more between Strategy, Product, and Nest.

Regarding Go to Market specifically, here are helpful links that come up via search - but please share other links or books (maybe your notes from them to accelerate information dissemination) that you think are good:

BTW I propose we call this “Go to World strategies” and “Product World Fit” and come up with other complimentary terms that are less about profit maximization and market domination :slight_smile:


Hi Yalda! A lot to unpack here. First I want to address something in your post that stood out as alarming to me:

It disappoints me to hear that posts in the forum (or any other venue for that matter) are causing such a strong, negative emotional reaction. While I have my guesses as to what you’re specifically referring to, if there is a specific post (or posts) that you can point to (my DMs are open here, arachat, keybase) I would like to be able to try and help fix any communication issues that are happening in the community. This would also help me formulate my own response to the various threads about Flock that have come up recently. We don’t have to dwell on this here in this thread, I just wanted to touch on that before moving on because I think it deserves proper attention.

Indeed I think this is an important topic, and one that I want to coordinate on more between Flock teams and the broader Aragon Network organization. Aragon One has published its thesis and the “Araplan” for adoption here: https://blog.aragon.one/araplan/ but I agree that beyond the blog post and calls and tweets and other more “ephemeral” communications there should be a more systematic way to track and update progress towards the goal of “product-market fit”. I actually have a blog post in the works currently based on a workshop we had at the last A1 offsite that describes my proposal for how we will do just that. I expect the post to be published in the next week or so.

Thank you for bringing up discussion about the term “product-market fit”! It is a term I personally don’t mind, and actually find appropriate for this context. Even for products that don’t aim to directly make a profit, they still exist within a “market” in a broader sense, where users have to make choices about which products to use or not, which products to financially support or not, which products to contribute to the open-source development of or not, etc. So just as for-profit products compete for a limited supply of customers in their market, non-profit products are also competing for a limited supply of users, donations, volunteer contributions, etc in their market. (And to be clear, I put Aragon and the Aragon Court more in the “for-profit” bucket of products than non-profit. I did not sign up to work for a charity and I’m sure ANT holders didn’t either!)

If the word “market” seems too constraining due to its association with trade and the cash nexus (as opposed to a commons or free-as-in-beer software) then we could instead refer to what we are currently calling “product-market fit” as “product-user fit”. “Product-world fit” seems too big, like the product is “trying to be everything to everybody”. When really, what we want to say is we are building “a specific something that is valuable to a specific someone”. Again, my preference is that we stick with the well-understood “product-market fit” term but in the interest of using shared language we are all comfortable with, that would be my proposed alternative.

While my own preference is that Flock teams work together as much as possible to achieve the goals of the Network and that we try to work together to avoid competitive dynamics in budgeting, it cannot be denied that we as Flock teams are “competing” for a limited supply of funds.

This doesn’t mean we have to resort to aggressive “competitive” tactics, such as undercutting each other, using information asymmetry to our advantage, poaching customers and employees, etc. There are classy ways of competing, for example the way respected athletes compete against each other or the way different stores in a retail chain might “compete” to get the best customer satisfaction ratings. But it is a kind of competition nonetheless.

ANT holders have a limited amount of funds to allocate, and have to decide which teams or individuals are more worthy of receiving it. There is an inherently competitive dynamic here that doesn’t go away so long as funding is scarce. (At least, that is how I see it right now! Open to having my mind changed on this.)


Can you please explain what you mean here?

There’s definitely some positive-sum value creation, but I forsee Aragon absorbing literally every new governance/DAO mechanism. As shown by Dandelion Orgs recreating MolochDAO, we can recreate the functionality of other DAOs as modular composable Aragon apps. Aragon is a platform that benefits from network effects. We are directly competing with, absorbing, and aiming to take market share (users, developers, etc…) from other platforms. It’s just what platforms do ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Again… I don’t think it’s a problem. We can literally just sit back, watch the experiments play out, then recreate the good ones on Aragon. We can do so in a way that’s costs us much less in r&d than the original team. We will also be able to do this in a way that more modular, secure, and easier to deploy and use than the original implementation. Open source software has no defensible moats, but platforms do. It’s a really simple game, and Aragon is positioned to literally crush the market.

This is news to me… Agree that this needs to be discussed more thoroughly.

  • Why have discussions steered in this direction vs others?
  • Is there a subset of the “crypto market” that we’re targeting as an initial beachhead?
  • Do we have confirmation that these people want modular, composable, pre-built DAOs? Or do they just like DAOs, but want to experiment and build their own (as devs tend to do)?

I love the idea of collaborative positive-sum value creation. That does not exclude profitability. We cannot ignore the realities of game theory, efficient markets, and competition.

Altruism does not scale. It’s fragile. There’s no incentives to solve hard problems or do the unsexy work that keeps everything running. There’s no value capture. There’s no sustainabilty.

If we want to survive, and create long term value for all parties involved, we need game theoretically strong cryptoeconomic incentive models that are robust against competition. We need to drive utility, value, and price action to ANT. We need to support our community, but make sure that support comes full circle.

  • Short term: we need to invest in projects that improve the value proposition of Aragon with lower costs, more apps, and faster onboarding for devs and users.
  • Medium term: we need to create more ANT related services (like Court) that drive utility and holding/staking value to ANT.
  • Long term: we need to support projects that actually have a business model so that Aragon can participate in the upside of those projects via positive cash flows, token price appreciation, and governance votes to keep projects on track.
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Glad to hear there is interest in there being more coordination here! I’m looking forward to the blog post and learning more about your ideas.

Good point :joy: I am very curious about the financial projections of the court subscription pricing model, is that shared somewhere or will you have details in your blog post?

I think I’m slowly being convinced that “product market fit” is acceptable. :slight_smile:

I guess what we are developing is so vast and there are so many markets. In the AraPlan it says “Aggressively target a particular use case to drive adoption.” Some possible targets are:

  • An organization that hasn’t raised money yet (but is familiar with crypto)
  • An organization that hasn’t raised money yet (but is not familiar with crypto)
  • An organization that already has raised funds in crypto (and has an ERC-20)

TBH I’m not entirely clear which use case is the one that is being targeted the most.

Indeed teams are competing for a limited supply of funds, but that’s more reason to collaborate more closely to bring in external revenue streams! Sometimes when organizations like cooperatives run out of money, certain cooperative members realize that it’s better off for the organization if they took a step back from receiving pay until the organization can raise more funds or bring in more profit. With this mentality, people will still be encouraged to contribute when the treasury is slim and determine other creative ways to participate in the development of the technology.

Yeah, I really hope not! And inter-flock poaching sounds really difficult to grok, I hope we have more clear policies and mechanisms in place to handle situations where people may feel more aligned with another team.

Yeah, I see your point. And the dynamics of Flock are going to change a lot once a budget is imposed. It may mean that a year from now, there’s only funding for one Flock team. Other teams that exist now can accept & recognize that… I don’t think that will mean that the teams that don’t make the cut are incompetent and shouldn’t contribute to Aragon anymore (since it’s much more than something we are trying to sell).

If that is going to be our financial projection (by 2020, maybe a single Flock team, esp. with a market crash), then I think it’s in the best interest of the network to determine how to not lose the talent since a significant investment will have been made. Accepting these possible realities will allow us to hone in on “go to market” strategies that don’t have to result in a reduction in headcount. I think the way that a large organization works is they try to do whatever possible to keep growing (or raising capital) so they don’t have to lay off their workforce.

For example if someone in Autark is talking to MarsCorp about using Aragon and they are also evaluating DAObox, then we don’t want to have information/notes about MarsCorp in some “open and transparent” location. Burrrata may be like “Let’s not waste time with MarsCorp, it seems like they are more interested in DAObox”. Know what I’m saying?

I’m not convinced that trying to just build every mechanism in Aragon because it’s becoming a trend is how you “absorb” markets. At some point, with respect to “Go to Market” we will want to have a few case studies for a few successful mechanisms, and then focus on improving the products and features to support the users that are adopting them. This is the path were I see grants programs such as Nest moving away from funding application developers and instead toward “seeding DAOs” that are using the applications that have already been developed. I will be writing about this more in my GTM strategy.

Sitting back & copying – I guess that is your strategy :slight_smile: I don’t think crushing markets are simple, no matter how sexy and powerful our tools are. Some products are just ahead of their time and utterly fail because they aren’t grounded in what the market really wants or needs. I mean we all know about the dot-com bubble & maybe you have seen this Ted talk too hehe:

I’m also looking for more details here on if there was any conclusion. You can read through some of the Strategy WG call notes: https://wiki.aragon.org/working-groups/meeting-notes/strategy-wg/Strategycall20190802/

Yeah, but the most successful internet products have been developed without any immediate monetization strategies. I think building and growing the network of users is the most important thing, after we have users we will start to figure out more what it is they would pay for and in turn what market we are actually competing in. Do we seriously know what Aragon Users are going to wish for once we have like 100,000 active users? Maybe they’d love to pay to pin their IPFS data, and they love decentralized discussions and have so much UGC. Maybe since they are having decentralized discussions they’d also love to pay to have centralized caching. Maybe they’d love to pay for a Court. We really really really don’t know what the top service demand will be. We can make bets but I think they would just be nothing more than that.

Needing “game theoretically strong cryptoeconomic incentive models that are robust against competition” implies there is a specific target market you have in mind here. Not all organizations need special models that are unique to our platform to successfully operate an Aragon Organization.

These are good ideas – I think as far as GTM goes, it may make more sense to think about the users of the platform first; then we determine what we need to do as a Network to allocate resources to meet their needs:

  • do they need more apps?
  • do they want the existing apps to have more features?
  • do they need improvements to the client?

A go-to-market strategy implies finding paying customers. If you’re only looking for users, then you need to monitize those users through some other means. GAFA has done this quite well, but the effects on society have not been ideal. Web3 is kind of a back lash against that. The idea is that users control their data and cryptoeconomic token models align incentives and provide capital to the network. There’s a slight problem though… open source software is not defensible. Platforms, however, are defensible. You can build a platform around an open source protocol and profit immensely. GitHub and GitLab are doing this today.

If the Aragon community wants to be sustainable, Aragon needs to drive value to ANT. This means goods and services related to ANT. How is Aragon going to do that?

First, make Aragon the go-to platform for anything DAO related. When someone asks “where should I go to build a DAO?” there should be no answer other than Aragon. Why? Because Aragon is easier to use, has all the apps and things you would ever need, and it’s more secure. You can trust that the time and money you spend on Aragon will result in something you want. OpenLaw is using Aragon to build legally compliant Web3 LLCs. 1Hive is using Aragon to support anonymous contributions to the open source commons. The da0 is using Aragon to build a decentralized venture fund with limited partners and a support network of entrepreneurs. The power of Aragon is in the platform, not any specific use case. The more apps that get added the more use cases that are possible. This creates network effects.

Second, make ANT valuable. The Aragon platform is defensible, but it’s not sustainable. Aragon needs to create services around Aragon that drive value to ANT. Currently this is the ability to vote in ANVs to allocate treasury funds. Soon that will also include Court services. In the future more services will be added to make people want to buy and hold ANT.

Third, once ANT is valuable there will be a bigger pie to share. ANT holders will be able to give out smaller pieces of that pie to reward contributors and fund development. DAOs and ANT related services will earn hold, and spend ANT. ANT will have fundamental value beyond speculation and the community will be aligned to increase the value of ANT. This community will participate in ANVs to manage and support ANT and the Aragon ecosystem. Then Aragon is free. Free to fight for freedom beyond a limited and shrinking runway of DAI.

Freemium is a pricing strategy that doesn’t require surveillance. And indeed the way we look at this is different in the web3 world, but I don’t think that means we can’t use the same methods and adapt them.

Aragon can be positioned in a lot of different ways. We can brainstorm for days and years about all of the possibilities of the platform.

But right now a user without any cli skills (target market?) can only create DAOs that fit a few different use cases based on the onboarding templates that are hand-picked and included on mainnet.aragon.org. Right now we don’t have any method to determine the order in which the templates are listed there. Should it be sorted by popularity, etc.? These are some things we need to think through and define as it’s one of our major touchpoints.

While driving value for ANT is super important, I think it’s really really difficult to predict and plan for the growth in price of a volatile crypto asset such that this strategy can sustain your workforce. So personally wouldn’t base a go-to-market plan on “more users, more ANT services” at least not until we have validated that such strategies can lead toward sustainable models in the near-term.

In my mind, I’m like – “How can we get 100 people working full-time for Aragon by mid-2020?” (100 people… well, because there are a lot of apps that need building lolol and I’m a believer in a strategically planned and designed ‘suite’ approach)

“Let’s do x, y, and z … so we can 10x ANT” – I’m not really confident that we know how to model and plan for this in the next 9 months. How many users and ANT services do we need to 10x? Please, share some models and ideas!

The majority of Aragon’s treasury is in ETH! :stuck_out_tongue:

It’s been good to hear what is on your mind! I still have to take more time to document what is on my mind, but this is a nice brainstorm :slight_smile:

Pulling a quote from a previous thread/post of mine on a similar subject:

I still feel like that is the right path, I think its much easier to think about value capture after you have created lots of value.

Value capture may deserve some more attention because we likely need to innovate on business models since we are building open source tools on public blockchain networks where data is decentralized and portable.

However, there already seems to be enough reasonably compelling possible avenues to capture value that if we can just start to attract a critical mass of users to the platform we should be in good shape. I think the most important thing right now is to get that initial adoption, and make those initial users highly successful, because if Aragon is the reason they are so successful it should be relatively trivial to find a positive sum way to have some of that value flow to Aragon and ANT.


I think the problem I am finding right now it’s not clear who our target user is and if flock teams should focus on different target users.

The target user defines:

  • The design of the entry point to the product (right now, I can’t figure out on mainnet.aragon.org how to open the “product walk through” screen that I saw on the 0.8 launch, actually. The content here is important. Are we catering toward the 80 active organizations, or new users that learn about Aragon.)
  • The target user defines the videos that we make when we launch products
  • The target user defines the words that we use in our communication

So the questions that come to mind are:

  • is our target user crypto projects? how large is the market of crypto projects that need governance tools (existing ones) and what is our predicted growth rate of new projects that will be created? do we have any existing market indicators in crypto project growth? ICOs have plummeted due to regulations. how is this regulatory challenge going to stand in the way of adoption? are we going to assist users with legal wrappers or are we going to suggest users to circumvent the law in their local jurisdiction? if the following, are we going to suggest they don’t use any personal identifying information and using mixnets so the government can’t crackdown on DAOs? lolol sorry, just using extreme examples here, but the users define the recommendations and advice we give them! the ones that are raising greater amounts of capital have more to risk if they aren’t being compliant, and if they are being compliant they are gonna want different tools to help with their corporate and accounting requirements.
  • Drilling down further - is our target crypto users that have already raised money, or ones that haven’t? or both?

Based on this number, how many new projects should we aim to onboard by Jan 2020?

Different targets have product and onboarding directions that are very different. They define different demos that we should be recording, they define different case studies we should be writing, they define the offering of templates or the offering of apps.

I think we really can’t talk about any other aspect of the plan until we lock this down. And until we lock down on if different teams should have different targets, and then if we do have different targets, how do we make generic the initial product discovery flows?

After we establish our target, we can look at the website aragon.org and see if the messaging is aligned with this target.

Let’s look at the example of the first thing we see now:

Aragon empowers you to freely organize and collaborate without borders or intermediaries.

–> “without borders and intermediaries” implies organizations that are global and not satisfied with the status quo and where “intermediaries” stand in the way of their mission.

What is the size of this of this market, 100 organizations?
So if it’s 100 organizations, what is “product-market-fit” for us?

This number then impacts what the real TAM for 2020 would be (based on our prediction of how many orgs exist in the market today) (Aragon Total Addressable Market)

This is just one point we can start to use as an example.

I think talking about anything else is secondary – we can’t form a strategy until this is cohesive.

If we want different Flock teams to be able to focus on different users, that means the flock teams need their own unique landing pages/entry points to the product. For example, should Autark’s be “openenterprise.com” or the like, so we can really hone in on the use case we are trying to solve with what we have built?

Or should Autark be developing applications that we think dispute-prone organizations we want (since Aragon One, has what, ~30% of dev power dedicated to court)? How do we define a dispute-prone organization? How many organizations exist where there are crypto org-to-crypto org financial relationships and organization governance in hands of token holders?

I KNOW the court is super important for our vision and dream of digital jurisdictions but we need to be grounded in reality for what the market size really is or the market even exists yet – are we creating a new market by convincing people that DAOs will reduce legal/accounting costs? this path is totally valid, as 10 Aragon DAOs can have super high impact on the world and shift paradigms, but this where we may have to give into that being product-market fit, and talk to our market so their DAOs can grow to 1 million people, and talk to them a lot and build features they need so they can grow to 1 million people. [disclaimer: this is where some of my Space Decentral bias is thrown in] 10 mega DAOs is a completely different strategy than 1000 DAOs with 100 members each.

Are we gonna be trying to convince people they really should be creating crypto orgs instead of a traditional one, because we have a court – is that what people are missing the most?

Alternatively, if we want aragon.org to address more projects than crypto organizations and we want it to be the product landing page for all flock teams, we have to consider messaging that is more like slack.com or carta.com. But right now aragon.org is assuming that people already know what the ethereum blockchain is, that people are familiar with blockchain ecosystem jargon, that people know what the product used to look like such that we are showcasing release numbers and talking about “updates” vs. focusing on core features and apps that can solve what may be their top problems.

So maybe non-crypto projects aren’t the goal for 2020? Based on calls, it doesn’t seem to be, based on aragon.org it doesn’t seem to be, and based on mainnet.aragon.org it doesn’t seem to be. Non-crypto projects need a lot more education and videos.

While I start bringing up these various points above I want to enforce that:

  • I am not suggesting Autark should go our separate way and build and market different landing pages or fork the client.
  • I think talking about the Court is important as it defines market size and how closely we want the product roadmaps of non-A1 Flock teams to be aligned with that vector.

If we talk about these expectations more, we may be close to reaching product-market-fit once we onboard like 10 more projects onto Aragon, or get like $100m in Aragon DAOs?

But we do need to define the success metric(s)

  • Money locked in DAOs?
  • Active organizations
  • Active users

And then how we define activity, and how we want to grow from Oct 2019 to Oct 2020.

By comparison, based on carta.com they say they have 12,000 organizations, 800,000 shareholders and “hundreds of billions of dollars in equity”.

So maybe crypto organization market size is 1% of traditional equity market that has carta has aquired onto their platform? So that is maybe 120 crypto orgs if we want to be really optimistic?

Sorry I am finding myself rambling and having many grammar issues that i’m too lazy to resolve at the moment. I want Autark to understand what is highest leverage, how we should prioritize our roadmap, how we should prioritize the type of users we talk to, and how that will align with the aragon.org website. I will probably try to edit this further than the 15 times I already have for clarity when it’s less late (my sleep schedule been wack). :slight_smile:

You’re quite right that the target market should inform everything we do, from product design to website messaging. This hasn’t been approached in nearly as systematic a fashion as it should be and has I believe been driven by “gut instinct” or even personal experience to date (edit: and of course delivering what we set out to deliver in the whitepaper and token sale pitch). Scratching one’s own itch is a good way to get initial adoption (by oneself!) but requires further investigation to see if that scales beyond patient zero. My forthcoming blog post will propose where we can go from here.

Related is the question about whether Flock teams should all pursue the same or different users. I’m averse to trying to get the current product to serve multiple disparate use cases at once right now. I want the product to serve one very specific valuable use-case very well. Then we can think about expanding. But this does not preclude Flock teams from building their own products that uniquely serve their own target use-cases. That is just not the path we have taken thus far.

I’m of two minds about this: on the one hand, I think it is too early for us to spread ourselves thin by building multiple products catered to different use-cases when we haven’t seen breakneck adoption by any single use-case yet. On the other hand, there’s an argument to be made that rapid experimentation and iteration will help us find that breakneck adoption use-case, and having parallel efforts working on different product ideas and markets could speed up the process. This is a strategic discussion that I think is worth having, especially in light of the discussions about budgeting and the efficiencies (or lack thereof) in the Flock program.


Product-User Fit Comes Before Product-Market Fit