The Splicious team has wrestled with what to lead with in attempting to get their message out to more people. Recently, someone gave us some outlier feedback that we felt was well worth discussing. He suggested that the biggest differentiator of the Splicious offering was our approach to distributed identity. Of all the engagement from potential users, his is effectively the lone voice. What we've gotten back, repeatedly, from user engagement is that there's a pretty big bifurcation in the market.
- Those that are interested in the use of cryptocurrency to increase their ability to trade with others.
- Those that are concerned about privacy and identity on the Internet.
If our sample size is representative, the first category is many times larger than the second. The second actually decomposes into two subcategories: the hacker/cryptocommunity and the wealthy. Both groups are exceedingly small in numbers. The average person is happy to make wry jokes about the Snowden revelations on FaceBook, but that is more or less the extent of the engagement (and implied level of concern) we are able to observe in most folks.
Clearly, many people have an in-built urge to share their observations, insights, thoughts and feelings and to feel received through a simple feedback mechanism, an expression of sentiment, such as clicking the "like" or "+1" button. Basically, people have an urge to connect and feel connected. The social media matches this urge relatively well.
What's especially sticky in the modern social media experience is the ratio of attention to reward. For a small output of attention (read a short post, click the like button; make a short post, check to see who's liked it) people get an enormous pay-off: they feel connected to community. We hypothesize this provides an important indicator for how to take this a little farther: make small increases on the demand for attention at the point of contact.
The feedback we've gotten from people who do engage is that extending the basic social media framework with a small delta, where the action of expressing sentiment is linked to the transfer of a small amount of money -- like a mBTC (roughly 50c) or smaller -- resonates. Once this notion lands people can see other opportunities for themselves: crowdfunding of very simple and small activities, like writing a song, or taking a photo; microfinancing a small project; and, more generally, engaging in a distributed marketplace.
While much of the hard work has been about
- making the platform truly distributed,
- addressing privacy and security,
- working out a mathematically sound model that informs:
- the programming model,
- the architecture, and
- means to express, reason about, and mechanically enforce privacy and security policies