Successful Web3 Services Require More Than Code Strings


Mikael Koskimaa

Mikael Koskimaa

New businesses are entering the Web3 development space at remarkable speed. As startup companies rush to publish technical whitepapers for investors, the question of utility is often missed. While we are busy building the next big thing for the internet, we shouldn’t forget about the fundamentals of great design, which includes understanding who the end users are and what they want.

The general Web3 process goes something like this: you come up with an idea that could utilize blockchain technology and then write down a list of impressive features for the final product. This shopping list is then presented to investors who may bind you to deliver each item successfully. With this funding in hand, it’s time to endure one or more years of intensive labor to deliver the promised results.

This type of waterfall development is similar to past IT developments – and is still widely used in projects funded by the public sector. However, I have yet to see a spec sheet that has been 100% accurate from beginning to end. Elements that are considered business-critical may end up being irrelevant to the end users. This is where agile methods and service design techniques came into play to invite users into the design process.

The Web3 space is undergoing the same maturation cycle as web2.0, where businesses pump out the newest innovations without much regard to the people using the technology. Web2.0 has come a long way in understanding people’s needs and designing appropriate services and products. Remember the words by Steve Jobs back in 1997? “You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work backward for the technology.” Now, the challenge is applying that knowledge to Web3, which is inherently more complex due to its decentralized nature.

“We must be able to understand what incentivizes people and organizations to contribute within a decentralized ecosystem actively.”

The principal drivers of good design remain unchanged. But rather than being “only” B2B or B2C, stakeholders may range from A to Z. We must be able to understand what incentivizes people and organizations to contribute within a decentralized ecosystem actively. Just because they can technically do something doesn’t mean they will. 

Token compensation is perhaps the most commonly used incentive method. But rewarding people with a nominal number of tokens might not be enough to convince people to jump through the hoops of connecting their accounts to the system. These human understanding questions should be equally high on the priority list alongside the technical challenges.

To summarize, Web3 projects should be approached like any other service: from a human perspective. By understanding the connection between stakeholders, it becomes possible to build a self-sustaining ecosystem. Once the ecosystem foundations have been designed, it becomes a matter of building the technology that empowers new services.

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