The importance of community managers in Web3 cannot be overlooked. they need to build communities with people, not for them, and achieve goals by leading and developing more leaders. web3 provides users with the ability to invest in, shape, and manage online communities like never before. many of the founders see the community as an extension of their project.
——Generated by ChatGPT
Different types of projects with different life cycles have different needs for this career.
**Written by: Jakerr.eth, Paradigm
Compiled by Babywhale, Foresight News
Below is a short version of an internal resource guide I wrote while working on Paradigm’s Talent team. when I came on board in 2022, Community Management was one of the most in-demand roles in the programs Paradigm invested in, and we wanted to provide better guidance on how to recruit for this important but ambiguously demanding role. i did research throughout 2022, finishing the writing in april 2023, and then publishing the article in october 2023.
Founders often ask us what makes a great community manager and how to recruit great community managers. a quarter of the teams in our portfolio are hiring for such roles in 2022. despite the rapid growth in demand for community managers, not much has been written on the topic, with many teams struggling to know where to start. in light of this growth in demand and the ambiguity of the requirements for the role, we interviewed 30 of the best community managers in cryptocurrency to gather their insights.
Why is community important in Web3?
“The secret to bringing people together is: build community with people, not for them. amateur leaders try to manage a community, but great leaders create more leaders. almost every community-building challenge can be solved by asking yourself: ‘How can I achieve this by working with my people, not doing it for them?’” (-Get Together, Foreword)
The history of the Internet to date can be told in terms of the connections that humans have made and the communities they have formed, and today, Web3 is a natural extension of this tendency to build online communities, except that users now have the ability to invest in, shape, and manage online communities like never before.
Many founders see the community as an extension of the project they are building. zagabond (founder of Azuki) told us, “the core of Web3 is the community, you have to see the community as part of the team, part of the brand, the community can own part of the brand. without the community, the project falls apart.” when users can identify with and shape a brand, fostering a strong community becomes central to building the product and the company.
Strategically, building a strong community can add legitimacy and credibility to your project, leading to increased adoption and resilience over time. commenting in Nader Dabit, “The bear market helps to keep your community in the spotlight. the fact that the number of Web3 developers continues to grow in spite of the economic downturn is a positive testament to the resilience of these communities.” this kind of flywheel takes time and effort to build, but it pays off as the community and surrounding ecosystem matures.
It is clear that many companies in the cryptocurrency space see this role as playing a vital role and will be a key theme in how Web3 companies are built in the future.
Why hire a community manager?
Given the philosophical and strategic importance of building community, it is important for founders to maintain a focus on the community as the project scales, and hiring a full-time community manager can help with this.Latasha (Zora) explains, “I’ve been working at the grassroots level, keeping in touch with the community, listening to their feedback, understanding what they want to see from Zora, and feeding that back to the team.I’m the go-between between the team and the community … CEOs have a lot of work to do, and it’s hard for them to get down to the grassroots level,” and hiring a community manager allows the founders to keep a close eye on the community while managing the rest of the company.
In addition, the founders rely on the community manager to be the bridge between the core team and the community.Bhaumik Patel, who has been the community lead on several Web2 and Web3 projects, sees his role as advocating for the community within the core team. “My role is to be the voice of the community on their speakerphone.They don’t have a seat at the table on the core team, so it’s my job to be a seat at the table for them”.The founders also rely on the community manager to be a bridge between the core team and the community.The founders also rely on the community manager to be a bridge between the core team and the community.
Over time, community leaders created a structure that allowed others outside of the core team to take responsibility for the project.Alisha (ENS) utilized a variety of processes to empower community members. “Cultivating a community is like building a house.The core team is responsible for laying the foundation, putting up the walls, and developing the floor plan.The expectations are clear when one looks at each room, but there is still enough blank space for community members to make their contribution to the house and make the community members feel at home.”
When will community managers be introduced?
As for when to bring in a professional community manager, it depends on the type of project you’re building, its maturity, and your next steps.Rafa (formerly of Mirror) published an interesting article on the order of development in a digital organization, which argues that your initial focus at the start of the building process (e.g., initially focusing on protocols, product, or community) can influence when a team prioritizes formally hiring a community manager.
For example, community-driven organizations like Friends With Benefits formally hired Alex Zahng (Mayor of FWB) early on, while product-driven organizations like Sound.xyz want to first drive product-market fit, identify their core users, then consider incentives and mechanism design (protocols), and finally seek to build a strong community.
Another way to think about when to hire a community manager is to decide whether to hire them before or after the product is released. if you hire them before the product is released, you can incorporate community building into the go-to-market strategy; but if you hire them after the product is released, you may be making assumptions about the product and the community that need to be redirected. it’s also tricky to start building visibility for a project when there hasn’t yet been any engagement with the users. one head of developer relations told us, "Some people make the mistake of bringing in growth too soon, which ultimately leads to marketing/publicizing it too soon. now that we are a year away from the launch, when people go to check out your product, they don’t have anything to show for it yet, and you’ve already expended some of that social capital with the users.
What should a good community manager do?
Not all community managers do the same thing. the Web3/ encryption industry in which your company operates should influence how you think about the skills required of a community manager.
In talking to 30 Community Managers from a variety of Web3 companies, we learned the following about the functions and responsibilities of the position:
The list above is exhaustive, but we recommend picking 2-3 areas where community members can bring the most value to your organization and building roles around those functional areas. for example:
NFT programs may organize the roles of community people around customer support, growth marketing, and programs with the goal of attracting new community members and building heat and engagement among community members. in addition, they may play a cross-functional role with the product department in determining how the community will respond to future points in the roadmap. some examples of top community managers in this area include Deeze (Zora).
DeFi programs may position the role of the community manager to be primarily responsible for marketing and business development, with the goal of attracting new users to provide liquidity and transactions on the platform. in these programs, the community manager may even take on a partner-like role, seeking to connect with the DApp. top community managers in this regard include Ken (0x Labs).
A protocol, infrastructure, or platform business may organize the role of community manager primarily around developer relations, customer support, and marketing, with the goal of guiding other builders on how to better leverage the tool to meet their needs. in these programs, community managers are also developer relations and support specialists; they may provide training and documentation, or host hackathons to accelerate the rate of adoption. top community managers in this area include Nader (ENS).
What should I look for when hiring a community manager?
Many great community managers are obsessed with the Internet.
Luis (Tessera) is also looking for people who are already active in the cryptocurrency space. he calls this “proof of workload … because before I joined Tessera you could see all my tweets, you could see me involved in projects, you could see me building a community around myself. and I was doing this job for free, spending 12-16 hours a day on Discord, making friends with all the OGs.” this experience of living in cyberspace ensures that the community manager is good at communicating online, knows how to adjust his tone in different types of communities, and also appears unassuming in his approach to building a connection with the community.
While being proficient at networking is necessary, it’s not enough. you also need to find someone with enough expertise to make a difference in your organization and be an ambassador for the community. one program hired an active and enthusiastic Discord member to be a community manager. this person had many of the traits of a network-obsessed person that you’d expect to find in a community manager. however, this person lacked a good image and communication skills-they were often at loggerheads with other community members and couldn’t take on the other marketing tasks required for this position. ultimately, the program had to let them go and start the search over from scratch.
The ideal candidate will have Internet native abilities, communication and collaboration skills, and the functional skills listed above.
Cryptocurrencies provide novel tools, mechanisms, and incentives that enable communities to do more than internet communities have ever done before. as a result, community managers will need to have different and new skills to take full advantage of the new paradigm of community building that cryptocurrencies are bringing to the table. your approach to community management - that is, the type of people you hire - will be unique to your project, but we’re also looking at the emerging frameworks that will specialize this exciting new function in a fast-moving industry.
Appendix: additional resources on community management:
Web3 Community Reading List (Partiful) An organized reading list of community management resources.
Get Together: How to Build a Community With Your People - a book written by some members of the Instagram community team (Bailey Richardson, Kevin Huynh, and Kai Elmer Sotto). has a framework for Web3 communities.
Building in Public - A book by Nadia Eghbal on community building in open source software. framework from Web2 for the Web3 community.
WGMI- Community for current and emerging community managers. serves as an informational resource as well as a recruitment resource.
Community Tooling (SushiSwap, LayerZero) Summary.
What We Can Learn from Decentralized Community Building (formerly of Union Square Ventures) is an in-depth study of several Web3 communities.
How to assess new community building hires for token networks (a guide to hiring cryptocurrency community managers by 1kx Partners).