Bulls & Bears: Wrapping up Talent Protocol's Season 2

Learnings and highlights from Talent Protocol’s second season.

Bulls & Bears: Wrapping up Talent Protocol's Season 2

TL;DR

  • On S1 we built a DeFi dApp for talent. During S2 we learned that the financial use case is just one of many that web3 allows. And not the most exciting one to explore during a bear market
  • Season 2 was about adding a social layer to our platform - the web3 LinkedIn - but we were kind of side-tracked due to the bear market and struggled a bit to refocus.
  • However, in the end, we came out much stronger, with a much clearer vision and renewed excitement about what we're building. Season 3 will be the best by far!

Season 2

Summary 📌

  • Timeline: Apr-Sep 2022 (~6 months)
  • Theme: The Web3 LinkedIn - a professional  network where success is shared.
  • Goal: Make our beta app public, add a social layer to it and onboard contributors to our extended team.
Building in Web3: Season 1 Wrap Up
Learnings and highlights from Talent Protocol’s first season.
Read about what happened before April 2022.

What We Promised 🤞

Putting it simply, on November 2021 we launched our first MVP which was a DeFi app to invest in talent, on the Celo blockchain.

For Season 2 the goal was to go from a social token app to a social platform made for web3 builders and designed for the future of work. Think of it as the Web3 LinkedIn.

Besides launching a social token, this web3 professional community would allow users to share information about their career, connect with like-minded people, and find opportunities to learn and grow.

Anyone could join to discover inspiring new talent, invest in their careers, and unlock the exclusive perks they offer. And users would receive crypto rewards (in $TAL) not only for holding tokens, but also for completing quests and inviting new users to join the community.

This was the initial vision for the Season. So what actually happened?


What We Delivered

Key Features We Delivered 🚚

  1. A redesigned UI in the beginning of Season 2.
  2. A new way of organizing our Community, with different Levels and NFT Badges for each one of them.
  3. A Discover Page, with curated list of talent in the platform.
  4. We went from a Private to Public Beta, meaning the app was now completely public and open for anyone to register.
  5. Launching the Earn feature that includes: Quests and Referral Race.
  6. Option to launch and buy Talent Tokens on Polygon, in addition to Celo.
  7. We started the Talent House scholarship program for high-potential builders.
  8. We started the Level Up mentoring program to match hungry talent with more experienced builders.
  9. We designed and delivered great swag to our community!

What We Didn't Deliver 🚧

  1. Perks 2.0: revising the perk system and adding the possibility to mint a perk as an NFT voucher that the user can redeem with the talent later. This feature will be delivered soon, in the beginning of Season 3.
  2. On-chain career goals: this feature would allow for increased personal accountability, but it was technically complex and was not seen as a priority by our community.
  3. Decentralizing the Talent Token approval process: our team of ambassadors will only start helping with approvals on Season 3.

Other Product Updates that we successfully shipped📦

  1. A new approval process to launch a Talent Token.
  2. Better notifications (in app and email).
  3. Verified profiles.
  4. Short URLs (example: tlnt.cc/filmacedo)
  5. Associate profile with your ENS domain.
  6. Collecting Diversity & Inclusion information (private).

What We Achieved

Winners of the kart race in our first team retreat.

Milestones 🏆

  1. We grew to +150k users in the first 3 months of S2 (+800% growth)
  2. We reached +500 tokens launched before ending Season 2.
  3. We became a multi-chain platform by launching on Polygon.
  4. We closed our final private round led by Protocol Labs, joined also by Jump Crypto, ZMT, the founders of Celo and other strategic partners. In total we raised $2.65M (excluding grants).
  5. We organized Talent Houses in Barcelona, Paris and Mexico City. We received +1,000 applications, gave 35 scholarships, and our teams won a bunch of prizes at the ETHMexico hackathon!
Recap of Talent House at Mexico City

6. The  Ambassadors program was launched and we have successfully onboarded our first 20 ambassadors.

7. Talent Protocol was seen at big crypto events like Celo Connect, EthCC or ETHMexicoCity. We gave talks, moderate panels and had teams on hackathons.

Co-founder Filipe Macedo speaking at Celo Connect's main stage.

8. We created our first Bounties and onboarded our first contributors into oure xtended team.

9. We successfully fixed our first critical bug and upgraded our smart contracts. The bug was identified by a contributor coming from a bug bounty program with Immunefi.

10. We were considered one of the 10 most promising Lisbon-based startups to watch in 2022 and beyond.

Traction: Product 📈

Snapshot on Sep 30th, when compared to the end of Season 1 on March 31st:

  • Total Users Registered: 152,083 (+820%)
  • Users with Connected Wallet: 124,491 (+1,093%)
  • Tokens Launched: 523 (+240%)
  • Total Value Locked (TVL): $590,120 (+166%)

Traction: Community 🪢

Talent Protocol is rooted in the belief that openness and transparency are better for the world. That’s why we’re fully open-source, building in public, and on a path to progressive decentralization.

We currently work as a semi-centralized organization with a Core Team, backed up by an Extended Team (that includes our investors, advisors and contractors) and our Community members.

Subscribers

  • By the end of Season 1 we had 24,469 email subscribers and 7,270 Twitter followers.
  • Today we have 42,775 email subscribers and 9,524 Twitter followers.

Members

  • By the end of Season 1 we had 5,623 people in our Discord server and 2,807 people in our Telegram announcements channel.
  • Today we have 5,417 people in our Discord server and 2,285 people in our Telegram announcements channel.
  • As you can see, the community size decreased from S1 to S2 but, as you'll see in our learnings: our community is not our user base, but the group of people that are helping us build Talent Protocol.

What We Learned

How to build a better Product 🏗️

  1. Acquiring users came easy during the bull market, which made us think we had product/market fit...when we didn't. Using tokens as an incentive completely mixes the signals. A platform to launch a Talent Token is just 1% of what we can do to help talent. It's just a feature. We need to build an ecosystem of self-reinforcing tools.
  2. Committing to shipping a lot of features in the start of the season revealed to be an overkill. There should be a vision and a strategy with some initial features for guidelines but being committed to complex tasks for the next 6-9 months doesn't allow for small pivots.
  3. Being open-source and public it’s not enough, we need to make sure we're also modular and interoperable. We must try hard to keep a web3 mindset. Shipping got slower during S2 due to more and more legacy features and maintenance work. As a result we delivered less and less product leaps.
  4. We should try to automate as much of the platform maintenance as possible. For examples, our Discover page was too dependent on manual updates, which meant it wasn't updated frequently enough to make it interesting.
  5. Perks didn’t get visible traction. We still believe they can be useful, but we need to rethink its execution from the user's point of view.
  6. During S2 we had unexpected security costs, but all the money spent on security and bug prevention was worth it! We could be in a completely different situation today if we didn't take security seriously.

How to become a stronger Community 🌱

  1. We learned that we don’t have one big homogeneous community, but several smaller ones (like Talent House, Level Up, our Extended Team, or our Ambassadors), made of fantastic  members that are always eager to help us. We need to make sure we do the same for them.
  2. But, even tough we have sub-communities, there’s still a common identity between all of us: we’re more doers than talkers, we like to co-create, we find joy in helping others, we’re tech optimists and we believe in a brighter future.
  3. We found a good way to describe our community: the humble builders.
  4. We’re a small team trying to manage too many channels and initiatives. We should do a lot less things but do them much better. On Season 3 we will put the following initiatives in standby or low maintenance mode: Podcast, Talent Spotlight, Partnerships, Twitter Spaces, Linkedin, Youtube.
  5. Partnerships didn’t really work because our value proposition wasn’t crystal clear. During Season 3 we'll give it another go.
  6. We need a great story and an even better villain to make our comms cool again. We've been talking a lot about our product, and not much about our users.
  7. Having different community levels makes total sense, but we need better names for each level. The current names are too boomer.

We will soon launch Season 3, focused on bringing a real Talent game to life, laser-focused on delivering fewer but more strategic improvements on the product and community fronts and ready to support the builders of tomorrow.

See you on Season 3.

Let’s do this!