Particl User Discovery Proposal
User Discovery Proposal for the Particl Community
This just an idea to contribute knowledge to Particl, a project I’ve invested a lot of time in and want to see succeed. I’m not an expert but I’m not just speaking from theory, and I want to share the knowledge. I’ll try to keep it simple. My hope is even if this isn’t followed, there’s an impression of what to look for when sharing the marketplace with people. This could be useful for the growth of the project in terms of helping user adoption.
The presenting issue: Particl adoption needs to occur, either through speculative investors funding user discovery and acquisition, or user discovery and acquisition occurring without additional funding.
The possible solution: Treat Particl as a product, attempt to figure out why users would want to use it, and provide the platform to them through their frame of reference; that is, discover why they would want to use it, based on data instead of assumption. Maybe there is something that the community can do, if they have the time, interest, and ability to effectively self-organize.
Key Takeaway: Below is a specific strategy for finding users and matching benefits with the fulfilment of specific needs. Whether or not this strategy is used, the idea behind it is important to understand for the project’s growth, for example, when meeting others at events and sharing the software with them.
Background and Proposal
Understanding a Potential User
Using the concept of market research and user discovery is something that individual community members can perhaps do in a manageable way. The benefits to a community member would include learning a skill that can be applied to a future personal project and helping Particl’s awareness. The idea may sound easy when you read through this, but it’s in fact difficult because most technical people do not want to do it, which is most people interested beyond a passing interest in an early stage software development project. I had to do this for a class, and many people made the information up. It’s the part of business that most people don’t like, and yet is most foundational to building something for other people, which, to be clear, is what Particl is doing–building something for other people.
Ideally, we hope that Particl already figured this out because people funded the development of the project, indicating interest in the idea and their future role in being part of the initial user base. But, for whatever reason, this is not what has occurred.
The idea is to explore potential user bases, companies, and groups that might have an interest in Particl. This can be done by absolutely not mentioning Particl but guessing who might be interested, contacting them, and letting them say what their needs are through casual conversation, then using that information to confirm or deny assumptions.
For example: Let’s pretend that you call a gallery because you make custom frames for artists. You introduce yourself as a student doing research for your business school or science department, and so on (it’s easier with technical focus areas since people really study this stuff), and you ask if you can speak to someone who can talk to you about how artists source their supplies. You might be able to guess who in a company will do this, but sometimes you have to ask to be directed to the right person. They might want to call you back. They might say they’ll call back and never call. They might tell you to send an email so they can screen you. They might answer on the spot. You then ask them what they know about the process of sourcing supplies, anything that’s annoying, anything that could be improved, anything they want that they don’t have. You don’t mention that you’re representing anyone or that you have anything to offer.
The art gallery is an imaginary situation; however, one person I did this with said everything was “good” and they had “no issues”. They also said that they liked that they could use one package to do a variety of tests (since the research topic had to do with water sampling). They said their particular location didn’t need anything frequent, so they wished it lasted longer once opened, and that their company was not like companies in another state that needed to test more frequently due to a different kind of water source.
From this information that started out with the person saying they were happy, one could learn that they, as the person making something for this kind of person, might want to make something that people can use for a variety of tasks (a kit in this instance), that it would need to have a long shelf life (since they wanted it to last longer), and that they could probably focus on companies in the other location as they would need it more frequently. An issue was additionally found with a current competitor, regarding the shelf-life that a current customer might switch for. The point is to get people to talk about the experience of using something.
To apply this back to Particl, if the funds and initiative only exist to go to events rather than do this kind of groundwork, I suggest that this mindset still be in place.
Other research can be done where the researcher doesn’t have to or would not want to hide what the product is (such as naming, pricing, branding); however, for this initial research of finding a market and matching use cases to features or benefits, that’s how it generally begins because the problem needs to be identified while reducing bias from the researcher deciding they know what someone wants, or the person being as asked questions deciding they know what the researcher wants to hear.
For Particl, I think the most important thing to discover, casually, is what do people need to occur for them to switch? Since there is no price, it’s really the switching cost that matters. Is there a need so great that they would disrupt whatever system they’re already using, plus overcome the hurdle of using emerging technology? That’s why the people who are banned and so on are a good bet. Doing this research could also be helpful for anyone who wants to start a business using Particl as the underlying software, but with the business having specific targeted features that make it more convenient and tailored to a specific market. This would help the open source project, but in an indirect way.
This discovery doesn’t have to be over the phone. Observing yet looking for cues on the user experience is also why it’s important to have people use the marketplace at events, for example. For over the phone, as general advice, it’s easier when a female makes the call or if the caller is a student, or says they are a student.
Available statistical data can be used as well for figuring out what people want, such as through search terms, but at established and oftentimes before-being-established companies, people talk to other people to figure out what they want, and use that information to pivot with features or marketing strategies for products they are selling or thinking of selling.
If people in the Particl community were to make phone calls, one person could probably get 5 successful calls (out of 20) done in a day. If this were multiplied by a few people, there could be some useful information found. If a particular potential use case is focused on, and 5 companies or organizations are successfully called by 5 people, we could have around 25 or more bits of data. After it’s compiled, then look for insights.
After doing this research of figuring out if focusing on a particular use case is worth it conceptually, then the potential volume of interested people can be estimated to decide where to focus effort. That research can happen behind the keyboard. Later, these groups can be told about Particl, perhaps at events (such Liberty Forum) or otherwise, particularly with the current virus environment.
Possible Use Cases
This is a list of possible use cases from multiple Particl-related sources (I’m sure there are more):
An assumption was that a market with high volume is best, but not explicitly illicit. It’s ideal to just focus on one with a known volume. That’s my idea with the libertarian and Porcfest crowd, but since the project is not well-known, it could be useful to continue looking at options.
I know Particl is a general product for everyone, but to start, it’s appears to be effective to pick one market and focus on it. I put two references at the end of this document that provide some authority on the matter. Additionally, it’s better to focus on a market that actually needs or would be highly passionate about the project. It can’t be assumed what they need or want, which is the purpose of talking to people without trying to sell them something, or alternatively, taking note of cues when interacting with them.
• Crypto Enthusiasts – this is the crowd Particl has been spending a lot of time with. They are not truly interested, in general.
• B2B in general was discouraged by someone because the resources actually required to do this is high (research and switching costs on the part of the company). However, this was one person’s opinion.
• Countries that have crypto trades as non-taxable events. When the whole supply chain is non-taxable, it results in a cheaper product. One known country is Singapore. However, a country is not narrow enough as a focus. Cultural barriers are real. It’s better to be local. This was just an idea.
• Amazon sellers - cheaper/lower cuts from Amazon. However, Amazon provides volume to sellers, so sellers may not want to switch. This would need to be properly researched as stated above, as in not assuming.
• Sellers who are upset with Amazon might be a narrower and feasible target group.
• Title escrow services. Might be done by separate company outside of Particl. There are 300 pieces of property sold every day (no source)
• Secure document service for lawyers.
These would need to be followed-up on to see if viable. Industry players would need to be contacted to get information about how they would be best served, potentially.
• Liberty Lovers – Porcfest and Liberty forum people. If similar groups around the world exist, it could be useful to attend events.
• With the current coronavirus panic, this could be an opportunity, although I’m not sure what. Whatever the strategy, I think it needs to be a strategy, and not something impulsive.
From Oscar Pacey in the general chat.
for the fringes is the best place to start as they don’t tend to have good solutions.
The burgeoning cannabis industry
Pandemic supplies (maybe)
Shoppy.gg. An existing user base who prefer using crypto
OpenBazaar. As above
ASIC mining. Crypto friendly people already, large professional sellers, many retail buyers, lots of potential risk and scams that get solved with a reliable marketplace. (I like the ASIC mining idea)
Spending money on traveling is more expensive than triangulating beforehand. However, events seem to be what are likely to happen for the project. If research is done, once that’s out of the way and there is some empirical or other certainty that a market or group will be a hit, events can be attended in person where a particular market or group is known to be. This applies as well to online spaces such as forums, but comes with different challenges.
For in-person events, I suggest that community members attend local events, similar to what was done with Liberty Forum, if it can be funded. I also suggest that we go with this mindset of finding out what people want. Here is where a numbers plan needs to be thought up for possibly funding this, as not everyone can afford to attend an event.
The Importance of Follow-up
• Follow up to onboard people.
• Do as much follow-up as possible in person.
• It’s important to have people use the software in person.
• It’s important for follow up to happen among community members in order to aggregate information from different events and outline the most important issues for the project.
• This requires work and effort. The community already funded this project and people have their own lives. I have no expectations. I just want to share the knowledge in the case that it might be useful and actionable by someone.
• Any kind of marketing cannot function separately from the technological development. This kind of research, that’s just to identify who might be able to use an existing product (software), is okay. But beyond that, there is no point in doing market research, if it is not used to inform where the project goes. It’s best to not shoot in the dark now that something is built, even without spending money on marketing. There can be many potential use cases. It’s important to pick one and go with it, and respond to that user base.
• If the focus is on crypto-enthusiasts, which I don’t recommend, another thing community members can help with is reaching out to teams individually about adding their coins. See if they can do the development, or if they are willing to pay Particl. And walk them through with selling their merch.
• It’s better in general to do this kind of research first before building anything. I know many people funded Particl. But it’s hard to know exactly what everyone’s motives were, or even to contact people in hindsight to find out since it’s a privacy project. So, there’s much assumption about what people want as the project is being built.
• Again, this is just an idea, a contribution based off of things I have learned, although I can’t actively carry it out. It’s my educated opinion. I won’t be able to do much else for some time, although I’m interested in Porcfest if it ends up happening in June. And I will continue supporting the project when possible.
Talking to Humans https://s3.amazonaws.com/TalkingtoHumans/Talking+to+Humans.pdf
Crossing the Chasm
https://ewthoff.home.xs4all.nl/Weppage documents/Summary Crossing the Cha sm.pdf
Actual Book http://soloway.pbworks.com/w/file/fetch/46715502/Crossing-The-Chasm.pdf
By Crypto Ramble / Desi-Rae
Sylvaincloutier - last edited by Sylvaincloutier
Well first of of all. Great post by the way. Lots of information!
First thing first, I got into Crypto in 2018, so fairly new! I recently heard of Particl by watching one of your YouTube videos. I then decided to join the discord and telegram to learn more about the marketplace, the community and the coin itself.
My favorite coins are those with real “use cases”. I also have a YouTube channel and my intent is also to promote Crypto through adoption (as much as possible…hehe)
The reason I found this project interesting is the idea of privacy and the actual marketplace with escrow. The privacy aspect is a hot topic nowadays with the “Google”/ YouTube censorship, the tracking of people and conspiracy theories…Not sure if the demand is there quite yet for this particular project (at a large scale) but I am sure a lot more people than there are now would be if they knew about it.
You are right in your post about trying to obtain information from people etc…vs. promoting Particl up front. Understanding what people actually want/need might help targeting a certain group that would adopt this project. Calling business/ merchants might be a great idea too. You can get a lot of data in a short time.
Obviously, participating at events is definitely key in growing awareness about the project. In order to help minimizing the cost, does Particl keep a list of motivated members and where they live etc…with the potential of participating at local events? Again, you need individuals willing to do it, but if people are provided with some perks/extra tools to do it, that might be interesting.
I like what I see from this community at the moment and would definitely like to help out in the near future. I will probably talk about the Marketplace on my YouTube channel soon and you would be more than welcome to come on and give your input as well.