Who would want to be a leader? You have to make difficult decisions that others don’t have to make, and you never make the news until you make a bunch of people mad. If you are active long enough, you get the opportunity to offend the wrong people, and if you’re unlucky enough, you don’t get a chance to correct your mistakes – then it becomes your legacy.
Who would want to be a leader? You can never make the right decision. You can only choose how many people you offend at once. Micheal J. Sandel, a professor of political philosophy at Harvard University, describes the dilemma of making difficult decisions that affect other people best.
Obviously, I don’t have a philosophy degree or a best-selling course at an Ivy-league university, and this is not an article about a Harvard University philosophy course. This article will explore the difficult choices that project founders face in the blockchain sector and how they deal with the reaction of their community members.
The Blockchain Industry is Fast-Paced
The blockchain sector is fast-paced, and snoozing means losing in this space. You really can’t let up when you get ahead here. How can you when you have a 200k-strong community urging you on? Although, as loud as the cheers get, the boos are even louder. And they will come.
You can’t always do right by your community, and it won’t always be your fault when things go wrong. Sometimes, the unpopular decisions may even pile on, and you’ll begin to lose your community. Then, you try to go out of your way to do right by your people, leading to more rookie mistakes. Maybe the more accurate assertion should have been that the blockchain sector is impatient.
True to its nature, blockchain removes intermediaries. It also eliminates the buffer between project leadership and their communities. Unlike in traditional businesses where board members may never interact with their shareholders, crypto startup founders often interact directly with community members in Telegram, Discord, Twitter, and online forums, where the impatience is visibly palpable.
These chats are often inundated with rhetorical questions like “wen launch?” “wen moon?” and other out-of-context suggestions and questions from random community members. At the risk of stating the obvious, most of your community members have zero knowledge of running a project. Some of them haven’t even looked through your roadmap. Most of them are in it for the short-term profit.
Ever heard of “aping in?” Everyone hops onto a project based on clout and expects prices to go up from there. They get impatient and drop these random, intermittent messages on chats when they don’t move in the direction they want. Next on the agenda is spreading fear, uncertainty, and doubt.
Someone has to maintain a cool head, and that’s you – the project leader.
Doing Right by Your Community, The Right Way
Obviously, the project is your brainchild, and the last thing you want to see it do is to fail. So, you’ll do everything to be in the good books of your project’s backers. However, no matter how thirsty you get, you should always know better than to drink water from the ocean.
Set a Clear Roadmap
A project’s roadmap is not a suggestion; it is how successful projects manage their progress and maintain accountability with their communities. People are also attracted to clarity. As long as things are moving according to schedule, you can confidently disregard every dissenting voice or send them to the map if they have lost their bearings.
Of course, the landscape changes very fast in this industry. So, your roadmap can also evolve accordingly, but it should always lead to the ultimate goal you had for your project. It will also help you make good choices even if it is not popular with the community or prices in the short term.
For example, Ethereum’s scalability problem is a much-publicized issue throughout the blockchain. However, it remains the most popular protocol throughout the blockchain. It has also acted as the framework for future innovations, including the faster and less decentralized Binance Smart Chain, among many others. Obviously, Ethereum’s founders already know of its limitations, but as long as they delivered on their original vision, they had complete confidence in the quality and viability of their product. In their own time, they will launch Ethereum 2.0, and we expect it to be a hit.
That is the way to do it.
Sometimes, you develop a product that is so good that you fly out of the blocks. In a space like ours, where news travels fast and the FOMO is intense, no one wants to miss the moon flight.
So, what do you do when the hype grows, and you grow beyond your wildest imagination? You manage expectations. As usual, always refer people to the roadmap to keep their feet on the ground. And as the CEO, founder, or whatever position you hold, you can’t join the “wen moon?” crowd.
Every decision you make should come from a level head and a clear mind.
Maintaining a functional structure throughout your company is essential to your project. Successful projects usually have local and international communities run by social media experts to maintain the spirit and morale. They also pass updates down the chain to prevent misinformation and manage community reactions.
This structure maintenance takes you out of the line of fire. You know what to do now, except you’re trying to build a reputation as the eccentric founder. Just a subtle reminder – it gets old pretty quickly. At the same time, you cannot be an estranged CEO with little or zero contact with your community.
It may seem obvious, but project leaders need to find the balance that works for the specific needs of their project at specific periods.
It is Never a Bed of Roses
Before you set out to build a project, you should have experience working with a startup, whether in the blockchain space or outside. Experience helps you build a thick skin to adversity and helps you accrue dynamism. Starting from the bottom is difficult anywhere, and it is the same in the blockchain space.
It helps when you have the right team around you, but it is never a bed of roses. Don’t put the cart ahead of the horse because you’ll get run over, stampeded, and hung to dry.
Who would want to be a leader? You can never win until you deliver the holy grail. That is when you get your victory lap. Everything else before and after is a chastening experience that you can’t let get to you. Keep your head down and get to BUIDLing!