PLUS: 💮 Sofamon launches tradeable Telegram stickers

It’s been over a month since I’ve written a multi-segment piece, so it feels good to be doing that again and mixing it up. There’s too much going on not to!

Hiring a Crypto CMO by Jon Wu

A couple weeks ago Jon Wu (ex-Head of Growth at Aztec Protocol, now starting his own marketing agency) posted a thread on hiring a CMO/Head of Marketing in crypto. Based on the post’s engagement, it seemed like the points resonated loudly with many founders.

TLDR:

  • Jon spoke with 50+ different projects looking to hire a CMO or Head of Marketing over 10 days to refine these insights
    • Compensation for these candidates typically ranges from $250k+ cash and 50-100 bps (0.5-1%) of equity for Series A/B companies
      • Founders think they can outsource the job of storytelling because they need to focus on other aspects of the business (engineering, product, hiring, etc.)
        • If founders can’t tell the story, no one can. Not even the unicorn CMO. Founders need to spend more time telling the company and product story and vision.
          • If a founder can’t find the right CMO, hire a junior marketer who can build the marketing foundations (content calendar, comms, etc.) while they focus on the story and vision
            • Invest in organic distribution: Get investors to help spread the word. It’s “ego-humiliation”
              • Focus on the personal brand and share that story as well, not just the company’s
                • Repeat, repeat, repeat. People have short memories and shorter attention spans.

                  Jon packs a lot of nuggets into this relatively short thread.

                  There are many examples of founders who excel at sharing the story (the company’s and their personal one), and I believe one of the best sources of inspiration is with NFT projects. The most notable ones can articulate a clear story and vision, rally the community and team behind it, and celebrate the good moments while weathering the tough moments.

                  Historically, founders and executives could hide behind PR and Comms teams or rooms with closed doors. In crypto and web3 these doors are open or removed, with public channels where anything and everything is discussed.

                  When thinking about leaders that have exhibited this well I immediately think of Zagabond of Azuki and Luca Netz of Pudgy Penguins. There are plenty of other great examples that I’m not mentioning either.

                  To prove this point, I’ll go down these founders’ X timelines to see what they’re posting and how it supports the ultimate story and vision of what they’re building.

                  Zagabond (Azuki)

                  Pinned post

                  Vision ✅

                  If a random digital passerby came across Z’s account, they already know what Azuki is about.

                  Personal story

                  Over the past several months, the Azuki team created the APAC Garden Tour, meeting with community members across Hong Kong, Taipei, Melbourne, and Shanghai (Tokyo and New York next month).

                  Z took the Shanghai stop as an opportunity to share personal anecdotes about his ethnic background and personal life goals. He also shared another post with a video clip of meeting his extended family for the first time in several years, including meeting his cousin’s daughter for the first time!

                  Amplifying community content

                  Many examples of this over the past 5 days, both IRL and online. Much of this is reposted, showing appreciation for and recognition of the individual members that make up the community:

                  Luca (Pudgy Penguins)

                  Pinned post

                  Luca doesn’t explicitly mention the vision in the pinned post, which is to effectively become the largest NFT brand in the industry. This pinned post showcases a milestone towards accomplishing that vision: Having Pudgy Toys sold in the world’s largest retailer, Walmart.

                  Personal story

                  None on the timeline currently, but if you’ve ever listened to Luca speak live or on a podcast, he often shares stories about his professional background, growing up in poverty, and how he purchased Pudgy Penguins for $2.5 million 2 years ago.

                  Some podcast episodes with Luca if you want to hear more from the man himself:

                  It goes without saying, storytelling (business, personal, etc.) and different aspects of it can live on multiple channels. It can be crafted in a way that suits the preference of the founder.

                  Luca and the Pudgy team also have a YouTube channel that also provides a BTS look at how the sausage is made along with a bi-weekly Inner Igloo call only available to holders. These storytelling efforts get the audience and community to buy into the vision even more.

                  Amplifying community content

                  Bonus: At the time of this writing, Luca’s most recent post is about creating a narrative. Talk about fitting my narrative 😉

                  What about the product?

                  All this talk about storytelling doesn’t diminish the importance of building a great product and/or community. Obviously, both are needed. However, if you want to reach the masses, you need a good story and one-liner a community member can repeat and that a newbie can quickly understand.

                  Having a kickass team to help with the storytelling (including a great CMO) always helps, but it has to start from the top.

                  Sofamon launches tradeable Telegram stickers

                  Earlier today, a friend sent a message in the groupchat:

                  Sofamon?! I mentioned them 6 months ago when I covered Seed Club’s Demo Day

                  Earlier today, Sofamon released the beta of their tradeable Telegram stickers. Specifically, the traits can be equipped and traded.

                  Details on the platform are sparse (the team says they’ll be posting a thread soon), but here’s what I can tell by perusing the platform. I haven’t purchased any items yet because the Genesis collection items are damn expensive lol.

                  • Items are priced on a bonding curve: as the remaining quantity decreases, the price increases. These items can be bought and sold, so available supply is dynamic
                    • Users can purchase fractions of an item. You need to have >1 item to equip it. This reminds me of ERC404, but not the same
                      • These items are on Base L2
                        • After equipping purchased items, users can copy and paste stickers with their rabbit avatar and its updated items. In the screenshot below, you can see my avatar is naked because I haven’t purchased any items

                          Where does Sofamon go from here?

                          We’ll have to wait for official word from the Sofamon team, but we can extrapolate the concept to have an idea of where the product is heading:

                          Expanding SocialFi from platforms to features

                          We’re seeing another flavor of SocialFi. Instead of creating a separate platform like Fantasy.top or friend.tech, Sofamon’s area of focus is based on an established feature in many chat apps: Stickers.

                          Chat stickers are universally understood like emojis, and are a simple form of self-expression. Sofamon is adding a layer on top of that through traits, making stickers even more expressive.

                          Stickers section of Telegram

                          Before: Purchase behavior is focused on stickers and sticker packs

                          After: Purchase behavior is focused on sticker traits

                          Personalizing SocialFi

                          Looking beyond the fact that Sofamon only has 1 collection available and focused on sticker traits, we can imagine a future where:

                          • Communities (eg: memecoins) that don’t have NFT avatars can focus on limited edition sticker traits with their branding
                            • Buy and sell packs of traits, not just individual traits
                              • Buy and sell avatars. Would certain NFT projects be interested in being on the Sofamon platform? We see the trait concept exist in various ways, such as Pudgy Penguins and Pudgy World. The traits and their respective combinations don’t necessarily exist in the Pudgy Penguins NFT collection and are transposed onto a different platform.

                                Would brands be interested in this? Selling branded sticker traits and collecting royalties sounds much more appealing than launching a NFT collection, managing a community, and dealing with an angry community asking about utility and free stuff.

                                Can’t you just copy and paste?

                                The same criticisms and responses to NFTs apply here. Yes, you could hypothetically copy and paste these stickers/images, but ownership is proven onchain and the same types of mechanics like token-gating, airdropping, and access apply here.

                                Let’s see what Sofamon comes up with next, fun times in SocialFi.

                                See you Thursday!