"Many of life's failures are people who did not realise how close they were to success when they gave up." ― Thomas Edison
If you’re reading this blog, you, like us, probably believe that Web3 is the future of the internet.
As an exciting new frontier with seemingly endless possibilities, Web3 is the perfect opportunity for the curious, the enterprising, and the bold, to launch their two cents into the Web3 wishing well.
But the birth of a new economic system is a messy affair, and there are bound to be failures along the way. It would all be very nice if no-one failed. We would also be drowning in terrible ideas.
But Failure isn’t failure if you learn from it. Failure allows us to take stock of what we think we know, what we actually know, and then, in hindsight, what we would have missed if we had stuck to our first mediocre idea. It is failure that acts as a protective buffer, shielding the world from an onslaught of mediocrity, and allowing good ideas to emerge from the ashes of poor ones.
To make the tough decision to let go of a venture requires honesty, perspective, and courage. It can be challenging to face the fact that the problem may not be a pricing issue, missing product features, or ineffective marketing, but rather the foundational premise on which the entire venture was built.
Founding a company is no easy feat. And successes are earned - not bought. That being said, Zebu's founders have managed to spend the last two years building a successful startup from the ground up. Learning how to fail and build along the way, these are their insights.
Harry Horsfall- Co-Founder, CEO: Thinking your Product is Going to Change the World
“The first mistake that many people make in Web3 is thinking that their tech is going to change the world without stress-testing whether people want it, can use it, and whether there's an easier competitor already out there. This is a common pitfall in the Web3 industry, where people can get so caught up in the technology that they forget about the end-user.
Web3 is not just a buzzword, and it’s not something that you can fake your way through. If you’re going to find success in the Web3 space, you need to have a deep understanding of the technology, how it works, and its potential impact on the world. You also need to think about how your product will stand the test of time. Web3 moves fast.
To avoid this mistake, you need to focus on creating a product that solves a real problem for people. You need to be customer-focused and ensure that your product is easy to use, and delivers real value. Don't assume that just because you have a better product, people will automatically flock to it. You need to make sure that you're delivering something that people want and are willing to pay for.”
In my experience to be a successful innovator you need to learn what not to do - you need to be able to pivot, to move to thinking about your customer and not yourself - you may have spent a long time thinking about your product but your customer doesn’t care about any of this. You need to think about your customer and not yourself.”
Henry Hankin Co-Founder, CBO: Failing to Understand the Web3 Landscape
“What does Web3 really mean? I see it as a catch all term for emergent consumer behaviours that are currently underpinned by technologies. One thing that is characteristic of the space is this idea of bilateral community. I believe that this originated in the games industry where marketing wasn't broadcasting, but the tacit co-ownership in interactive media meant the community needed to feel empowered as owners of the fiction/IP/product - it's the same in Web3
This requires founders to listen, to be agile, and create evangelists and provide them with the right tools, so that they can be welcoming gatekeepers to adoption and can ultimately do the job of marketing your product for you.
Other lessons to take from gaming - gamify your community initiatives. This can be made fun - and gives people a reason to stay around. A prime example of this is ‘Resurgence,’ a Web3 survival MMO game soon to be launched by Emergent Games, which offers new initiatives and full ownership of the in-game environment. Another example is Near Future's discord bot RPG, which is built natively into Discord.
People are catching on to the importance of creating within their community and motivating and engaging their members by creating playful experiences. You need to be able to offer a lasting place where people want to hang out and get real value from being there - the last thing people want is to be marketed to.”
Jolyon Layard Horsfall Co-Founder,CFO Failing to Deliver Results
“A key mistake that projects make is failing to deliver results. Web3 is still a nascent technology, and there are a lot of unknowns. Investors are looking for results, and if you can’t deliver, or if you overpromise and underdeliver they will quickly lose confidence in you. You need to have a clear goal, whether you're launching an NFT project or building an L1 - think about what you can achieve, how you can disrupt, and what you can do to be better than your competitors. Good product design is about fitting into people's habits, not changing them altogether.
Web3 is an exciting new frontier for the fearless, but it isn’t without its challenges. If you’re going to succeed in Web3, you need to understand that the fundamentals still need to be there. You may be in a new world but the people are the same. You need to make sure that you’re delivering something that people actually want, or can gain value from. Listen to them, be agile, and learn from others around you.”
There isn’t a magic formula that will make you succeed in Web3, but there are common pitfalls that you can avoid. While you will need to have a deep understanding of the space, it is even more important to focus on creating customer-focused solutions that solve real problems and offer lasting value. To do this you need to be agile, listen to the community, and offer playful experiences that go beyond mere marketing. In short, while the road to success in Web3 may be fraught with challenges, the rewards for those who persevere can be immense.