Maximizing User Research and Token Incentives: Building Successful Networks


Hatched by Glasp

Aug 21, 2023

4 min read


Maximizing User Research and Token Incentives: Building Successful Networks


Building successful networks requires effective user research and the strategic use of token incentives. By asking the right questions during research, interviews, and testing, we can gain valuable insights. Similarly, understanding the limitations of token incentives is crucial to ensure active participation and the alignment of user behaviors with network utility. In this article, we will explore the importance of formulating questions, starting interviews, and the challenges faced when bootstrapping web3 networks with token incentives.

Asking the Right Questions during User Research, Interviews, and Testing:

Formulating the Questions:

To extract meaningful insights, it is essential to start by defining broader themes. This helps in structuring the research process and ensures that the questions asked are relevant and focused. Additionally, breaking down questions into answerable components enhances the chances of obtaining valuable responses.

Avoid Influencing Answers:

It is crucial to avoid asking questions that may influence the response. By keeping questions neutral and unbiased, we allow participants to provide genuine opinions and insights. This approach leads to more accurate data collection and prevents the skewing of results.

Ask about Specific Moments in the Past:

When conducting user research or interviews, it is beneficial to ask participants about specific moments or experiences they have had in the past. This allows them to recall and share detailed information, providing deeper insights into their behaviors and preferences.

Prioritize Open-Ended Questions:

Open-ended questions encourage participants to express their thoughts and opinions freely. These questions promote detailed and thoughtful responses, allowing researchers to gain a comprehensive understanding of user perspectives. Incorporating open-ended questions into interviews and testing sessions is a powerful way to gather rich qualitative data.

Starting the Interview:

Get into Character:

To create a comfortable environment for participants, it is essential to establish rapport. Researchers should adopt a friendly and approachable demeanor, putting participants at ease. This encourages open and honest communication, leading to more valuable insights.

Maintain the Right Posture:

Non-verbal cues play a significant role in establishing a positive interview atmosphere. Maintaining an upright posture and displaying active listening behaviors, such as nodding and maintaining eye contact, demonstrate interest and engagement. These non-verbal cues help participants feel heard and valued, fostering a productive interview environment.

Explain There's No Right or Wrong:

Participants may feel pressured to provide "correct" answers during interviews or testing. It is crucial to emphasize that there are no right or wrong responses. This reassures participants and encourages them to share their genuine thoughts and opinions, enabling researchers to gather authentic insights.

Warm-Up Questions:

Starting an interview with warm-up questions helps participants ease into the conversation. These initial questions are often general and non-threatening, allowing participants to become comfortable and open up more readily. Warm-up questions also help establish a conversational tone, setting the stage for deeper exploration.

The Limitations of Token Incentives in Bootstrapping Web3 Networks:

Passive Participation: When Token Incentives Work:

Some networks, such as Helium, Arweave, and Compound, rely on passive participation from users to increase network utility. These networks offer financial upside to users without requiring active engagement. However, networks with passive participation tend to be rare, and attracting the right kind of users becomes challenging.

Active Participation: The Limits of Token Incentives:

To bootstrap a network successfully, it is crucial to target the most underserved users who feel the problem deeply. Token incentives can attract users primarily driven by financial gains, rather than the long-term utility of the network. This can hinder achieving the required density of the right users, leading to initial growth followed by a decline.

Aligning Token Incentives with Network Utility:

To address these challenges, it is crucial to link token incentives to network utility. Rewards should be restricted to specific, desirable actions that add value to the network, rather than just encouraging adoption. By aligning incentives with network utility, networks can ensure active participation and engagement from users, similar to successful web2 networks like Roblox.


Building successful networks requires asking the right questions during user research and interviews, as well as understanding the limitations of token incentives. By formulating questions effectively and creating a comfortable interview environment, valuable insights can be extracted. Additionally, aligning token incentives with network utility is crucial to ensure active participation and the long-term success of web3 networks. Before relying on token incentives as a bootstrapping solution, it is essential to consider the kind of network being built and how incentives interact with network utility.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Prioritize open-ended questions during user research and interviews to gather detailed and thoughtful responses.
  • 2. Create a comfortable interview environment by maintaining the right posture, displaying active listening behaviors, and emphasizing that there are no right or wrong answers.
  • 3. Link token incentives to specific, valuable actions that contribute to network utility, rather than solely focusing on adoption.

By incorporating these strategies, network builders can maximize the effectiveness of user research and token incentives, leading to the development of successful and thriving networks.

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