Part 2: Building the future, rewriting the playbook of growth
In our previous article, we laid out our philosophy on how to predict the future.
Everyone wants to know what will happen in the future, but beyond a few lucky guesses, no one really knows what is around the corner.
Even the best of the best, experts with all of their fancy financial models, are unable to figure out which direction the stock market is heading tomorrow.
As Jeff Stibel of the Harvard Business Review lays out:
“The future, like any complex problem, has far too many variables to be predicted. Quantitative models, historical models, even psychic models have all been tried — and have all failed.
But instead of throwing a bunch of resources, time, and money towards drawing up projects for tomorrow, there’s a better way: actually creating it — building it brick by brick from the ground up.
Now, building the future is important in a bull market, but it’s even more important in a bear market, where resources are comparatively more scarce and the sentiment is generally lower.
When we reflect on the path that we have taken here at STEPN, a few things stand out.
- We created the move-and-earn market.
- We rewrote the playbook of growth in Web3
- We reimagined fitness tech from the bottom up.
We’ve already covered how we created a big, blue ocean market by pioneering the move-and-earn industry. To summarize things, we brought together P2E concepts and fitness incentives, marrying the best of both worlds to give birth to an entirely new market.
By leveraging this strategy, we were able to tap into an uncontested market space and successfully introduce innovation into the crypto world.
Today, we’ll be covering another way we’ve “built” the future — and that’s by rewriting the playbook of growth in the Web3 world.
Living in Crypto Time
For those of you in the Web3 world, you know that time moves at a different rate in crypto than in the normal world.
Thus, though it might seem like years ago, we were still pretty much an unknown, anonymous project in December of 2021. In fact, if you looked up our name “STEPN” on Google, the search engine would ask “did you mean to type in Stephen?”
It’s a funny anecdote, but it truly shows how parabolic our growth has been.
Today, if you query STEPN on Google, YouTube, and even TikTok — it brings up millions of hits, with our users from all over the globe posting their wins.
We’ve been featured on publications like Forbes and Techcrunch, and — whereas we used to be pitching publications to feature us in our early days, we’re now fielding hundreds of requests that we’re still trying to get through!
It’s been an incredible journey, no doubt. Today we’re grateful to have millions of active users that are walking outside every day and building healthier habits.
And while it may seem like our success was “overnight,” that’s the furthest possible thing from the truth. As Sylvain Saurel writes:
“Overnight success is the outcome of a long and complex process.
In reality, if overnight success exists, it only happens to people who have built their success with daily efforts for many years before.
Your overnight success will therefore only be a tip of something much deeper: the submerged part of the iceberg.”
Rewriting the Playbook of Growth
The truth is, we have put our blood sweat and tears into building robust growth here at STEPN. And we’ve dedicated a ton of resources and paid careful attention to how we have designed our growth.
Thinking five steps ahead, we’ve always paid attention to product and community first and foremost.
Unfortunately, a lot of NFT projects that are out there are built on hype. Like any Web3 project, we will admit that there is a level of hype that has played a part in our growth. But that only comes after a certain amount of momentum.
Underpinning our project is a strong foundation that we have paid the utmost attention to, from game design to tokenomics, utility to business strategy.
Many people have drawn comparisons between our tokenomics and Axie Infinity. While there are some small truths to this — for example, we also use a dual token system and we’re also predicated on an “x-to-earn” model — we’re also quite different in many ways.
For example, many people have pointed out that the Axie game itself isn’t particularly fun or players are simply there to earn money. Meanwhile, we’ve been extremely diligent in designing the game to be inherently fun and positively addicting. And we encourage users who are there to, not just earn tokens and NFT rewards, but strengthen their relationships within their communities (walking together and levelling up sneakers together).
While we will be the first to acknowledge that we aren’t exempt from inflation struggles, we’ve always sought to put the mission of our game first and foremost above all else — and that’s to encourage healthier habits.
Further, we’re constantly fielding feedback from our user base. With the recent ups and downs of our GMT and GST tokens, we went through over 1,500 responses from our community members — and you can read more about how we’re listening to your feedback here.
We’ve also emphasized robust instead of explosive growth. While many Web3 projects are fixated on growth by any means — a more-people-the-better mentality — STEPN takes quite the opposite approach.
Believe it or not, we could have grown much faster than we already did, but we wanted to ensure that we were focusing on quality over quantity. We wanted to see that everyone who joined our community would have the resources to succeed, and that’s why we introduced activation codes for new players, to ensure sustainability and maintain the integrity of the ecosystem.
The future is a funny thing.
Per the famous Danish theologian Søren Kierkegaard:
“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”
As we were building STEPN, all we knew was to put our heads down, work hard and think critically about how to improve the world around us. We innovated to bootstrap that growth and rewrite how Web3 projects impacted the real world — both people’s and the planet’s health
Now, looking back, it’s clear that by doing that, we were shaping the future. Next up, keep an eye out for the next in our “building the future” series — reimagining fitness tech from the bottom up.