How It Happened
Continuing with the near future…
Version 1 of MuDAO was a much simpler points system – MuCo. A centralised entity managed the creation of Mu (µ), which it offered for a price to brands, who in turn could offer it to their customers. This idea of a pan-brand attention and engagement loyalty program was in itself a big step forward; almost all rewards till then had been focused on transactions and the exchange of money. The realisation that attention was upstream of transactions led to the creation of MuCo. It solved a coordination problem among brands – no single brand pushed enough messages to create a micro-loyalty program of scale. Customers liked it because it enabled them to have meaningful earnings through rewards which could then be encashed in the µShop.
But the centralisation aspect of MuCo was a problem. A couple of people could alter the value of µ, and brands and customers would have little or no say in the matter. The way out was a decentralised entity, with direct connections between brands and customers. This is where the blockchain came in. If MuCo had to successfully challenge the monopoly of BigTech, it would have to cede control to the community. It was time for version 2 of MuCo – a shift from online to on-chain. MuDAO would be run by rules, not its rulers; MuDAO would be a blockchain, not a chain of command.
MuDAO had to solve the cold start problem and get both brands and customers to trust that a decentralised system could work. Luckily, the popularity of cryptocurrencies helped address the initial scepticism. Besides, the initial success of MuCo had enough brands and customers on board to get traction for the second avatar. The µ collected by customers now could be traded on an exchange so brands could buy it. The combination of abundance and scarcity of µ created value for both sides and helped drive µ not just as a means of earning some goodies but also as a long-term investment. For the first time, attention was being monetised – not by BigTech, but the people themselves.
Step by step, MuDAO solved the three biggest problems that brands faced: attention recession, repeat customers, and new customer acquisition. Attention recession was solved by using atomic rewards in the form of µ in push messages, starting with email and then expanding to the other channels. By calibrating µ to customer lifetime value, brands also started driving repeat purchases and loyalty – for the first time, they had a hotline via the Micronbox to their existing customers. With end customers valuing µ, it became easier to ask existing customers to help spread the word among their friends and family about the brand. Both the referring customer and the referred customer benefited from the rewards, and the brand could save on spending via the BigTech platforms.
MuDAO thus created a new ecosystem – the µniverse – between brands and customers. The relationship had meaning for both – attention was not taken for granted by brands, and incentives helped customers along their engagement journey. Arun and Jeni, at opposite sides as customer and marketer, created a mutually beneficial relationship. Web3 proved its mettle!