Like many stories across our digital landscape, narratives create an opportunity for vibe shifts through memes, the occasional bout of boredom (or a bear market), and boundless creativity. It is in these narratives that move with the velocity of a hyperculture at the edges of the web that the Community Layer shines effortlessly.
For those paying attention to the recent market shifts through December 2023, these narratives have played out, as they do, largely by price increases in the Solana token. However, a more than doubling price increase isn’t the only call to action for SOL, as astute observers could quite easily see the community activity within the protocol. Driven in no small part by NFT communities capable of transferring these vibe shifts on a whim due to their reliance on Twitter as a central communication platform.
This week in the Community Layer, we explore the rise of the Solana ecosystem, its many styles of community activations, and the hold that one of its most well-known community builders and marketers has on the protocol.
Amy Street has solidified herself as an expert marketer and community builder among the droves of crypto enthusiasts both online and at conferences across the world. She’s traveled to, hosted, moderated and mediated discussions that bring not only a woman’s perspective but one of a background in the music industry since spending years advocating for artists.
It takes a very special kind of professionalism to cut through the noise of any ecosystem and so deeply understand its users the way Amy has managed to do. Finding an early entry to the protocol through Solana Hacker Houses, traveling to their many locations across the world where the magic of networking with builders, developers, founders, and community members thrives.
What many people might not know is the first time Amy felt part of a community was in theater and music groups in high school and early college days. Amy says these groups were special because “they really cared about the end result,” as opposed to sports teams where players were mostly there to impress scouts or get a scholarship. Observers of social behavior could relate the latter to an influencer’s “engagement farming” or taking extractive actions on their community for personal gain.
We talked about how Amy is an Enneagram 8, The Challenger, so she’s not afraid to step up and into that role when it’s time to combat a situation for the greater good. Now, that doesn’t mean that Amy is combative at all, but she takes on the role of challenger since, often, the personalities in the crypto space warrant a flavor of tough love. Being a challenger, especially to the many dominant personalities within conversations and, frankly, activity on the blockchain, makes Amy a well-respected member of the community since she does so with kindness and understanding. She understands where others are coming from, and that level of insight makes her a formidable force as a marketer and community organizer.
Her career began in the music industry, consulting with emerging artists and bands, where she helped them go viral and grow their platforms. Amy is yet another example of talent in the crypto space who hasn’t had to rely on an extensive background in Big Tech or a formal degree but was able to use self-taught expertise and determination to build a reputation for herself. Moving from the music industry, like many we hear from, she echoed, “I came in on accident. I did not seek web3; I was just going to use it as a springboard to help grow the podcast I had and thought, hopefully, I’ll grab a handful of people. It ended up being the opposite where I wanted to hear more about what they had to say than anyone coming to hear what I had to say on a podcast.”
This happy accident led Amy into a marketing role at Polygon, resulting in an introduction to Jason Desimone, founder of Rove World. Rove, an events ticketing platform that helps artists and brands establish loyalty rewards programs, is where Amy is currently Head of Growth. Amy also acts as an ambassador for Solana Mobile, works with the SocialFi Arena App on the AVAX blockchain, and is a prominent voice on many Twitter/X Spaces. Let’s explore her takes on how and why these communities are contributing so much to the success of the Community Layer of web3.
Rather than making broad statements about the Solana community or the protocol technology, here we’ll dive into how Amy specifically approaches the community. This has historically involved being active on social media and directly interfacing with users of the tech. With this knowledge, she’s able to better perform her job as Head of Growth at Rove World, which we’ll explore further.
Though she’s engaged in other protocols like Polygon, Ethereum, Bitcoin, and Avax, she made sure to point out that the attraction to Solana was the early hacker houses where people gathered around a unique builder culture. This particular culture comes from a central vision and set of values from the protocol’s founders essential to the growth of those builders.
Solana Hacker Houses were a sort of see-saw of build, party, build, party, allowing these (younger) folks to network and grow together both as adults and developers of a protocol that “felt like I was part of a family, it felt like I was going to Summer camp every three weeks.”
It’s here that Amy felt the community come alive and was able to assess her prowess as a marketer in the space.
So you know those narratives we talked about earlier? Well, one of the more standout narratives that the Solana blockchain regularly has in its collective back pocket is super cheap gas fees and speed. This makes transacting onchain often faster than using a credit card (good for regular users) and negligible in terms of transaction costs (also very important to regular users). For example, this leads to projects like Claynosaurz, an animated dinosaur collection aimed at kids and the kid-at-heart, enabling regular, cost-effective airdrops, allowing them to be more playful at scale with their community.
For the uninitiated, here are a few other communities and applications to look into on Solana:
Raposa Coffee: a global coffee brand powered by community and a smidge of caffeine
Teleport: decentralized rideshare protocol built on Solana
Drip Haus: collector-focused marketplace to earn within and reward communities
Helium: a revolutionary shift in wireless communication only possible on Solana
Amy adds that these builders have been widely supported by the community at large, enabling them to develop the tools and resources to fuel user growth and new payment processing systems useful for everyday users, even outside the blockchain world. This is the power of being so deeply engrained in a community at events and online. You get to hear exactly what users want and then go build it.
Now, when it comes to how Amy works from day to day, of course, she uses Twitter/X like nearly every other web3 marketer, but she also uses tools like Trello, Miro, and Telegram for organization, list creation, and communication to stay on top of her game. It’s one thing to be terminally online, but in the background, Amy is “a big list girl,” so Trello is definitely a winner for her.
It’s so interesting to hear how Amy talks about building community for and with artists, musicians, and even athletes in her role at Rove. Acting as Head of Growth isn’t a pure marketing role like some may imagine; it’s actually more holistic, ranging from business development to interacting with more traditional web2-style contacts she’s grown through the music industry.
Rove has created an app, available on iOS and Google Play Store, that first launched a ticketing and events service and has since grown into an experience-driven, community-fueled platform allowing creators to truly activate a community. The bands they chat with tell them, “We don’t even like the word fans. There’s so much distance between fans and us.”
According to Rove, new connections with artists from events, merchandising, and concerts with social graph activations will create both innovative and intuitive funnels for community members rather than disconnected “fans” of the past few decades. This goes beyond simply getting a discount on merch, which isn’t as helpful to activate a base as social connections.
Speaking of events, Amy killed it this year at several major Solana events, including her “mountaintop moment” at Breakpoint in Amsterdam this Fall, where she got to speak on stage six times. However, Art Basel this year was also a standout event as it felt like the community had finally come together again after trudging through a bear market.
Rounding our discussion on events is Solana Summer Fest. A pivotal moment for both Amy and Rove in partnership with the Solana Foundation in Nashville, TN, also held this past Fall. She describes this event as an opportunity for her to challenge the way web3 as a whole has previously handled sponsorships to truly uplift brands. Rather than simply plastering ads everywhere, the various community activations were at the forefront of building lasting memories for community members.
In an increasingly expanding protocol ecosystem like Solana, creating meaningful community activations is key for growth and spaces for belonging. These have since resulted in global Hacker Houses, conferences, standalone events like Solana Breakpoint, and huge drives for users to a blockchain offering low gas fees and a thriving community of builders.
Amy has been a pivotal marketer and leader within the various communities surrounding Solana and other protocols in the web3 space. Observations found over the year led her to notice some challenges Solana may face that can and likely will be resolved over time: these involve an increased breadth of entire apps being duplicated when a partnership would have sufficed, lack of education on the community as a whole, or simply the act of sifting through the noise of the ecosystem. These small but impactful challenges, Amy suggests, could be resolved by bolstering widespread education from the top and elevating artists and where to find them.
All in all, the Solana community has shown resilience throughout the past year, and according to this exemplary leader, it is heading in the right direction, heading into a new year with renewed strength.
You can find Amy Street on Twitter/X at https://twitter.com/Iamamystreet
And visit Rove at https://roveworld.xyz/