Dialogue concerning Marketing Strategist at HQ

Great post! OK you win. Going forward Ive added H to IMO. (kidding)

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I am sure we are, as the right track for us just now is an investigative one whilst building a marketing position and portfolio. Marketing is subjective though and a black art in many ways, you know it is right looking back but rarely looking forward. I realise you think we are poor at that and so do we, but that is why there is an effort there to improve, If you are debating how we improve by saying we should not hire expertise but subcontract it all out then that is your prerogative, but it is not our chosen path.

Nope, it does not :wink:

This means then that you believe our marketing has not improved, or do you mean not improved enough?

[edit lazy Sunday afternoon, so I can afford the time to answer whilst listening to the selfish gene :wink: ]


I didn’t get a lot of marketing, but I remember the responsible teacher showing this or a similar John Cleese ‘customer service training’ Video. It was certainly entertaining :smile:

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Good one, that is a good start. :joy:

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I was responding to your response. Not swayed by it.

Further, I do believe your marketing falls short. Not to be critical of any single persons effort but IMHO you are all way to close to this to be able to tear it down, sum it all up for public display.

I dont think anyone inside Maidsafe knows how to “efficiently and effectively” describe your “product” and that should be your starting point with any relationship you develop. And that should be done before you spend another nickel or host another public event.

Then, once you have that mastered, its much easier to hire a TEAM (Team of many) who have the ability to think OUTSIDE the BOX and MOST IMPORTANTLY think “OUTSIDE THE Maidsafe Box” and do their job.

So I go back to my point.

How could you effectively explain to a outside marketing firm “what you are”, or “who you are” if you cannot do it now? How do you expect a single “marketing” person to absorb the weight and depths of this concept without collapsing, quitting, wasting your hours and hours of HR and developer interaction? And cash.

IMHO you cannot.


EDIT: When I say “product” I mean an all encompassing vision both, technical and morale.

I agree but would say anyone in or outside of MaidSafe, including the whole community (even yourself) I also recognise the Tim Berners Lee had the exact same issue even well after launch then was joined by Google, FaceBook, Twitter and many others. So this point is valid and accepted, but also needs perspective.

Tim helped us recently when we had a similar person spear at me and Viv at a conference with the other (black art) question of “what is the killer app, you MUST have a killer app?”. Tim jumped in quickly to ask, what was the killer app 25 years ago on the web, that person was stunned into agreement. So there are a lot of these “points” about and many “expert” opinion on their merit or otherwise. (P.S this is how we met TBL and it was a nice intro from him to us :wink: )

Not to detract from the premise though, I agree we must give this thought, but I suspect we do not need to answer your point first, we need to develop the picture and story to then make it more effective.


Im sorry David. All respect for this man Tim Berners Lee but using a comparison from 25 years ago when the internet was unknown and an APP was a before dinner plate is not (IMHO) relevant and demonstrates that outside the box thinking is soooooo necessary for you to succeed. . Today we have kids under 10 years old developing APPs and coding. Today, coding is the new blue collar job. Today, everybody understands what a virus is. 25 years ago you got kleenex tissue out when you hear the word VIRUS.

All I can ask.

My bet is you might.


Hiring someone? This one is up my alley. I do this for a living. I hire the Company i work for. Most times i nail it although there have been a few mistakes.

So if Maidsafe ever needs a little help do feel free to reach out :grin:. I’d do it for free :slight_smile:


Sorry meant to respond here

IMHO - sans perspective - This is central to why you have not had good results with marketing firms and may contribute to future problems.

This is an interesting debate. As a former dabbler in the black arts myself I can certainly see that MaidSafe has been historically lacking in that department but I must say this situation seems much improved on the back of recent appointees. But everyone knows there’s still some way to go in terms of creating a clear, consistent message of what the project is all about as SAFE moves closer to production. That includes design elements too.

The message still seems to be a little insular if not defensive - ‘We’re just a small company from Troon’, and ‘It’s us against the world’ - which doesn’t really cut it any more especially as there are now lots of others working in the same space. Either that or the conversation gets too technical too quick. An analysis of what these other projects do really well (and not so well) in terms of capabilities and how they communicate them, would be invaluable at this stage, I think. SAFE does a lot of things that others don’t, namely having storage, networking, security and authentication all covered, with the ability to scale globally, and the benefits of having all these things covered needs to be made clearer.

The decision to appoint a marketing strategist is it definitely a good a move at this juncture. Whether that person is internal or external, office-based or remote is not the important factor IMO so long as they they bring the ability to be an outsider looking in and retain that independence of viewpoint - which is where an outsider can be most valuable. Where I work we occasionally bring in consultants with relevant expertise to bring fresh ideas and cut through the groupthink and the ones I’ve been involved with at least have been positive and helped to push through new ideas and - equally important - ditch failing ones.

I suspect some of the bad experiences MaidSafe had with external companies were around them not having a clue what SAFE was about, because there was little to compare it to back then. Marketers are basically copycats - they look at what works elsewhere and nick it. Decentralisation is gaining ground now though with all the blockchain hype, and specialist agencies are starting to emerge with a better overview of developments, so I wouldn’t rule them out.


I kinda go against the grain of most I feel like in that I don’t believe promotion should really be done until a product is ready to present so your first big reveal to the world is concrete and people can really use it to the full extent and by doing so understand it(Also early promotion may not reflect what the final product really looks like, either over delivering or under delivering on expectations of what the final v1 product looks like). I understand the value of getting the word out, but if it comes down to we were not able to finish the network because of funding first thing I would point to is well why do we put any focus or resources into promo videos and conceptualize ideas in peoples heads for a product that does not exist yet :stuck_out_tongue: . Maybe its the programmer and developer in me, I guess believing the tech is superior to all else at least in the early stages of a software product’s life. MaidSafe must be either be confident in meeting their engineering goals prior to funding running out, confident they can dip into extra funding or secure funding elsewhere later(at potential risk of dilution on the value of earlier investors into this project (say you do get funding for partnership as a private network instance for some company, well that’s value lost for investors in the public SafeNetwork tokens hoping to see their farming profitable with said companies data)), or confident that marketing == MaidSafe coin value increasing and can sell tokens MaidSafe currently possesses for an extended runway/time-frame (I could be way off base on the last thought if they don’t hodl coins). I do like the weekly updates though so w/e funding it takes to keep visibility into the team I fully endorse that value add :slight_smile: .


Hear ye, hear ye! Most relevant point in this whole discussion IMHO. You cannot hope to market pie in the sky, which is how most newbies will look at the project at this point in time, especially with all the inferior “cyber” products popping up almost daily and the plethora of negative news surrounding the cyber world. The best you can hope for from any marketing campaign right now is to bend the ears of a small percentage of the eventual target market, the enlightened ones. I don’t think the returns of that, by itself, would be enough to warrant a full-scale marketing attack right now. Best to hold your horses, and your money, bide your time and wait until just before and after launch for the marketing push.


Please @BIGbtc move your rant to a new thread. I am sick of the pissing contest. I come to this thread to read about development updates and you have hijacked the thread. Maybe you could call it “Maidsafe Team Not Competent to Manage Their Own Marketing” or something similar. WTF!

@tjf, I actually find your words there the most poisonous and least constructive so far.

I find the discussion that is evolving, to be very interesting, and obviously so do others as well.
Many people, including staff from MaidSafe, are formulating thoughts and giving accord in a way that would not have happened here or now otherwise.

The most valuable part of criticism isn’t necessarily the criticism itself, but all thought and discussion that comes after.


I too find it interesting as well. However, it is not appropriate to discuss this ad naseum in the development update. It deserves its own thread.


I am tending to something similar. What is probably needed is a Strategic Marketing Plan so than when things are nearly there, the information and actions will be known and ready to go

I’m not entering into this debate. The team knows better than I do. But since David asked, I’d like to throw these guys a bone: https://autonomite.net/

Their package prices are really good too: https://autonomite.net/catalyze-my-brand/

They do the marketing for Anarchapulco - https://anarchapulco.com/ and IMO, have done an amazing job.

A quote from their website:

We know you’ve been sold countless times on needing to make a memorable first impression on your visitors in the digital age. You’ve been told by every agency that they are the best at what they do.

We’re not here to bore you with the same uninspired copy you’ve read a thousand times in a shallow attempt to win your money. Further, we’re not here to blindly work with anyone willing to pay us. We are here because if you share our humanitarian ambition to improve society, we will go well above and beyond what other agencies can do to ensure your success.

This is not just a paycheck for us. Your passions are our passions. Our audience is your audience. So let’s join forces.

@dirvine – I’d like to see you in a future version of that video! :slight_smile:


Ok, so I’m not part of the marketing team, so I I’m not involved in the specifics of this hiring process; but I think you can be reassured that they are making the correct decision.

Over the past decade or so I’ve spent my time designing for, and marketing, complex products that are breaking new ground, and that are tricky to great your head around. Up until now, nothing quite as complex and all encompassing as the SAFE Network, but still, I think it’s given an interesting insight into how these things go down.

I’ve also experienced a multitude of approaches too the the inhouse/outsourcing approach; everything from handing over the reigns entirely, to project based, to buying in key roles, advisors that dip in and out, multi-agency etc… and the conclusion that we always came to?
In-sourcing of core skills should always be the aim, and will always benefit the organisation and product in the long run.

Perhaps you have to outsource because you need knowledge or skills that your team doesn’t have right now. Fair enough, time often dictates that as the pragmatic solution… but the aim should be to only do that until you can learn enough to subsume that function. It’s key to sustainability: retaining knowledge.

It’s quite natural to think, “yeah, these marketing firms are the experts, they must be, that’s all they do right? And an outside view on things is so important; they’ll have the incisive answers!” and sometimes they do, but more often than not, the relationship goes like this:

  • Agency pitches for the work with their best minds. It’s exciting, they have some interesting ideas and lots of other clients that seem to have done well.
  • The agency then spends a long time, and many iterations, trying to grasp both the complex product, and these nuanced philosophy behind it (this is all very expensive).
  • We then get into the meat of the project itself, which usually goes one of two ways
    1. They never quite get to grips with the product/project, and produce lacklustre (yet expensive) results, and then things break down.
    2. We do ok together, have an exciting initial project, but then the best minds get moved on to chasing new clients (or new career opportunities), and we go into their (still expensive) maintenance mode. Enthusiasm wanes, ideas dry up, and the relationship breaks down.

Occasionally there are exceptions to this—like sometimes you find really great freelancers, for a niche role that works well in the long term—but generally this seems a familiar pattern.

There is still value in outsourcing provided you can plan around building that skill in-house, and learning from all these projects along the way, so the knowledge and practices stay part of the organisation.

But it seems like the marketing team are just cutting to the chase, and building things from the ground up; which is in my experience, an excellent, and exciting choice.


Gotta be honest, I find that video quite toe-curling. Although that could well be a reflection on the fact I’m not the target audience.

Also (bearing in mind I don’t know anything about this business other than what is on their website, so please just read this as that) I think this would raise a bit of a flag for me:

… get a winning content strategy developed uniquely for your business for only $100 !

These kinds of claims and prices would say to me that either:

  • They value quantity of clients, over quality of work
  • They are just going to give you a boilerplate ‘content strategy’ without understanding your product
  • They are blackhatting
  • They are running a massive loss-leader and therefore I’d worry about sustainability, or what they are concealing
  • They tend to cater for very simple, small businesses, at an entry level
  • They don’t know what they are doing

Again, I could be misjudging them, but then again they are in the business of marketing so their first job is to market themselves, so I feel it is fair to a bit judgemental in that regard. :sweat_smile:


While I’m certain we all have our own preferences, the interesting thing about the Safe Network is that it will have mass appeal. So marketing for the network can go in many directions simultaneously IMO - I guess having a core set of marketing materials would be a good start for launching multi-pronged ads. So the real question I suspect is which audiences need to be gone after first and which later. Perhaps selecting the appropriate candidate individual or company who is best able to go after these early audiences (experience) is the best bet. Can hire others down the track to go after subsequent audiences.

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