Data can enter the Ocean ecosystem from a number of different sources. Taking a birds eye view of the market, we can break this down into 4 key groups.
- Data Sellers
- Data Union Innovators
- Data Market Entrepreneurs
I will be using this as the basis for the selection criteria for my proposal which looks to on board more quality data sets into the Ocean ecosystem.
Ocean Data Provider Profiles
This group experiments with Ocean Market, adding data sets to learn more about the platform.
This group comes from a variety of different fields (such as user research, data science, Web 3 product development, AI, healthcare) and each have their own specific reasons for becoming more involved.
This group of experimenters is a feeder group to more ‘mature’ groups below i.e. they come in, experiment with Ocean Market and those that stick around tend to mature into a different group.
This group is made up of people and entities with quality data they want to sell.
This could be through a targeted marketplace (like the ones created by the ‘Data Market Entrepreneurs’ group below), or directly on the Ocean marketplace itself.
Given the Ocean Market is so new however, this group may or may not be established yet.
Most data sellers would see the current marketplace as being an experiment at this stage (making them more accurately reflected in the ‘Experimenters’ category above).
As the market matures however, we should start to see more of the ‘Experimenters’ becoming ‘Data Sellers’ over time.
Data Union Innovators
This group gets inspired by the potential to create a new ‘business model’ built upon Ocean’s data markets and Web3 infrastructure.
They are looking to build unique and valuable data sets by creating a more ‘equitable model’ that returns proceeds from data sales back to the data union’s contributors &/or rewarding them with datatokens.
This group does require one or more individuals with a comprehensive understanding of Ocean Protocol, data markets, Web 3 and often come from a technical background.
Data Market Entrepreneurs
These users act as intermediaries who are looking to build a profitable business that acquires and sells datasets on Ocean Protocol.
This group can be broken down further into three sub-groups.
- Brokers – Acting as brokers who on board data via more lengthy business to business sales cycles and publish it on an existing marketplace, or
- Marketplace Builders – They come from a more technical background and develop a standalone data marketplace looking to attract quality data, or
- Hybrid – They combine elements of the two. A standalone data marketplace with some B2B sales and data acquisition strategies.
In the future, you may see someone build the ‘shopify’ of data marketplaces, lowering the technical barrier to entry even further, encouraging a community of data market entrepreneurs to begin building data markets on top of Ocean Protocol.
There would likely need to be a reasonable validation of product/market fit for Web 3 data markets more broadly however before this takes place.
Motivations for each group of Data Providers
By breaking down the category of data providers into 4 different groups we can begin to unpack more specific motivations, helping us narrow down and more effectively approach and on-board them into the Ocean ecosystem.
Before addressing the individual motivations by group, it’s worth singling out staking rewards as a motivating factor on its own as it’s applicable across all groups.
While staking rewards aren’t a ‘silver bullet’ for solving the data on-boarding problem (as there are a number of other pieces of the puzzle that need to fall into place) they are an interesting and useful tool to have in the mix.
We’re going to now go a layer deeper to identify potential motivations per group, for a more effective outreach approach.
Because this group is fairly broad, specific motivations within this group can be equally broad. For example, they may be looking to build their own startup (Data union, AI project, Data Brokerage etc) or they may be hobbyists/enthusiasts just looking to experiment with the platform.
Most if not all however want to learn more about how Ocean Protocol works and are motivated by the idea that Ocean might become a significant piece of the future data economy.
Targeting this group with an offer to begin experimenting, setting up POC’s etc would likely all be helpful.
Most, if not all parties within this group would enter with some intrinsic motivation to watch Ocean Protocol grow (e.g buying into the vision, speculation etc) so this can be a useful source of motivation too.
This group is motivated by selling quality data as it represents a revenue opportunity for them. While staking returns may be of some interest, the majority of revenue for this group should come from selling their data sets.
The early adopters among this group might be motivated enough by potential staking returns and/or being a market leader/innovator in their respective industry. However the bigger part of this market is likely to emerge once a more established marketplace with a number of active buyers is already in place.
Until a genuine market of buyers emerges it’s unlikely these users would be motivated by anything more than experimentation at this stage pushing them once more, back into the ‘Experimenters’ category above.
Data Union Innovators
These users are intrigued by what they see as being possible with Ocean Protocol and identify Data Unions as being a key use case. Some are building new data sets from the ground up, leveraging Ocean Protocol and Web3 to co-create datasets.
Others see starting a data union as an opportunity to remain competitive, teaming up to create bigger co-created datasets than they otherwise would have been able to create on their own (or that they would have been able to create as a private company using the Web2 stack).
Data Market Entrepreneurs
These are builders looking for a unique market opportunity and see building an ocean market on ocean protocol (or a data brokerage) as being one of these.
They are excited by Web3 and the Data industry and see a new and unique opportunity to position themselves as a Web3 data market leader, hoping to catch the next entrepreneurial wave.
I have been looking into each of these categories in a little more detail however I want to identify and focus on one core group relatively quickly so as to begin zeroing in on them and testing some outreach activities.