Bill Ottman is Co-Founder and CEO of Minds, an open-source social network which leverages blockchain. The social network provides a censorship-resistant, transparent communication platform with more than 1.25M registered users. Minds has just raised $6 million in Series A funding. The investor was Medici Ventures, a blockchain subsidiary of Overstock.com. In addition to the funding, Patrick M. Byrne, founder and CEO of Overstock.com has joined Minds’ board of directors. In this interview, we hear from Bill Ottman about building a team, integrating blockchain, allocating resources, entrepreneurial routines and how the Minds platform works.
Minds is a crypto social network where users earn or purchase tokens and can use them for advertising, digital content subscriptions and other premium services. We invert the model of traditional social platforms by focusing on transparency, privacy, decentralization and Internet freedom.
Our minds are a network. So Minds is a social network to facilitate and amplify the communication of ideas sustainably and ethically (as opposed to the mainstream extractive model of big tech). Traditional social nets are centralized, secretive, surveillance-based and manipulative. Minds is fully transparent, encrypted, reward-based and on the path to decentralization. I’ve always known there was an inevitability to an open network rising to the mainstream and the abuses of Facebook and friends certainly fueled the inspiration.
Engineering has always been core along with creative viral marketing and partnerships with influencers who align with our philosophy. The product should really get to a point where it works for itself. That’s the beauty of smart contracts and well-designed code/reward systems.
We launched a non-blockchain digital point system in 2015 where users would earn for activity and could then utilize on the network for more exposure, tips, etc. Over time we found there could be numerous benefits to shifting to blockchain such as greater transparency and security. It also supports our decentralization ethos. The more autonomous and trustless, the better.
We’ve been consistently in the top 25 ETH dapps, which doesn’t even account for our off-chain transaction volume. We are serving around 75 million ad impressions that users have received by using tokens.
We do daily stand-ups ad nauseum! We are deeply synchronized with the community of over 1 million users and constantly seeking to understand the consensus on what’s most important to build next through analytics and community forums.
Everything that we’ve collaborated with MG+ on! From content policy to crypto regulations to managing a large cap table. These are some of the most difficult yet stimulating aspects of our company.
Start with the use-case and have a real product that people use. Don’t follow the buzz for the sake of it. There are many decentralization tools other than blockchain that are better for certain tasks, so make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons!