Special Edition XX9. CloutCast has us paying attention in cold, hard, $clout.
Welcome to another special edition of @BitsTODAY. For this drop, @nvo sat down with the @clout_cast team about a week ago.
The goal? Learn more from one of the most foremost teams on BitClout about what building on BitClout is actually like. 🏗️🧱
In the process? We gleaned a ton more insight into the roadmap for community projects on BitClout. Grab a drink on this fine Friday eve and have a read 🍹!
Join us in a daydream for a moment. It’s another beautiful day in the cloutiverse 🌌. You’re sipping a cup of clout ☕ and you fire up your laptop to get the day going. You log onto your favorite BitClout node. The price of $clout is up to $1,069? Not bad 💰.
The next thing you do every morning after checking the $clout price and your notifications? You head on over to cloutcast.io. The first thing you do? Check your user-level analytics. There’s an entire dashboard telling you what the market rate for promotions from creators like you are going for. A reclout with your following? That’s worth about $11.88 today ✔️
Time to head to the office. While you’re walking across town, you fire up your iOS mobile app and scroll through the BitClout feed. You find a super spicy meme that’s ripe for promotion and that’s offering a rate pretty comparable to fair market prices. Boom, re-clout that bad boy 🔁.
A few hours later, you’re scrolling through your Instagram-equivalent app built on the BitClout blockchain. Of course, @clout_cast is integrated on this app, too. While your beach pics from the weekend are already doing numbers 📈, you decide to pour a lil’ gas on the fire 🔥. You use the funds raised earlier from reclouting that meme and sprinkle some promo on your posts.
From there, it’s back to a little more scrolling before you start the grind again. Arguably the best thing about the whole day so far? No targeted ads anywhere on your feeds. Just grassroots, opt-in promotions. 😇
Sound like we’re in a farfetched dreamland over here? Too pie in the sky 🥧? Turns out, thanks to the work of some enterprising BitClout OGs, this future is likely a lot closer than you think. Today’s special edition is all about the @clout_cast team, who are working day and night to make these dreams a reality for all of us. Let’s learn more about one of the top teams building on BitClout and what their vision for the product is, shall we? 👇
When I asked @JasonDevlin what building a start-up on BitClout is like he replied candidly that it’s far from normal. While building a start-up, in general, is a helter-skelter endeavor, he noted that building one on BitClout is completely “bizarro.”
That’s part of the fun though. Over the course of the past three months, @JasonDevlin, @smartalec, and @awesome_dev have been working furiously on a marketplace for native promotions on BitClout, @clout_cast. These three musketeers have a strong relationship and working understanding, as they all work together at a start-up studio in Miami. @smartalec is Head of DevOps, @awesome_dev is Lead Systems Architect, and @JasonDevlin is Head of Product. The team has considerable experience working together, vetting other startups, and cutting checks for promising businesses. 💸
Here’s what @JasonDevlin shared on how they got started on @clout_cast:
“I will pitch these guys stupid start-up ideas all the time. This is the first one we’ve carried all the way through.”
“My role is to keep Jason in check,” adds @awesome_dev. Jokes aside, @awesome_dev notes that the team “… really jive[s] well with each other. It’s like a little miniature a-team.”
What really got the team excited about building @clout_cast? Catalyzed by the original product-a-thon back in April (word up @shubhang and @artz!), @clout_cast aims to completely re-shape the digital advertising landscape.
In case you’re a complete Luddite and are yet somehow still reading this article, a massive amount of ad spend is directed into targeted ads on social media, especially Facebook, where user data is leveraged by advertisers to pinpoint specific messages to specific demographic groups, profiles that regularly engage with certain types of content, etc. If you’ve ever talked about diapers in the car in the morning (shoutout family man, @ASG) and then gotten Huggies ads on Instagram in the afternoon, you know how icky this can feel as a user.
How does @clout_cast conceive of their opportunity? @awesome_dev had some impassioned words to offer:
“Humans should see each other as peers, not as [a] product.”
The way the massive targeted advertising market works at current is the antithesis of this goal. That’s why @clout_cast wants to flip it on its head:
“[We want to be] at the heart of changing marketing … [so that] it’s crowd-sourced, it’s there because someone got paid, not because of your user behavior online. If we could play a part in changing that… That’s huge and is a worthwhile use of our time.” — @awesome_dev
In effect, @clout_cast wants to become the broker for people looking to sell content to influencers or creators in the web3 world. Based on their progress to date, creators clearly see the value of this market and enjoy using the @clout_cast product to promote content or to get paid to do so:
“Most of our promotions aren’t people selling anything — it’s people looking for engagement. It’s an antithesis to advertising — we’re not selling anything, we’re flattening the network. Giving people access to trumpet their own voice or creativity.” — @JasonDevlin
Ultimately, this could happen on any open-source social media; armed with APIs, @clout_cast can go build their marketplace anywhere, including on legacy social media. At one point, Twitter actually had an open API, though they closed it a few years back. Of course, the current product is also optimized for blockchain-based social media. @JasonDevlin put it succinctly:
“We’re able to interface with [any] social network built on a blockchain.”
The momentum the team has garnered building in this environment has given them a ton of wind in their sails ⛵. In our conversation, the entire team oozed enthusiasm about the ethos of open-source and the world of crypto, blockchains, and web3. For instance, @awesome_dev likened this building environment to earlier iterations of the internet:
“This feels like what it felt like to build new apps in the late 90s and early 2000s, before anyone owned the internet. I’ve been doing software dev for more than 25 years now. This project is the most fun I’ve had doing dev work in at least the past 10 years”
And @smartalec echoed a similar sentiment:
“[On BitClout] there’s a blue sky, green field mentality when it comes to being able to develop things. We’re finally able to develop the way we really wanted to see it… This is the most fun I’ve ever had writing software.”
This freedom to innovate stands in stark contrast to how entrenched industries like finance, and increasingly big tech, have become.
So how about the decision to launch on BitClout specifically, as opposed to say, a competitor like Rally?
It’s pretty simple really — @JasonDevlin notes the team wanted to put time and effort into chains that seemed most likely to succeed. What was attractive about BitClout? The core team’s ability to amass money and a powerful network on their cap table 👏:
“That sends a huge signal to us that they’re not going away. They have longevity that other folks might not.”
Looking ahead, if @clout_cast is able to actualize their vision for their product, what will it look like? As they scale up, @clout_cast wants to build an incredible experience for both the demand and supply side of their marketplace. This will include integrating education for users. How much promotional spend should you allocate to hit certain targets? Which market segments should you offer incentives for promotions? These are the types of data points @clout_cast can start offering users with predictive analytics.
In fact, @JasonDevlin explained that’s where the lion’s share of @clout_cast investments are flowing right now; training AI model’s to optimize marketing spend ROI (again, contrast this with figuring out how to best target people based on their data). All of it will be focused on answering a key question, namely what’s the highest and best use of my marketing dollar or my voice? And this will vary a lot whether I’m asking that question personally (i.e. @nvo’s perspective) or on behalf of say, @BitsTODAY. This roadmap could also drive more monetization for the business too. Down the road, we can see a future where power users enroll in a SaaS-type product for enhanced insights.
Further, users should expect a ton more integrations to come too. @clout_cast is already integrated with @cloutfeed, a native iOS app for BitClout. This integration will be the first of many. There’s a bright future of open source applications building together in this ecosystem. You don’t need months of work with dedicated teams to make an integration happen. The @clout_cast team shared that someone as savvy as @ribal (@cloutfeed founder) was able to whip up a mutually beneficial integration in a matter of days.
Of course, building on BitClout full-time is not a walk in the park, either. @JasonDevlin is very actively thinking about what accelerants are needed to take @clout_cast to the next level and what their gates to success are 🔑.
For one, @clout_cast is transitioning into a phase of growth where they are actively sourcing outside investment. At a certain point, projects like @clout_cast that are working full-time need this type of backing; right now, with daily active users and $clout flows where they are, there isn’t enough income from existing operations to fund salaries. @JasonDevlin provided more detail:
“For projects like us, at a certain point, if you can’t get any venture backing, you’re going to do something else. There isn’t enough revenue to be generated in the sandbox.”
This is a big challenge for BitClout, not just for projects like @clout_cast. As a community, we should all be cognizant that we’ll start to see more and more projects fizzle out in the coming 3–6 months absent funding or meteoric lift off of the BitClout platform itself.
“It’s going to start being a gut check,” says @JasonDevlin.
Still, this all goes back to why projects like @clout_cast are great, too. They represent an honest, transparent, and deliberate approach to building on BitClout. Too many projects launch with just a landing page or a white paper. Builders also often spread themselves too thin: One or two-person teams working on their own at night for 1–2 hours a day isn’t a sustainable model. It’s a grind even for three experienced engineers working full-time.
In sum? We can all take encouragement from the @clout_cast team. This is already a top 10 community project. They didn’t ask for money upfront, or for permission to go out and build something. As of right now, they’re not even verified (yo @Maebeam what gives?). Rather, they coalesced behind a collective vision and leveraged their expertise to build a great product that people like. Whether they’re able to continue their quest and achieve success in the coming months will reflect as much on BitClout as a whole as it will on their abilities (if not more so).
We hope we can do our small part, too, by shining light on the awesome work builders on BitClout are doing 💪. Godspeed, @clout_cast, we’re rooting for you! Here’s hoping that in the near future, all of our social feeds only include promotions that other creators actually wanted to promote, as opposed to ads that exploit our user data ✨.