Market

Target Market

Cosmos prioritizes visionary artists, writers and thinkers in a socioeconomic and cultural context that, wittingly or not, tends to deny and bury their gifts. By “visionary,” we simply mean “having vision beyond the status quo.” This may mean:

· having an understanding the goes deeper than the systems at hand

· futuristic

· radical

· profound

· contemplative

· experimental

· systems-thinking/holistic

· humanistic

· spiritual/extra-visionary

· edgy or “weird”

· artistic/sensitive

It also includes people who, for strong ethical, spiritual, physical or otherwise real reasons, cannot abide the current order and way of things. Whether they have developed a vision of a viable, attractive alternative or not, they may encounter various embodied visions and experiments within Cosmos, and so Cosmos is a haven for anyone ready to participate—mind, body, and heart/spirit—in interacting co-creatively toward the world(s) we desire.

We are centered on supporting creators of content—currently that means:

· philosophers

· academics

· educators

· therapists/healers

· philosophers

· writers

· podcasters

· new media artists

· practitioners of conscious dialogue and discourse

And furthermore…

· designers

· organizers

· readers

· engineers

· technologists

· activists

· weird/outrageous/boundary-bending and uncategorizable

As may be distilled from the categories of appeal above, Cosmos’ initial segments of the “market” to target are people who: 1) tend to be highly [and often dynamically] educated already (whether through conventional or unconventional pathways); 2) are flexible and comfortable enough in the meeting of their basic needs to spend time, money and energy experimenting with a platform like this (so, likely, lower-middle income and above); 3) are of a persona that thrives on variety, challenge, engagement, and/or aesthetic experiences.

Creative members (see: Membership Types) are the platform’s primary focus of services through providing tools, spaces and other conducive elements, in accordance with the Five Pillars. Supporter members and worker members are convened for the sake of an inclusive, dynamic, generative “social soil” that fosters creative members (or, more accurately— the creative potentials latent in every member ) to come to full fruition. Through catalyzing interactions, generative relationships, and productive collaborations, we hope to nudge the world toward increasing its affordances (cultural space and power) for radical world-shifting creativity.

If one of our objectives is to awaken the latent (and amplify the active ) creative element in every human being, then even people who do not resonate with any of the above categories at this time, who tend to think of themselves as just “listeners” or “fans,” may indeed become future creators—and possibly so through their engagement with Cosmos. One of the ways Cosmos will measure its success (toward achieving its mission) is by looking at how participants’ engagement intensifies or grows more multi-dimensional over time. Cosmos is multiplicitous, layered and open-minded as to how its members make use of the platform and community’s structures, templates and flows—therefore, membership is a commitment that is fluid in form and highly relational.

Cosmos interacts and intersects with a broader community of individuals and organizational partners. Through these activities Cosmos aspires to reach more people with its vision, enhance the market for its members’ creative offerings, and even influence social discourses and cultural trends. Cosmos accepts non-member monetary contributions in various forms (donations to Cosmos, donations to specific initiatives/projects, gifts to specific members, commission on payments for member-offered goods or services, sponsoring members as a “patron,” etc.) However, these transactions only occur via cash; non-members are barred from using LitCoin. In this sense, though, there would be a broader community, marketed to & attracted by Cosmos’ outputs, called “audience” (see: Who We Serve) that is cultivated as the fanbase from which future members may become recruited.

As a gamified platform that is highly focused on facilitating generative interactions between participants, early adopters will most likely be of a spirited, experimental personality who want to “play the game” (of the platform’s Litcoin currency, principally) and see what comes of it. From our earliest adopters (that is, those folks currently involved with the platform at the time of this writing), the general feeling is that participating in discourse-celebrating, mutually valorizing, generative community has an organic, amplifying effect on their own creative works and inner life, thus tentatively proving an essential tenet of Cosmos’ value proposition. (The key challenge for Cosmos will be to retain that same value throughout its growth in complexity… aka maintaining a healthy “depth to complexity” ratio, where users are not barred from realizing the benefits of the platform by having too steep a barrier to entry of having to learn how to use the platform.)

Our first focus is our fellow creators. We recognize that people return because of the relationships they have. Conversation that potentiates communion and deepened understanding of the world and of oneself is Cosmos’ root value to its members. Cosmos’ platform design is itself offered up, in vulnerability and transparency, for co-creative and dialogic engagement by the membership—with the core infrastructure team learning from the conversations occuring on the site as well as the conversations occurring between user and interface and spaces in the platform, noting “desire lines” that naturally form through people’s interactions. If everything is really a conversation, a co-construction, then let us model that sincerely, and celebrate it! From the get-go, Cosmos is about genuine relationships with people–even if no one seems to “get” my work, even if I don’t find great friends there, I still benefit from the rich dialogic conversational milieu in a community of people who practice explicit and considered norms like delving into differences, contemplative inquiry, and compassionate communication.

Market Size

Is potentially, widespread… However, Cosmos (possibly by way of its cultural productions and developments) has the formidable task of changing the narrative around what consumers (users) of such platforms today value and how . That is, Cosmos must engage in a kind of conversation through its marketing efforts to shift ideas about how we value one another’s contributions in our lives, and how we value and benefit from the platforms that host our social media and discourses. Furthermore, Cosmos must “sell” potential users on the fun of playing a more complex game with more diverse “heirloom” forms of currency, where the user is empowered in the “creative driver’s seat” of what happens next. In many ways, this calls for a radical shift in user behavior and in how the user relates to the platform—everything from cooperative ownership and financial benefit through the platform, to valuing choice and consequences in community more than cheap, easy, “on rails” experiences.

To illustrate: one prominent example of this will be addressing how a user needs to buy into Cosmos (whereas legacy systems are “free” for the users to use [offset by advertising]). This could be addressed by pointing out the potential to benefit in multiple ways (multiple forms of capital)—including the potential to recoup one’s membership fees or even make money through one’s use of the platform—although much of that proposed functionality remains unbuilt, and so the value proposition remains one “of faith.” [More on exactly which subset of customers, then, we might want to target our early member drive efforts to, below.]

These issues present substantial hurdles; Cosmos is unlikely to succeed in its vision without affecting the broader discourse on “what is needed and wanted” from our social media platform utilities and technologies. Working in our favor, though, there is a growing sense at this historic moment that people are naturally encountering and beginning to grapple with the limitations of the status quo (or “legacy”) platforms—and furthermore, growing disenchanted with the “legacy” socioeconomic system that drives the design and structure of such platforms, moreover (as these things are connected). As users grow fatigued with legacy systems and become willing to playfully experiment with alternatives, Cosmos has the potential to capture users worldwide.

Cosmos anticipates that its users will be more educated than average and will derive from Westernized countries at first (U.S., Europe, etc.), due to English being the predominant language currently used on the platform, and also due to the market conditions whereby educated Westerners tend to have excess time and underutilized talent and capital that may be “played with” (with minimal consequence or risk) on the platform in the early stages. Engaging this ready and willing market and using the surplus, distributed forms of capital embodied in such users in experimental economic formats (see: Litcoin) may contribute to the eventual stabilization of the gamified currency and related elements, thereby enabling the platform to grow to serve people with even more__dire needs and potential for benefit in Cosmos—I.e., those with more need and urgency to access liquid, regenerative forms of capital but who experience precarity and cannot assume as much risk of using an early-stage, experimental (and admittedly ambitious) platform.

Competition

Cosmos’ biggest competitors:

  • Adobe Creative Suite (and its other properties including Behance, 99U, etc.)

- What they provide: An extraordinarily robust suite of creative production tools, with an excellent balance of depth to complexity (that is: where a user can “go deep” with any one product, or go broad and develop proficiency in multiple products, and still be getting immense value out of their purchase), and a monthly, firm subscriber pay structure in which improvements to optional “side products” that a user may or may not use does not increase the user’s cost. They also offer communities of users (Behance) in which interaction occurs…

- What they don’t provide: … but developing the community is not really the focus, and deep interactions are not supported in those interfaces. Cosmos should consider: how does the deeper conversational affordances actually increase the value of the platform-as-utility?

  • Patreon

- What they provide: A platform for linking artists with sponsors who acknowledge their creative productions through monthly or one-time payments. Patreon has been continuously innovating to foster more robust relationships and generative feedback loops between artists and their sponsors through communications enhancements and organizational tools.

-What they don’t provide: ownership of the platform by the artists AND sponsors. Open Collective provides a potential Open Source alternative to the functional utility of relating artists to sponsors and vice versa, which Cosmos is currently experimenting with. Through Open Collective, Cosmos could also offer group fundraising “buckets” in addition to individual pages.

… [MORE TO BE FILLED IN] …

Various other platform co-op initiatives may function as competitors if we are unable to integrate them with our directives through our primary outreach tactic, which is to invite dialogue about combining generative overlap in ways that both serve Cosmos’ community of users and furthers the aims of the partner company. One example of this might be adopting Holochain as the utility enabling the roll out of Litcoin, and through that consensual “smart contract” between the two entities, collaborating to coevolve those tools and functions together. As a kind of “intentional platform community,” Cosmos offers a built-in user base to test innovative open source technologies emerging at this time. Thus, seeking potential for collaborative partnership is Cosmos’ general orientation and strategy, when possible, over using the lens of “competition.”

Market Share Potential

Because Cosmos intends to be a platform that is wide-ranging and spacious enough to accommodate diverse user paths, there is a range of potential “market share” to capture in each of its dimensions. For example, of the overall market of potential users who are specifically seeking a community-based marketplace to put out their products and services around coaching for creatives, how many of those could Cosmos capture? Would those customers be more or less attracted based on the constellation of complementary services available through Cosmos?

Let’s also acknowledge that in large part, Cosmos’ marketing plan, in early stages, is to lean on word of mouth. What at this stage attracts new users, besides the heartfelt expressed (and in-active-discussion) values and ethics that differentiate Cosmos?

To justify guesses at market share potential, in each main component in Cosmos (listed in Products & Services sections), one would have to list the current state of “demand” for each such product or service. Regarding the potential market share attainable just by Cosmos’ general conversational capacities (that are currently operational), one can look to current, past and notable conversations or initiatives happening in Cosmosphere at the time of this doc (e.g., movie club, book clubs, themed salons, etc.)

QUESTION PROMPTS for community:

  • What should we be thinking about with respect to our target markets and market size? What are some existing communities (formally or informally designated) that Cosmos may want to intentionally approach and engage?

  • Who are Cosmos’ prime competitors? Who are you aware of that is actively doing or developing similar capacities and activities to what Cosmos plans (at large or a sub-component)?

  • How might we develop a “collaboration and conversation first” ethic and strategy in our outreach to potential competitors i.e. partners?

  • What is your sense of Cosmos’ “market share potential” on each (or one or some) of its core, proposed functionalities, features and services?