User Stories

Sample Customer Stories & How They Use COSMOS

Let’s paint some pictures…

Allie Albany is a member who can afford to spend $30 a month on Cosmos. Her member fee is $5, and the other $25 becomes LitCoin (LC). Allie loves to support her favorite authors, illustrators, and graphic novelists, so right upfront, she designates:

  • $5 to Collum Carpenter, a cyberpunk author

  • $5 to Lysha Lowenthal, a queer Black Buddhist sci-fi author

  • $3 to Yellsolina Yawper, a fabulous illustrator of folk art with a postapocalyptic flavor

  • $1 to Brandon Best, an up-and-coming author of fresh lyrical verse

  • $1 to Dana Dvorzk, a scintillating sociopolitical analyst who has a wide fanbase already on the site

That leaves $10 for Allie to spend. Allie is in the arduous process of writing and refining an epic poem called “Well, Shit.” Allie has identified four people whose opinions she especially values from her engagement in the epic/visionary poetry forums, and has invited them into a trusted cluster on “Well, Shit”. (Some people choose to have anybody see their works-in-progress, but Allie feels more sensitive about who her select early readers are!) So Allie decides to reserve $5 for compensating i.e. “thanking” a select group of trusted contributors (via LC) this month for their feedback and suggestions.

The final $5? Allie is going to invest $1 each in five different participatory budgeting/crowd-funding projects that she is excited for. Some have to do with people’s creative collaborations, and others support feature development in the Cosmos platform. One of those group projects is a graphic novella involving both Brandon Best and Yellsolina Yawper, which she’s really excited for, so she’s watching that campaign closely and hoping it will get fully funded!

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Dana Dvorzk is a successful writer on society, politics, and mind. They are doing very well on Cosmos, with 1,245 fans (who receive Dana’s content in their feeds), 390 patrons (who give Dana a fixed amount each month to support their work), and 214 pay-per-content patrons (who pay Dana a set amount each time Dana publishes a piece—which they typically does four times a month). Plus Dana gets a few cents worth of Litcoin tossed their way occasionally, usually when one of their pieces is read through a fan’s feed and the fan gives a “thank you” of Litcoin. Relative to other users currently on the site, Dana is recognized as a person actively generating high levels of participation and value on the platform, and this is reflected in their Cointribute account. All-in-all Dana is raking in roughly $1,780 a month, just from their writing on Cosmos. Additionally, Dana’s social capital and exposure via Cosmos [via upvoting, curated/featured and promotion functions] is increasing their desirability as an author in the eyes of various outside publications–including The Nation, whom they are now in talks with, and who pay upwards of $1,000 per essay. In fact, this month, Dana’s entire monthly income increased to $4,300—all from writing. Finally—Dana is doing what they love, finding an appreciative audience, and getting paid!

Within Cosmos is the “Enough” feature, which allows each individual artist-member to define what “enough” income for them looks like. Because everybody wants to achieve their goals, but nobody wants the extra pressure of producing more, working more—or even making more money—than what they need and choose (and, by setting threshholds of “enough,” members ensure that available resources in the Cosmos system are freed up to circulate more equitably). So Dana, looking forward to the next few months and feeling confident about their professional opportunities outside COSMOS and their existing fan base and support within COSMOS… Dana takes this opportunity to adjust their “Enough” factor in the Cosmos dashboard. Originally Dana set their personal “Enough” measure to $4,000 monthly with an goal of earning $2,500 from Cosmos and the rest from other sources. (Setting goals helped Dana keep tracking toward them!) Since Dana estimates that they will now earn $5,000 a month, with $4,000 coming from outside sources, that totally meets their “Enough” measure—WOO HOO! So Dana will adjust their “need to make from Cosmos” figure down to $1,000. This may mean that Dana’s works will not receive any extra promotional boosts (by algorithm or by search terms) over other cultural producers in their same idioms—instead, other similar creators have an opportunity to garner (relatively) more attention and promotion through Cosmos.

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Esbeth Eckleberry has been so in love with Cosmos since the moment she joined. She is so proud of the community and what it stands for. Early on, she decided she wanted her primary source of income on Cosmos to be through working for Cosmos, in various “gig”-style task completion roles. Esbeth is a motivated worker-member in the top tier of worker-member earners on Cosmos. As a homemaker/homeschool teacher for 22 years with a strong appetite for literature, now living with an adult child and receiving small Social Security/disability payments, she welcomes the extra income while getting to be of service to incredible artists who are changing the world, on a great social platform where she finds constantly new, dynamic ideas, poetry, art, and other writing. The line between work and play has kind of “melted away” for Esbeth—she has fun “gigging” (or is it, serving?) in multiple paid, semi-paid and non-paid roles in Cosmos, and, appreciating having extra cash income, she doesn’t mind that it’s a bit lower than minimum wage (when you add up everything).

Esbeth typically “work-plays” 25 hours a week for COSMOS and makes about $900 a month, although that amount is gradually increasing (because the more skilled/knowledgeable and experienced she becomes in key roles in Cosmos, the more she earns… and, the more value the Cosmos platform gathers, the more wages [or “bounties” on specific tasks] creeps higher). She loves the challenge and variety of wearing a number of hats (just like her homeschooling days!) She spends about 66% of her time in the Community Guide role (her favorite), helping new members orient to and make the most out of Cosmos, and the other 33% of the time, she performs a range of customer service, coaching, outreach, and administration tasks. For each role, she has to earn a badge (with each badge having multiple levels of advancement corresponding to pay quotient). Whenever a new badge that interests her becomes available, she tries to make time to earn it. She especially likes when urgent requests are issued by Cosmos that she has the ability to jump in and fill—she loves to feel like she’s offering a helping hand to a community she cares for so much.

Franco Fermenti is a creative entrepreneur, musician, producer, videographer, and more. He is paying for (or: investing in) the creative incubation track right now—as a member, he accesses these products at a great value (it’s well worth it for his monthly member fee plus his incubation “plug-ins” costs) and he finds it a worthwhile investment to his longterm plans to launch a new media production house and recording studio in a disused main street building in his home town of Guffy Hollow, North Carolina. (After he completes the incubator, he plans to take some classes from his idol, Pearl Pocos, an experienced podcaster who makes great content and boasts a famously slick marketing and fanbase-building strategy… but that’s for later, when he has the funds!)

Meanwhile, Franco is leasing out his current audio production skills through the [Find-Crew] feature of Cosmos. He made $500 this month from producing background music layers for other people’s podcast shows. He also likes to pick up some Litcoin by performing some worker roles, like: checking on new audio/podcast members (as a Community Guide) and providing high-quality feedback on novice podcasters’ productions, [for which he almost always gets “thanked” in LC by users.] He’s not trying to make a living off of Cosmos—yet—but he’s happy to earn a little LC in his free-time which he can spend on building his podcasting production skills–or “thanking” others when the moment comes to put out his first podcast!

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QUESTION PROMPTS for community:

  • What do you think about the stories and types of users depicted here? What resonates and feels “real” based on your own circumstances? What questions come up for you?

  • Write your own user story! Base it on your own past/current experience and future intention of using Cosmos, or describe how a friend or colleague might use the platform. Draw on any of the proposed aspects or functionalities you’ve read about in the Key Docs–or describe your own dreams and visions for future activities and collaboration on the platform!