Introduction to the Fixers
Why we help crypto communities thrive and how we achieve that through the PENTS approach
In November 2021, I established a community for crypto community managers called the Fixers. In this article, I’ll attempt to explain why I did this, who inspired us, what we do, and why this is so important to do right now. If you are part of a crypto community that isn’t working well (the vast majority), I hope you find this article interesting.
So, without further ado, let’s start at the beginning.
Why the Fixers?
After spending the last 7 years in crypto community management, I have experienced two bear markets, two bull runs, paid marketing, unpaid marketing, a 99% drop in token price for the communities I managed, token price rises of 30x and more, arguments, praise, criticism, compliments, and everything in between.
It soon became clear to me that a template was required to get crypto communities acting the right way. They are too passive, over-reliant on others to solve their problems, weak, fearful, and disempowered. This is an ongoing problem and needs to be solved.
What do the Fixers believe in?
To be a Fixer requires understanding and acceptance of the 5 pillars of community management, which I have given the acronym PENTS. This stands for Passion, Education, Narrative, Transparency, and Structure.
So let’s explain this more.
Passion: Paying for communities has become a substitute for passion for the idea. Paying communities leaves ghost towns, with community members selling off their tokens to pay for living expenses. This is not the right way. We need to connect with the actual product, encourage the community to use it, talk about it, engage with it. Not pay them to say nice things about it. They’ll do that naturally if they connect with the idea.
Education: The devil makes work for idle hands. The best communities are those which feel involved in helping the team achieve its objectives. They want their destiny in their own hands. Education is the key tool to meet this need. Many of the basic complaints we hear about in crypto communities are from people who have no idea what they are doing. Education solves this.
Narrative: We all need a story and an idea to identify with. Many tokens/coins make the mistake of not building this out properly. There is a need for communities to identify their own narrative (or even have it explained to them), build it out, tell others about it, and use art work/video/images and other concepts to help bring it to life.
Transparency: A lot of FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) can be overcome simply by opening up previously hidden/private team, developer, moderator and other group conversations to the public to view. This also helps a community feel more involved in what’s going on, and far less likely to ask silly questions.
Structure: All of the above pillars are made possible through an appropriate structure. Many communities rely on Telegram, which despite being a great messaging app, is not suitable for organizing a community in an optimized way. Discord’s structure lends itself better to community management, with all channels visible on one server, roles assigned to each community member, the opportunity to play games, chat in the bar, and cross-pollinate areas of interest.
Every Fixer is tasked with ensuring that each of these pillars is implemented to the greatest extent possible in the communities we help. Of all the pillars, transparency is the one that encounters the most resistance from the teams and communities we work with. Several blockchain developers and admins believe that their work should not be open to public scrutiny. We understand that is the case for some communications, but not most. Isn’t real-time access to information one of the key advantages that blockchain gives us? If so, can’t we embody this value in our day-to-day work?
To show the way, we make all Fixer work public for everyone to see in the communities we assist. We don’t want to hide our approach — we want it adopted by everyone, and welcome anyone who thinks they can do it better. Anyone worth their salt does the same.
This leads on to a core idea behind the Fixers. We are all trying to replace ourselves and our skills at all times. Communities should be run completely on passion — with nobody, not even us, being paid to be there. That is the ultimate goal — to replace ourselves — and that is what we are here to do.
We all aim to have replaced ourselves with active community members within six months of starting a community management position. I have already replaced myself at Bitstamp, Hiveterminal, Symbol, Launchpool, and several other Fixer projects. Some other Fixers have also self-replicated. This makes me happy and this behaviour is rewarded in our structure, as detailed in “walking the walk” below.
I will continue to attempt to self-replicate, finding people better than me to replace me. This is a requirement in my current role as community manager for Reneum. All other Fixers are required to do the same as a condition for continued membership of the Fixers community.
Walking the walk
As you would expect from a collective that believes in its philosophy, we have applied the PENTS approach to our own work. Every Fixer is ranked according to their experience and ability — we use the following categorization: observer, walker, jogger, runner, sprinter and marathon runner.
Observer — The purpose of the Observer Fixer to get acquainted with The Fixers and to learn the culture and what is expected of Fixers. The only requisite is to have read this article and be willing to learn more. On becoming an Observer, a mentor is assigned to help in this communication (the “Mentor”). This period lasts for 2 weeks, at which point the Observer and the Mentor will meet to decide if the Observer should become active and begin the training process. If the Observer makes this commitment and the Mentor believes value can be added then they will progress to Walker. If the Observer wants to get involved more but cannot commit to minimal standards of activity then, at the Mentor and Council’s discretion they may be allocated to the “Resources” role pool where future collaborations may be revived if circumstances change.
Walker— The apprenticeship to become a full Fixer begins with the Fixer having understood that the culture of the Fixers revolves around a meritocracy, self-motivation, self-responsibility and adherence to the PENTS approach. This apprenticeship training period will last a maximum of 2 months but may well be less if the Walker excels quicker than expected to reach the required standards and experience. During this period, the Walker will immerse themselves in The Fixer community, the Fixer Growth channel and perform certain tasks to gain skills and experience in order to mould them into a performing Fixer that adds value. This is a period of training where the Walker learns about how the Fixers do what they do in the projects they fix, but also to apply skills in the Fixers channels to acquire and practise the skills needed.
The Fixer Growth channel is a prominent channel for the Walker especially and serves as a sandbox to connect, give value and content for a project. This project is The Fixers and so just as Fixers try to grow and further the project of their clients and develop their communities, the Fixers Growth channel is the place where Walkers and others seek to add value and grow the Fixers community and its goals, and keep the community of Fixers engaged. The Walker will also support all of the Fixer client’s projects in a similar way and their involvement and contribution will be noticed. Does the Walker ‘walk the walk’ or just ‘talk the talk’? This question is decided by the Fixer Council with the input of the Mentor following a performance review. If the Walker demonstrates their value and application, thus passing this review, and if they wish to progress, then they can qualify as a full Fixer and put into practice what they’ve learned in a more professional way by being promoted to a Jogger.
Jogger— It is from this role that a Fixer may be fortunate enough to be offered the responsibility of a paid position as a Paid Fixer with a contract for service. Jogger Fixers must then honour contractual obligations as well as continuing to add value and demonstrating they are a strong ambassador for the PENTS approach and Fixer culture. There is no requirement to be a Paid Fixer to be in this role, rather it is a role that signifies that you have reached the standard required to be allocated a contract should an appropriate position become available. It is entirely up to the Fixers Council to decide to whom, and on what terms, a paid contract for service may be offered. You will need to carry out certain tasks over and above any contractual obligations in order to maintain your role and consistently provide active value with the character traits of a Fixer and advance to “Runner”.
Runner — You’ve been performing well in your first assignment, and you’re turning into a great Fixer. Keep up the good work, and help mould and teach an Observer or Walker the skills you’ve learned by performing a Mentor role.
Sprinter — You’ve proven yourself many times over. The speed at which you move leaves others amazed, and you’re ready to lead a team of Fixers in a project.
Marathon Runner — You’ve shown everyone you’re a team player who can also lead and who is in it for the long run. You’ve endured great challenges, and came out on top. Now, you’re identifying people from the community to replace yourself as a Seed Fixer and to move on to further projects. Tasks: everything a sprinter does, identify and train a replacement for you from the project community, have at least two additional specialisms and skills, be battled hardened from a bear market in your project, bear fruit through the Fixer Growth channel and your contacts and reputation to bring new clients and assignments to the Fixers, exhibit value in the management of the Company and The Fixers business.
We can cover all major language groups, quickly and easily, plus provide a full range of services to any community. We have experience of exchange hacks, blockchain launches, missed deadlines — and how to manage community reactions to each of these events. This range and level of expertise means we are already being identified as one of the best community management resources out there.
Who can join the Fixers?
Although now 30-strong, we are always on the lookout for anyone who can improve the collective. Screen for skills, hire for attitude. That’s our approach. Integrity, hard work and just being a cool person are the main qualities we look for.
Our goal is to maximize our collective potential to continue reinvigorating crypto communities through a Fixer structure. Those Fixers who attain self-replicating status will be given equity in a company we will form later this year.
So far, 4 of us have reached this level, having proven ourselves through merit alone. We will use the funding we receive from SaaS solutions we offer to communities to further advance our goal of helping the global crypto community become truly self-activated, self-reliant, and powerful.
So does your crypto community need fixing? Or does it just need to be set up the right way?
Either way, the Fixers can help. Send me a DM on Twitter now to see how we can help you!