Will Manifold reach 15,000 daily active users (7-day average) before Oct 1st?
Oct 1

(This was written as an internal memo, but I decided to share!)

Refocusing Manifold

There’s been a lot going on lately:

… in addition to running the normal Manifold Markets site (core product development, The Migration).

But in order to succeed as a business, we should aim to do one thing really well. The Egg-Basket Principle says that a startup should put all their eggs in one basket to achieve maximum impact.

There’s no better time than now to refocus and push for the last bit of growth to hit our target for Series A.

Our main site is in a bit of a growth lull.

But it’s easy to forget that we were stuck at ~100 DAU for the first 9 months of Manifold’s existence.

Today, we are at 1700 DAU. Yeah, we’ve come pretty far!

I think it’s entirely within our power to hit 15k DAU (7-day average) by Oct 1st (7 months and 9 days). That would set us up for Series A before the end of the year.

How can we multiply our DAU? We’ve done it before, and I think it was largely through improving the product. But also, through assimilating other communities (e.g. Destiny).

Here are 6 pillars to build on which should allow us to reach our DAU goal:

  • Verticals to bring in new users

    • E.g. US Politics, AI, niche media (e.g. Chess, One Piece), Sports

  • New user onboarding

    • Iterate based on user interviews and analytics to make the product clearer and easier to get value from

  • Core product

    • E.g. Numeric & Date range market types

    • E.g. Advanced trader mode

    • E.g. Better news dashboards

  • Experiments (that could become part of the core product)

    • E.g. Manifold Live mode

    • E.g. Blog

    • E.g. Debate feature

  • Viral loops

    • E.g. Share your bet

    • E.g. Ask friends to join your league

  • Infra

    • The Migration (off of Firebase)

    • Better site performance

    • Better developer experience

We can do it. Go Manifold!

Get Ṁ200 play money
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opened a Ṁ20,000 NO at 12% order

@SG More No limit orders up for taking in case you're interested

bought Ṁ350 YES

I’m really new to manifold and I believe that this app has major potential as no other app is like it. I mean there are millions of people around the world who sports bet and this is the only app where you can bet on anything with play money. I think this app is very creative and it definitely has a better chance than 5% to get to 15k daily users.

bought Ṁ250 NO

With announcement of new trading fees, this will likely significantly dampen DAU growth. Really bad idea. https://manifoldmarkets.notion.site/Announcement-A-sustainable-mana-economy-08b86e8937554cc7a4608371f66ecb10

bought Ṁ40 YES

non-epistemic trades tbc

@Gen I noticed you canceled the Yes limit orders. Does that have something to do with Austin leaving?

@AmmonLam A wise person DM’ed me and said I could get it cheaper if I pulled my orders, that’s the only reason

Companion market for the half-way point:

@SemioticRivalry Come on, you're not allowed to get more No shares than me on this market

opened aṀ100,000 YES at 15% order

Folks james is confident

bought Ṁ20,000 NO

Y'all this isn't how incentives work! James should bet 100k on "no" at his actual credence, because he is incentivized to make it resolve yes no matter what so the users who bet against him will then be incentivized to help.

This is why I bet against myself in Leagues most seasons. You want people betting on you and not against you, when the outcome is something the traders themselves can theoretically impact.

@Joshua This is exactly how incentives work (for me).

I get James to leverage up, thus he will works harder to make Manifold great.
My effort has not much impact on Manifold's development, whereas James's effort could bring significant impact on whether Manifold continues to grow

@AmmonLam Presumably everyone here is rooting for Manifold, but IMO when everyone was betting against Manifold Love I think it genuinely got some people to start rooting against it. Seems bad!

OTOH, Genzy betting yes makes more sense to me as he's the marketing guy. The CEO betting the marketing guy that the site won't grow some amount is a fun way to frame compensation.

Hmmm, ig in my mind James and Genzy both impact (and benefit from) the site's growth much more than any of us do, so them buying NO would feel more like hedging? and buying YES gives them further incentive to make it happen. but true, power users going through their limit orders and holding large NO shares does feel weird. hmmm. and ig if they put large NO limit orders with ~printed money, it's like them paying for advertisement to a limited extent. ok so yeah good point, it doesn't ultimately matter to james to win this bet with the mana he might have printed (though idk whether he did im just saying he probably cares more ab the company than the mana profits on his account lol), but making a NO bet allows him to reward people who think they can positively affect the odds through their own actions. I'm sold lol

a possible solution would be to use something like the manifold account to place NO limit orders on a bunch of markets that are about the site's performance, so that ppl can get rich if they can boost growth? would be neat, and wouldn't mean james needs to lose lots of mana and come off as pessimistic when he clearly isn't

@Bayesian He should lower the order at least! Why put it ahead of Genzy's at 11? People would still buy at 11!

@Bayesian What if the Manifold account buys NO at 16% haha

bought Ṁ10 YES from 15% to 16%

@JamesGrugett @Joshua @Bayesian

Manifold staff holding a large ‘No’ position would be easy to perceive as them thinking they’re unlikely to achieve an ambitious growth target, IMO.

I like the idea of the manifold account putting up a large no order but now it's complicated by the fact that many users have large positions here already and that the market price is so low.

IMO it would be better if the manifold account placed "no" limit orders on Bayesian's market with different growth numbers

opened a Ṁ1,000 NO at 19% order

@Gen @JamesGrugett (Or anyone) would you be interested in setting up some large YES limit order at current market price?

bought Ṁ250 YES from 15% to 19%

i support this act of epistemic provocation

opened a Ṁ30,000 NO at 15% order

@Gen Thanks for placing the YES limit order at 15%

@Gen any chance you're interested to add more Yes limit order at 15%? I'm looking to load in more positions

@AmmonLam I'll give it some time to see where the price settles, I have orders there but not adding higher for now

I actually think the core product is pretty good, but the lack of focus is bad. All of social media is ruled by network effects. There are tons of topics that I would make markets on, except I'm pretty sure that at most 1 person would trade on them. So growing a product like this requires focus.

There is one type of prediction market that has several orders of magnitude more participants than any other, and that is sports betting. I recognize that sports don't have much crossover with prediction market nerds and rationalists, but it's a very obvious growth opportunity.

1: Play money sports betting avoids most moral complaints, e.g. people complaining that it's just immoral to bet on something as important as a presidential election or a war. You are literally betting on a game.

2: Per the American Gaming Association, something like 40 million Americans gamble on sports every year. This isn't even counting the rest of Earth!

3: Plenty of people put small amounts of money on games, they just want to make the experience of watching more interesting. I can say from experience that this works with mana. I have little reason to be very interested in a random NBA regular season game without my team playing. But if I have 5k mana on it, I'm immediately invested. It's also very fun to react to a game live and bet on it, which is hard with real money gambling.

4: I'm pretty sure there isn't any other product that works like this. Reddit tried to do something sort of similar, but it was just really poorly integrated. There is no reason why Manifold couldn't partner with some subreddit or fangroup for a sport or a team and immediately try to create positive network effects.

5: Despite having very little attention and crossover, sports markets are still big on Manifold. The NFL is pretty much the last vestige of American monoculture, and is breaking every viewership record while all other TV ratings decline. The NFL season is unfortunately over, but even markets about the draft and free agency get a decent number of traders. There are plenty of users who are here pretty much exclusively to bet on sports.

@SemioticRivalry Those are good points but my concern here is that Manifold in that scenario would not be leaning into its comparative advantage. A fake currency makes a lot of cool things possible, but "bet on sports" isn't one of them, that's like the only form of betting that is legal.

That said, something I've noticed is that innovative products are the most successful, but you can't be too innovative. If you innovate on a single feature you're a sensation, but if you innovate on two or more of your features, you confuse and weird out the audience and you go down in history as "too far ahead of their time".