Introducing the Conduit Beaver NFT Collection!

Feb 15, 2023
Maeghan Smulders
Conduit VP of People Ops Maeghan Smulders gives insight into what it took to make our employee anniversary NFT collection a success, and why programs like these are important.

Conduit has grown a lot over the past year (and we're not slowing down anytime soon).

As a result, we're reaching some important milestones – as a company, as a team, and as individuals.

I'm a big believer in celebrating the wins, reflecting on learnings, and recognizing the people and efforts behind these journies. So when Kirill, Michael, Kristen, and I started thinking about ways to recognize people and our milestones, we wanted to make sure it was meaningful, memorable, and unique to our sensibilities. This is what led us to develop a program that captured those elements while scaling over time and resulted in the launch of something we're very excited about:

Introducing the Conduit Beaver NFT collection.

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The Conduit Beaver NFT Collection

Why Beaver NFTs?

The beaver has become our internal mascot very naturally, starting with a few remarks in Slack threads and meetings at the offset of the "bear market".

Over time, our respect for nature's little builder has grown. It is very common to see beaver gifs, emojis, and videos shared among us as we celebrate releases, reflect on learnings, or give kudos to one another during our bi-weekly All-Hands.

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As the symbol became more and more important to us, we added Beaverness to our core values – alongside Ownership, Autonomy, and Resourcefulness – to represent the quality of building for the entire ecosystem, not just oneself.

Read more about how Beaverness came to represent our mission here.

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Conduit's values

So naturally, if we were going to build a recognition program, beavers had to be part of it.

The Beaver Program: Always Be Building

When we set out to develop our program, we knew a few things for sure:

  • Whatever we did had to be specific to Web3 – we wanted the celebration to connect to the work that we’re doing every day.
  • We wanted something that employees would be proud to share, not just on Slack, but LinkedIn, Twitter, Discord, you name it.
  • We wanted something that could grow with them over time, representing things like years of service, contributions, or company milestones.
  • We wanted something that was unique – both to the person and the work they do.
  • And of course, it had to show Beaverness.

We landed on NFTs as the perfect way to capture all those requirements in a single expression.

Then the fun began.

Kristen spearheaded the program's development, engaging our resident NFT expert (and Head of Product) Gus Ba for help creating our collection. Gus put us in touch with a few great designers, with a vision in mind, and we were off to the races.

We went through a few iterations to find a look that captured our personality while showcasing that ubiquitous NFT collection look.

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The first design exploration

When we hit the final design, we knew we all saw the potential. It's a mix of high-quality design, scalability, and fun.

Finally, we focused on the program - how should we award and maintain this NFT collection for the team? We weren't just minting NFTs and moving on – we wanted a way to roll these out and be consistent, defendable, and explainable as all recognition programs should be.

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Three pillars to making culture flourish

I believe these three things are important pillars to making values, habits, and team culture flourish at any company.

So we broke down how we should create, distribute, qualify, and iterate on these NFTs aligned with the pillars, and felt that coining a new term, a "Beaversary" event hit all those marks.

Celebrating Your Beaversary

When a team member’s anniversary approaches, they have a hand in creating their beaver NFT. There are lots of attribute options to choose from, plus each person gets to add a few custom attributes (which then become options for later beavers).

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Sample options for customizing

Alongside the custom elements, every Beaver has a few "badges" that represent Conduit milestones that the team member has been here for. In a way, this adds to the rarity of the NFT. An annual badge gets added to your beaver tied to years of service, and each badge represents a yearly theme.

Once the design is done, it's time to celebrate that individual and award the new NFT.

At the following company All Hands, we pull together a slide that shows the NFT, speaks to the highlights and impact a person made throughout the year – and calls out the specific core value they most embodied.

Finally, the NFT is transferred to their wallet. Happy Beaversary!

Each following year, we'll add a new rarity trait and continue to celebrate the contributions each person has made on the team.

The Reaction So Far

Since launching the program, we've had some super rewarding results.The first is obvious: some really cool beaver NFTs.

Internally, folks have been showing off their NFTs as avatars for Slack that are totally unique. It's also been fun to see such a positive response from the team in a way that simultaneously captures our values.

But it's even made some noise externally. We've had clients acknowledge the beavers on team members' Slack profile pictures, and LinkedIn profiles, asking if and how they can get one.

We've also had people throughout the hiring process asking about them after seeing them on a Zoom avatar. They really help to inspire a conversation and great lead way to talk about our values and what it's like to work at Conduit.

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The first Conduit Beaver nfts

And finally, and most importantly, the comments, reactions, and discussions that happen during the unveiling of each NFT have brought us together as we talk about what inspired them, and how they really embody each person's character and contributions.

In keeping with the importance of our Core Values, it’s important to me to highlight the Ownership and Resourcefulness that went into this program with a few shout-outs! Thank you Kristen and Gus for your creativity and ownership to get this done. I'm so proud to see how the idea landed and how meaningful it has become to the team. And most of all, I'm excited to see the unveiling of many more beaver NFTs in the years to come!

Culture Is Important

Building a remote culture is something I take very seriously at Conduit.

Some folks say it's not possible to build a strong culture in a distributed company – that it's too hard to align when you are not in the same physical place, and that certain mystical magic happens when you sit beside each other.

I'm proud to say that we have found ways to connect, grow, learn, and celebrate wins together in ways that feel like we are in the same room.

Sure, there is no replacement for in-person meet-ups – this is one of the reasons we do a company-wide offsite a few times a year. But there are things you can do digitally that can be very rewarding. I'm happy to see how a small thing like the Beavers helps build a feeling of connectedness.

But don't just take it from me, here's what our team has to say:


P.s. we're hiring!