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Difference between Product Owner and Product Manager in Web3 and Web2

Reading time: 12-17 min
Updated: 24.12.2022
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You've probably already noticed that Web3 is experiencing a boom. Everyone is talking about NFTs and DeFs and GameFis, and investments and job openings in the Web3 sector soared more than by 400% in 2021 alone, or more than by $27 billion. The next generation Web opens up an ocean of possibilities, and in this piece we'll focus on the differences between Product Ownership and Product Management in Web2 and Web3. We'll also look at what the transition to Web3 holds for Web2 professionals.

“Should you even seek to join the ranks of the top professionals?” you might ask cautiously. People who have no ambition do not earn much. So it is up to you to decide whether your career path has a ceiling or not.

Unique Features of Product Ownership and Management in Web3

So, Web3 product managers and owners are still those versatile leaders who determine the end results. However, the very management of Web3 products itself differs from the classical development from which it originates in three main points:

1. It is more universal there.

2. Web3 is primarily an art, and only then a science.

3. Web3 development is an order of magnitude more public.

It is more universal because in order for a product to be marketable, Product Owner and Product Manager need to master partnership, interpenetration of DeFi services and community development. An integrated approach will expand the functionality of the product, which will ultimately provide the project with greater user engagement and the Product Manager with better profit margins.

This is primarily an art, since blockchain has little user data and is automated through smart contracts with nothing but numbers of movements and balances. In light of these reasons, Product Managers and Product Owners of Web3 projects often need to rely on their professional instincts, and make decisions in a highly uncertain environment. At the same time, a Product Specialist still has access to A/B testing of the user interface, analytics (as in Web2), and testing of service functionality in test networks of the blockchain where the product is launched.

And finally, it is more public, since solutions are usually discussed in Discord and on Twitter. This ensures greater involvement of users in the ecosystem, which requires Product Manager and Product Owner to have not only analytical and technical skills, but also community development skills. Thus Web3 gives professionals an additional opportunity to succeed while spending time with like-minded people in an enjoyable and engaging way.

Web3 Startups: When and Why Hire Product Manager and Owner

In Web2, communication, reassurance, and coordination were among the required qualities. After all, the Product Owner and Product Manager had to work closely with the founders and coordinate the product team. The focus of the Product Specialist was set directly on execution and ensuring the sustainability of the community.

A Web3-company follows the organizational model of the company in Web2, but the functional responsibilities of product specialists have changed, or rather, expanded. The requirements to the Product Owner and Product Manager are supplemented by a deeper understanding of blockchain mechanisms and its technical structure. This includes requirements for mastering the functionality of cryptocurrencies, the smart contracts tool, and an understanding of the user experience with blockchain.

Third-generation career ladders and glass ceilings on the Internet are now a thing gone. Product Owner and Product Manager focus solely on quality work, and devote all their energies to making the project a success, leaving the politics to the politicians and the career clutter to the careerists.

Time to Hire Product Owner and Manager: Key Criteria

1. Do you want to create your own product, have a great idea, sufficient budget, and need to select a team of specialists for your startup? A competent Product Owner and Product Manager can help you conduct a market and target audience analyses, test product hypotheses and define the key values of the project. Their expertise also includes building product strategy and team roles, as well as the product launch itself. But if you think this is where the usefulness of Product Owner and Product Manager ends, you are deeply mistaken. The product launch is just the beginning of the next phase of the cycle, and with it, comes a new spread of activities for product specialists. Pricing, customer acquisition, improving product attributes, metrics, and increasing the sales plan are just a limited list of areas in which a Product Specialist can bring invaluable value to a startup during the promotion phase.

2. The developers' work has lost its former effectiveness. A typical case:
The engineering team has grown too big, and needs a dedicated person for
coordination. Prioritizing a chaotically growing development team is also very difficult - in such cases, Product Owner / Product Manager is simply a must-have for increasing system efficiency.

3. The experience with the product is quite sophisticated (or the product set is large) or critically necessary for promotion. In such a case, the team just needs to work on finding a competent Product Specialist. This person will be responsible for finding the simplest solutions and improving ergonomics for the consumer. First of all, this recommendation is important for such products as GameFi and crypto-wallets, assuming that they are developed from scratch.

4. Finally, there are many areas of activities that are in active contact with the external environment (so to speak). They are beyond the reach of narrow specialists, and only Product Owner and Product Manager can successfully handle such challenges. Marketing for business development, Unit economy, product scaling, working out the sales funnel, dynamic interaction with the community - all this requires the attention and skillful support of a versatile product specialist.

A Web3 product specialist is responsible for the success of the community,
for increasing acquisition, engagement and revenue. 
Community comes first. 

How do you make an ordinary community into a community of success? That's exactly why you should hire a Product Manager and Product Owner as part of your team. Web3 product gurus will take care of tokenomics, customer security, marketing, and community engagement. They can't be substituted by narrow specialists when it comes to the relationship between people, technology and the economy of Web3 products.

The Ten Commandments of Web3 Product Management

1. You should focus on execution, not on vision or strategy.

Where Web2 valued visionary planning and subtle strategy, Product Manager and Product Owner in the Web3 field focus on action: writing specs, testing and auditing smart contracts, promoting Twitter, launching and rerunning the cycle, making tokenomics algorithms and financial motivators with programmers..

2. You should do your own product development, marketing, and customer base research.

With the development of Web2, a growing number of new specialists emerged to take on some of the Product Manager / Product Owner responsibilities. Conversely, in Web3 teams, there is no traditional company structure yet. The work tasks are unique and interrelated, and separating them is sometimes not any easier than separating a pair of conjoined twins. This is why it is better to rely on a universal Web3 manager for successful Web3 product development and competent market promotion, rather than splitting the responsibility between narrow specialists responsible for a particular area of work. And if you want to scale, it is better to select individual performers for specific tasks.

3. You need to focus on perfecting the details, not expanding the features.

The task of a product specialist in Web2 was to get users to be active in using the product. In Web3, to get users to benefit from the product.
Web3 projects are not about increasing engagement by adding new features. The only thing that matters is specifically utilitarian, product-specific value, perfected as far as possible.

4. You should master new analytics tools in addition to classic Web2 methods.

The philosophy of privacy protects blockchain users from personal data collection. To know the degree to which your project is in demand in the market, Web3 Product Owners should master the indicators specific to the 3rd generation Internet. For example, when it comes to crypto exchange, these are: total blocked assets value (TVL), total supply of tokens on exchange, number of unique addresses, non-speculative usage, token inflation rate, etc. At the same time, you can use the well-known tools of Web2-sites to sell successfully: cookies, Google Analytics, demographic information, user feedback etc. Skillful combination of different analytics methods will allow you to bring your business to a fundamentally new level. And Product Manager and Product Owner of Web-3 projects know how, with whom, and when to do it better than anyone else.
5. You should develop your product keeping in mind the peculiarities of the blockchain architecture.

In Web2, your product is controlled entirely by your company. In Web3, however, the user experience relies heavily on the behavior of the protocol on which the blockchain you choose to implement your product is based. The aforementioned nuances often determine the speed and price of transactions, which is why product specialists in Web3 have to understand different blockchains. This implies that a Product Specialist in Web3, as opposed to Web2, needs to be able to " grasp the material," and make decisions based on the technical infrastructure - and all these subtleties are quite difficult to understand "from scratch". However, experienced Product Owners and Product Managers who have completed professional training courses or who have already participated in project development have proven to be excellent at finding the best technical solutions.

6. You should be careful with what you introduce in smart contracts.

Web3 provides no means to quickly fix errors, because the code in the public blockchain is unchangeable, "for now". The only exception to the general rule is to write forks (that is, to change the blockchain protocol in order to change its specifications and launch it as a new branch of the project) or to fix the private blockchain code. In both cases, this can be done only by people with special training. Regarding everything else, code editing is technically possible but, firstly, it is not easy to implement from a technical angle and, secondly, such actions can undermine the credibility of the project among users. The lack of centralization in blockchain means that not only the vulnerability itself, but also its correction result in large time and financial losses. Web2 is another matter, as the error can be corrected and the database can be edited at any time. Understanding these fundamental differences sufficiently slows down development in Web3.

7. You should not rely on proprietary code and trade secrets
as your competitive advantage.

Many Web3 products are open source, preventing monopolies from appearing in the marketplace. This does not mean that Web3 takes away your ability to keep your project code private. You can still hide those parts of it that you want to protect from copying, or even not publish the product on GitHub at all. Still, Web3's transparency philosophy leans more toward open source than closed source solutions. Additionally, the users' assets and data are their own, and can be revoked by them at any time. Considering the above, the Product Owner of Web3 needs to look for other points of support for success and algorithms of financial movers, and the effective promotion of the Web3 project shifts to other priorities: quality, relevant value at every moment of time, maximum user safety, as well as a strong and friendly community. There is no point in copying a well established product which has an army of fans. Marketability and a strong community are the best immunity against copyright infringement in Web3.
8. You can't make all decisions about the product by yourself.

The community takes part in making decisions regarding the development vector of the Web3 product, as well as in the implementation of its specific utility functions. The community is involved from the earliest stages of product development, by voting and in proportion to the amount of native ecosystem tokens held by specific community members. In this sense, the product specialist's decision-making will in Web3 is significantly limited, for the reasons given above.

9. You should pay close attention to user security, since every transaction involves their funds.

In the Web3 world, user security of funds and assets are on opposite sides of the fraction bar with user experience convenience and gas commission. Which path to take: whether to ask the user for permission to "approve everything" just once, thus relieving them of the obligation to repeatedly face the cumbersome and inconvenient interface to sign each minor transaction - but at the same time putting all their assets in a vulnerable position; or to opt for the security of the customer's core funds, but pester them with annoying pop-ups and force them to regularly spend money on gas? It's important to understand that many users explore the Web3 world using the same wallet where they keep their valuable assets.

This is why the security dilemma in Web3 becomes enormous, and Product Specialists face difficult choices and are forced to reach a sensible compromise between convenience and security. Only Product Managers and Product Owners with an extensive knowledge base under their belt are guaranteed to find the middle ground in this difficult matter.

10. Regulatory issues are being shifted from Web2 to Web3.

The reality today is that the Web3 world has come under the radar of international financial supervisory institutions on the one hand, and regional federal governments on the other. Whereas the legal area in Web2 has long been regulated, Product Managers and Product Owners in Web3 often have to be directly involved in this issue. And, at the very least, to have a general understanding of the legal environment in the specific countries where the product will be launched, as well as of the general international landscape of crypto-regulation. This situation calls for an additional reason to hire a competent Product Owner (or Manager) to keep a close eye on crypto-law in the legal area.


According to Web3 Career 2022 reports based on open job postings and feedback from Web3 employees themselves, average Product Owner and Product Manager salaries range from $60k - $165k per year (the numbers vary depending on the region of the sample). And this is not the limit, because the highest values of it go up to $300 000!

The 3rd generation Internet is experiencing a special moment. It is similar to the exploration of the Wild West and the conquest of space by daring pioneers. The Web3 space is not yet flooded with people, which means the growth potential of product specialists is limited only by the scale of their ambition and entrepreneurial appetite. There's still time, but it's important to remember that the rewards go to those who were first to get there.
Project Manager Web3
Understanding the profession market and the prospects for successful career growth in it.
The range of salaries of specialists in the market
Projected growth over 10 years: +14,6%***
Vacancy: 498 522**
37 960 $*
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Project Manager
“Studying the course Project Management: and career development in this area is one of my most successful decisions and great achievements in my education and a key stepping stone to my new career.”

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86 500 $**
Project Manager Web3
237 000 $**
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