• George Samuels

Faiā: a new website, renewed mission

Updated: Feb 7



We recently updated the website for Faiā, a community-tech consultancy, to reflect our evolution from over the years. Check it out at faiacorp.com.


When we launched in 2018, we were focused on "blockchain marketing", as this was a popular service at the time and the easiest in for us within Asia-Pacific.


However, very quickly, we noticed just how much shady business was occurring within the crypto space - from social engineering of Telegram groups, to reckless abandonment of legal compliance when handling user funds. Some truly didn't know what they were doing, while other notorious actors did but proceeded anyway.


Now, as a result of the shady business practices we saw grow, we took a stand and rejected clients who wanted us to simply boost numbers without actually building brand communities that would stick around for the long run.


As an ex-community manager, I've always prioritized building communities of value over vanity metrics (e.g. likes, follower counts, etc.). With some social media platforms now choosing to remove such metric visibility, it seems like that turned out to be the right call.


Over the next decade, connecting online won't be enough. People will seek out more meaningful connections, which will mean increased desire for privacy, intimacy, and trust.

In early 2019, we launched an event titled "The Great Reset", as we predicted something "big" was just around the corner:



Little did we know how relevant this would be in 2020 with #Covid19. We still think the true (economic) effects of this reset is yet to come.


2019: The Great Reset is predicted


In 2019, we picked up a few amazing clients across the blockchain space, healthcare, travel, and hospitality. We were still finding our feet in terms of defining who we were and/or what we were about. It often got reflected when we met people in person too, yet there was still something about us that they liked.


*** Now, when I saw "we", it actually started out as just me. I had a few contracted, but no one yet really full-time. Those team members came later. ***


For most of our clients, we managed to maintain really good relationships with (again, this is something we prioritize, as it's a key part of any consultancy). But then 2020 hit.


2020: The Great Reset begins


In 2020, the global pandemic hit. At the time, I was actually in Portugal for a client trip (above). All of a sudden, I was fighting against time across multiple countries to make it back to Singapore. It was something I'd never forget.


Amidst all this, I lost 1-2 major clients, and almost all my team members. It was a huge blow for sure, but I am not one to stay down for long.


So, with a single client left, we rode out our contract until the end of our initial 18-month agreement. While this was finishing up, I came up with ideas on how to turn things around, despite the doom and gloom of Covid-19.


A few of those ideas eventually manifested: the launch and securing of investment for Honā, plus our contract with the Government of Tuvalu, which was inspired by a simple Medium article 9 months prior.


(Mind you, we had some additional sales come through things like The Pack and one-off projects.)


Securing a government contract

Video courtesy of a tweet by Bryan Daugherty


To my amazement, by the end of 2020, we had actually made more in revenue than the previous year. We had secured a government contract, and we were having talks with many others about working together.


Now, the reason for the website update was to reflect our shift as a company. While we began in the space as a "blockchain marketing" company, what we discovered was that our strength actually came from our unique approach to technology adoption in general: through culture & community.


So right now, I would say we are a "community-tech consultancy". We improve tech adoption for emerging companies and ventures, with services ranging from community-driven marketing to change management.


In previous roles, I had often used my community-building abilities to assist companies with technology adoption and/or management. I learned a lot about change management and executive buy-in. As Faiā evolved, we started attracting those with similar (or relatively better) skillsets.


And this is good.


My original vision for Faiā


Before I launched Faiā, the original intention was to setup a consultancy that actually specialized in culture and/or change management for struggling "tech" organizations.


Folks like Odette Monaghan, Stephanie Strydom, and Ally Naylor were a part of this early mastermind. Below is a video of one of my very first weekly briefings to the team:



I wanted everything to manifest quickly back then, but sometimes reality has to play out before any crazy visions I have manifest themselves 🙃


As a result, I wasn't able to bring the original team together on my journey when I wanted, as I needed to put more skin in the game, build some clout for the brand, and grow the company profitably.


I knew I'd find a way, I just didn't know how long it would take.


On why tech companies need to become more culturally-aware


Fast forward to 2021, and it looks like we are now on track with that original vision.


With the latest contract with the Tuvalu government, we have begun work on exploring blockchain solutions, improving internal communications, and ensuring adoption of any new technologies is done with the local culture & community in mind.


Being culturally-aware is a huge component to technology adoption, but many tech companies often see this as an after-thought, or just don't see how it impacts the bottom-line.


Starting this year, we will begin to show how all the above things come together. How blockchain technology will actually assist us, and many others, in being able to put a $ value to things involving culture, community, and people.


How?


You'll have to watch and find out (or subscribe to the newsletter over on faiacorp.com). As I always say, "through patience and persistence, tena loa e fanatu. It will come."


The renewed mission & vision for Faiā



"Ohana means family, and family means nobody gets left behind".

The above is taken from the Disney hit Lilo & Stitch, but it's a sentiment passed down through my Polynesian culture.


And so it is the renewed mission of Faiā, moving into this new decade, to ensure that emerging populations are educated, protected, and empowered to take advantage of new tools & technologies as they arise - so nobody gets left behind.


To bridge digital divides by improving community knowledge and easing technology adoption.


By doing so, we hope to help our clients, and those they influence, find new ways of building prosperity for themselves now and for generations to come.

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