The evolution of DAOs and their ability to survive the turmoil of our volatile eco system seems to rely on one pinnacle element that many founders fail to anticipate when building a community through decentralization. Our collective humanity.
When we strip away the complexities of the technological foundations of a DAO, we’re left with one of the most fundamental aspects of our journey on this planet, We’re just humans seeking to gather with like minds and move forward towards a goal or destination.
Until the last two hundred years, humans gathered for survival and were connected through blood. Clans, tribes, villages and towns— all shared a common link. They supported one another from all perspectives and as a unit. The collective was only as strong as the weakest human amongst them and they moved through this world knowing that what impacted one person also impacted the whole group.
We all know the impact of modern technology on these very simple and fundamental human units. Separation is now our default mode and our technology is used to amplify and support that separation. Political powers understand that separation and polarization is necessary to maintain a status quo of exploitative capitalism and have weaponized the algorithms that deliver information to us and thus infecting one of our most essential necessities of being human. Our family units, cadres of friends, work colleagues and communities are now polarized in a way we’ve never experienced— amplified by the very technology the was supposed to liberate us all and introduce abundance and ample leisure time into our daily existence.
Protect the Humanity
Those of us working within the ImpactDAO ecosystem, and the larger DAO system as well, have a chance to bring balance to this destruction of our human connections through the DAO structure itself. But there’s a huge caveat. We must bake our humanity into the very framework of our DAOs from the start and then we must PROTECT that humanity from the forces of separation at every turn of the DAOs evolution.
Part of the JournoDAO crew attended MCON2 last week. MCON is a gathering of curated attendees who are actively building the public goods sector of DAOs. Around 800 people gathered to discuss the victories, failures and evolution of this ecosystem. We attended most of the talks and I was actually stunned that almost every person on stage, no matter what the topic, touched upon the human element being the hardest part of DAO building and the one factor they failed to anticipate.
And that’s logical if we take a step back and look at the actual history and current state of this ecosystem. DAOs are built upon a very complex technological framework that only a handful of people in the world understand. We are now taking that technology and applying it to the way humans gather and collectively take action towards a common goal. At its inception, a DAO usually stems from a protocol, project or collective that are a group of like-minded coders. For most of their lives, they have used code as a way to navigate the world around them and make sense of the complexities of humanity and society at large.
Bake Humanity Into Your Community Framework
So it is in no way surprising that the brilliant minds building DAOs failed to anticipate the human element and create mechanisms from its very inception that would allow the community members to be, well, human. Code can not insulate a community from friction, nor can it mitigate an argument once the friction sparks a fire. Code can not understand the nuance of tone in a back and forth conversation on Discord. Code can not take the temperature of a community at large and understand if the collective is headed towards a cliff because of founders' egos, ulterior motives, unpredictable tokenomics or just plain incompetence.
Failing to anticipate the human element when structuring a community dispersed around the globe and hoping the technology will insulate the people at the center from the coming tsunami of turmoil is not a community building strategy. The humanity in a DAO should never be an after thought, it should be the first thought.
In many DAOs, a handful of people stumble upon a collective mission and they decide to create something to solve this societal problem. DAOs, particularly ImpactDAOs will always be a pure reflection of this core group of humans. Once they gain traction, spread their mission and attract like minds, the DAO itself must have a basic framework in place that protects the core group so they can continue to foster their familial connection while also lifting up those within the community who show a deep commitment to the mission. The mechanisms to do this are simple— open communication, segmented and protected areas for conversations and making sure all the personalities in the core group mesh on a deep level.
The personality of the core group will become the personality of the DAO itself, if the community is grown organically and slowly. In the ImpactDAO ecosystem, organizations are tackling intense and deep societal issues through their work and slow growth is healthy. Allowing the core group to find its voice and strength in the community and the broader ecosystem gives those core members the autonomy to speak on behalf of the community, because it its core are their fellow comrades, their DAO family.
Ride or Die Regens!
Tapping into the wisdom traditions of the East, Yoga, Buddha Dharma, Zen, mindfulness, etc and weaving the secular tenets of this knowledge into the community framework from the beginning will also create space for healthy growth filled with equanimity and will make the process joyful, even in the most painful moments. Embrace the humanity of your DAO and lay a foundation for it to flourish. That humanity will be the one element that guides your community towards the mission when the path gets dark.
Choosing to dedicate oneself to ImpactDAOs is not an easy decision and the deep human connection at the heart of a DAO makes the personal sacrifices worth it. Choosing to shatter the existing frameworks of a patriarchal system that has weaponized the economy and the foundational technology that was supposed to connect us all is one hell of a mission. Each ImpactDAO is taking a stand to shatter one tiny aspect of a massive system of oppression and inequality and collectively, these ImpactDAOs will shatter those systems and regenerate something healthy and human amongst the ashes.
If you’re going to commit to something so deep and powerful, your Ride or Die peeps better be just that. Because to be clear, we’re entering an evolutionary phase of our collective human journey and the people you choose to change your world with are the ones you will stand with as it all burns down. And they are the ones you will lift up together as you regenerate a new world from those ashes.