This was the first of many roundtables we are hosting to facilitate the conversation about our biggest collective pain points in web3, share some best practices and collaboratively build a more regenerative . We’d love to share a summary of this conversation, plus a little invite for you to join an upcoming roundtable.
Thank you to Ela and Beth from Toucan, Sarah from CCS and GitcoinDAO, Joy from Early Majority, Mahoney from Frothy, Fig from Squid, Louis from Twoplus, Andrew from Social Stack and Jacqui from Par, as well as the awesome Alice for co-hosting with Protein Founder, Will.
Given the magnitude of talent and experience on display that day, it's easy to forget that we're still in the early stages of this journey. What's clear is that we've reached a point where we're beginning to see how various new models of community and collaboration are playing out.
Many playbooks have emerged, none of them perfect. The following debrief attempts to distil what we learned — and what we have yet to discover.
It's hard for people to find their way into communities, let alone ones that serve and nourish them. Asynchronous communication impacts the ability to define and stick with a solid, clear purpose. Unchecked assumptions generated by this fragmentation can lead to a scattered understanding of the group's overall reason for being.
Good branding plays a critical role in ensuring communities feel settled and safe. Branding has a direct impact on the way people find their way around these spaces, from tone of voice to visual systems. With clarity on the varying degrees of participation comes confidence, agency and ownership - all of which are essential for establishing a clear common ground among members.
When it comes to communication, the emotional weight that comes with working in highly transparent environments can be overwhelming. The ability to understand nuanced expression, decode cultural assumptions and simply get things done efficiently is hampered by digital infrastructure. Practical things like codes of conduct only take us so far, and turning away from discomfort won't make it disappear.
Community members need to build the muscle of disagreement when it comes to things like debates at work, asking questions and discussing difficult topics. Discomfort can be used to activate progress and give individual opportunities for agency and good growth on a personal and organisational level.
Decentralisation is inherently unstable because it disrupts the status quo, pushing chaos away from order. Humans naturally want to break out of containers and can thrive within the potential of instability, but we also need patterns and containers to put things in. DAOs are operating systems that need grounding to function. How can community operators strike a balance between the benefits of stability and instability in order to remain as adaptable and resilient as possible?
Stability could look like fractional health insurance and benefits for contributors, the acceptance of hierarchy and leadership, or a shift away from bounty-based contribution models, which have proven to be a low quality interaction that can end up resembling the gig economy.
Debt is how companies die. One of the threats to organisations in general is debt: be it technical, cultural, economic or environmental. When there isn’t enough conviction in how to take on, manage, balance and offset these debts, the structure’s overall balance is more likely to fall.
DAOs must be structured in a way that can adapt to shifting debt. It’s crucial to understand debts in proportion to each other, and decision makers must understand how to decide what type of debt to take on, how much to take on, and when.
The Roundtables were thought-provoking, productive, and energising for us. We'll host two more roundtables in August, each with up to six DAO Operators. These discussions will centre on sharing initiatives, tools, people, networks, and locations that can assist us in ensuring that our impact on the world is positive and regenerative.