MCON 2021 was a surreal experience; meeting online friends IRL for the first time feels like magic. You know you have so much in common, but interacting physically hits different. Everyone I met was incredibly passionate and insanely driven to further the goal of their organization by working on everything from software tech to culture tech. Though we were doing different things, we were all bound by web 3.0. We believe in a decentralized future where web users have more autonomy and accrue more value. We were gathered to discuss DAOs, and how they help us coordinate better. After chatting with many teams — if you were at the event, you would have noticed me walking and talking to pretty much everyone — I realized that DAOs are failing to coordinate on a critical piece: onboarding non-crypto natives.
MCON also felt a bit like a friendly warzone. Teams were simultaneously fighting to hire and retain talent — an issue that'll only get worse. Members are often active in multiple orgs with varying levels of involvement. I've noticed a wave of people dropping their responsibilities shortly after signing up for positions within DAOs. Too many are stretched thin, and yet, there's still so much work to be done.
Driven by collective self-interest, DAOs want their token to be the most valuable. This requires building and shipping the best products and communities, and having the best talent, but the current state of talent within DAOs is not sustainable. Rather than stretching the existing talent thin, we should be onboarding new talent. There's a ton of white space ahead — a shitload of amazing new products and communities that need to get built. And the only way to get there is by redpilling the uninitiated and making it easy for them to get involved.
Just Say "Hi" In Discord
The first DAO I joined was FWB. I heard about it on a couple of podcasts, got the tokens, and joined the discord. I was lost afterward, but only for about a week. Luckily FWB-LA hosts many events and, being a social person, I was able to meet many people and connect faces to discord and twitter profiles. The second DAO I joined was Raid Guild. My onboarding process for RG was smoother because I already knew someone. I've since learned that my onboarding experience for both DAOs was terrific compared to everyone else's.
Most people are told to "join the Discord and introduce yourself to get involved." This instruction may have worked six months ago when DAOs had a handful of members, but it's outdated today. Messaging a discord with hundreds or maybe even thousands of people can be intimidating especially if you're new to the space. The onboarding experience is a barrier to entry for many talented people who join discord servers only to get flooded with a deluge of channels and conversations.
The lack of proper onboarding spans multiple layers. Here are a few of the noticeable web3 scalability bottlenecks:
- education — web3 is a new language, and we have to get more people comfortable with it. Things like wallets, differences between seed phrases & private keys, gas, layer 2s, e.t.c make no sense to most people. We should be helping interested users answer questions like "What's a DAO?" Curating educational content is critical, especially in a decentralized world. We need many curators with different interests to avoid repeating the mistakes of web2.
- tech on-ramps — do we really want new users to wait days for CEXs like coinbase and gemini to release their funds? We promised them near-instant transactions. The CEX delay ruins that critical first-time user experience. It ruins the magic before they get a chance to experience it. Anyone can pick up their phones and make a youtube video with $0 in their wallet. Web3 needs to be this seamless if it's going to win. Anyone should be able to create on web3 with a 0 balance in their wallet. I understand that this isn't the most straightforward problem to solve. But if you want to tip the scale of adoption, that's how you do it.
- people —
Up until now, DeFi has dominated the decentralized space in a wave of money making more money. But web3 won't survive if it's only a bull market phenomenon because financial capital will dry up during the next bear market. A DeFi-dominated web3 may not survive many downturns (or a single extended bear market); we need a shift towards productivity. This means that people are able to get paid for their skills, knowledge, and talent rather than the size of their wallets. It means people should feel fulfilled by what they do on-chain, but most importantly, it means DAOs (or a version of it) need to succeed.
I believe DAOs are crypto's staying power, but they need capital. Not financial capital (money is abundant), but production capital (talent is scarce). I'm grateful to communities like ForeFront and Rabbithole for tackling some of these scalability bottlenecks by educating new users. I know many are focused on on-ramp tech. But I don't hear about talent/people enough. After MCON, this is where I've decided to focus. If you're interested in this mission, DM me on Twitter (@tolusnotes). Happy redpilling!