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Glorin Santhosh

Glorin Santhosh

1 year ago

Start organizing your ideas by using The Second Brain.

More on Personal Growth

Aparna Jain

Aparna Jain

1 year ago

Negative Effects of Working for a FAANG Company

Consider yourself lucky if your last FAANG interview was rejected.

Image by Author- Royalty free image enhanced in Canva

FAANG—Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google

(I know its manga now, but watch me not care)

These big companies offer many benefits.

  1. large salaries and benefits

  2. Prestige

  3. high expectations for both you and your coworkers.

However, these jobs may have major drawbacks that only become apparent when you're thrown to the wolves, so it's up to you whether you see them as drawbacks or opportunities.

I know most college graduates start working at big tech companies because of their perceived coolness.

I've worked in these companies for years and can tell you what to expect if you get a job here.

Little fish in a vast ocean

The most obvious. Most billion/trillion-dollar companies employ thousands.

You may work on a small, unnoticed product part.

Directors and higher will sometimes make you redo projects they didn't communicate well without respecting your time, talent, or will to work on trivial stuff that doesn't move company needles.

Peers will only say, "Someone has to take out the trash," even though you know company resources are being wasted.

The power imbalance is frustrating.

What you can do about it

Know your WHY. Consider long-term priorities. Though riskier, I stayed in customer-facing teams because I loved building user-facing products.

This increased my impact. However, if you enjoy helping coworkers build products, you may be better suited for an internal team.

I told the Directors and Vice Presidents that their actions could waste Engineering time, even though it was unpopular. Some were receptive, some not.

I kept having tough conversations because they were good for me and the company.

However, some of my coworkers praised my candor but said they'd rather follow the boss.

An outdated piece of technology can take years to update.

Apple introduced Swift for iOS development in 2014. Most large tech companies adopted the new language after five years.

This is frustrating if you want to learn new skills and increase your market value.

Knowing that my lack of Swift practice could hurt me if I changed jobs made writing verbose Objective C painful.

What you can do about it

  1. Work on the new technology in side projects; one engineer rewrote the Lyft app in Swift over the course of a weekend and promoted its adoption throughout the entire organization.

  2. To integrate new technologies and determine how to combine legacy and modern code, suggest minor changes to the existing codebase.

Most managers spend their entire day in consecutive meetings.

After their last meeting, the last thing they want is another meeting to discuss your career goals.

Sometimes a manager has 15-20 reports, making it hard to communicate your impact.

Misunderstandings and stress can result.

Especially when the manager should focus on selfish parts of the team. Success won't concern them.

What you can do about it

  1. Tell your manager that you are a self-starter and that you will pro-actively update them on your progress, especially if they aren't present at the meetings you regularly attend.

  2. Keep being proactive and look for mentorship elsewhere if you believe your boss doesn't have enough time to work on your career goals.

  3. Alternately, look for a team where the manager has more authority to assist you in making career decisions.

After a certain point, company loyalty can become quite harmful.

Because big tech companies create brand loyalty, too many colleagues stayed in unhealthy environments.

When you work for a well-known company and strangers compliment you, it's fun to tell your friends.

Work defines you. This can make you stay too long even though your career isn't progressing and you're unhappy.

Google may become your surname.

Workplaces are not families.

If you're unhappy, don't stay just because they gave you the paycheck to buy your first home and make you feel like you owe your life to them.

Many employees stayed too long. Though depressed and suicidal.

What you can do about it

  1. Your life is not worth a company.

  2. Do you want your job title and workplace to be listed on your gravestone? If not, leave if conditions deteriorate.

  3. Recognize that change can be challenging. It's difficult to leave a job you've held for a number of years.

  4. Ask those who have experienced this change how they handled it.

You still have a bright future if you were rejected from FAANG interviews.

Rejections only lead to amazing opportunities. If you're young and childless, work for a startup.

Companies may pay more than FAANGs. Do your research.

Ask recruiters and hiring managers tough questions about how the company and teams prioritize respectful working hours and boundaries for workers.

I know many 15-year-olds who have a lifelong dream of working at Google, and it saddens me that they're chasing a name on their resume instead of excellence.

This article is not meant to discourage you from working at these companies, but to share my experience about what HR/managers will never mention in interviews.

Read both sides before signing the big offer letter.

Ian Writes

Ian Writes

1 year ago

Rich Dad, Poor Dad is a Giant Steaming Pile of Sh*t by Robert Kiyosaki.

Don't promote it.

Kiyosaki worked with Trump on a number of projects

I rarely read a post on how Rich Dad, Poor Dad motivated someone to grow rich or change their investing/finance attitude. Rich Dad, Poor Dad is a sham, though. This book isn't worth anyone's attention.

Robert Kiyosaki, the author of this garbage, doesn't deserve recognition or attention. This first finance guru wanted to build his own wealth at your expense. These charlatans only care about themselves.

The reason why Rich Dad, Poor Dad is a huge steaming piece of trash

The book's ideas are superficial, apparent, and unsurprising to entrepreneurs and investors. The book's themes may seem profound to first-time readers.

Apparently, starting a business will make you rich.

The book supports founding or buying a business, making it self-sufficient, and being rich through it. Starting a business is time-consuming, tough, and expensive. Entrepreneurship isn't for everyone. Rarely do enterprises succeed.

Robert says we should think like his mentor, a rich parent. Robert never said who or if this guy existed. He was apparently his own father. Robert proposes investing someone else's money in several enterprises and properties. The book proposes investing in:

“have returns of 100 percent to infinity. Investments that for $5,000 are soon turned into $1 million or more.”

In rare cases, a business may provide 200x returns, but 65% of US businesses fail within 10 years. Australia's first-year business failure rate is 60%. A business that lasts 10 years doesn't mean its owner is rich. These statistics only include businesses that survive and pay their owners.

Employees are depressed and broke.

The novel portrays employees as broke and sad. The author degrades workers.

I've owned and worked for a business. I was broke and miserable as a business owner, working 80 hours a week for absolutely little salary. I work 50 hours a week and make over $200,000 a year. My work is hard, intriguing, and I'm surrounded by educated individuals. Self-employed or employee?

Don't listen to a charlatan's tax advice.

From a bad advise perspective, Robert's tax methods were funny. Robert suggests forming a corporation to write off holidays as board meetings or health club costs as business expenses. These actions can land you in serious tax trouble.

Robert dismisses college and traditional schooling. Rich individuals learn by doing or living, while educated people are agitated and destitute, says Robert.

Rich dad says:

“All too often business schools train employees to become sophisticated bean-counters. Heaven forbid a bean counter takes over a business. All they do is look at the numbers, fire people, and kill the business.”

And then says:

“Accounting is possibly the most confusing, boring subject in the world, but if you want to be rich long-term, it could be the most important subject.”

Get rich by avoiding paying your debts to others.

While this book has plenty of bad advice, I'll end with this: Robert advocates paying yourself first. This man's work with Trump isn't surprising.

Rich Dad's book says:

“So you see, after paying myself, the pressure to pay my taxes and the other creditors is so great that it forces me to seek other forms of income. The pressure to pay becomes my motivation. I’ve worked extra jobs, started other companies, traded in the stock market, anything just to make sure those guys don’t start yelling at me […] If I had paid myself last, I would have felt no pressure, but I’d be broke.“

Paying yourself first shouldn't mean ignoring debt, damaging your credit score and reputation, or paying unneeded fees and interest. Good business owners pay employees, creditors, and other costs first. You can pay yourself after everyone else.

If you follow Robert Kiyosaki's financial and business advice, you might as well follow Donald Trump's, the most notoriously ineffective businessman and swindle artist.

This book's popularity is unfortunate. Robert utilized the book's fame to promote paid seminars. At these seminars, he sold more expensive seminars to the gullible. This strategy was utilized by several conmen and Trump University.

It's reasonable that many believed him. It sounded appealing because he was pushing to get rich by thinking like a rich person. Anyway. At a time when most persons addressing wealth development advised early sacrifices (such as eschewing luxury or buying expensive properties), Robert told people to act affluent now and utilize other people's money to construct their fantasy lifestyle. It's exciting and fast.

I often voice my skepticism and scorn for internet gurus now that social media and platforms like Medium make it easier to promote them. Robert Kiyosaki was a guru. Many people still preach his stuff because he was so good at pushing it.

Leon Ho

Leon Ho

1 year ago

Digital Brainbuilding (Your Second Brain)

The human brain is amazing. As more scientists examine the brain, we learn how much it can store.

The human brain has 1 billion neurons, according to Scientific American. Each neuron creates 1,000 connections, totaling over a trillion. If each neuron could store one memory, we'd run out of room. [1]

What if you could store and access more info, freeing up brain space for problem-solving and creativity?

Build a second brain to keep up with rising knowledge (what I refer to as a Digital Brain). Effectively managing information entails realizing you can't recall everything.

Every action requires information. You need the correct information to learn a new skill, complete a project at work, or establish a business. You must manage information properly to advance your profession and improve your life.

How to construct a second brain to organize information and achieve goals.

What Is a Second Brain?

How often do you forget an article or book's key point? Have you ever wasted hours looking for a saved file?

If so, you're not alone. Information overload affects millions of individuals worldwide. Information overload drains mental resources and causes anxiety.

This is when the second brain comes in.

Building a second brain doesn't involve duplicating the human brain. Building a system that captures, organizes, retrieves, and archives ideas and thoughts. The second brain improves memory, organization, and recall.

Digital tools are preferable to analog for building a second brain.

Digital tools are portable and accessible. Due to these benefits, we'll focus on digital second-brain building.

Brainware

Digital Brains are external hard drives. It stores, organizes, and retrieves. This means improving your memory won't be difficult. 

Memory has three components in computing:

Recording — storing the information

Organization — archiving it in a logical manner

Recall — retrieving it again when you need it

For example:

Due to rigorous security settings, many websites need you to create complicated passwords with special characters.

You must now memorize (Record), organize (Organize), and input this new password the next time you check in (Recall).

Even in this simple example, there are many pieces to remember. We can't recognize this new password with our usual patterns. If we don't use the password every day, we'll forget it. You'll type the wrong password when you try to remember it.

It's common. Is it because the information is complicated? Nope. Passwords are basically letters, numbers, and symbols.

It happens because our brains aren't meant to memorize these. Digital Brains can do heavy lifting.

Why You Need a Digital Brain

Dual minds are best. Birth brain is limited.

The cerebral cortex has 125 trillion synapses, according to a Stanford Study. The human brain can hold 2.5 million terabytes of digital data. [2]

Building a second brain improves learning and memory.

Learn and store information effectively

Faster information recall

Organize information to see connections and patterns

Build a Digital Brain to learn more and reach your goals faster. Building a second brain requires time and work, but you'll have more time for vital undertakings. 

Why you need a Digital Brain:

1. Use Brainpower Effectively

Your brain has boundaries, like any organ. This is true while solving a complex question or activity. If you can't focus on a work project, you won't finish it on time.

Second brain reduces distractions. A robust structure helps you handle complicated challenges quickly and stay on track. Without distractions, it's easy to focus on vital activities.

2. Staying Organized

Professional and personal duties must be balanced. With so much to do, it's easy to neglect crucial duties. This is especially true for skill-building. Digital Brain will keep you organized and stress-free.

Life success requires action. Organized people get things done. Organizing your information will give you time for crucial tasks.

You'll finish projects faster with good materials and methods. As you succeed, you'll gain creative confidence. You can then tackle greater jobs.

3. Creativity Process

Creativity drives today's world. Creativity is mysterious and surprising for millions worldwide. Immersing yourself in others' associations, triggers, thoughts, and ideas can generate inspiration and creativity.

Building a second brain is crucial to establishing your creative process and building habits that will help you reach your goals. Creativity doesn't require perfection or overthinking.

4. Transforming Your Knowledge Into Opportunities

This is the age of entrepreneurship. Today, you can publish online, build an audience, and make money.

Whether it's a business or hobby, you'll have several job alternatives. Knowledge can boost your economy with ideas and insights.

5. Improving Thinking and Uncovering Connections

Modern career success depends on how you think. Instead of overthinking or perfecting, collect the best images, stories, metaphors, anecdotes, and observations.

This will increase your creativity and reveal connections. Increasing your imagination can help you achieve your goals, according to research. [3]

Your ability to recognize trends will help you stay ahead of the pack.

6. Credibility for a New Job or Business

Your main asset is experience-based expertise. Others won't be able to learn without your help. Technology makes knowledge tangible.

This lets you use your time as you choose while helping others. Changing professions or establishing a new business become learning opportunities when you have a Digital Brain.

7. Using Learning Resources

Millions of people use internet learning materials to improve their lives. Online resources abound. These include books, forums, podcasts, articles, and webinars.

These resources are mostly free or inexpensive. Organizing your knowledge can save you time and money. Building a Digital Brain helps you learn faster. You'll make rapid progress by enjoying learning.

How does a second brain feel?

Digital Brain has helped me arrange my job and family life for years.

No need to remember 1001 passwords. I never forget anything on my wife's grocery lists. Never miss a meeting. I can access essential information and papers anytime, anywhere.

Delegating memory to a second brain reduces tension and anxiety because you'll know what to do with every piece of information.

No information will be forgotten, boosting your confidence. Better manage your fears and concerns by writing them down and establishing a strategy. You'll understand the plethora of daily information and have a clear head.

How to Develop Your Digital Brain (Your Second Brain)

It's cheap but requires work.

Digital Brain development requires:

Recording — storing the information

Organization — archiving it in a logical manner

Recall — retrieving it again when you need it

1. Decide what information matters before recording.

To succeed in today's environment, you must manage massive amounts of data. Articles, books, webinars, podcasts, emails, and texts provide value. Remembering everything is impossible and overwhelming.

What information do you need to achieve your goals?

You must consolidate ideas and create a strategy to reach your aims. Your biological brain can imagine and create with a Digital Brain.

2. Use the Right Tool

We usually record information without any preparation - we brainstorm in a word processor, email ourselves a message, or take notes while reading.

This information isn't used. You must store information in a central location.

Different information needs different instruments.

Evernote is a top note-taking program. Audio clips, Slack chats, PDFs, text notes, photos, scanned handwritten pages, emails, and webpages can be added.

Pocket is a great software for saving and organizing content. Images, videos, and text can be sorted. Web-optimized design

Calendar apps help you manage your time and enhance your productivity by reminding you of your most important tasks. Calendar apps flourish. The best calendar apps are easy to use, have many features, and work across devices. These calendars include Google, Apple, and Outlook.

To-do list/checklist apps are useful for managing tasks. Easy-to-use, versatility, budget, and cross-platform compatibility are important when picking to-do list apps. Google Keep, Google Tasks, and Apple Notes are good to-do apps.

3. Organize data for easy retrieval

How should you organize collected data?

When you collect and organize data, you'll see connections. An article about networking can assist you comprehend web marketing. Saved business cards can help you find new clients.

Choosing the correct tools helps organize data. Here are some tools selection criteria:

  • Can the tool sync across devices?

  • Personal or team?

  • Has a search function for easy information retrieval?

  • Does it provide easy data categorization?

  • Can users create lists or collections?

  • Does it offer easy idea-information connections?

  • Does it mind map and visually organize thoughts?

Conclusion

Building a Digital Brain (second brain) helps us save information, think creatively, and implement ideas. Your second brain is a biological extension. It prevents amnesia, allowing you to tackle bigger creative difficulties.

People who love learning often consume information without using it. Every day, they postpone life-improving experiences until they're forgotten. Useful information becomes strength. 

Reference

[1] ^ Scientific American: What Is the Memory Capacity of the Human Brain?

[2] ^ Clinical Neurology Specialists: What is the Memory Capacity of a Human Brain?

[3] ^ National Library of Medicine: Imagining Success: Multiple Achievement Goals and the Effectiveness of Imagery

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Darshak Rana

Darshak Rana

1 year ago

17 Google Secrets 99 Percent of People Don't Know 

What can't Google do?
Seriously, nothing! Google rocks.
Google is a major player in online tools and services. We use it for everything, from research to entertainment.
Did I say entertain yourself?
Yes, with so many features and options, it can be difficult to fully utilize Google.

#1. Drive Google Mad

You can make Google's homepage dance if you want to be silly.
Just type “Google Gravity” into Google.com. Then select I'm lucky.
See the page unstick before your eyes!

#2 Play With Google Image

Google isn't just for work.
Then have fun with it!
You can play games right in your search results. When you need a break, google “Solitaire” or “Tic Tac Toe”. 

#3. Do a Barrel Roll

Need a little more excitement in your life? Want to see Google dance?
Type “Do a barrel roll” into the Google search bar.
Then relax and watch your screen do a 360. 

#4  No Internet?  No issue!

This is a fun trick to use when you have no internet.
If your browser shows a “No Internet” page, simply press Space.
Boom!
We have dinosaurs! Now use arrow keys to save your pixelated T-Rex from extinction.

#5 Google Can Help

Play this Google coin flip game to see if you're lucky.
Enter “Flip a coin” into the search engine.
You'll see a coin flipping animation. If you get heads or tails, click it. 

#6. Think with Google

My favorite Google find so far is the “Think with Google” website.
Think with Google is a website that offers marketing insights, research, and case studies.
I highly recommend it to entrepreneurs, small business owners, and anyone interested in online marketing. 

#7. Google Can Read Images!

This is a cool Google trick that few know about.
You can search for images by keyword or upload your own by clicking the camera icon on Google Images.
Google will then show you all of its similar images.

Caution: You should be fine with your uploaded images being public. 

#8. Modify the Google Logo!

Clicking on the “I'm Feeling Lucky” button on Google.com takes you to a random Google Doodle.
Each year, Google creates a Doodle to commemorate holidays, anniversaries, and other occasions.

#9. What is my IP?

Simply type “What is my IP” into Google to find out.
Your IP address will appear on the results page.

#10. Send a Self-Destructing Email With Gmail, 

Create a new message in Gmail. Find an icon that resembles a lock and a clock near the SEND button. That's where the Confidential Mode is.
By clicking it, you can set an expiration date for your email. Expiring emails are automatically deleted from both your and the recipient's inbox.

#11. Blink, Google Blink!

This is a unique Google trick.
Type “blink HTML” into Google. The words “blink HTML” will appear and then disappear.
The text is displayed for a split second before being deleted.
To make this work, Google reads the HTML code and executes the “blink” command. 

#12. The Answer To Everything

This is for all Douglas Adams fans.
The answer to life, the universe, and everything is 42, according to Google.
An allusion to Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, in which Ford Prefect seeks to understand life, the universe, and everything.

#13. Google in 1998

It's a blast!
Type “Google in 1998” into Google. "I'm feeling lucky"
You'll be taken to an old-school Google homepage.
It's a nostalgic trip for long-time Google users. 

#14. Scholarships and Internships

Google can help you find college funding!
Type “scholarships” or “internships” into Google.
The number of results will surprise you. 

#15. OK, Google. Dice!

To roll a die, simply type “Roll a die” into Google.
On the results page is a virtual dice that you can click to roll. 

#16. Google has secret codes!

Hit the nine squares on the right side of your Google homepage to go to My Account. Then Personal Info.
You can add your favorite language to the “General preferences for the web” tab. 

#17. Google Terminal 

You can feel like a true hacker.
Just type “Google Terminal” into Google.com. "I'm feeling lucky"
Voila~!
You'll be taken to an old-school computer terminal-style page.
You can then type commands to see what happens.

Have you tried any of these activities? Tell me in the comments.

Read full article here

Benjamin Lin

Benjamin Lin

1 year ago

I sold my side project for $20,000: 6 lessons I learned

How I monetized and sold an abandoned side project for $20,000

Unfortunately, there was no real handshake as the sale was transacted entirely online

The Origin Story

I've always wanted to be an entrepreneur but never succeeded. I often had business ideas, made a landing page, and told my buddies. Never got customers.

In April 2021, I decided to try again with a new strategy. I noticed that I had trouble acquiring an initial set of customers, so I wanted to start by acquiring a product that had a small user base that I could grow.

I found a SaaS marketplace called MicroAcquire.com where you could buy and sell SaaS products. I liked Shareit.video, an online Loom-like screen recorder.

Shareit.video didn't generate revenue, but 50 people visited daily to record screencasts.

Purchasing a Failed Side Project

I eventually bought Shareit.video for $12,000 from its owner.

$12,000 was probably too much for a website without revenue or registered users.

I thought time was most important. I could have recreated the website, but it would take months. $12,000 would give me an organized code base and a working product with a few users to monetize.

You should always ask yourself the build vs buy decision when starting a new project

I considered buying a screen recording website and trying to grow it versus buying a new car or investing in crypto with the $12K.

Buying the website would make me a real entrepreneur, which I wanted more than anything.

Putting down so much money would force me to commit to the project and prevent me from quitting too soon.

A Year of Development

I rebranded the website to be called RecordJoy and worked on it with my cousin for about a year. Within a year, we made $5000 and had 3000 users.

We spent $3500 on ads, hosting, and software to run the business.

AppSumo promoted our $120 Life Time Deal in exchange for 30% of the revenue.

We put RecordJoy on maintenance mode after 6 months because we couldn't find a scalable user acquisition channel.

We improved SEO and redesigned our landing page, but nothing worked.

Growth flatlined, so we put the project on maintenance mode

Despite not being able to grow RecordJoy any further, I had already learned so much from working on the project so I was fine with putting it on maintenance mode. RecordJoy still made $500 a month, which was great lunch money.

Getting Taken Over

One of our customers emailed me asking for some feature requests and I replied that we weren’t going to add any more features in the near future. They asked if we'd sell.

We got on a call with the customer and I asked if he would be interested in buying RecordJoy for 15k. The customer wanted around $8k but would consider it.

Since we were negotiating with one buyer, we put RecordJoy on MicroAcquire to see if there were other offers.

Everything is negotiable, including how long the buyer can remain an exclusive buyer and what the payment schedule should be.

We quickly received 10+ offers. We got 18.5k. There was also about $1000 in AppSumo that we could not withdraw, so we agreed to transfer that over for $600 since about 40% of our sales on AppSumo usually end up being refunded.

Lessons Learned

First, create an acquisition channel

We couldn't discover a scalable acquisition route for RecordJoy. If I had to start another project, I'd develop a robust acquisition channel first. It might be LinkedIn, Medium, or YouTube.

Purchase Power of the Buyer Affects Acquisition Price

Some of the buyers we spoke to were individuals looking to buy side projects, as well as companies looking to launch a new product category. Individual buyers had less budgets than organizations.

Customers of AppSumo vary.

AppSumo customers value lifetime deals and low prices, which may not be a good way to build a business with recurring revenue. Designed for AppSumo users, your product may not connect with other users.

Try to increase acquisition trust

Acquisition often fails. The buyer can go cold feet, cease communicating, or run away with your stuff. Trusting the buyer ensures a smooth asset exchange. First acquisition meeting was unpleasant and price negotiation was tight. In later meetings, we spent the first few minutes trying to get to know the buyer’s motivations and background before jumping into the negotiation, which helped build trust.

Operating expenses can reduce your earnings.

Monitor operating costs. We were really happy when we withdrew the $5000 we made from AppSumo and Stripe until we realized that we had spent $3500 in operating fees. Spend money on software and consultants to help you understand what to build.

Don't overspend on advertising

We invested $1500 on Google Ads but made little money. For a side project, it’s better to focus on organic traffic from SEO rather than paid ads unless you know your ads are going to have a positive ROI.

Max Parasol

Max Parasol

1 year ago

Are DAOs the future or just a passing fad?

How do you DAO? Can DAOs scale?

DAO: Decentralized Autonomous. Organization.

“The whole phrase is a misnomer. They're not decentralized, autonomous, or organizations,” says Monsterplay blockchain consultant David Freuden.

As part of the DAO initiative, Freuden coauthored a 51-page report in May 2020. “We need DAOs,” he says. “‘Shareholder first' is a 1980s/90s concept. Profits became the focus, not products.”

His predictions for DAOs have come true nearly two years later. DAOs had over 1.6 million participants by the end of 2021, up from 13,000 at the start of the year. Wyoming, in the US, will recognize DAOs and the Marshall Islands in 2021. Australia may follow that example in 2022.

But what is a DAO?

Members buy (or are rewarded with) governance tokens to vote on how the DAO operates and spends its money. “DeFi spawned DAOs as an investment vehicle. So a DAO is tokenomics,” says Freuden.

DAOs are usually built around a promise or a social cause, but they still want to make money. “If you can't explain why, the DAO will fail,” he says. “A co-op without tokenomics is not a DAO.”

Operating system DAOs, protocol DAOs, investment DAOs, grant DAOs, service DAOs, social DAOs, collector DAOs, and media DAOs are now available.

Freuden liked the idea of people rallying around a good cause. Speculators and builders make up the crypto world, so it needs a DAO for them.

,Speculators and builders, or both, have mismatched expectations, causing endless, but sometimes creative friction.

Organisms that boost output

Launching a DAO with an original product such as a cryptocurrency, an IT protocol or a VC-like investment fund like FlamingoDAO is common. DAOs enable distributed open-source contributions without borders. The goal is vital. Sometimes, after a product is launched, DAOs emerge, leaving the company to eventually transition to a DAO, as Uniswap did.

Doing things together is a DAO. So it's a way to reward a distributed workforce. DAOs are essentially productivity coordination organisms.

“Those who work for the DAO make permissionless contributions and benefit from fragmented employment,” argues Freuden. DAOs are, first and foremost, a new form of cooperation.

DAO? Distributed not decentralized

In decentralized autonomous organizations, words have multiple meanings. DAOs can emphasize one aspect over another. Autonomy is a trade-off for decentralization.

DAOstack CEO Matan Field says a DAO is a distributed governance system. Power is shared. However, there are two ways to understand a DAO's decentralized nature. This clarifies the various DAO definitions.

A decentralized infrastructure allows a DAO to be decentralized. It could be created on a public permissionless blockchain to prevent a takeover.

As opposed to a company run by executives or shareholders, a DAO is distributed. Its leadership does not wield power

Option two is clearly distributed.

But not all of this is “automated.”

Think quorum, not robot.

DAOs can be autonomous in the sense that smart contracts are self-enforcing and self-executing. So every blockchain transaction is a simplified smart contract.


Dao landscape

The DAO landscape is evolving.

Consider how Ethereum's smart contracts work. They are more like self-executing computer code, which Vitalik Buterin calls “persistent scripts”.

However, a DAO is self-enforcing once its members agree on its rules. As such, a DAO is “automated upon approval by the governance committee.” This distinguishes them from traditional organizations whose rules must be interpreted and applied.

Why a DAO? They move fast

A DAO can quickly adapt to local conditions as a governance mechanism. It's a collaborative decision-making tool.

Like UkraineDAO, created in response to Putin's invasion of Ukraine by Ukrainian expat Alona Shevchenko, Nadya Tolokonnikova, Trippy Labs, and PleasrDAO. The DAO sought to support Ukrainian charities by selling Ukrainian flag NFTs. With a single mission, a DAO can quickly raise funds for a country accepting crypto where banks are distrusted.

This could be a watershed moment for DAOs.

ConstitutionDAO was another clever use case for DAOs for Freuden. In a failed but “beautiful experiment in a single-purpose DAO,” ConstitutionDAO tried to buy a copy of the US Constitution from a Sotheby's auction. In November 2021, ConstitutionDAO raised $47 million from 19,000 people, but a hedge fund manager outbid them.

Contributions were returned or lost if transactional gas fees were too high. The ConstitutionDAO, as a “beautiful experiment,” proved exceptionally fast at organizing and crowdsourcing funds for a specific purpose.

We may soon be applauding UkraineDAO's geopolitical success in support of the DAO concept.

Some of the best use cases for DAOs today, according to Adam Miller, founder of DAOplatform.io and MIDAO Directory Services, involve DAO structures.

That is, a “flat community is vital.” Prototyping by the crowd is a good example.  To succeed,  members must be enthusiastic about DAOs as an alternative to starting a company. Because DAOs require some hierarchy, he agrees that "distributed is a better acronym."

Miller sees DAOs as a “new way of organizing people and resources.” He started DAOplatform.io, a DAO tooling advisery that is currently transitioning to a DAO due to the “woeful tech options for running a DAO,” which he says mainly comprises of just “multisig admin keys and a voting system.” So today he's advising on DAO tech stacks.

Miller identifies three key elements.

Tokenization is a common method and tool. Second, governance mechanisms connected to the DAO's treasury. Lastly, community.”

How a DAO works...

They can be more than glorified Discord groups if they have a clear mission. This mission is a mix of financial speculation and utopianism. The spectrum is vast.

The founder of Dash left the cryptocurrency project in 2017. It's the story of a prophet without an heir. So creating a global tokenized evangelical missionary community via a DAO made sense.

Evan Duffield, a “libertarian/anarchist” visionary, forked Bitcoin in January 2014 to make it instant and essentially free. He went away for a while, and DASH became a DAO.

200,000 US retailers, including Walmart and Barnes & Noble, now accept Dash as payment. This payment system works like a gift card.

Arden Goldstein, Dash's head of crypto, DAO, and blockchain marketing, claims Dash is the “first successful DAO.” It was founded in 2016 and disbanded after a hack, an Ethereum hard fork and much controversy. But what are the success metrics?

Crypto success is measured differently, says Goldstein. To achieve common goals, people must participate or be motivated in a healthy DAO. People are motivated to complete tasks in a successful DAO. And, crucially, when tasks get completed.

“Yes or no, 1 or 0, voting is not a new idea. The challenge is getting people to continue to participate and keep building a community.” A DAO motivates volunteers: Nothing keeps people from building. The DAO “philosophy is old news. You need skin in the game to play.”

MasterNodes must stake 1000 Dash. Those members are rewarded with DASH for marketing (and other tasks). It uses an outsourced team to onboard new users globally.

Joining a DAO is part of the fun of meeting crazy or “very active” people on Discord. No one gets fired (usually). If your work is noticed, you may be offered a full-time job.

DAO community members worldwide are rewarded for brand building. Dash is also a great product for developing countries with high inflation and undemocratic governments. The countries with the most Dash DAO members are Russia, Brazil, Venezuela, India, China, France, Italy, and the Philippines.

Grassroots activism makes this DAO work. A DAO is local. Venezuelans can't access Dash.org, so DAO members help them use a VPN. DAO members are investors, fervent evangelicals, and local product experts.

Every month, proposals and grant applications are voted on via the Dash platform. However, the DAO may decide not to fund you. For example, the DAO once hired a PR firm, but the community complained about the lack of press coverage. This raises a great question: How are real-world contractual obligations met by a DAO?

Does the DASH DAO work?

“I see the DAO defund projects I thought were valuable,” Goldstein says. Despite working full-time, I must submit a funding proposal. “Much faster than other companies I've worked on,” he says.

Dash DAO is a headless beast. Ryan Taylor is the CEO of the company overseeing the DASH Core Group project. 

The issue is that “we don't know who has the most tokens [...] because we don't know who our customers are.” As a result, “the loudest voices usually don't have the most MasterNodes and aren't the most invested.”

Goldstein, the only female in the DAO, says she worked hard. “I was proud of the DAO when I made the logo pink for a day and got great support from the men.” This has yet to entice a major influx of female DAO members.

Many obstacles stand in the way of utopian dreams.

Governance problems remain

And what about major token holders behaving badly?

In early February, a heated crypto Twitter debate raged on about inclusion, diversity, and cancel culture in relation to decentralized projects. In this case, the question was how a DAO addresses alleged inappropriate behavior.

In a corporation, misconduct can result in termination. In a DAO, founders usually hold a large number of tokens and the keys to the blockchain (multisignature) or otherwise.

Brantly Millegan, the director of operations of Ethereum Name Service (ENS), made disparaging remarks about the LGBTQ community and other controversial topics. The screenshotted comments were made in 2016 and brought to the ENS board's attention in early 2022.

His contract with ENS has expired. But what of his large DAO governance token holdings?

Members of the DAO proposed a motion to remove Millegan from the DAO. His “delegated” votes net 370,000. He was and is the DAO's largest delegate.

What if he had refused to accept the DAO's decision?

Freuden says the answer is not so simple.

“Can a DAO kick someone out who built the project?”

The original mission “should be dissolved” if it no longer exists. “Does a DAO fail and return the money? They must r eturn the money with interest if the marriage fails.”

Before an IPO, VCs might try to remove a problematic CEO.

While DAOs use treasury as a governance mechanism, it is usually controlled (at least initially) by the original project creators. Or, in the case of Uniswap, the venture capital firm a16z has so much voting power that it has delegated it to student-run blockchain organizations.

So, can DAOs really work at scale? How to evolve voting paradigms beyond token holdings?

The whale token holder issue has some solutions. Multiple tokens, such as a utility token on top of a governance token, and quadratic voting for whales, are now common. Other safeguards include multisignature blockchain keys and decision time locks that allow for any automated decision to be made. The structure of each DAO will depend on the assets at stake.

In reality, voter turnout is often a bigger issue.

Is DAO governance scalable?

Many DAOs have low participation. Due to a lack of understanding of technology, apathy, or busy lives. “The bigger the DAO, the fewer voters who vote,” says Freuden.

Freuden's report cites British anthropologist Dunbar's Law, who argued that people can only maintain about 150 relationships.

"As the DAO grows in size, the individual loses influence because they perceive their voting power as being diminished or insignificant. The Ringelmann Effect and Dunbar's Rule show that as a group grows in size, members become lazier, disenfranchised, and detached.

Freuden says a DAO requires “understanding human relationships.” He believes DAOs work best as investment funds rooted in Cryptoland and small in scale. In just three weeks, SyndicateDAO enabled the creation of 450 new investment group DAOs.

Due to SEC regulations, FlamingoDAO, a famous NFT curation investment DAO, could only have 100 investors. The “LAO” is a member-directed venture capital fund and a US LLC. To comply with US securities law, they only allow 100 members with a 120ETH minimum staking contribution.

But how did FlamingoDAO make investment decisions? How often did all 70 members vote? Art and NFTs are highly speculative.

So, investment DAOs are thought to work well in a small petri dish environment. This is due to a crypto-native club's pooled capital (maximum 7% per member) and crowdsourced knowledge.

While scalability is a concern, each DAO will operate differently depending on the goal, technology stage, and personalities. Meetups and hackathons are common ways for techies to collaborate on a cause or test an idea. But somebody still organizes the hack.

Holographic consensus voting

But clever people are working on creative solutions to every problem.

Miller of DAOplatform.io cites DXdao as a successful DAO. Decentralized product and service creator DXdao runs the DAO entirely on-chain. “You earn voting rights by contributing to the community.”

DXdao, a DAOstack fork, uses holographic consensus, a voting algorithm invented by DAOstack founder Matan Field. The system lets a random or semi-random subset make group-wide decisions.

By acting as a gatekeeper for voters, DXdao's Luke Keenan explains that “a small predictions market economy emerges around the likely outcome of a proposal as tokens are staked on it.” Also, proposals that have been financially boosted have fewer requirements to be successful, increasing system efficiency.” DXdao “makes decisions by removing voting power as an economic incentive.”

Field explains that holographic consensus “does not require a quorum to render a vote valid.”

“Rather, it provides a parallel process. It is a game played (for profit) by ‘predictors' who make predictions about whether or not a vote will be approved by the voters. The voting process is valid even when the voting quorum is low if enough stake is placed on the outcome of the vote.

“In other words, a quorum is not a scalable DAO governance strategy,” Field says.

You don't need big votes on everything. If only 5% vote, fine. To move significant value or make significant changes, you need a longer voting period (say 30 days) and a higher quorum,” says Miller.

Clearly, DAOs are maturing. The emphasis is on tools like Orca and processes that delegate power to smaller sub-DAOs, committees, and working groups.

Miller also claims that “studies in psychology show that rewarding people too much for volunteering disincentivizes them.” So, rather than giving out tokens for every activity, you may want to offer symbolic rewards like POAPs or contributor levels.

“Free lunches are less rewarding. Random rewards can boost motivation.”

Culture and motivation

DAOs (and Web3 in general) can give early adopters a sense of ownership. In theory, they encourage early participation and bootstrapping before network effects.

"A double-edged sword," says Goldstein. In the developing world, they may not be fully scalable.

“There must always be a leader,” she says. “People won't volunteer if they don't want to.”

DAO members sometimes feel entitled. “They are not the boss, but they think they should be able to see my calendar or get a daily report,” Goldstein gripes. Say, “I own three MasterNodes and need to know X, Y, and Z.”

In most decentralized projects, strong community leaders are crucial to influencing culture.

Freuden says “the DAO's community builder is the cryptoland influencer.” They must “disseminate the DAO's culture, cause, and rally the troops” in English, not tech.

They must keep members happy.

So the community builder is vital. Building a community around a coin that promises riches is simple, but keeping DAO members motivated is difficult.

It's a human job. But tools like SourceCred or coordinate that measure contributions and allocate tokens are heavily marketed. Large growth funds/community funds/grant programs are common among DAOs.

The Future?

Onboarding, committed volunteers, and an iconic community builder may be all DAOs need.

It takes a DAO just one day to bring together a passionate (and sometimes obsessive) community. For organizations with a common goal, managing stakeholder expectations is critical.

A DAO's core values are community and cause, not scalable governance. “DAOs will work at scale like gaming communities, but we will have sub-DAOs everywhere like committees,” says Freuden.

So-called holographic consensuses “can handle, in principle, increasing rates of proposals by turning this tension between scale and resilience into an economical cost,” Field writes. Scalability is not guaranteed.

The DAO's key innovation is the fragmented workplace. “Voting is a subset of engagement,” says Freuden. DAO should allow for permissionless participation and engagement. DAOs allow for remote work.”

In 20 years, DAOs may be the AI-powered self-organizing concept. That seems far away now. But a new breed of productivity coordination organisms is maturing.