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It’s Time to Onboard More Non-Technical People Into DAOs

5 mins
Updated by Leila Stein
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In Brief

  • DAOs are the catching attention of people across crypto world.
  • A DAO serves as a mechanism for communities and organizations to coordinate over a set of shared goals.
  • We need non-technical people participating in DAOs, or risk becoming an echo chamber with the same few voices.
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In the recent wave of crypto adoption, we saw DeFi and NFTs gain massive interest. Now DAOs are catching everyone’s attention.

DAO stands for Decentralized Autonomous Organization. At the most basic level, a DAO serves as a mechanism for communities and organizations to coordinate over a set of shared goals.

DAOs are solving a litany of crucial problems that currently plague the “traditional organization.”

DAOs offer a new model for organizations and their communities to align through shared ownership. They can reward long-term participants and promote collaboration through their organization. 

This sweeping but flexible definition of a DAO gives credence to many organizations and community types. 

However, DAOs are not just for technical people. DAOs allow any number of a diverse set of participants to coordinate in a semi-trustless and permissioned manner. This, regardless of their geographic location.

DAOs are solving crucial problems that traditional organizations cannot. For the DAO ecosystem to thrive, we must encourage non-technical people to participate and join the movement of decentralized coordination.

Differences between DAOs and traditional business structures 

DAOs are not replacing traditional organizations yet. Instead, they offer a new way to structure and run your business. 

Forming a traditional organization requires establishing an LLC or LTD, filing paperwork usually with a physical business address, and submitting all forms to local governments. These, in turn, offer a certificate proving the legitimacy of your business.  

In contrast, starting a DAO is a much less formal process. Forming a DAO requires coding your guidelines into smart contracts, including things like treasury, voting practices, and member rules. Then these smart contracts remain transparent and verifiable by all of your DAO’s members. 

Traditional businesses are formed through government filings, whereas DAO’s are formed via smart contracts on the blockchain. 

This sets the stage for understanding why conceptualizing how a DAO operates requires some technical knowledge. However, actually participating in a DAO is much more straightforward. 

Hurdles of onboarding non-technical people into DAO’s

Participating in a DAO relies on a similar technology stack that may be familiar to many, such as Twitter, Telegram, Discord, Medium, emails, etc.

Most initial DAO meetings might happen on Zoom or Google Meet, and early communications are likely to start in Telegram or on a Discord server. 

Although most of the communications within a DAO happens in familiar applications, the mechanics of operating the DAO lives on the blockchain via smart contracts, so an ability to interact with smart contracts is necessary for all members.

For designers, writers, artists, and others, joining a DAO might be the first time they encounter crypto or Web3 technologies. 

Non-technical members need to own some amount of crypto, set up a crypto wallet, and be able to do swaps and execute transactions to initially pledge to a DAO.

Continued participation relies on an ability to write, execute, and vote on proposals. Therefore, there should be an initial focus on empowering new members to learn these skills. 

Being available to walk members through the onboarding process encourages participation. Initial hurdles like setting up a wallet and performing swaps can be taught one-on-one or in small group calls. 

The workflow in a DAO is different from that of a traditional organization, so creating documentation that any non-technical person can follow is crucial to expanding membership beyond crypto-natives. 

Compared to traditional businesses, DAOs are globally inclusive to anyone with an internet connection and crypto wallet. This opens up new possibilities.

We must make DAOs inclusive of joining and participating. At this phase of DAO evolution, it is critical to build and operate so those non-technical professionals can offer their skills, join the DAO, and get paid for their work. 

Roles for a non-technical person within a DAO

From designers to writers to illustrators, musicians, and more, creative people thrive in Web3 in general and specifically in DAOs.

DAOs create space for new initiatives and creative freedom to design new practices that work for a decentralized community. 

Traditional organizations often operate under bureaucratic processes. This is where projects move up a predetermined pipeline going through a series of approvals and regulatory checks.

By comparison, decisions in DAOs are streamlined through voting mechanisms and consensus. 

Work inside of a DAO can happen quickly as innovations in crypto open up new possibilities. So if a DAO has a project or job that needs to be fulfilled, they can post a bounty/listing for the job along with an amount to be paid. Then a member can agree to perform the work.

After they perform the job, submit it to the DAO, they can get paid in crypto after approval. This could be any type of work, from video editing, writing, designing, marketing to other roles that any business needs to function correctly. 

The crypto space moves quickly. Operating as a DAO allows a project to identify a need and then quickly, seamlessly fulfill that need. They can reward the member with crypto for their work, symbiotically incentivizing all parties.

It is no wonder that the crypto space thrives on boundary-pushing art, creative memes, and new forms of storytelling.

DAOs are building mechanisms to reward this type of work and using art and other mediums to explain trends within the crypto space, further inclusive non-technical members to join. 

Let’s encourage non-technical people to join a DAO

There are some steps every DAO can take to ensure non-technical people have an entry point. There is a myriad of ways to encourage sustainable non-technical growth. These include:

  • Creating good documentation that any non-technical person can follow. This ensures that lurkers who discover your DAO can do their own research before engaging.
  • Being responsive to questions posted in Discord and Telegram. Especially, even if they have already been answered in the documentation as this will make new members feel welcomed and valued. 
  • Offering regular small group or one-on-one video calls for new members. This helps orient non-crypto natives and helps facilitate a more personal connection and relationship to new members. 

It should be easy for members to know how to earn their first tokens or contribute to the DAO via a message board or bounty. Hosting workshops like proposal writing workshops encourages members to make larger requests and teaches the community the workflow of the DAO. 

Learning how to coordinate work within your DAO so that the organization can sustainably grow is a challenging but necessary task.

Where DAOs are headed

There is a wealth of opportunities for businesses, creators, artists, and individuals to create thriving economies through DAOs. We need to build inclusive organizations that seamlessly onboard non-technical people into Web3.

Non-technical members are needed in DAOs to help spread awareness of the purpose, mission, and goals as a collective. So, getting non-technical folks involved is as important as retaining technical talent.

Diversity is a strength of DAOs, and non-technical contributors are just as valuable and needed as technical ones. Most technical people have built the foundation. However, it will take us all together to reach the full potential of DAOs.

We need non-technical people participating in DAOs, or risk becoming an echo chamber with the same few voices.

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Samuel Baurle , content writer for DAOhaus
Samuel is an experienced product designer and content writer with a passion to drive change and substantive value to anyone who comes in contact with products he works on. His background in blockchain includes working as a data analyst for Celsius, and is currently a designer for Raid Guild. His work with DAOhaus includes onboarding new DAOs into the ecosystem, and writing content to translate the mission and vision of DAOs across the wider ecosystem.