Boys Club: A model for turning a community into a DAO

Boys Club is in the early stages of building its DAO. That’s why I invited Parker Jay-Pachirat, one of its founding members, to do this interview. I wanted to hear how she’s building the community’s infrastructure to enable them to transition to a DAO.

Boys Club is a community of women, non-binary individuals, and anyone excited to drive inclusivity and a new kind of culture in web3.

Here are a few edited excerpts from this interview.

Andrew: Why do you need a DAO? (Timestamp 2:51)

Parker: I don’t believe that everything should be a DAO. A community should always come first. But we started making our way towards a DAO because our members were eager to get involved. They wanted to be more than just members of our community.

They had ideas for ways to build our movement. A DAO will allow us to have mutual upside and shared incentives.

Andrew: Boys Club has such a cool vibe. How can a community build that vibe better than a few tastemakers? (4:21)

Parker: Our core contributors all started by being community members. They had great ideas. They now own those ideas and execute them.

Andrew: For example? (5:34)

Parker: Two community members with strong product backgrounds created a product guild, which incubates and accelerates projects other members are building in the space.

Andrew: Tell me about Boys Club Consulting. (43:18)

Parker: Two of our members, Hilary Brown and Riyanka Ganguly, got together and created a consulting company that helps brands unlock the power of Web3.

Andrew: So this isn’t a big, chaotic chat group building things together. Your community picks projects and leaders it wants to support and those teams, or “guilds” as you call them, execute.

Parker: You nailed it.

Andrew: You went through the DAO accelerator, Seed Club. What did you learn from it? (9:23)

Parker: Top of mind for me is that the slow approach is better than a fast one. Also, to experiment and iterate instead of taking a one-size-fits-all approach.

From a token point of view, we learned it’s never too late to launch a token, but it’s usually too early. In my mind, a token should come after a community’s product-market fit. A token should be something that adds value to a community, not something the community is holding itself up on.

Andrew: What did you change about your community after setting down the path of creating a DAO? (12:20)

Parker: We added lots more structure and process. We started asking questions like, how do we onboard new guild members? What do we do about guild leaders? How do we define the structure? How do contributors make proposals? How are proposals voted on? Etc.

Andrew: How do you think about turning members into leaders? (16:53)

Parker: Probably one of my favorite questions to answer.

It starts at the top of the funnel, by having a specific enough and nuanced enough vision and mission to attract intrinsically motivated participants.

Then it’s about activating, giving them context and resources to make them feel comfortable and prepared to participate. We need to help them understand how Boys Club works. We need to help them get introduced to other members.

One unique thing about our members is that they often come with a desire to be owners. They come with an idea of specific they’d like to experiment with or build or try for Boys Club.

Ownership is the stickiest aspect of a community, but it’s hard to get to. It’s about gradually increasing responsibility and giving people with a fleshed-out idea the resources and time and attention they need to experiment.

Andrew: You’re practicing new governance and treasury techniques. You have your community members taking leadership roles. At what point do you become a DAO? (24:27)

Parker: That’s a hard question. When I envision what Boys Club looks like as a DAO, I envision members who feel comfortable making proposals, and members who understand the makeup of our treasury allocation. I want our community to have the tools, context and muscle memory necessary to come up with ideas, propose them, and lead.

There’s a quote about falling in love happening slowly and then all at once. That’s true in my experience. I think a DAO is similar.

Once the community acts like a decentralized autonomous organization, everything else will follow.

I also think that mistaking the birth or use of tokens for the DAO’s official inception is dangerous. We’ve seen the collapse of a lot of DAOs recently. Tokens often drove some of the things that are going wrong.

For example, in a system that gives a vote for each token, someone with more tokens, but less experience in a community can drive more the decisions in it than someone who contributed more the to community.

We don’t want to put immense power in the hands of a few based on financial privilege.

Andrew: What tools do you use to run your almost-DAO? (35:42)

Parker: Our tools are Discord, humans, Zoom, and Airtable. We are low code and I’m loving that. We’re also working in collaboration with Disco to issue verifiable credentials for our members. That opens a lot of doors for us, which I’m thrilled to share more about in the coming months. And we use Govrn to track and manage contributions.

Andrew: What are you using for voting? (26:22)

Parker: Emojis in a Discord group.

Andrew: And how do you decide what proposals get to come up for emoji voting? (36:31)

Parker: Pretty much any proposal.

We have a proposal template that isn’t required but helps our members organize their thoughts and present them. Members write up a proposal in the proposal channel and put it up for feedback and review.

Then we have a mandatory call, where it can be openly discussed to get people’s thoughts. The proposal’s author can use the feedback to revise the proposal.

When the proposal’s author is ready they can put it up in the proposal voting channel. That always happens on a Friday because Ben & Johnny, Origami’s co-founders, recommend setting a consistent day for voting so members know when to check.

We have a 7-day voting period, where members can vote Yes, No, or Abstain. To carry weight, the vote needs to have 60% of the members participating in it and the majority have to vote either Yes or No.

At that point, the governance committee passes it. They act as a final step to protect our group against having someone infiltrate it and pass a vote that doesn’t align with our values.

Andrew: Are you working with Origami? (39:11)

Parker: No. They're just homies. I learned a lot from cofounders Ben and Johnny.

Andrew: More people should talk to them about DAOs, even if they don’t work with Origami. They set up an email to reach the cofounders. It’s [email protected]