Rest in Peace or Live without Rest?
My Great Grandpa started a restaurant.
It had very humble beginnings, but quickly became a staple in his small town in the midwest.
During the Great Depression, he was able to not only keep his doors open, but also feed folks in need for free. The restaurant was a haven, of sorts. After years of operation, my Great Grandpa passed the restaurant down to my Grandpa, then the day came when my Grandpa offered my Dad to take over the family business.
Regardless of the two generations of success: my father's dreams extended further than maintaining the family legacy. He left town to pursue his version of the "American dream."
Years later, the restaurant closed its doors for good.
We live in an unfortunate era. You can operate a business for 20 years, serve thousands of customers, but the day the business shuts down it is, in many ways, seen as a failure.
As a result, there are a ton of legacy companies limping along trying to maintain relevancy when their time has long passed. Instead of embracing a purpose being served, these companies are always fighting to maintain relevancy. Imagine how many people in the world who decided to stay at the family restaurant, instead of blaze their own path.
In business, if you can't find one person to carry the burden - then the dream is no more.
Here's the thing, DAOs are different.
Alive from The Beginning to The End
In its lifetime, a DAO has a specific mission. For example:
- To buy a sports team - Krause House
- To revive Blockbuster - Blockbuster DAO
- To help with food justice - Big Green DAO
A DAO can be successful if it operates for 1 week and accomplishes its mission. The DAO doesn't have to exist for generation after generation to be considered "successful."
DAOs can operate much more like a flash mob than any other form of entity. Since the mission of a DAO is bigger than any one person, you don't need one person to pick up the torch when someone on a core team decides it's time for them to move on.
Assemble, collaborate, and dissemble.
The Pursuit of Immortality
How many businesses are trying to escape mortality?
How many companies are clawing at the past trying to stay relevant where they no longer have a vision for why they should still operate in the first place?
Of course, this isn't any companies fault, especially a publicly traded company. They are legally obliged to maximize shareholders value.
DAOs should not pursue the same fate. Some DAOs only need to exist for a moment in time to solve a very specific problem. Others will be generational. What's beautiful about DAOs, is even if a core team wants to move on, they can pass along the torch to to another community member.
Embracing the Process of Building and Burning
I've been in a company that has "failed" before. It's deeply emotional. Pouring your heart and soul into something that doesn't work leaves you with a void.
It really feels like getting over a bad breakup.
I believe culture around failure and success in business is a bit outdated.
For a DAO, if the thing doesn't work, it's easy to get started again.
Build and burn, build and burn.
The Future of Success
Some missions take generations. Big projects like trying to make our economy run on 100% renewable energy isn't done in 3 months.
Some DAOs started today will still be around in 100 years, and that's beautiful.
The flexibility of DAOs allows us to create what the moment calls for.
But we must first realize that all things go through seasons.
In the same way when a person passes away, they did not "fail" at life, there is no failure
DAOs model water. DAOs can operate for a moment in time to serve a purpose, then dissolve.
Many people now who are interested in entrepreneurship actually don't want to start a company.
They have a very specific impact they want to make, and they think business is the best way to do it.
The reality is DAOs have opened up a new way for people to make an impact without taking on a burden to give the company perpetual life.
Dreams change, and people move on. To maintain the fluidity of work that web3 is, think about making a lasting impact instead of trying to make something that lasts.
My Great Grandpa wanted to feed his community, and he did exactly that.
That is what will continue on.