Quitting for Web3
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November 24th, 2021

Corporate Real Talk

"All the work we do, all of our celebrations, contributions, and sacrifices - at the end of the year every one of us is just another row of expenses on an executive's spreadsheet during comp season."

I had spent the prior two years building a new analytics team focused on operations research, workflow management, and process design for a global Fortune 500 company. My boss - a savvy, fast-rising young leader - recognized my ambition and pulled me into his office for a sober dose of reality. That day I got a lesson in organization dynamics and career management that I'll never forget: success relies on forming relationships to bring your name off the screen and into the culture and success of the org. [1]

Yet I left that role, and most recently the next one, for a trajectory to web3, with all of its adjacent possibilities. I believe a new system, where autonomy, shared value, individuality, and techno-futurism-for-good is possible.

Lessons of leadership from my career (sometimes learned the hard way) are carried with me as I enter the new verse. Some of them are useful for organizing and running DAOs. Enjoy my stream of consciousness.

Leadership reflections

The autonomy expected of a contributor must meet them where they are, perhaps slightly higher. Autonomy requires systems that one can be autonomous within.

Context onboarding is so expensive within an organization. Translating ideas, nuanced decisions, and the story of how a project or team came to be is energy intensive. Written documentation is worth 10x one meeting when process is the topic. [2]

Team diversity adds so much character to the solutions, dynamics, and culture of the org. A genuine appreciation for people and their stories is the only way to do this right. Bottom line improvements is a byproduct. [3]

Individual contributor to successful manager is more of an introspective journey with one's emotional intelligence and ego than an outward facing one about the team you manage.

My proudest corporate achievements have always been promoting a member of my team. Individual contributor to manager is the most exciting. Manager to Director requires a very different skillset and is rewarding in a different way. I expect web3 to feel same, same, but different in this regard for me.

It is not easy to get promoted in a large company. Someone must care about your advancement; it is energy and effort to document an employee's success, and then advocate to increase budget for their contributions at year end. Political capital and soft influence required, both are hard to cultivate in traditional orgs.

Find a way to add value to the most important projects to your team and organization. Stakeholder and customer support directs resources, and resources turn into an energy transfer into business value through smart capital allocation. Progression in the web3 paradigm is a function value allocation. This requires a different mindset.

Why change?

Powerful, enriching, fortune making organizations have existed since humans began cooperating to leverage relative access to resources and creative invention. Why do I need this change? Couldn’t I succeed and be rewarded financially in a well-tested, proven system of corporate advancement?

The answer is: I could succeed, but in web3 I see potential to create a different system and exchange of value for my ideas and output; at the same time build a new network of creatives, builders, and thinkers about the future. This is so much more exciting and rewarding to me.

Technology creates new flows of information presented to us in different ways, changing our adjacent possible in business and communication. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and algorithms have power to influence human behavior at the very biological core. Proceed with caution.

Open technology may be our only savior from machine learning malice. What will be our relationship with privacy and security as new tools take command? We have the opportunity to shape that answer.

What next

I’ve co-founded Diamond DAO, with a focus on products and research to understand the health of Web3 communities. We have an amazing team, with @amphiboly and @JovianNetwork as co-founders. I’m working on technical project management for our core product, analytics & research strategy, and admin/operations for the DAO - a bit of everything and it’s all fun.

Being on the core team I am in the position to influence change and create an amazing web3 community. I want to meet you and help you explore your web3 interests, wherever you are in your journey. View our community docs to get a sense of who we are at Diamond DAO. We have contributors, a product roadmap, bounty board, and activation process. If you'd like to learn about our product, research, or data, come find me at @c_lemp or @dmndDAO.

Footnotes

[1]: My boss had mastered this art - he was a "'one name" persona throughout the company, and he became a dependency on every important project.

[2]: I believe Elements of Style is one of the most powerful tools for operating in a DAO.

[3] The Difference by Scott E. Page is one of my favorite books on diversity and model thinking. The book changed the trajectory of my life, in a way.

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