From the Classroom to the Cryptosphere: One Student's Journey
Also how Dream DAO is training the next generation of leaders
I interviewed Joshua, a 19-year-old college student from Mexico, a Dream DAO founding contributor, and a fellow.
Dream DAO is a decentralized autonomous organization that trains and funds Gen-Z leaders on doing good with crypto. Dream DAO came out of Civics Unplugged, a US-registered 501c3 nonprofit.
D: How did you learn about Dream DAO, and how long have you been with the organization?
J: I found out about Dream DAO from Civics Unplugged. Dream DAO was co-founded by people from Civics Unplugged. I was a Fall 2021 fellow at CU , and when I graduated from the Fellowship, they invited me to join and explore web3. That's how I joined Dream DAO in late November 2021, and I have been with them since then.
D: So, you are like a Founding Member?
J: Yes. Gary, the founder of Civics Unplugged, told the whole community about Dream DAO; around 80 people were interested in exploring this new universe. 40 members from the Civics Unplugged alumni became part of Dream DAO.
D: How many builders were there, or the Fellows who became part of Dream DAO?
J: I think between 40-45.
D: So around 40-45 builders. Does each get a mentor like one-to-one mentoring? What is the ratio?
J: There are around 30 to 40 mentors known as champions at Dream DAO. We use a tool called Intros AI. Each week we have an intro with a champion, where you start discussing, clarify your doubts or talk about what you are exploring and how you are figuring out how to contribute to a web3 organization.
D:Who are the champions you work closely with?
J: In Dream DAO, we have working groups and each working group is a part of the overall structure of the DAO. We have builders and champions working as co-leaders for various working groups. In my working group, which is Gatherings in which I am also the WG Lead, I have worked closely with Saf, a champion at Dream DAO.
D: How many working groups are there at Dream DAO?
J: During this season 1, we have five working groups - DAO Learning, Community Building, Governance, Partnerships and Meta.
D: How has your experience been so far? Like you have been part of Civics Unplugged, you are now part of Dream DAO. Is it radically different or the same? How would you describe being at both organizations and also in terms of your personal growth and learning?
J: In terms of learning, it is different.
For example, Civics Unplugged is a 3-month program. You attend the 3-month program, graduate from the Fellowship if you fulfill the requirements, and become a part of the alumni. You can be a part of the community looking for opportunities and even apply to be in the next cohort.
The part with Dream DAO is that you are learning all day.
For example, we have Learning Sessions twice a week. If the learning session this week is going to be about making a career in web3, then a guest speaker will teach you, give you advice around the gaps that exist in your skill sets, and skills to build for an internship or research.
We are learning the whole time and not just for three months. For example, I am a founding builder, so I started in November and am still learning.
In Civics Unplugged, there are opportunities when you are in the fellowship program and when you are alumni. But in Dream DAO, there are more opportunities because Dream DAO and web3 are much more diverse. For example, in the Explorers Program, you can be matched with an internship host site, work for two months over the summer, and get paid for it. You are learning and contributing to web3.
In terms of learning and growth, it has helped me a lot, from learning about web3 tools to understanding how cryptocurrencies and wallets work.
As a person, you want to contribute to a better future for humanity. Dream DAO has the same objectives as Civics Unplugged but in web3.
I have learned about new tools, and right now, I'm an intern at dOrg. The people at dOrg are amazing, and they have taught me many things, including the projects they are working on for different web3 companies.
Also I have learned more about social impact and the impact we can generate and build with web3 technology.
D: And how would you be compensated for this internship? Through their token, in cryptocurrency or in fiat currency?
J: In terms of working at dOrg, I am being paid in stablecoins. In Dream DAO I’m getting paid per hour for the two recurring roles I have. We get paid in USDC.
D: Just so I understand correctly, you get compensated when you are part of a working group.
J: Yes, a working group coordinator gets paid, and there are bounties for all contributors in the Working Group in different tasks.. If you achieve that task, you get a bonus for it. So compensation is available, but it depends on whether you are working, you are eager to learn, and if you are integrated.
In Dream DAO we have a philosophy that you are not here to just get paid and go home but to gain experience, to learn and to start a career in web3.
Dream DAO has introduced this to us, wherein all the builders who made significant contributions in Phase 1, will get stipends.
D: That's right. At this age, the attitude should be towards learning and enriching yourself with skills because that's invaluable. It's great though that you can get both at Dream DAO.
I understand a new NFT mint is going on right now, and there will be a new season with new champions and builders. So, what will happen to the builders of the first season?
J: They have the option to stay. There are some requirements if you want to renew your membership from season one to two. For example, attend some events and make a retrospective form. If you want to participate in season two, the builders and champions can renew their membership.
D: Is the application process public? Where is the application process?
J: Yes, the application is public. For builders, you need to be between 15-20 years of age, and anyone from all over the world can apply. But Dream DAO gives preference to Civics Unplugged alums. You can still apply even if you are not alumni. For champions, you need to mint a Skywalk Z. You first need to mint an NFT to become a part of the Dream DAO community. Then you need to apply to become a champion.
D: I understand with Season 2 that new builders (fellows) will come in, and the old ones will continue. So, the cohort becomes bigger, right, like up to 80?
So do you think, as an older cohort, you have more responsibilities in mentoring the newer ones coming or would you work alongside them?
What would your role be if you renew and continue to stay in Dream DAO as a builder?
J: From season one, cohort 1 has some experience, but many builders have little. This is why Dream DAO exists to invest in and train Gen Z to discover web3. So, these people will not be experts in web3 systems, DAOs, cryptocurrency, wallets etc.
The responsibility of the Community Builder Coordinator Working Group is to find out what the community needs (for example, more learning sessions, more articles, more resources), look into the gaps, and figure out with other working groups on how these gaps can be filled. This is important because if you lose interest, you are going to drop out quickly.
D: From what I hear, I think Dream DAO is an excellent organization providing young people with hands-on learning.
How much of your time goes to Dream DAO? Like I am sure you must be attending school or college alongside. What is your time commitment to Dream DAO?
J: When applying or renewing your membership, there is a space where you can say, "I am free 1-5 hours per week, 5-10 hours, or more than 10 hours". It depends on you and your needs. I remember when I filled out the form in Season 1 to become a founding builder, I just wrote 5 hours a week because I had school.
Then I got involved in web3 via Dream DAO and started getting more involved. Right now, I am contributing 10 hours per week to Dream DAO. For example, Learning Together sessions last an hour, and we have two of these each week, so that's two hours. Then, an hour more for creating and distributing POAPs and additional hours for the Explorers Program to sync with champions and builders in Twitter spaces and real-life events.
D: Now that you have spent so much time in web3, and I know it is too early to ask, but do you think you will make a career in web3?
J: I would say yes. As I have already mentioned, I am an intern in dOrg, and my role involves administration and marketing. For example, one of my tasks was to find all the builders working in dOrg and their projects.
There are so many projects, one from Tezos, one from Polywrap, and one from NEAR, and when I am reading these projects, I feel excited and want to learn more.
In college, I am going to study both Actuarial Science and Data Science. We had a learning session about starting a career in web3, and most of the Gen Z folks were like 18-20 years old.
Most people, when they start in web3, do administration work because they don’t know how to build an app, how to make a project using HTML, or know R.
If you want to get involved in web3, you need to learn these things from zero.
So, most of the builders in Dream DAO are just part of operations, like for example governance, designing proposals, and designing how the system is going to function.
Before I noticed that Snapshot existed, I saw that there was this tool where people could vote on anything. These are the kind of things that I have learnt in the operations team, which has helped me a lot.
D: How do kids learn about Dream DAO, because I feel it is gaining a separate identity from Civics Unplugged? So not everybody will come from Civics Unplugged. They might apply directly to Dream DAO and then learn about Civics Unplugged.
J: Yes, because people from all over the world can apply. Dream DAO also has a lot of backgrounds from a lot of countries. I have met people from Brazil, Mexico, the United States, India, Singapore, Russia, and the UK.
Having a lot of backgrounds help us connect with other cultures and understand how things have different meanings for different people.
And having people, not from Civics Unplugged is good because we can introduce them to the community. If they have the age eligibility, they can apply and enhance their leadership skills and expand their opportunities and network.
D: I am super impressed with the organization. It has been well thought through from the start. How many people were involved in the initial design process?
J: I’m not sure about the exact number of people. I know that when I entered as a founding builder, many champions were selected because Gary and Madison are from the US and made a lot of connections to get feedback on the DAO. They received a lot of feedback from a lot of champions. And also from leaders from other web3 organizations like Celo, Regen Network and dorg etc.
When I entered Dream DAO, all the people were new except Gary and Madison and some champions they had met before. I know there is only one person who makes the NFTs, and I don't know if there are more designers. Currently, there are 42-45 builders, and 40 champions, which include Gary and Madison and the other co-founders who are building the DAO.
D: Okay, that's very nice. I have covered most of the questions, but I wanted to ask you about the tools used in operations. What tools do you use for collaborating and getting work done? What is the tech stack?
J: To communicate day-to-day, we use Discord messaging, even though we have a Telegram group. For all documentation, we use Notion, but we have tried Clarity and Murmur. We use Snapshot and Slack, and Utopia for payments.
D: And the NFT that you have right now represents your membership. In a scenario where you don’t want to be a member next season, what would you do with the NFT?
J: You can keep the NFT because it cannot be burned but you will not be able to participate in governance decisions and as a voting member.
Thank you Joshua. You are a true ambassador of Dream DAO. And it's been fantastic to hear your perspective on DAOs and web3 🔶
🎙 Joshua was interviewed on June 22nd 2022 as part of the Impact DAOs research project. He’s also our intern at Impact DAOs and attending first year of college studying Actuarial Science in Mexico 🇲🇽
This post is part of a series on the Impact DAOs Research + Book project. This project is by Impact DAO Media, a collective of folks in web3 + impact + media. The team members on Twitter are @tranimal, @katerinabohlec, @Abeers123, @Poplinecreation, @crystaldstreet, @0xSardius, @karanth_harsha, @actThreeCC, @0xSiddhearta, @Value_Strat, @zaldarren, @astrocruz_s, @ashisharora27, @pop_timism, @alkohlmist, @ikonoklast, @bjuglas, @BlockchangeSol1, @sandeepdas9179, @happyplace888 + Kim on LI
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