We spend a lot of time here talking about the future of work, but my guests today have a unique perspective on the role of decentralized autonomous organizations, or DAOs will play in creating the workplace of tomorrow. Today on Science 4-Hire, I’m joined by economist and governance expert Wulf Kaal and investor and visionary Tony Greenberg.
Kaal and Greenberg are the masterminds behind Menagerie.is, a community-building platform that empowers decentralized communities to gather, interact and work together as DAOs and equips them with the technology needed to do their thing.
If you want to learn what a DAO is, how it’s revolutionizing the future of work and what role assessments play in that future, then you don’t want to miss my fascinating conversation with Wulf Kaal and Tony Greenberg.
What Are DAOs?
The term “decentralized autonomous organization” hasn’t become as commonplace as terms like “blockchain,” “bitcoin” and “NFTs” have. So if you don’t know what it means, you’re in good company.
In the simplest terms, a DAO is a type of community organization that exists on a blockchain. Instead of having the standard hierarchical organization you see in businesses, DAOs are collectively owned and operated by every individual in the community.
Check out some helpful resources below for a more detailed explanation!
DAOs and the Future of Work
There are many flavors of DAOs and not all of them are directly focused on work. However, DAOs and the technologies that enable them (AR/VR, blockchain, cryptocurrency, smart contracts, and crowdsourcing) possess all the ingredients needed to support a new paradigm for work. They provide a venue for individuals who are passionate about a particular subject with a place to collaborate, create a tangible work product, and be rewarded both intrinsically and extrinsically for the inherent value of this product.
When it comes to work and the value it creates, DAOs are an accelerator because they do not require information to be filtered from on high, anyone in the DAO has the ability to have input. The better that input is, the more it is rewarded with tokens that can be used to build personal wealth through reputation and some form of currency, be it fungible or non fungible.
To really understand the lynchpin to the value DAOs create we need to better understand how reputation functions as an economic engine.
An Economy of Reputation
Among a DAO’s most unique properties are its currency and compensation practices. While DAOs do produce earnings in the form of fungible assets, that’s not the primary currency driving the model. It’s also not what’s powering Menagerie’s vision, which is to see hundreds of thousands of people working with and for each other with no centralized oversight.
The primary exchange? Reputation, earned in the form of positive sentiments and upvotes from the rest of the community. That’s pretty different from traditional views of work compensation.
“Typically when we work, we work for ourselves,” Kaal says. “Here in this model, this is different. Here we work to earn reputation from and within the community. And for that reputation, we are getting paid.”
Essentially, members of the DAO base their claim to community tokens on a record of work done well and received well. That empowers the community to have a greater voice in how the organization operates.
“People do work with each other based on their reputation in a DAO, which is a community audit of what people do and how people behave,” Kaal says, “including how ethically they behave in engaging in business with each other and with their community.”
The more reputation tokens you earn from engagement, the more you’re entitled to fungible tokens in the future.
Enabling Digital Humanism
The DAO model offers a tech-enabled flattening of traditional hierarchies, creating a more hopeful future where everyone has equal earning potential — at least in their ability to find purpose in their work.
“We will look at ourselves in the age of singularity, 50 years from now, as what impact outcomes we’ve created as a person and with how little work,” Greenberg says. “We’ll be graded by not how hard we work but how little we work and how we turn our job into a joy and how we create impact outcomes.”
Kaal and Greenberg believe that DAOs are enabling a more human future despite being grounded in the latest technology.
“I believe that we will be paid properly for our value versus our time,” Greenberg says, “and I believe that the old-school corporations, which are focused on extractive capitalism, and this massive chasm between executive and employee pay starts to dissipate.”
Where Do Assessments Fit In?
Of course, you’re probably thinking that all of this sounds great and interesting, but what does it have to do with assessments?
In an economy based on a person’s reputation and potential, a lot, as it turns out.
Assessments quantify outcomes that indicate whether an individual is a good fit. They can help members of a DAO determine whether potential members will be highly engaged and produce more value.
And those applications don’t have to wait for a distant future to drive value now. Kaal spoke to the head of engineering at a Fortune 500 company, who oversees tens of thousands of engineers. She expressed interest in DAOs as a training ground for young engineers to begin earning reputation in their field.
“What’s important here is that skill level and the meaningfulness of the score in measuring outputs and performance,” Kaal says. “Now imagine you have meaningful reputation data in these DAO communities, and you can assess what that reputation measures, the amounts of new systems that we can build on top of that.”
Kaal added that reputation scores could, for example, be used as a conversation starter during an interview. “We cannot even currently begin to understand all the things that you can do with these reputation scores.”
From a selection science perspective, the reputation scores that individuals build can serve as a groundbreaking measure to help us solve the “criterion problem.” The problem is based on the fact that the job performance measures that we use to validate assessments are usually very poor if we can obtain them at all. With reputation score, there is an objective record of performance that has no bias in it and is easily accessed. This could be a game changer in how IO psychology can show the full value of the predictive tools that we create.
People in This Episode
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Read the Transcript
Welcome to Science 4-Hire with your host Dr. Charles Handler. Hiring is hard. Pre-hire talent assessments can help you ease the pain. Whether you don’t know where to start, or you just want to stay on top of the trends. Science 4-Hire provides 30 minutes of enlightenment on best practices and news from the front lines of the employment testing universe. So get ready to learn as Dr. Charles Handler and his all-star guests blend old-school knowledge with new wave technology to educate and inform you about all things, talent assessment.
Dr. Charles Handler:
Hello listeners. I don’t usually do a preface before an episode, but it’s warranted today. Today’s episode’s all about DAOs — decentralized automated organizations. What the heck are they? Well, it’s complicated. There’s a lot of flavors of them. What they’re not is Bitcoin, Web 3.0, crypto, smart contracts, blockchain. They’re not those things. DAOs are about community, reputation and motivation to contribute meaningfully to a shared interest. And, of course, reap the rewards for that participation, both fungible and nonfungible rewards.
DAOs use technology to enable some of the most basic human needs that have been consistent throughout history. We now have the tech to go to the next level and make these needs something really special. So DAOs are really about community building, and the community can do a lot of things, including create meaningful work products. So my guests today have a community building platform called Menagerie, and Menagerie really just provides the technical infrastructure to support a new way of collaborating. Kind of like a DAO. One of the things that it supports is work. And our focus today is on how technology like Menagerie is laying the tracks for the new future of work. And of course, assessment can be a big part of this. So without further ado, let’s get into today’s episode.
Hello everybody, and welcome to the latest edition of Science 4-Hire. I’m your host, Dr. Charles Handler. I am really excited about today’s episode. I think it might actually be the most interesting episode we’ve ever done. And no offense to anybody else who’s participated, but we’re going to be talking about some pretty mind-blowing stuff today. I really want to ask listeners to open their minds. We’re going to be talking about things you may not have heard of, things that you may be skeptical about. That’s OK, because this stuff is real. And I really want everyone to just suspend judgment and listen to our experts here. I will admit I am a neophyte in this topic of DAOs, decentralized autonomous organizations. And the first time I heard it, I didn’t know what the hell that was. And I’m on a journey to find that out a little bit.
Our guests today are going to help greatly with that. And the purpose of today’s episode is also a little bit of an outreach for people who are listening to this who may find some interest, some points of connection, to reach out to our guests and become involved in what is really going to define the future of work. And I’m going to, of course, true to my roots and what this program’s all about, tie this back to assessment. But that’s going to be a bit. We’re not going to be able to get there right away because there’s some real groundwork we have to do to get everybody to understand what in the hell we’re talking about here.
And to help do that, my two guests today, Tony Greenberg and Wulf Kaal, two folks that I would like to have introduce themselves. I always let my guests introduce themselves because who knows them better than them? So Wulf, if you want to just kick it right off here, let the audience know who you are and what you’re up to in this fascinating area of DAOs.
Thank you, Charles, appreciate your hosting us. Yeah, so I’m a Ph.D.-trained economist. Prior to my academic career, I was with Cravath, Swaine & Moore in New York and with Goldman Sachs in London. Became an academic based on experience in the new institutional economic space and insights on dynamical governance. I got deeply involved in the emerging technology space. And out of that experience, I wrote several math-based papers on decentralized governance that are driven by, partially by, my Ph.D. thesis in institutional economics on institutional governance.
And so, in the last three years, I’ve been implementing these insights that I’ve written in a book with a co-author, Craig Calcaterra, implemented these insights out of the book in several DAOs, some of whom have $200 million or more in assets under management. And I’ve been actively building these structures, and in that process, learning so much more how theory meets practice and what issues have to get resolved in the user context. And in that context, I’ve been working with Tony now for almost a year. And we are together founding a company called Menagerie that is a DAO-cloning business, aggregator slash voting engine cloning business. And that’s enough for me. I’ll hand it over to Tony.
Most corporations are psychopaths, and I think there’s a new way to get work done. I’ve been hanging around the human transformation space for a long time, constantly fascinated with how people organize themselves to get things done. How do you turn your passion into pay? What percentage of people in this universe are currently unhappy with their job? “I don’t want to go to work, I’m not happy, I don’t get paid what I’m worth. This is not worth it to me.”
Between that and having a balance of trust and reputation to stake, or to organize, or to finish and get things done, the new idea rests around people organizing themselves in a new way. I’m an investor by trade. I’ve been re-orchestrating organizations like Microsoft, Disney, Sony, Yahoo, CBS, Goldman Sachs as clients for 20 years. And I’m excited to move towards a new form of governance with Wulf in our new creation, Menagerie.
Dr. Charles Handler:
Awesome. And I’ve known Tony for about 20 years, and he reached out to me through a mutual IO psychologist who’s a contact. And he’s been kind of blowing my mind ever since. I’ve always wondered, what purpose does Tony serve in my life? Popping up with this stuff, I’m like, “oh, this could be a really interesting direction.” So I’m really happy to have Tony on board here today for our conversation. We’re going to talk a lot about a topic that I don’t think folks have a lot of exposure to. I recommend on the front end here a couple of resources that are really good. Beyond Wulf’s book, which I’ve started reading and is totally fascinating, tracing DAOs all the way back historically through history to groups of individuals, or collaborative groups, really, that have shown some of the characteristics that are critical for DAOs. So it’s a great book.
There’s a really good article by Linda Xie of Scalar Capital that talks about just what a DAO is. It’s a beginner’s guide to DAOs, it’s a blog I think. And then a great podcast that I listen to, the Not Boring podcast of Packy McCormick, has an episode called the DAO of DAOs. That one really, really does a great job of just defining what this stuff is. That’s not necessarily our job today. Our job today is to talk about how these are changing work, how DAOs are changing work and how assessment might come into that. But a DAO in general, my interpretation — I don’t want people here thinking it’s blockchain, it’s not Bitcoin, it’s not even smart contracts. It’s really a combination of a lot of these technology elements built into a stack that runs on a blockchain and provides decentralized decision making to the members. Not a centralized authority.
Think about a rigid hierarchical organization. That’s not what a DAO is. A DAO has no central authority. And it’s autonomous because it uses smart contracts. These contracts are transparent, they’re automated, they follow rules, and they help manage how things flow. And decision making comes from the edges, from the fringes, where people have ideas, there’s no blockage to these ideas. They make it into the system, and then everyone in that system votes.
They decide how good these ideas are, and they earn credits, they earn reputation score for doing good things. And when everyone comes together to do that, there’s incentives, there’s financial rewards that get manufactured. So it is the organization of the future — no walls, no boundaries, amazing stuff. That’s pretty far out there, but I believe it’s going to happen, and I want these gentlemen to talk to us a little bit about how that is going to happen. And I’m not the expert. So you guys, Wulf maybe, if you want to kick it off? Let us know what our listeners need to know about DAOs, how they work in a way that produces a new type of work.
So let me start out with our broad vision, the vision that Tony and I share for Menagerie. So in five years, if Tony and I are successful, we would expect that there are multiple hundreds of thousands of people in the Menagerie ecosystem working with each other, for each other, without any form of central oversight, and with the ability to pay each other and engage in services in a horizontal scaling environment, which means they’re seeding new communities constantly through the Menagerie ecosystem and platform.
So we see this happening right now. We see the early remnants of this evolving. And ultimately, my personal vision is that this turns into what I like to call the reputation economy. That people do work with each other based on their reputation in a DAO, which is a community audit of what people do and how people behave, including how ethically they behave in engaging in business with each other and with their community
There’s just a new way. On the last call we had, there was an interesting chap who’s spending some time on the measurement of joy and the measurement of serotonin and oxytocin release, and how people are either complacent or enthralled. We’re working with the group right now that’s looking to define those things in an app. If we become super-conscious of how we spend our days working and engaging with others, and we turn those into more powerful, positive experiences, the vibration of the universe rises, and we all become more successful, our perception of ourselves become stronger, our egos become more dissolved, and we become better humans to each other.
Dr. Charles Handler:
I love you, Tony. You guys balance each other out so well with the approaches you have. I’m right here in the middle, I’m tying this all together. So let’s talk a little bit about the currency. So reputation, because I’m going to start getting into how this ties into assessment, and how I think the future of assessment can be tied to this engine, to this thing. So reputation scores, tokens, rewards — people are in an organization, the purpose is to produce something that has value to others and to work together to do that. But how does that work get done? How is work refereed? So the reputation score to me is a critical ingredient. Can you guys talk a little bit about how does one earn a reputation score? What does it do for the overall purpose of what we’re looking to achieve in a DAO?
So typically, when we work, we just work for ourselves. We just work with fungible tokens to buy milk for our babies or do what we want to do with our lives. Here in this model, this is different. Here we work to earn reputation from and within the community. And for that reputation, we are getting paid. So, if I work in my community, and my community audits my work and stakes reputation in a voting pool on my work and votes it up, that means I got the trust of my community. The community audited me, and says, “Yes Wulf, we like what you did and we’re upvoting you, and we want you to get paid.” But the payment here is reputation. The repayment is enhancement of reputation is not a fungible token or U.S. dollars or whatever it is, or direct milk for my children.
It is this nebulous idea, which is of reputation, which is instantiated in these reputation tokens. And that is the currency that I’m getting paid with. Now you might say, well that makes no sense because what are you doing with that? It’s meaningless. It’s not. It’s more meaningful than any money that you can ever make because it allows you to, if you want, have cash flow rides to the assets the community is releasing. So if Charles says, in a DAO with me, Charles has a reputation token score of a hundred and I have one of 10, and the community decides to release assets to the community, that means Charles is getting paid 10 times more than I am. Why? Well, he’s getting paid 10 times more because he was 10 times more engaged or 10 times longer in the group or 10 times provided more audit work on other people’s work, et cetera, et cetera.
But what counts and what is important is not the fungible token, the U.S. dollars that we like to collect and grow. And that’s what capitalism is based on, if I’m oversimplifying this a little bit, an accumulation of power and money, which is vertical scaling. So this here is different. This here means I’m working with a group of like-minded individuals, call them peers, call them kindred spirits, whatever we want to call them. But we are like-minded because we have the same expertise, and we come with similar expectations of how we want to live our lives and make money with each other. And that’s what Menagerie facilitates. Any community can be created by what we like to call catalysts, so people who are especially engaged. And they receive in the ecosystem, once they clone the engine in the Menagerie ecosystem, they decide how much reputation they should start with, and then it’s locked.
And from this point onwards, that is, the reputation minting engagement takes over, which means any future person that gets onboarded is subject to a reputation staking vote. There is a historical precedent for this, and that I talk about in my book, which is called the Maghribi tribe in Sub-Saharan Africa and Silk Road 700 years ago, was a tribe of Jewish traders that was very monolithically structured because in those days they just didn’t have the technology that we have today. And in the way they did business, they had to absolutely be able to trust each other because of the circumstances in which they did trade and business with each other. So they would fund large deals with goods that would be transported and or purchased thousands of miles away 700 years ago when we didn’t have modern technology to supervise and track things and monitor performance, which is all part of the principal agent problems of capitalism.
The Maghribi tribe literally had to trade out along the Silk Road and had to develop a system of trust and confidence building that allowed it to do successful business with agents whom some of those principals, Maghribi principals, hired, who would travel and buy goods thousands of miles away. And the principal here would need to know that he could trust the deal that was proposed and the purchases that were being made by the agent. So this peer group of individuals who were doing the traveling for the principal and purchasing those goods. And we haven’t been able in capitalism — in the principal agent model — we have not been able to emulate that model, this reputation-driven trading engagement, until today, until reputation systems in Web3 were made possible by the technology, by the voting engine that I like to think we are making more broadly available through the Menagerie ecosystem.
Dr. Charles Handler:
So my thoughts are, too, when you think about that example you gave, it’s really big-picture thinking. It’s looking at the long term of your survival and happiness versus one individual transaction. And the technology is just the key part of this. It really allows this to happen, the infrastructure. And so, it’s all about bringing people together, to your point, for joy, to be happy creating something together and then to be compensated for that. And as you do that, you gain a reputation, you gain the ability to show your value.
I am curious, this is one of the questions as I read about this stuff and make notes, I’m hoping you can help myself and our listeners find out, OK, so you’re coming together, you’re doing work that you enjoy immensely with others. There’s a very democratized thing happening where your ideas have exposure without any blockage from a central authority and the crowd can make things happen. How is that converted though to the fungible that you need to buy the milk and to pay the rent and all that kind of stuff? You’re working in this ecosystem, you’re putting a lot of time and effort in. How do I get something out of that that I can transact with the outside world who might not understand or care about what I’m doing?
So in Menagerie, we have two models. One model that deals with this situation is called the sponsor model. The other model is called the market pure, market-driven fee model. So let’s start with the sponsor model, which is currently being used very successfully. So in the sponsor model, we have a sponsor saying, “Hey, look community, here is a pot of money. I want you to use this money for XYZ purpose and decide and govern yourself and decide how you distribute these assets.” What I the sponsor care about is only that you distribute the asset.
Now there are different sponsors who have different interests in this context, so some are interested in building a community around their IP, others are interested in increasing decentralization of their network. So there’s different ways that people use this model, but the core idea is always the same: Here’s a pot of money in a given wallet, go decide how you onboard people around our cause for this particular community and distribute these assets accordingly. And then the Menagerie voting engine mints reputation, people earn reputation. And as the community decides on payouts of the fungible assets, the Menagerie voting engine will automatically pay people proportional to their reputation score in the community. So the community votes on a distribution and then everybody in the system gets paid proportional to their merit score, which is the reputation score in the system.
Dr. Charles Handler:
So they get paid in some kind of a token that can be then exchanged for whatever currency, hard currency, fiat currency, whatever that you want. Is that kind of how that works?
Yeah. So you build reputation token score, and then you can pay — literally the community can decide to pay people in U.S. dollars or pay them in chicken or it’s really up to the community how they decide. The most efficient system would be to pay them in a listed cryptocurrency that has a value. And the best incentivization in these cryptocurrencies would be a stable coin. So if the U.S. government were to issue an e-U.S. dollar, that might be an appropriate way of paying everybody. So currently, there’s a lot of currencies that are fungible, that are tradable on exchanges that are being paid proportional to reputation — the reputation score, that is, of the individual member of a community. But again, you can pay in chicken, it’s all subject to the community vault. The community decides we build our reputation score, but we want to be paid in chicken prorated to the reputation score, that’s up to the community.
Menagerie is completely agnostic about any of those decisions that communities may make. It’s not efficient, but the community can do that. OK, so the second model is the pure market-based model, which is the original model that I have modeled and explained in the book, which works as follows. One person in a given community does a job. The person performs the job and posts evidence of the job in what we call the forum, which is a linked list, milk or tree, whatever you want to call it in the Menagerie setup where they literally just show, “Look, here’s my work performance.” And then based on that work performance, the person is asking for an uphold, which means an audit and affirmation of the person’s effort. But there is also a fee associated with this work. The work output has attracted an external fee from the marketplace.
So somebody outside of the market has hired the community, not the individual, has hired the community as a collective to do a job. One person in the community now has volunteered to do the job, and the community audits the job, meaning scrutinizes what the single individual has performed and how that single individual has performed. And so the client who pays the market-based fee for the services not only gets full transparency on the work product with the high reputation score from the community, but also gets an individualized community audit where all the experts in the community review the work performed by that single expert who did the job. And so once the community upvotes this particular job, now this fee that was held in escrow in the Menagerie escrow account slash wallet, now this fee is used to mint reputation. Again, reputation is always the number one important item here.
So if a reputation gets minted first, the person who did the job gets a higher allocation of reputation because she did the job, and the rest of the community gets a smaller allocation of reputation minted from this incoming fee, because the community audited her work and also it gets paid. So at the end of this distribution of newly minted reputation, there’s a new state of reputation scores in the system. The person who did the job has higher reputation, and all the community members who voted on the job also have slightly higher reputation because the fee generated minted new reputation in the system.
And as soon as this happens, and everybody has their reputation scores updated because of this voting pool outcome — as soon as that new reputation score is present, the fee in fungible tokens that sits in the wallet that was paid by the client based on market forces. And that fungible fee gets now released to the community members with the new reputation score. So everyone has a new reputation score, and the fee is now getting released to everybody pro rata to their newly minted, newly calculated reputation score. As soon as you engage in the platform, you see a ping, “Here’s your money.” You vote on somebody, and you literally get paid instantaneously. Now if the community decides to pay in chickens, no, you’re not getting paid instantaneously, but the community can if they want to. So the game theoretical insight here and the endorphin release, however, comes from, “Oh, I voted engaged, here’s my reputation and ping, here’s my money.” So that’s really important.
Dr. Charles Handler:
The thing that’s really cool here is this is work. This isn’t Facebook likes, this isn’t some kind of reputation on social media. This is actually what you’re doing with your life to fulfill yourself and feed yourself and your family. But the concept of people voting, there’s a lot more weight behind the voting, but it’s still that crowdsource, that collection of information and confirmation basically through working in the system. It’s fascinating. Tony, I got one for you. Let’s just fast forward 50 years. Why should people be thinking about shifting their ideas about work to working within one of these kind of environments? And what’s going to happen in 50 years when people by that time have done this a lot? What are things going to look like? I’m zooming way out.
We tend to throw on this word “fungible,” “nonfungible,” but we don’t always know exactly how that relates. We think about how that relates to things, but not necessarily to people. But what I want to mention is fungible, which is “able to replace or replaced by another identical item mutually interchangeable,” also is true from the idea of a person. When a person is fungible, that means that there’s no true identifiable characteristics that are different than anyone else for the purposes of work.
So in essence, a lot of us are put on this world, and we end up in unions or we end up in this or we end up in that, and we may move horizontally, but we’re not able to operate in what a lot of people call about our instinct of genius, in our area of genius. And we all have a genius. That doesn’t mean we’re all Albert Einsteins. It means that we’re all not clear on exactly what piece of the puzzle allows me to activate myself and others around me.
So in 50 years, Charles, what we’re facing is a true utilization. Instead of us being proud of our unemployment rate, which is two, three, five, eight, nine, 12, 14%, depending on deflationary or recession times or X, Y, Z. What we want to talk about is the type of constructs such as — well, unfortunately, the ill-conceived and managed gross national happiness of Bhutan, which only has a 1% survey percentage of the population. But we will look at ourselves in the age of singularity 50 years from now as, “What impact outcomes we’ve created as a person and with how little work?” We’ll be graded by not how hard we work but how little we work and how we turn our job into a joy and we create impact outcomes, because right now, we work for a wage. And maybe that wage rolls up. Some of us are entrepreneurs, and we think that that means that people are working for us. Nah, a lot of entrepreneurs just work for themselves.
So what is the quality-to-life ratio that we’re experiencing and the measure of the impact outcomes that we create? We all say we like charities, or we like to do impact work or believe in this construct or that construct, but are we truly living it? What is the discipline and the measurement to allow us to see how well we’re doing on this planet to the benefit of us and the rest of the people? I believe that that will be very clear, very transparent, and while it may not look like a “Black Mirror” TV episode, where people are just walking around with reputation, what it may look like is where people shine their light on each other for that which they create alone and together.
And that is what we’ll be known by, and in the greatest spirit’s prayers, that those interactions will be paid for and incented in things that allow us to live better lives. So I believe that a lot of the friction will leave how we get things done in what we’ll call the work or the play of revolution. Number two, I believe that we will be paid properly for our value versus our time, and I believe that the old-school corporations, which are focused on extractive capitalism, and this massive chasm between executive and employee pay starts to dissipate. And then there’s a lot of other cool stuff. But I do believe that that is possible from the future of work and the future of impact creation.
Dr. Charles Handler:
Amazing. And so, it’s digital humanism. That’s what I wrote in my notes here. This is amazing. And don’t forget that through this whole process, there’s value for society created by these work outputs. I mean, the fact that it’s still work, and work has to create a valued outcome that makes a contribution to something or creates value for someone else, or is a component of something that someone’s building, what have you. So it’s important not to lose that perspective, but I’m tying this now. Now is the time that we’re going to tie this into assessment a little bit and to my world, because the bridges may not be entirely apparent, but what we’re talking about here is individual differences. We’re talking about what people like to do, what makes people tick. And so getting into a DAO, I’m assuming I don’t know enough about this, I’m the first to admit. Anyone can probably nominate themselves in some situations to enter into a DAO.
But there’s a selection, there’s some kind of a selection of, “Is this person going to contribute? Do we want to let this person in?” Or maybe anybody can get in, but where did they fall inside of the DAO in terms of their role or their responsibility, these kind of things. And so there’s a place for assessment as a predictor of how well of someone’s reputation, of how someone performs within the DAO. And I think that’s a really, really interesting thing to explore. The two things that I think that we work on really hard in the assessment world that are just things we’re beating our head against the wall because the solutions are not easy. The solutions take a lot of energy and a lot of grit. And one of those is bias. So DAOs are completely anonymous. So you might have a name or a handle or something, but no one knows what color you are, no one knows how much you weigh, no one knows how old you are. So it’s virtually impossible —
Sorry to interrupt. Sorry to interrupt, Charles. That is one flavor. And just remember, the altruistic evolution of all DAOs has many flavors, and some of them include anonymity and some include partial anonymity, and some of them you just get to be yourself. And so I didn’t mean, I know you have these millions of people listening to you, and I wanted to make sure that there’s 52 flavors of ice cream at Baskin-Robbins, and this is just one of them.
Dr. Charles Handler:
Unbelievable. So, makes sense. Let’s just say there’s a possibility for complete anonymity, which would reduce bias down to only a bias related to your product, whether you are voting it up or down. The second one is what we call in our field the criterion problem. That is, we are always looking at predictors, signals of how well someone will do in a work environment, whether it’s how well they’ll work with a team or how well they’ll produce an output or how many incoming calls in a contact center they can field. We’re looking for predictors of that, because people applying for jobs are unknown entities, and we need to vet them and figure out, “Will they be able to produce what our company is producing to create value?” And so we try to look for measures of people that are already working in the environment to capture, to quantify the work performance.
And that is very difficult to do. Performance data, the way performance is measured in individuals, is often very subjective. There’s not always a good objective metric. So when you’re doing the statistical work to try and look at the relation between a predictor and an outcome, we can’t see that whole relationship because the outcome is so fuzzy that we’re not able to get any optics there. But this is my idea. You guys can tell me if I’m right or wrong, or on the right or wrong track. But, with reputation scores, with people contributing and other people saying “Yes, that’s a good contribution,” and then accumulating reputation, that’s a pretty good criterion if you ask me that.
That’s a quantifiable outcome that you can then go look at the predictor side over time and say, people who look like this on the predictor side, their reputation is going to be way above everybody else and what they’re doing, therefore they’re going to be more productive, they’re producing more value. That’s what we want. People who score low on this may actually not produce a lot of value. And so what I want you guys to do, if possible —
So Charles can, Let me just back to that.
Dr. Charles Handler:
You really nailed it. And let me just give you an example, no names, but we are talking to and working with a Fortune 500 company, engineering company, where literally the head of engineering, who runs 80,000 engineers in that company, said at a meeting, meetup to me — “Yes, we would love a place where our young engineers can learn or earn their stripes.” And literally, she understood the meaning of the reputation score and what that means in terms of learning and how meaningful that score is. And she literally said to me, “Yes, if we could send a young person to earn their stripes in a DAO community and see how well they develop their reputation — because we know how that reputation is calculated and we know that the senior people auditing their work and that’s how they earn the reputation. We would love this as a metric to assess skills development in younger engineers.”
Now, of course, this is a centralized entity saying, yeah, we want this. That’s not the pure vision of the DAO, with reforming how people interact with each other. But what’s important here is that skill level and the meaningfulness of the score in measuring outputs and performance. And Charles, you can imagine what other systems you can build on top of that. I mean, we haven’t even started contemplating this. Now imagine you have meaningful reputation data in these DAO communities and you can assess what that reputation measures — the amounts of new systems that we can build on top of that, and Charles, you’re more of an expert than I am in that regard, is quite staggering.
And as I said, we cannot even currently begin to understand all the things that you can do with these reputation scores. One thing we know for sure: It can function as an alternative to a credit score, as a conversation starter for an interview. There’s all kinds of different ways of looking at this. And ultimately, again, our vision at Menagerie is that that’s how people do business with each other — that you turn your passion into pay and you only do the work in that community where your skills are best placed and appreciated. And that’s how you make your living — on your terms — because of your skillset.
Dr. Charles Handler:
So how do people get in? Let’s look at it this way. If we’re starting to talk about an assessment that would give some indication of how well someone would work within a particular DAO. And to Tony’s point, there’s a lot of flavors of DAOs. There’s probably multiple ways this could work. But in the idea of assessing someone, as you guys and myself have been talking about over the last couple months, how is the predictor of how well someone would perform on the front end before they’re getting into the DAO, at that decision point of whether to let him in or not? How does that work? Explain that to our listeners and myself too.
So, the way this currently works is literally the forum engagement. So we are building this right now, actually. So in the forum, there is a citation system that gives people reputation based on comments that they make on a given proposal. So let’s say Charles, you did a job in a DAO. And you posted the job, and the community is debating the post that you did, the merits and demerits, why and how it’s wrong. And then other people are voting up and down, the people — sorry, the commenters in the forum. That is currently, if you want, the screening mechanism that helps us screen who is an applicant who’s coming in and how are we assessing his or her merits in the system? So it is the reputation enhancement that people who make comments that the community upholds, that gives you an early insight into the overall sentiment that the community has regarding the applicant.
So Charles applies with a given work product, and there is a comment in the system that says, “Charles is a brilliant, brilliant Ph.D., and this work product is beyond reproach,” and we see the community upvoting that comment — disproportional to other comments that maybe get downvoted. So this uploading function gives you an early view to community sentiment about that work product. So it’s a screening mechanism, and we actually have two screening mechanisms. So there is the reputation enhancement of people’s comments, which gives you a view towards an early sentiment of the community perspective on a given work product — or sorry, candidacy and work product, it’s synonymous in this case.
And then the next phase is the community actually voting on it. So that you can upvote individual comments in the comments section of a proposal, which gives the community a view towards the outcome, and then the community can actually vote on the work product. So you have the precursor of comments and reputation enhancement that flow from the common. And the way this works in our UX is that you get the green bubble grows, which shows the community that there’s more positive feedback on a given proposal, whereas another proposal that where the red bubble grows larger than the green bubble would show the community, oh, the community’s is more careful about this particular work product. But it’s all based on merit.
Dr. Charles Handler:
Yeah. Well what about, say, an assessment we’ve been talking about where you’re given someone, you’re looking at their personality, you might be looking at their values, things like that as indicators of how well they’ll do in a DAO. Where does that fit into the model that you’re talking about, as we’ve been discussing this over the last couple of months?
So that is something that would be a screener before the merit screener. So you would have a personality screener before the merit screen. So the system is all about merit screen. The citation system and the forum and the actual voting is all based on the actual product. If a community said, we also want to know that there’s a personality fit. We don’t just care about the merit of the work, which is what the engine analyzes and uses, but we also want to make sure that there is a personality fit that for those communities, we would need a prescreening device on personality.
Dr. Charles Handler:
Yeah, there you go. That’s how we came together. So I want to wind us out here. After this, I got to go, I don’t know, play with some Legos or do something where I can decompress a little. There’s so much interesting, like, thick stuff we’re talking about here. Tony, why don’t you bring us out of this with some final words, and then we’ll talk about how people can keep up with you and reach out to you all to get involved in this kind of stuff.
So when creating the name of the company, Menagerie, we said, “If an ant and an elephant were going on Noah’s ark, and they’re looking at each other and say, ‘What do you think? What do you think? You want to do this? How should we do this?’ Number one, would they understand who each other is and what they were saying, or not? Menagerie is a rounding up of wild animals. It’s a French term, so it became perfect to name the company. So Wulf and I both can be reached at Wulf, W-U-L-F, @menagerie.is, Menagerie is, or Tony@menagerie.is or anywhere where fine internet is sold. That said, the evolution of the company, while we’ve talked about clubs and baseball clubs and things of this nature, what we’re really doing is working with massive multihundred-million organizations, foundations, crypto funds — anywhere where people are looking to increase the value of how they communicate with others and be ethical. Ethical, compute, ethical decision making, ethical scoring, ethical money raising, conscious capital, ESG — all of these terms you’ve heard of that are often ill-defined are coming together to create a betterment for society.
So as we evolve the company, we hope you come on the tour. We want to know who you are, what you’ve seen, what’s interesting in human transformation, how corporations can do a better job allocating to the power of the people and where the groundswell of innovation can actually help us evolve ourselves into a better place. So we’re begging you to reach out to us, tell us what you’ve seen and how you can help, and who’s the expert and who you know. You’re not bothering us at all. As a matter of fact, we live to hear from you. And I thank you so much. Charles, when I came to you saying there’s got to be a better way, you said, “I’ll figure it out.”
And so together, all these people on this podcast and all you people out there, the either dozens or thousands, please reach us, talk to us, teach us, learn with us, go on this journey with us, and have a gorgeous day.
Dr. Charles Handler:
Thank you. And how this relates to industrial-organizational psychology. We’re talking about people, we’re talking about data, and we’re talking about work. So all those three things come together in this new model that is not always easy to just digest under the first thing. So I encourage our listeners, both Wulf and Tony have websites. You can find them pretty easily with the Google box. And beyond that, go out, find some materials. There’s tons of information out there about DAOs and some more fundamental stuff that’ll help you understand. You can’t unpack it in one podcast, let’s just say that. So thank you, guys so much for your time and energy. I look forward to sharing this episode with everyone.
Thank you, Charles. This is Great.
Dr. Charles Handler:
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