π Economics π Society
What are the new jobs of tomorrow?

Will the web3 revolutionise management jobs?

Richard Robert, Journalist and Author
On July 13th, 2022 |
4 min reading time
Adrien Book
Adrien Book
Strategy consultant, blogger and speaker
Key takeaways
  • Web3 decentralises organisational power: anyone can create an ecosystem around a subject and organise people around it.
  • Digital communities take the form of DAOs (decentralized autonomous organizations), which mobilize contributors through smart contracts.
  • In this new version of project-based management, recruitment disappears, remuneration is a collective matter, and all decisions are audited.
  • The main functions of management (organisation, governance, management) do not disappear but are detached from the figure of the “manager” to be reconfigured and replayed in a different way.

The emergence of web3 is leading to the development of new organisational models. Will management jobs be reinvented as a result?

Adrien Book. Fas­ci­nat­ing and inter­est­ing devel­op­ments are tak­ing place in this field. But let’s be clear from the out­set that what is hap­pen­ing is not the dis­ap­pear­ance of the world we know, but the emer­gence of a wider range of com­pa­nies, with a wider range of work­ing meth­ods. And these meth­ods dis­rupt a few habits and set patterns.

Web1 brought us new ways of con­sum­ing con­tent, on web­sites. With web2 we were able to par­tic­i­pate, inter­act, share con­tent on dig­i­tal plat­forms: we were “at home”. What is new with web3 is that we have own­er­ship of what we read and write. Web3 gives us organ­i­sa­tion­al pow­er: we can cre­ate an ecosys­tem around a sub­ject, and organ­ise peo­ple around that subject.

The cen­tral con­cept here is DAOs: decen­tralised autonomous organ­i­sa­tions, made tech­ni­cal­ly pos­si­ble by blockchain.

DAOs are a group of peo­ple who come togeth­er to make deci­sions in the dig­i­tal world. They do this with the help of two key tools. First, the rules that gov­ern the organ­i­sa­tion are expressed as a series of dig­i­tal “if/then” state­ments that are encod­ed direct­ly into a blockchain, mak­ing them both auditable and per­ma­nent. Then, vot­ing shares are issued and allo­cat­ed to stake­hold­ers in the form of “dig­i­tal gov­er­nance tokens”, also reg­is­tered on a blockchain.

DAOs are basi­cal­ly self-organ­is­ing dig­i­tal com­mu­ni­ties. Peo­ple vol­un­tar­i­ly come togeth­er around a set of shared val­ues and work togeth­er to advance their agen­da, with the help of smart con­tracts. It’s an emer­gent log­ic: you start with a mis­sion, and the organ­i­sa­tion will slow­ly emerge around it.

So, you don’t choose your employees?

These new dig­i­tal organ­i­sa­tions do not have a recruit­ment process. And, rather than employ­ees, you have contributors.

In prac­tice, DAOs today are made up of two types of peo­ple: pri­ma­ry con­trib­u­tors and sec­ondary con­trib­u­tors. As most DAOs work with­out per­mis­sion, any­one can work on them because their code, smart con­tracts and lists of con­trib­u­tors are trans­par­ent­ly acces­si­ble to every­one. You can join the Dis­cord serv­er of any DAO and start writ­ing code.

You come in and start work­ing on what you can do and what needs to be done. One of the most inter­est­ing aspects of this sys­tem is that once some­one reg­u­lar­ly adds val­ue, they are like­ly to be asked to join the team of senior con­trib­u­tors. No more CVs, no more cov­er let­ters: the bot­tom-up mod­el and option­al DAO mem­ber­ship revers­es the tal­ent search model.

This is a big step for­ward for three rea­sons. First­ly, we know that tra­di­tion­al selec­tion process­es have a neg­a­tive impact on minori­ties because of deep-root­ed prej­u­dices. By elim­i­nat­ing these, we can focus on abil­i­ty. Sec­ond­ly, this mea­sure is part of the trend towards flex­i­ble work ini­ti­at­ed (for bet­ter or for worse) by the “gig econ­o­my”. Final­ly, it can con­tribute to a par­tial reduc­tion of fric­tion­al unem­ploy­ment since there is no time lag between the wish to work and the start of the job.

To imag­ine these new organ­i­sa­tions, imag­ine that you are work­ing on a film. Direc­tors, pro­duc­ers, actors, pro­duc­tion assis­tants, art direc­tors, props peo­ple, cam­era peo­ple and sound engi­neers get togeth­er for a project. When the project is fin­ished, they split up and go to work on dif­fer­ent films. In DAO, the same can be said of devel­op­ers, com­mu­ni­ty man­agers, accoun­tants, con­sul­tants… In addi­tion, con­trib­u­tors can work for one or more DAOs.

How do you get paid?

The DAO sells ser­vices or prod­ucts and sets aside part of the rev­enue gen­er­at­ed for salaries and rewards. As con­trib­u­tors do not have a con­tract, there is no con­ven­tion­al way of decid­ing what every­one should receive fair­ly. Instead, many DAOs are turn­ing to tools such as Coor­di­nape to address this chal­lenge. These solu­tions allow organ­i­sa­tions to cre­ate “cir­cles” of con­trib­u­tors (the equiv­a­lent of teams). Each mem­ber of the cir­cle receives points and allo­cates them to oth­er mem­bers over a peri­od of time. The high­er the per­ceived val­ue of the work done dur­ing this peri­od, the more points are received, and the high­er the finan­cial reward.

In this sys­tem, one token is equal to one vote. Unlike tra­di­tion­al com­pa­nies, every­one has a vote in pro­por­tion to their par­tic­i­pa­tion in the project. Cus­tomers, who must buy tokens to access a DAO’s offer­ings, are also able to vote on its direc­tion. Your cus­tomers become your col­leagues… or even your boss­es if they buy enough tokens! Obvi­ous­ly, there will be a learn­ing curve for this new type of man­age­ment. Nev­er­the­less, there is poten­tial for a real par­a­digm shift.

DAOs solve some of the prob­lems asso­ci­at­ed with open-source projects, which are often plagued by the issue of com­pen­sa­tion. Peo­ple who use a DAO must get a token to access it, which pays con­trib­u­tors, but also gives users a voice in the deci­sion-mak­ing process. In essence, this means that peo­ple will be able to earn a liv­ing (or close to it), while work­ing on things they are pas­sion­ate about.

It is a glob­al and asyn­chro­nous way of work­ing. By def­i­n­i­tion, all you need is an Inter­net con­nec­tion to get access and to work.

You say that with the DAOs, web3 gives us organisational power. But isn’t the idea of management wavering?

In the sense in which we know it, i.e. embod­ied in a hier­ar­chi­cal chain or pyra­mid, with “man­age­ment” at the top, yes. But organ­i­sa­tion, gov­er­nance and man­age­ment are real­i­ties that are detached from the fig­ure of the “man­ag­er” to recon­fig­ure and rede­fine them­selves in dif­fer­ent terms. For exam­ple, DAOs are both trans­par­ent and anony­mous, thanks to the use of blockchains and smart con­tracts. All deci­sions and actions can be audited.

It is not only the fig­ure of the ‘boss’ that dis­ap­pears in this mod­el, but also that of our “col­leagues”. This is both a chal­lenge and an oppor­tu­ni­ty. The work­place is a place of social­i­sa­tion, and the lack of phys­i­cal com­mu­ni­ty and com­mon iden­ti­ty can be trou­bling. But organ­i­sa­tions can respond by becom­ing more active and delib­er­a­tive when it comes to team build­ing. Sim­i­lar­ly, self-man­age­ment can be uncom­fort­able for many of us, but per­haps we are just not used to it yet.

Our world explained with science. Every week, in your inbox.

Get the newsletter