Dao is a Chinese philosophical term that’s literal meanings include path, road, and method.

Those definitions also work well to help content entrepreneurs to understand DAO – decentralized autonomous organizations. Technically, DAOs are an entity represented by rules encoded in a transparent computer program controlled by its members and not influenced by a central government. It’s on the blockchain spectrum.

Simply put, a DAO is not controlled by any one entity, and all governance is done as part of a collective. DAOs are picking up steam as the business model of choice for the Web 3.0 era, say The Tilt founder Joe Pulizzi.

DAOs are picking up steam as the business model of choice for the Web 3.0 era, says @JoePulizzi. #contentbusiness #creatoreconomy Click To Tweet

For you, they can be the path or method to cultivate your social or media business without reliance on traditional financing and corporate rule-making. (Bitcoin is an example of a DAO.)

Ethereum’s explanation may help further your general understanding. DAOs allow:

  • Member-owned communities without centralized leadership
  • A safe way to collaborate with internet strangers
  • A safe place to commit funds to a specific cause

A DAO requires:

  • Set of operational rules
  • Funding like tokens that can be spent to reward members (often with a crowdsource funding component)
  • Voting rights for establishing the operational rules

How does that work for a content business? Let’s discuss.

Tilt Advice

As enthusiasts (and early adopters) for creator coins, alternative methods to business creation, and more, we want to get DAOs on your radar. We’re hearing and reading more conversations happening on the topic this summer. And staying ahead of the masses – doing something different than most – often can help one content business stand out from the rest. 

“DAOs look to solve core missions – evolving a group chat into a success-driven community,” writes Coopahtroopa. (h/t to Richard Patey for his tweet of the article.)

While they get into detail on all sorts of DAOs in this article, two of the most relevant categories for content entrepreneurs are media and social.

As Coopahtroopa explains, media DAOs “break down how writers, streamers, and readers engage with the content they release.” They can incentivize contributors or govern which topics are covered. Media DAOs turn content consumption into a two-way street. 

Social DAOs are more about community-building than financial funding. “Social DAOs turn every group chat into a digital business,” Coopahtroopa writes. “They challenge what it means to be a part of a community and offer ways to lean into becoming part of a digitally native tribe.”

Both media and social DAOs fit well in the content entrepreneur’s model, after all, a content business is all about building and growing an audience. By giving that audience a vested interest in the operation of that business, they are more likely to engage and become loyal to your brand. And they probably are more likely to rise to the level of brand champions or ambassadors, bringing their friends, fans, and followers to you.

Both media and social DAOs fit well in the content entrepreneur business model because they focus on audiences, says @AnnGynn. #contententrepreneur #creatoreconomy Click To Tweet

Right now, at minimum, DAOs are important to get on your radar. In the next few months, you’ll be seeing them everywhere (and we’ll be talking more about them, too), and by 2022, they’ll be more mainstream.

About the author

Ann regularly combines words and strategy for B2B, B2C, and nonprofits, continuing to live up to her high school nickname, Editor Ann. An IABC Communicator of the Year and founder of G Force Communication, Ann coaches and trains professionals in all things content. Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.