What social attributes reveal about DAOs’ unrealized future potential

Social Attributes of DAOs

What social attributes reveal about DAOs’ unrealized future potential

About the author

The thinking in this doc was generated by Steff Browne.

I’ve taken on the role of a DAO subject matter expert thanks to my experiences first hand as a member of many DAOs, my education & background in cultural production & analysis combined with directed research into the organizational ideologies, toolkits and social dynamics within decentralized teams. As a DAO contributor, I typically initiate programs to realize efficient operations. I focus on vectors of motivation that reach beyond monetary reward, to understand how people are drawn to specific social payoffs and how strong organizational cultures result when groups of individuals get their needs met by being a part of a group participatory project.


The greatest resources of DAOs are the people who collaborate within them. Alongside metrics that show financial or member activity, I propose tracking a few other significant DAO attributes, which deeply speak to unrealized potentials of the social groupings that are forming inside and between DAOs. The currents of social capital determine what will become of DAOs as much as the flow of financial capital.

A DAO is embodied by its software, by its holdings, and also by the culture of the social environments it activates between members. The culture that a DAO (or DAO conglomerate) exudes impacts who will be motivated to join its causes, whether they will be intrinsically or extrinsically motivated, how long they might stick around, or how deeply they will contribute over time. In order to reveal the deeper social dynamics of DAO’s and gauge where richness flows, in terms of culture, I propose expanding current data representation to incorporate some of the more significant social indicators of DAO potential.


I propose that measuring the social makeup of DAOs by collecting and sharing certain metrics about their members. I think there are many attributes that we can look into, but just for a start, here are 2 metrics:

  1. multiple-DAO-membership

  2. women in DAOs

When the effects of these two attributes are extrapolated and interpreted, they can tell us volumes about the unrealized potential of a DAO. I enter into these explanations in this proposal.

For full transparency, it is my deeper wish that by measuring social metrics - like these and others - we make deeper social dynamics visible to people outside of the DAOs themselves, and by doing so we accelerate their evolution towards greater social balance.

  1. Multiple-DAO-membership (experience factor)

I propose tracking where experience is concentrated in the DAO ecosystem by indicating which DAOs have members that are members of multiple DAOs. Multiple-DAO-membership is a significant metric to track because experience is a powerful indicator of many other behaviors that will lead some DAOs to success. Looking at the experience of the people within DAOs illuminates blind spots of evaluations that purely look at the movement of funds or the activities volume (like the number of proposals, votes, or forum posts). For instance, DAOs that haven’t even raised funds yet may have exciting potential because of the experience of their members.

Metrics to track for:

Some metrics needed to measure the concentration of experience include:

  • The number of members in a DAO - This information is already accessible on Deep DAO, but it is mentioned as an associated baseline metric that is important in the data set
  • The number of total memberships individuals have in DAOs - This shows the individual’s experience concentration (or ranking as shown in Deep DAO’s top DAO members leaderboard)
  • The number of DAO members who are in 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or more DAOs - This shows the evolution of experience levels of participants in the entire ecosystem and shows macro trends towards multiple projects, and the rate of increase over time. Shows the virility of the DAO space.
  • DAOs with 3+ members who are in 3+ DAOs - This metric and other similar ones, show the location of high concentrations of experience, and can point out where cultural capital is moving.

Further explanation:

DAOs with more experienced members come with stronger networks and are more likely to have superior access to resources, ability to solve problems and network connections to other power players who can be recruited to govern. DAOs with members who are also in may other DAOs, are more likely to have raised funds before and may be able to raise funds faster, helping them put out their first products and services faster. They also may be better at recruiting strong developers, operations leaders, and other leading talent. These DAOs may be able to use the internal wisdom of their members to overcome challenges that are particular to organizations with decentralized governance structures. What little experience people accumulate in the new field of Web 3 is extremely valuable and can be a telling factor in which orgs and projects will succeed in their goals.

DAOs whose members are already interconnected with other DAOs are familiar with and more comfortable negotiating multiple levels of interests and streams of involvement at once. They are more likely to align with principles of collaboration instead of competition, or they are further along in their personal evolution from competition to cooperation. Thanks to their previous experience in the context of Web3, these DAOs are more likely to start with a foundation of knowledge, resources, code libraries, etc. On the other side of the coin, they are more likely to generate & share information they gather for the benefit of the broader community. This will attract them goodwill and also lead them into new iterations of spin off projects that also start with similar advantages.

2. Women in DAOs (also an experience factor)

Track how many women are in DAOs and the significance of the roles they are playing there.

One important caveat: To collect this data will require an incentive structure and process for subjects to participate in anonymous self-reporting, either as communities and/or individually.

Metrics to track for within specific DAOs & across the ecosystem:

Total number of women, ratio of women to men, ratio of shares/rep/voting power. These metrics will show which DAOs are women-led vs. men-led, and all various levels of (im)balance that exist.

Further explanation:

For the short period of time in which Web 3 has existed, it is a territory that few have accessed successfully. Like any new space, Web 3 isn’t fully diversified, yet. There are representational imbalances along a number of lines, including, gender, economic status, geographic origin, age, and ethnicity. There are leanings in the early settlers of Web3 to certain educational backgrounds, learning & communication styles, and even personality types. Why is this important to measure? Because if we want these spaces to evolve towards greater diversity and inclusion over time, we need to be aware of the unconscious ways that we may be building walls of exclusion, especially in these early moments of the ecosystem’s development.

The origin group of any community will automatically tune everything about their space to meet their needs, reflect their interests, and serve their common goals. Majority members cannot see what they can’t see, especially inside of a cultural silo, where there is no one to help show them what they can’t see. They can inadvertently practice cultural blindness. This insight is informed most of all through my own first hand experience in DAOs that have either no women or very few women contributors. Men-led DAOs are lost for words as to why they cannot attract women members, or if they succeed in attracting them, they have a hard time retaining them, because they’ve built their entire culture around their needs, skills, and interests, to the point where women cannot find an avenue in or a comfortable space where they can thrive.

Similarly to tracking experience-levels of DAO members, tracking the appearance and concentrations (likely scarcity in most cases) of women is like tracking the presence of a vital resource that all organizations need. The unique perspectives of women and their abilities to confront and solve problems differently from men, is a source of immense value for any team. Creating clear visibility into the gender imbalances in DAOs is taking action to solve for the inequity.

Final thoughts

I’d like to continue this thinking about how diversity, inclusion, social environmental factors, and cultural capital work inside of DAO’s and determine their future. I’d like to dive into ways to measure & present these metrics to increase awareness about these realities. I am looking forward to your thoughts on the ideas in this document. Let’s build together.




Thanks for the thoughtful post. We should definitely include metrics w/r/t membership in multiple DAOs. I’m very interested to see how that affects engagement.

With regards to women in DAOs; we could probably do that through some sort of anonymous polling protocol. I think we need to consider how to fund / operate the process though.

Great insight, thanks. We’re actually aggregating number of DAOs for people on https://deepdao.io/#/people with more features coming soon.

A question: how would you actively encourage women to join DAOs?

1 Like

Welcome Eyal! I don’t think our role is to persuade women to join DAOs. I do think we can collect data & generate metrics related to DAO governance that people, including women, would want to refer to in order to find the DAO that’s right for them.

Thanks for reading, Eyal, to encourage women to join DAO’s the organization must first decide that gender inclusion is important to them. Then, they should design recruitment, on-boarding and empowerment practices for women that women are comfortable with. Hire a consultant to aid in this process as needed. Understand that engaging women, means speaking their language, rather than putting the burden on them to adapt and translate how work is done in male-dominated spaces. Although the first woman hire can be transformative for an organization, she deserves not to be tokenized and be made into a “spokesperson” for everything feminine at the org. Don’t settle for 1 or 2 hires. Make it a goal to achieve 30% representation of women because that is when the environment will have enough reference points for women to be their individual selves and this reduces pressure or friction that can hold them back from making their best contributions in lower densities of representation.

1 Like

I think this view of individuals in DAO’s is a smart one! We’re so used to measuring the power of companies and in DAO-space - that unconsciously translates to measuring DAOs. But! Since DAO members are not bound to one organization, they are accumulating experience and resources by supercharged networking and collaboration that they do between and amongst affiliated groups of projects. Follow the people with the most passion and you find the most interesting and viable projects.

1 Like

Follow the people with the most passion and you find the most interesting and viable projects