Digital Cooperatives will Change the World ft. Magenta Ceiba
In our third installment of the Builder Profile series, we’re featuring Magenta, who performs client-facing project management as well as operational tasks for the DAO. Magenta, who joined dOrg one year ago, has extensive experience in decentralized organizational development. She is currently working with dOrg clients DoinGud and Deep Work.
This series seeks to highlight the amazing individuals that are part of dOrg, how their typical days look like, what projects they are working on, and what brought them to a digital cooperative in the first place.
How did you first get involved with dOrg?
I attended a DAO Rush Week organized by Panvala, where several dOrg builders were sharing about what dOrg is about and how they work. I thought “these are the people who think like me” in terms of intellectual rigor, ethical alignment, and a human approach to organizations. Also, it was clear that they had a lean, efficient approach to working together as a decentralized collective, and I wanted to sharpen my skills there. I had no idea just how synergistic and amazing it would be. I feel like I’m working at the pinnacle of organizational development with a crew of brilliant, caring people. At that event, I was presenting what I consider to be my home-base DAO, Bloom Network. I now also feel like dOrg is a homebase.
What was your first impression of dOrg?
The most striking thing about dOrg is everyone here are incredible people. Brilliant and human-centered in why we are doing what we are doing. I also appreciate that we straddle having a deep ethical compass, while not being pedantic or overly narrow in what clients we work with. That’s healthy and rare.
The culture is one of “carrots not sticks” which helps people grow and be kind to one another, and support each other in furthering our skills and motivations to contribute.
Lastly, people at dOrg are real. There isn’t something artificial here like with most companies. That’s huge. There’s genuine self-motivation and interest, figuratively and concretely, to do what we’re doing. We have the ability to self-select what projects we work on. You get the gist. I think it’s what some of the devs mean with their Twitter bio, “human at dOrg”. It’s incredibly special, the sweet spot, and I hope it’s the future of how collectives and organizations will be.
What would you say is the best thing to happen since you joined dOrg?
Being valued, experientially and financially, for the skillset I have in decentralized organizational development. And also, being valued as a peer as a woman. I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for 15 years, and as a female technology startup founder, the way I was treated by my male CEO and investor “friends” was unbelievable. I’ve been meaning to read Uncanny Valley by Anna Wiener, about her experiences there. I hope she says what I have to say about it, otherwise I have a lot to say.
What do friends and family say or ask when they learn you work in a DAO?
Most of them have never heard of a DAO, so I explain what the initials mean, decentralized autonomous organization and that another word for it is “smart organization”, or “programmable organization”. They ask things like can you convert your pay into USD. Honestly most people I talk to give a blank stare or pained look when I try to explain the technical details, as yet. I more often describe it as a digital cooperative. That requires less technical jargon, and I can focus on the human collaboration side of what that means.
If the person is a web2 tech nerd, they usually ask about use cases. I wrote this to help them down the rabbit hole. I recently learned a game called Le Grand Jeu, to teach people about complex autonomous / community-directed economic systems. I was introduced to it in the Ecosystem Value Flows course that Sebnem Rusitschka and Michal Monit taught through the token engineering community. It’s a role-playing game where each person plays a persona in a specific scenario, whether that’s an area of land in an ecovillage or a more virtual landscape. Over the course of the game, you experience game theory and you learn about the different players in the specific system you’re analyzing, by being in one of their shoes.
I’ll use that with Bloom Network as a first step to teach that community about DAOs, before implementing the tech. (Grassroots climate and social change communities are naturally polycentric and collaborative, so it ends up being hard to fund them through the centralized banking infrastructure that philanthropy and government agencies use, which originally grew through violently stamping out cooperative, self-reliant economies anyway.)
I also get questions about DAO’s from new philanthropy and investment fund managers who want to utilize DAO’s in order to transfer money / allocation power into the hands of communities on the ground. I’m talking with one lawyer to create two more legal pathways for DAOs, using entity types that do not require filing paperwork with the state. In her case, she’s looking for a connection to Ethereum devs. I’m excited about what groups like Commons Stack, DoinGud, and the Stacks ecosystem on the Bitcoin side, are doing to create finance pools for cross-sector collaboration. I talk with people from the UN and groups like Richard Branson’s B team, and everyone in the old world financial system has questions about how to more effectively fund our way out of today’s wicked problems, but no answers. I think the answers are in these blockchain ecosystems and in grassroots communities, the organizational structures that emerge from them. However, forming those bridges is going to take time. I’m here at dOrg, and in Ethereum in general, to help those bridges form.
The interest in DAOs and dOrg seems to be growing. Why do you think that is?
We are at the tippy tip future of organizational change. There is a tremendous need for this kind of change in the world, and I’m not convinced it is going to happen through transforming existing institutional structures. I know many people who work for large marketing agencies or tech companies, and they don’t like it. They ethically don’t like the clients they get assigned to, they don’t like a 40–60 hour work week and inhumane work environments. However, they don’t see other options that can pay them market rate for their skillsets. Digital cooperatives are going to change that. dOrg is one, and we are building the tooling for them in an open source ecosystem context. It’s thrilling, it’s humane, it’s freedom, and it’s possible.
What’s your typical day like?
My work day is on the extreme end of decentralization, so take this with a grain of salt. I work on dOrg projects up to 20 hours per week right now. My day starts with acknowledging the bonkers complex sci-fi fantasy video game like dream I just woke up from. Then I lift weights so I have good body mechanics during the day.
Throughout the day I do a combination of operational tasks within dOrg, like automating our bookkeeping, coordinating our Quality Assurance team to make sure that as we continue to scale, everything is flowing well for everyone, etc. And then project management on client projects. Right now I’m the PM with dOrg teams on DoinGud and Deep Work. With Deep Work we’re making a dashboard for their collective to transition off of Discord because they’ve gotten too large for the information flows there to be clean and targeted for people to self-organize UI/UX teams for client projects. I typically work on 4 different dOrg projects in a day. I end up doing org dev internally and with clients, since there are common challenges in scaling decentralized projects, such as communication flows and leadership relationships that help the project succeed.
Sometimes my mind gets blown by too many smart people and I have to take a break to calm down!
Other than that, my day tends to be really fluid. I’m usually in a class or two to learn new things, mostly around UX and economic modeling, to route around the centralized machine beasts that own the old economy.
I advise Tabula Rasa Ventures’ incubator and platform cooperative that are focused on ethical development of the emerging psychedelic industry. In the evenings I hack on Bloom Network, it’s a federated DAO that is based IRL, connecting grassroots communities to share knowledge and help more of the general public adopt regenerative culture practices. I’m helping populate it with a couple key finance templates: one for large-scale permaculture agroforestry arboretums that restore financial sovereignty and local microclimates in Africa and other subtropical places, and a suite of financial models for ecovillages and community spaces. Working with Charles Mugarura and Sammy Sutcliffe on those.
My ultimate goal with all my work is to help realign the economy to be more friendly to local production and ecological wellness.
Then I exercise, watch a show, and try to stay off a screen for two hours before I sleep, letting my brain drool into a puddle on the floor. For some people in dOrg it’s important they are on one project full-time. I tend to work as an ecosystem consultant.
What do you do when you aren’t working?
I used to be a professional classical piano player. I do experimental vocals, mouth harps, and tone drums. I’m ready to play keys again though, looking forward to playing technical death metal with my roomie who is a shredder! I also spend time learning about healing plants and fungi from friends who are trauma healing specialists and would like to learn how to dye fibers with plants and fungi.
👋🏼 You can find Magenta on:
LinkedIn: Magenta Ceiba
🌳 dOrg is a full-stack Web3 development collective that seeks to accelerate the advancement and adoption of Web3 projects.
To learn more, visit www.dorg.tech.