Rich's Lessons from Co.Lab Fellowship - Part 2

Written by
Rich Cuellar-Lopez
Published on
March 7, 2024

What exactly is decentralized on our Blockchains?

Web3 has come to be characterized by its decentralized, permissionless, and remote nature. This makes it entirely logical for software programmers worldwide because their output of code is ubiquitous, non-fungible, and accessible. However, the work of  non-engineering roles such as marketers, salespeople, and operations professionals, presents a unique set of challenges and opportunities. has been exploring this space alongside RnDAO and ArbitrumDAO as part of the Co.Lab Fellowship. Here are our latest findings:

Where did it start? The genesis of decentralized code

What makes Bitcoin special is the immutability of 21 million coins.

What makes Ethereum special is the interoperability of an endless number of smart contract programs.

What also makes the whole Web3 space special are the people behind it. Anyone can be the next Satoshi or Vitalik Buterin because the culture is decentralized.

For technical talent, the principles of open-source collaboration are a belief system and are also embedded in their work. Platforms like GitHub (or enable builders to see code from others across the globe. Block explorers or searching canonical data from nodes give you a database of the world's transactions without needing to ask for permission. The blockchains themselves are global by nature and represent censorship-resistant technology that is value-neutral in its purest form. This unlocks the transparent (and at the same time adversarial) nature that makes all applications and data public.

Where are we going? The adoption of decentralized culture

Meanwhile, the adoption of decentralization by non-engineering roles has been slower and fraught with hurdles. While people in the Web3 space aspire to be completely decentralized, it is not a requirement. Operations professionals often work in both digital and physical realms, necessitating a nuanced approach to project management and ultimately shipping their products.

For example, effective marketing campaigns rely on a deep understanding of diverse global markets, a personal touch to create connection, and curation to particular mediums that may be centralized. Similarly, sales and other operational activities often depend on building trust through in-person interactions and adhering to local regulations, presenting significant challenges in a decentralized, fast-moving industry.

The result is a fragmented and opaque landscape for operations within Web3, lacking the cohesive tools and platforms that software developers enjoy. This process not only introduces dependencies but also slows down the day-to-day running of decentralized organizations, from DAOs to Web3 startups. While decentralizing operations can be a galvanizing force within a Web3 organization, it is a taller hill to climb with the current set of tools and motivation.

What are the drivers to get us there?

It is a bit facetious to say that transparency doesn’t matter; it stands to reason that it does for anyone who works in a blockchain space. However, there may be a nuanced point that decentralized doesn’t necessarily mean transparent in every context.

At Ourmada, we are actively exploring how we can create the best experience for both the core team and community members at Web3 companies, projects and DAOs. Through many conversations and more than a dozen user research interviews, we’ve seen the discussion revolve around the following three themes:

  1. Transparency: The ability for a social CRM to be publicly accessible and on an immutable source.
  2. Collaboration: The ability for a social CRM to be engaging and inclusive of as many people as possible for a more impactful experience.
  3. Network Effects: The ability for a social CRM to catalyze growth by connecting as many different products and people as possible.

While summarizing different people’s objectives, inputs, and desired outcomes, we started to create a framework in which we could map different feedback.

What does the map look like?

The map starts off with a list of observations:

The Starting Point
The Starting Point

The initial observations are not mutually exclusive or comprehensively exhaustive, but as we get more and diverse interviews this map can look more like the terrain.

The next task is about synthesizing all of these post it notes into a framework:

The First Map
The First Map

Mapping all these observations is directionally helpful while not really giving much clarity. There is a method to take each observation and orient it towards some combination of the three main themes. Note that no data point is perfectly in the middle as an equal blend of transparency, collaboration, and network efforts. That is okay because data points being placed more towards one side of the model helps orient us to what themes we should be paying attention towards.

A Simpler Map
A Simpler Map

The map above illustrates fewer dimensions to the data in an attempt to highlight signals and lessen the noise. As I explain in the video clip below, the takeaways from this exercise are many, but they are constantly being revisited as we speak to more users, both current and prospects. Here is a list of a couple of the takeaways:

  • Transparency matters, but more as baseline functionality and not as an additional set of features
  • Organizations and users want engagement and reason to engage with features like robust mediums for commenting, interactivity with other social apps, and gamification
  • Organizations prize ease of onboarding and integration with other tools

This framework helps us organize our thoughts as we receive new data points. The framework will also change, especially as new themes come along and new users show us new behaviors. This is a big reason why this user research is an ongoing exercise.

No, really - this is getting long. Please just show a video of the map.

Sure. While our focus is on creating a social Web3 CRM, we will be updating this user research and continue to update our findings along the way. See below for the latest.

See below for Loom videoclip

Here is a Loom video clip of the mapping process. Enjoy!