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Strategic DAO Frameworks: The Meyer Matrix and Smiling Dao Curve

Scott David Meyer
Scott David Meyer
👋 Happy Wednesday!
The excitement and momentum in the ed3 space is growing! Next Sunday, there is an ed3 meet-up at ETHDenver. If you’ll be there, please join.
The past two weeks I have been diving deep in DAOs (decentralized autonomous organizations) and specifically the strategy of DAOs.
🚀 I am excited for the potential of DAOs to change how we learn and organize educational communities - but I know DAOs will face strategic challenges for attention and talent.
That’s what today is all about: How to categorize, strategize, and collaborate to give DAOs the best chance for long-term impact - especially when building learning communities.
The link to the article is below. I’ll share a little overview in this email as well if you just need a taste 🧑‍🍳

Strategic DAO Frameworks: The Meyer Matrix and Smiling Dao Curve — Scott David Meyer
The Cambrian DAO Explosion
DAOs, are a new way to organize work and learning.
This Cambrian explosion of decentralized organization creates unparalleled opportunity to solve major challenges, create innovative ideas, learn together, and simply have fun with likeminded friends.
Brian Flynn (🐇,🎩)
Instead of going to university, join a role-specific DAO:

Liberal Arts -> @CryptoSocietyS1
Developers -> @developer_dao
Designers -> @VectorDAO
Analytics -> @MetricsDAO
Curators -> @scribeDAO

DAOs are the new trade schools
This model of organizing education points to a future where new centers of learning could be launched and owned by learners, opening up the benefits of education to all, including the 93% of the world that has not studied past high school.
Maxwell
/1 DAOs are enabling a future where students will co-own and collectively govern their schools, and where learners and educators will have aligned incentives through holding the same tokens.

These Learning DAOs will be digitally-native, learner-centered, and adaptive.
But, the fatigue of DAO membership is real. Having dozens of Discord icons and a stream of messages from disparate communities is distracting at best and tiring at worst.
Chase Chapman
In web3, I've noticed my brain is constantly dopamine farming

Jumping from Twitter to Discord

Mental health isn't just about taking a break and going outside (though that helps!)

I think it's about recognizing this pattern and allowing the impulse to exist without acting on it
As we hit our capacity to focus and begin to lose interest in constant experimentation, DAOs will become more competitive.
DAOs will refine and clarify the audience they want to attract and the topic they are working in. The Meyer Matrix creates a framework for categorizing DAOs on these two criteria.
The Meyer Matrix - a Framework for Categorizing DAOs
The Meyer Matrix organizes DAOs based on their topic - from niche to broad - and their audience - from niche to broad. This example shows learning DAOs on the matrix.
The Meyer Matrix for learning DAOs
The Meyer Matrix for learning DAOs
Here is the matrix again using arts and culture DAOs.
The Meyer Matrix for Arts and Culture DAOs
The Meyer Matrix for Arts and Culture DAOs
The Meyer Matrix highlights opportunities in the DAO landscape. When there is an opening in one of the quadrants, it points to an opportunity for new and existing DAOs.
New and emerging DAOs will want to carve out their own identity. They might want to look first at DAOs working on a similar topic. With this comparison, they can decide if they should get more specific on the topic or try to become an aggregator, connecting disparate individuals all somewhat interested in the same broad topic.
They may also want to create a strategy based on the audience. If they can connect with a specific group of people, they can let the topics be wide and varied. Alternatively, they may see an opportunity to become the DAO aggregator, attracting a broad audience interested in a wide variety of topics.
We can label these four quadrants based on their characteristics:
  • DAOs with niche audiences and niche topics are subject matter experts
  • DAOs with a broad audience and niche topics are subject matter aggregators
  • DAOs with a niche audience and broad topics are industry matter experts
  • DAOs with a broad audience and broad topics are industry matter aggregators
The Four Quadrants of The Meyer Matrix
The Four Quadrants of The Meyer Matrix
While there is market opportunities for DAOs in all four quadrants, experience from other industries show that the greatest value will accrue towards subject matter experts and industry matter aggregators. This is known as the Smiling DAO Curve.
The Smiling DAO Curve
Industries as varied as technology manufacturing, online gaming, and media have shown that in a competitive environment, value accrues to the edges. This is what is known as The Smiling Curve.
The concept was originally coined in the technology manufacturing industry, but Ben Thompson took this concept and elegantly applied it to the publishing industry.
Essentially, the greatest value either goes towards individual writers and niche publications -think Substack writers, The Athletic, or Ben Thompson’s own Stratechery - or it goes to the aggregators like Google, Facebook, and Twitter who help you discover exactly what you like. People in the middle - like your local newspaper or Time magazine - provide less value and get squeezed out.
Ben Thompson's Smiling Curve for the Publishing Industry
Ben Thompson's Smiling Curve for the Publishing Industry
The Smiling Curve points to the future of DAOs.
Just as happened in the publishing industry, it is likely that the majority of the value for DAO members will be found in either industry aggregators or subject matter experts.
The Smiling DAO Curve
The Smiling DAO Curve
Subject matter expert (SME) DAOs will attract the expert members who want to work with the best and become masters at their craft. There will be a pull within the community to become more and more niche as other DAOs emerge. These SME DAOs are the content creators on the left end of the smiling curve.
DAOs that are industry aggregators (IA) will reduce the friction for members to get what they want. Just like Google or Facebook make it easy to find information or entertainment, industry aggregator DAOs will help members join one DAO and find everything they need, from friends to bounty opportunities to learning opportunities. These IA DAOs are the content discovery platforms on the right end of the smiling curve.
Over time, then, DAOs will be pulled towards these two poles.
Riding the Smiling Curve
DAOs can use the Smiling Curve as a blueprint for its work. Fortunately, DAOs are much more fluid than a traditional business. This advantage could help them straddle the matrix and ride the smiling curve, acting as both an aggregator and expert with the right strategy.
tayken.eth ᵍᵐ
@MrScottMeyer Doesn’t this framework apply to communities in general? Seems there’s something more organic that DAOs (might) enable—a dynamic harmonization of the fluid and rigid.

https://t.co/evNolrAvFr?
DAOs can attempt to straddle the matrix in three ways:
  1. Seasonal Focus - Use short work periods to build up different areas of the matrix.
  2. SubDAOs - SubDAOs are DAOs spun out of a parent DAO. This could enable more niche and more reach.
  3. DAO Partnerships- aggregators and experts can collaborate to bring more value and focus to their members
Strategic Future for DAOs
DAOs offer new opportunities but will face the same challenges of traditional businesses, namely the need to compete in a crowded marketplace. As talented contributors find their digital home in their favorite DAOs, there will be a consolidation around subject matter expertise and industry aggregation.
The Meyer Matrix can help DAOs find their focus to better make an impact. Similarly, The Smiling DAO Curve can help these DAOs build a strategy for long-term success.
A future where DAOs can create sustainable impact on industries ranging from education to culture to real estate is something to smile about.
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Thanks as always for reading, sharing, and offering your feedback!
💪 Let’s scale education together.
Strategic DAO Frameworks: The Meyer Matrix and Smiling Dao Curve — Scott David Meyer
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Scott David Meyer
Scott David Meyer @MrScottMeyer

Ed3 is about scaling education, especially at the intersection of web3 + education 📈

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Scott Meyer, Fargo, ND 58103, USA