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DAO Contributor Series: The Natural Leader

Published by
Andrew Warner
October 17, 2022
Ricardo Garcia-Amaya.png

He started as a group leader

Ricardo Garcia-Amaya was leading a Y Combinator alumni group when a friend told him about an upcoming DAO. Ricardo, who is an expert in creating powerful communities and has founded two tech companies, quickly understood the great potential of DAOs.

He joined the DAO his friend told him about, Orange DAO, an investment DAO for founders whose startups were backed by Y Combinator. He then recruited other YC founders who he knew would bring value to and benefit from Orange DAO.

He realized DAOs super-charge groups

What he liked about DAOs was community ownership. I asked if seeking consensus from a community would water down good ideas.

He explained that a DAO is not about constantly seeking consensus. Everyone in the DAO is like an entrepreneur. The projects they choose to work on are like mini-startups, where members make the rules.

He told members to stop asking permission

He joined the Governance committee and used an analogy to empower members. “When we were kids in the playground,” he told members, “if a game we played didn’t make sense, we changed the rules. We didn’t need to ask permission from a teacher on the playground. It was our game.”

That attitude of self-direction inspired allowed members to:

  • Publish a podcast, Peeling back Web3, about how web3 can solve big, real-world problems
  • Create Passport, software that enables DAOs to create membership NFTs
  • Launch Orange Fellowship, a program that funds Web2 entrepreneurs’ Web3 education

Onboarding became a challenge

He noticed that the real challenge in DAOs (and any groups of smart people) is that new members can feel out of place, especially in Web3 where so much is unknown. So he makes a point of welcoming new members at weekly Town Hall meetings and setting up 1-on-1 conversations with new members to help them find their place in the DAO and answer any questions.

He sees his role on the Governance committee as empowering members to contribute. He’s done that by:

  • Hosting over 35 Town Hall meetings for members
  • Helping to plan DAO Retreats
  • Creating an onboarding sub-committee, whose job is to make it easier for new members to participate
  • Ensuring that members’ work is recognized and compensated
  • Hosting IRL events in New York and California
  • Creating Juicy Bot, an AI Discord chatbot that answers Orange DAO questions
  • And more

Personal mission kept him going

Why does he do all this work? Despite being an entrepreneur, there’s something in Ricardo that draws him to public service. He told me he plans to run for high office one day. The DAO gives him the ability to work alongside great builders and also provides him a way to enable others to lead.

Now he’s fully committed to DAOs

He invested his money in Orange DAO’s venture fund. He’s an active member of Orange DAO, and the Orange fund is an investor in his web3 company, ILUMA. ILUMA is the ‘Superhuman’ of web3, giving DAO members the superhuman ability to filter out the chatter and noise of Discord. And following the community-owned ethos of Web3, he also shared a significant token ownership of his company with all his 1300+ fellow DAO members.


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