PubDAO, Makers, and Managers

Writer’s note: This piece draws direct inspiration from Paul Graham’s 2009 blog post, “Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule”


Maker<>Manager is an organizational primitive

Management is a function of two activities: maintaining the organization and evolving it. In order to maintain and evolve, organizations need makers that deliver tangible value. Makers create, managers coordinate. Both are essential for delivering value.

This is not to suggest makers don’t manage and managers don’t make; the relationship is a mutually beneficial, non-mutually exclusive one. Necessarily, makers must manage and managers must make at times. What characterizes successful team-based value delivery is how the team oscillates between the two modes of operation, at both the collective and individual levels.

Makers require hours or days-long blocks of uninterrupted time in order to deliver tangible value.  Managers, in contrast, live mostly in 30 or 60 minute blocks. They are interlocutors whose success hinges upon meetings to coordinate information flows and to uncover opportunities that makers can execute on.

The maker<>manager construct is an organizational primitive for thinking and doing about activity within an organization. It is useful in service delivery models marked by high coordination inputs (stakeholder requirements, multi-party collaboration, etc) and high quality tangible outputs (written content, smart contracts, etc).

Maker<>Manager is a tenet of PubDAO’s content service delivery model

At PubDAO, we use the maker<>manager primitive, both conceptually and practically, to frame exploring and constructing content service delivery in a decentralized, autonomous context in which makers and managers are globally distributed and work asynchronously.

Conceptually, maker<>manager implies a dichotomy that scaffolds a minimum viable organizational design focused on creating sufficient context for contributors and clients to meaningfully engage with the DAO. This dichotomy promotes a structure for matching client needs with custom content solutions through a process that shepherds convergence points between managers and makers requisite for delivering tangible value to clients. Despite the direction the community takes PubDAO, we believe the maker<>manager primitive will serve the organizational structure which is why we bake it into our operations today.

Practically, we use the maker and manager designations to distinguish between contributor activities and available opportunities and communication channels. After completing an onboarding form, new members receive a “Maker” and/or “Manager” Discord to signal their skills and interests to the PubDAO network. For makers skills-based designations include “Writer”, “Editor”, “Designer”; for managers it is “Marketer” and “Client Manager”. These designations get members access to certain channels and opportunities in PubDAO’s Dework base.

Case Study: Makers, Managers, and Private Pods

Private Pods are PubDAO’s content-as-a-service offering wherein clients contract with the DAO for batches of custom content from a dedicated group of PubDAO contributors. Undulation between manager and maker modes characterizes a pod’s lifecycle.

Spinning up a pod consists of two primary activities, scoping and staffing, both of which are primarily manager activities. A pod manager is responsible for scoping pod terms (fees, deliverables, deadlines, etc), which requires client meetings. Pod managers are also responsible for staffing the pod with qualified, interested, and available PubDAO writers. Staffing is manager-heavy activity because it requires back and forth between the client and pod candidates. Once the pod is scoped and staffed, though, the maker function kicks more prominently into gear.

Writer’s note: a medium-term PubDAO aspiration is to automate the scoping and staffing functions with smart contracts so as to create a more efficient marketplace in which clients and makers can connect directly to spin up pods.

Pod delivery is characterized mostly by maker activities; it’s how deliverables are actually created. Any writer knows that good writing requires extended periods of focus and minimal disruptions. The worst thing for a writer’s productivity is a bunch of pings and meetings. Throughout pod delivery, pod managers act as the intermediary between the client for activities like managing deadlines and feedback to successfully shepherd pod deliverables throughout the process.

For example, if the client requests a check-in call, the pod manager can take the meeting, gather feedback, and asynchronously relay it to the writer in order to successfully shepherd the timely and satisfactory delivery of pod deliverables. This manager buffer between the client and the writer is immensely valuable, especially when it comes to creating content in a decentralized, globally distributed, and asynchronous fashion.


At PubDAO, we are building an organizational structure around a maker<>manager primitive that distinguishes between activities for coordinating service delivery (managers) and activities for creating deliverables (makers), starting with content-as-a-service. We believe this primitive can be foundational to DAO service models. It has both conceptual and practical utility for delivering valuable services in a decentralized, autonomous context in which contributors are globally distributed and work asynchronously.

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