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🍵 Ami Yoshimura: Community Builder at GoldenDAO and DropoutDAO

May 14, 2022

💫 Happy AAPI Heritage Month!

In today’s digital age, connection is easier than ever. At the click of a button, you can access thousands of people in a Discord server or Facebook group. While Gen Z is more open towards connecting online, it’s also been coined as the loneliest generation for that same reason. Humans are hard-wired to seek belonging in a group. With bigger, virtual communities, genuine engagement is difficult to achieve. This is why Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian predicts that in five years, over half of the S&P500 companies are going to have a chief community officer. What exactly is community building? In a company, this role includes strategy, marketing, and partnership outreach for growing and engaging customers. Within a broader environment, community building can entail creating and managing groups on social media, hosting events, and facilitating introductions. With increased attention towards community, the concept of a DAO (decentralized autonomous organization) arose in the last several years, growing from ~10 DAOs in 2018 to ~4,000 DAOs in 2022 with $8bn in treasuries (Forbes). DAOs offer a new way in which people can take ownership in an online community and attend real life events with members. They’re created for a shared purpose (i.e. AAPI advancement), where membership and voting rights are gained by purchasing the organization’s cryptocurrency or NFT. Many DAOs also have a Discord server and host social events. Community building has become essential to connecting in a growing digital society.

📅 Gen Z Founder/Creator of the Week

✨ Meet Ami Yoshimura, the 20-year-old community builder at GoldenDAO, a community for AAPI empowerment (co-founded by Andrew Yang). Ami also co-founded DropoutDAO, where he puts together events and co-living houses for full-time founders and creators. Among his extensive background in growth and community, Ami co-hosted LA Tech Week, introduced Gen Z startups with investors, and facilitated hacker houses. He spent a year at Lehigh University studying Industrial & Systems Engineering before dropping out.

In today’s issue, Ami shares his experiences growing communities and being the point person in Gen Z’s startup social scene:

🟡 What is GoldenDAO? GoldenDAO is a community for advancing AAPI solidarity and empowerment. We host events, run a Discord server, and have a treasury to fund relevant projects and initiatives. It was co-founded by Andrew Yang, Jack Liang (#stopasianhate activist), and Theodore Lu. Other founding members and strategic advisors include Michelle Phan (YouTuber), Jaeson Ma (co-founder of 88rising), Justin Kan (co-founder of Twitch), and Irene Zhao (influencer). GoldenDAO has hosted events at NFT LA and BTC Miami since launching in March.

🙋 Getting involved with GoldenDAO: I met Jack Liang at a party in LA. We knew of each other through mutuals but had never met officially before. We grabbed lunch where he told me about the idea for GoldenDAO, and I started helping out from there.

💫 Why community building? I grew up between New York and Tokyo but never felt totally at home in either place. The number one thing that I wanted was to build my own community and be in a place where I could just vibe with everyone.

💬 Starting a community: If you think about what a community is, it’s just a group of people with aligned values and a mission. So it can be as simple as a group chat. A DAO is just a group chat with a shared treasury and bank account.

👥 How did the founding members get together? Personal connections and word of mouth. People wanted to get involved because there’s this intersection of reaching a lot of people and having ownership in web3. A lot of Andrew Yang’s connections kicked it off, and then it attracted many of the web3 native people as well.

☀️ Day in the life: 1) Discord, Twitter, and Instagram, 2) Building out partnerships, and 3) Setting up the infrastructure for the DAO, i.e. figuring out what tools we want and how the governance committee is going to work.

🎒 Dropping out of school: I went to college for a year and dropped out because of the pandemic. Through Twitter, I applied to a hacker house in Salt Lake City and got in on my experience working for a couple startups. The house had some amazing builders who were way above my level career-wise. Every person was above the age of 23 or 24, so I was by far the youngest. From there, I started my own house in Arizona and since have organized houses in LA, New York, and Europe.

🏠 Organizing hacker houses w/ DropoutDAO: We partner with a lot of DAOs and web3 companies to fund our houses, including Harmony, Z Fellows, Brex, and more. We've organized three fully sponsored houses at ETH Denver and a mansion in LA, hosted dozens of social events, and gave out $10k each to ten builders for a total of $100k.

👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 Engaging communities: Build great traditions, from onboarding to offboarding. For example, fraternities do this with rush, pledging (onboarding), events throughout each semester, and alumni events (offboarding). Facilitate one-on-one connections within a community. Make introductions and host events that encourage individual interactions. Someone is much more likely to engage in a Discord community if a bunch of their friends are saying stuff and contributing.

⭐ Underrated piece of advice: Put your values front and center. We post them on our website. A lot of communities don’t actually do that. People should know why they resonate with the community and why they’re there. Clarify what exactly you're trying to pursue and what missions you're aligned with.

tl;dr A community can start off as just a group chat; traditions are key to building a community; people stay engaged because of individual connections

Keep up with Ami on Twitter:

🐦 Tweet of the Week

✌️ That’s it until next time!

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