Voting with a capital “V” is fraught. It happens rarely, it’s fairly permanent and thus momentous. We bring identity and media and politics into a swirl, spending billions of dollars to create something that feels both fruitless and participatory at the same time.
Voting uses a 5,000-year-old method to, in a tiny moment of time, have people raise their hands and make a choice.
These sorts of Votes are a ceremony that adorns the way we govern.
But Voting with a capital V actually confuses us about the power we each have to speak up in all sorts of informal ways. We vote (with a small v) every time we discuss who to invite over for dinner, what sort of car to buy, and particularly when it comes to work and commerce, how we’ll accomplish anything as a team.
And technology, which has made it easier than ever for us to collide with other peoples’ ideas (and to collude with them), hasn’t done much to institute useful new ways to vote and to be heard. And when we feel heard, we’re far more likely to connect and commit.
Instead, we rely on traditional status roles, on caste, on signals of strength. We rarely adequately reward wisdom or a good track record when making these decisions, and often the decisions that are confirmed create more team divisions instead of building connection and resilience.
What if we could build a voting layer into our teams and our culture? What if it were community-based, resilient and easy to use? And what if that voting layer allowed us to create new forms of value, new projects and better ways to connect and decide?
For the last year, I’ve been noodling on a plan for a DAO that creates the conditions for a new form of widespread tally. Dozens of really smart and passionate people helped me think about the tech and the implications. The plan I’m sharing below is filled with examples, traditional ideas, new technologies, cultural shifts and a different way of changing the culture while building a layer of the internet.
But this is bigger than me. As I’ve written about before, describing the project and running it are very different things… It needs dedicated leaders ready to commit to building something for the long haul. So I’m publishing the idea here, giving it away and hoping that many people around the world will copy it, improve it, develop it, share it and make it work far beyond what I’ve described.
Here’s the plan for Pluralism. And the published web version. (Static backup version).
Make it yours. Have fun.