Over the next few weeks, Girlboss is exploring what it’s like to work in crypto. We’re speaking to women at different ages and stages, and who work across the industry in operations, culture and community and education. Next up, Pandy Marino, the community and culture lead at Seed Club DAO.
This content is funded by Coinbase for Girlboss.
When did you start working in the crypto space?
I’m very new, I started in October 2021. I went to school for business and bio.I have a bachelor of science. I’m an individual who has immersed myself in startup culture and I’ve been a part of growing businesses from the ground up. The first venture I was part of was called Herb, a cannabis community online. The second venture was Doing Things Media, and establishing their first original show. My background is strategic and operational. I’m really involved in brand building, content strategy and growth.
What drew you to crypto space?
The idea of collective ownership and tokenized communities was really what drove me into the crypto space. Within the creator economy, this is an idea that’s super attractive. As far as the technical aspects of crypto, I’m still learning. Honestly, it still feels beyond me sometimes but what I’ve found is just jumping too deep in the pool and learning is the best way to go. Because everyone else is doing the same thing.
The idea of decentralized, autonomous organizations, or DAOs, is a new way to build organizations that are more flat in structure and the communities are ones that own the organization, that was super attractive to me. I see a future where a creator who’s grown a massive audience and a super loyal fanbase, that they don’t own, can bridge this audience into a community via NFT or token membership with the community participating in the growth and value exchange. I think every creator will eventually go down this path.
What is your day-to-day like?
There’s no entry level. The information level that exists is on the most advanced level. It’s like you’re playing the final setting. That’s how you get into crypto. What’s cool is seeing these communities pop up that are really focused on the education gap and bringing people from Web2 to Web3.
My day-to-day is working, building and shaping the community ecosystem that is Seed Club, which is an incubator for Web3 communities. It’s an accelerator program for community projects. So you can apply to the accelerator program and go through a 6-week intensive—and maybe the goal is launching an NFT membership—we connect you with individuals in the space and help you think through a lot of problems. So, my involvement is more on the higher level, I’m figuring out who are the individuals within this ecosystem and how can we serve them and establish a safe space for them to come in, learn and share. I don’t really have a regular day-to-day, to be honest!
What is it like to work at a DAO?
In traditional organizations, you’ll have a product bucket, an operations bucket, and a finance bucket and a community bucket, and you would have people operating in a silo and making decisions. The perspective that I’m trying to shift towards is more of the community being the bucket that everything else exists inside of.
What’s the most rewarding aspect?
What really sold me on this space was the people in it. The conversations that I get to have on a day-to-day basis are so incredibly impactful. I’m surrounded by brilliant minds and I feel safe in this new space and new world with so many unknowns. But I trust the people that I’m doing the thing with, and that makes everything so much easier.
What are the challenges?
The challenges I was facing in Web2, they’re not being solved yet in Web3. The tools and the infrastructure don’t exist yet. As someone who gets immediately frustrated by something and you want a solution right away and it doesn’t exist yet, that can be hard. The overall uncertainty. Do we even know what we’re doing?
What are the misconceptions that you bump up against as someone working in crypto?
That people know what they’re doing. As a newcomer, it can be intimidating. There are all these words and terms that you’ve never heard before. This seems unattractive because you’re speaking in a language that I don’t understand. And now as someone who’s seen both sides, I still have no idea what’s going on half the time. But I’m getting there. It’s not scary, you’re welcome here. The only way we get to where we’re going is to do it together. I think that’s the big misconception, "I don’t understand and I never will understand it, so I’m not going to try."
There’s a perception of a boy’s club culture in crypto. What has been your experience working in crypto as a woman?
There’s actually a community called Boys Club, and their mission is to empower women in crypto and to make the space inclusive to women and non-binary folks. Their statement is "This is a no-bro zone." And it is very much a bro zone, I would say. But it truly feels like change is coming and creating diverse and inclusive organizations is top of mind. At least within the walls that I’m operating it. But, broadly, it is still very much a bro zone. And that needs to change. If we’re going to do this differently, then we need to empower different voices.
What’s your advice to anyone who wants to work in crypto?
Reach out. Reach out to anyone and everyone who resonates with you. I started on Twitter with the voices and the messaging that was resonating with me. And then I narrowed that down to a few people and I started DM-ing like crazy. I said, "this is the experience that I’m coming with, and these are the problems that I’m looking to solve, can you point me to someone?" And everyone’s busy, so 80 percent of people are not going to respond to you, that’s just life. But the 20 percent that do, that’s what gets you started and that’s how you learn and figure out where you might fit in.