Inauthenticity and the Future of Work

tl;dr: Authenticity is difficult and scary. It’s also increasingly essential to success in the emerging world of work.

I recently had the opportunity to record a podcast interview with Arif Khan, the CMO of SingularityNet.

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Their podcast is called AGI (for Artificial General Intelligence) and I believe it is one of the absolute best podcasts out there.

The guests they have had on the show like Azeem, Mark, and, of course, Ben, are beyond impressive.

When Arif suggested that I was worthy of being a guest on the show, I was honored and a bit flummoxed.

I didn’t think I was operating on the level of their previous guests. He insisted that I was.

The point of this post isn’t to do a #HumbleBrag so that you think I am really awesome.

The point of this post is to tell you what happens when that feeling of inferiority hits and the impact of not arresting it early.

Trying too hard

As we recorded the interview, I felt “off.”

When you listen to an AGI podcast, you’ll notice just how free-flowing, natural, and insightful the conversations are.

Both Arif and Tim (the co-host) do a fantastic job of preparing for the show as well as asking questions designed to elicit thoughtful responses from their guests.

Arif certainly did his part. In hindsight, I didn’t do mine.

It was only later in the day, as I was reflecting on the experience, that it occurred to me that I was just trying too hard to sound as impressive as I perceived their past guests to be.

The end result was predictable.

While Arif was complimentary of what I said, I knew I could do a lot better. I had rambled on. I failed to make strong points. I didn’t really articulate a coherent thesis.

Now, it’s not that I don’t have a strong point of view or a coherent view. I do. It’s just that I didn’t let it come out.

Because I was trying to be like Mark, Azeem, and Ben, I was not being my authentic self.

The end result was not only a feeling of inauthenticity but a substandard “product.”

The Future of Work and the Authentic Self

I believe SingularityNet is one of the world’s most important projects. It sits as the intersection of blockchain and artificial intelligence.

Given the advancements of AI and the risks of centralized entities having outsized control of AI, I could make the argument that it’s mission critical to our survival as a species.

Yes, it’s that big.

By not bringing my authentic self to the podcast, I was not doing my part to help their community understand why I felt that way.

In the grand scheme of things, a lone podcast interview that is sub-standard may not seem like a big deal, but I think it’s a microcosm of the world of work that we could enter.

There was an article in the Wall Street Journal’s recent Artificial Intelligence section called “What AI Will Do to Corporate Hierarchies.”

The short answer is: remove them.

What the WSJ article left out or missed was the answer to what will replace them?

How will these organizations without hierarchies function and prosper?

The answer, I believe, will be DAOs…decentralized autonomous organizations (hopefully running on DAOstack

-discl. advisor).

Back when I first got my head around the idea of a DAO, which was probably when I invested in TheDAO and in my early talks with Matan, I started calling the sector “decentralized ERP.”

Today, the DAO sector is maturing and there are people out there who actually are earning a living by working for a DAO full-time.

They don’t have a boss. They propose a job to do and assign a value to it. The community of token holders then debates and votes on the proposal (which can be modified).

If it passes, the contributors do their work and the network pays them after the community agrees that the milestones have been met.

Crypto, the Future of Work, and Authenticity

Here’s how it all comes together.

In this world of work, you can’t afford to be inauthentic in your work because, if you are, you’re just not going to get paid.

The DAO is paying you to deliver your best version of YOU…not of someone else.

It is paying for your skills, talent, and experience. If you are not bringing that, you are not delivering maximum value.

Eventually, you will be replaced by someone who does.

It’s not easy being authentic all the time. Millennia of social conditioning and centuries of hierarchies have conditioned us that it’s not safe.

As crypto, AI, and more arrive on the scene, they are the equivalent of the giant meteor that hit the earth and wiped out the dinosaurs. Not in the sense that everyone will die, but in the sense that they will affect the traits which are most desirable for the propagation of the species.

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Inauthenticity and the Future of Work was originally published in Data Driven Investor on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.