Starbucks Doesn’t Need a DAO, It’s Employees Do

Sort of riffing on a thoughtful, provocative thread by @magdalenakala who makes an argument for a Starbucks DAO to augment or replace their super successful loyalty program.

I like her points a lot, but the hope and hype of DAOs will run into the reality of: Starbucks doesn’t need to complexify something that works extremely well right now.

I do think there’s an argument to be made that Starbucks should have their own $star or $bucks or whatever, to evolve points to a genuine currency. Lots of interesting cross-brand ideas there.

The folks at Starbucks that do need a DAO are the employees. Should/could a DAO replace the employee union? Hypothetically:

  • There might be an employee DAO, with a token whose value is pegged to either the shareprice or some other long term business performance metric. The value of the tokens rises as the performance of the company improves
  • For hours worked, employees could be granted tokens that represent votes/governance in the employee DAO
  • Workers could also get tokens based on tenure or other milestones.
  • Workers could grant tokens based on skills, experiences gained, etc. as they become, essentially, more valuable to their co-workers and to the company.

The DAO could represent the interest of employees/workers on issues of safety, privacy, enviromental issues, etc.

Would Starbucks ownership prefer to deal with a DAO vs. an employee union? Probably. Especially if the incentives are fully aligned.

Would a token system be an alternative to to other long term interest-driving tools like profit sharing or 401Ks? Probably, but I’d almost see this as a complement to a the traditional ones. In fact, the token system actually creates real-world value for the experience and tenure and skills of a long-term employee.

Obviously haven’t thought this all the way through, but i do believe DAO’s for employees would ultimately deliver more value to the company than a crypto-CRM loyalty program.