Author Archives: Admin

What is a DAO? How does it work?

Imagine an organization with no boss, no employees, no hierarchy, but just collective ownership and authority—that is a Decentralized Autonomous Organization or a DAO. Such an organization functions around a set of rules that are coded onto the blockchain and are enforced with pre-defined logics.

In the absence of any central leadership or governing authority, the decisions in a DAO are made collectively by the members and the finances are also distributed accordingly. Every member has a stake.

Decisions in a DAO are made via group voting on different proposals during a specified period.

What is a DAO

How to form a DAO?

The first step is to define your goal and set the rules. These governance rules of a DAO are embedded in smart contracts, which are deployed to the blockchain.

So, creating a DAO not very complicated: Define the rules, create the smart contracts, and deploy to the blockchain.

All members that have a stake in the DAO can vote on governance proposals and influence the direction that DAO takes.

Who makes these proposals?

The proposals are made by the members themselves and for any proposal to be accepted, it needs to be vote-approved by majority stakeholders. This is done in order to avoid spamming by too many proposals.

First, everyone votes to approve a proposal to be voted on, and then they vote on it to see which way to go. Complex? Well, crucial decision-making in DAOs will be really slow if we follow this process.

Who provides the funding?

Participating members make their own investments and receive tokens in return. These tokens are similar to your share holding in a company—they decide the value of your stake and give you voting rights. The risks and rewards are all shared collectively.

Transparency and autonomy

Blockchains are open-source and their nodes are distributed throughout the world. So essentially, all the data and information stored in the DAO is not under the control of any single entity. The whole system is not only fully autonomous, but also completely transparent, so much so that the financial records stored on the blockchain will also be visible to anyone.

The initiators of the organization or the people who wrote the smart contracts also have no more influence in the DAO than any other members who hold the same tokens.

Advantages of DAOs and possible problems

Trust and transparency

Publicly available code is easier to trust than any group or individual and community governance allows more trust and transparency than a typical organization.

However, that could also be a problem when it comes to decision making. No matter how efficient, code cannot be adapted to anticipate every issue or possible problem that can arise in an organization and such issues often require quick decisions and resolutions, which will be impossible in a DAO.

Distribution of work

The interests of all members in a DAO are aligned; they get a return on their investments/efforts only if the DAO succeeds. So, everyone is incentivized to act in the best interest of the organization, even if it is acting against their own self-interests.

However, in this situation, bringing everyone to the same table could be a problem. Token holders will obviously have different opinions and disagree over regulations, finances, etc. and the majority may not always be right on such decisions.

Security

An open, easily-accessible treasury makes it difficult for any individual to abuse the finances for their personal benefits, and allows for a more-efficient utilization of financial resources.

However, it also raises significant security concerns as open-source code makes DAOs more vulnerable to cyberattacks.

There are several examples of DAOs that raised massive funding, only to leave their investors in the lurch.

The very first DAO, named The DAO, was seen as a revolutionary project that raised $150 million in Ether from crowdfunding. It was set up as a VC fund on Ethereum.

The investors were given tokens, which would increase in value and pay dividends as their price appreciates. However, some programmers expressed security concerns with the DAOs smart contracts, which could allow somebody to drain all the funds.

They set up a governance proposal to decide, but in the meantime, a malicious actor exploited the vulnerability and siphoned over $60 million worth of ETH from their account.

Laws

Typically, a conventional organization functions under its local laws, but with distributed ownership, the DAOs will find it difficult to comply with all regional legal regulations.

Lack of regulatory harmonization in different sectors makes the legal framework of DAOs highly complicated and they may have to place certain restrictions on participating members based on their geographical location.

Conclusion

On the surface, a DAO sound like a promising idea—collective ownership clearly has significant upside and it would be great to break the monopoly of the few big players on the internet, who define all the rules.

However, the delay in decision-making, always having to get approval of the majority, vulnerabilities arising from too much transparency, and complications due to legal irregularities and many other such problems threaten the efficiency of a DAO and although we are still in the very early days of web 3.0, I don’t clearly see how a completely autonomous organization can function expeditiously.

Even if the legal regulations are harmonized with the assistance of our governments and security and financial aspects are taken care of with more sophisticated technology, relying on the majority’s opinion for everything is just not ideal.

Individuals who have invested years researching, experimenting, making mistakes and learning from them are in a better position to make decisions than a collective majority with limited liability. Maybe, authority is not such a bad thing as long as it is not abused.

What do you think? Do DAOs, as we know them now, have a future?

Resources:

COINTELEGRAPH: What is a decentralized autonomous organization, and how does a DAO work? https://cointelegraph.com/ethereum-for-beginners/what-is-a-decentralized-autonomous-organization-and-how-does-a-dao-work

OBERHEIDEN P.C: Blockchain & Cryptocurrency Lawyers Leading the Way in Web3, Blockchain and DeFi https://federal-lawyer.com/blockchain/

How to write for websites

Writing for a website is not the same as writing for print media. The audience is different, the rules are different.

People (used to) pay for newspapers, magazines, and once they’ve bought it, you had their full attention. On the internet, you’ve to not only get their attention but keep it.

How to write for websites

If you’re planning to start a website/blog of your own or looking to become a digital content writer, below are the most important tips on how to write for websites:

  • Headline: You need a headline that captures the attention of your reader right away and piques their curiosity. You might need to write a few to find the one that’s most striking.
  • Who are you writing for: Before you start writing, think of a potential reader—what would he expect in that article? Try to provide his answer in a shortest, cleanest way. Write for people, not for search engines
  • Create a storyline: Make a note of the most important points you have to cover in this story and form a rough storyline. You should have a clear idea of the points you want to convey through this article. Use subheadings where you can; try to see if you can use a keyword in the sub-head.
  • Short sentences: Write in clear, crisp sentences. Never write a sixth word where five are enough. Long paragraphs are for the books. The internet audience is impatient, they only scan the pages, so make it easy for them by keeping the paragraph short—only one or two sentences per paragraph. Better still, try to write in bullet points.
  • Improve RoR: The rate of revelation is how quickly you introduce new information through your words. It has to be engaging, educational, and fun to read. Include quotes, stats, and pack the whole punch.
  • SEO: Disperse keywords throughout the content—do not force them in sentences
  • Subbing: Never submit/publish your work on the same day. After you are done writing an article, take a break, then read it again. Read like your potential audience. While subbing, get rid of any superfluous sentences. Add any information that you feel will benefit the reader. It takes 2-3 attempts to produce a compelling copy.
  • Research thoroughly: Refer to at least 3-4 different sources, but don’t stop there. Sometimes I go to more than 20 different pages to be able to create an article of value. Your value depends upon the end product, not how many pages you go through to get there. Produce something of value, something that you will want to read.
  • Give credit: If you quote another person or website, don’t forget to mention their name. If possible, link to them.
  • Make it different: What are the most common things everyone else is saying about your topic? Forget them. Say something new. Add value. Bring forward your perspective. To find that coveted place among the top results of a Google SERP, your piece has to be better than what’s already out there. A lot of it depends upon your judgement of what information will be best presented to the reader who is looking for the subject of your article.

This is list in not comprehensive, but it’s a good start. The only other thing to know is that you can waste hours staring at that blank document but the words will come only when you start typing.  

Is Google’s Knowledge Graph Troubling Companies?

Google has been trying to improve search with its knowledge graphs since May 2012, but predictive search still has a long way to go. Google knowledge graphs are still as inadequate as they could be, and early stage experiments can prove costly.

I know, nobody wants a hollow opinion, so here’s what happened:

Earlier this month, I got an irritated phone call from a friend who works with a Fortune 500 company, ranting about Google’s recent goof-up that caused an unwanted commotion in their system.

Google’s knowledge graph, which shows higher than any of your own pages (usually at level with Google ads) and seems like a reliable source, was displaying an incorrect phone number for the company, causing hundreds of calls to be directed to the wrong place.

Google displayed the company’s Canada phone without indicating anyhow that this call would go to Canada. Since the number was a toll-free (1800… ) there was no way anyone could have guessed it.

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But as soon as it started showing up in the Google’s knowledge graph, the company’s Canada phone started to buzz at an unusually high rate only for the call-executives to figure these calls were all misdirected. Add to that, the frustration of users on having dialed the wrong place. The company in question is Stryker Corp. – a fairly large business that gets hundreds of phone calls an hour.

The first reaction at their office was of perplexity as they could not see why suddenly everyone is calling the Canada number instead of the usual US one. Once they figured out it was for the wrong information in the knowledge graph, they started looking for ways to have it corrected.

But unfortunately, the search giant doesn’t allow you to edit the info in the knowledge graph, which is basically a compilation of what they “think” you are looking for. Also, they don’t reveal how they select the information to display (although it seems to be mostly from your business listings), so there is no way you can control that.

There is an option for feedback, but my experience with feedbacks to Google has been highly disappointing in the past, and once again, the feedback submitted went in vain.

On approaching them through Google product forums—perhaps the quickest way to contact Google about such discrepancies—Stryker managed to get the information updated after suffering the ordeal of miscalculation for about 20 days.

Late last year, Union Bank had faced a similar trouble with Google’s knowledge graph displaying incorrect customer service number.

After they raised complaints, Google has completely removed the contact info for both companies from its knowledge graph for good, but these experiments at Google’s end can prove expensive for businesses.

Dear Google, we don’t like mediators, especially the ones that distort the facts. It can easily cause an unnecessary chaos as in the case of Stryker.

While wrong display of contact information can prove expensive for any company, Google’s knowledge graph has not been well received by webmasters even where the information is right for it causes the actual source to lose out on the traffic.

I can’t say if they can always and accurately predict what you are exactly looking for. And if the knowledge graph is not accurate, does it make sense for Google to put it higher than our own websites that are likely to have more reliable information?

 

Choosing an SEO Company in India

Have you been hounded by spam like requests from Indian SEO companies offering SEO for $300/month and quite a poor sales pitch? Are you, although unsure about the ROI, tempted by the low prices?

A Monday email from this “SEO expert in India” prompted me to probe it further. A search for SEO services in India on www.google.com.au revealed that most are trying to entice Australian business with their low price SEO and fuzzy promises guarantying top ranks.

I would avoid anyone guarantying that :-/ but if you want to hire a professional SEO in India, take note of the following 4 points:

 

4 Things to know before hiring an Indian SEO company

  1. Most companies offer monthly SEO packages between $200 and $300 – Is it workable?
    No. A 10-page website has different requirements from a 100-page website and SEO firms cannot be crafting fit-for-all packages because obviously, there is no size that fits all.
    Do not fall for the fixed price, even if you are tempted because it is so low. Bad SEO can get your website blacklisted over time.
  2. Some of them claim to be Award-winning, Best, No. 1 (bizarrely, several companies were No. 1. – Can they be?
    No. Steer clear of the sophist’s promise.
  3. [singlepic id=5 width=640 height=480]

  4. Almost all claim to take you to the coveted top spot on search engine result pages (SERPs) – If 5 clothing companies hire them, how can they all get the first rank for the same keyword? And the companies that promise money-back guarantee, are they going to pay back 4 out of these 5 clients? I think not.
    Use caution – If it is too good to be true, it is probably not true.
  5. What do the clients say? Are they even real? Many of them have a long list of clients including the likes of Microsoft, Discovery Chanel, Virgin Mobile, Calvin Klein.
    Microsoft hiring SEO services for $300/month – doesn’t that seem odd to you? This causes me to be suspicious enough to prod it more from here.

I’m not advising against outsourcing to Indian SEO companies. The lower cost of living in India allows for cheap SEO services (and everything else) and who wouldn’t like good services at a lesser cost?

But the question is about the legitimacy of the claims these SEO firms make. Don’t be misled by the false promises.

With Google advising against quick schemes like backlinks from article directories and declaring that guest posting is dying, I’m not sure what they will keep doing to justify a monthly fees. Unless, ofcourse they are hired for writing content.

Google launched 665 algorithm updates in 2012 and the way search is evolving, I don’t see anything less-than-authentic having a chance to survive.

If you know the basics of SEO writing , you can just do it yourself every time you post a new article. If you don’t have the time for self-SEO, do a little research and be precise about what you want from your SEO guy.

Discuss your requirements, your target clients, and your competitors with the internet marketing company in India or in Australia or anywhere you find a good one, and see if they are able to devise a plan that seems legitimate.

Ask for the details, and if, at the end of the discussion, you find yourself confused about what they are going to do, look elsewhere.

Don’t hate SEO

Jose: Write a good post, and it will find its audience.

Mary: Write a good post, ensure the search engines can find it, and then the audience will follow. A little SEO won’t harm it.

Jose: SEO makes it so unnatural; I hate reading posts that are stuffed with keywords.

Mary: 😐 SEO = Keywords? X

Advocates of authentic creative content have long scorned search engine optimization, often arguing that SEO is only for low-quality players that use cheap gimmicks like keyword stuffing and link building to rank higher on Google. Write a good post and it will find its readers, they always suggest. But I am a fan of authentic, good, write-ups, and I am all for SEO.

Search Engine Optimization is not merely the process of using smart ways to rank higher in search results; it is about creating stuff that is readable (thus, optimized?) for the SE.

Google seems to approve of SEO; infact, they encourage webmasters to do it — obviously, not because they want to see how smart you are at link building.

SEO-phobes can take a deep breath: SEO might actually be a good thing—and not only for people who are making a living off it.

Snubbing SEO seems to me like an attempt to challenge the SE: I do not give a damn about SEO; my post is so good, you should just show it up — it is like saying I will not send my resume; I know my shit well, the employers should come looking for me.

 

5 SEO techniques you must know

Even SEO-skeptics can use some SE-friendly tips that wouldn’t be so ruinous for their readers. Here’s how you can make your stuff apparent to the search engines without have to compromise on your *conceited* writing.

 

1 – Have clean title in the <h1> tag

You are anyway going to have a title. For the SE: Make it relevant to the post and have the keyword in the title tag.

Another young celebrity invites road trouble X

Justin Bieber crashes his car again 

Won’t the readers love that, too? If 5 people read your article, atleast 15 read the title – tell them straight what it is about.

 

2 – Have some key-word rich sub headings

These H2 and H3 subtitles not only make the article more reader friendly, they given an outline of your story to the SE too

 

3 – Have a clean url

This may not have anything to do with the readers, but hey- it doesn’t hurt you either. Just have your website create clean urls that can have relevant words too.

/post/1  X

/broccoli-can-help-your-eyesight/

The latter are just easier for the SE to comprehend.

 

4 – Use images; make sure they are not heavy

You don’t want the user to wait 5 seconds then switch to another website. The internet audience is impatient. Even large images can be optimized for the web easily in Photoshop. Make sure the image title and alt is relevant, so the SE will know it too. Google may not be able to see an image, but it is smart enough catch the copied ones.  Be original—both for your readers and the visiting bots.

 

5 – Add a neat meta description

It shows on the search engine result page—gives both the SE and the audience an idea of what your page is about. Put a few relevant tags too.

There. You have your post ready. Was it too hard? That’s all the SEO you need, and if you are really dispensing value stuff, the backlinks, and social media shares will come on their own.

Actually, I think that was the whole idea behind backlinks when they were first introduced, and until people started hawking “links for sale.”

The SE is no human; it is not going to read every post to determine its appropriateness for a certain search query, so what is wrong with making your posts (and actually your website) a little friendly for the bots?

Don’t you cut your news story short when the editor doesn’t allow you enough space in the paper? What is so wrong with being a little amicable to the SE bots?

– Mary signs off… Jose is still thinking, but he looks convinced.

 

 

Guest Blogging has Decayed but it Need Not Die

Who would send Matt Cutts a spam-like request for publishing his guest blog, asking for do-follow links in exchange? You wouldn’t. But it turns out someone is crazy enough and his craziness has spilled all over the SEO world.

 

“There you have it: the decay of a once-authentic way to reach people,” Matt Cutts wrote, creating an immediate uproar in the SEO world as he finally delivered his most-serious warning against unnatural link building.

 

Guest-blogging had so-far seemed a safe way to acquire links, build reputation, and climb SERPs. And honestly, it worked quite well.

 

But what was your intention behind guest blogging? Give out well-written content and share your expertise? Really?

 

For it is in giving that we receive—St. Francis of Assisi

 

And most SEOs I know religiously went by it. They gave out guest posts—original, well-written, spilling their expertise—but only to receive a backlink (or two?).

 

If it wasn’t for the coveted backlinks, most would rather publish a good post on their own blog than have it adorn some other website. Wouldn’t you? Why should you spend hours writing a great piece and then give it to someone else?

 

Well, you should, because:

  1. It will add to your mentions and reinforce your standing (yes, we’re headed that way)
  2. It might get you additional traffic (and perhaps is a way of Google-proofing your site)

If you really are an erudite writer and want to share your knowledge, a high-traffic website might be a good place to find your readers.

 

Guest posting is clearly not a legit way to acquire links (they add credibility only when they come on their own), and it never was. But it is still a great way to build digital public relations.

 

 

Google’s special doodle on your Birthday

How about a personalized “Happy Birthday” doodle from Google? The search giant that genially modifies the look of its homepage for all special occasions and birthdays of celebrities has gone a step further to make you a special homepage on your birthday.

 

Your birthday special doodle will show up on google.com or google.co.in on your special day if you’ve added your birth-date in your Google Profile and are signed in to the service.

 

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Google has been trying to personalize the whole experience for each user and this added birthday wish is another step in making your screens more to your liking. It’s nice to have one more person, especially the one that you go to for all your questions, remember your birthday. But for Google, this could be just one of those baits that they tempt us with, in exchange of their wonderful, free, and now-personalized services.

Expanding your comfort zone

When you feel good, you do good. It is no secret that our best, most-effective work is done when we’re enjoying the process but how do we get there? How to find that comfort zone where life just flows, your heart and head are in sync, and you can do your best work? I recently realized that you don’t FIND your comfort zone, you create it. Growth is all about expanding your current comfort zone.

It’s not that I was hung over or just lazing through the first fortnight of the New Year, but unlike most around me, I did not start anything new. Even though I don’t care much about the new-year-new-starts formula, January is the time when a lot of us revisit our plans and set new personal and professional goals.

If you don’t, it feels as if you’re going to be left behind.

Your comfort zone

However, your choices are not about everybody, they are about YOU. I didn’t start the early morning workout this time because it was freezing outside, and having been in good shape most of last year, I could afford to lie in the first week of the New Year without having to feel guilty about it.

Work has also seen my more disciplined side in the past two months, so I didn’t feel the need to make any major changes there.

But the fact is, even if I had to go running at 5 in the morning or dedicate 14 hours to my current work, I wouldn’t consider it a challenge. I’ve done it before. These activities were well within my comfort zone.

Doing it late is better than doing it against your will. Whether it is working out, writing, coding, learning something new, I always get the best results when I’m not pressed for the outcome but am just enjoying the process.

Whether you are lazy, hardworking, moody or somewhere still confused—don’t let the world and its standards push you too hard. Give yourself some time, keep slowly working towards your goals, and you’ll end up creating the place that feels comfortable.  

Effective work can only be done by people who are operating in their comfort zone but every accomplishment is at first going to feel like a struggle. It will need you to get out of set patterns and expand your comfort zone.

Expanding your comfort zone

If you’ve ever been to a gym, you’d know that even the growth of a muscle is a painful process.

You have to work through the difficult days that you’re not quite your best self. It’s human to feel tense, edgy, and restless while you’re finding your way through an uncertain situation.

We go through months and years of discomfort and difficulties for the privilege of finding that comfort zone, where we can spend some time being easy and still performing optimally. Even then, we don’t get to stay there forever. We have to move on, jump to the next challenge, expand our comfort zone again because that’s how we grow and become worthy of the next accomplishment.

You have to be continually expanding your comfort zone by going through the grinder, so you can give your best to whatever you do.