“One of the first jobs I had was counting screws at my uncle’s hardware store,” Rafa tells me as we chat on a Discord call. That sounds miserable to me, and I let Rafa know that I wouldn’t have lasted very long doing that work. “It was tedious,” he agrees, “but it got me thinking about how systems and organizations work.” It’s obvious in speaking with him that this was no passing spark of inspiration. From his uncle's store to the present day, he has continued to think about systems and organizations. A lot.
As a core contributor to Cabin, Rafa researches and experiments on ways we could improve the systems by which we work, collaborate, and socialize. He acts as a “knowledge stringer,” a self-discovered role designed to disseminate Cabin’s findings and theories to the wider web3 ecosystem.
Rafa’s intellectual output is a stream of good data and optimistic new language in the form of articles (such as the widely influential “How to DAO” series), and frequent tweets. He also remains keyed into what Cabin contributors are working on in order to seek out and share relevant articles and events with them.
“I make sure the right information makes its way to the right people at the right time,” he says.
Raised in Puerto Rico, Rafa moved to the mainland United States after high school to study engineering. Upon graduating, he began a professional journey through a myriad of positions in industries such as manufacturing, consulting, data analytics, marketing, product management, and sales. He noticed that regardless of the industry, “all roads lead to people,” meaning that collectives tend to thrive best when individuals are able to self-design bespoke working roles based on their unique backgrounds and perspectives. However, as most traditional organizations do not allow for their employees’ passions and experiences to have a chance to define and influence their work, Rafa found himself feeling constrained. As he searched for better ways to organize, Rafa eventually found his way into the world of Web3.
After taking a year off of corporate work to explore online communities, Rafa eventually came across Six Economies of Online Creators, an article written by Cabin co-founder Jon Hillis. This piqued Rafa’s interest. He connected with Jon and got involved with Creator Co-op, a program started by Jon that awarded grants to artists so that they could begin creating on a full-time basis. The Creator Co-op community proved to be highly aligned with his personal values and he found many new friends by participating in the group’s discord. When Cabin was born, Rafa was one of the first financial backers and immediately began contributing research and articles.
Rafa’s vision is rooted in the current moment, but extends well beyond his own lifetime. He views himself as belonging to an early movement towards freeing collaboration and work dynamics, and believes the implications may not be fully felt for another 100 years or more. As CabinDAO continues building towards a human-centered way for engaging interaction in professional and social settings, Rafa feels personally called to help facilitate the process as a researcher and communicator.
“If we don’t define these new opportunities, others will, and there’s a time crunch for people who care about people to create these definitions so that others don’t lean back on profit oriented language.”
To get more content from us on how to level up as a DAO leader and operator, make sure to subscribe to our weekly newsletter.