Mutually Benefitting from Misaligned Goals

James Mart
4 min readJul 15, 2022

…the contributions of others toward their own personal missions can and should, to an extent, still be considered valuable contributions to one’s own goal.


No visionary has a fully comprehensive description for what they think the future should look like, as there’s always some ambiguity in their goals. They also may not know the optimal set of steps to realize that vision. But if one wants to maximize the probability that one’s goals are realized, one ought to organize their efforts alongside other like-minded individuals.

When looking for those with whom to organize your efforts, one potential tradeoff is in finding fewer people who are more perfectly aligned with your specific vision, or finding greater numbers of people who are less aligned with your vision. No one will perfectly share your vision, since all goals, like anything else, cannot be perfectly communicated to others, who necessarily have slight differences in their understanding of words and concepts. Communication is lossy.

Thankfully, it’s not necessary to collaborate with others who perfectly share your vision, as moving in two seemingly different directions can be mutually beneficial. Consider the effect that (A)lice and (B)ob’s individual directions have on each other’s goals in the following diagram:

When people collaborate, they often unlock various efficiencies they would be unable to realize on their own. This is sometimes referred to as an economy of scale. The diagram above shows both the vector of combined effort as a direct sum of the two component vectors, and the vector representing an economy of scale that further amplifies those efforts. The economies of scale realized by working together, rather than separately, further increases the mutual benefit realized to two disparate missions.

Of course, the greater the alignment, the greater each individual contribution will benefit the other goals. And if two directions are too divergent, they may actively detract from each other:

The community mission

Since no statement can perfectly crystalize a mission, a community mission statement will attract people who have similar, but not identical visions. A mission statement that is overly broad is likely to attract people whose contributions reflect widely divergent goals. For example, consider a mission to simply, “protect human rights.” Such a broad vision could attract both those working to protect “the right to life” for the unborn, and those working to protect “the right to bodily autonomy” for pregnant women. The contributions of these diverse sub-goals would detract from each other. On the other hand, an esoteric mission statement is likely to only attract a small number of people, and the community will miss out on contributions that would otherwise realize mutual benefit.

This is an important realization that impacts how effective communities will form. If you’re a group of individuals whose specific goal deviates only slightly from the goals of a larger organization, it may be significantly more efficient for you to join forces with the larger organization to take advantage of the benefits of collaboration and larger economies of scale. At some point when the membership of those with the alternative vision reaches a sufficient size, only then may it be beneficial to split into a smaller and more focused group, or it may never.

Personal missions

Ultimately, regardless of a mission statement, the mission accomplished by a community is the collective result of the community individuals pursuing their own missions. Therefore, even while the community mission statement doesn’t change, the actual mission itself is constantly shifting based on the current membership and their perspectives at a given moment in time.

It is to be expected, therefore, that one should find oneself in the company of others whose goals are directionally misaligned with one’s own. Perhaps counterintuitively, the contributions of others toward their own personal missions can and should, to an extent, still be considered valuable contributions to one’s own goal.

ƒractal DAO

Society is not familiar with forms of human organization that are decentralized and autonomous, and the validity of such a model for collaboration has yet to prove itself against the incumbent centralized models. ƒractally is one such experiment to determine whether DAOs can compete with traditional governance in its ability to organize effort toward the development of public goods and other long time-preference action.

Consensus on the mission in a fractal emerges from repeated rounds of reaching consensus on various contributions made in service of individual interests that ostensibly align with a shared goal. Just as each individual consensus round is an imperfect measurement of the value of each contribution, so too the total set of all measurements cannot be considered to converge on an accurate measurement of a single metric. Rather, many measurements establish an approximation correlated with the average opinion of the community, even as goals and membership change over time.

ƒractally therefore allows individuals to self-organize into collaborating groups to maximize mutual benefit between each other and advance their similar goals. It allows communities to identify and remove those whose goals sufficiently diverge from the average. The tokenization of the community Respect and community governance power will tend to accumulate to those whose efforts are best aligned with the average vision of the rest of the community. Indeed, ƒractal DAOs are extremely well-positioned to achieve their goals through the realization of decentralized economies of scale and mutual benefit.

James Mart
Twitter: _JamesMart



James Mart

Science, education, the pursuit of truth, coordination, simplicity, neutrality, anti-fragility.