Brain Dump #6 - Picking and Choosing Our Battles

Thank you for this fantastic reminder. It’s so easy to loose sight of the bigger purpose, not only in an organization but in our own lives too. This space moves so fast and fomo is so real that we normalize the chase and forget the why.

That TED talk was just the coffee companion I needed as I set my days trajectory.

Very well thought out @frogmonkee , appreciate your brain dumps as always!

The very real burnout of L2s being spread too thin is super FOMO and trying to work on all of these things; we need to let go and empower new contributors to dive in.

Well said @jameswmontgomery.eth . I’ve had to make this adjustment myself, tough but necessary.

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I am very glad to see this discussion happening. Thank you @frogmonkee for initiating it. I’ve rather recently gotten involved with the DAO, and the experience for me has vacillated between inspired and excited to confused and concerned.

I’m one of the voters who disagreed with the asset allocation proposed. At this point in the DAO’s growth, I think much more attention and resources should be devoted to back-of-house efforts.

I’d echo what some other people said on here about slowing down. At this point in the DAO’s development, it seems to me that we should have less emphasis on trying to ship revenue-generating products and services until we can be certain we can deliver them with the highest levels of consistency and quality. Also, that pricing and revenue models are developed to ensure that contributors and the DAO are compensated in line with the value of what we create.

Another consideration is that Bankless DAO exists under the Bankless HQ banner. The presents both advantages and obligations. The DAO gets the exposure and halo effect of the reputation and brand created by the Bankless podcast and newsletter. We also have the obligation to make sure that any products and content we offer reflect, protect and amplify the Bankless brand image. We play an ever-growing role in establishing the Bankless brand and leadership reputation in web3. This means we need to ensure that we deliver excellence with everything we offer the public and the DAO community. Having back of house operations, procedures, tools, workflows and teams thought through, dialed in, and working well before hitting the street is crucial.

I totally get the excitement and the eagerness and the sense of urgency to ship. Everyone loves game time. That’s what I love doing, too! But it’s crucial to put in the planning, practice and coordination beforehand to make sure we’re ready and coordinated to produce at a high level. Right now, that means a greater focus on back-of-house efforts to be excellent at the front-of-house efforts moving forward.

I’m not saying we should stop the presses and don’t do anything. Just that more thought and focus should be put on the Why and How we do things than on the Whats right now. Thanks for reading.

I see this forum has an old username for me. This is Elemental (Floptomist Prime)

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Fantastic post @frogmonkee, super elucidating. It appears that delegation is needed for your sake and ours, no use burning you out.

I don’t interpret the model as if it allows the Grants Committee to include projects that are entirely outside or oppose/dillute the mission. Would you be fine with prioritizing revenue generating projects with that addition?

First of all, thank you to EVERYONE the replied. It touches my heart to see everyone so engaged with direction and strategy.

Okay, now to business.

On Priorities:

Reading these comments, prioritizing is hard. I threw some numbers up as a starting point, but somehow find creating a v2 is even more difficult.

Front of House

I think @0xRene, @links, and @intlcapitalist brought up good points on priorities, in that we need to stay aligned on mission and vision.

Our Mission reads:

We will help the world go Bankless by creating user-friendly onramps for people to discover decentralized financial technologies through education, media, and culture.

and Vision:

To live in a world where anyone with an internet connection has access to the financial tools needed to achieve financial independence

Perhaps our next objective should be to reorient back to these anchors.

As such, I think our FoH priorities can be prioritized as:

  1. Clear revenue generation and strict adherence to mission and vision (Bankless Consultancy)
  2. Strict adherence to mission and vision without clear revenue paths (Smart Contract Literacy)
  3. Clear revenue generation with loose adherence to mission and vision (Flipper.tool NFT)
  • This is better than the previous prioritization
  • This is worse than the previous prioritization

0 voters

There will inevitably be problems around what strict vs loose adherence is. :warning: I welcome discussion on this point.

As an addendum, I want to surface what @addamsson said:

If we focus on revenue-generating projects only then infrastructure projects will have a problem and I think that they are essential because they enable projects building on top of them to be more efficient / productive

I agree here, but not sure how to qualify these projects. Projects like DEGEN, BB, and DAOdash account for a large chunk of funding but don’t fit neatly into the categories described above. :warning: I welcome discussion on this point .

Back of House

With the above said, I’m still seeing multiple people in this forum thread calling for slowing down to reduce clutter. I think there’s a trade-off between (1) Enabling new contributors to pursue projects vs (2) Keeping a clean interface that doesn’t immediately turn off new entrants to our DAO.

I’m going to take a strong stance here and say we should prioritize #2, which will let us scale #1. Taking from Adam’s point above, we are missing the infrastructure required to help projects be more efficient/productive.

To me, a clean interface means:

  1. Better onboarding
  2. Less noise in Discord
  3. Sobol integration (DAO Cartography)
  4. Notion standardization/clean up
  5. Easier ways to surface information about guilds and projects
  6. Dedicated community managers

Fortunately, we can easily measure these outcomes by doing regular surveys on how cluttered and confusing members think the DAO is.

As such, I’ll propose that we dedicate time, resources, and priorities to these objectives and be more stringent with funding new projects until our “Contributor Experience” score improves.

  • Strongly Agree
  • Agree
  • Neutral
  • Disagree
  • Strongly Disagree

0 voters

Membership Perks / Vibes

I think I misspoke when presenting Membership Perks. Membership perks are things like token alpha, exclusive drops, priority access to media, etc - exclusive perks for holding 35,000 BANK.

What I meant to refer to was Vibes. Events like:

  • Moving showing
  • JackBox games
  • Poker nights
  • D&D&DAO
  • Mental health support meetings

These are aimed towards keeping morale up between core contributors that spend the majority of their day in the DAO. To me, this is an investment in the mental fitness of our most active contributors and creating spaces for bonding outside of work. But this requires coordination and compensation, though maybe closer to 5-10% of budget.

PS. I think there is some room to include IRL events, but that blends into membership perks. I’d like to see some brainstorming and proposals around standardizing funding.

  • What events do fund? Local meetups vs parties during conferences.
  • How do we vet event planners? (eg. @basil held multiple successful NYC events before asking for funding for NFT NYC.)
  • Do we have a cap on funding per seasons and create a “Geographies” working group?
  • Maybe we hold one-off hype events with a fee to recoup some of the costs of funding IRL events

Funding & GC

Do you agree with earmarking funds this way?

  • Strongly Agree
  • Agree
  • Neutral
  • Disagree
  • Strongly Disagree

0 voters

By earmarking funds, the Grants Committee will be able to make better decisions without having to use subjective judgement.

Earlier, I mentioned that GC should evaluate teams, not projects. Thinking more on this, I’m starting to think that we should not only be mindful of the quality of the team, but also the experience team members have had within the DAO. I’ve copied my reply to @jameswmontgomery.eth, which can be found in full further down:

But, I’m not sold on the idea that the “old guard” needs to step away so new members can thrive. What many guild leaders and project coordinators have in common is a shared experience - We cut our teeth in the DAO before we stepped into coordination roles.

This is a bull market, we are onboarding tons of talented & brilliant contributors; we need to put them to work and pay them so they stay.

I fully agree with you here. But I think the way to do this is to create inroads for guilds and existing projects as opposed to directing them to creating new projects. We’ve done that with contributors like @hashedMae, @samanthaj, @Brustkern, and others - all of which now occupy leadership roles in the DAO.

Should contribution to guilds/projects be considered when approving grants?

  • Yes
  • No

0 voters

Directed Replies

@samanthaj

That’s why I advocated for a re-work of our bDAO CCs to focus on keynote speakers rather than a firehose of project updates

When you have a moment, can you kick up a general forum post to continue this conversation?

@ZrowGz @0x_Lucas

Maybe the proposals for funding should be re-located to consensus mechanisms, such that it doesn’t fall upon any group of individuals?

I think this could be a unique opportunity for us to leverage a Mirror Token Race to determine the projects we want to prioritize on a Season by Season basis.

I’m in agreement with you both here. I want to decentralize the decision making power that GC has, but I don’t think know is the right time to do it. We’re still lacking a lot of information in proposals that allow us to make educated and informed decisions, such as:

  • Squad’s ability to ship
  • Relevant perspectives to inform voters on matters outside their domains (eg. Why a dev-centric proposal would have high costs for maintaining servers.)
  • Variance in compensation plans (WIP)

Until we have solid guidelines for how proposals should be evaluated, I think a decentralized Grants model will allocate resources inefficiently.

@jameswmontgomery.eth

Dude. Your reply made me think a lot, thank you! I think there definitely is some “letting go” that many L2s can benefit from and I’m generally in favor or new projects and new teams.

But, I’m not sold on the idea that the “old guard” needs to step away so new members can thrive. What many guild leaders and project coordinators have in common is a shared experience - We cut our teeth in the DAO before we stepped into coordination roles.

This is a bull market, we are onboarding tons of talented & brilliant contributors; we need to put them to work and pay them so they stay.

I fully agree with you here. But I think the way to do this is to create inroads for guilds and existing projects as opposed to directing them to creating new projects. We’ve done that with contributors like @hashedMae, @samanthaj, @Brustkern, and others - all of which now occupy leadership roles in the DAO.

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I agree here, but not sure how to qualify these projects. Projects like DEGEN, BB, and DAOdash account for a large chunk of funding but don’t fit neatly into the categories described above. :warning: I welcome discussion on this point .

Yea, the work is hard to quantify, and the projects are hard to qualify. :sweat_smile: It is also hard to put my finger on it. I will let you know if I bump into a situation where this would apply. I’m speaking from past experience, and I don’t know how this situation will look like in this specific environment.

This. This is an excellent point. How can we reengineer the Community Calls to support the community, and to bring cohesion to the DAO at large?

Thanks for the tweaks and clarifications @frogmonkee, they are helpful.

I have what may be a nonsensical question: what is the impetus for revenue generation? I know it’s a virtuous cycle: more revenue = bigger treasury = higher value for BANK = more passionate contributors willing to work for BANK = more project work = more revenue. I just don’t understand why we should EVER support projects for ONLY revenue reasons when we already have many contributors who are already willing to work for BANK. Do we have a “runway” that we’re nearing the end of? Is there something I’m missing?

I think understanding this will help me understand your priorities. I actually preferred your original funding graph where you only specified FoH, BoH, and Vibes - trying to earmark funds for rev-generating vs non-rev generating vs non-mission focused is too complicated and opinionated, and just makes it harder for new people/projects to navigate the funding process.

To speak to L2’s feeling stretched: if we really want a long-term, sustainable DAO, we need to solve this problem now. It’s true that we should be trying to attract talent continuously, but it’s a waste if that talent just ends up burnt out. It’s possible to create an organization in which people are energized and doing their best work every day. It takes effort and a long view. This really drives home the need for BoH and Vibe funding for me.

One of the problems that I also see when funding some projects is that they don’t have a finished product. Many times it’s just an idea. It would be great if we can start giving funds when we see KPIs or finished products. From what I can get from conversations with other DAO members this is shared with many.

If we fund projects in the beginning of their life cycle, the people working on them will get remunerated whether they work on it or not. We should not play lottery with our precious resources.

In addition to this and taking into account the project live cycle working group, it would be great to start monitoring projects to see their progress or assist then should they need it.

I do not know how relevant my comments will be given that I have joined roughly 20 days ago – and yet, I feel very attached to the DAO – but I will try to shape my points to the best of my ability.

First of all, a big thank you @frogmonkee for writing this. I believe this brain dump helps us pivot our course of action as we head towards the completion of season 2. I especially enjoyed the history lesson, I am almost sad that I missed out on the early days.

When I read this, I thought that the rest of the forum post would be about looking inwards. However, as I continued to read, I found that much stress had been laid upon revenue generation. Again, I am fairly new, but the solution to this problem seems like we should be focusing on BoH priorities more. More importantly, I wish to inquire if this is really a problem, or is it simply the end of the honeymoon period for most L2s? It is exciting to kick something off but then responsibilities start to weigh us down. I think L2s can comment better on this; I fear that we may be judging ourselves too harshly here.

Case in point: I have always been vocal about the creation of a warm and loving environment for newcomers. I remember hopping on to the first Edu guild call and @fin4thepeople trying out streaming for the first time (lol). Yesterday, @JENetics DMed me asking about how much more BANK would I need to become L1, and then she cheered me on. @Kouros told me that he wants to see me succeed as a new member on a video call and @Grendel has been fairly generous with his praise. I cannot forget @marvel’s tips as well (I think he is not on forum). The fact is: you guys are pretty inclusive. I would say the warmth and hospitality at Bankless is something I am yet to find in another DAO as a crypto newbie. Maybe the L2s have more responsibilities at the moment, especially because they may have day jobs. Maybe splitting them more evenly with L1s can alleviate their stress levels. It may be the Pareto principle at play: 20% of people trying to do 80% of the job.

I will be willing to agree with this– in case we are through with the discussion of whether we need to promote the existing culture more or is it adequate – if someone can highlight how far away revenue generation ops can be from our values. It is hard to have consistent checks on the DAO and it is growing every day. It is a cherishing spectacle but I think we would benefit in the future by having some standard method of determining when revenue generation falls off the line too much for it to be considered as fundable by Bankless.

I really like this. It will also incentivize people to choose-and-stick to their projects. Your past success is the criterion for your future funding; I believe we would narrow our focus and perhaps that will help us solve the burnt-out nature of L2s and L1s.

I think I can comment on this.
Yes, we do need more coordination among guilds, especially for the first-quests. Inter-guild coordination would also help solve the problem of double work. I would like for the community to arrive at a consensus for what consultancy, academy, mentorship, and client services do and how they fit into each other. As long as we have a clear understanding of what everyone else does, we would know what to do ourselves without stepping on anyone’s toes. For example, why is client services listed as a project on reaction-roles but bank-on-polygon is not? I am not sure if there is a method to deciding which projects get a discord channel vs which ones also get a reaction-role placement vs which ones remain confined to general guild channels or their subthreads.

OTHER COMMENTS AND SUGGESTIONS
I was talking to @Droste from AV and he told me that some guilds have decided to split the guest-pass coordinape round into three and they allocate remunerations on a monthly basis. It solves the problem of keeping track of contribution and involvement: you will likely allocate a higher amount to someone who was especially active in the last month of the season. I think that is something to be pondered upon.

Secondly, I am impressed by the clear contribution criteria set out by the writers’ guild. I believe their work is more tangible in nature, because of which they can clearly define how they are going to pay their members (example: an editorial in weekly rollup gets you 2000 BANK). As far as I know, such upfront mentions of compensation do not exist in all the guilds. I think we would benefit from delineating compensation criteria better.

Thirdly, since I hang around the get-involved channel a lot, I get DMs from people who are new to Discord in general. I was thinking if there’s a repository of saved videos of workshops that we have had on Discord use (cc: @ernest_of_gaia ); maybe I can hook them up with the videos. Moreover, I think such important resources can be collated in a google drive of some kind. People active in the support can guide newcomers through that.

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You covered a lot of topics and I’m grateful to you.

We start from the observation that BanklessDAO’s mission is based on educating people to know how to live and build in crypto: not only in BanklessDAO, otherwise it would be an ecosystem in itself. Indeed, the more we widen the mesh and make it easier to build projects in BanklessDAO that would never be approved anywhere else in crypto, the more we fail in our mission.
Instead of educating, we indulge. This permissiveness does not educate, but rather makes life difficult every time you leave BanklessDAO.

I do not make it an old guard and new generation problem: we often see how new people manage to excel in the DAO. It is a question of maximizing this step, which is not possible if we do not require each of us (new and old) to study, educate, learn and build in a serious and responsible way.

The guilds are fundamental in this process but in some cases they are entering into crisis due to the continuous increasingly strong influx of new members. These are the problems I see:

  • difficulty in building solid relationships with all new members
  • impossibility of assigning a (paid) task to everyone
  • little patience on the part of some new members to learn, even when they are new not only to dao but also to crypto
  • difficulty in understanding how to live in DAOs and crypto

The guilds therefore are unable to fully carry out their educational work, which should have been carried out at least in part by the numerous educational projects planned.

I agree that, instead of focusing on promoting casual planning, it would be better to study new and more effective onboarding and educational methods.

So our effort, from my point of view, should be strongly directed towards onboarding and education and also towards a fair but severe judgment of everything that is presented as a project.

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Hi frog,

thanks for taking the time to read and reflect. I like the way we iterate ourselves to the ideal way of approaching this.

I like this priority. When it comes to the application of it, I understand one aspect will be the allocation of funds.

Taking into account that you also mentioned increasing the level of decentralization in allocation of funds: What about taking an experiment by increasing the level of consensus as we go down the priority list? I.e. Priority 1 will be allocated by GC, Priority 2 will be allocated through Forum vote and Priority 3 will need a Snapshot vote. This will increase the level of consensus that the DAO needs to agree to fund projects that do either not create revenue or not tie into the mission. And this allows us also to compare the side effects each of those approaches will bring.

I feel this is a typical problem organizations face. It is the question of buying infrastructure or building it. We are in a great situation, the industry still has a lot of need for new and effective infrastructure. Therefore I feel it should be possible to identify those infrastructure projects that have revenue potential because there is no other good solution out there. Lets fund those and buy the rest where needed.

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:heart: this one. You’re on point and I’ve added to the polls along the way. I don’t feel need to say much more 'cause community has clearly got it on this one. Nice work leading it out and hosting a great discourse as always @frogmonkee

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This is a great post. Thanks for thinking through and posting it. I agree %1000 with several of the points made regarding prioritizing products with clear business models and an emphasis on execution teams. I was ruminating on some of the same points in October which resulted in this post. These were some of my takeaway points:

  • Increase visibility. Move all funded DAO projects/products to the main website homepage and make them the primary emphasis of the weekly CC.

  • Differentiate by tooling. Create dedicated Github repositories for all funded projects under the DAO’s official organizational account. This will introduce concrete feature team membership through repository access and make team progress transparent. This also has the benefit of introducing project boards that can have concrete assignees and release target dates.

  • Prioritize product funding. As a DAO, increase focus on funding products with clear revenue models and proven execution teams. This doesn’t mean specialty groups can’t be funded on the basis of public goods but that should not be the major thrust of funding.

cc @jameswmontgomery.eth
One of the biggest things I’ve gotten out of bDAO is being empowered both as an individual and as a member of a larger group. I think cultivating and developing talent is an important long term goal for the health of bDAO but we also need to do the same for leaders. There are unseen challenges ahead of us as it becomes necessary for bDAO to scale, but by developing a strong and broad cadre of leaders we increase decentralization within bDAO and lessen the impact for when one of us falters.

“The Old Guard” are the ones who marked the first trails through this space for all of us that followed. They set the tone and seeded the culture we have now. People should absolutely make brutally honest assessments of their own capacities and not let the rest of their life suffer for the sake of bDAO, but I think it’s way too early for anyone to step aside. I’d much rather continue to work alongside y’all, while creating opportunities for new folk to do the same.

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Had a little time to read all topics here lately, so this could be a late comment, but here it is.

First to say, frogmonkee, it is great to have you in BanklessDAO, your insights through Brain Dump are always meaningfull.

DAO is feeling as work, yes, but there is a community, or to put it other way, horizontal organization, there is hardly vertical - boss oriented communication - and this make working DAO stuff more fun and community owned, than doing work for some company.

Personally, I am IMN adria champion, and we are a team of two, that function as partners, there is no divide on champion and translator, for the matter, and job is getting done.

Of course, it is great to have devotion by many members, that want to contribute, and that is what makes BanklessDAO what it is, would not call it money grabing. from all the projects that you listed from Season 1, most are great ideas and provide services for DAO ecosystem, broader than BanklessDAO.

Regarding funding, I think that proposed structure is a bit too much profit oriented, and would structure it as following, at least for next season, since we need a lot of work in structuring DAO as organization:

40% towards FoH
40% towards BoH
20% towards Membership Perks

I’m less of the mind that old guard should “step aside”, and moreso want to make sure we’re not just optimizing & limiting our focus for the sake of old guard capacity. I want to make sure there is space to new folks to grow, lead, and create things; much like you pushing Talent Coordinator and SC Literacy. My fear is that reigning things in would not leave space for the next SC Literacy idea or role, but perhaps my imagination is getting the best of me!

Thanks for you comment; definitely agree about evaluating our capabilities - I think many of us our doing that and focusing on what we can do (hopefully!) and dealing with the FOMO. Always a work in progress!

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OMG. I finally caught up with this post. This such an incredible post. Should be permanently minted as an NFT. :rofl:

  1. Regarding mess
    I do agree with many of the view points here. Ultimately, we are an internet native organisation and we need to remain open, so being messy is just kind of the name of the game.

It’s a little like the blockchain trilemma…

We want to be OPEN and WELCOMING and ORGANISED and EFFICIENT and DECENTRALISED and ACTION focused. At some point the BanklessDAO trilemma breaks.

And when things break, I vote for people and communities. Go to where the good vibes are. Projects, guilds and work groups with “good vibes”, ultimately will deliver better.

Which is why I put high priorities on meaningful human contact in the onboarding process. I don’t feel there will be a way to “automate” this away, no matter how good we become with first quest.

  1. Regarding projects
    It’s really hard to say no. In my own organisation, I say no all the time to the different ideas and ways to drain organisational time, that’s fine, cos i’m a dictator. (sorry i mean director :stuck_out_tongue: )

However, in the BanklessDAO, we want to be nice, I haven’t really told anyone not to do something in the BanklessDAO yet.

But obviously in my mind, if you cannot garner enough talent under your work group, surely there must be a reason. And these projects without a functional workgroup and history of execution ought not to receive funding, no matter how glitzy the roadmaps look like.

And I sort of feel that is the “unspoken” criteria that the grants committee go by as well, and I’m totally fine with that. Ultimately, someone has to say no, on behalf of the BanklessDAO, and the “bad guys” happen to be the GC. Thanks!

  1. Regarding “front of house” and “back of house”
    I’m like the “back of the house” sucker, doing all these education projects and new member onboarding stuff. But… don’t throw us away yet… We will become revenue generating, just that we don’t move at rocket speeds like the other guilds. We need time to germinate.
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I agree with this; we need to allow space for new contributors to create & own new initiatives. The very real burnout of L2s being spread too thin is super FOMO and trying to work on all of these things; we need to let go and empower new contributors to dive in.

As much as I support the sentiment of attracting more people to spark more initiatives, I’m afraid that the majority of newcomers might not be looking for leadership roles. People who summon DAOs for breakfast tend to forget that a lot of talent out there never “owned” anything and will come to us because Writers Guild’s articles promised them to break free from their boss, probably omitting many things you’ll have to become if you want that freedom.

I don’t have a strong opinion here (giving myself a break on that), but I’d explore a composition of the two approaches:

Focus on the core products and offerings that BanklessDAO is becoming known for, but also invest in building infrastructure and ecosystem around them to really stand out as a brand to be mass-adopted.


There is a ton of work to be done to unlock the full potential of everything we currently have. This would create plenty of jobs for all kinds of contributors, no matter what their initial goals are. We won’t expect all of them to jump into leadership and save L2s from the grind. But new leaders will still naturally emerge, and some of them will be driving these new parts of the thriving and consistent ecosystem to enrich the bankless experience we promise in our mission.

A possible evaluation metric to add in S3 for new project funding could be:

In what way our established products benefit from this proposal,
and how to measure this added value?

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