[Draft 2] Governance Solutions Engineer Program

Title: [Draft 2] Governance Solutions Engineer Program
Authors: frogmonkee#6855
Squad: frogmonkee#6855
Date Created: January 4th, 2022
Date Posted: January 5th, 2022

Changes from Draft 1 are marked with a :warning:

SUMMARY

:warning: I want to preface this by saying that I have no idea if this will work. What I present below is my best attempt to activating the DAO to work on hard problems that materially affect everyone. Remember what I said about this still being a grand experiment.

This proposal, seeks to activate groups of people to address two important challenges for the DAO:

  • Contributor Incentives
  • Strategic Prioritization

It outlines the need for these two problem spaces to have a dedicated team responsible for designing scalable solutions that align with the community’s sentiment.

Deliverables are defined as a thorough and community-aligned specification in order to update our governance procedures and create room for growth. A close comparable is the original Season Specification that continues to act as an important cornerstone in our governance model.

As such, this proposal calls for:

  • :warning: Five elected members of the DAO to lead these two problem spaces, known as Governance Solutions Engineer (GSEs). Each GSE will be granted 75,000 BANK as an initial allocation in Season 3 (375K total). At the end of the Season, when deliverables are presented to the DAO, the DAO will vote on whether to apply a bonus of up to 750,000 BANK.
  • 500,000 BANK set aside for each problem space to incentivize participation in working groups, led by the five elected members (1M total). This would be allocated to the working group and distributed as per the group’s decision, not at the GSE’s discretion.

BACKGROUND

When building an organization, there’s this mental model of working in the organization vs working on the organization. I highlighted this distinction in Onwards to Season 3! under the Season 3: Revenge of Moloch heading, so I’ll just quickly summarize here:

As organizations grow and scale, their underlying operational model must change too. As new organizational behavior and information arise, systems must adapt and modify. Our current operational model - grants, guilds, projects, proposals, compensation - was largely ideated between May 4th and June 8th.

Six months in, we’re seeing where the existing operational model is insufficient:

  • In Season 2, the Grants Committee ran out of funding with a month left in the Season, despite increasing the budget by an additional 40% from Season 1
  • Projects have come back for funding without a clear way to evaluate whether these projects should be funded a second or third time.
  • Community voting does not reflect critical evaluation. We largely vote yes without taking the time to evaluate the full scope of a proposal.
  • (Related to above) People do not have the bandwidth to participate in proposal discussion
  • Grants Committee sometimes does not have sufficient subject matter expertise to evaluate project scope (namely developer projects)
  • We have no way to evaluate the value that a project brings do the DAO when coming back for funding
  • Compensation was set at 1000 BANK/hr, back when BANK average 5 cents per token. Today, we sit at 15.
  • Compensation varies heavily in the DAO between standard roles like Talent Scout, Guild Coordinator, Secretary, etc.
  • :warning: Grants Committee standardized Guild Coordinapes at 75,000
  • L2 contributor status doesn’t accommodate for Guest Pass members that have shown themselves worthy of L2 status.

The points above reflect challenges that come from outgrowing our current framework. Not to mention the new challenges unforeseen:

  • SubDAOs
  • Token utility within the ecosystem (eg. Driving utility to BANK token, like using it to make purchases or gating content behind a token threshold via Mintgate )

As a quick aside, I see the problems broken down into two main categories:

  • Contributor Alignment - How do we properly reward active DAO contributors, accounting for the varying skillsets and time commitment people are making?
  • Strategic Prioritization - :warning: What should we say no to? How do we, as a DAO, learn how to say no? How do we do this in a way that empowers the community to make decisions while also letting high-context individuals influence outcomes?

My point here is that, in Season 0, we directed our attention in working on the organization and building systems/processes. In Season 1 and Season 2, all those same people worked in the organization. Now, we have new information and behavior that are forcing us to re-evaluate those systems/processes that we built.

Now you may stop and say, “Well okay, why don’t we just spin up a working group in this…? Let’s just find a bunch of people interested in solving these problems and let’s get on with it!” Good question! I tried. Nearly 3 months ago, I created this forum post: ALL HANDS ON DECK: Compensation and PLM Working Groups . In it, I called for a group of interested parties to help scope out our inadequate compensation guidance. The result? Despite having 15 people signal their interest , we only met three times and we delivered on this flimsy forum post .

I see this failure resulting from two factors:

  1. Our working group did not have explicit signaling from the DAO that this was a major priority. We’re all fucking busy in our respective niches. Without an explicit mandate from the DAO saying “This is important, we need people on this project,” it’s really difficult to activate people to redirect their resources and attention on this matter.
  2. I did not have the time and bandwidth to lead this working group. I was active in a number of different places in the DAO, and without some social signal and explicitly incentivization, it eventually fell down my priority list.

Given my experience here, I want to propose a new model - One that creates an explicit mandate from the DAO to focus on these two problem areas and properly incentivizes participation.

Ladies, Gentlemen, and non-binaries, I’d like to introduce the Governance Solutions Engineer Program

MISSION & VALUES ALIGNMENT

I’m going to be lazy here, but in the Onwards to Season 3! forum post, I did a quick temp check on this topic with overwhelming support of a focus on Governance and Coordination:

SPECIFICATION

What are GSEs?

In the failures section just above, I pointed out how I did not have the bandwidth to coordinate/lead the Compensation working group. As such, the working group ended up falling to the wayside on my list of priorities.

Given this outcome, I think it’s important to explicitly assign coordinator responsibility. We need people who view it as their #1 priority to lead these working groups. As such, I define GSEs as:

  • Governance-minded DAO members elected to spec out a comprehensive solution to mission-critical DAO infrastructure challenges.
  • These members are not to operate in silos and make decisions on behalf of the DAO. They are to work with the DAO to find the optimal solution by progressively designing solutions, presenting them to the DAO, capturing feedback, and iterating.
  • GSEs have appropriate context for the problems they are working on and properly embody the values of the DAO. They are trusted by their social reputation for acting in the best interest in the DAO.
  • GSEs must make this their #1 priority. :warning: Given the scope of activity in the DAO, many qualified members hold multiple other positions. Instead of requiring that GSE only hold one other role, max, any member can apply but must disclose their other responsibilities, both in the DAO and IRL (ie if they have a job). In this way, the DAO can decide if they feel people have the appropriate bandwidth. (The change from 3 to 5 GSEs from Draft1 and the modified comp model allow for some flexibility for GSEs that have additional responsibilities.) Additionally, once elected, members may not accept any additional roles.
    • :warning: For example, if I applied, I would disclose my role as Ops Guild coordinator and part time editor for BanklessHQ.
    • They may participate in lower order activities. Eg, if I wanted to write a piece of the Newsletter, I can do that. But I cannot accept a role on the newsletter team.
    • :warning: Gov SEs can be on the Grants Committee, but must disclose

A successful Gov SE program should result in major clout for Gov SEs in the DAO. At the risk of sounding vain… what if there were more frogmonkees? Ooh ooh aah aah motherfucker.

What is the Scope of Work?

:warning:Expected 25-30 hours per week for each GSE. Plan accordingly.

Right now, I think the scope of work should be limited to our most existential threats: (1) Contributor Alignment and (2) Strategic Prioritization. We do have other important challenges that we can expect down the pipeline, but given this is the first time testing a program like this, I would caution against taking on more we can chew without testing this first.

Deliverables
Deliverables would include a detailed specification that we can begin to implement in Season 4. The closest comparable is the original Season Specification that still serves as an important guiding document for the DAO to this day.

This deliverable would have to be in its final form, if not extremely close. The idea is to have something we can implement by the end of Season 3 going into Season 4. As such, community feedback must already be included. I want to acknowledge that this community feedback can take time but if Draft 1 is done properly, much of the community consensus will already be aligned.

Contributor Alignment

  • Refining the Guest Pass, L1, and L2 system to be more inclusive
    • Includes ways to offboard contributors that no longer meet the activity/recognition threshold
  • Create a compensation framework that can be updated and:
  • Envisions a new incentive model that rewards long-term contributors that stick with the DAO for longer periods of time.
  • :warning: Work with guilds to standardize guild roles and Coordinape rounds
  • :warning: Work with guild Talent Scouts and First Quest to identify challenges and better retain talent entering DAO

Strategic Prioritization

  • :warning: Model and present various strategic directions the DAO can take (present to DAO for feedback)
  • :warning: Outline a business plan based on an identified strategic model
  • Create an evaluation framework based on the identified strategy to help the DAO make strategic decisions with treasury and grant funding
  • Create a new evaluation process that optimizes for both community consensus and responsible decision making (will likely deprecate the Grants Committee as it stands)
  • :warning: Design a system that actually measures the output of funded projects and incorporates those findings into the evaluation process
  • :warning: Balancing funding cost centers with things that generate revenue or token appreciation

Gov SEs and Working Groups

Earlier, I said about Gov SEs:

These members are not to operate in silos and make decisions on behalf of the DAO. They are to work with the DAO to find the optimal solution by progressively designing solutions, presenting them to the DAO, capturing feedback, and iterating.

One method of working with the DAO is to create a working group around these two problem spaces. As such, Gov SEs will have to work publicly in these working group. Part of their responsibility will be coordinating these working groups, somewhere between a Guild Coordinator and Project Manager.

Elections

For this initial run of an explicitly tasked and incentivized working group, I want to propose five Gov SEs for these two problem spaces. These five people can organize however they wish to. GSE may also be Guest Pass members. While this may be controversial, some of the best ideas I’ve heard have been from Guest Pass holders.

For electing these individuals, I propose that:

  • We have a two week submission period
  • Submissions must include:
    • Discord handle
    • Reason for applying
    • Qualifications
    • :warning: Other obligations during Season 3 (both in the DAO and IRL - eg. Do you have a full time job too?)
    • Detailed thoughts on how you would solve these two problem spaces
    • Sponsor(s) (i.e., those who will second your nomination - the more the merrier!)
  • Once all submissions are in, we move to Snapshot and use the weighted voting mechanic to elect five members over the span of a week.

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS

:warning: Maximum funding for this initiative would be: 2,125,000 BANK and come from the main treasury. Any BANK unallocated will go back to the treasury at the end of this program. Funding will come from the BanklessDAO treasury and must follow the framework presented in this snapshot.

2,125,000 BANK is broken down as:

  • :warning: Each Gov SE would be guaranteed 75,000 BANK salary
  • :warning: At the end Season 3, the DAO will vote on two deliverables produced by the GSEs via forum vote. One for strategic prioritization and one for contributor Alignment. Each deliverable will be rated on a scale of 1 to 5, which will unlock additional compensation.
    • Each deliverable will unlock a maximum of 375K BANK, for a total of 750K.
    • Each rating will unlock 75K in funding. 1 = 75K, 2 = 150K, 3 = 225K, 4 = 300K, 5 = 375K
    • Additional compensation is only for GSEs. Distribution will be up to the 5 GSEs. They can choose to use Team Set Salaries or Coordinape.
  • The two working groups (for each problem space) will have an allocated budget of 500,000 BANK to collectively decide how to allocate and compensate members of the working group. Gov SEs may not draw from this allocation.
  • :warning: Funds will be held in a multi-sig held by the 5 GSEs
    • Once all compensation has been distributed, GSEs must produce a financial report outlining how funds were distributed.
    • Any funds not distributed will be returned to the treasury

SUCCESS METRICS OR KPIS

Delivery of two detailed specifications by the end of Season 3 that already has community feedback folded into in order to execute and implement during Season 4.

NEXT STEPS

:warning:

  • January 5th - 19th (as per requirements detailed in here):
    • Approve this proposal in the forums with at least 63 voters & greater than 71.16% support
    • Publish an article in weekly roll up newsletter (also sourced from the same link above)
    • 5 minutes on Jan 7th Community Call (also sourced from the same link above)
    • Scheduled Q&A meeting (also sourced from the same link above) - Lettucemeet here.
    • Hold submission period (can be done in tandem with the above)
  • January 19th - 26th
    • Snapshot vote for program (at least 36.48M BANK & 77.64% support)
    • Snapshot vote for submissions

Note that by abiding by the quorum and voting criteria, it’ll be two weeks into the season before this program begins. This will be a beast of a scope for just over 2 months of work and will require some serious dedication and people with horsepower.

POLL

  • For
  • Needs Revisions

0 voters

4 Likes

Submission Form: Governance Solutions Engineer Applications

Submissions (click)

NOTE that these are just submission. Being elected still depends on this proposal being passed and your election. Submissions are open now just to kick off the process, as the period is 2 weeks.

1 Like

This is a fantastic experiment, and one that has the potential to solve many of the coordination problems we’ve been facing in the DAO. I especially like “Work with guilds to standardize guild roles”. Each guild has taken its own approach to creating roles, and while there is some cross pollination of ideas between guilds, it’s hard to tell what works and what doesn’t. GSEs could create best practices and guide each guild in implementing them (weren’t we just talking about this Trewkat, Liquidiot, & Droste?). Great stuff frog, keep thinking outside the box.

1 Like

Appreciate all the hard word and good thought that went into this ser. As always, well done. Bandwidth and burn out continue to challenge our experiments success. This approach may not turn out to be THE solution but will improve and move the DAO forward in a more deliberate and focused fashion. Working on vs working in is a concept I read and studied almost 3 decades ago and provided to my, now 51 year old son, as he established his successful business 25 years ago. It is not easy but possible. In anticipation of a positive vote, election and implementation. Keeps continued hope and positive advance alive.

I totally agree to set up a team and teams that work to give value to everyone’s work, certainty in what needs to be done and how it must be done, continuity and the future of the DAO.

Thanks @frogmonkee for answering my concerns.
However, I am not convinced that guest passes can cover the role: certainly not for inability or attachment to the DAO, but because the DAO requires “skin in the game” and as we have often repeated there are several ways to allow everyone to become a full member.

But, given the need and urgency to proceed, it makes no sense to reopen the debate and I accept the proposal in its entirety.

2 Likes

Excellent post and proposal. This is something really needed in the DAO to move in the right direction.

I also agree, we have been failing in this because people are working on many things at any given time. So having specific roles to focus on this and properly compensated I think it will have a good outcome.

1 Like

I am new to DAO but excited to see the thought process and culture around developing dedicated governance engineering that will work transparently along with the DAO. I think a dedicated team prioritized for working on DAO being fully transparent is a key idea that should persist for the success of DAOs.

1 Like

@frogmonkee 100% agree that these are the top 2 challenges to work on and will not be resolved without a dedicated group spending a non-trivial amount of their time shepherding the community through coming up with the right answers for Bankless.

I want to highlight three areas that may benefit from further dialogue:

  1. The relationship between these two challenges: people organize in order to accomplish a specific purpose together. An organizational structure that’s a good fit for one purpose is not necessarily a good fit for another. By trying to figure out both “How we organize?” (contributor alignment: GP/L1/L2 transitions, compensation structure/philosophy, guild structure) and “Towards what end?” (strategic prioritization: in particular, the business model/strategic direction) we’re running the risk of coming up with answers to the former that will be misaligned with the latter → should we consider tackling these challenges sequentially, rather than in parallel? or manage the dependency risk in a different way?
  2. GSE Compensation: Given that the level of focus and energy is critical (25-30hrs/week), GSEs come close to a traditional “full-time” role, meaning this would be the primary source of labor-based income for that person for that season. The base pay of 75K BANK got me to an hourly rate (25 hrs * 12 weeks) of 250 BANK/hr. I’m still a tokenomics n00b, but I worry that this may not be sufficient to attract the talent with the necessary expertise for this role and/or only be viable for community members who have already reached financial independance and are no longer reliant on their labor-based income to maintain their lifestyles.
  3. On-going governance - Answering these two big questions is not a one-off effort. They will continue to evolve over time and naturally will grow apart and will have to be intentionally re-aligned. Long-term I see this work as an on-going concern rather than a project with a clear start and end. Even if our short-term solution is to spin up a group that’ll be dissolved once they submit their deliverables, how can we modify their scope of work to also figure out how to reduce the DAOs reliance on the heroic efforts of one person to address these challenges in the future?
3 Likes

My main issue is also with the compensation. Even if all bonuses are unlocked that still only brings us to 750 BANK/hr. If 1000 BANK/hr is the standard I feel it’s important we implement that here as well.

Also that bonuses are meant to be just that, not a way of making up insufficient initial compensation.

I feel the spec should be updated to reflect 1000 BANK/hr at 25 hrs a week, and bonus structure should range in the 10%-50% range if we want to keep that.

2 Likes

This is a bold initiative! Just these three bullets alone would help the DAO make tremendous progress in strategic prioritization.

I think the bar for these five GSEs and their working groups is set extremely high, and the compensation reflects that.

Thank you for adding expectations for the weekly hourly commitment.

I strongly support this initiative and hope that we can find the right people to rise to this challenge.

1 Like

@itamargo

  1. I don’t see Contributor Alignment as a question of “How do we organize” but more a question of “How do we value contribution.” The contributor alignment focus isn’t about reformatting guilds or introducing new organizational primitives, it’s just about making sure contributors are happy and properly rewards in an equitable fashion.
  2. The base pay ignores the deliverable compensation unlock! There’s an additional 750K BANK on the table for GSEs.
  3. I do think the GSE program will become a staple of the DAO. I’m not certain of it, but whatever comes out of the GSE program will be long-lasting. The specs the GSEs will produce will give guidance on how to build additional infrastructure.

@hashedMae
I see where you’re coming from, but I 100% think that compensation needs to be tied to deliverables here. Based on my experience with the working groups, without a proper carrot, things just fall to the side there isn’t urgency. Sure, you can argue that the signaling from the DAO is an incentive, but the comp quite literally forces people to put their money where their mouth is. Personally, if I’m elected into this program and get full comp, I’d earn more this season for this project alone than I have for all my responsibilities in Season 1 and 2.

As for the hourly rate… Well I think the 1000 BANK/hr thing is old, bunk, and not a good standard. It’s also a suggestion, not a rule :man_shrugging: and so I’m comfortable with opting not to abide by the standard here.

1 Like

Thanks for your thoughts on this @frogmonkee , I think it’s really important to have a group dedicated to tackling these DAO-wide issues.

My biggest concern is the way you’ve set up the program means that only a select few types of people will be able to become GSEs. A 25hr/wk commitment with a low base salary means that only people who have a lot of time and don’t really need the money will be eligible. Who are these people? Some examples: crypto natives who already have a lot of wealth, people who work 80 hours a week because they don’t have other commitments, people who don’t have a lot going on, etc.

This isn’t inherently BAD, but I think it’s a long-term issue. If your GSEs have a limited perspective, the solutions they present will be limited by that perspective. The goal of BanklessDAO is to get 1B people living the Bankless life - we’re going to need a BROAD perspective to achieve that. You could argue that the working groups will handle the perspective issues, but the GSEs will be driving the process. If they are a homogeneous group, we’re encoding the problems of the fiat world here in our grand experiment. I believe that will eventually lead to our failure.

All-in-all, I think it’s a good initiative, and I’m glad you’re pushing it forward. My feedback comes from a desire to see it succeed.

6 Likes

This is a really interesting comment! I’d say that those 25-30 hr per week people are necessary to organize everyone else who can only put, say, 5-15 hrs per week to overarching, DAO-wide governance problems. So I agree that the GSEs will need to seek perspectives elsewhere, but in order for those perspectives to surface, a GSE will need to put in the work to fish them out of the deep ocean of talent we have here.

So I see GSEs as the coordination layer required to unlock the knowledge stored in everyone working hard in the DAO who doesn’t have the bandwidth to organize broader convos. GSEs are going fishing for the big fish in this DAO! We just need someone to hold the fishing rod.

Excuse the cringe metaphors! Can’t really contain them. Too much time spent in the writers guild :wink:

4 Likes

I think this is a very necessary element that we need in the DAO. Until we can as a group take the time for meta-cognition, we’re doomed to repeat the same patterns. As they say, “what got us here won’t get us there”.

My only concern is what @links pointed out - the time commitment will certainly discourage many people with the talents we need from actually applying. I would love to apply for a role on this team, as I really enjoy thinking long and hard about big problems and have a strong technical background, but I simply don’t have 25 hours a week to allocate to the role. I had this discussion with a CEO when I was managing developers - throwing more time at a problem doesn’t ensure better outcomes, hiring better talent will. I think that if the bulk of compensation comes from the deliverables, then placing an expectation of time commitment seems counterintuitive.

TLDR: Are we compensating for results, or for punching a timecard?

2 Likes

Love it. I voted for revisions because I’d like to see a mechanism added to test whether the governance problems that need solving can be short circuited with a forum post and vote instead of taking a full season to deliver a written product.

I.e bank hourly rate is causing issues with GC funding. Forum post proposing new bank hourly rate. If consensus is reached, move onto a different problem. If consensus is not reached and there’s lots of interaction, the problem is well suited for the GSE mechanisms you proposed.

As long as it is made clear that KPIs (that I suppose will be self decided) need to be met, and communication is clear, the GSEs will end up being a great solution to some relatively large problems I believe. You have to put 110 percent into a position that shapes governance, communication, policy, and togetherness, ultimately. Discuss the progress that you make as you go through the season, and you’ll be perfect. Miss the mark on communication your goals and your progress to your goals, and money is ultimately wasted for no reason.

You can design your own KPI’s as a guild or project that you believe are meaningful and mission critical

Yes, exactly. Just make sure you stick to it, be reasonable, and communicate progress along the way.

Is the application for this going to be reopened? I’d like to put my name in the hat for consideration. Given the exit of Frog and Rotorless, I suspect there is room for new applicants.

2 Likes

It sure is!

Re bumping it here:

And

1 Like