Title: [Draft 2] Governance Solutions Engineer Program
Date Created: January 4th, 2022
Date Posted: January 5th, 2022
Changes from Draft 1 are marked with a
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:
- 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.
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.
- 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:
- 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 - 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:
- 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.
- 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
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:
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. 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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 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.
- 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.
- Work with guilds to standardize guild roles and Coordinape rounds
- Work with guild Talent Scouts and First Quest to identify challenges and better retain talent entering DAO
Model and present various strategic directions the DAO can take (present to DAO for feedback)
- Eg. DAO incubator model vs. software profit model vs Emergent Strategy
- 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)
- Design a system that actually measures the output of funded projects and incorporates those findings into the evaluation process
- Balancing funding cost centers with things that generate revenue or token appreciation
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.
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
- 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.
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:
- Each Gov SE would be guaranteed 75,000 BANK salary
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.
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
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.
- 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.
- Needs Revisions