After much thought, I do not support proposal 95 in its current iteration. I believe that the risks outweigh the benefits. A better alternative path exists, one which also fulfills the base-requirement of “doing something” that many have expressed.
My concern is not the capability of the team, but that the structure of the proposal has a low chance of leading to optimal outcomes for stakeholders, and additionally, that there is no certainty that the grants will lead to sustainable infrastructure that addresses known foundational issues.
This is not a case of doing something vs. doing nothing. It is a case of doing something right. In my mind, a better approach is to iterate on the proposal, unbundle it, and work on more sustainable solutions at smaller, more-defined scales.
There is an incongruity between the program operations, the duration of the program, community expectations, and the requested funding amount.
This is a spend proposal that requests 588,000 ATOM from the community pool.
In a period of 9 months the team plans to create a bespoke entity to manage foundational organizational needs, build a website and proposal pipeline, advertise and market the program, and allocate nearly all of the proposal budget.
According to the projected time frame, $5M of grants will be allocated in 7 months.
I do not believe the $5M is excessive if the committee has already lined up quality projects to work with. However, if that is the case, this proposal should be unbundled in order to be more direct about which projects it plans to fund. This will build trust and help establish appropriate expectations in the community. If it is not the case that projects are already lined up, I do not believe that the current stucture of the proposal & associated committee will lead to an optimal use of funds & time, despite the best efforts and talent of the team.
Let me elaborate with a possible scenario (and I encourage others to make their own) and some assumptions:
- The Hub governance environment is fragile. This means that proposal-precedents cause lasting cultural impact that is more likely to be negative than positive.
- As an example, people still group governance participants of proposal 82 into two camps, and constant community feedback that “governance is a battleground” further affirms this narrative.
- Things always take longer than expected.
- Giving grants is an uncertain endeavour that is outside of the control of the grantors. Effective funding outcomes are more likely to be correlated with time spent receiving proposals than funds granted.
- It will be difficult for projects funded by the Accelerator DAO to deliver anything meaningful in 7 months.
- Clear expectations in the form of OKRs and KPIs have not been set and agreed upon across the stakeholder base, thus making it difficult to fairly measure the efficacy of the program and its impact on stakeholders.
- This may lead to disillusionment (or at least the grounds for disillusionment) from governance participants.
- This will further aggravate the governance feedback loop, and possibly eliminate the possibility of future funding requests and authority requests without the requisite tooling.
- Dedicated, talented, and passionate contributors will be deterred from contributing.
The above scenario neglects positive outcomes, of which the following can occur:
- The committee funds necessary public-goods in the known:known, known:unknown, and unknow:unknow categories.
- The committee manages to turn its bespoke operational structure into a sustainable structure for Hub funding platforms.
- A project is funded that clearly delivers value to ATOM holders, thus compensating for the pool spend, and providing a meme-like narrative for the worthiness of the program.
Still, I believe that the the positive outcomes have a higher likelihood of occurring under different structures that particularly target the desired outcomes, instead of as a generalized grant program with inefficient resource allocation.
It seems that everyone participating in the governance discussion agrees that there is a need for foundational organization tooling. Also, I have previously advocated for a plurality of funding platforms. This is at odds with the large scope & amount of funding requested by this proposal.
Here is an alternative path for the proposers that provides, in my opinion, a better ratio of time & funds-spent to high-leverage deliverables:
- Problem: contributors need to be compensated for their work.
Problem: the structure of the oversight committee has a conflict of interest in performing its mandate.
- Possible solution: transform the accelerator-DAO oversight committee into an independent committee (with its own funding) that makes sortition a key component of the oversight process.
Problem: the Hub lacks tooling to design better organizational structures than the one proposed. It is unclear how to fund these structures.
- Possible solution: collaborate as a community on RFPs for foundational tooling and, if necessary, fund a small, light-weight team of project & product managers to source talent and push these projects over the finish line. Fund these projects on a project by project basis via the community pool.
Problem: the Hub community doesn’t know what it doesn’t know it needs to fund
- unbundle the currently proposed committee and re-propose smaller scale funding platforms in accordance with the strengths of the team members and funding visions.
- work on an ecosystem-wide quadratic funding solution
- Possible solutions:
Problem: proposers don’t want to go through the proposal process due to the intensity of public scrutiny.
- Possible solution: build out a proposal incubation pipeline to support proposers by providing structure, process, facilitation, and logistical planning for each step of the governance process.
By following the above route, the ideal of the proposal, which many seem to endorse, is preserved while each individual component becomes a sustainable piece of the larger puzzle. Additional feedback is needed but hopefully this will provide a reasonable starting point, and if there is sufficient interest I am happy to work with others to write specs and project charters for any of the above components.
The currently proposed structure of proposal 95 is not congruous with plurality because it neglects nuance in exchange for a blanket solution. Because of the breadth of the blanket solution, ambiguity is created. Plurality cannot exist without boundaries.
Additionally, in its current iteration, the proposal does not guarentee sustainability because of bespoke operational structures, the large chunk of pool replenishment that it will consume, and the potential damage it could do to the governance culture.
I will not be upset if the proposal passes, and I think something is better than nothing. However, I would strongly advocate for the proposers to go back to the drawing board with the above considerations in mind.
For those wondering why I didn’t publish this before it was on-chain, I was in the process of gathering and composing these thoughts when the proposal was broadcast to the chain. As a note going forward, it’s always helpful to announce a last-call date on all submitted proposals.
In short, I do not support the proposal in its current form and I believe it is setting the committee up for failure, which will further damage the governance environment. The team is talented and capable, but the best possible outcome is for a re-iteration of the proposal. The worst possible outcome is doing nothing at all.