November CSDO Digest

Many of you may know about our Cross-Stream DAO Operations, or CSDO, powerhouse team. If you don’t, CSDO is a group of workstream & initiative leads that come together to cultivate coherence across the DAO.

With all the world-regenerating we’re doing it’s easy for things to get lost. In our monthly CSDO Digest we’ll break down all the most important CSDO outcomes from every month, so let’s dive into November!

DAO-Wide Updates

During November, we held a Stewards Council election! The Stewards Council is a group of nominated Stewards tasked with reviewing budget proposals, coordinating high-level decisions that impact the DAO as a whole, and ensuring a collective vision for Gitcoin. All the nominations were submitted by Workstream Leads, after which we did the first quadratic voting ever on Snapshot!. You can get more details about the process and results of the election from our blog post. You can also check out the full proposal for the V2 of the Stewards Council here.

Proposals

Pods

Pods were ratified, and will become a new method of collaboration within the DAO! Pods are an experiment in cross-workstream collaboration. They are a meme to help us codify the best practices of cross-workstream collaboration and to help give this networked work 1) a home outside of the individual workstreams and 2) a consistent voice within the DAO.

You can get the full rundown of Pods and how they work on their notion page.

You can read the full passed proposal here.

Budgets

The S16 Budgets went live on Tally! This is the last step for workstreams in the current budgeting process. Here are the budgets for each workstream:

Key Discussions & Thoughts

A decision was made to conduct salary evaluations and reporting across the DAO - Stewards have been expressing increasing amounts of concerns over the DAO’s financial stability in a worsening bear market, and a report demonstrating that our budgets align with the market and are consistent across workstreams will help during next budgeting season. DAO Ops’ Saf will be reaching out to workstreams for salary data, and comparing to data on OpenComp.

PGF’s Janine highlighted PGF’s efforts in getting community input on the strategy of the Grants Program in the community-driven Protocol future. There is a tradeoff between ensuring as many voices as possible are heard, and creating factions within the community with competing interests, so how we approach these conversations is highly strategic.You can relisten to the DAO Vibes session here.

MMM’s CoachJ is driving the development of a “Single Source of Truth” resource for contributors so that everyone has the information they need to do their jobs. Better information sharing at MMM has been game-changing to their team, and applying those learnings across the DAO are very welcomed.

While there were initial concerns from the PGF team about a potential partnership, PGF’s Ben West’ thinking here is that the mentioned company will spend this money anyways - so why not make it a democratic and community-driven process? PGF will be developing a statement on this partnership to share with the community and a strategy doc outlining how/why we choose to pursue partnerships with certain orgs and not others. The $500k has been committed for the year, but the round won’t be run until we are more comfortable with potential impacts on brand/community.

Work continues on the DAO Operating System, an initiative that impacts all workstreams in the DAO. You can check out this miro board to see what we’re doing to ensure operational efficiency at every level of the organization.

FDD’s Joe shared the workstreams thoughts and insights surrounding economic risk balancing. They highlighted what we currently do vs what we could be doing. You can see their thoughts on this miro board.

PGF’s Janine is continuing work on a pre-eth Denver retreat for external Gitcoin supporters. We’ll be hosting an IRL retreat before the Schelling Point Conference and EthDenver for core community members who have supported Gitcoin historically, been champions of public goods for the good of our broader community, and leaders who want to commit to funding and fostering projects in their community with positive sum games with a priority around protocol partners. With the newly-found cheaper location, ticket sales, and just a few sponsors, we should be able to cover the full cost of the event.

Note: This event is not intended for contributors, and instead is focused on external Gitcoin supporters. We are working on doing something separate for Gitcoin contributors.

For more information on how these discussions went, you can check out all of the CSDO Meeting Notes to read more, or the Gitcoin Transparency YouTube Channel to watch recordings of CSDO calls!

And that’s it for this month! Keep checking back monthly for future editions of the CSDO Digest!

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a report demonstrating that our budgets align with the market and are consistent across workstreams will help during next budgeting season.

Wait - Let me get this straight – You all decided to commission a report to show that your budgets align with the market, before even analyzing the data that would show if that is true or not? How is that possibly legitimate? Why not start with a market analysis and then decide the conclusion based upon that information?

If you all were sincere in comparing Gitcoin’s spend to other projects, you would have said something like “We have heard the stewards feedback about budgets and will be launching an initiative to further digest the feedback along with market data, with the intention of creating financial stability for the DAO, and will be adjusting spend accordingly”.

A charade of a market analysis to justify the current cost structure with a preordained outcome only harms Gitcoin.

DAO Ops’ Saf will be reaching out to workstreams for salary data, and comparing to data on OpenComp.

Does OpenComp have a large dataset of public goods DAO compensation data on it? If not, which comparables will you be using for the analysis? Will you be comparing compensation data to massively profitable for-profit orgs, or to non-profits?

Stewards have been expressing increasing amounts of concerns over the DAO’s financial stability

If financial stability of the DAO is the primary concern of the Stewards, do you have any plans to actually address the financial stability of the DAO?

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@griff What would make a legitimate budget analysis in your opinion?

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Are there any plans to shift the budgeting process to focus on PODS instead of workstreams?
Workstreams are so large and unwieldy its hard to evaluate their massive budgets against the
many outcomes they create. PODS as defined by Orca seem like they’d be a much smaller and less unwieldy unit to evaluate in budgeting season.

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Hello, thank you for the thoughtful feedback! Tagging @krrisis as he would be best suited to answer your questions here!

Tagging @safder for visibility

This was phrased poorly in the write up. The review consists of two parts.

Part 1 - Have the workstreams spent the funds they received as planned and have clear accounting of how it was spent?

Part 2 - Have the workstreams gone through the compensation leveling review that Saf has done with a few workstreams already. Yes, this uses open comp.

I do not know of any analysis looking at whether our salary levels are in line with other non-profit grants giving DAOs. I have a hunch that there are only a few and we are aware of them, therefore making an analysis of the market in this way somewhat unnecessary.

I doubt your intention is to argue about a few hundred dollars or even a few thousand for a contributor to audit workstreams in this fashion.

I am hearing that you are concerned that Gitcoin is paying contributors more than is necessary. Additionally, I’m hearing frustration at thinking that this report was a backwards analysis generated to validate our current pay rates. Is this correct?

If I have accurately articulated your concerns, then your concerns are totally valid, but likely unrelated to the analysis/report reference here.

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Nothing that is clearly articulated and agreed as a likely path at this time, but we have had many conversations about the future direction and financial sustainability of Gitcoin. We are primarily focused now on launching the Grants Protocol successfully. As this happens over the next few months, we will begin really diving into the hard choices and changes that will need to be made to best support the ongoing success of Gitcoin. The conversations are happening now, but it is a very risky move to make major changes before the protocol is successfully launched.

Here is a little more on the state of the DAO. Gitcoin Updates summarized

Really appreciate the concerns voiced here and very stoked that we have engaged Stewards to keep us accountable on the decisions being made at CSDO!

Market analysis is included as a part of this report, and conclusions will be drawn based on this information, as you suggest! Sorry this wasn’t more clear.

The market analysis intends to show that our resource allocation, which consists >90% of contributor compensation, is responsible and in-line with the labour market. What it doesn’t show is that the resources being deployed are in fact necessary and the most efficient way to achieve our shared goals.
This is currently done through our quarterly budgeting process, where workstreams demonstrate how resources were used in the previous season, and how they will be deployed in the next. We acknowledge that the existing budgeting process doesn’t make it very simple for Stewards to engage with the direction-setting process, and as such we hope to also have a redesigned budgeting process for next season’s funding requests.

The dataset of “Public Goods DAOs” isn’t large enough to be a legitimate benchmark, however OpenComp uses data from thousands of data sources (employers) in a variety of industries. We are not benchmarking to FAANG/high CoL area tech-company salaries, but we also don’t think non-profits’ notoriously exploitative pay models are something we should aspire to match.

We hire highly talented contributors who are value-aligned and often giving up higher-paying (and often more stable/predictable) opportunities in other industries to work at Gitcoin. We believe they should all be compensated fairly, and benchmarking comp to a large, nation-wide (US because this is where a large majority of our team is based) database is the best way to ensure fairness while being responsible with our use of treasury.

It is wrong that this analysis doesn’t attempt to figure out a sustainable pay model, only justify the current pay rates. It is also wrong that the community was not consulted on the pay models. It is wrong that the analysis is designed backwards to justify the status quo.

Who decided that non-profit pay models are exploitative? Is that a position of Gitcoin? Was the community of GTC holders consulted on this decision? If not, what give this position legitimacy?

As a GTC holder, I believe GitcoinDAO should stop fucking up its enormous lead from years ago when Vitalik blessed it and deliver a protocol that distributes value at scale. The protocol should accrue value at a scale that justifies it’s $130 million market cap (which used to be over $ 1 billion, and is declining week by week). And contributors to Gitcoin can be rewarded with generous pay when you do so (but not beforehand).

The recent protocol alpha rounds are a good start. But they’re just a start.

According to this post it looks like there are plenty of other public goods funding DAOs! And many of them are WAY more capital efficient than GitcoinDAO. I hope you include those in your analysis.

I hope this analysis is scrapped altogether or reworked to be legitimate.

The market is going to be bear for a while. I don’t see anything on gov.gitcoin.co that makes me think people who work on Gitcoin have a serious plan for getting through the bear market. This downward spiral is NOT GOOD.

It sounds like your answer here is YES, you do think that the analysis was done in a backwards way to justify the current pay rates. (For clarification, I was not involved in this and was not countering your argument, only seeking to make sure I/others understand.)

I do agree that something like connecting pay to GTC price would be a potentially useful consideration. Maybe something like half the pay in USDC and half paid in GTC at whatever price it is so salaries adjust with the value of GTC? Is that the type of solution you might be suggesting?

Part of what you are experiencing is caused by how much time and effort went into operating grants rounds GR15 and prior. This season the DAO is focused on launching the protocol. This is largely why we voted to scrap the old cGrants platform and fully move to the protocol even over having a GR16 round in December. It gave us time to deep dive in workshopping and understanding these deeper problems which we are acutely aware of, but have not been able to prioritize.

We have been able to use the extra time to meaningfully work on these issues. Personally, I respect both the ability of the community to help with the brainstorming process AND the need to have people closest to the problem be the ones working on it. Until we share where we are at with our business planning for 2023, it will be difficult for you to judge how well the time has been spent. However, I don’t see any problems with us working out ideas between people close to them, then sharing with broader and broader segments of the community.

We absolutely do know the urgency of the problem of this downward spiral. The number one problem to solve is launching the protocol. Number 2 is how do we ensure it’s continued success.

Lately I’ve seen a lot of people suggesting that Giveth is a better model for paying the contributors because they have launched many products. How would you connect that as being true while also looking at their token?

Here is Uniswap. Our weekly average high was around $14 (not a daily high that was a parabolic liquidity spike squeeze with a little fomo reflexivity on top). This shows me that an established project like uniswap at a 6-8:1 devaluation so forth. We are closer to a 10:1.

Polygon is the best I could find sitting at about a 2-3:1

We all know AND USE the Graph GRT which is sitting around 20-40:1

My point here being. What do we define as success?

If we are talking about a team maintaining market value, how does one suggest that the pay structure of the Giveth team is desirable when they have suffered a 60-90:1 devaluation?

While I agree with your point about the analysis being done in a way that could have been better. It seems like there are 2 issues you are discussing here.

  1. The argument with the incorrect articulation of the analysis and it’s purpose. For this, I feel there isn’t a need to push it further because it specifically was the straw man incorrect articulation that is being argued. This does bring us to the real issue which is point 2…
  2. How might we justify the 2023 business plan for Gitcoin as whole. Including pay rates, budget processes, and revenue/growth forecasting, etc.? For this, lets continue the conversation in the thread linked here.

One question: Have you attended any of our steward calls or DAOvibes/Community calls? I’m not able to decipher how much is based on us not publicly documenting as much as we should or could vs making the wrong decisions. Knowing how much you are able to use what we are making available could inform us on how to improve these efforts.

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We know from this thread that Giveth spends roughly 10x less monthly than Gitcoin, so it’s 10x less vulnerable to running out of runway due to a downturn.

It’s also much newer than Gitcoin, and hasn’t had the benefit of being blessed by Vitalik with blog posts on vitalik.ca.

(To add insult to injury, Giveth seems to be shipping protocols much faster than Gitcoin on way less budget.)


I think that this post covers a good success case:

The official purpose and essential intents are a good goal post as well.


I’ve attended DAO vibes as a lurker, but not stewards calls. How do I get into those?

It’s pretty clear to me Gitcoin is bloated, wasteful, and ineffective. It’s spending $1million/month and not meeting it’s own stated essential intents, and the market downtrend is clear. When confronted with this feedback, there is SO MUCH JUSTIFYING OF THE STATUS QUO that comes from insiders, I don’t think my attending these calls will (and making me an insider too) will change any of my opinions. It’s much more scalable for insiders to start responding to the market than to convert all of the market to insiders.

I want so badly to be bullish on GTC, but what I see on the governance forums is not promising.

Right. I get all those arguments, but I don’t understand when you connect it to the token price because the opposite of the desired effect is happening. The market seems to think that all the shipping and lower production costs of Giveth aren’t worth it. I’d like to understand how you decide that our model for payment is wrong. (I agree that it is not optimal.)

Perhaps you are saying that the head start and early Vitalik endorsements are entirely responsible for Gitcoin having lost an order of magnitude less value on the market than Giveth?

I tend to think the macro-environment is driving all of it, but relative changes do matter. BTW. Per your last paragraph, this IS NOT JUSTIFICATION. It is attempting to understand logic with an inherent paradox.

I do highly agree with the Bull/Bear case post being great. Everyone should read it and we should move the continuation of the 2023 business plan there.

The essential intents are good, but even in the exercises we did to create them we didn’t follow the guidelines.

As you can see here and even here, I’m pro-exploration of different and better models.

I’d love to connect if you have time. I really do appreciate you and other community members participating in the discussion. dm me and I can send a calendly link.

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You can apply to become a Steward by applying here

I think Joe & Saf really went above and beyond to respond to some of your criticism outlined above so I will not add to this. The tl;dr of their responses to me is: “Gitcoin is working extremely hard to launch its protocols, to be transparent, and to be efficient as a DAO. We know however we have a lot of work to do and appreciate your feedback.” And I hope this message comes across. Being an ‘insider’ gives you another opportunity to share constructive feedback by having more direct access to all the things happening within Gitcoin, which can help you truly a difference, which might be useful, as you clearly feel we are not doing a great job. So, welcome!

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I don’t think you understood my point here =>

So let me try again.

Trying to convert any critics into insiders is a fundamentally flawed way of operating a DAO.

There is a great Bankless podcast on this that just live-streamed yesterday. Here is a timestamped video explaining why. And here is a screenshot of that timestamped spot.

Let me again restate my core point: Trying to convert any critics into insiders is a fundamentally flawed way of operating a DAO.

I will now expand this into it’s reasoning: The more Gitcoin insiders 1. have “Material Non Public Information” and the more 2. Gitcoin insiders are making decisions with their agency on behalf of GTC holders, the more the risks accrue to the project.

Now that we’ve revisited this first principle, lets revisit my core objection above.

Gitcoin insiders commissioned …

Do you see now why it is deeply problematic that Gitcoin insiders are fixing their own salary analysis to justify it in budgeting season without consulting GTC holders about the parameters of this analysis? This is a centralization risk and you are creating misalignment between GTC holders (who have little context but have a vested interest in seeing the DAO perform) and insiders (who make contextual decisions on behalf of the DAO and want higher compensation from the DAO).

Here is a great tweet from @lefterisjp that makes this critical point: https://twitter.com/LefterisJP/status/1521758439348838400


With this foundation of knowledge, I will repeat my asks:

  1. I don’t think my attending these calls will (and making me an insider too) will change any of my opinions. It’s much more scalable for insiders to start responding to the market than to convert all of the market to insiders. Please reconsider this way of operating
  2. Please put the parameters of the salary analysis in front of GTC holders.
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