Our Flagship Product is GitcoinDAO

I used to think Gitcoin’s flagship product was Gitcoin Grants.

Now I’ve started to think of GitcoinDAO as a product itself, and I think our flagship product might actually be GitcoinDAO.

Why? Because GitcoinDAO is the totality of what we do and how we show up. Gitcoin Grants is just one part.

As we know, Gitcoin grants is a quadratic funding crowdfunding platform that basically works like this…

By using Gitcoin Grants to fund public goods, the community has created $52mm worth of impact. Which is great, but what you don’t see when you look at this view is the whole breadth of inputs + outputs that have come out of the GitcoinDAO ecosystem to produce this experience. You don’t see what’s below the surface. You don’t see the machine behind the machine.

The broader view of what’s going on (and the impact they create):

When you use Gitcoin Grants, you don’t see all the ingredients going into the experience. You don’t’ see the deeper outputs coming out of them. You only see the tip of the iceberg.

Another good one:


When you fully consider all thats below the surface, you see:

  • Without public goods fund raising, we wouldn’t have Gitcoin Grants as we know it.
  • Without fraud defense, we wouldn’t have Gitcoin Grants as we know it.
  • Without product, we wouldn’t have Gitcoin Grants as we know it.
  • Without marketing, we wouldn’t have Gitcoin Grants as we know it.
  • Without governance, we wouldnt have Gitcoi Grants as we know it.
  • Without Gitcoin Grants, we wouldnthave Gitcoin as a social schelling point for the ecosystem, we wouldn’t have KERNEL We wouldn’t have educated people about public goods as much as we have. We wouldn’t have Green Pilled. We wouldnt have nearly the same impact.

By zooming out, we focus on all of the infrastructure we need to increase our impact.
When we focus on GitcoinDAO instead of just Gitcoin Grants, We are no longer building the machine, we are building the machine that builds the machine.

What would have to be true to think of GitcoinDAO as a product? What would have to be true to treat it with the same attention to detail and conscious experience sculpting that we’ve seen brought to Gitcoin Grants?

Here are some things I think are worthy goals for a DAO designing itself: Treat each other well. Honor our customers & partners. Dogfood our own product. Decentralize as much as possible. Create as much legitimacy as possible. Create as much impact as possible. Be as inclusive as possible. Craft cohesive & world class contributor journeys.

Of course it’s not my place to say what the goals of the DAO are as I’m just one contributor among many. I’d welcome feedback from others.

One person I think is brilliant and has deep experience in DAOS who we should listen to is Tracheopteryx. In his talk at schelling point about DAOS, he talks a lot about the DAO contributor experience. He claims at each dao you need :

  • process fidelity - trust that my actions will replicate in the way i expect them
  • operational access - how do I access the levers of powers in the dao?
  • network topography - can I see what else is in the DAO, and what they’re doing?

Another great quote from Trach’s preso:

The structure of an organizations affects it’s contributors perception & autonomy, and thus an organizations capabilities are relative to its structure.

What do you think? Is GitcoinDAO our primary product? How can we make the contributor experience for all of the “Jobs to be Done” in the DAO great?


I totally agree on your point: “Without GitcoinDAO there is no Gitcoin Grants”

As we all know GitcoinDao vision to create public goods through gitcoin grants.
I personally feel there is a need of separate community which will provide required support and guidance to grantee, totally governed by GitcoinDao, just like incubators do…

This will boost the outcome from grants and will put GitcoinDao in limelight as main product…

I would like to discuss more about your vision on: “Decentralize as much as possible”…

Thank you

An interesting thought exercise!

In traditional companies, the organization is not the product. A company’s “product” is the product or service that they sell. Clearly we do not sell the GitcoinDAO so by a traditional definition, GitcoinDAO is not our flagship product.

However, when you’re in DAO land, things are a bit different. Why does the market ascribe the value it does to the governance token? How much of this value could be attributed to the work of the GitcoinDAO? If it’s a lot, then there’s a better argument to be made that what we’re “selling” is actually our organization and its activities.

To the extent that people buy GTC and ascribe to it its value because they are investing in the work of GitcoinDAO and want to support its existence then yes, I’d say our organization is our metaproduct. And our other offerings - grants and its supporting features - are like features of this product.

As a marketer, this is actually pretty helpful to think through as we consider how to invest in brand, comprehension, engagement, and our other goals and figure out how we can bring the best and most relevant marketing frameworks to bear. Would love thoughts from others as well!


hey sean, thanks for commenting! appreciate your perspective.

These are fair points!

I do think one thing we do sell is “GItcoinDAOs mission”. eg we want people to equate “Gitcoin = solarpunk future” or “Gitcoin = solve coordination failure” in their brains.

What do you think about this post which makes the case that the DAO’s function is to create coordination in web3 ecosystems? This post takes the approach of not getting lost in the details of how - QF is one means to do it, as is KERNEL, as are hacks, as is MC, as are direct proposals to the DAO.

However, when you’re in DAO land, things are a bit different.

For companies, I think that so much is provided out of the box by tools like Trinet, Rippling, and other administration tools, that is not provided in DAOs. Being in a DAO, trying to reinvent a great employee experience feels similar to the classic economic thought experiment about why no one knows how to make a pencil

In a DAO, we are trying to reinvent these things as we climb the people > product > profits ladder.

As a marketer, this is actually pretty helpful to think through as we consider how to invest in brand, comprehension, engagement, and our other goals and figure out how we can bring the best and most relevant marketing frameworks to bear. Would love thoughts from others as well!

I’d be curious, once we nail the QF engagement loops, how to increase comprehension and engagement for everyday members of the DAO.

Maybe one way to frame things is

  1. Our internal facing flagship product is the DAO.
  2. Our external facing flagship product is Grants.

Maybe all of the above is semantics tho - My primary hope when authoring this post was to instigate conversation about “How can we make the contributor experience for all of the “Jobs to be Done” in the DAO great?”


here is an attempt to sythesize the “internal vs external product”, “people > products, profits”, and “nobody knows how to make a pencil” points visually

i left “Profits” in all boxes for consistency, but as we all know, Gitcoin Grants + other charitable products in the portfolio have no revenue model.


Yeah, honestly I think it’s very good to compare with traditional organizations.
Because imho this logic can be a trap, you lose track of who we’re building this for and why. It becomes a machine, a bank, a corporation.

To give the example out of my personal experience, at Microsoft we did say that our primary products were our products.
But actually it wasn’t, our primary or meta product was the company. And it needed to increase in value to our shareholders. That was - and still is - the main goal.

Working at Microsoft was awesome. Employees were pampered to the extreme.
But we didn’t build for our external customer, we built for ourselves.

Applying this analogy to Gitcoin I don’t think that GitcoinDAO should be our product. We definitely should have a clearer mission & objectives that define what brings us all together and refines what we are building for whom.

Our setup can and should inspire other DAOs, but we are not building for our tokenholders. We are building because Public Goods are Good.
And they need our support.

By the way, I know the above is a dark timeline and not what we intend to do or what you mean @owocki but I do think it’s worth mentioning in this context.
Very curious to hear if my response resonates or if I’m missing a point here.

Edit - reading the other comments, I’ll still read the coordination post you linked (trying not to fall too deep in the endless brilliant owocki posts rabbithole today) but yes, I think it’s good to make a clear distinction between the ‘DAO contributor experience documentation’ (and inspiration) flow and Gitcoin’s mission.


hey kris appreciate your perspective, thank you for commenting :slight_smile:

amen to that!

:robot: :heart:

I think it’s good to make a clear distinction between the ‘DAO contributor experience documentation’ (and inspiration) flow and Gitcoin’s mission.

yeah agree, idk if

  1. “internal product” or “meta-product” for the DAO
  2. “external product” for Grants (and other external products)

makes sense as specific names to disambiguate or not.

either way, i hope we can remember to hone both as the egregore evolves.


I think one product of GitcoinDAO is its organisational design.

The customers of a good organisation are the people in it and its output that others may interact or utilise. It’s similar to certain types of management consulting activities, their product being the advice they give that organisations apply to their own structure.

If the ability to structure credible, well-functioning organisations becomes our main focus, then its our flagship product.

In this case the product of organisational design are organisations that nestle in or support GitcoinDAO. In the world of DAOs where it is unclear what is the best practice for which situation when it comes to organisational structure, there are ‘customers’ that could use or even pay to learn how GitcoinDAO applies organisational design. As of now, all these organisations that benefit from GitcoinDAO’s organisational design “product” are in the service of Gitcoin Grants.

This might change in the future as we help other organisations (may or may not be DAOs) that wish to create a similar structure to serve goals of similar complexity. The quote might change to

  • Without FDD from GitcoinDAO, we would not have Proof of PersonhoodDAO
  • Without Product from GitcoinDAO, we would not have aqueductDAO

GitcoinDAO becomes a DAO generator instead? There could be a time where Gitcoin grants and its surrounding operational activities are self sustaining and GitcoinDAO moves on to grow other DAOs that work on equally or more complex problems. Afterall GitcoinDAO’s organisational design evolved to bring quadratic funding, something previously just an idea, to life.

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On this (funny quoting my own post), loved the bankless post of today and I think it’s relevant in this context, because the token does matter, it’s what sets DAOs apart, and what makes them the next logical evolutionary step in economic efficiency.

And it might be part of the answer to this question:

We might need to point out more how much power our contributors truly hold, and why they should care about making the DAO better/great (for themselves and others).

So I want to edit here:

We’re not building for our token holders, but our token holders are or should be building the DAO.

(so in a way they are building for themselves, and that’s a good thing vs megacorps, where truly motivated and ‘external product’ - focused employees and stakeholders are groups with different interests)

So yes, in that sense I agree:

… where the internal product is reinforcing the effectiveness of the DAO in shipping its external products. By iterating on that metaproduct (experimenting, documenting, failing, forking,…) we become more resilient/antifragile. Because DAOs are not efficient yet, building a thriving DAO OS is indeed just as important as the external product, one does not exist without the other.

This conversation is wonderful. It is bringing in divergent thinking mixed with some mission-first analysis. I am imagining many possible paths ahead for GC and enjoying the thought-exercise.

This seems to be the most common product I see daos offering. Daos seem to think because they formed a group that others will want to copy their group-formation methods. This puzzled me then and still puzzles me now. Maybe it was because early-on, there was a pressing need for guidance in this area. Nobody knew what a dao was let-alone how to build and operate one, so the focus was on spreading the construction techniques. I wonder if there is enough pie left in this pan to slice further…I am pessimistic this will bring us much benefit aligned with our core values and think that GC can offer more than another dao-wizard or integrated dao-software-stack.

I believe the Gitcoin Dao is our primary product. I don’t come from an entrepreneur or tech background and so my opinion is more of a lay-person’s perspective. I might be playing semantic games here but if the GPG/LLC is folding, and transferring responsibilities and assets to the GC Dao than what else even remains that could be considered primary? The “Earn, Learn, Connect, Fund” headline on our website suggests the four items are foundational, but doesn’t imply that one is primary. Historically I would argue that Grants were the flagship product. Not anymore. If the Gitcoin company wants to decentralize and run as a Dao, our mission-first principle suggests the Dao must be the primary product or we risk failing the mission. Decentralization of a legacy-style company is not an easy or fast process.

I think of the Gitcoin Dao as a bus. Making the bus operational is the primary product. And by achieving the primary product we open the door to a blank-canvas of secondary-product opportunities. We can drive that bus anywhere. We can continually refine and prune our offerings to the world. We can explore new areas of focus. But only if our bus is properly cared for.

It makes sense that we zoom out the perspective. GPG/LLC ran the show centralized-style, it was tight & effective and there was space to innovate. The GC Dao is not nearly as tight & effective and so I believe we should consider the dao as the product, until we reach similar levels of efficiency. Once the dao gets fully tuned and equipped with the processes and infrastructure required we can really embrace the secondary products and innovation areas. We are still not quite there.

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100% Agreed. if not yet, it’ll be eventually. would like to see how that would shape over time.

Rather isolate internal and external products. We can just say those as products. So it would be GitcoinDAO | Daoism | Products

Govern core | Govern attributes | Public Goods

Just a different way to see things

Yeah it’s a product.

And it isn’t a product.

Attribution is “the unbearable lightness of being” lol.

Thinking of it as a product definitely provides insight!

Though thinking of it as a longship crossing uncharted oceans also provides insight…

Two product mental model questions:

(1) How much is the product infused into all the other products?

Compare Apple infusing itself as a product into all of its “child” products with Microsoft not doing that so much.

The result is an Apple child is much more of a “flex” but a Microsoft child can safely stray more from the “parent.”

(2) How much is the product an experience or an object?

Remembering that ultimately spacetime is unified so a “noun” and “verb” cannot be fully separated but also Von Neumann machines have produced literal general purpose automation.

Less abstract, a fast car in a driveway is there to drive, a marble statue in a plaza is there to stay still, a freshly served filet mignon at a restaurant is there to be eaten warm and a vacation package is time off work away from home.