Season 14 is upon us and we now have 8 budget proposals to review and evaluate. I want to start with an immense thank you, and shout out to those drafting, coordinating and proposing these workstream budgets. This is arguably one of the most robust planning sessions we have had, and I have loved that so many workstreams are really leveling up their thinking and planning. Thank you!
As I write this Voter’s Guide, I want to note that I am but one node in the network, but I would like to think I am also a highly connected node. A node with a vested interest in Gitcoin’s success that cares deeply about our long term opportunities. That in mind, I often act as a “wet blanket” or a reality bearing voice that challenges the idea that we have free internet money that we can spend in wild ways to grow and learn (without actually accomplishing our mission).
S14 is going to see a large increase in budget requests from most workstreams as they fill their reserves, and onboard contributors from Gitcoin Holdings who have decided to join the DAO full time. I believe this trend (contributors embracing the DAO full time) is good for Gitcoin and for Web3 in general. I do worry that season over season Gitcoin continues to struggle actually making progress on its goal to be a protocol DAO however.
IMO, the most important thing for the Gitcoin DAO is Grants 2.0. Any work not advancing that cause will see immense scrutiny this period from me and likely other stewards. There is tremendous output and experimentation happening across the Gitcoin DAO, but now is not the time to lose focus on any other area outside of our Protocol development. We are failing to support and launch a Grants protocol, and each workstream continues to define metrics that largely are not in support of that goal.
The market winds are shifting and we need to button down the hatches to ensure we launch a protocol that stands the test of time. As a result of this sentiment and my agreement with this Twitter Poll, we should scrutinize budgets to ensure we stay focused on the outcomes that matter (not the outputs). Workstreams continue to grow and say “yes” to everything instead of really nailing their core value proposition and expanding from there - this will have us die a death from a thousand cuts.
- MMM - Vote Yes given reductions and agreed upon slowing of expenses. My goal was to cut down the larger number of initiatives we are paying outside firms to support us with. PR is likely not necessary at this time, we have a strong narrative and brand but no protocol to announce. This new number still honors the reserves that were ratified. I would like to see diversity in your multisig. All of your signers are core MMM contributors and you are missing your customer’s feedback (and collusion prevention ). FDD has done a good job of shifting how to think about multi signer responsibility (DAO Ops a bit too).
- PGF - Voting No unless a larger reduction is made. A request of 152k feels incredibly large. The Gnosis safe has only a few active DAO members still on it and REALLY needs to be revised (Yalor, Shreyas, Ken dont participate much). Fundraising Contributor budget could be cut in half (if not more) - IMO we should wait to really push for adoption until we have a protocol to grow adoption on. Grants Ops also feels heavy, but I believe it now covers 6 people, so is perhaps just fine (also hard to tell). The other work outlined in the request is small in nature and of value to keeping us a narrative leader in PGF more broadly - BUT - I wonder if we can reduce the frequency to help us cut the cost down by ½ or a ⅓. My concern though is that MMM should be driving (and accountable for) lots of this work as it’s “marketing” - Can we coordinate funding on Public Library, PG PR, Publication, ImpactDAO and perhaps even the Comic and Auction line items listed (i.e. move those to MMM)?
- FDD - Waiting to see reduction amounts this week (Would vote No as-is), IMO FDD should be focused on maintaining as slim of an operating budget as possible given the reduction in round sizes and the changes coming from Grants 1.0 to Grants 2.0. I still feel that Gitcoin seems to be paying for the education and advancement of a number of ideas - Sybil DAO, Most of “Evolution”, Catalyst, etc. without any discernible increase in value being delivered back to the DAO. Cutting most of “Evolution”, scaling back “Sybil defenders” and doing a deeper dive on the value of GIA would be valuable. FDD has brought tremendous strength in ideas to the Gitcoin DAO, and those participating in the workstream are sharp. They just seem to be building for an ideal that doesn’t align with where we currently are as a community or market - costs continue to grow without a large change in result (though I understand decentralized approaches are culprits for this cost increase). I would love to explore a “lean” S14 ahead of Grants 2.0 and then evaluate what a measured growth plan might look like.
- DAO Ops - Voting Yes, DAO Ops is in a precarious situation having taken on multiple funding obligations for the entire DAO which really conflates its budget with that of supporting the entire DAO. I fear DAO Ops may be centralizing too many entry points of the DAO and eroding autonomy of workstreams, but WSs seem to prefer this approach for now (this is no fault of DAO Ops merely pointing out they are no longer their own masters, but instead at the behest of CSDO).
- MSC - Voting Yes given amendments, MSC has really struggled to find its legs (beyond great YOLO projects that have grown funding for PGF) and now has a leadership transfer to course correct. Rightfully so there was a dramatic reduction in budget requested compared to S12 and there is an opp to further focus where MSC spends resources. I appreciate the revisions to the proposal and the reflection on the roadmap. Grants 2.0 and GTC Utility are incredibly important for our future and I would love to see us double down on those themes.
- dCompass - Voting no, It has taken me a while to overcome the sunk cost fallacy, but I do not think we should continue to fund this work. S14 is really the season of focus, and I would like to see the Gitcoin DAO focus its funding efforts on our protocol.
- Kudos - Voting no, The mintkudos team has great user traction, a great UX and is aligned with our vision for reputational needs in the space. I would love to find a way to keep this work as an informal workstream for one more season and continue to develop the thesis (and supporting protocol (dPopp).
- Kernel - Voting no, Kernel doesn’t really fit as a workstream, and it likely doesn’t need to be one to accomplish its mission or goals. It has funding from Gitcoin Holdings and the proposal lacks clear upside for the Gitcoin DAO in a way that a close relationship cannot offer. I am really interested in making sure Kernel has secure funding, but giving them GTC to sell and fund operations just doesn’t feel appropriate. I want to explore more options here.