S17 Proposal DAO Ops Budget Request - Integrated

Funny you mention this @tigress! One thing I’d really like to see from DAO Ops this season is an AI-supported Support Team. I hypothesise that we could get less tickets this way AND it would enable a basic support function on Telegram (which is what we’re all craving) that directs folks to Discord if they need to interact with a human.

An AI-assisted steward onboarding process could also be experimented with @shawn16400

I think experimenting with these two pieces would be a pretty easy lift for the team given our documentation in these two areas is already really good!

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Hi - thank you very much for the once again clear explanation of results and plans.

Have we budgeted time to adjust reporting for the new and somewhat more opaque structure - at least initially - of the post s17 DAO? In order to make sense of budgets vs. those that we’ve all experienced in the past (imperfect analogies of course) it would help to see spending by type of activity, such as:

  • Engineering & product → parts of the two new product workstreams
    • broken out - QA / integration testing - in our world that’s sort of FDD & whatever QA is being done in house
  • Sales & marketing → part of PGF and part or all of MMM plus some of the product work streams as they absorb I think product marketing?
  • COGS → other parts of PGF plus the support part from DAO Ops?
  • G&A → I think the rest of DAO Ops?

As I write that, the idea of allocating expenses into more typical buckets looks pretty daunting to me. So a fair answer might be that given the inflight reorg we just have to live with less clarity on where the spending is going for now? I’m happy to spend a little time getting hands-on if ok from a privacy standpoint with whatever accounting we use for reporting to see if I can use it to get to more standard ratios and so forth.

I was going to ask about the ROI of all the work on Steward engagement.
However - I see that you are looking at doing a survey of stewards that might surface feedback that could then be acted upon.

Lastly - yet another question - does DAO Ops have a role in recruiting and other transitions? I believe DAO Ops helped in recent hiring in FDD for example. If so, I wonder whether reporting on that activity level could be useful as a way to further highlight the activities of DAO Ops in “talent management” (cringe phrase) and also to explain spending and ROI? Or are activities such as recruiting and so forth also being distributed into one of the two product workstreams?

TL;DR - looks good to me. Mostly wondering again about how or whether we can get to more granularity of reporting and if the broader DAO finds Stewards to be valuable. Also looking forward to learning from the other feedback and questions here.

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Hey quick question. What do all of these line items mean exactly? What are “Season Reserves” and how is that calculated? I assume Season Budget is how much DAOOps is planning to spend, and I assume Treasury Request is how much DAOOps is asking from the Treasury. Is this correct? What is “unspent reserves” and how is that calculated? Also, are the prices from the previous season based on historical price of GTC? As in, was the Season 15 Budget $293,148 at the time the GTC was allocated? Or is that number the (GTC allocated * current price of GTC). Thank you!

Edit with answer from @safder (from discord): “Reserves are a part of the budget that is to be kept aside for things like paying contributors in the event of a decrease in GTC price, “bridge” spending in case the following season’s budgets are delayed (this almost always happens), or any other unexpected expenses. The expectation is that this reserve will be mostly carried over into next season.”

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Some early input:
There seems to be a lot of initiatives centered around Steward engagement and the Steward program. But the power of stewards is in direct proportion to how much token is delegated to them. In my opinion, it does not matter too much if we have a group of really engaged stewards but the most engaged stewards are not delegated token.

Also, I know it is best to have very measurable goals for budgets, but I also think it’s worth it for DAOOps to take a step back and try to analyze whether the steward/delegation model is even working/optimal for Gitcoin, as opposed to just assuming the steward model is good and figuring out how to make it better.

^ These are rough opinions and I am open to hearing differing thoughts on this.

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Also, I know in the S16 budget @griff expressed concern in using USD Salary ranges for the new technical support lead, and suggested looking to non-US countries with lower costs of living for this role to save on spending. Was there ever any follow up to that discussion?

Thanks @Jodi_GitcoinDAO for posting this and for all the details. So appreciate all the work and in general your leadership.

However, this is a budget that (given where we are in the DAO’s maturity) should be thought about critically.

To take a step back, we’ve spent a few seasons focused on reducing salaries across the DAO and it is starting to feel like death by 1000 cuts. Instead of continuing to decrease salaries season over season and still not be satisfied, can we instead take a more holistic view on how we’d like to reorg the DAO to deliver on our EIs (even if these change, I think getting to the current ones should still be a priority) and both internally know we’re a winning team and externally have support from our stewards and community season over season.

When we look at these two posts from @kyle around budgeting and ideas for our Future Strategy I’d like all of us to be more intentional about taking this thinking and applying it to our teams.

7 months after Kyle’s post, GPC is still only 40% of our budget and DAO Ops is 12% of our spend. In addition, when I account for time spent, I feel like I do not spend 60% or more speaking about product in big group meetings (Weekly Workstream Updates, CSDO, Gitcoin Gathering etc.). How can we reorient the DAO to spend majority of our focus building and supporting the protocols vs everything else?

What are the critical DAO operational roles we need right now to support the product?

  • Support and the Knowledge Base
  • Governance / Steward Management
  • Tooling support (part-time)

Our most valuable resource is time and I’m not convinced we’re spending it well across the DAO.

I appreciate everyone on this team but as a pre-revenue or token utility team I’m not sure if we need this many people each with such specific roles and I urge the team to take the time to drill into a few key areas of focus that support protocol adoption.

This isn’t an easy conversation to have but I’d like us to think critically about what is best for the DAO right now for long term sustainability.

How did you calculate these numbers?

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Where are these notion homepages? They’re not visible on the gitcoinDAO homepage (at least as far as I can tell) and I don’t remember it being advertised anywhere.

To start, I want to clarify for the audience that I am reviewing this budget in the role of a steward who is assigned to review DAOops S17 budget.

This feedback is intended for the “DRAFT” phase of the review process wherein feedback still has an opportunity to work its way into the proposal before it is posted as an “INTEGRATED” proposal and put up for vote on Snapshot.

I am hesitating on supporting this budget as is. Here are a few key reasons:

  1. The increase in in the seasonal budget amount for the last 2 budgets during a time when the CSDO agreement was to have “lighter” seasonal check-ins because we are focusing on launching the protocol and committed to with the expectation that we keep our budgets flat.

  2. There is a lot of “extra” in the likely projects/tasks and the most important work doesn’t stick out.

  3. I would like to see more concrete planning in terms of the DAOops plan to break into end to end accountable scopes of work.

Increase in season budget total

Perhaps this increase is due to team retreat expenses? I can’t tell from this document.

I do know we hired a technical support lead. This specific call out would help me understand and justify an increase.

Overall, I’m not personally happy with breaking the commitment to keep flat budgets with the lighter check-in to the tune of almost 30% over two seasons! However, I do not know if the reason is legitimate due to the budget not taking space to call out the NEED for the increase.

Most important work doesn’t stick out

It feels like a group of individuals with individual accountabilities and not a team. This is a mistake I have made in the past and @tigress has been great at pushing FDD in the right direction. As I read this, it feels like it comes from the same place where our problems have - a need to justify the value of the individuals rather than the value of the team.

I’m not sure what part of our system does this, but it is very clear when you look at the budgets of the workstreams which have little fear of a poor outcome when the vote happens vs the workstreams which have much lower delegation or influence.

This is a symptom level problem and can easily be fixed. However, understanding the root cause is MUCH deeper than a DAOops bugdet problem. My intention in calling out the root problem is to allow others to recognize a systemic issue while also HELPING this workstream to mitigate the problem.

No future planning for post protocol launch

I’d like to see a future plan for end to end accountable workstreams

I do not expect you to change structure this season. Other budgets either have addressed the issue for this season or are painting a picture for the future. What might DAOops look like?

It occurs to me that almost all the functions that DAOops is responsible are in support of key stakeholder groups:

  • Governance = Token Holders & Stewards
  • People Ops & Tooling = Contributors
  • Support = Users

Are we putting the right amount of effort to each of these constituencies?

Does the DAOops cover over multiple distinct scopes of work provide positive sum results?

DAOops could be more proactive in addressing upcoming issues

Another item not mentioned here is that CSDO has an issue coming up that will likely benefit from a proactive response. As FDD dissolves, this means a change in the representation at CSDO.

Which workstreams will have 2 representatives on CSDO? What if a workstream is only 2-3 people? As we approach having smaller workstreams, we have the opportunity to set expectations in advance rather than cause concern.

Another example would be to address potential elephants in the room. With two of the top three token delegated stewards in the same workstream (GPC Passport), the move to push FDD to split up would have also consolidated CSDO power. I am stepping out of the role, so this is not an issue this time. I would like to see us learn from this potential problem and have DAOops proactively find solutions.

Example 3 - It is clear to see that the stewards are asking for a lower burn rate. (Though we don’t know if that is a few louder ones on the forum or a majority or an informed minority…) A lower burn rate has to come from somewhere. The largest token delegates are currently incentivized to push the other workstreams to downsize.

Clarification based on feedback: This is intended to point out a systemic conflict of interest that I would love to see addressed. I personally believe that our current top delegates have Gitcoin’s best interest in mind. Even the ones who are paid by a workstream and have a direct conflict of interest. We are lucky to have missionaries, not mercenaries.

However, I also do personally believe that this systemic problem could be addressed head on BEFORE it turns into something ugly. Mercenaries will find their way into a system that has systemic weaknesses like this. That is why I bring it up here as an OPPORTUNITY for DAOops to better understand the tradeoffs of the current system and identify opportunities to mitigate risk and stabilize intended outcomes.

How do we ensure that the most important work is funded rather than highest delegation workstreams staying alive?

For the record, PGF did quite a bit of downsizing last season and I wouldn’t want to see GPC downsize at this time. (They need a few key hires right now!)

The intention here is to have DAOops proactively address the potential mismatches between the incentives and the current policy.

I’d be happy to take time to discuss this with the team.

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Great question @chaselb! As you added as an edit: this is correct - a few seasons back we decided to add reserves to our budgets to deal with some of the uncertainties Saf mentioned. The budgets from the previous seasons are the budgets we requested in the ‘integrated’ version of our previous budgets. We always express our budgets in USD to avoid the confusion, the way we tried to address this is copied in every request:

The amount of GTC requested and the value of the reserves will be adjusted based on the current market value at the time this proposal is moved to Tally using the lower of the current price or the 20 day moving average, whichever is lower.

Because you attended the Stewards call you know the answer here Chase :slight_smile: But for anyone else who is reading up here, this comes from the total budget overview, combining all budgets.

In a pie chart:

image

Totals and historical numbers for reference:

Note, these are the numbers for the draft budgets, eg MMM has already announced they will decrease their budget for the integrated version.

For people who missed the Stewards call, you can hear me talk about this overview in the recording at the timestamp here.

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Really appreciating your eye for detail Chase! The contributor homepage was shared with Contributors, but you should be able to view this here.

The wider Community Hub was owned by MMM and you can find a draft here. With the changes with regard to community engagement no longer being owned by MMM I’m not sure how and if this will continue to evolve, but @CoachJonathan might be able to clarify.

First, thanks to everyone who has commented so far. What @krrisis and I read were thoughtful and urgent calls for DAO Ops to describe how it might evolve in step with the rest of the DAO. DAO Ops is one of the key partners and drivers of the evolution of the DAO, and we recognize that continuing to reinvent our workstream is critical. We’re very committed to working openly on this, and the following is an attempt to respond to each of the themes raised in the comments above based on what we know now. Next to this, we of course welcome more discussion and questions from Stewards and the wider community, so please keep them coming!

Focus/Prioritization

Historically, DAO Operations’ mandate was broad out of necessity, and in many ways the S17 budget still reflects how we have worked in the past (i.e, DAO Ops taking on many of the general administration costs of the DAO). As we collaborate more on a DAO-wide reorganization and updated Essential Intents this season, we’ll clarify our mandate (more likely mandates) across thinner business units. Potential outcomes of this revised focus are that some of the initiatives we lead today will need to be re-organized into different business units, collectively managed by all business units, or automated away entirely.

Preparing for the Future State of the DAO

In short, we would love to see all of these questions answered in the DAO. Accountable workstreams is also one of the reasons we once again made recommendations for a revised budget process in S16.

We’ve heard contributors of the DAO agitate for more of this kind of work over the seasons and with thinner business units in S18, there is potential for us to to play a more forward-looking role in setting the standards for contributor and financial health-related work.

In the meantime, we’ll be working with MMM and other other teams to experiment within our Support function, testing out AI-enabled chatting to support donors and grantees from our website.

Budgeting

Agree that an overall P&L would be helpful for the DAO, and based on what we heard in the Steward Monthly Call today, it sounds like you and @kyle may be collaborating on what this may look like. We’d also welcome your input on the financial dashboard we plan to launch by season’s end.

Thanks for calling this out, as this is indeed an important point to clarify. Our budget for this season increased because we budgeted for:

  1. The newest member of our team, a Technical Support Engineer who supports the DAOs transition to the protocol, allowing the Passport and Allo Engineering team focus on its future roadmap, and
  2. The Gitcoin team retreat, a DAO-wide contributor event, following a request from members of the DAO to work on team cohesion and create opportunity for in-person strategizing. DAO Ops is facilitating this event through People Ops and is carrying the cost for the weekend in our budget.

Without these new and one-time costs, the DAO Ops budget would actually have decreased by 25.6%. Important to note that:

  1. We have consistently underspent while trying to remain highly flexible.
  2. Since S14 our budget has decreased 44% (approximately $608K in S14 to $389K in S18).

Hiring

We do! @safder leads hiring coordination across the DAO and also supported GPC and DAO Operations in hiring last season. I’m sure he would be happy to chat with you about it.

I think that covers what we’ve heard so far but look forward to more discussion.

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Thank you for your insightful responses here. Especially this one which moves me from hesitant to fully in support of this budget.

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I’m likely to vote no on this proposal.

I don’t think this DAO is operating at a high enough level, and a lot of it is because of legacy structural decisions that did not pan out.

I’m sad about it, because I love the people in this work stream, especially Kris, I LOVE @krrisis, he is one of the most capable and dedicated people that I have ever had the pleasure to work with. We have gone to war together against the elements at burning man! We started Commons Stack together. He literally fainted in my arms once, and I broke my leg in his house!

But in the end, despite our friendship, this work stream has failed to create a decent DAO process and the only option we have to hold it accountable for this is to vote no. Despite my personal reservations.

There was an opportunity to reorganize the DAO to make it more efficient this last season and for some reason this process failed, tho it was in progress. I consider that a huge failure for this work stream to prioritize its core function over other opportunities.

My biggest problem with the DAO operations is that the voting process is this weird yes/no on each work stream which makes voting sort of pointless honestly… The real DAO work is very very time intensive for everyone involved because it is just a lot of drama on forums and it honestly isn’t so productive… It shouldn’t be this way. The structure needs to change.

The voting experience is basically,

  1. Workstream leads spend countless hours putting together a budget and a plan.
  2. Lots of people talk about it on the forum, many complain about the cost, many hours are wasted by all involved.
  3. Workstream leads incorporate the feedback if they want and repropose.
  4. More time wasted on the forum with everyone’s opinions.
  5. Proposal goes up on snapshot… its yes/no and no one knows what would happen if the vote ends up as a “No”
  6. Every major workstream passes it’s proposal and the process repeats 2 months later.

There is too much uncertainty to vote “No” on a critical workstream, and there is no incentive for workstreams to get scrappy and cut costs… they just need to ask for as much as they can get away with.

To counter this, this season I am asking every work stream this… “What would happen if this proposal didn’t pass?”

Because I honestly don’t know… and neither does anyone else… which is an issue IMO that DAOops should have solved a long time ago.

There was one quarter where FDD did a bunch of votes to determine their actual proposal. That was the only time i felt like the DAO had any real strategic oversight into a work stream, and that was not a function of this working group. They did this on the fly… why does it take so long for the reorg to happen.

So…

What will happen if this proposal doesn’t pass?

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Hey guys. For this gitcoin budget season I will be following a different approach. I am not happy with how many things have been going in gitcoin and the way budget reviews work so I will either be abstaining or voting No in most budget reviews.

Despite the budget cuts I still think the DAO is burning too much money and it needs to become more lean.

And I completely echo what @griff said above.

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Is that a rhetorical question?

Afaik the work that DAO Ops does won’t get done and the people that work in DAO Ops will lose their jobs.

I agree with the overall point that the DAO needs to be reviewing and renewing itself.

I don’t agree with the idea that we should just pull the pin and see what happens. What we know about what will happen isn’t good for the people involved or the work that they are doing. That’s assuming that Stewards voting no would actually result in a rework of the proposal that was directionally equal to limiting or even ending DAO Ops. Maybe that’s your question?

Overall I continue to feel as I did in the “Over our skis” post from November - it would be useful to be focused on finding product market fit and to adjust accordingly.

Today we have some signs that we are getting there - which is great. And arguably the split of GPC into two smaller workstreams may help accelerate the feedback loop to get there.

That said - we don’t yet have proof or the related predictability that would give us all I think a little more confidence that we should continue to spend.

I cannot point at a burn-down chart afaik from either product workstream for example - although DevRel and others’ efforts are increasing that transparency. Similarly, we don’t see quite yet an end-to-end view of where users come from and how they drop off - although I believe there was some analysis of where users drop off in an internal meeting this week, which is progress.

And the dashboard that DAO Ops says they will be working on this quarter - we should already have it, assuming "it’ is along the lines of what has been discussed elsewhere.

And - maybe most importantly - when chatting w/ a workstream lead yesterday we discussed that we don’t yet have GTC utility or revenues. Again, it sounds like from comments by @kyle in this week’s steward call we are getting there. Without that, we don’t have arguably the most important metric or at least a clear north star metric.

In short - rather than YOLO voting no - I would suggest we engage with the workstreams to help them work towards product market fit and, importantly, proof of product-market fit where that should include GTC utility / revenues. I actually think there are signs that we are getting there including the very successful recent Unicef round and much else. While I am all for fiscal discipline, I’d argue that we shouldn’t just pull the pin.

Lastly - I sort of don’t grok the comment

there was an opportunity to reorganize the DAO to make it more efficient and this for some reason failed.

The DAO is splitting one of the 5 workstreams into 2 and transitioning another - FDD - out of existence. And of course, Moonshot was recently integrated into GPC. So by the end of this season, 3/6 of the workstreams from last Fall will have been reorganized - and at least DAO Ops (and I believe MMM as well) are each indicating they are preparing for an upcoming slimming down, the shifting of team members into product-focused workstreams, and so on. In short - the reorg is happening, with FDD acting as asomewhat as a canary in the coal mine this season.

Sorry for the length of the response - I ran out of time editing.

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Re: @griff @lefterisjp

I’m still pretty new around here and this is my first budget cycle. But I can sympathize pretty well with the fact that a central inefficiency seems baked into the budget process - and there is certainly a lack of clear consequence to no-votes…

It feels to me a bit like Gitcoin is a start-up that is forced to fundraise every quarter - stealing resources and energy away from the core work of building-the-damn thing :hammer_and_wrench:

In start-up world it’s well known-- if you’re always fundraising, you’re never building, and so where funding in Series A is a huge indicator of having won trust and achieved impressive traction - Series D round is likely an indicator of the opposite. But Gitcoin’s got the funding- we already won- but every quarter there’s a reset and we’re failing to absorb the strategic benefit which drives companies to seek runway to begin with.

Gitcoin has long ago won their initial runway and while quarterly check-ins on strategy and course-correction fuel progress, making it tethered to the budget (and therefor heavy on PR, and a source of safety-disruption for the individuals involved) means we’re not really getting the benefits of running full speed at the goalpost…

In practice I suspect that this is what would happen if DAO Ops’ Budget didn’t pass:

  1. The work of community management, support, and people-management would cease to get done, or likely be done very incompletely by the other workstreams
  1. A toll would be absorbed by the wider Gitcoin community- Discord rooms, Telegram chats, going unanswered. Gitcoin’s biggest asset: its reputation-- would be severely endangered.

  2. Extra stressors would be added to every workstream lead, and likely delegated partially to a few others besides, making the other workstreams significantly less efficient than they could otherwise be.

  3. Morale would be challenged; not improved. Brain drain would result- recruitment of top talent where it’s needed would become nearly impossible.

If the team is meant to be lean at the expense of in person and virtual connections (retreat budget, community calls, solid hiring practices etc.) – there won’t be a team before long.

@epowell101 I think I tend to disagree on your point that the way forward: “we engage with the workstreams to help them work towards product market fit” –

There’s no “product” in the nebulous connections of a highly functioning team. But there’s no product possible without a unified and motivated team.

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ahh, yes @ale.k I didn’t mean to suggest the team wasn’t crucial for achieving that product market fit - more that tracking progress towards that goal plus GTC utility / revenue would help us know whether we are, well, making progress as a collective. The TL;DR of my post is I think we are making that progress, however it is too hard to tell.

Again it could be @griff was just asking a rhetorical question however I think you answered it pretty accurately.

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It is not rhetorical. There are only two scenarios. How can anyone vote no if they don’t know what that option even means. I think it the only way we can have a fair vote is to have a clear understanding of what the result of voting “no” looks like.

Is it… I think there are reserves… And maybe some would get absorbed into other work streams…

Also… If that’s the case, then this is just not a fair vote. It makes voting “No” way too hard, vote no and you layoff a whole working group and we’re all screwed. What is even the point of voting? We need a better system if this is the case.

This is why I am asking this question… so I don’t have to yolo the vote. … and i’m asking in every work stream… what happens if we vote no…

Doesn’t it seem weird that we have so many details about what voting yes looks like… but we don’t know what voting know looks like… I think that is a huge problem.

I wish we had more options than battle it out in the forum and then yes/no.

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