Financial Proposal: Customer Discovery , Validation & Alternate Revenue for Aragon DAO

TL;DR

Aragon is one of the well-known and established DAO platform providers with a focus on helping improve coordination via DAOs. Aragon has until now mainly been focusing on the web 3 environment but DAOs can help traditional businesses, non-profits and the government sectors to effectively govern and coordinate within the company and outside the company.

This proposal is for customer discovery and initial validation to actively research, meet and interview executives and using the feedback come up with the first MVP for traditional organizations’ DAO use cases. Total Funding of $25025 would be required to do the job.

This work lays the groundwork to discover and analyze where DAOs can be beneficial in traditional organizations and can therefore help by strategically sharpening and orienting our goals and also working towards possibly bringing in an alternate source of revenue for Aragon.

### 1. Rationale:

Aragon was formed in 2016 and is one of the oldest and well-known DAO platforms with a motto of “Fight for Freedom”. With recent discussion on governance and goals.

There are more than 3,800 DAOs launched on the Aragon platform which is mainly in the web3 space. I am aware Aragon wants to onboard 1000 more DAOs with Aragon and the focus is web 3 world. I also believe lots of value can be unlocked via DAOs in traditional organizations and we have to start putting leg work now.

I have personally used many DAO platforms and DAO tools and I found Aragon to have a great user interface and be very user-friendly compared to other platforms.

Enterprises and governments are massive, bureaucratic, slow and have information siloed. Massive value can be unleashed via cooperation via DAOs. Different forms of cooperation between organizations exist like cooperatives, PPP, business networks, open innovation ventures etc. Aragon can possibly help SMBs, corporations and governments to enable coopetition, cooperation and Public-Private partnerships.

If Aragon can create an environment where people at the bottom could share their opinion and if we could enable DAOs on a small scale (like one department) and then enable company-wide consensus, we would live up to the motto to provide a platform to enable consensus and thereby increase engagement.

On 30 March 2022, I hosted Aragon in Dubai during Eth Dubai (video here )which was attended by many people from banking, real estate, law and other sectors. After the session, we received many enquiries about possible collaboration but we did not have a concrete roadmap to proceed. We want to start and carry momentum after the discussion made on 30 March 2022.

### 2. Objectives

The primary objective of completing this proposal is customer discovery and development by probing the need and use case of DAOs in private or/and public sectors. This project collects data from prospects if there is a possibility of creating DAOs for a traditional sector (profit/non-profit). The feedback can be used to create MVP or provide other services which would not be the scope of the project.

This would help provide Aragon with clarity in achieving the goals, have a first mover advantage to move to a certain niche in enterprise DAOs and, if successful, possibly create an extra source of revenue.

3. Proposal Executive Details

For Customer Development, I use a framework that is divided into two steps - “Nail the market” then “Scale the market”. This proposal will focus on the first part “Nail the market”. These two are further divided into a number of steps namely.

Nail the market

Customer Discovery is identifying a group of people whose problems could be solved with our solutions (DAO platform, Consulting or other services). I will be focusing mainly on UAE and/or Canada.

A, Identify our services - What solutions are we providing? Is it just the DAO platform or consulting? Identify and provide details on each one of them

B, Pre-Business Model - What is our business model? Do we make separate DAO (a fork) for enterprise? Do we charge monthly for the platform? Do we use the freemium model and charge for support?

C, Identify Personas -stating our solutions and identifying user personas that are archetypical users whose goals and characteristics represent the needs of a larger group of users we want to target.

D, Outreach - Outreach each identified group via a, networks, b, referrals, c, In person presentation sessions d, Conferences e, and Social media.

E, Interact with Prospects - Interview and ask probing questions to the prospects who have paint points and we can solve them using our solutions.

Customer Validation - Identify if the group is large enough or identify if the paint point is monetizable so that a viable business might be built.

F, Value proposition/ Iterate - After talking with the prospects and interacting, we come up with a value proposition which they can test with low-risk methods like proof of concept or pilot project

There are other steps of the Customer Validation ie, making product MVP, our initial Business Model, and determining the pricing, sales and marketing.

- Limitations & Shortcomings

1, Corporations and government sectors may be bureaucratic and may need permission from HR for an interview which can consume a lot of time.

2, In the customer discovery process some prospects may seem to have problems and agree to take part in pilots but postpone signing an agreement as on average it can take a minimum of up to 5 decision-makers to move forward. Thus, we need to start negotiations early.

3, Obtaining clarity on our products and services. Should we provide consulting services? Should we create a separate enterprise-closed DAO where we charge monthly?

4, Team

Shanzz - I have been trained as Space Engineer then moved to the Geomatics field , worked in LIDAR and Space Imaging, moved to analytical marketing then business management. For the past 10 years, I have been working in various management roles(Senior Business Development, Managing Director and Ceo)- closed deals with US Army, Road Transport Authority Dubai, DP world and other corporations. I introduced new products in the region by following “nail it before scale it” strategy where I launched new products by probing paint points of specific industries and then checking out if it is scalable.

Summary

Before crypto I tinkered with E-Gold (one of the first world currency pegged to gold), I got acquainted with bitcoin in 2010 but got in 2012 during Cyprus banking crises (well I didn’t HODL :frowning: ). Owned crypto mining rig business (was pain cleaning machines), organized many web3 meet ups, met with some of the early Ethereum team, and was president of a non-profit blockchain where I met and interviewed Scott Stornetta (founder of blockchain from Bell labs). Just 2 weeks ago I took part in Eth Toronto (was not selected but hustled my way in) , formed a team , was a semi-finalist and won the first prize bounty for Hedera.

I knew Aragon back in 2017 and avidly read about the newsletter, and organized UAE’s first IRL Aragon meet up with Lion and Anthony (video here). With my contacts, I secured a free place to host Aragon. Recently I served as a contributor as DAO Tooler to get practical ideas on working for Aragon.

I love to see Aragon making a change in traditional organizations.

anson parker#4296- Anson Parker is a data science librarian at the University of Virginia with 25 years of open source development experience. At Aragon dTech his work focuses on 3rd party integration evaluations for the Aragon Client space and DAO creation generally. In his personal web3 work he has spent the past 3 years working on development for the low-income space in his community beginning with a housing navigator in 2019 Charlottesville Housing Hub | Code for Charlottesville that led to a grant with the Center for Civic Innovation to address credit scores issues https://www.centerforcivic.org/fellows2021. (edited)

If this proposal passes more teams would be required to move to make MVP.

5, Deliverables

The results of this work could be used by all other DAOS.

Week 1 - 3 - Funding - $ 5675 + $2000 (Overhead)

Work on identifying the customer solution and problem and pre- business models by discussing with other Aragon members and getting their inputs. Start identifying personas by week three.

Week 4 - 6 - Funding - $5675 + $2000 (Overhead) + $ 2000 (bounty)

Inputs from previous weeks would be used to identify personas and start outreaching by

a, Networks - contact all the people in my network who fit the persona,

b, Referrals - after interview ask for referrals who may be interested in an interview

c, In person presentation sessions - conduct presentation, socialize & get leads

d, Conferences - it is time not to stick just to blockchain/crypto/defi events also go to other sectors

e, Social media - outreach people who have shown interest vis social media.

Week 6 - 12 - $5675 + $ 3000 (bounty)

More outreach, interact with prospects and customer validation would be done during these weeks, questions would be iterated and more focused questions would be asked on launching pilot or MVP if there is an interest. A detailed report would be written on the findings of Customer discovery and validation.

-Conduct weekly updates and monthly reports on forums.

-Have a workspace in Notion to keep community members updated.

  • Separate channel would be created to discuss the updates taking place.

-I plan to do 15-20 meetings with prospects of CEO, CTO, Innovation officers, Blockchain Officers who are decision makers or can influence decision makers.

-ESD and preapproved Aragon members can view the report and list of people interviewed

  • Progress report to community 5-7 days before the month’s end.

  • Final Detailed report elaborating on Nailing it - Customer Discovery and Validation

### 5. Strategic Alignment

This proposal just hits the target of ESD strategy for providing initial work of Go to Market for Aragon App would align with the objectives of AA and ESD strategy to educate and spread the use cases of DAO this time in real-world traditional business. This project will help grow DAO culture in the traditional world by creating awareness and educating them about the benefits of collaborating via DAO space, positioning Aragon as leaders in DAO space and develop partnerships with government and enterprises and in long term meet financial goals by bringing in the revenue.

Benefits

  • Bring more market for Aragon products - Aragon DAO, Govern, Vocondi
  • If there is market fit, formalize our ambassador program to recruit future consultants and help grow the market
  • Value add to Aragon list of products
  • Help local market and get low-cost leads
  • Can DAOS help coops? Housing cooperatives? Condo Cooperatives? PPP?

Need for an alternate source of revenue which could align our goals and vision for the next 3-5 years.

Research, market fit and pricing of the possible Enterprise version of the DAO.

## 6. Funding

$25025 for completion of this proposal which is estimated to require 12 weeks.

$5675 per month will be for my services (for 3 months) and $4000 overheads to cover for conference room rental (will try to get free like last time), F&B (after talks), lunch (with interviewees) and another $5000 for bounties. Unused funds in bounties and overheads would be returned

If the proposal passes would need $ 2000 for the overhead and the remaining on 15th of the month.


FAQ -

Summary

Which region will you be focusing ? Will the case studies be applicable in other regions?

Mainly in UAE with conference season coming and/or Canada mainly in Toronto. The Dubai government understood the important of blockchain back in 2016 and promoted the use of

Is the role redundant to Business Development?

No in fact the role will work in conjunction with business development so we can nurture leads and promote Aragon products.

In my opinion, we have to go to other conferences than blockchain, crypto, defi conferences and start going to the real world, real estate, government, and enterprises conferences where after a speech we can drop by and say “I loved your presentation, I think we can help in …”

Are we early? May be. The way must be tried.

The day cities, businesses and communities start using DAOs without knowing it is a DAO is a day we envision where collective consensus and intelligence are valued over a single person or a management layer

How does it help Aragon DAO?

Aragon DAO was recently formed less than a year ago and is moving to progressively decentralize the management, the decision making and the governance of the DAO.

The DAO is discovering and fine-tuning its main purpose, goals and governance. Though Aragon DAO has around 200 million USD in treasury, we have to find alternate ways to bring in revenue. I am in favour of the idea that the best way forward is to both help & earn revenue serving the online and offline communities by helping to improve the coordination, transparency and decision-making of the DAOs.

It was great to be a general DAO but as this space is getting more and more specialized for sectors. We can probe which sectors can solve their problems via the enablement of DAOs. For that, we have to find the pain points and check if solving those pain points is monetizable and profitable. Then we can run pilots and collect data, talk more to those sectors and the next step is to scale and see if we can modify our DAOs to meet the needs of those sectors. Specialists will excel and survive.

So when does the project end?

The project of customer discovery ends if a prospect would be interested to do a pilot or 3 months period, whichever comes first.

Isn’t 3 months too small of a timescale?

Yes, corporates and businesses can take substantial time to provide permission for interviews and approvals for pilot project,but it is always better to get started and gain momentum, based on the results of this small time scale we can find out the next steps.

Was something similar done before?

There was nothing similar done but there was a project - Funding Proposal: Test the Viability of DAO Consultants. Could not get hold of the results.

Recently project done by Mateo titled“”BD Learning Experiment - Laying the foundation for the future BD Guild”, was one month project mainly in web 3 sector to some useful data.

Vocdoni has done a fantastic job of First Public Institution in Spain Holds Vocdoni Referendum. We need more use cases like the above.

How does it help the ambassadors program?

At the moment there is a lack of clarity on the progression path for an ambassador to move forward after they organize a couple of sessions. Would the ambassador remain a volunteer? Instead, if we find a way to monetize traditional organizations, local ambassadors could potentially provide a source of local leads thus ambassadors could be recruited with future plans to become local business developers or promoters of Aragon where they could arrange pilots and gain data.

What is the vision for the success of this work?

Enterprise and Government require on average 5 decision-makers to proceed as they are cautious and have limited bandwidth to take risks, building relationships, having patience and doing low-risk pilot projects can put their foot in the door and for us to collect data which we can use in the future.

Enterprises and governments are massive, bureaucratic and slow, if Aragon can create an environment where people at the bottom could share their opinion and if we could enable DAOs on a small scale (like a division) and then enable company-wide consensus, we would live up to the motto to provide a platform to enable consensus and thereby increase engagement.

Ends here**********

3 Likes

Well detailed proposal.I followed every single word.The team profile also caught me. It shows this project is in professional and capable hands.

Customer discovery and development is worth researching.The benefits are unending.

2 Likes

Hi Shanzz,

Thanks for your post. As Harry and I mentioned to you, we don’t believe this is where Aragon should be allocating resources (time, money) at this moment. We’ve done research on much of this and want to be as focused as possible on the currently defined target markets and product capabilities based on the current roadmap.

Maybe in 1 year we can revisit this in earnest.

Thank you though.
-Anthony

Hi Shanzz,

Here’s my reply on Discord, reposting here as you suggested:

Cool, good luck with this. From an Aragon contributor perspective, I don’t have much to add beyond the feedback that I personally don’t see this in the priorities for the next year. (Though I am passionate, as you, that this is important to be pushed).

From a proposal details perspective, I’m thinking that it is a really huge challenge to answer this in a small project, so I’d suggest that you reduce the scope, so as to not ‘boil the ocean’ with your research. E.g. you could:

a) you could focus the proposal more on saying ‘by the end of this proposal, we’ll have 3 strong hypotheses on what are the business segments that could be served by Aragon’. For this kind of project, it’s probably not so much customer interviews to do, but more expert interview oriented (i.e. someone who can give their perspective on many markets)
b) you start the proposal with 1-3 strong hypotheses, and you focus on validating them. For example: i) agricultural cooperatives in developing countries; ii) major public good tech, open source tech projects in the US, and iii) real estate co-ownership in markets which are unaffordable to buy property in. I personally think this would be more compelling, as you are less likely to end up with a high level recommendations that are at risk from not being actioned.

3 Likes

@Anthony.Leuts I would love to see previous work done on this as it was mentioned again and again but I am yet to see the final work or report. I would like to know what kind of revenue the web3 platform is bringing for Aragon Treasury. Also would love to see the roadmap of Aragon (the DAO is still discussing its goals)

One year is a long time for DAO world, the way I see things is that yes Aragon is in DAO platform space for web3 world I guess 2-5% must be invested in new possible markets.

@Harry expert interviews (which expert?) sounds good but I would love to go through a route where I dont assume anything just observe and understand what the market wants and does with DAO.

As launching many products I found people say what they think and do what they feel. The sector that votes with money I will head there. The market decides and validates my assumptions.

1 Like

This proposal sets a leading example of what imo business development proposals should present for ANT holder consideration

  • purpose (why)
  • focus on an identified target market (who)
  • planning (what when)
  • path to execution (how)

The market decides and validates my assumptions

Three months is a challenging undertaking & I am for enabling clearly talented teams to succeed & iterate or fail & pivot, quickly. I believe this proposal should be considered for funding based on its own merits rather than the limiting focus and resourcing of other teams who are yet to present a strategy to guide business development efforts within the DAO. It is certainly a proposal I think delegates will in the near future help to enable.

In terms of what I hope is constructive feedback

  1. Simplify: This is a lengthy proposal I would recommend
    – linking out to or toggling the FAQ section in order to help focus the discussion
    – minimise (reduce) and reserve personal commentary for this comments section

  2. Clarify: Your proposal contains some key information that I suggest you could lead with. These elements could be your Summary or proposal TL;DR
    – State funding request upfront
    – Introduce the proposed objective(s) up front
    – Share benefits upfront

1 Like

Great proposal @Shanzz , very thorough and well argued. I would second Renee’s suggestion to simplify it and link out for personal commentary and some of the heavier details (such as exact use of funds and execution details). Even if this is not successful first vote, finding business use cases outside of web3 that can generate revenue is a must, thus I would encourage you to keep working on this.

I have some contacts in banking and hospitality in Dubai who might be worth meeting whenever you do get started. Happy to make the introductions if you want to DM me on Discord.

Thanks,

Fintan.

2 Likes

@lee0007 Thanks a lot for the feedback, yes followed the advice and changed it.

@fmurphy Thanks would love to connect with them :slight_smile: Dubai moves at Wrap speed, just the company whose CEO I met back in March and passed on the contact to @Anthony.Leuts signed crypto payment deal with Binance and opened a metaverse office. Wanted Aragon on board in VARA (a regulatory authority ) so we could advice on DAO LLC formation.

1 Like

on the one hand i think it’s optimistic that Aragon will be ready to revisit ideas in a year or more… long term forecasting hasn’t been our best suit :wink:

one thing i like about this proposal is that it involves a jurisdiction i know very little about and that frankly doesn’t get much attention in most legal channels. Given the wealth associated with the region and @Shanzz’s experience in the UAE, one thing that comes to mind now is whether we could add some sort of legal review component to the outputs?

1 Like

Hey there @Shanzz ,

I believe it’s a well presented proposal.

In spite of that, I’m a strong believer that before expanding to new use cases in the traditional world, Aragon needs to become dominant within a given niche, reach market fit and growth there, and only then, expand horizontally.

I say this after 4 years of experience in trying to bring decentralized voting tech mainstream at Vocdoni. The hard reality that I saw there is that most traditional organizations do not care about the properties of decentralization. Censorship-resistance, public verifiability, transparency… only a subset of them cared. The vast majority cared about cost, easy UX, and improved efficiency.

We found out that it’s really hard to build an all-in-one product to solve all their governance needs with Web3 tooling. Every organization has different needs and requirements. For this reason, we shifted to a API model so the heavy lifting in terms of customization and integrations is done by a tech integrator/consultancy firm instead of us. I do believe that is a path worth exploring. In fact, Vocdoni is already doing so, specializing in digital voting tech.

However, for Aragon, I believe it would be a distraction at this point. I think we need to hyperfocalize in Web3 first. Excel and prove our points there, so we gain the reputation and tactical advantage to “conquer mainstream” from that advantageous position in Web3. At least for the very short / mid term. Trying to serve two markets that are completely different in terms of user persona, needs and solutions is something we’ve already experienced, and it didn’t work…

4 Likes

I have concerns about our growing dependency on a single strategy for securing Product Market Fit (PMF) Correct me if I’m wrong please, because from what I understand the current strategic focus for the AA is critical path dependent on

  1. Aragon Core Audits
  2. development of the SDK and contract documentation,
  3. App Interface development
  4. Researched but still hypothetical user base, yet to be tested

How many months away from discovering Product Market Fit (PMF) are we?

I recognise and understand the need for AA teams to focus. However, this is an independent Main DAO proposal that is not requesting AA resources simply 25k financial capital committed to the Decentralised Autonomous Organisation.

In terms of the possible Return on Investment (>1) perhaps can we compare the cost of research committed to the current strategy? How much was spent in the past year to identify the “intermediate builders” user base, in terms of time, human and capital resources? @Harry can you offer an estimate?

Given we already have

  • a working and supported DAO product
  • that people are using, improving and building upon

And, that communities and organisations using Aragon OS typically would present a key target market to transition to the App once available… why not commit 25k to investigate use cases for the existing product in a new market where interest has already been established, in parallel to the Aragon Core focus.

In terms of better understanding the missing alignment here

  1. Be great to understand what the Aragon North Star currently is so all teams can orientate to a shared purpose. Because under the current Charter, this proposal seeks to serve the purpose to grow the number of active DAO on the Network.

  2. How comparable is Vocodoni’s niche voting infrastructure to the much broader use case for DAO? It seems to me voting is only one element of a DAO and that market experience with voting would inform voting only. Do we know yet what aspects of DAO traditional organisations value? If there is previous research as @shanzz has requested can it be shared?

2 Likes

I can’t agree more with @lee0007, and above all I find really valuable the doubts and questions raised, specially does regarding the dependency to the single top-down strategy Aragon Association is endorsing. For me, this need for accountability, it’s a signal that there are many things that need to be improved at the communication level.

That’s why I believe that, for the success of this current new strategy, it would be really valuable to have answers to questions such as:

Just by being transparent on the current AA strategy and the logic behind (we’re 5 months away from the deadline to become a DAO, on February!) and trying to be clear answering these doubts: we will be able to assess potential risks more accurately, have more informed discussions (where the community feels more included), have the community more aligned and receive meaningful feedback.

With the goal of risk diversification on mind, I find healthy to see appearing proposals like the one of @Shanzz’s, even if it has a lot of room for improvement (which is why I guess we endorse a public proposal methodology).
And I think that it’s even worth to explore them (also from a cost-risk perspective) without rejecting them from the beginning.

With the AA leadership becoming more transparent about the current plans and strategy, it could become possible to discuss all these ideas with greater clarity and with everyone feeling more aligned.

In any case, just as a general observation beyond this proposal. When going all-in with a single top-down strategy we should be diligent. Leadership and vision it’s indispensable, but must be open, legitimized, and consider the community behind. It’s so much better to work on this now than having a potential Game of Thrones-like situation in the coming months.

Being aware of the potential risks (external but also internal!) and getting ready to mitigate them is very important. Crowdsourcing could be a good way to deal with all these issues (while reducing concerns and getting legitimation).

Don’t get me wrong. Let’s not be distracted by the noise of the crowd, putting any sterile debate before a powerful vision, but let’s also not neglect the community or do all-in to risky strategies before some validation.

Regarding this question:

As you can imagine, I don’t think is comparable. Just with token-based digital voting, we had already some qualified leads (and many more unqualified) from a target in between both Web2&Web3 worlds (Pioneer companies that wanted to tokenize their shares (B2B) or even platforms that tokenized shares (B2B2C)). Unfortunately the decision to stop the development of Aragon Voice (the product covering that target) was done around the same time, so we were not able to explore further that direction (and not even validate all the hypothesis completely).

But we still got feedback from valuable interviews we did during these months. And now we’ll try to take advantage of that feedback and learnings to tackle all the Pioneers from the traditional worlds at the same time of the Web3 organizations, with a simpler and more flexible product: Vocdoni API).

Of course, this was only for voting! But I’m pretty sure that, for the DAOs, the interest (and feedback to collect from these pioneers) would be even bigger.

Cheers :heart:

3 Likes

You could estimate 1 month x 1.5 senior researchers x 70% dedication. This was the framing phase to identify the target market, their needs, personas and user journey comparable with the scope of Shanzz’s proposal.

(Not sure what calculation you are planning, but it will be hard to account for the existing internal expertise that we tapped into, nor the time spent during the whole year across teams on user research and testing).

1 Like

Wow, it’s a super well structured proposal! The on/off-line zig zag makes it a bit tricky but hopefully you can manage.

It’s hilarious to see how people with possibly more ANT than all AN DAO contributors combined are playing helpless victim in the comments :smiley:

Please respect this as a space for communicating constructive feedback, asking questions and discussion of proposals. This forum is already tough for people to engage with

abelling anyone “helpless vicitims” does not advance the discussion of this proposal and public accusation can discourage people from sharing at a time when diversity of perspective is very much needed.

3 Likes

Aragon needs to become dominant within a given niche, reach market fit and growth there, and only then, expand horizontally

At the speed Aragon is going there have been other DAO platforms that have been taking over at wrap speed. Aragon is one of the oldest DAO platforms in market, what new strategies are being adopted to increase market share, discover new niche and new business models that can bring in revenue? What would “conquering mainstream” look like to you? Can AA share us?

The vast majority cared about cost, easy UX, and improved efficiency.

Yes this is what EXACTLY businesses SHOULD care, if DAO can make, save or reduce time and effort then only we have market fit else it is just vanity.

However, for Aragon, I believe it would be a distraction at this point. I think we need to hyperfocalize in Web3 first.

Well Aragon acquired Vocdoni from Estonia-based Dvote Labs Oü 2 yrs back expecting and experimenting with another possible angle to monetize. (Btw online Voting is very very hard, just ask Voatz, I spoke to the CEO many times. ). I mean we have spent more than half a million dollars just this season on Aragon DAO operations, governance etc and I think it is time to monetize and apply what we have acquired and learned.

Similarly just as @ferranrego and @lee0007 stated that we can potentially become pioneers in this space if AA wanted. But then AA has to decide if they want to become transparent with their strategy and pass on the decision-making responsibilities to the leaders of Aragon DAO or keep it centralized.

I would like to thank @Shawncubbedge for providing the presentation and findings of @harry and team. I do not think it is similar and sample size was small but it is very interesting work where we can expand.