Nest DAO Ideas & Issues

Further to the Nest DAO kick-off call (call notes here if you missed it), I would like to continue the community research and discussions surrounding Nest DAO and the Nest DAO working group.

The ideas below have been taken from a variety of Aragon forum posts, the Nest DAO kick-off call as well as a few of my own thoughts. Please add any I may have missed or new ideas.

Other Points:

  • There is a dedicated channel on Aragon Chat for Nest WG (#wg-nest)
  • I think we should increase the frequency of Nest WG calls. A 1 hour call every 3 weeks simply won’t be enough time to discuss both new grant investment opportunities as well the underlying mechanics and strategy of Nest. Or perhaps a better solution is to create 2 Nest WGs, one for strategy and one to discuss potential deals so that they can run in tandem. What do you think?

Nest DAO ideas and discussion points

1. Retrospective

I would like to suggest doing a retrospective, where we go through all of the Nest projects funded to date and do some form of review. What worked well? What didn’t work so well? What could we have done to improve the outcome?

Perhaps a survey to Nest project leads could be a good place to start on this front.

2. Best Practice Expectations Document

Create some best practices around the expectations for Nest Grants. This could include, but not be limited to:

  1. ux / usability requirements
    2. documentation requirements
    3. security requirements

The goal being to ensure projects we fund deliver a usable, understandable, and secure product. This is non-trivial, so maybe we would need to create some support infrastructure around this to make it easier for grantees.

Original post by @burrrata here.

This is a good initiative in my opinion. I would add an additional one for “reporting requirements”. Nothing tedious, just a requirement for soft-touch and regular updates.

3. Increase the number of Nest projects funded

At the moment ANT holders are funding million dollar projects that support teams of 5-10 people, but small community endeavors that cost less than $10,000 each are getting blocked and pushed back on. To get some perspective, we could fund 100 to 150 $10,000 community grants for the same cost as either Aragon Black or Autark’s latest AGP. For reference, that’s two to three $10,000 community grants per week for a year.

Original post by @burrrata here.

Related to this is the annual budget for the Aragon Network.

How much should be invested in Nest vs Flock?

4. Investment Thesis

It would be nice to see an investment/grant thesis to clearly explain what types of projects Nest is funding and why. Technical projects only? Non-technical projects? What stages are suitable? Solo founders accepted? What will it not provide grants for?

This is important for attracting the right kind of deal flow for Nest DAO (and reducing the amount of wasted time reviewing or replying to projects that don’t fit the grant criteria)

Ex: Here is the A16z crypto investment thesis

5. Request for Projects

I would like to propose creating a “Request for Projects”, similar to the commonly used “Request for Startups” where we take a proactive approach to deal sourcing rather than merely reactionary.

Do you already have some ideas for small projects that could be beneficial to the Aragon ecosystem?

6. Project Evaluation & Due Diligence

Do we want to create a more structured way that we due diligence Nest applicants?

A trimmed down investment memo might be suitable where we tick off essential questions in conjunction with the investment thesis.

The objective is to create some kind of consistency in the way Nest projects are evaluated and ensure basic questions (ex: Are there any critical skill gaps on the team?) don’t go unanswered.

7. No skin-in the game

For example, VCs and angels support their investments because they are incentivized to maximize their return on said investments. I’m here because I think Aragon and DAOs are awesome (personal interests/curiosities), but at this time I literally have 0 skin in the game (ANT tokens). This feels like a weak model because in the limit only A1 or whales have real incentives to do deep due diligence and analysis.

Original post by @burrrata here.

I think this is an important point because a) Nest DAO members might pick which projects to back differently if their own money was on the line, b) they might not put in the required work to properly due diligence opportunities or source new deals if they have nothing to gain and c) they likely won’t be plugged in to the Nest DAO project post grant which could influence it’s chances of success.

  • Should Nest DAO members that can afford it invest alongside the Nest DAO? (so they have skin in the game)

  • Should Nest DAO members be remunerated for their activities? (if investing in a for-profit project, it would seem logical that they should share in some of the upside). If not, how can we ensure the work that needs to be done relating to Nest DAO actually gets done?

8. Nest DAO member criteria

The current members of the Nest DAO are comprised mostly of Flock members. Given the AA has limited funds as well as the fact that there is not currently any other major Aragon revenue streams, there is essentially a competition for capital between Flock & Nest teams. As such, it’s not unfeasible that Flock team members will vote against new Nest projects even if they might be good for the Aragon ecosystem as a whole, to increase their share of capital allocation.

How can we avoid this scenario from happening? Should we increase the number of members in the Nest DAO? Should we have strict budget allocation for Flock vs Nest teams?

It was suggested to create a code of conduct / guidelines for Nest DAO members to avoid scenarios where they might behave unethically. Given that “ethical” is often a subjective grey area, this seems to me like a wise suggestion.

9. Grantee Pledge

Require that new grantees of the Nest DAO sign a pledge, similar to the Aragon Manifesto.

The objective is to closely align the cultural values of Aragon with grantees of the Nest DAO.

Original post by @joeycharlesworth here](Membership for the Nest DAO).

10. Function specific DAOs

Create DAOs that support and target specific areas within the Aragon community (marketing, ANT price, dev UX, onboarding, education, scalability, etc…). Each DAO would have a board whose job it was to find deal flow, fund ideas, and give them support along their way to help them ship or get to the next stage of their journey (Nest grant and/or Flock adoption)
2. This would allow the community to fund projects on an individual basis, allow community members with domain expertise (working groups and/or Expert Network) to support those projects, and then we would have feedback and data from each experiment.

Original post by @burrrata here](Aragon Network Token 🦅).

I’m a huge fan of this one. Not just for the coordination of Nest teams, but also more generally for Nest, Flock and the Association. For example, User Research/Market Research is one such function where I think it makes sense for the resources to be deployed for the benefit of the whole community rather than just a single application or team. An interview with a cross panel of users might for instance show that there are critical bugs with a Flock team’s application, make us aware of a new project opportunity (yet to be filled by any Nest team) and enable us to cross-sell other applications across the broader Aragon family.

11. Expert Network / Nest DAO support

The proposed Expert Network can act in many ways like the mentor/advisor networks operated by accelerators such as 500 startups mentors or Techstars mentors.

The expert network could increase the success rate of Nest Projects by giving them access to a mentor pool that is financially incentivised by the success of the Nest portfolio.

Original post by @joeycharlesworth here.

12. Success Metrics

For Nest projects that do get funded and that don’t have a profit motive, what does success look like? Shipping to mainnet is obviously a key goal post. But what other metrics might be good to track to better contextualise our decisions? Number of users? Community dot voting? App Ratings? App Reviews? (which don’t exist yet but could)

13. Project Support Services / Working Groups

We need to refine what support services we can offer to Nest teams (ex: security audits which I think is already in play). Other common examples here might be support services where it doesn’t make financial sense for a small team to have that function in-house. In addition, there are often functions where there is mutual benefit for that function to be cross-project instead of Nest team/project specific.

1. Security audits
2. User & Market Research
3. Product testing
4. Content marketing

The concept of Aragon working groups was originally discussed here. We might want to create sub-working groups for the Nest WG (ex: to cover “deal sourcing” as a standalone function), as well as to foster better collaboration and cooperation across the various Aragon projects including those of Flock teams.

On a related note, most accelerators (and VCs) negotiate discounts with popular service providers such as Google Cloud, AWS etc some of which can be quite substantial. AWS for example provide up to $100k in credits. It’s worth having the discussion with some of these enterprise partners to discuss what they might be willing to provide in terms of benefits to Aragon Nest projects.

14. Aragon App Mining

We need to create systems that reward applications that have high utility and real users. Currently Blockstack has an “app mining” program that ranks and rewards applications on a monthly basis based on their user volume.

The objective here being that it may enable us to move away from one off grants towards a more meritocratic model, better aligning incentives between stakeholders.

Original post by @burrrata here and @lkngtn here

15. For Profit Grants

The idea would be for Nest teams working on a for-profit project to have their own DAO. The Nest DAO could then fund these projects by putting ANT tokens into each team DAO’s Fundraising bonding curve.This way “NestDAO” could iteratively fund nest projects and in doing so would get some governance and upside in that team. This also creates a clear path forward for ANT holders to support their early investments with follow on capital.

Original post by @burrrata here in the context of Flock teams but I adapted this for Nest projects.

:face_with_monocle: It would be great if we could bring our minds together on some of the above topics before the next Nest WG call. What issues do you foresee with the current version of the Nest DAO? How would you improve it?

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Yeah that makes sense. A lot of NestDAO members have domain expertise, but might not want to dedicate the time to work on the NestDAO meta-model. Would be good to separate out discussions regarding deal flow and discussions regarding fund structure and our role in the ecosystem.

Fuck yeah! Data is power. As is, I think a lack of data in the Aragon ecosystem is one of the biggest contributors to the chaos and confusion. This is not because people are trying to hide anything, but because the space is moving so fast and we’re doing so much that it’s been hard to keep track of everything.

AFAIK, no one is incentivized to keep track of everything, so they don’t. We should figure out more ways to fund roles that invest in the “Aragon commons,” and part of that should be getting data on finances. This would include Aragon’s past investments and their results, Aragon’s current burn rate, and lessons/strategies learned from the experiments that can guide future capital allocation, specifically with the NestDAO program.

All that to say, would be happy to dive into the archives and analyze past projects with you. We could start by surveying Nest project leads, but… unless they have more projects in the pipeline they’re not going to be incentivized to provide detailed or honest feedback. In fact, if they do have deals in the pipeline they’re even more incentivized to provide detailed, but dishonest feedback! lol.

In addition to surveys, let’s create a framework we can use to evaluate past and current investments. This will give us a common set of metrics/questions to compare projects against, and give us a framework to guide decisions moving forward. This could be as vague as determining if the projects are in use and actively contributing to the goals outlined in the manifesto, or it could be as detailed as creating a valuation model for ANT and modeling how each Nest investment adds to the value proposition of ANT as a token and Aragon as a platform.

That’s a great idea! We should sketch this out. Do you want to start drafting that in the Nest repo? Actually… @LouisGrx Is the Nest repo a good place to start working on initiatives like this, or should we create a “Nest Ideas” repo or something for the NestWG to collaborate on initiatives before submitting a PR to the official repo?

That’s a good question. Once we’ve dug through the archives and assessed how well the Nest program is working and how much value is being added, then we can assess that against the performance of the Flock program and propose some rough guidelines. ATM though, we need more shots on goal. Since Nest ventures are cheap af compared to Flock, I think that the general goal atm should be to increase deal flow.

:100: Yes, yes, and yes. I’m shocked this isn’t already a thing. It’s kind of essential. As mentioned in the “Nest archives” comment, would be happy to work with you to draft, share, and refine this into an actionable framework we can use to guide decision making.

There’s an Aragon wishlist that @luis put together, but I think we’re due for a new one. My personal opinion is that we should really push for Aragon apps development as every app added to the platform doubles the amount of potential Aragon DAO configurations possible. There’s lots of other things that would be helpful though. We should start a survey or something…

This is really a recurring focal point of conflict in the community. Not enough contributors hold ANT. There’s lots of ideas on how we might fix that such as the CRDAO and partially paying out grants in ANT.

ATM NestDAO members simply cannot “invest” along side the NestDAO because it’s not an “investment.” We’re just giving money away lol. That’s why it’s the Nest grants program, not the Nest investment fund. I think an investment fund would be awesome, but that’s not what Nest is today.

NestDAO is a DAO for Aragon community members to allocate grants to projects that contribute to the strategic objectives of Aragon. Investment thesis TBD. In addition to sourcing deal flow and doing due diligence, we need to provide support infrastructure to help teams build and ship the ideas they pitched us in the first place. This could include requirements for financial transparency, documentation and user guide requirements/templates, and help performing security audits. This is easier said than done.

VC firms like USV have a whole network dedicated to this. They do this because they want to maximize the return on their investments (time, money, impact). Anything they can do to increase the chances of success is a win for all parties involved. If we want to support our investments and ensure that projects get shipped, we need to support the NestDAO team. This could be through salaries, completion bonuses, finders fees, whatever… The point is that if we’re investing hundreds of thousands of dollars to support Aragon projects, it makes sense to also invest in the Aragon team that finds, selects, and supports those projects.

This is a huge conflict of interest. Thank you for pointing this out!

If there is a budget then we’re creating a zero-sum game. If there isn’t a budget then things can easily spiral out of control. There’s no easy solution here.

Perhaps a bit of competition would be good though? This might incentivize us to

  • create a valuation/success framework/metrics to analyze our investments
  • support our investments to ensure that they succeed based on that valuation framework
  • maximize resources by promoting synergy in the network (expert network, working groups)

This could help us make better investments and help Nest teams (more) easily ship quality products. This would only work if the NestDAO team is incentivized to do this, which requires a compensation structure as described in, 7. Skin in the game

Not sure about this one. This could easily just be treated like an iTunes ToA. Everyone signs it, but no one reads it. If it’s not a ToA then it becomes kind of cult like. An investment thesis that outlines concrete strategies to execute on the Aragon mainfesto is a much better way to ensure that investments align with our values. Also, IMHO Nest grants are meant to support projects, but there isn’t an expectation that teams contribute to the Aragon community beyond shipping that project.

Yup! Just going to bump this again and say that it would be an awesome, cheap, and fast way to try stuff out, get feedback, and support the Aragon commons :slight_smile:

@joeycharlesworth This fits into the larger theme of supporting the Aragon commons and maximize our investments in Aragon projects. Happy to collaborate with you on this if you want help designing or building the actual DAO, but from your proposal it sounds like you’re already building a team (which is great too!). Regardless, we should discuss this at the next NestDAO WG metting.

:100: This is what I was referring to in the first part of this comment with a valuation framework that lets us know how well things are working out. This is essential. In an ideal world we could tie these metrics to the performance/valuation of ANT, but until then we need to create a framework to analyze projects ASAP.

This is definitely possible and should be something we optimize for. I’m already in the process of talking to security teams for 1Hive’s Dandelion Orgs, but I’m sure A1 also has a lot of experience and connections that could help get negotiate discounts as well.

One thing that could help immediately is integrated automated security testing frameworks like Trail of Bits CryticCI or Consensys Dilligence MythX. They’re CI, for solidity code. They work great and reduce the amount of time security auditors have to spend on busy work and low hanging fruit. We’re running these at 1Hive, so happy to talk with the NestDAO WG and/or anyone else about adopting them ecosystem wide.

Another thing would be expanding the Bug Bounty Program to cover all the apps that the Aragon community funds and ships.

We should really determine the initial support services we want to provide though. This is going to take time to develop. As such, we should start discussing it ASAP and it needs to be a core part of the next NestDAO WG meeting. Maybe we could create a separate thread to discuss just this (which services to provide and a tentative budget for the next ANV period), and then the community can weigh in?

We’re working on it! @lkngtn you’re leading the charge on this right?

This would be amazing after we’ve ironed out an investment thesis, success metrics, support infra, and incentives for NestDAO members. Then we could actually invest in projects, support them to completion, and recycle gains into more grants. If successful, this would allow the Nest grants program to move away from relying on treasury funds to being more like an endowment fund

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Going through all my notes tagged #aragon. When I first started contributing I had no idea what Nest, Flock, AA, or anything meant. This is because information was kind of hard to find and all the terms were new. Since then the documentation has been improved and I’m deeply engaged with the community. This is great, but it also means that I am no longer qualified to give feedback on user onboarding. As @joeycharlesworth mentioned, it would be great to have more user interviews and surveys to help us understand how to improve the Aragon contributor experience. This would help greatly with NestDAO dealflow.

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Digging through the archives and found this post about creating a valuation models for AGPs. Essentially, it’s really hard for ANT voters, most of whom are not experienced investors, to evaluate financial proposals to fund teams. Even if the ideas presented contribute to the Aragon mission or roadmap, how do ANT holders know if they ask is in line with market rates for that kind of work? How do ANT voters know if a proposal is going to drive value to ANT? It’s often hard to tell!

It would be great if in addition to directly screening and supporting NestDAO grant projects, the team could also do some due diligence on AGPs. Currently (I think) the AA does this. We’re trying to decentralize, and NestDAO members have diverse expertise and are deeply engaged in the Aragon community, so maybe it would be good for them to do some valuation or due diligence on AGPs too?

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Even if the ideas presented contribute to the Aragon mission or roadmap, how do ANT holders know if they ask is in line with market rates for that kind of work? How do ANT voters know if a proposal is going to drive value to ANT? It’s often hard to tell!

True. Worth adding this as a standalone question/discussion point in the Nest proposal evaluation framework / investment memo. Also like the idea of extending this financial analysis assessment to AGPs.

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I started making a Nest application tracker a while back that I used when making a Nest proposal. One of the application criteria as you probably know is to make sure nobody else has already made a similar proposal. So I literally had to click on 99 issues on Github to understand what had already been accepted/rejected/pending etc to see if there was overlap. (The title of the proposal often doesn’t give sufficient information what it really relates to). Here is that google sheet which might hopefully speed up the process for others making Nest grant proposals. It’s still unpolished and about 2 months out of date now. Mentioning it here though because we can perhaps use it for the retrospective assessment too. In my experience, the learnings can be just as valuable from the projects that Nest did not back as the ones it did back.

On that note, what are some key questions/discussion points to include in the evaluation framework for the Retrospective?

A few off the cuff thoughts:

For projects that got funded

  • Did they deliver what they set out to deliver? If not, why not?
  • Was the product shipped to mainnet?
  • What kind of traction did get the product get since Rinkeby deployment? Mainnet deployment?
  • How was the project’s communication with the community? Were they active in the Aragon forum?
  • Did they seek help when they needed it? Did they collaborate well with synergistic projects?
  • Was there a mismatch between the support promised to them from Aragon vs what they received? If so, what?
  • What support functions would have been most valuable to them?
  • Have they since applied for additional funding from Aragon? If not, why not?
  • How could the Nest application experience have been improved for them?

For projects that didn’t get funded

  • Did they end up getting funded by one of the Aragon competitors? Which one?
  • Did they end up building the product anyway? (Without any funding)
  • How could the Nest application experience have been improved for them?

If we can iron out which questions we should be asking, we can then begin the evaluation process.

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Hey @joeycharlesworth, awesome to see these proposals!

I really like 1., 2., 3. and 4. and overall think all these ideas are worth digging into. I especially like the idea of providing more project support services. Mor value provided to grantees would help make the program really sexy.

About 5.: it is already something that Aragon One and the Association have been doing a bit in the past by creating issues themselves in the Nest repo. But I agree we could definitely do better at bridging Aragon’s needs with Nest.

I had lots of ideas in mind for Nest a few months ago, and started implementing some (thesis, onboarding guide, best practices…) (1 , 2 , 3) but as you can see it remained in a very, very early stage :sweat_smile:. We’ve been lacking resources to implement at the Association and were quickly caught up into other pressing commitments.

I’d really like to exploit much more of Nest’s potential for Aragon. It would be great to find ways to empower people like you or @burrrata to execute more. Perhaps the CRDAO or some new Nest DAO mechanism could act as a compensation/reward?

Let’s make it one of the first things to discuss in the Nest WG?

Note: if you want to act more quickly, I would definitely help and support you in drafting a proposition to the CFDAO

Cheers

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Maybe we could start by submitting a quick CFDAO grant for @joeycharlesworth and I to:

  • draft a project evaluation framework (success metrics => ANT value increase)
  • (start to) dive into the archives and evaluate past Nest grantee performance and/or conduct user interviews
  • draft a NestDAO project/ecosystem support plan to fix some of the problems discovered in said digging and interviewing

This would not be a final analysis by any means. It’s a step towards putting more data on the table for the NestDAO WG and the Aragon community. We would post preliminary results to the forum and/or #nest-wg chat for people to review. Then, after incorporating feedback, we would discuss at the next NestDAO WG meeting. From there the NestDAO could choose to iterate or move forward with some of the initiatives.

@joeycharlesworth is this something you would like to work with me on in the next week or two?

@LouisGrx is this more or less what you were thinking?

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absolutely :slight_smile: you have my keybase now.

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Good to see we already have some foundations that we can build on here.

Note: if you want to act more quickly, I would definitely help and support you in drafting a proposition to the CRDAO

I appreciate your support. Given the workload involved, I’m keen to start on this sooner rather than later so that we have something to present on the next Nest WG call. Can you please clarify how CRDAO works exactly?

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:rocket:

CRDAO (community rewards DAO) is a WIP / AGP that currently does not have funding

CFDAO (community funding DAO) is live and well. It’s meant to quickly fund small scale community endeavors

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Yes, here is the rough/wip proposal for Aragon App Mining

Will try and get it in shape to submit as a draft to the agp repo in the next few days. Though if anyone is interested in contributing to the proposal or just has thoughts feedback there is already an active discussion happing abut the proposal on 1hive’s keybase chat.

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I think its important that you guys address the problems that motivate you the most as you’ll have to make your own way into this.

This being said, in recent months I’ve seen piles of great ideas on the forum as well as in my personal notes, and was able to execute very little. This has been very frustrating.

I feel there are several low hanging fruits that would add value to Nest with high certainty. In my current mood, I’d rather skip the interview and planning phases to move straight to execution. These low hanging fruits are: proposal guides, onboarding guides and best practices for grantees, Nest program thesis, evaluation metrics, targets for the program…

So if you ask: I’d prefer to share my knowledge with you, and help you execute faster rather than having a long pre-execution phase. I’m getting allergic to those :sweat_smile:

Just my 2 gwei as Aaron would say! lmk what you think

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SAME!

Are you thinking then that rather then doing a formal analysis on past Nest grants and interviewing recipients, we would just draft the thesis, wishlist / requests for proposals, best practices, and evaluation metrics and present those directly to the group next week?

If so, we already kind of started doing that lol. We aggregated many of the ideas presented on the forum, and then were thinking to validate/invalidate them with research on past Nest grant performance and best practices in the grants/startup space. We could… skip the retrospective and jump straight to drafting the investment thesis, evaluation metrics, and strategies to execute on those goals.

Yes! That would be amazing. Would love to jam on ideas and incorporate all of your experience to make the NestDAO better. What would be the best way to go about that?

  • drafting stuff in HackMD docs
  • drafting things in the Nest GitHub repo in a “meta-proposals” folder or something
  • some other process

Also, @LouisGrx, if we submit a CFDAO proposal to improve the strategy and productivity of NestDAO, would you want to be included in that CFDAO proposal as well?


EDIT: Do changes to the Nest program need to happen via AGP, can the NestDAO WG make those changes on their own? Thinking about this in the context of expanding the Bug Bounty program to include Nest projects (maybe on a tiered system like was proposed here), and/or creating a security budget for Nest projects (as I requested here)

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Do you mean from this that you would skip doing the “Retrospective” interviews/surveys?

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Yes. I’ve already done some of that research in the past months and think we could skip that part for now.

Yes we can use Hackmd docs. We can also have a call this week to quickly go over: what you guys want to do, what information you need, what information we already have. Based on that you can determine what we can start executing on, and what we may have to plan more

What about a call Wed/Thur PM CEST?

Sounds great!

No, thanks!

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No strict guidelines on that. Depends on what amount of legitimacy you feel is needed for the change (if high, go through AGP process), and how significant the change is. We (NestDAO) are accountable to ANT holders for excuting the proposals they approved, but the NestDAO has some flexibility to operate ofc. Let’s collectively (NestDAO members) determine If an AGP is needed. If necessary the AA can always voice its opinion on each specific cases.

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CFDAO RFF Created!

Since we’re moving fast on this in order to present before the next NestDAO WG call, how long should we wait to submit the funding requests to the actual CFDAO?

Sounds great! Very curious to hear your thoughts and get to work. I think there’s a lot we can do to improve the returns on investment and contributor experience for devs :slight_smile:

That works. The later in the day the better. @joeycharlesworth would that work for you too?

Sounds good. How about Thursday 5pm CEST?

I guess that is the latest time that most reasonable people work during that day. Ok. That works for me lol