After reading the comments in this proposal, I feel there’s a significant margin for improvement in some critical topics. I also propose improvement opportunities in each of those topics, as I believe that the current situation while being highly complex, is indeed an opportunity to improve what doesn’t work well. We should not be ashamed of tackling this.
DISCLAIMER: this is my personal view and analysis, as someone who has had the opportunity to engage with multiple stakeholders in both AA and AL and as a member of the management team of AL. However, I’m not speaking on behalf of anybody else.
Regarding purpose and velocity
- Velocity can’t be decoupled from the WHAT is being built, which is tightly related to the PURPOSE of any given group with shared goals.
- The complexity, security assumptions, and constraints associated with building a highly specialized vertical Web3 frontend are significantly different from building at the protocol layer.
- Velocity is also a function of the operational complexity of any given project. It’s not the same to be 2-person team with full autonomy and ownership, than to have to coordinate across N-parties, each of them having different views on what to do next.
- We need clarity on the PURPOSE for ANDAO and we need to think about the possibility of different purposes cohexisting within the Aragon Project. The AN DAO can have a more generic purpose, whereas a given Guild or Sub-DAO may have a more narrow-scoped one. Providing clarity on that will help set the expectations right, and it will allow for greater diversity in velocity capacities (we may have a given guild working in a verticallized front-end with faster velocity, and other working on Zk-rollup infra, which has much lower velocities due to the extreme complexity of the work)
Regarding psychological safety
- I believe Aragon is in the best position to make DAOs actually work. My belief is that we are still in the early definition phase (we’re so early), and we’re experiencing what in biological terms is refered to as “natural selection”.
- Instead of DNA strains, we’re selecting for governance configurations that maximize organizational fitness. Those configurations who succeed in making communities achieve their goals will remain, those who fail will disappear from the “solution space”.
- My hunch feeling is that DAOs will succeed if they are able to keep some of the good parts of traditional organizations, disrupting the bad ones.
- Among “the good parts”, one of them is social protection and psychological safety.
- Without those, DAOs will remain a Millenial / GenZ burning machine. A churning beast that consumes young idealists as raw materials, squeezes their mental and physical energy, to moves to the next wave of contributors. While this may be good at a DAO level (if we equal a DAO to an organism), it’s fatal for the individuals (it’s cells). But in the long term, if the cells die and are not renewed at the pace they’re destroyed, the whole organism dies.
Contributors live in a world where a certain degree of stability is required to be able to think long term. People can’t plan nor commit to anything in real life without a minimum degree of stability and psychological safety. We should create the systems that allow for that while keeping accountability mechanisms in place. Otherwise, we’ll make DAOs a dystopian ultra-exploitative reality in which contributors live quarter by quarter and are churned every year, effectively erasing 200y of social advances in labor rights.
While I 100% agree with @luis that the AA/AL team should be proactive in bringing forward a proposal in order to specify how to work as part of the AN DAO, it’s important to mention that we expected to do this by 2023. The consensus was to have at least 1-2y of hyperfocus to advance in the different initiatives that are being pushed forward by the different teams, as I consider that it’s not possible to aim to do it all at once (we can’t focus on building while also paying attention to all the forum posts regarding governance proposals)
The sudden change of $20M allocation to no allocation at all and a 6 months deadline, and the lack of direct communication between AA Committee and the Core team, has caused:
- A direct hit to the psychological safety across all AA/AL contributors, as it was perceived as the AA Committee doesn’t trust at all in what the team is doing.
- Important hires have been stopped due to the uncertainty (we can’t ask top talent to quit current incentive packages in other projects to come to work for an organization that has a 6-month runaway. Wouldn’t be ethical).
- Day-to-day operations significantly disrupted, therefore affecting our capacity to focus on the important initiatives.
BTW, I do believe that this psychological safety needs to span across all AN DAO contributors who devote their professional -and many times personal- lives to the project.
- Review the strategic roadmap for Aragon Project together with AA Committee and the ANDAO community, to validate support from the different relevant stakeholders. To this aim, a new proposal will be put forward in the first half of June outlining the strategic guidelines that the AA/AL teams are proposing for Aragon Project to start that conversation.
- Once that is done, provide budgetary stability so that the different teams currently working in AA/AL can focus on executing in the short-mid term. An ammendment proposal will be made in the next hours in that regards by a representative of the AA/AL teams, speaking on behalf of them so we can proactively signal our opinion.
- In parallel, set a working group of AA/AL team members to define how that future relationship should be (becoming a fully fledged Guilds, create a Sub-DAO within AN DAO, etc). That working group needs to fully focus on this task, can’t multi-task across multiple initiatives.
This last point connects to a problem that we clearly have experienced. This problem arises from the premise that:
- People’s attention is a finite capacity asset and has a max “flowrate” (topics you can focus per amount of time)
- If the amount of topics to look at increases linearly (or even exponentially) over time fast enough, capacity is soon maxed out.
- Every new topic that is “important” or that you “need to be aware of” compounds the complexity of the rest. It’s not the same to focus on 2 topics with no interdependencies between themselves, than 15 with non-linear relations between them. The number of possible configurations exponentially grows.
The consequences of this are:
- Productivity is greatly reduced: great results come people can focus. If they can’t, it’s very hard to reach deadlines or focus on what actually makes the project advance (apart from governance talks)
- Anxiety levels go to the roof: when someone who has been fully focused in executing reads a Discord thread about “an important” topic that may deeply affect his future, and knows absolutely nothing about how that was a topic in the first place and how this may impact him/her, anxiety levels simply skyrocket. It’s a contant FOMO, but a bad one.
- TBH at this point I’m struggling to see concrete solutions for this, but I’m sure we could find a tradeoff that aligns both the path towards working on decentralizing Aragon and the ability of the AA/AL team to focus and ship. Would gladly welcome suggestions.
One of the biggest frictions in this process has been to handle communications properly. The huge load and operational complexity haven’t helped (it’s been super challenging to proceed with the merge conversations between AA/AL teams while participating in this proposal). Without proper communication, the high degree of uncertainty and complexity leaves space for huge amounts of speculation. IMO the significant change in the allocated funding to Core Team and the deadline should have been better contextualized, and even better, direct communication between the AA Committee and the different stakeholders should have taken place beforehand.
For the part that I’m responsible for, I apologize for not communicating more and better. As I mentioned in my previous thread comment, I’ve found it very challenging to be able to focus on so many topics at once, with so many simultaneous moving pieces.
- Increase direct communication across AA Committee, AA General Assembly, Core Team Leadership, and AN DAO representatives, with at least one monthly call where all the stakeholders can discuss strategic alignment, potential frictions and unblock blockers.
Lastly, I’d like to say that I am sure that we’re not the only ones facing challenges and complexity in the space. It’s how we deal with them that will either make us succeed or fail. We need to embrace those challenges without fear of having the hard conversations when needed, in a proactive and constructive way. I think that the proposal on the Strategic Roadmap for Aragon can be a great chance to engage in those conversations.