A brief thread was posted recently by a Marketing council member requesting payout of 400 NEAR each for two Community Council members. This post has prompted some reasonable questions from the community, so I’d like to take this opportunity to elaborate on the nature of the Marketing DAO, Council work, and rational behind remunerations.
- Marketing DAO is part of a network of DAOs in the NEAR Ecosystem that are in charge of allocating funds to the community.
- These funds were allocated on NEAR Genesis block, belong to the community, we have a duty to allocate it to appropriate community initiatives in a responsible and transparent manner.
- Journey to Decentralisation - the Marketing DAO will eventually be fully governed by the community. At the moment, there are three Near Foundation Council Members and two Community Members. This makeup enables us to create and optimise processes and build trust before handing over total control.
- Marketing DAO work is a non-trivial additional workload for Near team members.
- During our last weekly call we started discussing a potential timeline for succession (as early as the end of the year), and a strategy for identifying, recruiting and retaining new high-calibre council members.
The Marketing DAO has full stack operational demands just like any other organisation - centralised or decentralised - which include but are not limited to:
- Raising awareness of what we do and invite community members to apply;
- Liaising with NEAR for request of funds;
- Receiving, assessing, and voting on proposals.
- Meeting with projects to discuss their proposals, ask questions, make amendments as necessary
- Following up on all projects as they submit progress reports (past grants)
- Soon we will start writing our own (Marketing DAO) accountability and progress reports (to Community Squad + Near Foundation/Treasury).
- Most importantly, maintain communications with other Council members - 1hr call per week,
The current workload is probably sitting at around 3-4 hours per week. A few notes on this:
- Workload is dynamic and increasing. This is a good thing, proportional to the number of proposal and funds being disbursed, both of which are key indicator of ecosystem growth.
- The nature of the work means that there aren’t single stretches of time we can set aside and nearly schedule X number of hours. Instead, it is closer to an always-on mode where we are highly responsive and dependent on proposals coming in (some are time sensitive), on-going communications on Telegram, etc.
- It is important to maintain these flexibility to grant Council members as much time as they need to deal with the workload. For instance, one week it may be four hours, the week after ten hours.
The Anatomy of a Council Member
It is important to note that Community Council role is open to anyone. We encourage anyone to apply - and this is the core of the discussion:
- Who would be an ideal candidate; AND
- How can we attract them?
This area is open to interpretation but I would suggest that Council Members are:
- Deeply embedded in the NEAR Ecosystem: they are simultaneously staking their own personal reputation to generate the trust required to manage large sums of money for the community AND they need an understanding of the trends, players, risks and opportunists in the ecosystem to be able to assess proposals.
How to attract talent is open for suggestions and experimentation. However, there are some things that strike out:
- The Marketing DAO has had limited success in attracting new Council Members.
- The ideal profile for a Council Member is someone that by definition does not have much spare time or is interested in doing it purely for financial reasons.
- Very few people few willing to do meaningful work for free (see challenges in attracting people).
The topic of remunerating Council Members - as a group of people, rather than focusing on the person that occupies the role at the time - should not be controversial. The ideas and frameworks I share here should still hold true for Council Members long after I step down and for Members in other DAOs.
- Remuneration should be based on the responsibility and expectations of Council Members.
- Given the workload described above, and the sums of money we are routinely approving for a wide range of proposals, 400 NEAR seemed like a reasonable amount that would: retain Council members and attract new ones. While this amount is open for revision and consideration over time.
There is one last topic I wanted to bring up in the realm of Incentives Design.
There seems to be an ongoing trend to look at people’s payout in USD - particularly on the good days - and seeking to reduce the value and cap their potential as the price of NEAR goes up (when we should be reaping the rewards of months, years of hard work). This approach seems inappropriate to me for many reasons: the obvious are that some payouts are retroactive (misleading calculation of USD value) but most importantly: payouts in NEAR aligns incentives.
When the price of NEAR goes up, it goes up for every NEAR holder. However, for the price of NEAR to go up someone has to do the work. There is A LOT of work to be done in a complex and rapidly evolving ecosystem, and it is hard to find people - I can’t stress enough how important it is to be able to attract and retain talent. In a market when people can make 10x simply by holding, you do need special incentives to encourage people to do the work. Instead of looking at it as Person A has received X in remuneration, I would suggest looking at it as the entire market is up X%. This is a team effort, let people doing critical work earn NEAR and capture the same upside as HODLers.
Let me know what you think,